Chevy Volt charges into Tri-Cities

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:51 AM

“I’m a car collector, and I’ve always been interested in cars — old cars, new cars, cars with innovations, and especially cars with style — and I think they did it right with the Chevy Volt,” Smith said. “It’s innovative and it’s stylish, and that’s what my main interest in the car was.”

Smith picked up his new Volt at Gage Motor Mall in Grand Haven on Thursday morning.

According to GM, the total range of the car is up to 379 miles. The vehicle’s Voltec propulsion system delivers between 25 and 50 miles of electric driving with a long-life 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and 111-kilowatt electric-drive unit. It also has up to 344 miles of extended range with an onboard 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engine.

GM invested more than $700 million in eight Michigan plants for Volt production.

“I’m a GM employee, and I have been for many years,” Smith said. “And basically, it’s something that’s come up the pipeline. We almost lost it, and we managed to keep it going and brought it to market.”

Smith said the design and overall feel of the car captures the essence of being a cutting-edge vehicle.

“It’s a beautiful car compared to some of the other electrics out there,” he said. “Other than ones costing twice as much, there’s nothing with the same styling.”

Campbell Stephenson, the salesman at Gage who sold Smith the Volt, was enthusiastic about the vehicle coming to West Michigan.

“I think it’s very exciting,” Stephenson said. “I feel very blessed to be a part of Gage Motor Mall and to be able to be involved in this part of the history in automotive technology moving on.”

In addition to Smith’s new Volt, a dealership in Grand Rapids recently delivered two Volts to customers, Stephenson said. The Gage salesman wasn’t sure how many total have been delivered across the country, but the only one along the Lakeshore that he knew of was Smith’s.

“I think it’s a great thing for Michigan, I think it’s a great thing for the U.S., and I think it’s a great thing for GM,” Stephenson said.

While Smith was the first person in the Tri-Cities area to take delivery of a Volt, Stephenson said there has been a lot of interest in the new vehicle.

“There is a waiting list,” Stephenson said. “And when people come in with a lot of questions, I do refer them to some of the web pages that are available.”

On these websites, people can watch videos, take a virtual test drive and learn more about the technology behind the vehicle.

“I went to school in Detroit on the Volt, and I was very awe-struck with the very first one I saw,” Stephenson said. “Seeing the mock models compared to the new (models), there were some changes, and I think it’s an awesome vehicle all the way around.”

While Smith has the newest GM product, he said he isn’t unfamiliar with fuel-efficient vehicles. He bought a new Chevrolet Cruze earlier this year.

“I think I’m ahead of the curve as far as the gas mileage thing, because that’s where we are, unfortunately,” he said. “$4 gas is just around the corner.”

Online:  www.chevrolet.com/volt

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