JEFF U'REN: Santa Monica, CA
Foremer EV1 owner has faith in EV recharged by Volt
In 1997 I was working for a major television post-production company in Hollywood. Another editor and friend, Kris Trexler, had just gotten an EV1. Kris is a car collector and a GM fan. I was instantly amazed by this little red car from the future. Kris let me borrow it, (VIN #002), and take it home over the weekend to show my family. My son Jed was 4 years old at the time. We decided we had to have one and on June 14, 1997 I received EV1 VIN #330 from my now dear friend and GM EV1 Specialist, Chelsea Sexton.
I drove my silverblue EV1 every day for 3 years and put over 32,000 miles on it. I looked forward to driving this uniquely fun car everyday. I would drop Jed off at school and he would tell his friends that his Dad was from the future. Even though the EV1 was a relatively short range car, I used it as I would use any car that only had the equivalent of a two gallon gas tank. By keeping its battery pack topped off, I could go just about anywhere I wanted to go without gasoline. Over the years this reality sank in. I wasn’t using gas and I was having more fun driving than I had in years. The EV1 took me back to my 1965 GTO days, which was also a very fun car to drive. Except that my 485 hp GTO drank gas at 9 MPG! That was not fun.
My EV1 experience completely changed the way I looked at my personal driving needs and wants. Just the fact that I was not going to gas stations and buying and burning up gasoline anymore was mind-blowing. I realized that automobile technology was now able to supply mass-produced cars that freed us American consumers from the many ills of our use of foreign oil. I didn’t need gas! That, plus the fact that I was refueling my car in my garage with own home’s cheap electricity was double mind-blowing. I gave rides and let friends drive this car every chance I got. I was an EVangelist and proud of it. Almost all who drove the EV1 asked where and how to get one. I pushed GM to let me know when and how much it was going to be to buy this car at the end of my lease.
Sadly we all know what happened to the EV1. My son still remembers that car even though he was just 7 when we lost it. I was angry. I felt that I had been used and played by GM. Though disgusted, I moved on with my life and became busy with work. I lost track of the people I had meet during the EV1 days. I bought a BMW and returned to buying gas and hating it each time I filled up. It was slavery.
In 2006 the movie Who Killed the Electric car came out. I didn’t want to see it. I knew what it was about and I didn’t want to re-live it. I waited almost a year after it had come out to finally see it. I saw people I knew in that movie who had started groups to try to save the EV1 and other EVs of that time from being destroyed. When I saw that picture of the EV1s crushed and stacked I think I saw my car! The best car I had ever owned, crushed by its maker. And then, when I saw the scene in the movie with EV1 Specialist Chelsea Sexton, (now co-founding member of Plug In America), in the basement of the Petersen Museum visiting the little red EV1 #002, the very car I barrowed from Kris Trexler 10 years ago. I nearly fainted. The very car that persuaded me to get my EV1 was now a museum piece! The little car that could save the world, save America, was dead. I was in shock.
I instantly contacted Chelsea, I joined Plug In America and became active in the plugin car movement. I began to follow the tiniest bit of information about electric cars and started promoting the mass-adoption and mass-production of plugin electric cars. My efforts with Plug In America reached its highest point so far last year at this time by writing, co-producing and editing 7 PSAs (Public Service Announcements) for our Plug In America’s “Drive Electric” public information campaign. Along with over 60 other PIA volunteers from the entertainment industry we produced 7 thirty second spots to promote the public’s awareness of electric cars.
I took revenge by vowing to buy a plugin electric car as soon as possible. I followed the development of all electric cars by all the carmakers, big and small. In April 2010, I and a few other ex-EV1 drivers were invited by GM to drive one of the first GM Chevy Volts at a private event. The new GM had reached out to us and I was touched. We had a very candid time talking and driving the Volt with no restrictions. I was sold. The Volt surpassed my expectations. It was amazing. The Volt is a true technological breakthrough. Unlike cars of the past one hundred years, a totally NEW kind of car.
On January 11th, 2011, I took delivery of my 2011 Chevy Volt VIN #349. Only nineteen VIN numbers off from my EV1! As of this writing, I have driven over 6000 miles in my Volt in six months. I drive 91% of the time on the battery only. I have used a total of 12 gallons of gas since January 11th, 2011. After all these years, I can’t believe that a GM Volt, son of my EV1, is parked and charging in my garage. It’s the best car I’ve ever owned.
And, after all these years, I can’t believe that my son Jed now drives this electric car and is just as amazed with it as I am.
I have my revenge!