…pound on electricity for around 50 miles. To drive the same distance in your average petrol or diesel car, you’re going to use around a gallon of fuel so you’re saving about £5-£5.50 every 45-50 miles.’
Of course, one financial element that isn’t quite so agreeable is the price tag. Like all electric vehicles, the Volt is not cheap, and Adam admits the car needs to be a long-term purchase in order to fully reap the benefits of tax and fuel savings. The list price is £35,255 but it does qualify for the government plug-in grant of £5,000, bringing the price down to £30,255. Although, following a recent report in The Daily Mail, there has been mounting speculation that the government is planning to scrap this plug-in grant altogether as a result of poor interest in electric car sales.
Despite the fact that the market has been slow, Adam asserts that more and more manufacturers are turning towards electric vehicles and believes slowly people’s perceptions will change. ‘Petrol cars have been the norm for decades, so it’s getting people to understand how it actually works. You get people saying, “Well, it’s hassle plugging it in to charge”, but it takes no longer to plug it in and charge it than it does to take it to a fuel station and fill up with fuel. [A full charge takes roughly six hours from a standard house socket, although it is possible to have a specific charging point installed to bring charge time down to three hours.] It’s just a different way of owning a vehicle I suppose, you get home, plug it in and you’re ready to go whenever.
People are obviously very wary of fuel costs and I think customers are becoming more aware of low emissions vehicles’
‘I drive 11 miles each way to work and home every day in the Volt so I don’t use any fuel for the whole week and that’s a massive saving to me. People are obviously very wary of fuel costs and I think customers are becoming more aware of low emissions vehicles now, and as we move forward, interest is only going to grow in that kind of vehicle.’
Perhaps the Chevy Volt will help to swing the tide. It has already gained massive recognition globally, winning both the 2011 American Car of the Year, and 2012 European Car of the year awards and has received rave reviews by the motoring press. It has also attracted a host of famous admirers. In December 2012, ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson became one of the first Brits to own a Chevrolet Volt and said: ‘I think the Volt is absolutely phenomenal… It’s the car of the future really. I’m very pleased with it.’ President Obama was also reported as enjoying a ‘secret joy ride’ in a Chevrolet Volt.
The model has only recently been introduced to the UK market and in fact W H Brand is one of just three dealerships in the country to offer the vehicle. ‘We had to apply to take on the Volt franchise,’ explains Adam, ‘which we wanted to do partly because we like to keep up with the technology. But we also just thought that it was probably a car that could work for us in this area. A lot of people around here probably travel 15-20 miles to Peterborough every day, so they can do that journey all week without using fuel. And of course, the fact that Peterborough is looking to become a very green area was another of the things that we put forward to Chevrolet and probably helped our bid.’ Adam reveals they have already sold three Volts and…