On a full tank of gas and a full charge of its battery, the Chevy Volt can go the first 35 of its 379 mile capability with zero-emissions. But some Volt owners are using the sun to charge their 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries, stretching mileage up to an amazing 1,000 miles before having to head to back to the gas station.
It’s no surprise that one of the first Volt owners in Michigan, Mark Hildebrandt, is also the owner of Sunventrix, a company that installs solar panels. He says “I made the switch to renewable energy a while ago, and thus with solar energy, I can power my house, charge my Volt and pump energy back into the grid, which I get credit for”.
As a long time advocate for clean energy, he also believes that as Volt sales increase, so will a demand for charging stations.
Robert deLuze, CEO and winemaster of ZD Wines runs his winery entirely on solar power since 2007, and now his Volt as well. He feels “ZD Wines has had a solar power station for the past three years and purchasing my Volt was a driving factor in installing a solar photovoltaic system at my house.”
Volt marketing director Cristi Landy comments “The majority of miles driven by Volt customers are powered electrically by the Volt’s battery”.
Sunlight is also being used to charge the Volt in its own Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The plant is home to a 20kW Solar Carport with 10 charging stations for the car, and plans are in place for additional stations. Every new Volt is charged before it leaves the plant.
With the Volts’ impressive mileage capabilities on solar power, it may be getting busier at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, soon.
2011 Chevrolet Volt:
– By: Alexandra Koken