Saturday, November 12, 2011

Volt/EV Focus Group

A few weeks back I was contacted by a group that conducts research for companies and they wanted me to participate in an event today. It was hosted at the Edison facility in Rosemead and they offered a nice little incentive payment of $250 to spend a couple of hours with them answering questions both in a group and individually with a major automotive company's engineers, plus maybe take said engineers on a short drive to demonstrate the car. They had charging stations available to use while we were in the group session and my car was nearly at a full charge when I unplugged it to take the engineers on a drive. Round trip to the event plus the demo drive was about 56 miles. There were fellow Volt owners present as well as Nissan Leaf owners with a nearly even split in the group. My group had around 12 people. Luckily, the big rain forecast for today mostly sidestepped our area so light sprinkles were the worst I got while going there, and none happened during the actual activities. So I left the house a bit after noon and was home by 4 PM.

The most interesting aspect to me was, the Leaf owners all talked about how they plan for trips, thinking about the details of how far they were going, what charging stations might be available and how much time they might need to use them. By contrast, none of the Volt owners gave any of that much thought but all the others Volt owners seemed to be just as interested as I am in trying to operate only on electricity as much as possible. One guy said he always feels a bit disappointed when it switched to gasoline, which I can agree with to a certain extent. It's great to have the extended range, but you feel a little sad when you need to use it... or something like that.

So it tore a good sized hole in my Saturday, but it was kinda fun and interesting. I'd enjoy doing something like that again. I did have an offer from another research company who wanted me to go down to Long Beach for an event, but they only paid $225 and it was scheduled to be Sunday (tomorrow) and frankly, I didn't want to give up my whole weekend. Travel distance was slightly more and the incentive less, but the big thing was doing similar events two days in a row.

Another completely different event is planned for this coming Tuesday, but I am not planning to attend.

Chevrolet would like to invite you and a guest to an exciting evening to kick off this year’s Los Angeles International Auto Show. To show our appreciation to you for being a special member of the Chevrolet family we are bringing together a small group of Volt owners to celebrate its one year anniversary. We’ll have members of the Volt team and celebrity Volt owners in attendance and a few other surprises as well.

While it sounds like fun, the location is near crowded Staples Center and it is on a weeknight. While my folks at work are very happy to let me leave early or do whatever is needed to make it there, I am going decline. Having been to a number of such gala events I know they can be as hassle and even though this is for something that is dear to my heart, I don't feel like it would work out well for us at this stage of the game. So I just now went to their web site and RSVP'd as being unable to attend. I'm already sure I'll regret it. :-(

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