By Richard Truesdell
History was made today when retired airline pilot Jeffrey Kaffee of Parsippany, New Jersey became the first retail customer in the United States to take delivery of a Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended-range capability. Kaffee returned early from a vacation to pick up his Volt at Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, New Jersey. Denville Mayor Ted Hussa was on hand for the occasion and proclaimed 15 December Gearhart Chevy Volt Day.
Kaffee's car is one of the initial 360 Volts shipping this week from the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. Others were delivered to Chevrolet dealers in the Washington, D.C. area and are en route to California and Austin, Texas. Kaffee was trading in a Toyota Prius hybrid for his Volt.
Gearhart Chevrolet is one of two New Jersey Chevrolet dealerships owned by Judy Schumacher-Tilton. Her other dealership, Schumacher Chevrolet in Little Falls, was profiled two years ago by Harry Smith of the CBS Morning Show. At the time, the auto industry was in free fall, and her tiny family-owned dealership was outselling mega-dealers many times her size.
She was also the subject of a feature here on AutomotiveTraveler.com, in which she explained how Schumacher Chevrolet, founded by her father back in 1933, had served Little Falls for almost three-quarters of a century. Last year, Schumacher Chevrolet celebrated its 75th anniversary.
Congratulations to Jeffrey Kaffee as the world's first Chevy Volt owner. We wish him many miles of happy motoring.