A car powered by sunshine


My wife and I purchased a Chevy Volt LT last November. It’s a plug-in hybrid car with a gasoline generator that greatly extends its range.


A plug-in hybrid car differs from an ordinary hybrid car in that its battery can be charged by plugging it into an electrical outlet in addition to being charged by a gasoline engine. Most plug-in hybrids can go no farther than about 25 miles on a charge before switching over to gasoline. The Chevy Volt goes 53 miles on a charge, which covers about 90% of our driving. It can go an additional 367 miles on a full tank of gas, which means we can go on long trips without getting stranded.


To charge up our Chevy Volt more rapidly, we had a 220-volt outlet installed in our garage. Some of our household electricity comes from our rooftop solar panels, and the rest comes from a community solar project at a price that’s 10% lower than Eversource. Our Chevy Volt effectively runs on sunshine 90% of the time, which takes a big bite out of our overall carbon footprint.


The list price of the Chevy Volt LT is about $34,000. Thanks to Mass Energy’s Drive Green program, we got a $7,000 discount off the list price. On top of that, we got a $7,500 credit off our federal income taxes, and a $2,500 rebate from the state of Massachusetts. With these incentives, our total net cost for the Chevy Volt was under $20,000 including the delivery charge, sales tax and document fees. Installing a 220-volt charger in our garage cost about $1,100.


The Chevy Volt is fun to drive. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, and it comes with many features and comforts. We opted for heated seats for comfort in winter. Go for a test drive at a dealer near you and see for yourself. Keep in mind that government incentives will be phased out as sales volume increases.

By Paul Lauenstein

Promotion:  If you buy a Chevy Volt or the new, all-electric Bolt at Muzi Chevrolet in Needham, and mention that you heard about it from the Sustainable Sharon Coalition, they will knock an additional $100 off the price, and also donate $100 to SCC.

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