Environmental Protection

Retired Oil Executive Gets Charged Up by Chevy Volt

James Brazell spent 40 years working for Texaco, ultimately retiring from the oil company as the coordinator of its worldwide exploration and production activities. So what is he doing driving a Crystal Red Chevrolet Volt electric car?

"We know that the oil supply is a finite resource," the 84-year-old retiree said. "We also know that oil will eventually become a scarcity, we just don't know when.

"I believe electric vehicles like the Volt are an important step towards reducing our dependence on oil, while renewable sources of energy – like wind, solar, and hydrological power – will all play a role in producing clean energy for electric vehicles."

Brazell placed a deposit for a Volt in 2008, more than two years before the car went on sale. When he learned the Washington D.C. area would be an initial launch market, he decided to purchase a Volt from Lindsay Chevrolet in Woodbridge, Va.

He said he felt it would be the best electric vehicle for his needs:

"About 90 percent of my driving is less than 40 miles a day, so I expect to use very little gas," said Brazell, who recently audited a class on sustainable energy at the University of North Carolina at Asheville's College for Seniors. "But the extended range of the gas engine is there if I want to take a drive to New York to visit my grandchildren."

His first drive in the extended-range electric vehicle was the 500-mile trip from Virginia home to Asheville.

"The Volt is fabulous, and absolutely exceeds my expectations," he said. "I was especially impressed with the transition from electric to extended range. It was completely seamless. We were watching for it, but got to talking and completely missed the changeover."

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