Saturday, January 19, 2013

GM States The Obvious: 'The Electric Car Is Not Dead'

Nice article in Green Car Reports:

They say, "the media has confused underachieving on sales targets with failure in the market", when in fact plug-in electric cars have tripled their U.S. sales last year over the previous year. Doesn't sound like failure to me.

Monday, January 14, 2013


This morning when I got in my car, it had a warning that the high voltage system needed to be serviced. I was able to operate the car, so I just went ahead and started driving it towards the dealership and pressed the OnStar button.

The helpful OnStar lady asked to run a couple of diagnostics and then came back and told me there were a couple of error codes that had been set so I should take it in. I told her I was going to go to Community Chevrolet in Burbank and she asked if I would like her to call them and let them know the situation and that I was on my way. I agreed.

When I arrived at Community's newly remodeled service department, Victor greeted me, said he had been apprised and as soon as he finished his current customer, he'd get a couple details from my car and I could go get my loaner. BTW: the completely redone service center is *much* nicer. Fairly quickly Victor got what he needed and then a lady from Enterprise showed up to pick me and another man up to get our cars.

At Enterprise, they were swamped but the two of us from Community got immediate service. They put me in a little Chevy Sonic LT. Now, the last rental/loaner I got was an absolutely horrible and thrashed Impala which was dirty and had no gas. The place is now under a new manager. The Sonic seemed clean but had a few water spots on the glass and they asked if they could spruce it up. Plus, after I told them about the last incident, they waived me bringing the car back with the same amount of gas as how it went out. A very nice touch!

And surprise! The Sonic was really quite nice. It was definitely an economy car and there was no mistaking it for anything else, but it drove nice with tight steering, decent cornering and a ride that was a good bit better than expected. It also seemed to have a 6 speed trans so even though the engine was clearly small, it took off from a stop and accelerated onto the freeway just fine. It had power windows and mirrors, A/C (not that I needed it today), cruise and a competent stereo. I was really quite impressed.

I got a voicemail at around 1:30 PM saying my Volt was ready. They said the traction battery coolant level was low and triggered a couple of errors. They found no leaks and figured it might have been an air bubble from when they serviced my battery for the enhancement last year. So, I dropped the Sonic back at Enterprise and in short order they took me back to Community and I was on my way home. All in all a fairly painless experience. The one thing I would like to see at Community is a couple of chairs down in the service writer area. There is a customer lounge upstairs, which I didn't visit, but with my back it would have been nice to have a seat even for my relatively brief stay in the front service counter area.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report

As the happy and helpful folks at OnStar tell me, "Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will continue to check in every month to help you make sure that it's ready for the road."

The numbers this month and last clearly split the trip made to visit family out in the IE last month. That trip is about 160 miles and about 120 of them need gasoline power. Hey, that's what the ICE is there for. It's just interesting that it seems OnStar took its 'snapshot' of my month's usage somewhere midway on my trip. It looks like you can also see I am using more electricity per 100 miles due to the colder weather over last month. 

It seems like at this rate, I may never need to get an oil change during the three years I have this car. There are around four months until I hit the two year mark and we're still at 82% oil life?