From A One-Seat Electric Vehicle In 1960 To A Chevy Bolt EUV

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By Roy from Texas

I’m about to be 70 years old (70 is an interesting number and I’ll get to that in a minute…).

I got my first electric vehicle in 1960 when I was 8 years old. My father (a mechanical wizard) took a defective 24 volt starter motor from a Beechcraft Twin Bonanza Excalibur aircraft he flew, and he rebuilt that starter and installed it in a one-seat “hot-rod” he built for me. No kid on my block could (or would) try to follow me on a bicycle. My “hot-rod” only had a button that I pushed with my foot to make it go forward, and as a result, that method of instant acceleration was difficult on the small tires. I think my dad got tired of replacing tires on it and so he took out the electric motor and installed a small gasoline engine. Needless to say, I was hooked on EVs at a very early age, back in the previous century.

2016 Chevrolet Volt. Image courtesy of Chevrolet

Fast forward to 2012 and I bought a Chevrolet Volt. I felt like I was 9 years old again. I drove that Volt from a ranch we had in one county here in Texas to another property in an adjoining county. I have a video of the first time I bought gas for the Volt, somewhere around 27,000 miles. All the driving up to 27,000 miles was from the battery, not the ICE (internal combustion engine).

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

My 2012 Volt was an “off the shelf” vehicle that was on the dealer’s lot and lacking in fancy options. I decided to order a new 2015 Volt the first day GM was accepting orders, and I loaded it with every option available. Sadly (but actually happily), two days ago I traded that Volt in on a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. I drove my 2015 Volt from Abilene, Texas, to Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, and with great agony, I did the trade in for the Bolt.

“Getting rid of my Volt” was nearly as painful as having to put a loved dog to sleep, and I was remorseful while at Classic Chevrolet signing the paperwork for the Bolt … but about 50 miles into my adventure home, I had not only recovered but was jubilant and joyful while driving back 173 miles to my home in Abilene, Texas.

Prior to leaving Classic Chevrolet, I topped off the charge in the Bolt EUV and was crossing my fingers hoping GM had the math right for the range I could get on a full charge. I never had “range anxiety” with either of my Volts because of the ICE backup, and in fact, I used to boast I could beat a Tesla from my ranch in Texas to Canada and back, using backroads in rural areas that had no Tesla charging stations in 2012. So, for me, driving home nearly 180 miles and not knowing where charging stations might be on the trip was a little concerning.

Okay, now for the stuff about “70.” … In 1970, I was a senior in high school in El Paso, Texas, and having worked the previous 7 years selling newspapers, mowing yards, and doing other odd jobs, I had enough savings in my “piggy bank” and I ordered a new 1970 Camaro. Back then, gasoline was 35 cents per gallon and I determined that about $5 worth of gas could get me down the road about 100 miles back then. Fast forward to 2012 and I’m “hyper-smiling” in my first Volt (God, it was an obsession with me) and I discovered that about $5 worth of electricity could get my Volt “Dusty” down the road about 100 miles! It was like “deja vu all over again,” to borrow a phrase from Yogi Berra.

So here I am, many decades later from my first “EV” that my father built for me, driving a car with an absolutely terrible name called a “BOLT” (that name drives me “NUTS,” and I guess “Nuts & Bolts” is what it’s going to be for me until years from now when I’m driving an electric wheel chair).

Oh, I almost forgot. On the day GM unveiled the Bolt concept car at the Detroit Auto Show in 2015, I was there to see it. I jumped on a flight from Texas, flew up there, and decided maybe one day I’d buy one, and that day was (July two-two, two zero two two, just like I knew I’d do…) July 22, 2022.

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