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It’s (Un)Official: 200 Chevy Volts Join EV Rally For Guinness Record (updated)

Take that, Zürich! Last year the Swiss city set a Guinness record for gathering 305 plug-in EVs in one place, but a similar EV rally last Friday in Montreal garnered 431 plug-in EVs of all types. That includes ample representation by one of our faves, GM’s Chevy Volt, and there is photo evidence to prove it.

The total was recorded by Guinness officials but while we’re waiting for confirmation, let’s note that Driver Guy of the Volt fan site GM-Volt.com estimated more than 200 Volts in attendance.

Branchez-vous 2014 - 18 avril - Grand rassemblement record Guiness

Guinness EV rally (cropped) by Frédéric Lavigne.

Chevy Volt Still Alive And Kicking

You may recall that the Volt took a good kicking from the increasingly irrelevant Rush Limbaugh (who?) when it launched a few years ago, but Volt owners are getting the last laugh.

The Volt sports a modestly ranged EV battery with a full gas tank backup, and as expected many Volt drivers have adjusted their driving habits to take full advantage of the EV charge. A favorable cost-of-ownership calculation by Edmunds and a 2011 Car of the Year award from Motor Trend back up the rave reviews from owners.

We’ve been following the Volt since its launch along with our sister site Gas2.org, and in the lastest news earlier this month GM announced that it is pumping $384 million into upgrades for its Detroit–Hamtramck assembly plant, home of the Volt.

GM also threw down another $65 million to upgrade its Brownstone Battery Assembly plant.

The aim of all that activity is a new “Moon Shot” Volt model with a much greater battery range, priced to compete with whatever affordable model Tesla Motors can come up with.

The Volt concept — full petroleum backup for an all-electric drive — has been met with sneer by some EV purists but the concept is a versatile one, and you could see a lot more of that in the future. The Department of Defense, for one, is transitioning out of its reliance on the notorious HUMVEE model into a lightweight, agile diesel military vehicle with an all-electric drive that can run exclusively off the battery for short distances (we’re thinking that’s for the EV “stealth” mode advantage).

Meanwhile, in case you’re wondering how all those US-made Volts snuck their way into  an EV rally in Canada, of course the Volt is for sale there (Canadian dealers just offered a nice price cut last year, too). Also, the event was open to all North America car owners, including the nearby US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Guinness Record-Setting For A Cause

The event was part of the second annual Québec Get Connected Day, the brainchild of Canada’s CNTA  (National Advanced Transportation Center) with support from the utility Hydro-Québec, and the Ministry of Natural Resources among others.

Here’s the EV cause as presented by Sylvain Castonguay, the organization’s Executive Director:

This is a first in Canada; Quebec will once again stand out in the wake of clean transportation. We will seek to establish a world record and we may try to beat the record every year. Quebecers care about the environment. Driving a plug-in vehicle is a good signal to send to the planet. With this gathering, Quebec will be a World Champion for a while!

Hmmm, “beat the record every year,” he says. The gauntlet has been thrown and something tells us that the US Volt community will not take this lying down!

Update: TimeToElectrify.ca counts a total of 178 Volts at the rally.

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Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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