I’ll be blogging from SXSWi over the next few days as a guest of the Chevy Volt team AND they’ve given me a Volt to drive for the week (disclaimer: total cash value of $1150). I’ve been in Austin for over 10 years and find it ironic that my electric car past gets me to event instead of my cloud or software work. Either way, I’m delighted to attend.
About 6 years ago before the first days of $4 gas, I took on the entrepreneurial/science project of converting an electric car (a 96 RAV4) to run on batteries. The result proved clearly that there was no sustainable business in converting gas cars to electric because the mechanics are different enough to require purpose-built design.
My conversion project, the RAVolt, is still in daily use with over 3,000 electric miles. I never intended it to be a show car – my goal was to be time and cash effective so it uses the most time-tested components: lead acid batteries, 18 hp elevator motor and a forklift DC control system. With a 30 minute range, it has limited utility.
And now, I find myself in the market for a new car AND being given a Volt for the week. The Volt was on my short list to consider (I drive a Honda Fit now) along with the Tesla S, Leaf and Smart. This topic deserves it’s own post.
For the next few days, I’m going to wallow in the SXSWi nerdfest and enjoy experimenting with a production class electric car. I will, of course, be sharing my experiences and observations about both here and on twitter. Both are subjects of long-standing interest.
Disclaimer: Chevy has provided me with a SXSWi pass and Volt use ($1150 value). They have asked for nothing in return and I have made no commitments for favorable comments. Further, my employer, Dell, is aware of this arrangement with Chevy. My opinions are my own.