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"Car nut" is driving electric

by Susan Gillin | Apr 09, 2018
Commute saves dollars and makes sense, says Nick Ceto of Leavenworth

How does a self-described car nut – owner of gas-hungry muscle cars and a ¾-ton pickup – find himself promoting the plug-in hybrid Volt?

Cost. Acceleration. Ride. Reliability. Low maintenance. And guilt-free driving, says Nick Ceto of Leavenworth.

Volt owner Nick Ceto“Reducing our carbon footprint is important, but people understandably look at the dollars and cents,” Ceto said. “This is an economical, very competitive way to drive around here.”

Ceto calculates he saved $395 in fuel costs over the 6,270 miles he’s run on battery power since buying his Volt in November 2016. He put another 1,567 miles on the car using gas.

For Ceto, the ability to run on gas is the Volt’s biggest selling point. If you’re motoring all-electric and you run out of juice, the gasoline engine starts, sends electricity to the motor, and charges the battery. The gas engine doesn’t drive the wheels. Range anxiety – concern over where you’ll find your next charge – practically is eliminated.

Ceto and his wife like to ski at Stevens Pass, he said, but the EV chargers there are often full. They take their Volt anyway, knowing they can rely on gas if needed.
On trips to Wenatchee, they charge their Volt at Pybus Public Market. They can drive from their Wenatchee riverfront home in Leavenworth to Costco in East Wenatchee and back on a full charge, Ceto said.

Ceto, an environmental scientist, runs a consulting business from his home. He previously worked for both the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy cleaning up Superfund sites, including at Hanford near the Tri-Cities.  He’s seen the impacts of coal and uranium mining.

He likes the connection between his car and the clean, renewable hydropower that runs it.

“If we can watch the water that goes by our house and know it powers our car downstream (from PUD dams), that’s pretty amazing,” he said.

The Volt handles well, is fun to drive, and requires little maintenance. It didn’t cost much if any more than a similar gas vehicle, he said.

One down side: Winter temperatures can decrease the battery range. If the car sits outside when it’s cold, the gas engine will kick in to warm things up.

“I’d like to see hundreds of these on the roads around us,” Ceto said. “For the average person living here it’s a pretty big savings.”

Click here for a Volt Vital Statistics graphic

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