2011 Chevy Volt: Dusting Off EV Parking Spots
July 25, 2011
This parking lot is at Helms Bakery in Culver City, which is not actually a bakery any more, but rather a group of furniture-selling outlets. More importantly, this parking lot has a pair of electric vehicle parking spaces with a charger hooked up to solar panels on the roof. Great concept ... if it's 1997 and you have a GM EV1. Or one of the few surviving RAV4's.
Perhaps there's a household-style plug on there somewhere, but for our Volt and Leaf, chargers like these are otherwise useless. They have the old EV car plug, which looks like a black paddle and can be used for the 1990s-era EVs. With only those surviving RAV4s, these chargers (which can be found throughout Southern California) have only been collecting dust over the years while the spots they occupy have been conquered by drivers smart enough to realize that there's a greater chance of a unicorn dropping a deuce on their hood than an electric car stopping by to angrily discover some gasoline-swilling knob in their designated space.
Yet, electric cars are back. Or rather, electric cars and super hybridy plug-in cars like the Volt. As such, it's been fun parking the Volt in these old spots whenever I can as a symbolic gesture. Sure, I can't actually plug in, but then it's not like I'd extract much juice while popping in to look at an ottoman for 20 minutes anyway. It's the thought that counts.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 8,389 miles