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Sitting U.S. Presidents are chauffeured pretty much everywhere they do not walk. So it was both spontaneous and special when President Barack Obama stepped into a black Chevrolet Volt on July 30 and took the shortest of test drives – about 40 feet.
“Pretty smooth,” the President said as he stepped out of the Volt to resume his tour of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The impromptu drive occurred after consultations among the Secret Service and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who said he hoped the Volt had an air bag. In fact, it has eight air bags.
Gibbs confirmed it was a highly unusual, though not unprecedented, opportunity for Obama. The President last drove a private vehicle three to four months ago at a Secret Service training facility.
During remarks at the plant, Obama referred to his other car, a specially built Cadillac limousine.
“Now, I have to tell you some of you saw me drive a Volt about 12 inches. They don't let me drive much these days,” Obama said. “But the Cadillac that I drive in is made right here. I got to admit the Secret Service soups it up a little bit.”
President Barack Obama drives a 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle off the line with plant manager Teri Quigley in the passenger seat at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant Friday, July 30, 2010 in Hamtramck, Mich., Chevrolet announced today, it will increase the U.S. production capacity of the 340-mile extended range electric Chevrolet Volt by 50 percent due to strong public interest. The Volt will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck Plant. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)