Becoming a guinea pig for a Volt
I've just been plugged in as one of fifteen expert consumers selected by General Motors to test out their new all-electric drive automobile, the Volt. I am really excited about this opportunity to test, provide feedback and hopefully, if justified, promote this alternative to polluting technologies.
Other testers include prominent electric vehicle enthusiasts, such as Robert Becker and Chelsea Sexton (from the film "Who Killed The Electric Car?"), and a few unusual celebrities, such as Bill Nye the Science Guy and Jim Woolsey, who directed the CIA for two years, and has long argued that the U.S. needs to move away from fossil fuels for national security reasons.
My next step is studying the extensive user's guide and then putting the car through its paces. I'll be keeping you posted on my experiences.
So why is a TreePerson test driving and blogging about a car as a viable solution? Because for most commuter trips, this electric-powered car will not emit the particulate pollution which makes us in California sick, physically, emotionally, and financially.
According to a recent RAND study, particulate pollution emitted by cars and trucks costs California nearly $200 million a year in medical expenses, most of it paid by the public for emergency visits to the emergency room. The study linked nearly 30,000 ER visits to breathing problems caused by pollution. Another recent study, conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, found that particulate pollution causes 9.000 premature deaths a year in California.
Aside from affecting humans, the same air pollution also severely damages our local forests. It was this damage that caused me to started the work which led to TreePeople more than 40 years ago. Today, our restoration work continues at a fervent pace in the Angeles National Forest--as well as in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. It feels great to think that with the Volt and the new generation of electric vehicles, we may have a very important tool that can help return health and hope to our region.