We hear time and time again the claim that electric and plug-in hybrids are great for the environment -- but can’t handle bad weather.
But while we’ve seen cars like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt cope with winter temperatures without any major issues -- as well as undergoing extensive water-testing at the hands of Chevrolet engineers -- some people remain skeptical.
That was the position adopted by ibtimes Journalist John Tatty last weekend when he borrowed a 2011 Chevrolet Volt for the same weekend Hurricane Irene was due to hit the Eastern seaboard.
Entering his weekend, Tatty seemed genuinely worried about the impending Hurricane -- and how the $41,000 plug-in hybrid would perform in less-than ideal conditions.
“Am I more at risk to be hit by lightning driving an electric car?’ worried Tatty. “What happens if the power goes out and I can’t charge the Volt?”
2011 Chevrolet Volt drive test, March 2011
As Tatty pointed out, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid - meaning it can run for up to 350 miles between a full charge and a full tank of gasoline -- which he praised as being enough to drive a long-enough distance should he be asked to evacuate.
As you probably know, Hurricane Irene wasn’t quite as powerful as initially predicted, Tatty wasn’t forced to evacuate, and he wasn’t left stranded.
What did he discover? That the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is just like any other car -- capable of surviving all the absolute extremes of weather. There was no breakdown, no crisis and he stayed dry, safe and informed about the local emergencies via the on-board OnStar system.
While Tatty remains less than convinced that an all-electric car would have coped with the hurricane and subsequent power cuts - we have to disagree.
And although most modern gas stations can’t pump gas without electricity feeds, it turns out that many electric car owners were still able to find other ways to recharge their cars -- using everything from solar panels to natural-gas-powered generators.
Bad weather? Electric cars? Bring it on -- there's nothing to worry about.