Amped About The Volt: “Pull in, Plug in, Drive on”



Energy Efficiency

amped about the volt

Amped about the Volt: “Pull in, Plug in, Drive on.”

Tony Sage knew his next new car would be an electric car. “It took some time, but finally technology and circumstances aligned,” Tony says.

There was just one problem.

As a Project Manager for the Neil Kelly company, Tony logs a lot of miles—an average of 150 in two days.  Without some way of charging it—daily—an Electric Vehicle (EV) just wasn’t feasible.

Then—something showed up in the Neil Kelly parking lot that changed everything…something that got Tony amped about the Volt. The Chevy Volt, that is. “When charging stations were installed at the Neil Kelly offices I knew it was time for me to make good on the promise I had made to myself,” says Tony. “The charging stations at the Neil Kelly offices will allow me to operate on just electricity more than 95% of the time.”

IMG_6761“We wanted to make it as easy as possible for our employees to make the switch to electric vehicles (EV’s), says Neil Kelly Vice President of Energy Services, Chad Ruhoff. “While we already had a stable of Priuses out there, for a pure EV having a charging station is really a necessity.”

As many of you know, the Toyota Prius is a popular hybrid option that uses the gasoline engine as it’s main source of energy.  The Volt works pretty much the other way around.

Tony says the Volt was a good match for him , as its hybrid design means he is not limited to just electricity.

Tony is an energy modeler for Neil Kelly’s Home Performance Division, which means he specializes in crunching numbers and analyzing energy performance of homes.  He’s driven 151 miles in the first two days of owning the Volt, and put some numbers together already for the Volt’s performance—compared to his old lumber-hauling half ton pickup.

CHEVY VOLT                                                                                        OLD TRUCK (1/2 ton) 

CO2 EMISSIONS (2 days/151 miles)

23.12 LBS (Electric and gas)                                                                                         205 LBS


3 cents per mile                                                                                                          23 cents per mile

  • Carbon emission reduction: 89%
  • Daily cost to charge Volt: At 10-13 KWH to full charge battery=$1.25
  • Cost saving for the first 151 miles: 87%
amped about the volt

Tony’s not the only Neil Kelly employee to go Hybrid.  Eugene Neil Kelly General Manager, Matt White, has put 37,000 miles on his Volt, and has some interesting observances you may not find on the Chevrolet brochure.  “Because the Volt is a hybrid and has a gas engine I don’t have ‘charging anxiety’. I don’t have to ask myself ‘Am I going to make it?’”, Matt says.”  I’m not tethered to my electrical cord, yet I only go to the gas station once every 45 days.”  Matt charges his Volt at home, and says the charging costs are so small he hasn’t noticed a difference in the bill.  “Electrical costs for charging the car are based on the costs of National electrical rates, but Northwest rates are so low –comparatively—that I have a hard time even noticing when the car is plugged in.”  It’s not like he’s not looking, either. “I can tell you that when I installed a hot tub at home it was immediately noticeable—we spend $25 a month to power the spa,” Matt says.  And think how those prices would drop even further with a solar powered home charging station.  Neil Kelly’s Home Performance Division installs solar arrays for charging stations and homes.

The Volt is not the only hybrid or pure electric vehicle on the market, but it was a blend of function and expense that appealed to both Neil Kelly Volt owners—who also have another important company incentive. “We offer compensation to employees to drive an environmentally friendly vehicle who also agree to have an advertising ‘wrap’ put on the car,” says Julia Spence.  “It’s a way to encourage our people do buy cars that are sustainable.”  And currently that doesn’t include the pricey Tesla: “No, the company has yet to include the Tesla for a company wrap,” says Tony. And more importantly Tony says, “The Tesla wasn’t approved by my wife.”