Marty Young tells all. His love for the Chevy Volt, tent living and his brush with the law. Marty is an Associate Professor of emergency medical services at Roane State Community College and a licensed paramedic with over 25 years of emergency service experience. (L-R): Anna Young (wife), Audrey Young (daughter), and Marty Young
Q: We like personal fun facts about our EV drivers. Can you share with us?
A: When I was younger, I dropped out of college, worked a year as a whitewater raft guide and lived in a tent. I realized I didn’t want to live in a tent forever, so I went back to college.
Q: Do you have a claim to fame?
A: I play the Irish whistle (think Lord of the Rings soundtrack) and am on an album in iTunes and Amazon (search “Marty Young Legacy”). The track “Iona Homecoming” was featured on the radio program “The Thistle and Shamrock.”
Q: What are your other forms of transportation?
A: I’m a pilot and own a small airplane (and I desperately wish it were electric – someday it will be!)
Q: What was the year you started noticing EVs (head swiveling a bit longer than normal)?
A: 2008 – when I saw an article about the new Tesla Roadster. I remember forwarding that article to some of my friends and family saying, “This is the future.”
Q: What kind of EV do you drive?
A: A silver 2016 Chevy Volt. I’ve had it for over a year and I still smile every time I see it.
Q: Why did you buy this particular EV? Top three reasons please.
A: My round-trip commute is a total of 45 miles and the Volt allows me to do that entirely with electricity. But I do occasionally make long out-of-town trips and the gas engine comes in handy for that (even though I cringe when I have to use it – which fortunately isn’t very often). It was also in my price range – I got it at CarMax for $19,000.
Q: Why did you take a leap from owning an ICE to an EV?
A: I was driving a 2001 Ford Taurus with 270,000 miles on it. I obviously wanted something newer, but I also wanted something fundamentally more advanced. I realized that all the new ICE cars out there were really nothing more than the same old dirty technology in a shiny new wrapper.
Q: What event in your past might have turned out differently if you had been driving an EV?
A: As a teen, I once tried to outrun the cops…in a 1978 Toyota Corolla. It was probably the world’s shortest police chase. But if I would have been in my Volt…then again, it’s probably best that I didn’t have this car back then.
Q: What is the most outrageous question you’ve been asked about owning an EV?
A: Like other EV owners, I’ve been asked if I can take it through a car wash. I gently remind them that their ICE car has electronics, too, and doesn’t short out when it gets wet.
Q: Does your car have a nickname?
A: No. I already have an unhealthy emotional attachment to my car as it is.
Q: Most EVs have one unique character. What is your favorite EV character?
A: The acceleration. I call it a poor man’s Tesla. Sure, it’s not as fast as a Tesla, but from 0-30 it’s a blast. I tell people that I don’t exceed the speed limit…I just get to it really quickly.
Q: Is this EV your personal vehicle or a company car?
A: This is my personal car… very personal… you can’t have it.
Q: Did you have a unique experience with your EV that you can share? List more than one if you wish.
A: I’m not exactly proud of this, but I was at a stop light when a young guy in a Mustang pulled up beside me and started revving his engine. Normally I’m immune to such childish provocation, but on this day I reached down and tapped the “Mode Select” button until “Sport” appeared on the screen. The intersection was clear and when the light turned green I punched the accelerator and left him behind. Of course, when I got to the speed limit I slowed down and at that point he blew past me…but we both knew. And yes, you’re right, I was behaving immaturely and really shouldn’t have done it, but it sure was fun.
Q: Would you buy another EV? Which one?
A: If someone told me that my next car had to be an ICE car, I’d probably give up driving and just ride a bike. I’m not sure what my next EV will be. All I know is that it will be an EV.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge of owning an EV?
A: Not going up to complete strangers and saying, “Have you ever driven an EV? No? Really? Would you like to drive mine? It’s awesome!”
Q: If the sky was the limit and you could design an EV, what would be your top five must-have features? What would you name it? What color would you pick?
A: Crossover style, high seating position, 300+ mile range, advanced self-driving features, convenient nationwide fast-charging network. The standard color would be white, and I’d call it the Model Y (in honor of my last name).
Q: Have you ever made a long road trip in your EV? What was your favorite thing about making the trip in an EV?
A: Long road trips in the Volt are interesting because of the “Hold” mode. This allows you to save the battery and forces the gas engine to run. I drive electric in towns and then put it in “Hold” mode while on the interstate. Doing this maximizes the fuel economy and turns the trip into a kind of game.
Q: What’s been the most unique CHARGING experience you’ve had?
A: Actually, I just charge at home. But it really does strike me as funny that “going to the filling station” now means pulling into my carport.
Q: What advice would you offer about adding charging infrastructure?
A: I would love to see a bank of twenty DC fast chargers at every interstate rest area. That way ICE motorists (i.e. future EV drivers) would see them and think, “Hmm…look at all those chargers. I guess all that talk about range anxiety must be a bunch of baloney.”
Q: Does your workplace offer charging? Would you take advantage of workplace charging if it was offered?
A: No. I charge at home so I don’t really need it. But for someone who lived in an apartment, for example, it would be a game changer.
Q: Are you a member of an EV club? If so, can you provide the EV club’s name?
A: Yes, KEVA (Knoxville Electric Vehicle Association). I’ve only been a member for a short time, but they are a great group of people and make you feel immediately welcome.
Q: Do you attend EV events in your area? If so, what are some of your favorite experiences?
A: I love participating in ride-and-drive events. Being with someone as they experience an EV for the first time just never gets old for me. The more of these events we can do, the better.
Q: Any last EV thoughts?
A: Yes! First, you will be amazed at how quickly you become spoiled that you rarely have to go to a gas station when you drive a Volt. I put 16,000 miles on my car last year, and 14,000 of those miles where 100% pure electric. Second, be forewarned that when you test drive an electric car for the first time, you’ll want one!
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