The electric car has turned driving into a whole new experience for Todd Masinelli.
He presses a start button instead of turning an ignition key. That prompts a "Space Age" sound, followed by near silence.
"There's no engine to make noise," said Todd, 34, of Troy, who bought a Chevy Volt in October. "There's no vibration. There's no rumbling under the hood."
A rear camera ensures Todd doesn't run over anything while backing out of his driveway.
Once on the street, the car accelerates quickly. Indicators show not only how fast it's going but how efficiently.
"I like the environmental aspect," said Todd's wife, Tami, 34, a stay-at-home mom. "I do believe in global warming, and it's nice to think we're doing (something) that will make a difference down the road."
Todd uses the Volt to commute 22 miles (one-way) to his office at Ameren headquarters in St. Louis.
He became managing supervisor of digital communications eight months ago, prompting him to trade in his old car, a Toyota Matrix.
"I wanted an upgrade," he said. "I had the other car for eight years. I wanted the creature comforts, the nice stereo that integrates with my phone. I wanted the high-tech bells and whistles."
Todd got them with the four-door Volt, which cost about $42,000. It's dark gray with bucket seats in front and back.
Tami drives a Nissan Rogue, a small SUV the couple use for family outings with son Drew, 4, and daughter Leah, 2. Tami has driven the Volt a couple times.
"I like it," she said. "It kind of makes me feel like I'm in the future."
Todd's first car was a Pontiac Sunbird, followed by a Ford Mustang and VW Jetta. He also has owned a DeLorean, made famous by the movie "Back to the Future," for 13 years just for fun.
The Masinellis looked at several makes and models of cars to replace Todd's Matrix last year. It was Tami who suggested going electric.
"I thought, 'OK, if you're going to spend more money on a car, then let's look into something that would save money down the road," she said.
Todd plugs the Volt's battery charger into a regular outlet in his garage or uses a charging station at Ameren.
He can cover 40 to 42 miles in warm weather and 28 to 30 miles in cold weather on an overnight charge. After that, a gas-powered engine switches on to power the electric motor.
"I put over 4,000 miles on the car without stopping for gas," Todd said. "And when I did, I really wasn't out of gas. I was just getting a little low.
"I hadn't been to a gas station in five months, and when I got there, it was weird. I thought, 'Oh, this smells bad. It gets on your hands. This is kind of gross.' I don't miss it at all."
Other factors that persuaded the Masinellis to buy the Volt were a federal tax credit up to $7,500 and a state rebate up to $4,000.
People often ask Todd questions about the car such as, "How much has your electricity bill gone up?" He estimates $9 a month.
"I do feel better about not buying gasoline," Todd said. "It wasn't a primary motivator (for buying the car), but it's nice to know there's nothing being emitted. I'm not creating any nasty greenhouse gases."