It isn’t often students take time out of their school day to gather around a teacher’s car.
But that was the case Wednesday at North Forsyth High. Members of the school’s recently formed chapter of the Environmental Sustainability Clubs of America gathered in the front parking lot to check out George Turner’s new Chevrolet Volt.
The science teacher is the first person in the county to have a titled Volt, according to General Motors’ records.
Chevy’s Web site describes the Volt as “a full performance electric vehicle with extended range.” Prices average less than $40,000.
Jim Otwell, owner Andean Chevrolet, the dealership that sold Turner the Volt, said he’s excited to have someone receive one.
“There’s never been a car like that,” Otwell said. “It’s so smart. It’s a car that’s completely futuristic.”
Unlike hybrid vehicles that require gasoline for even short trips, the Volt can run solely on electricity for up to 35 miles. Trips beyond that distance require power from a gasoline-powered generator.
Unlike solely electric vehicles, the Volt can go for more than 300 miles on the gas generator.
Turner said he was inspired by his environmental club members to make the purchase.
“I drive a Ford F-250 diesel,” he said. “The students were criticizing me for it.”
Students weren’t criticizing the Volt when Otwell and employee Jeff Crawford delivered it to Turner at the school.
“I think it’s awesome,” said sophomore Valerie Woodard. “It looks a lot better than a lot of the smart car-type cars.”
Added follow sophomore Rick Adle: “It’s pretty amazing and very innovative.”
Many of the students were most impressed by how quietly the vehicle runs.
They gathered around as Turner hit the ignition button and cranked their ears toward the engine to hear only a faint sound, similar to a desktop computer starting up.
“It’s amazing how quiet it is,” Woodard said.
Turner said he’s most impressed with the savings he’ll see on gas.
“I only live about two miles from school, so if I only drove to work and back, I could probably go a couple of weeks on one charge without having to buy any gas,” he said.
As far as the electric aspects of the vehicle, the Volt gets power from standard 120-volt household outlets.
It can also use a 230-volt outlet, similar to those that power clothes driers. Turner said he plans to have such an outlet installed for the vehicle.
“It’ll take about four hours to fully charge [on a 230-volt outlet],” he said. “And on the dash, it will tell you exactly when the car will be fully charged as soon as you plug it in.”
Turner told his students vehicles like the Volt that save gasoline are important for environmental sustainability.
“When you think that every gallon of gas used puts out 22 pounds of carbon dioxide, and this car can get more than 90 miles per gallon, that’s a big deal,” he said.
“It won’t save the world, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”