Dan Muroff bought one of the first electric cars in Pennsylvania in March. He had to travel to Washington, D.C. to pick up the new electric car from Chevrolet. (Photo by Jennifer Katz)

by Jennifer Katz

When East Mt. Airy Neighbors President Dan Muroff decided to get a car that was both politically and environmentally aligned with his beliefs, he did his homework. He researched his options and eventually started to hear the buzz about a car Chevrolet was making, a first of its kind electric car: the Volt.

Chevrolet began making the Volt in December of last year. It has been called “the most fuel-efficient car with an internal combustion engine sold in the United States.” What differentiates the Volt from its hybrid predecessors is its battery power. The Volt’s battery is a 1,200-pound mammoth that powers the drive train. The Volt, unlike its only competitor the Nissan Leaf, has a back up generator that runs on gasoline.

The Volt battery charge lasts for 42-45 miles. When the charge runs out the car moves seamlessly to the generator, allowing drivers the convenience of longer driving without having to recharge the battery.

Until electric cars and thus electric car charging stations become more prevalent, owners like Muroff have to plug-in every night to either a 120V or 240V Charger (the higher the voltage the quicker the charge). At 120V it takes approximately 8-9 hours to fully charge the battery.

Muroff, a self-proclaimed sustainability geek, and his wife, who works for green roof company Roof Meadow, wanted to buy a new car for sometime and knew they wanted to “go green.”

Why not buy a hybrid?

“The hybrid ploy never charmed me,” Muroff said. “It’s not moving us away from the oil standard. It is perpetuating it.”

Electric cars are what Muroff calls “the first real step” away from the oil standard.

“The shift to electricity gives us the strength to push for change away from oil towards domestic renewable energy,” Muroff said.

To charge the Volt every night costs approximately $1 for every 34-35 miles. Muroff  estimated it costs him $20 more a month in electricity.

The base price for the Volt is $34,000 and the government is offering a $7,500 rebate making it more affordable for the average consumer. To entice buyers Chevrolet outfitted the car with upgraded options – a built-in GPS, leather interior, seat warmers and Onstar location system.