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TheRootDC
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Posted at 05:07 PM ET, 12/19/2011

A look at the Chevy Volt


2011 Chevrolet Volt. (GM - WIECK)
When I found out I would get a chance to test the electric-powered Chevy Volt, I called Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, a vegan restaurant, to incorporate food into my equation of extreme firsts. Sure, you can go hybrid, but why not go electric! Sure, you can go vegan, but why not go raw! With a blindfolded sense of anxiety and anticipation, I was ready.

The Volt cruised up to my driveway with a hushed smoothness. The engine isquiet. So much so it beeps to alert pedestrians it’s coming. It’s electric with a gas-powered generator that works with the battery. On a full charge, you can have 35 miles of tailpipe emissions-free driving using heat or AC.


The 2011 Chevrolet Volt charging. (Mike Tucker Jr. - For The Washington Post)
The Volt is an eco-friendly earthquake in a first class package that nothing like a hybrid and barely resembles a Chevy. The exterior lines are sleek and inviting, while the interior chimes of luxury and with the push of a button lights up like a Tron movie. Too much technology can be a little scary, but I was fearless.

The ride is fluid and torque is immediate, so without hesitation I accelerated to make a 6:30 p.m. reservation at a swank raw eatery in the heart of downtown D.C. Besides the fact the Volt’s undercarriage sits so low it scrapes city speed bumps, I was in love. As I pulled up to a sage brick townhouse nestled in the middle of a block of offices and a pizza joint, I felt confident I was in for a treat.

Open only on Friday evenings, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw is just as exclusive and innovative as the Volt. The entry emptied into the foyer with a large bay window and a bar adorned with organic beers and organic spirits. As with all her guests, the owner Elizabeth Petty greeted me warmly.

After a signature organic cocktail, Petty explained that she was a catering vet and the idea for a raw-vegan restaurant grew out of her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2009. Petty took to a raw lifestyle to battle the disease and decided to introduce it to the D.C. area in an elegant and palatable way.

Likewise the elegance and palatability of the Volt exudes makes the decision to go electric an easy one.

As I climbed Elizabeth’s stairs, I was welcomed to a beautiful dinning room occupied by antique furniture and art drenched walls. The menu, which changes weekly, consists of two pages: one page with the four courses offered and the other page listing their ingredients.

You don’t have to decide what to eat, for $75 all you have to do is wait for the raw magic to appear. If you are open to Diana the sommelier’s suggestions, she provides perfect organic grape compliments to each course.

Delicious Cajun-seasoned kale chips replaced the basket-o-carbs that usually sits atop a restaurant table. My raw test drive was slow to start with room temperature carrot bisque that was assisted by a needed punch of beet relish. As I wondered if I would make it through the full course, what pulled up next left no doubt I would.


A dish of avocado and microgreens at Elizabeth's Gone Raw restaurant. (Mike Tucker Jr. - For The Washington Post)
A delicious vibrant green ride arrived delicately balancing the nutty saltiness of a pistachio pesto with the citrus vigor of lemongrass vinaigrette all within the confines of sliced avocado and microgreens.

Next, I refreshed my palate with a spoon of orange spice sorbet. Ready for the main course, a lasagna-like dish with layers of tasty ricotta cheese made from macadamia nuts. Dessert was baklava, a thin towered pastry filled with a mixture of sweetly flavored nuts and flax meal. It was all raw but still decadent.

Full and satisfied I hopped in the ride only to find that it would not start. My fear of going electric was realized; I was powerless. The frequencies in my key fob mysteriously crossed and the car wouldn’t recognize my key.
Beet ravioli with macadamia nut cheese, shaved fennel slaw & kale salad at Elizabeth's Gone Raw restaurant. (Mike Tucker Jr. - The Washington Post)

Nearly an hour after talking to OnStar and doing what my Chevy Volt specialist suggested and still didn’t work, I surrendered by praying. Within five minutes, the specialist called back and told me to drop the key in a special compartment and try again. Prayer works, it started!

That was the Volt’s technology at its worst but at its best, it’s a marvel. I was able to plug it up to an outdoor outlet in the driveway to charge it. This takes about 10 hours to recharge but I plugged in before bed and woke up ready to roll without a charging station or gas station to visit. I never put gas in the tank once during the week I had it.

The touch screen energy-efficient Bose audio system plays DVDs and includes a 30GB hard drive to store music. What’s really cool the way system acts as a DVR for your radio. It records while you listen so you can pause and go back to hear what you may have missed.

Also you can register to the community Web site, MyVolt.com which allows you to start the car, lock doors and check battery charge from your computer or smart phone.

The Chevy Volt is a little pricey and so was that meal at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. However, they both offer premium experiences that you are sure to enjoy while making you and your world healthier.

If you can afford them, both are lifestyle choices that can lessen gas pump and doctor visits. So the question is, “Can you afford not to?” You can always write both off to a clean bill of health and not to mention a nice tax credit for the Volt.

Note: The Volt has been in the news due to the battery igniting after crash tests. Check out the latest news and what’s being done to rectify these issues.

Let’s Get SOCIAL

What concerns you about going electric?

What are some good vegan spots in the area?

Get more info by following:

Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

1341 L St NW

@ChevyVolt

@Chevrolet

@ElizabethsGRaw

2012 Chevy Volt

Price Tag: $39,145 base ($43,880 tested)

Power: Range Extender, 1.4 Liter Engine 134 horsepower

Transmission: Single gear

Drivetrain: Electronic Drive Unit, Voltec (ECVT)

Fuel Economy (mpg): Electricity + Gas 94mpg / Electric only 37mpg / Gas Only 43-city/40-hwy Annual Fuel Cost $1,000

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