The Future of Driving is Available Now at Your Local Dealerships
If there’s one thing that’s created buzz in the automotive industry recently, it’s electric cars. Whether the cars are purely electric and literally plug into an outlet to charge, or hybrid and use both electric and gas power, it’s arguable that this burgeoning technology is the most fundamental change in the history of the auto industry.
The internal combustion engine first went into production vehicles in late 19th Century Germany. Improved upon ever since then, it has come to be synonymous with automobiles: you typically buy a car with the understanding that you of course have to keep gas in the tank in order to make it go anywhere. But with technology advancing faster than ever, the internal combustion engine is now starting to take a back seat to the electric one in some new vehicles, or is completely taken out of the equation in others.
Always pushing to stay on the cutting edge, Ford and GM have recently released their own electric vehicles: the Focus Electric, and the Volt. Sitting side-by-side on Highway 50 in Bolton, Fines Ford Lincoln and Bolton GM are dealerships which have both attained the requisite high customer service satisfaction, spent the time and effort to fully train and certify specialty sales and service staff, and modified their facilities, all in order to be able to offer the Caledon region these exceptional vehicles. Bob Fines and Aaron Cisco of Fines Ford Lincoln, and Don Frazer of Bolton GM, got together recently to go over some aspects of these newly stocked vehicles and what they offer consumers.
Ford’s Focus Electric is a purely electric vehicle which offers all the features you’ve come to expect in a new car – very much like a standard new Focus would offer – but is simply plugged in at its destination to keep its batteries charged. The silent operation of the engine is the main telltale sign that you’re driving something inherently different than you’ve ever driven before.
Meanwhile, GM’s Volt, a hybrid which is driven by an electric engine with gas power support when needed and for added range, is literally turning heads on Canadian streets. Not only is does it have a sporty design that stands out anyway, but it also glides past onlookers without any of the expected noise of a typical car’s motor. “When the Volt drives by, people on the street will lean toward it trying to hear the motor,” Don smiles.
Added perks of modern technology haven’t been ignored on these vehicles, either. The Focus Electric not only has a handy LED ring around the charging port which illuminates the plug receptacle at night and depicts how fully charged the battery is, but your car can be synced with your smartphone to give you updated information about the battery charge status, as Aaron has done with the test driver at Fines Ford Lincoln. When GM’s engineers discovered how loud the tires on the road sounded once the roar of the engine was gone, they produced tires specifically geared for the Volt which have reduced road noise for a more enjoyable driving experience. An added feature in both cars is that they can be set to charge at specific times around the clock; you can plug them in and walk away and have them only charge during off-peak hours so you pay less while the cars top up on the charge they need.
It’s that battery charge that has some potential electric or hybrid vehicle consumers concerned. The Volt, while needing a charge, has an extended range due to its being able to draw power as needed from gas conversion. The Focus Electric has been designed as a commuter car: it comfortably accommodates the average car owner’s daily commute – a commute made easier via special license plate which allows electric and hybrid vehicles to use HOV lanes even with just the driver in the car.
As for those needed charges when you’re out and about, charging way stations are already showing up across various cities and towns, and their numbers will increase as these vehicles become more widely used. Charging stations are already available at some Home Depots. Wondering where you can stop in for a charge? There’s a smartphone app which will not only tell you where the nearest charging station is, but whether it’s currently being used or is available. City centres and major malls, some already offering premium parking spaces for these vehicles, will doubtless soon accommodate charging stations for them as well.
Maintenance concerns are another issue that potential customers have, but all three men quickly put any doubts to rest: either completely lacking a gas engine or using one far less than the usual contemporary car, both of these vehicles require minimal maintenance. Tire rotations are still needed, and a yearly oil change for the Volt, but in short, fewer moving parts in these cars means less to maintain or go wrong.
Bob and Don agree that 75 to 80 percent of these vehicle sales are to people who just want to do the right thing for the environment; green, socially conscious drivers who’ve done their research and want to reap the benefits these cars offer. While apparently in direct competition for those customers, Fines Ford Lincoln and Bolton GM are in fact only too happy to work together to help get the right people in the right electric or hybrid vehicle. “Looking out at the driveway and enjoying what you see there has long been a part of our industry,” Bob says, underscoring that as new and innovative as this electric and hybrid technology is, some fundamentals for the dealerships never change: “We’re always coaching to make sure you get what you want.”
And assuming what you want is a good deal, now is an excellent time to look into purchasing one of these cars. For either a Volt or a Focus Electric, the Ontario government is offering upwards of $8000 in rebates when you buy. If you’re still on the fence about buying and have any questions or just want to try a test drive, curiosity seekers aren’t just welcomed by these two dealerships, but encouraged. “Try one. That’s the biggest thing,” Aaron says.
“It’s like nothing else you’ve ever driven before. It’s guilt-free driving.”
And if finally driving guilt-free is the way the car industry is headed, the future looks brighter than ever.
Call with any questions or to arrange a test drive today: Fines Ford Lincoln at 1-800-781-3463 and Bolton GM at 1-888-807-7218 .
Written by Reay Jespersen