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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thinking about buying an electric car? Is your garage ready to recharge it

Thinking about buying an electric car? Is your garage ready to recharge it

With gas prices rising and instability in the Middle East, the thought of an electric car in the garage might be getting more appealing.
Before you jump for the new technology, though, make sure your garage is ready to be a refuelling station.
Depending on which car you buy and how old your home is, it could cost a couple thousand dollars to prep the garage so you can charge a car quickly enough to take off for work in the morning with a full battery.
Then again, it could cost nothing at all.
Start with the age of the home. Older houses may not have enough juice to handle an electric car. Fifty years ago, who would have thought we'd be plugging in cars at night?
So the garage may have to be rewired. According to experts, you need at least a 12-amp circuit to charge a car in a reasonable amount of time. You also need a circuit in the garage with little or nothing else on it. Anything else drawing power from the same circuit can slow the charging.
Even if you have a dedicated circuit in the garage, it still may not work for you. Most garages have standard 120-volt outlets. But a dedicated 240-volt outlet, similar to the kind that powers an electric dryer, can cut the charging time in half. That's important depending on the electric car you buy.
Two mass-market electric cars, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, have different power systems and different charging needs. The Leaf is all electric and can go up to 160 kilometres on a single charge. But it needs more juice than the Volt to refill the batteries. It takes eight hours to recharge a Leaf even with a 240-volt circuit, double that at 120 volts.
The Volt can only go about 64 kilometres on battery power, but it has a small gas motor on board that can keep the car going when the battery runs out. With its smaller battery pack, it can be recharged in 10 hours even on 120 volts, five hours or less at 240.
GM estimates that recharging the Volt will add no more than about $1.50 per day to your electric bill, based on the U.S. national average electricity cost of 11 cents per kilowatt hour.
AeroVironment, the company that makes charging stations for Nissan, recommends outfitting your garage with a special 240-volt station. The basic station begins charging when you plug the car in; a smart station can start charging later in the evening when the load on the power company grid is lower.
Either way, you'll need an electrician who knows about car charging to figure out your needs and hook the 240-volt station to a dedicated 40-amp circuit, said Kristen Helsel, vice-president of electric vehicle solutions for AeroVironment.
"This is no different than installing an appliance or something else," she said. "We need to take the power from your breaker box and run it to where you want the charging station installed."
Charging stations also are available from other manufacturers. Helsel said it will cost about US$2,000 to buy the dock and standard installation services by an electrician when done through AeroVironment and a Nissan dealership.
The Volt, however, may not need anything. If you have a dedicated circuit in your garage, General Motors, which makes the car, recommends charging the car first on 120 volts before spending the cash on a 240-volt charging station.
"Most cars are parked more than 10 hours," said Britta Gross, GM's director of electrical infrastructure. "If I were a consumer, I would always try 120 first, and if you're not satisfied, then you can consider the 240-volt upgrade."
The Volt has a setting that lets the owner pick the time by which the car has to be recharged fully, and the car can wait to start charging. The Leaf has a timer so the owner can set on and off times for charging based on the day of the week.
The Volt charger from GM costs US$495, and about US$1,500 to install, although it could be more depending on how much work is needed at the house, Gross said.
And whether you need a special charging station depends on how far you drive. If you go only 32 kilometres a day, a 120-volt outlet will work for either car because the battery doesn't have to be fully charged every night.
Gross said she's working to change building codes so that all garages have 240-volt outlets to charge cars, but she conceded that will take years. Many auto industry analysts say it will be years before electric cars are in a lot of garages because cars powered by internal combustion engines will continue to get more efficient.
A 120-volt outlet wouldn't work for James Brazell, 84, of Asheville, N.C., one of the first people in the country to buy a Volt. He didn't want to use any gasoline, yet he makes several short trips per day, and on some days, when he attends class at the University of North Carolina Asheville, he will drive 82 kilometres, more than the Volt's electric range.
At first, he used the standard outlet in the garage of his home at a retirement community, but he ended up using more than two litres of gasoline in four days. Then the charger he ordered from GM arrived at a cost of $530 including shipping. An electrician in his community installed it for an estimated $300, although he hasn't received the final bill.
Now he plugs the car in after short trips. "Pretty much I top it up every time I bring it into the garage," he said.
Before the charging station, the 120-volt outlet didn't charge his car much between trips, he said.
Even though he's a retired oil company executive, Brazell knows that the country will need to change the way it gets around because oil is a finite resource. And he likes driving by gas stations.
"It makes me feel good, especially when gasoline went up 30 cents a gallon the day I got the car back here."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Driver tows Range Rover back to dealer with donkeys

Angry Chinese driver tows Range Rover back to dealer with donkeys

A man in Shenyang, China was reportedly so frustrated with his 2010 Land Rover Range Rover breaking down that he towed it back to the dealer and asked for a full refund. To add a little insult to his heady request, the spurned owner towed the stricken SUV with a pair of donkeys.

Apparently the guy paid ¥2 million (about $304,000) for the English SUV in 2010. Since the purchase, the car reportedly broke down six times and eventually needed a new engine. When it died a seventh time, the owner was apparently at wit's end. The stunt managed to hammer the point home in a much less destructive manner than a certain Lamborghini owner recently chose. According to Asian auto news outlet TheTycho, the doubtlessly dumbfounded dealer refused to give the customer a refund.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twin-Turbo Corvette flips while going 230 MPH

Twin-Turbo Corvette flips while going 230 MPH

Hinson Motorsports was on its way to breaking another speed record this weekend at the Texas Mile when its twin-turbo Corvette Z06 took an off-track excursion. The combination of speed and grass didn't go over well, and the 'Vette turned over once before landing back on its wheels.

Thankfully, the driver walked away from the wreck, a testament to the Texas Mile's strict safety standards, and the strength of Hinson's Corvette. With the driver OK, Hinson Motorsports is focusing on coming back stronger than ever with a new car.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gas prices got you down? These tips should help

Gas prices got you down? These tips should help

Gasoline prices recently have dropped a few cents. That's the good news.
But with the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in New Jersey still at $3.38, AAA Mid-Atlantic has published a list of gasoline myth busters.
The automobile trade group warns that cash-strapped and stressed-out motorists should be leery of some.
Here are some myths to consider:
■ Boycotting filling stations one day a week will cause oil companies to lower fuel prices.
False. This one makes the rounds via e-mail chains and is the favorite of Facebook users every time pump prices soar. Unless you stop driving altogether, unless everyone stops driving, boycotts are a bust. In 2009, Americans used 137.93 billion gallons of gas, AAA said.
■ Driving the most fuel-efficient car you own will save $4,400 in fuel costs over five years.
True, assuming a car gets 20 mpg and a second car gets 30 mpg and you drive 15,000 miles annually. With a fuel cost of $3.52 a gallon, the U.S. Department of Energy says you will save $4,400 in the next five years.
■ Trading in your gas-guzzling SUV or large sedan for a more fuel-efficient car makes economic sense.
False. It is cheaper to keep her, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. Unless your car is paid off, you are simply accumulating more debt. "About 82 percent of new-car loans today have terms of 60 to 77.9 months," according to J.D. Power and Associates. The average owed at trade-in is $4,221, more than the vehicle is worth.
■ Paying cash at the pump can yield significant discounts.
True. Some stations offer 5 cents off a gallon of gasoline if you pay cash. Why? Credit card fees usually account for 2 percent of the transaction, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
■ Premium grade gasoline is better than regular gasoline.
Depends. Premium costs about 30 cents per gallon more than regular. But if your vehicle's owner's manual calls for premium, then use it. Not many do, except some high-performance cars. In 1988, 15 percent of the cars sold here required premium. Today, premium gas accounts for only 9 percent of the gas sold.
■ Turning off your vehicle's air conditioning will improve fuel mileage.
False. This one has been a rumor for years. Most cars today are aerodynamic in shape and design. At highway speeds, air conditioning can lower greenhouse output. Rolling down the window will increase the drag on your vehicle, lowering fuel mileage.
■ Overinflating tires or replacing compressed air with nitrogen will improve fuel mileage.
False. Overinflating tires does not increase fuel mileage, AAA says. Tire makers, safety experts and AAA say overinflation results in tires wearing more quickly and having less traction. Using nitrogen - expensive, by the way - will keep tire pressure more stable over the long term but does not improve fuel mileage.
■ "Hypermiling" can improve fuel mileage.
False. The goals of "hypermiling" are positive, such as eliminating aggressive driving and saving energy. Unfortunately, some motorists have taken their desire to improve fuel economy to extremes with techniques that put themselves and other motorists in danger. Some of these include cutting off the engine or putting the transmission in neutral to coast on a roadway, tailgating or drafting tractor trailers, and rolling through stop signs. With the engine off, you have no power steering or power brakes.
■ A vehicle uses more fuel to shut down or restart than idling. When a vehicle is running but not moving, you are getting zero mpg. Also, a warm engine uses minimal fuel to shut down and restart. If you stop for more than a minute, shut off the engine.
Myths aside, there are real ways to save fuel. AutoZone, a large auto parts retailer, has some time-tested tips to help, spokesman Steve Stoll said.
■ Replace worn-out spark plugs, which cause poor fuel economy and engine performance. Most cars today require spark-plug replacement at 100,000 miles, but some manufacturers call for replacement as low as 30,000 miles. According to the national Car Care Council, worn spark plugs can cost you up to 2 miles per gallon in fuel economy.
■ Clean the fuel system. Fuel system deposits can cause rough idling, engine hesitation and a decline in fuel economy. Adding a fuel system cleaner can remove deposits and restore a vehicle's performance. Auto expert and author Ray Bohacz recommends Chevron's Synthetic Fuel System Cleaner and said it really works. Most repair shops also have a fuel injection cleaning machine that thoroughly cleans the fuel injectors by running solvent through them. Cost varies but begins at about $100.
■ Invest in a new gas cap. A faulty cap could cost you more than $57 a year because of evaporation. A locking gas cap is a way to ensure the gas tank is properly sealed and also prevents theft and siphoning.
■ Keep tires properly inflated. Fuel mileage can improve up to 3.3 percent just by checking the air pressure. Your tires will last longer, too, saving you more money.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Auto sales shift back into top gear

Bob Romeiser, sales manager at Doyle Chevrolet Subaru in Webster, says GM’s renewed vigor in leasing is an important aspect of its rebound. / CARLOS ORTIZ staff photographer

Auto sales shift back into top gear

Recent sales at local car and truck dealers reveal that buyers are speeding away from the recessionary gloom faster than a race car on a straightaway.

New vehicle sales, including a revved-up leasing business at the once-dormant General Motors, were up 48 percent in January and February compared with the same period of 2010, with February even stronger than January. Used car sales rose 12 percent year over year.
The local numbers reflect similar growth on the national level. GM’s domestic sales jumped 49 percent in February. Gains at Ford and Chrysler, while more modest, were nevertheless strong with increases of nearly 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

Rising food and gasoline prices in March may cause a bit of a slowdown, but the historic revival of domestic manufacturers, Toyota’s well-engineered recovery from recall problems and an uptick in the general economy have given a real lift to the local automobile market.
“Things are coming together,” said Brad McAreavy, president of the Rochester Automobile Dealers’ Association. “The banks are lending again, the economy is better and all the companies, domestic and imports, have quality products. Plus there’s a pent-up consumer demand out there.

“Still, dealers are cautiously optimistic. We’re on pace to sell about 38,000 units, new and used, this year, which is better than last year but still under what we did in 2007, for example.”
The return of General Motors to the top sales spot in the Rochester area is a key ingredient of the resurgence in early 2011. 
GM for many years was the leader in the local market, in part because of a local manufacturing presence, including a fuel-cell facility in Honeoye Falls.

That dominance was lost in the last couple of years as GM and Chrysler went bankrupt and needed bailouts from the federal government to survive.
But that was then. Now, local buyers are back in GM’s camp.
“For the first two months of 2011, Chevrolet is in the first place and by a wide margin,” McAreavy said. “It sold 1,300 units, more than twice the 600 units that Toyota sold.”

Local GM dealers cite the popularity of the Cruze, Malibu and the Volt, the latter being GM’s entry in the nascent electric-car market. Low interest rates anddealer incentives are sweetening the pot for many buyers.
But what may be moving GM so far ahead of its local competitors is the reawakened lease operation, back from the state of suspension imposed during the bankruptcy and bailout period.

“GM is more confident again and that is showing up in the return of the lease,” said Dave Maroulis, sales manager at Bob Johnson Chevrolet in Greece. “In a normal year, we do 70 percent new, 30 percent used. This year, we’re doing 80 percent new and 80 percent of those are lease deals.”
Maroulis said customers have more lease financing options now than before the GM meltdown. There is the traditional GMAC financing arm, now called Ally Financial, and GM Financial, which is the name GM gave AmeriCredit when it was acquired for $3.5 billion last year. U.S. Bank is a third option.

“What customers are finding is that they can get a three-year lease deal for what they would have spent on a $6,000 or $7,000 used car,” Maroulis said. “And they get a new car in three years.”
It’s significant, said Bob Romeiser, sales manager at Doyle Chevrolet Subaru in Webster, that GM has re-entered the leasing side of the business with such vigor, as it was leasing that helped deflate the company.

The company’s leased cars had lost so much value when they were returned for resale at the end of the lease period that GM was stuck with huge losses and cars it couldn’t unload. But new management turned things around.
“The old boy’s club is no more,” Romeiser said. “The new team came in and just went to work.”

The domestic comeback overshadows continued solid performance by foreign manufacturers. Toyota weathered a severe recall storm last year and did a good job, McAreavy said, in standing up to the problems, repairing them quickly and communicating well with dealers. Through February, Toyota, the local market leader last year, is in second place with 600 units sold. Honda and Nissan hold third and fourth places.

Down the list but coming on strong — at least according to ubiquitous TV pitchman Billy Fuccillo — are the Korean imports, Hyundai and Kia. Fuccillo owns dealerships for both brands in Greece as part of a string of 21 dealerships in upstate New York, Florida, South Carolina and New Mexico, where he appears in ads as Billy Fernandez.
“They love me as Billy Fernandez,” he said from his Coral Springs, Fla., store. Fuccillo, who said he spends about $2 million a year on TV, radio and print advertising in the Rochester area, ramps it up when the economy heads down.

“I don’t need to advertise when things are good,” he said. “When everybody else is backing off, I do more.” 
Fuccillo said he tapes his TV and radio spots in one marathon day every month. He said the ads aren’t scripted and that his tag line “It’s huge,” just popped into his head during one taping session.
“I said it and everybody started saying it,” he said, refraining from uttering it over the phone.

If tough times bring a surge of Fuccillo TV ads, then it might be time for a counter-strategy because the Rochester market, while not yet huge, is growing again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Aston Martin glass phone concept

Aston Martin glass phone concept oozes class, just like the cars

Aston Martin makes some of the most drool-worthy cars on the planet, so any phonethat's going to carry the Aston Martin logo had better look pretty sleek.

This transparent phone concept from Mobiado should do the trick, with a wow factor that will get tongues wagging even if you aren't standing next to the car itself.

Far from being just a cool phone with a fancy logo slapped onto it, the CPT002 can control many of the car's functions. Just having it in your pocket operates the keyless entry system, and once you're moving the phone can do things like automatically upload pictures from onboard cameras in the car to your social networks, so your friends can see where you're traveling, It will even use its accelerometer to measure your movement in an accident, then adjust the airbag deployment speed and seat belt tensioner to fit the situation.

While it is a concept, this isn't just some pie-in-the-sky phone that will never exist in the real world. Aston Martin is working with Mobiado to create something real for their customers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Saab brand, reports large loss for 2010

Spyker, owner of Saab brand, reports large loss for 2010, sees profit only in 2012

Spyker Cars NV, owner of Saab Automobile, on Friday reported a large loss and growing debt in 2010, with chief executive Victor Muller saying a profit might only come in 2012.
In an earnings report, Spyker ignored its own branded luxury car figures — a small business which it is selling — and said the much larger Saab lost €218 million ($308 million) on sales of €819 million in 2010. That compares with a €400 million loss on sales of €1 billion in 2009, when it was part of General Motors Corp.
Spyker noted it sold 10,000 retail Saabs in the fourth quarter of 2010, continuing a steady upward trend within 2010, but didn't provide comparisons to 2009.
Investors, however, didn't like the figures and sent shares down 4.5 per cent to €4.78 in early Amsterdam trading.
The tiny Dutch company surprised markets in January 2010 by buying Saab out of liquidation from GM, a move that transformed the little-known Spyker into a proxy for an independent Saab.
Muller said Spyker won't turn a profit in 2011, but vowed to earn money in 2012 as new products come on line. He didn't explicitly reject his previous target of 80,000 cars sold in 2011, but stopped short of reconfirming it.
Muller declined to say how sales were shaping up in the first quarter of 2011, but said profitability was the focus.
"We are constantly being confronted with sales targets, and this is logical because they're easy to measure," he said on a conference call with reporters. "But I'd rather sell 50,000 cars and make a profit."
To help guarantee future growth, Spyker said it had sealed distribution partnerships in Russia and China, and that it was issuing 5.5 million in new shares, on top of 17.5 existing ordinary shares.
Spyker said it was seeking to cut costs and raise additional cash. It has €217 million remaining of a €400 million loan it received from the European Investment Bank — a loan guaranteed by the Swedish government.
Saab employs around 4,000 workers at its factory in Trollhattan, Sweden. On Friday, Saab's CEO Jan Ake Jonsson, 59, announced his retirement, with Muller assuming his functions pending a replacement.
Spkyer's net debt stood at €177 million at year-end, though that doesn't count all of the company's liabilities: in addition to the $74 million in cash Spyker paid GM for Saab, it also granted GM $329 million in preference shares that begin paying 12 per cent interest in 2013, assuming Saab is still operating then.
Analysts see disaster looming for the loss-making, debt-laden company, but Muller says most don't appreciate the fanaticism of Saab enthusiasts and the appeal of the company's brand, which he says was mismanaged under GM.
Muller said he expects to see the company's operations improve as it launches new models and as consumers gain confidence Saab is here to stay.
"The launch of new products, the real pivot in this business plan is the launch of the new 9-3 in October 2012. That' the tipping point," he said.
Spyker agreed in February to sell its tiny luxury sportscar business to Russian tycoon Vladimir Antonov for €15 million.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ford & AT&T Get Married For Electric Cars

Ford & AT&T Get Married For Electric Cars

AT&T is starting to look like the network of choice for connecting electric car’s wireless IT systems. This week at the wireless event CTIA, Ford said it has chosen AT&T’s wireless network for connectivity for its upcoming Ford Focus Electric. (Hear from Ford exec Ed Pleet about connected cars at Green:Net 2011 on April 21 in San Francisco).
Nissan, too, has turned to AT&T for connecting its all-electric Nissan LEAF, as we reported last summer. Both Nissan and Ford are turning to wireless networks and mobile apps to help electric car drivers remotely monitor cars’ battery charge states, and to find the nearest EV charging stations, among other functionality. The idea is that better connectivity can beat back range anxiety, or the fear of the limited range of the EV battery.
AT&T seems to be aggressively going after the machine-to-machine market with its network, particularly autos and the smart grid. Connecting machines — and not customers’ cell phones — is a good way for AT&T to diversify its network and is also an area of growth in the U.S. in an otherwise saturated cell phone market.
Ford has been making a strong push to connect with mobile players. The auto maker launched its MyFord Mobile app at CES earlier this year and has now made yet another big announcement at a wireless event. See below for a video demo of Ford’s MyFord Mobile:
Ford’s first consumer all-electric car, the Ford Focus Electric, will go on sale by the end of 2011, and will be able to drive between 80 to 100 miles on average on a charge. In addition, the Focus Electric will be able to charge in 3 to 4 hours with a 240 volt charger, and uses lithium-ion batteries from LG Chem. Ford has a concept Honda Fit EV in the works, which won’t be available until at least 2012.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First to Buy Electric Cars Feeling Pretty Good

Michael J. Walsh does not use fossil fuels in his Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car. Nissan claims the car will go 100 miles on a charge - enough to cover Walsh's 60-mile roundtrip commute to work.

First to Buy Electric Cars Feeling Pretty Good

Gas prices are spiking and drivers are fretting. But not Roy Olson.

The Rancho Mirage, Calif., retiree drives a plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, which he said runs for about 40 miles on battery before switching to traditional fuel. Because he charges the car nightly, Olson has yet to visit a gas station.
"Having our future in our own hands is really important," he said. "I'm insulated from what's going on in the Middle East. If I had to pick one reason for getting this car, that's probably No. 1."
Olson is part of a small group of auto fanatics, environmentalists and technology enthusiasts who bought the first batch of Volts and Nissan's all-electric Leafs that rolled out in December. So far, several hundred have reached drivers, including talk show host Jay Leno and actress Alyssa Milano, with tens of thousands on waiting lists.
Chevrolet has sold fewer than 1,000 Volts; the numbers for the Leaf are around 200. Chevrolet and Nissan said they expect sales to grow as they ramp up production this year. Even so, the cars will barely register among the 13 million vehicles Americans are expected to purchase this year.
The early adopters are no longer wringing their hands over their decision to be the first to drive the vehicles.
"I could have looked very sensible or very dumb in the decision to buy this car," said Michael J. Walsh of his new ocean blue Leaf. "It's looking like the former."
Even if gas hits $5 a gallon, electricity rates for charging won't change much, he said, and drivers dependent on foreign oil -- and vulnerable to foreign conflicts -- may start to covet the battery-powered cars they once mocked.
"We're at the tip of the spear," said Walsh, 49, of Garden Grove, Calif. "First, people will cut back on driving, and then they'll look for alternatives."
But cruising around in an electric vehicle hasn't been an entirely smooth ride. Drivers have reported difficulty with home and public charging systems and trimmed travel plans because of limited battery range.
The cars aren't cheap. Olson nearly got sticker shock from the Volt's price tag: $40,000 before government incentives that shaved $7,500 off of the cost.
Same for Walsh and his Leaf, with a sticker price of $34,000 before incentives. "The economy is iffy and we already had another car that's working fine," he said. "It probably doesn't make any financial sense whatsoever. But then again, this is a purely green purchase."
Walsh, a self-described technology geek, thought his early adopter days were over after he "got burned" buying massive satellite dishes and $1,600 brick-size cell phones that quickly grew outdated. But still he longed for an electric vehicle.
The $100,000 Tesla Roadster was out of his price range. He nixed the Volt and the Toyota Prius hybrid because both used fossil fuels. He considered retrofitting an existing car or importing an electric vehicle from abroad.
Then came the Leaf, one of the first mass-marketed all-electric cars for sale from a major automaker.
"It was something I had to be a part of right away," Walsh said. "Even 15 years ago, I realized that EVs were going to be the next big thing, the Car 2.0."
Some drivers remember the last brief heyday of electric cars, with the debut of General Motors' EV1 in 1996. The program was scrapped in 1999 and the cars were crushed due to low demand, according to the automaker.
This time around, most electric vehicle early adopters are hoping for a better reception.
President Obama wants 1million such vehicles on the road by 2015. Automakers including Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi are scrambling to roll out electric models.
"For new technology to succeed, it can't be equal -- it has to be better," said Leno, who has driven his Volt more than 1,200 miles and featured an electric Ford Focus on his NBC show.
Battery-powered vehicles could turn gas guzzlers into recreational curiosities, he joked, "like snowmobiles -- something for the guys to drive around on the weekends."
First, though, automakers must win over American drivers who are wary of expensive and potentially fickle batteries. Consumer Reports found last week that in cold weather, the Volt's battery lasted just 23 to 28 miles instead of up to 40 as Chevrolet had estimated.
"It's not really much of a money saver in many places," reviewers concluded. "Cheaper electricity or more expensive gas could tip the scales in its favor. For now, it seems that owning a Volt is an expensive way to be green."
Nissan says its Leaf battery lasts 100 miles per charge, so Walsh must be diligent about planning his schedule around his 60-mile roundtrip commute. He can afford a short lunch trip but rations air conditioning because it depletes the battery more quickly.
Walsh said he won't buy another electric car unless it can make it to Las Vegas on one charge.
"It's not range anxiety nor an inconvenience, just an awareness of what I have to do," he said. "But I haven't pushed the envelope too much."
Olson said he ran into kinks at home, where he wanted a 240-volt charger that would power up the car in four hours. He ended up with a slower 120-volt system that he set up himself after delays with the installation company.
Aside from installation kinks, so far so good, Olson said. His iPhone can access the Volt's owner's manual, unlock the car, start it remotely and send him reminder texts about charging. Though his Volt is neither fast nor flashy, Olson said, the car is quieter than a bicycle and stays cool with its silver paint.
Even his wife has come around.
"Now, she drives it most of the time and calls it her car," he said. "Just shows that you've got to be willing to take a chance on things."