The day the Chevrolet Volt broke my heart
Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News.
The pre-dawn hours of Thursday, March 31, were brisk in the Motor City.
I had a breakfast meeting on the other side of town, so I rolled out of the sack early.
After sucking down a couple of mugs of joe, I went to the garage and unplugged the Chevy Volt.
Yeah, that's right, a Chevy Volt. What of it?
As a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, I had a few hours of seat time in the Volt last fall. But I wanted more.
As the Volt eased down the driveway that morning, I felt good. The gas tank was full. The video-game display on the dash said the battery was fully charged and good for 31 miles. And I was headed to one of my favorite breakfast joints.
After three days behind the wheel, I was going to hand the keys to a colleague. But there would be no regrets. That Volt had treated me right. She's a little pricey and not very classy, but we had good times.
Suddenly, a pothole jarred me back to my senses.
Dawn was still just a promise, but I didn't need to see the left front wheel to know the tire was flat. I wheeled the car into a safe parking lot, where I planned to change the tire.
That's when the Volt broke my heart.
The tire was off the rim and there was no spare. You see, to reduce weight and improve mileage, some clever engineer decided to forego the spare tire in favor of run-flat tires and an inflator kit.
The company that manages GM's press fleet sent a man who swapped wheels and reprogrammed the Volt's electronics to accept the new one. About 75 minutes after the pothole, I was on my way.
But I missed breakfast. And I'll never again think of the Volt in quite the same way.
You can reach Edward Lapham at firstname.lastname@example.org.