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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(This article first appeared as comment #88 in the post for 28 Dec 2010):

As you know, the Chevrolet Volt is currently available in only a few select markets. While some regulars on this site have been extremely lucky to live in these areas, most of us must reconcile ourselves to a year long wait.

This does not mean doing nothing.

Just as Dr. Lyle Dennis has proved that one person can change the world (with the creation and publishing of this site); the following story illustrates the power that each and every one of us holds, to make a difference.

On Monday I posted this comment:

Chevrolet Volt Electric Car Arrives at Atlanta Chevy Dealership:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20101224/bs_prweb/prweb8036611

Mark Frost, General Manager of Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Atlanta, GA, announced today that the dealership has acquired one of the highly anticipated Chevrolet Volts.

“We had so many customers inquiring about the Chevrolet Volt — and thinking it odd that such a highly-touted vehicle was not going to be available for a year – that we went to New York and purchased one. And drove it back 900 miles!” said Frost. “With a Volt, if you are using it mostly for commuting, you never have to use gas again! However, unlike the other electric vehicles on the market, with the Chevrolet Volt, you can still drive to Florida if you want to go on vacation. The gas engine generator kicks in to power the car. And of course, with vehicles like the Prius, you simply don’t have the option to never use gas,” Frost noted. “It’s nice to see that the latest, greatest in automotive technology is coming from Chevrolet, an American company,” Frost added.

On Tuesday, I went to Jim Ellis Chevrolet, in Atlanta Georgia, to see this Volt: and had the good fortune to meet and speak with General Manager Mark Frost.

Jim Ellis Chevrolet is part of the Jim Ellis dealership group; which includes several European brands, as well as a Buick and GMC dealership. It is a very large, long established operation with good reputation.



A quick glance out front indicates a large inventory:





When I entered the spacious showroom, I did not immediately see the Volt. I had heard that the car was not available for sale, but could be seen by visitors to the dealership. I was approached by Leland Sims, a Sales Associate. When I asked to see the Volt, I was soon ushered to the Service Department (I would later learn that the dealership is using the car to get a head start on training before the car releases nationwide).

The first Chevy Volt in the Southeast has a White Diamond Tri-coat exterior, and black interior with white accents. It sat between two cones against a wall display highlighting dealer accessories.







It was a kick just to sit in it. I was one of those fortunate few who won a trip to New York City in March to drive a production-intent prototype. While it had been essentially the same as the production car 'under the skin,' much finishing and detailing was left to be done. Most of the display systems in the pre-production Volt hadn't been finished, for example, and the dash we saw was essentially a mockup. The production Volt at Jim Ellis Chevrolet shows what a terrific job the engineers have done to "flesh out" our favorite car. It even has that new car smell!

As an example, take a look at the charge port on the pre-production Volt that I saw in NYC: (a little hard to see in this picture) … it's pretty basic:



... compared to the finished version:



Every detail I saw emphasized what all of our resident owners report; fit-and-finish of high quality, a great attention to detail, a solid feel and look.

I was told that although there were no “lines out the door” (as I had hoped), the interest level was high; and many had come to see the car. I explained to Mr. Sims who I was, (a frequent commenter on this site) and he told me that I was not the first person from here (he thought) to visit on this day (was that you, Mike in Atl?) … but he did think I was the first to bring a camera. :)

I did not attempt to turn the car on. If the production Volt is actually better than what I drove in NYC, it must be unbelievable. I would have to be in another part of town in a short time, and I was a bit nervous in my first attempt at journalism (we owe Lyle even more respect than we already give him). Mainly, I don’t want to be remembered as the person who wrecked the only Chevy Volt in the Southeast United States. :eek:

When I finished taking pictures, I thanked Mr. Sims and told him to congratulate Mark for his excellent idea. He offered to let me congratulate him in person …



(Leland Sims left, Mark Frost right)

Mark (and an employee named Jeff) drove to New York to buy their Volt. Jeff bought the car, Mark paid for it, and they drove it 900 miles back to Atlanta; in what turned out to be something of an epic journey. They stopped to view the lunar eclipse on Dec 20. They had to pull over to the side in the wee hours in order to rest. A policeman pulled them over to ask, “Is that a Volt?!”

Since there are no GM authorized electricians to install the 220V charger in our area, they got a bright idea: they stopped in Tennessee to buy a LEAF charger. I hated to tell him that it probably wouldn’t work (at one point we were told by GM that handshaking between the charger and car would take place before current flow began … can anyone confirm this for the production version? Can a LEAF level II charger recharge the Volt under any circumstances?)

Upon arrival in Atlanta, they reset the trip data and Mark drove it over the Christmas holidays: Mpg so far: 104.

The dealership figures that it costs $2.18 to recharge at basic GA Power rates. I don’t know the basis of their calculations, but I think this is a bit inflated (but still respectable considering local prices above 3 dollars, and 5 dollar gas on the horizon). This doesn’t take into account possible off-peak metering or other rate schedule possibilities.

Mark was very approachable and friendly; and one didn’t have to talk to him for long before appreciating how thoroughly he gets the basic premise of the car. He agrees with most of us here that the primary mission of the Volt is energy independence; with perhaps a lower-key environmental message taking a back seat. I don’t think he had been aware of our site before now, but it is amazing how closely many of his views match the majority opinions here. He intends that his dealership will become “ground zero” for regional (or at least Metro Atlanta) Volt sales, and demonstrates a zeal and dedication to pull it off.

He freely admits that he’s using the Volt to draw visitors to the dealership to see other models, notably the Cruze. He agrees with what many have said here about this new model: GM has really done their homework on this car. He made an impressive endorsement: “I bought the first one … for my daughter.”

I started out this article by observing that one person can make a difference, and that it applies directly to this case. I would like to call attention to this phrase from the news story:

“We had so many customers inquiring about the Chevrolet Volt — and thinking it odd that such a highly-touted vehicle was not going to be available for a year – that we went to New York and purchased one. And drove it back 900 miles!”​

Mark told me that two local TV stations were coming out to do stories about the dealership’s Volt.

This all started because individuals, many individuals went to their local dealer to ask about the Volt.

This has lead to at least one far-sighted dealership taking the initiative; which could lead to an avalanche that moves GM.

Go forth and do likewise.

Will the Deep South get it’s Volts in less than a year? Will other out-of-release-area Volt boosters inspire their dealers? Stay Tuned to this thread (hopefully) for the next exciting installment!

More pics:





Are these marks evidence of the training? Note that these cables are bigger than most peoples' fore fingers:



There is no underhood sign of the "Volt Monkey," but I doubt it would be visible under these plastic guards, if it still exists:





EDIT: Since posting this, I have been made aware of several new Volt sightings in Georgia, so this has already changed.

More Volts, More Places!
 

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Since there are no GM authorized electricians to install the 220V charger in our area, they got a bright idea: they stopped in Tennessee to buy a LEAF charger. I hated to tell him that it probably wouldn’t work (at one point we were told by GM that handshaking between the charger and car would take place before current flow began … can anyone confirm this for the production version? Can a LEAF level II charger recharge the Volt under any circumstances?)
Absolutely it can, and vice-versa. Just plug it in. That's the beauty of an SAE standard. Similarly, any of the public J1772 charging stations are compatible with either vehicle and most likely future EVs. They can also charge a Tesla with the appropriate adapter cord and the Tesla model S will probably be natively compatible.

Youre correct that there is handshaking but it is done to a specification that is common to EV manufacturers as well as EVSE manufacturers.
 

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I notice in one of the photos that the dealer has put what looks like a metal insignia or maybe a sticker on the left rear of the car near the deck lid. I guess this must be a an east coast thing. I think that if dealers in California did that their customers would be after them with pitchforks.
 

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I notice in one of the photos that the dealer has put what looks like a metal insignia or maybe a sticker on the left rear of the car near the deck lid. I guess this must be a an east coast thing. I think that if dealers in California did that their customers would be after them with pitchforks.
East and midwest - Sometimes its a sticker, sometimes its' a plastic badge/emblem. When I was younger they were metal - not now unless it's a luxury dealer. Sometimes it even comes with advertising to make you think this dealer sells it's own brand of car (commercial said you didn't buy a Pontiac, you bought a Sullivan).

Mike.
 

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Great story, thanks Jackson!

I'm going to continue call mine the First Volt In Georgia, since it's the first owned by a consumer. :)

I've also heard of one in Dublin GA, of all places.
 

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East and midwest - Sometimes its a sticker, sometimes its' a plastic badge/emblem. When I was younger they were metal - not now unless it's a luxury dealer. Sometimes it even comes with advertising to make you think this dealer sells it's own brand of car (commercial said you didn't buy a Pontiac, you bought a Sullivan).
Sometimes they PAINT the damn thing on. I had a white Ecplise that was forever branded by Decatur, IL...

Derek
 
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