Chevrolet’s eAssist Silverados arrive in Texas

eAssist at Electric AveThe 2017 eAssist Silverados have begun arriving. They are all Crew Cab LT Silverados with V8 engines and a battery pack about 1/10 the size of the Volt’s Battery pack. eAssist is a “mild hybrid,” meaning it does not get plugged in, but rather works like a traditional hybrid, like the Hybrid Malibu. eAssist Silverados all come with a tonneau/bed cover and are available in both two wheel drive- and four wheel drive configurations. The transmission is a ten-speed automatic. The EPA mileage estimate is 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway, which represents about a 13% increase in efficiency, when compared to V8 Silverados without eAssist.eAssist at Electric Ave

We’ll always have Paris…well, no. We won’t.

Paris vs. Big OilThe Trump administration today backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which had all but two countries of the entire planet as signatories. This action starts a process that will take until 2020 to complete. During his campaign, Trump had claimed that climate change was a non-issue, created by the Chinese to make American manufacturing less competitive in world markets.

Of course, today’s news comes as no surprise. Trump’s selection of the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, benefitted from campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry. Lobbyists, from the fossil fuel industry, drafted letters that Pruitt sent out on state stationery, when he was Oklahoma Attorney General. He sued the EPA, repeatedly to stop implementation of environmental protection rules. On the campaign trail, Trump said he wanted to get rid of the EPA and/or slash its number of employees, making it ineffective. The EPA, under Pruitt, has removed all mention of global climate change from the agency’s website.

On Trump’s first foreign trip, during his stop at the Vatican, the Pope gave Trump a copy of his encyclical on climate change, as a gift. I have to wonder if that embarrassing incident caused Trump to dig in his heels, even more, with regards to the Paris accord…

Now, it’s up to each of us, to save the planet. At the state and local level, we must push for changes to reduce carbon emissions. Local governments need vehicles. They should be looking at hybrids and EVs, where they are appropriate. Government buildings should be topped with solar panels or wind turbines.

We, as consumers, have the power to drive or accelerate change to reduce greenhouse gases. Your wallet is a powerful weapon. If you have the ability to shop for your electricity provider, select one who uses renewable energy, instead of coal or natural gas. I did this over 16 years ago, by switching to Green Mountain Energy. In the beginning, I paid a little more for this. Now, they are very competitive with other, non-renewable energy providers.

If you’re a homeowner, consider adding solar panels to your home. Generate your own, pollution-free electricity from the sun. Lately, I’ve seen companies advertise that they are building solar farms and will provide electricity at a flat, monthly rate to those who cannot put solar panels on their residence (apartment dwellers, those who don’t have good southern exposure, renters, etc.).

When you’re out shopping, select vendors who are making changes to be environmentally responsible. If they have chargers for electric vehicles, hybrid delivery vehicles, solar panels on the business, frequent their establishment and make sure the manager/owner knows that their behavior is what made you their customer.

Recycle as much of your trash as possible. The more we can recycle materials, rather than make them from scratch, the less pollution we generate and the less room we’ll take up in landfills.

Drive a vehicle that is appropriate. If your daily commute is you, alone in a vehicle, do you really need that large SUV? Wouldn’t a hybrid, electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle work? There are tax incentives (for now, at least). Take advantage of them! Ask your friends, who have these cars, what the pros and cons are. If you have a large family, that requires a large vehicle, use that room to carpool, reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Take mass transit, if possible. Is this convenient? Maybe not. Suffering from lung disease isn’t either.

Most importantly, make sure your elected officials know that environmental stewardship is important to you. Call, write, email them. Let them know this is a primary way you’ll determine who you’ll vote for, and then VOTE! There are many hot-button issues that the politicians use to keep us divided. The pro-life/women’s rights argument has swayed many an election. Ask yourself, “How many babies will struggle to breathe, if we abandon effective environmental stewardship?” One of my daughters struggled every time there was an ozone alert in our area. It sounded like she had whooping cough. It was agonizing for us. “How many babies will starve to death, if we create a new dust bowl?” If you are really concerned about the fate of the unborn, this should be an important issue for you, as well.

Nothing can change a politician’s actions quite as quickly as the threat of impending unemployment. Organize and push for term limits for Congress. Most elected officials today have one, most important issue, with which they’re concerned. It’s keeping that cushy job, in Washington. It takes a lot of money to get elected. They can spend all their time trying to get small, individual donations, or they can have a few dinners for their wealthy contributors and rake in the cash. Then they have become a minion of these donors. Someone like Bernie Sanders only comes around rarely. Most politicians take the easy way out and sell their influence for campaign donations.

But, you already knew this.

Start to act on it.

This behavior only exists because we allow it to exist. We are part of the problem. Instead of complaining about our elected officials’ corruption and short-sightedness, look in the mirror. Change starts with you.

Memorial Day in the car biz

Memorial Day Ad with Bolt EVMany of you like to get your new vehicle, during a holiday. You have plenty of time to shop and bringing a new car home is a great way to celebrate. In the car sales business, most dealers are open their usual hours and all hands are on deck, anticipating crowds. This is true of Classic Chevrolet, as well.

One thing is different in our ad, this weekend: The Chevrolet Bolt EV is featured in the ad’s banner! We began officially taking orders and have fifteen on order now. Eight of those already have deposits on them, as they were custom-ordered for clients. Based on normal order turn-around, I am hopeful our Bolt EV orders will arrive before the 4th of July.

If you’re in the DFW area, come on by and visit the “EVangelists” of Electric Avenue.2 Bolts at EA

P.S. An owner dropped the Bolt EV here so people can check it out and test drive it, before they’ll be common, in Texas!

At long last, the Bolt EV & Texas

Chevy Bolt EVIt had to happen sooner or later. I’m just grateful it happened ahead of schedule. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is now available to order, at dealers in the great state of Texas!

Yes, Texas is my home state.

We’ve been making a list and checking it…often. Now that the day has come, we are receiving deposits from those interested in getting the Bolt EV as soon as possible…or at least as quickly as you can in Texas.

If you’d like to get a spot on the list or want to test drive a Bolt EV, as soon as possible, call one of Classic Chevrolet’s EVangelists at (817) 310-1025.

You may be a jerk if…

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s routine, “You may be a redneck, if…” is very well known and is the inspiration for today’s blog post rant. I live in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, one of the largest metroplexes in the U.S. Every day, it seems, I get stuck in a traffic jam, only to find, upon reaching the problem, that several vehicles have rear-ended one another. This is definitely happening more often, than in years past, and I believe it is primarily due to stupidity.Texting did this

Those who know how I came into the world of EVs and hybrids are aware that I had been a victim of this same sort of stupidity in my life. I was sitting, stopped in traffic, when I saw a large SUV hurtling toward my car, the driver of which was busily typing away on his smartphone’s screen, while looking down at it.

I was certain I was about to die.

There was no way for me to move out of the way, so I just quit watching the mirror, thinking, “This is a stupid way to die.” At the last moment, the driver must have looked up, because he hit the brakes and only totaled my car but left me unscathed. That accident is what eventually brought me to the world of plug-in vehicles. I guess I should find the texter and thank him.

Or not.

It happened again, while I was sitting at a stoplight, in my brand new 2017 Volt. The truck behind me (already stopped) just hit the gas and rear-ended me! We were both sitting at a stoplight! I admit I did not handle this incident very well. I got out of my car yelling “WTF?!?” The driver of the truck held up both hands, in apology, when I noticed one hand was holding…you guessed it… his smartphone.

Almost every new car today has, at the very least, bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. Using bluetooth, in a 2012 Volt, I could do so many things without touching the phone at all, that I was thrilled at the convenience and safety. Compared to how today’s Chevys handle voice commands to your smartphone makes the 2012 version look ridiculous, but it still worked very well.

Today, with bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there is absolutely no reason to ever touch your smartphone, while driving. With both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, here’s what you can do with any smartphone that allows voice commands and has (at least) bluetooth:

  • Make a phone call.
  • Dictate an outgoing text message.
  • Have the phone read an incoming text message.
  • Play songs/audiobooks.
  • Get driving directions with spoken turn-by-turn instruction (even display the map on the large radio touchscreen, if you have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto).
  • Update your Facebook status. (but why?)
  • Create geographical reminders: “Remind me when I leave work…” or “Remind me when I get home…”
  • Place an appointment on your calendar.

In Austin, Texas, a city ordinance was created to outlaw texting while driving. However, when pulled over, the person accused had the obvious out, “I was dialing a phone number.” or “I was checking my navigation route.” Since then, the ordinance has been changed to not allow the driver to hold any electronic device in their hands, while driving.

My question to the Texas State Legislature is, “Why isn’t this law statewide???”

The problem with distracted driving has gotten to the point that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have studied the phenomena with these resulting statistics:

  • In 2015, distracted driving killed 3,477 people.
  • In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,328 in 2012.
  • In 2013, 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, an almost 10% increase since 2011.
  • In 2013, nearly one in five crashes (18%) in which someone was injured involved distracted driving.
  • 31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
  • Younger drivers:
    • Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
    • In 2013, more than two out of five students who drove in the past 30 days sent a text or email while driving.
    • Those who text while driving are nearly twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created a video and statistics page addressing distracted driving.

Every day, during my commute, I see drivers drifting out of their lane, driving well below the speed limit (while traffic piles up behind them), braking or swerving suddenly. Invariably, when I pass them, they are looking at a smartphone screen, dialing (or texting with) a smartphone, even watching videos on their smartphone. One time, in Fort Worth, I had been in a terrible traffic jam, finally gotten to the accident and saw a three-car pileup. It was during the morning commute, so I assumed texting was involved. As we passed the accident and started accelerating back to normal speeds, the car next to me weaved toward my Volt. I turned to look and the driver was texting! Even seeing a major accident didn’t dissuade the woman from texting.

This behavior is not limited to distractions from electronics. I have even seen drivers, on the freeway, with a book open on their steering wheel!

Here’s where these drivers are showing immense disrespect: They are piloting a hurtling hunk of metal on roadways they share with the rest of us, without ever having a single concern for our safety (much less their own!). They’re not just risking their own lives, they’re risking the lives of every driver around them. In my opinion, the vehicle manufacturers are enabling this behavior with options like Lane Change Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Teen Driver, etc, but in their behalf, I’m sure these safety features lessen the chance of a distracted driver causing an accident. They are also the proving ground for more advanced automated driving systems that will (hopefully) end the distracted driver issue once and for all.

If you have a car with bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, PLEASE use these capabilities to keep all of us (you included) safe! Don’t even hold your phone, during a phone call, as it limits your field of vision and takes one hand away from steering. If your car is old enough to not have these features, please pull off the road and park, to use your phone.

If you have a teenager that is driving, or about to be driving, please have a very strong conversation about texting while driving. I have told my daughter Zoe, that if I ever discover her texting while driving, I will sell her Volt the very same day.

Your life and your children’s lives are worth more than a phone call or text message.

My life is too, by the way…

Hybrid/EV Sales Center progress (video)

Back in June of last year, I was informed that Classic Chevrolet, my employer, was going to dedicate one of the dealership’s buildings to EV and Hybrid sales. Progress has been agonizingly slow for me, with electric service upgrades, trenches, design meetings, etc, but things are coming together and I should be moving into the building this month.EA Front View

My previous experience at Apple, migrating people from Windows to MacOS, seems very similar to migrating people from gasoline-powered vehicles to those powered by electricity. There are many, many questions to answer and, as a result, selling a plug-in vehicle is very resource-intensive. I find myself answering the same questions over and over. My vision is to leverage technology to move some of the workload to automated information distribution. The new building will have several large screen TVs playing videos and presentations, in the background, to answer questions, without the involvement of a salesperson. That means I’ve got lots of iMovie and Keynote work ahead.EA Interior Pano

The plan requires a new kind of space for plug-in vehicle sales. I decided the days of cubicles or offices is over. Space is needed where current EV owners can talk with the EV-curious about their personal experience. That means we need a place, around which to gather. Imagine a table, instead of a salesperson’s desk. Perhaps there’s an iMac or iPad the client can use to select the question they want answered and see the answer appear on the TV. It should be a place where customers can learn about products they can use with their EV (i.e. solar panels for their home, electricity providers that give discounts for EV ownership, Level 2 chargers or inductive chargers, etc). That means we need a place which current EV owners want want to visit (like Apple product owners stopping by the Apple Store when they’re not planning on a purchase).EA Theater

Here’s the update: The budget precluded replacing the acoustic tile ceiling or fluorescent lighting. The old wallpaper has been removed and the painters are priming the sheetrock today. The tile floor has been repaired, where the cubicle walls were anchored previously. An internal door has been added from the “EV Theater” to the EV/Hybrid showroom. Some graphics have been applied to the windows, but more need to be created. There’s so much to do!EA Office

Fortunately (or unfortunately), the Chevy Bolt EV won’t be arriving anytime soon, so I’ve got time to plan for that. Also, heavy December sales of Volts has Classic’s Volt inventory down to only four Volts left and they’re all LTs. Our next allocation of Volts should be released on the 22nd of this month, so I should have many more heading in, by March. In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep doing dealer trades, with dealers who haven’t figured out how to sell the Volt, to get Premiers for my clients.