WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Barack Obama, a passenger in the heavily armored presidential limousine the last three years, is thinking about a very different kind of ride when he leaves the White House: the plug-in, electric Chevy Volt.
At a UAW conference on Tuesday, the president said he enjoyed the feel of the Volt, which has both a rechargeable battery and a gasoline generator that produces electricity, when he toured a Detroit assembly plant in 2010.
"Secret Service wouldn't let me drive it. But I liked sitting in it. It was nice. I'll bet it drives real good. And five years from now when I'm not president anymore, I'll buy one and drive it myself," he said.
Obama is running for a second four-year term on Nov. 6. His re-election campaign often touts the bailout of the auto sector as one of his major accomplishments as president, seeking to draw a contrast with Republican White House contender Mitt Romney, who opposed it.
The Obama administration has backed more than $2 billion to support the development of battery systems designed for electric cars including the $40,000 Volt made by General Motors. Volt owners are also eligible for a $7,500 tax credit for buying the fuel-efficient vehicle.
In January, some Republicans on Capitol Hill accused the White House of hiding fire risks from the Volt's battery pack from the public, prompting GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson, a Volt driver, to say the car had become a "political punching bag."