By Megan Green
This past April, I was given the opportunity to go on a June road trip in a 2011 Chevy Volt and photograph it with the newly launched Olympus E-P3 camera.
When I told friends that I was going to Alaska to drive a Chevrolet Volt around, their first reactions were, “Ice Road Truckers!” Then came a barrage of questions; “Good luck with that, can you even drive that far in it? What’s the range, like 50 miles? How are you going to charge it in the middle of the wilderness? Are small towns even equipped to recharge electric vehicles? How long does it take to charge it?”
Can you even drive it that far?
The Chevrolet Volt was designed specifically to be a long-range electric vehicle. Contrary to many people’s general impression, it is an entirely electric-powered vehicle and a hybrid. The electric range is 25-50 miles depending on weather and terrain. The 1.4L gasoline-powered engine kicks in after that only to support the electric system and the 435-pound lithium-ion battery system – the car is never directly powered by gasoline.
How are you going to charge it in the middle of the wilderness?
To be fair, I was only on the edge of the wilderness. In Seward, my accommodations were a lodge set-up; six or eight small buildings with rooms and ample parking in front. Each lodge had electric outlets on the outside. Recharging was really quite simple. The plug and cord is in a compartment in the trunk, you open the charging panel to the left of the driver’s side door, and you simply plug it in. Easy as that.
How long does it take to charge it?
It depends on what you plug it into. You can plug it into a regular, household 120V outlet, and it will take about 12 hours. If you have access to, or install, a 240V outlet, it recharges in around four hours. Typically, washing machines or dryers use 240V outlets, so it’s not a strange or difficult request to have or have a professional electrician install an outlet.