Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Driving to green Miami hotspots with Chevrolet and GreenerMiami

Last weekend, I got to drive the new Chevy Volt, an electric/gasoline sports car. My husband is a Big Car Guy, and I was excited to drive a vehicle he hadn't driven yet! (Score one for the wife!) I texted him this picture of me so he would be extra jealous. I also got to ride in the hybrid Tahoe, a Chevy SUV. Both rides were great.

The folks at Chevrolet and GreenerMiami organized a "crawl" of places in Miami that are environmentally minded -- and fun! The Chevy Eco Chic Tour led a handful of influential {cough cough} eco-minded bloggers to green hotspots in Miami (Ecoist, Uhma Spa and Metro Organic Bistro). We took turns driving and asking questions about the Volt and Tahoe in between stops, and the Chevy folks pointed out ways that drivers of any vehicle can increase fuel efficiency. (For example: Did you know flags mounted at the top of your car doors can ruin the aerodynamics of your auto and cause it to use more gas?)

The Volt uses electric battery power up to about 50 miles per hour, then switches to gasoline. If you have to travel more than about 35 miles in a day, then gas takes you the rest of the way until you can charge again. To charge the battery, just plug it in a regular outlet with a regular extension cord, like we did at a car wash:

The Volt is fun to drive, and I think my kids would like the backseat with the hatchback that lets in lots of natural light overhead. I do wonder about the effects of electromagnetic radiation with a large battery that rests between the two front seats.

The hybrid Tahoe was plenty roomy and seemed like any regular SUV. If you're going to get an SUV, I think getting a hybrid is a great idea because it is more fuel-efficient (costing less money in gas) and has lower emissions -- better for the greenhouse gas problem.

Both the Volt and Tahoe come with OnStar, which is a service that helps drivers with navigation and emergencies like unlocking car doors when you've lost your keys or, way worse, someone steals your vehicle. (OnStar is free for the first three months after buying the new vehicle, then you pay for the service.) All of us on the tour tried out calling OnStar to ask a real person to send turn-by-turn directions to the car's navigation system. (That was just what I needed, because I'm sadly not that familiar with Miami.)

I'll post highlights of my visits to Ecoist, Uhma Spa and Metro Organic Bistro in upcoming posts -- watch for a giveaway!

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Chevrolet provided a day of visits to green Miami businesses and transportation to and from them. They also provided a gift bag with items like a tire gauge/pen set. Opinions and silliness are my own.