This post is part of a compensated opportunity with SheBuysCars.com. All opinions expressed are my own.
I attended my first car show, the 2015 Washington Auto Show here in DC, along with a group of women bloggers. It's a great place to go if you're car shopping, because there are no salespeople. You can sit in every single car, push all the buttons, and get all your questions answered. I learned a ton, and I got really excited about what I would like to be my new car next year…
The Washington Auto Show
We started off with a tour of both floors of the Convention Center (and boy, was it bright! Sorry for the glare in the photos). Our tour guide was James Bell, Head of Consumer Affairs at General Motors (GM), who walked us through the story of every single car brand. I learned the history, current situation, and future of each one. It was absolutely fascinating! It never occurred to me that the brands that were BIG when I was a teen are now trying to reclaim their image for our children's generation. Makes sense, right?
Overall, we saw many similarities in the offerings across the brands:
- more connectivity and infotainment, embracing phones and communication
- improved propulsion, with a focus on lighter-weight materials that still allow structural integrity
- active and passive safety features, which really had me thinking about what kind of cars my kids will be driving once they hit their teen years (just five years away)
Some features on the 2015 models appear futuristic, yet they're here, and they suggest that in the next 10 years cars will be virtually driving themselves.
Women in Automotive
The Women in Automotive Panel was moderated by SheBuysCars’ Scotty Reiss and featured panelists Britta Gross, GM’s Chief of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy; Melanie Batenchuk, Washington Automotive Press and blogger at Be Car Chic; and Tori Barnes, GM’s Executive Director of Federal Affairs. They talked about how they each got into the industry, which we had also heard that morning from Pam Fletcher, Executive Chief Engineer of Electrified Vehicles at GM. We all know STEM activities are important for our daughters, but seeing the real-world application of women's curiosity and ingenuity was inspiring. My 8-year-old mini engineer was so excited to hear about these women when I got home that day.
And then there was The Volt…
The newly redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt made its debut at the Washington Auto Show, and it was amazing. As an all-electric vehicle, the generator supports the battery which gives you 50 miles on a single charge and continuously recharges while braking. The extended range gives you 400 miles on one tank of regular gas! Estimated fuel cost is around $950 for a whole year, and the Volt can be charged on a regular outlet in your garage. Plus, it's one of the many cars Chevy is introducing that include new technologies to improve safety, performance and fuel efficiency. The Volt has automatic crash response, automatic front braking, and more. Truly futuristic, but available today.
The Volt and the Spark EV (completely electric, so 82 miles per charge, but no extended range like the Volt) just blew me away. I had the opportunity not only to sit in them and ogle their good looks and amazing technology, but to ask questions of everyone from the chief engineer to current owners. In fact, I met a local family of seven who love their Chevy Volt, and I can't wait to chat with them again and learn even more about how to make electric car ownership work in the suburbs. Since we're shopping for a car purchase in 2016, I want to learn more about how electric can work for our family.