Wherein I Become ‘Barth Vader’


When I look back at all the things I’ve been called throughout my life, one of my favorite monikers was coined by actor and EV enthusiast Peter Horton, who described me as a “swizzle stick of a PR guy” in his LA Times Magazine chronicle about entering the GM Twilight Zone. Needless to say, the boxes of swizzle sticks came pouring in through the mail.

I thought nothing would ever top that one.  That’s until a recent tweet dubbed me “Barth Vader” – a title I now wear with pride.  Truth be told, I think the two names reflect how far GM has advanced in terms of electric vehicle technology.  And, my Barth Vader alias reveals how the new Chevy Volt has totally changed the way I drive.  Electric driving, quite simply, has become an obsession as I figure out ways to push my Chevy Volt as far as I can on a single battery charge.

Driving electric is like a role playing game of wit and strategy and the Volt’s efficiency ball is keeping score.  I use tips and tricks such as coasting as much as possible to harness the power of my regen braking system or searching for open wall sockets in every parking garage I enter.  Basically, anything I can do to keep driving on my Volt’s battery power for as long as possible.  I’ve even signed up for access to various public charging station networks (like ChargePoint) so I can charge up around town whenever I go to a Lakers or Dodgers game, shop, or fly out of LAX.

The Volt makes this kind of “hyper-miler” driving addiction fun with its video-game-like display panels, multiple driving modes, and energy-efficiency readouts that include the crucial lifetime miles-per-gallon.  My average lifetime miles-per-gallon score is now my obsession.  I’m currently hovering in the low 90-mpg range, but I’m determined to get it back up into the triple-digit readout I had prior to a few long drives throughout the state and beyond.  Rest assured, the driving game is fun – not stressful – since I know I can count on the Volt’s range extender to keep me going even when I’m out of juice.

Yep, I’m addicted to driving electric.  Though, I admit I still enjoy putting the top down on the cool new red Camaro Convertible or feeling the awesome power of the Cadillac V series.  But, that’s the other great thing about the Volt and EV technology in general … throw that baby into sport mode, press the accelerator, feel your head hit the headrest, and watch the cars in the rear view mirror get smaller and smaller. Instant torque is equally addictive.

So, yes, I’ve gone “EV native.”  @EVchels described it as a move to the “dark side,” which prompted @yanquentino to post that “from now on throughout the EV galaxy@DaveBarthmuss will be known as “Barth Vader.”  And, yes, Chelsea, I agree, “Star Wars souvenirs are a lot better than swizzle sticks“!



Drive The District is curated, created and powered by General Motors. All original content concerning General Motors products and services is produced by General Motors and its agencies. For non-automotive themed content, General Motors enlists third parties to share their thoughts and perspectives, and compensates those individuals for their work. On occasion we may provide links to independent reviews about our products. In these cases the opinions are not necessarily those of General Motors, its employees and agencies. Additionally those individuals have not been compensated by General Motors for their reviews and opinions.

Where do you want to go?
Our Columns