Can I hit 1,000 miles?

As you can tell, I’ve been seriously fanboying my new-to-me 2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier hybrid (“Lightning’s Girl”) for a few weeks now. And now comes my first ever challenge.

I want to see how far I can travel between gasoline refills.

So last Friday, after the car was fully charged with electricity and its fuel cell packed with 93 octane, I took a picture of the dashboard controls. Just for posterity.

Now as you can see, if I don’t put a single additional kilowatt of electricity or a single drop of petroleum into this car, I could theoretically travel 450 miles to empty. That’s a long distance. I couldn’t even get 200 miles between fill-ups from my old ’91 Pontiac 6000 from a dozen years ago.

But with that in mind, I decided I wanted a challenge. Let’s see how far I can travel before I need to refill the car’s fuel cell. And the optimum goal is to hit 62,017 on the odometer – 1,000 miles between gasoline fill-ups.

Now I have to set some ground rules. Battery charging is okay. I’m operating off of a hybrid vehicle now. And for safety’s sake, I’m only going to drive until the fuel cell reaches an estimated 30 miles of available driving distance, so as to not leave myself stranded on the side of the road for the sake of science.

I’m also going to keep tabs on how much it costs me to fill my car with electricity. The charging station I use in downtown Albany (while I’m at my day job) charges me 15 cents per kilowatt hour. The plan here is to also monitor how much I spend in rapid charging.

The experiment started on Friday. On Saturday, I did a road trip to Bennington, Vermont to take some photos, including this self-developed beauty.

Paper Mill Covered Bridge. Kodak Medalist II camera, Kodak Tri-X 400 film, shot with yellow filter. Self-developed in Cinestill Df96 monobath. Photo (c) 2022 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I drove to Bennington on battery power, but drove back to the 518 on a combination of battery and fuel power (a 50-mile driving range won’t get me home on a round trip). Recharged Lightning’s Girl on Monday – total cost of electric go-go juice, $2.20. Or the equivalent of a 20-ounce bottle of diet cola. Swank.

Again, my plan is to achieve normal driving conditions. I’m not trying to set some new world record for fuel non-consumption. But hey, if I can manage this car for 1,000 miles between gasoline … and the fuel tank is both tiny and super-efficient … I could be saving money all around.

Oh, and one more thing about my Chevrolet Volt Premier. And I found this out by reviewing the VIN code.

This car continues my streak of owning American-manufactured cars that were made by men and women who earned a union wage for their labor. Lightning’s Girl was manufactured in Detroit, at Chevrolet’s assembly plant there. So, yeah. I’m definitely good here.

As I said before, my plan is to just do my normal driving routine. Full electric charge on Fridays and maybe an additional charge during the week if necessary.

1,000 miles. Let’s see if it’s possible.

I’m definitely good with a challenge like that.