Woody Volter?

    A special edition Chevy Volt Woody edition? I will speak with GM about this.. Right ?

A special edition Chevy Volt Woody edition? I will speak with GM about this.. Right ?

Last week, thanks to the GM East team of General Motors, we here at Woody Boater we’re given a 2014 Chevy Volt for a week to test drive and provide feedback. Now you might say: Woody, why in the heck do we care here? It aint a boat, and it aint even old school. Well, a couple months ago, I was averaging close to $1,000 a month, yes a month in fuel charges. Yes some of that was boating related, maybe about $200 of it. The rest was travel, and commute. With our trusty Suburban and Silverado, getting 10 -15 mpg was putting a damper on stuff for sure.

The 2009 Silverado. Now gone!

The 2009 Silverado. Now gone!

The trusty Orange Charriot stays.. It has one redeeming thing.. A trailer hitch.. I dont see that being attached to any electric car..

The trusty Orange Charriot stays.. It has one redeeming thing.. A trailer hitch.. I dont see that being attached to any electric car..

SO. Something had to give. But what is the next vehicle? We love our Chevy’s, including the trusty 1958 Apachee we have owned for over 22 years…

The trusty truck, I have no idea what kinda gas milage she gets, never looked, or cared. I sure would if I needed her 40 miles a day though.

The trusty truck, I have no idea what kinda gas milage she gets, never looked, or cared. I sure would if I needed her 40 miles a day though.

What next? Do we go diesel? Compact? Hybrid? They all look like eggs! And it needs to be American. How about the new Chevy Volt? And since GM was offering, bring it on.

The 2014 Chevy Volt in the drive way here on Massy Creek. Thanks to the East Coast GM team

The 2014 Chevy Volt in the drive way here on Massey Creek. Thanks to the  GM East team

All I needed to do was report on it and save money. The Volt is by leaps and bounds the coolest car of the mid level energy type cars. It’s a Chevy, so when I am in the boondocks, there is always a Chevy dealer around. I can go to more boat shows and have fun now.. and not be embarrassed about it, showing up in an egg. So how did the week go? First of all, my memory muscle kept looking at the gas gauge when passing every gas station. WOW, huge difference. I put about 400 miles on it in a week, and when filling up to return it, it took 7 gallons.. HA.. Not to mention all the miles I traveled on pure charge. Amazing. And I will add, fast, fast, and fast. It handles great and looks fantastic in the driveway. Allowing me to unload one of the trucks and balance our fuel situation in a better way.

400 miles and lots of smiles, while I passed gas stations!

400 miles and lots of smiles, while I passed gas stations!

You charge up the car over night, and you get about 40 miles out of the charge. If you add heat, it drops, drive like me, it drops.. So in the end, the electric thing doesn’t make sense if you travel over 40 miles a day. But the Volt gets around 35mpg -44 mpg on gas! Its not all electric. That part is cool, but the combo is far cooler.

The interior is cool, ours came with all the goodies. Blutooth is a must these days.

The interior is cool, ours came with all the goodies. Bluetooth is a must these days. A little storm trooper action with the center console.

From a design stand point it is by leaps and bounds the tops, but the back seat is somewhat difficult to get into. My two over 6 ft sons kept banging their heads getting in and out. Maybe a egg shape covers that. But bending over to get into a car is a small price to pay to not bow your head in shame when in an egg.

That V could be a bow of a boat? Yes? No...

That V could be a bow of a boat?  The bolt of lightning a cut water? Yes? No…

59 replies
  1. Troy
    Troy says:

    If you are going electric I think you should try the Tesla S!

    They are even installing solar recharge stations that are Free to Tesla owners. (I don’t expect to see one in Edgecomb Maine any time soon though)

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    I love the look of the tesla but the advantage of a Chevy is the network of dealers. Somehow I fear that while visiting a lake in the boondocks there ain’t no tesla service.

  3. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    electric is a neat idea, but with negative temp all winter i want the heat on, 40 miles is enough to get to work and back but not the lake. and how long can the 40mile deal last? every battery operated item i have wears out after 2 years. let us know how things are working in 5 years.

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      With the new hydro rates increase of 42% over the next couple years here in Ontario the Suburban’s gas mileage will look good compared to the Volt.

      I would also like to know how well the Volt runs when the temperature drops to -30 and the car is left outside over night?

  4. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I have two hard core gear head friends (amateur racers) who have Volts and they both are very happy with them, and that’s in Minnesota where it gets very cold. The Tesla is amazing but it costs about twice as much. My business partner has the new BMW 3 Series diesel and routinely gets over 50 mpg on the highway, and it’s a stunning car. You can also get that in a wagon, which is so versatile. While it’s built in in South Carolina, it’s not technically ‘Merican. Still the best all around mileage, versatility and affordability option is a Jetta diesel wagon, but again, not “Merican.

  5. bill
    bill says:

    ever since the government declared the GM stock I owned worthless I will never buy another GM product. since the government sold off the last of its new issue stock are we the taxpayers still giving taxpayer dollars to people who buy these pieces of junk? when you buy one of these cordless drills and the batt goes bad you can buy a whole new drill for just a little more than the cost of a new batt. so I would think the trade in value would be next to nothing.

  6. Rick
    Rick says:

    If there is a car comparable to Clorox Bottle Boats……. well lets just agree to disagree. Please don’t do a week of electric cars, especially as I’m still recovering from the party. Maybe some nice calm pics of dockside mahogany.

  7. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    Can’t beat the Electric Tundra for boat pullin’. I know it’s electric cuz I get a shock each time I slide out of the seat and touch the metal door. What?

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    Why did I feel as I was reading this that I was being subjected to one of those talk radio ads the hosts intertwine almost seamlessly with their regular opining?

    You know you’re soaking in it. Palmolive? No, temptation.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Don – There is a company in Quebec, Canada that is currently producing electric powered wooden classic runabouts powered by batteries, not solar.

      Google Montreal Classic Boatworks .

      • don vogt
        don vogt says:

        thx, Texx. I guess all they need is a solar panel on the deck? Presumably would work better on a sedan? Could one get enough juice out of one solar panel to run the thing?

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        Several years ago there was a company making an electric reproduction of a CC Barrel Back. It was called Edison Marine and, not surprisingly, hailed from Porltand, OR.

        I could not for the life of me figure out a reason for this boat to exist – necasue they could build it did not mean they should. It would run for 4 or 5 hours at 7 mph – who the hell would want that? Apparently no one, as I can’t find the website any longer. There may have been other recent efforts in the way of electric boats, but this one sticks out in my mind, more for my incredulity at the time I saw it than anything else.

        Maybe WB’s trusty Portland Bureau Chief Mike Mayer can shed some light on it?

        • don vogt
          don vogt says:

          that’s interesting Paul. Also check out the website Texx suggested. Apparently they are getting enough speed out of it to pull waterskiers.

  9. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The experience with electric/plugin hybrid owners here in winters has been quite mixed. They work, but the mileage goes way down in the cold with heat, defrost etc. The German diesels easily have them beat on mileage in the cold months and longer trips. Make a plug in hybrid with a good Diesel engine that still gets 50 mpg after the charge is up, and I might be interested. Oh, and real wheels and tires that can handle snow and pot holes.

  10. Wilson Wright
    Wilson Wright says:

    I remember back in 1991 or ’92 when we represented GM. They sent two girls down from Flint with a Checy “Impact” for us to demonstrate for legislators. Funny thing was I put the girls up a a little botique hotel near the Capitol which had a city owned fountain in front of it…I asked the city engineer to put a plug next to the fountain for the car. He asked…110 or 220 ?..I said I’ll call you back…I caled Flint…and get this…It took them 72 hours to finally figure it out and call me back… It was a fun little car…We drove it around town for two days, only charging it (on 220) over night. Legislators loved it but this model apparently never got off the ground.

  11. matt
    matt says:

    I too was part of a thing here in DC with the Impact. I worked with a huge Power Company trying to set up an infrastructure for electric cars. It was a blast to drive, and then one day. POOF.. The program was dead, the cars disapeaed and that was that. Very sad really. I am always a sucker for new engennering ideas. We also owned one of the first Mazdas, and Corvairs. I owned a mess of Corvairs, The Spyder was an amazing car! 3rd gear at about 4000 rpm was a very happy feeling.

    • Troy
      Troy says:

      Maybe all the Impact’s melted down like the early Volts and they just dumped it since they had nothing to work with.

    • don vogt
      don vogt says:

      You mean the Unsafe at any speed corvair, Matt? I owned one too in 1962. Quality level was modest. These cars had a bad tendency to flip over going around corners. Was happy to be rid of it. It was sort of cool at the time. one of the first cars of that era, i believe, to have bucket seats and 4 on the floor, if i recall correctly.

  12. Captain Nemo
    Captain Nemo says:

    OK Matt, enough already. We’re drifting off our mission here. I come for my woodyboat fix and I get plastic boats and hybrid cars?

  13. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Highest North American content of US assembled vehicles in 2012? Toyota. Lowest? GM. That said, I’ve owned three Chev pickups (one ’58 Fleetside – I’ll tell you about towing “Tango” with that one someday – I went out and bought my first Dually about a week later…) and my current work vehicle is a Chev. My current tow vehicle? Tundra.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Tried towing Panther (17′) with an Explorer once down to TN. The engine was screaming going up and down the mountains. Switched to a Yukon XL and had to keep checking my mirror going to MI to make sure it was still there,

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Dick, the Mercedes we just ordered is built in Tennessee. I am not sure how much of the content of it is built in the US or Canada, but it is at least assembled in the US. I was only mildly surprised by that. Automobile manufacturing is completely global and the idea of “German” or “American” or “Japanese” built is really an anathema now.

      • don vogt
        don vogt says:

        Paul, i think the MB plant is in alabama. You are right about most cars composed of parts from anywhere.

        • Paul H.
          Paul H. says:

          could be, Don – shows you how much attention I was paying to that part of it. Doesn’t matter too much to me. I have had several GM products built in Mexico, none built in Canada, ironically.

  14. Mark
    Mark says:

    I’m holding out for afuel cell vehicle. Great mileage and the only biproducts are water and air.

    Actually my restoration budget has expired and I can’t buy a new car until I finish.

    Sounded impressive though …..

  15. Sean
    Sean says:

    I traded my MINI Cooper S even for a GMC Canyon 5 cylinder 4WD crew cab. It gets about 550 km to a tank and has no problem pulling the Greavette out at the ramp or around any highway without breathing too hard. With 4 winter tires on it it is a great winter vehicle too.

    It now has just over 250,000 kms on it and has had NO major issues. In short its a tough little truck that costs very little to own. Since I do own it (no payments) and maintain it, I cannot see any major vehicle expenditures in the near future.

    Reliable, comfortable and work-able…what else could one ask for. (And I’m an import guy)

  16. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Okay, where to start. Well, diesel seems as good a place as any. We bought our first diesel, a Volkswagen Golf in 1986. It got in the mid’50’s MPG on the highway. Bought the seond in 1991 – not quite as good as the first. Just bought the 2011 GMC Sierra Denali Diesel 2500 in 2011 – some of the problems I had with it have been documented on here. However, since the last stranding at Table Rock in 2012 it has been perfect. We have just ordered a MB ML 350 Diesel to replace Karen’s over 10 year old Mini Cooper S. For my money, diesel is the way to go if you are after relative simplicity, range and towing power. Modern automotive diesels seem to be the most cost effective way to get great ecnonomy and longevity. The towing capacity on the MB ML 350 Diesel is 7700 lbs – that is quite a bit for that class of vehicle. Range on my truck is about 700-740 miles and it will be comparable on the MB, albeit with a tank that is 2/3 the size.

    I would not buy an electric vehicle. I know they cost a premium to gas or diesel and the range is limited. Hybrids are another story range-wise but last time I looked, the premium and the payback period for that premium were ridiculous and made no economic sense. I would rather buy more fuel over time than choke on the premium up front. I also think that in many cases, the emissions that everyone seems to be concerned about as justification for EV’s are just shipped elsewhere, to coal or gas burning power plants – rather than the tailpipe. Why choke on emissions in the city if you can export those emissions to the power plant situated some place else?

    As a little commuter or grocery getter or for that matter almost any application aside from very high performance, a modern diesel is probably the best way to go. By the way, there is more oil in the world than we know what to do with as technology advances have resulted in incredible production increases everywhere EXCEPT the middle east, so no supply problems for a very long time.

  17. Tommyholm with my pal George
    Tommyholm with my pal George says:

    Burn gas, it’s the ‘Merican thing to do, just ask Grandpa. Ride a Yukon XL, it’s the Texan thing to do. It’s not always about the money. Safety, convenience and not hitting your head,ouch.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      My huge truck weighing 7500 pounds empty gets better fuel economy pulling an 8000 boat and trailer than JUST a tow vehicle itself got 25 or 30 years ago, so fuel economy is highly relative. It is not fuel effecient compared to a Hybrid Prius or some such thing, but is is vastly more effecient than a 1985 carburetted big block Chevvy 3/4 ton and it has an enormously greater amount of power. A Prius is as bad in a head to head towing comparison as the truck is in a fuel consumption comparison. Fuel costs are what they are – we all just have to deal with it. Gas was cheap 35-45 or more years ago, but the average Detroit sled burned far more of it, in many cases at least double. I will still never buy an electric car – Sorry Matt!

  18. Tom Gruenauer
    Tom Gruenauer says:

    What good is an electric car when you burn coal to generate the electricity? (In my area). This is what I run. Pulls the glass inboard great, seats 4 or 5. Someday it will haul the “chris”.

  19. Troy
    Troy says:

    Since we are off the subject of Woodys:

    I am soo glad you were able to get Pumpkin out of this mess and to NJ after that crazy party!

  20. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    OK Matt,
    Let us all down gently. When does that Big Block Lincoln Chris Craft get traded for a modern electric launch? I understand they are efficient, quiet and great for cocktail cruising. Come to think of it – you might find one small enough to haul around behind the Volt. Hell, build yourself a little coal burning hydroelectric plant in the garage to charge ’em both at the same time.

  21. matt
    matt says:

    NEVER! Suzy is the go to boat. GAS and all. BTW I just saw her in the shop at Katzs, , 5 new coats of varnish on her sides, fixed prop, and interior repaired. She is stunning.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Again? Did you bang it up this year? I thought you just had varnish done last year?

      Bring it to Tavares – Suzy in the water, Pumpkin on land for display?

  22. matt
    matt says:

    She was getting a tad tired on the varnish thing. no real banging up. OK, maybe some. It looks better than new now, and the prop we dinged in Dora two years ago, finely is fixed. Cant do that at Pumpkin at the same time. THis year in Dora is all Pumpkin

  23. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    We tow our ’49 Greavette, Eau! Canada, with a Ford Expedition. It has a 5.4 liter V8 with a towing package. Unless going up a steep, long hill, it really doesn’t seem to be affected by the boat. The trailer has surge brakes that work really well, so the biggest pain about pulling the boat is remembering to allow plenty of room to corner and maneuver. The Ford also features two cup holders per passenger, and a DVD entertainment system. A great road trip vehicle!

  24. ian
    ian says:

    I have a 14ft mahogany planked outboard boat with a new 50hp tohatsu for civilized and fuel efficient boating and then a 1960 90 hp mercury for fun times and burning up my pay check pouring fuel into those old carbs. But the bottom line is I am using my 2008 honda civic coup to tow this boat from Knoxsville Tennessee to Toronto Ontario Canada thru the mountain range and all. I averaged 40 mpg while towing the boat and no problems at the boat ramp as all the pickup guys stop and stare. Great car for towing…and it is designed to tow up to 1000lbs by the manufacturer!

  25. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Not sure why one would buy electric when I can get near 50 mpg w/my 10 yr old VW Jetta diesel sedan (48mpg) and my jetta wagon which I tow my Dippy with gets 42 mpg. And I don’t need an extension cord or need to wear Birkenstock’s to drive it.

    For the big loads its a Ford turbo diesel which nets me 15 mpg loaded. However, the Ford E350 diesel will no longer be produced :(.

  26. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    So how much coal was used to CHARGE that coffin and would you be able to drive to Clayton in it with your legs and butt almost parallel . You could just shoot my 6’4″ frame with bad knees, and bury me in it. Maybe Obama would attend in HIS Comfortable Ride , to make sure I got to the correct healthcare facility.

  27. Wilson Wright
    Wilson Wright says:


    We are a long way off boats but do you remember those two girls from Flint they sent with the Impact…Julie and Jean but can’t recall their last names now…Last I heard Jean was in California.

    As for Electric boats, Joe Flemming was with Elco for a while and Neil Satterly ( he owns a 20′ Custom) recently told me he was trying to help market an electric concept.

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