Retired airline pilot Jeffrey Kaffee on Wednesday became the first customer in the United States to take delivery of a Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability. (Our sister site AOL Autoblog has a review of the car here.)
Kaffee returned early from a vacation to pick up his Volt at Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, N.J.
His is one of 360 Volts being shipped this week from the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. Others were delivered to Chevrolet dealers in the Washington, D.C., area and are en route to California and Austin, Tex.
Kaffee is trading in a Toyota Prius hybrid for his Volt.
The Chevy Volt is primarily an electric vehicle that can get up to 40 miles on an electric charge. After the battery runs down, a gas-powered motor kicks in to power the battery, which continues to propel the car. It is the first car of its kind to be sold commercially by an automaker.
The thinking behind the Volt is this: The average American drives less than 40 miles per day. On days when driving is in that range, the Volt owner can drive all-electric, plus have the peace of mind that he or she is not going to run out of juice.
The Volt's battery is best re-charged from a 220-volt power outlet, which can take around 8 hours to go from 10% charged to 100% charged (making overnight, or during a work-day at your employer's parking facility the best times to charge). Most homes have 120-volt electricity, which takes much longer. But many utility company are offering generous credits to have 220-outlets installed in garages and parking facilities.
The retail price of a Chevy Volt is $41,000 including destination charges, but there is a Federal tax credit of $7,500, bringing down the real cost to $34,500. The lease cost is $350 per month with $2,500 down.
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