Drive To Michigan Brings Chevy Volt To Bloomington

The Chevrolet Volt, a next-generation electric vehicle, has come to Bloomington, but not without considerable effort on the part of its owner.

Chris Robb had a 2010 Toyota Prius, but when he got word of the Chevy Volt, he knew he had to have one.

“I’m certainly what you would call an early adopter,” Robb said.  “My wife, obviously, would rather I wouldn’t be.  I’m certainly the first in line to get an iPad, the first in line to get the iPhone, no matter which version of it, every year they come up a new one, I’m the first in line to get that.”

So Robb drove seven-and-a-half hours to Michigan to get the electric vehicle, in part because it’ll be months before they’re sold in Bloomington, said Curry Auto Center General Manager Craig Richards.

“In this model year, we’ll probably see three or four.  So it’s not a real high-production car.  And I think as time goes on, if there’s still people looking for that, obviously they can up production, which they’ve already upped it once.  So they’re seeing the push for this car,” he said

But that push must come from more than just the first actors like Robb, said Sanya Carley, a professor at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“The true challenge for electric vehicle market in general is really how well they can attract the next tier of individuals,” Carley said.  “Not just those first movers, but everyday individuals that might buy this car as their first car, let’s say, or even their second car and use it for their regular commutes and integrate it, folded into their regular daily life patterns.”

Robb said of the 3,000 Volts on the road today, his was approximately the 2500th purchased.  He says he’s offered rides and test drives to many of his friends, almost to the point of annoyance.  Curry’s Craig Richards said he appreciates the publicity, but added he’s heard from only half a dozen people he believes would buy the car immediately if it was for sale in the city.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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