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USA: Mayor leads by example with electric car

Michael Lea The Whig-Standard Mayor Mark Gerretsen and partner, Vanessa Tooley, take delivery of their new Chevrolet Volt, a car powered by both electricty and gasoline.

The mayor is putting his money where his mouth is.

Heading up a city that prides itself in its sustainability initiatives, Mayor Mark Gerretsen is leasing a 2012 Chevrolet Volt, an electric/gasoline hybrid car. It is the first such car to be delivered by Taylor AutoMall, the local Chevrolet dealer.

Gerretsen and partner, Vanessa Tooley, are leasing the Volt for four years when, Gerretsen figures, the next generation of electric cars will be on the market.

The mayor got his first look at the Volt when Taylor AutoMall’s Derek Taylor brought one down to City Hall to show to him, commissioner Denis Leger, CAO Gerard Hunt and Utilities president Jim Keech in case the city was interested in buying one.

The Volt boasts a16-kWh lithium-ion rechargeable energy storage system combined with a 1.4L gasoline-powered range-extending generator that takes over when the battery is exhausted. The total distance expected on a fully-charged battery and full tank of gas is about 500 kilometres.

After a quick test drive, Gerretsen was hooked.

“As soon as I sat in it, I said ‘this is an awesome car.’ The idea that you are running using electricity instead of gas, not to have that dependency on the gas companies, is amazing.”

He and Tooley borrowed the vehicle for a night.

“We drove it around and it was great, and we never used a drop of gas.” he said yesterday afternoon as he arrived at Taylor’s to take delivery of their new car.

“And it’s really peppy, too.”

He said they let the battery die completely so they could see how well it managed with the gasoline generator powering the vehicle.

“We were moving along (Hwy.) 401 like it was a regular gas vehicle.”

He believes the electric\gasoline car “is the natural next step.”

He had looked at the Nissan Leaf, a totally electric car, but didn’t like the fact there was no back-up when the battery dies down.

“What this (the Volt) does is it takes away the anxiety of ‘I only have 10 kilometres left, I only have five kilometres left.’ ”

The mayor said the hybrid cars are “absolutely” on the radar for the city’s transportation needs.


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