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2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chevrolet has confirmed was has been talked about for some time now: when the Volt goes on sale late next year, it will initially be available only in limited markets. First up will be the state that has pushed hardest for electric vehicles, California. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District are partnering with GM and EPRI (the electric power research institute) to promote plug-in vehicles including the Volt. The partners will use $30 million from the stimulus bill for a test program to put 100 Volts into fleets for two years of real-world testing.

All new Volts are equipped with GM's OnStar system and the cars will report back vital technical data to the automaker. GM will monitor battery performance in part to validate its own simulation models and test cycles that are used to test batteries. The EV promotion program will also fund the installation of 500 public charging stations.

California is first in line because of its aggressive stance on establishing the infrastructure needed as well as other incentives to make the vehicles more palatable. The state's warm climate also makes it a good locale for using battery powered vehicles. Other regions will be added at a later date.

UPDATE: Utilities will also get a slice.


  • 11/29/09 7:17:39 -- Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A Vehicle Chief Engineer Andrew Farah and the new Chevy Volt during the Dodger Stadium ride and drive.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE

National Launch Of Chevrolet Volt To Begin In California With Other Lead Markets To Follow
Chevrolet Also Announces Partnerships with California Utilities to Study Regional Electric Vehicle Use, Infrastructure


2009-12-02

LOS ANGELES – Chevrolet announced today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show that the Volt electric vehicle with extended-range capability will be available late next year in California – the nation's largest new-car market – with other lead markets to be named later.

Chevrolet is also partnering with three California utilities and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as part of an extended, real-world demonstration and research program to introduce customers to electric vehicles, advance vehicle electrification and establish vehicle charging programs to pave the way for consumers. General Motors is leading the program with a grant of more than $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

"It is natural that California is the lead market for Volt. Not only is it the largest automotive market, Californians are known to be leaders in adopting groundbreaking new technologies," said Brent Dewar, GM vice president, Global Chevrolet Brand.

Volt production is scheduled to begin in late 2010. Pricing has not been announced. The initial Volt launch markets, including California, will play a vital role in validating the retail market readiness for electric vehicles. GM is working with key utilities across North America to prepare each regional market in advance of the retail market deployment.

Three California utilities participating in the demonstration project are Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. They join EPRI, an independent, nonprofit research organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., and seven other utilities in the project. EPRI's utility members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States.

As part of the research and demonstration program, Chevrolet will deliver more than 100 Volts to program participants to use in their fleets for two years. Chevrolet will also utilize OnStar telematics technology to collect vehicle performance data and driver feedback that will be reported to the DOE and used to improve customers' experiences with the new technology.

Because the Volt is designed to conveniently charge anywhere, the program also includes installing more than 500 charging stations for residential, business and public use. The charging stations will be used to learn more about the installation, the vehicle charging process and to gain customer feedback on the experience.

The Chevrolet Volt is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt's lithium-ion battery runs low, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the total driving range to more than 300 miles before refueling or stopping to recharge the battery.

The Volt is more than its advanced electric propulsion system. With technology beyond the battery, the Volt takes personalization, feedback and interaction to new levels.

The Volt's "Efficiency Meter" in the digital instrument cluster gives the driver real-time feedback on driving efficiency. The heating and cooling system has three efficiency modes, while activating the Volt's "Green Leaf" button provides access to vehicle Power Flow, Charging and Energy information. The driver will be able to set the charging schedule inside the vehicle or remotely, based on time of day or cost. And the Volt even has audio and visual cues to alert the driver when the car powers on, off and when charging is activated.

The Volt has been keeping a high profile in and around Los Angeles in the days leading up to the auto show. It has visited notable L.A.-area restaurants, the Westlake Century City Mall in West Los Angeles and was featured at a nationwide school assembly based at the Harvard-Westlake preparatory school. Chevrolet will also introduce a new Volt song designed to educate and entertain consumers during the auto show's public days.

About Chevrolet
Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands, and one of the fastest growing brands in the world. With fuel solutions that range from "gas-friendly to gas-free," Chevrolet has nine models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, and offers three hybrid models. More than 2.5 million Chevrolets that run on E85 biofuel have been sold. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and strives to provide the best value in every segment in which it competes. More information can be found at www.chevrolet.com. For more information on the Volt, visit http://media.gm.com/volt.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll bet you $10 that Seattle is within the next 3 top markets.

      If you're not in California please be put off and let GM know about it. GM is trying to get out of electric vehicles so that they and their good buddy Chevron can keep up the rape of the US economy and environment.

      If GM is serious about electrically driven transportation, where is their 100 MPC full electric car? They can do it, like they did it in 1999. The 1999 EV1 had an EPA sticker of 140 miles per charge on inferior NiMH batteries.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The EV1 realistically got 80 miles per charge and cost six figures. Of course GM can make an electric car with whatever range they please, it just won't cost $32,500 after tax credit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM has no incentive to be in bed with Chevron or any oil company; quite the contrary. The Big Three make the most money when gas prices are low, the economy is doing well, and customers flock to buy profitable, big SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, and performance sedans.

        That's not quite a perfect match with the oil companies, which are happy to see wide sales of fuel-guzzlers, but tend to see their peak profits come at times when everyone else is feeling the pinch of high oil prices.

        The oil companies, by the way, are the wrong villains to focus on. The world is vastly different from the days when the "Seven Sisters" ran the world oil market and kept oil prices relatively low and stable by today's standards, fostering a huge run of economic growth unequaled to this day.

        Today (since 1970 that is) that market is tightly controlled by OPEC, which sits on 70% of the world's oil reserves and deliberately restricts production below market demand to artificially increase the price, consequences be damned. The result was the increase in oil prices from $10 a barrel in 1999 to $140 in 2008, breaking the back of the world economy. The oil companies are essentially middlemen along for the ride - skimming off their 8% margin before passing on OPEC oil to the rest of us.

        The real problem thus is OPEC.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Randy, Chevron and Gm do have similar goals but for different reasons. GM likes the revenue streams from ICE maintenance and repairs after warranty. Chevron just like to sell oil for those ICE. It's a win,win.

        @Carney, the oil companies are the villain. They even went as far as to have fake names of corporations to influence the non roll out of charging stations for EV's. (see who killed the electric car.)They purchased battery patents and to this day obstruct the use of those patents. Of course they would have every one believe they are not. It is in the oil companies self interest to see that alternatives are not available until all oil is gone. We all like to make money any way we can.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Chevrolet has nine models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway"

      Should the Aveo sedan and Aveo5 really count as two separate models that each get over 30 hiway mpg? What about the Cobalt Coupe and Cobalt Sedan as two separate models? Are they still selling the HHR Panel, because they used to consider the HHR and HHR Panel as two separate models that each get over 30 hiway mpg. Why not then count each trim level as a separate model?

      I dunno, saying you have 9 models doesn't seem quite right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is obviously a green website because this Chevy Volt picture has been recycled like 50 times, with no signs of slowing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The more I hear about the Volt, the less interesting it becomes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They will lease you the batteries. :)


      • 5 Years Ago
      Booooo. Of course they will only do warmer climates instead of having lower initial gas millage numbers of locations that get cold. At least with the smart it was X cars per region not screw you guys.

      I can see the miss leading advertizing already;
      If you get this car you will get XX, and fine print of but if you live some where cold.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dang it. I keep signing up for EVs that keep avoiding the Midwest. Time and time again the sales are restricted to the coasts.

      I think I'll go buy me a Hummer and act like the stereotype of Midwesterner that the car companies seem to expect. It's awfully hard to show support for vehicles if they won't sell you one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Realiy hurts, The EV1 was not that far from the break even point in production even being hand built as they were. Obviously I am not talking about R&D they paid Aero Environment and other R&D departments. From a manufacturing view, component cost and so on they were not that far from breaking even with their miniscule production, according to Chelsey Sexton.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They'll sell you one, fear not -- you just won't be one of the first in the country to get one. In fact, I bet there's nothing to prevent you from making an online deal with a California Chevrolet dealer for one. You can either road-trip it home or arrange for courtesy delivery at a local dealership.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, the Midwest is the best place in the country to find E85 fuel, so you can drastically cut back on your gasoline use that way, as long as your vehicle is a flex-fuel vehicle.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Murc,
        Ford USA's BEV car is the 2012 Ford Focus EV developed in partnership with Magna. You can watch videos of stars driving a prototype on Jay Leno's show, read more here http://green.autoblog.com/tag/ford+focus+ev/

        Ford USA's BEV van is Transit Connect EV. Ford was to build it with Smith Electric Vehicles and it would be available in 2010 before the Focus EV, but in November they announced Azure Dynamics will produce it.

        Ford is very vague if the Focus EV is a volume production vehicle, unlike Nissan Leaf.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I finally watched "Who Killed the Electric Car?", and it's clear GM didn't try to sell the EV-1. The ads were strange corporate feel-good instead of "Go to a Saturn dealer and get a revolutionary car you can refuel at home." And there was an inherent tension for Saturn dealers in selling a product whose selling points criticize everything else in the showroom. And the car didn't make dealers money in routine servicing.

        The only reason the costs per EV-1 are that high is because GM stopped making them. By the same math GM could have reduced the costs per car $100,000 by making an extra 500 cars and giving them away. Doing something new is very expensive at first. GM lacked commitment to electric cars, and instead of supporting the CARB EV mandate and securing a leadership position, it made short-term sense for them to scrap a one-off vehicle developed externally (by AeroVironment) and sold by an unpopular new division they later killed off.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I hate to break this to you, but the EV1 wass a HORRIBLE car, it's performance was bad, its cost was estimated well over $500,000 PER CAR. It only had room for 2 and the range in real world testing was shown to be closer to 80 miles as opposed to the claimed 100-120. It was in on Forbe's list of top 10 worst cars ever made. There was low demand and if GM brough it back to market and took a 480,000 dollar hit to sell it at an affordable price, they MIGHT sell 20,000 in the first 2 years.

        GM has taken a different approach to fuel efficient cars with the volt and the vehicle seems impressive so far. I am unhappy that GM has chosen to launch the vehicle this way, but we are lucky GM is even trying. They don't HAVE to build clean cars, they can do what they want, it is not their responsibility to save the earth, it is their responsibility to make a vehicle most of america wants to buy. The volt system offers something that America will buy, it is an EV, but unlike most EV's, it is practical in the fact that it can also run on E85 beyond it's EV range at an impressive 45-50 MPG.

        If we were smart, we would have had strings attached to GM's bailout money requiring them to build EVs, but since there are none, they are free to do as they wish.

        If you want a 100% EV car, then look to Ford or Nissan. Both have shown prototypes that show EXCEPTIONAL potential.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Reality Hurts said - "If we were smart, we would have had strings attached to GM's bailout money requiring them to build EVs, but since there are none, they are free to do as they wish.

        If you want a 100% EV car, then look to Ford or Nissan. Both have shown prototypes that show EXCEPTIONAL potential. "

        lol, really?
        If we were smart we wouldn't have bailed out GM, period. (that goes for every company that has received a bailout)

        BTW, I wasn't aware Ford has an electric vehicle in the pipeline...whats it called?
        I thought the Fusion hybrid was as green as it gets. Which dont get me wrong, looks like a good car...as does the new Taurus (man, never thought I would say that about a a Taurus) but its certainly no electric car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't see how this is anything but more bad PR (source: http://money.cnn.com/2009/12/02/autos/lutz_la_auto_show/index.htm)

      Government help at the local and national levels will be needed to make a car like the Volt a commercial success, said Lutz in a question-and-answer session following his speech.

      First, federal gasoline taxes would need to be higher to push the price of fuel up to the point that paying the extra cost of a battery-powered car would be worthwhile.

      “We’re not advocating that,” he said, “but if we don’t do that it’s going to get very difficult to sell these vehicles.”

      Lutz (not) advocating for higher gasoline taxes so that GM can sell the Volt will do wonders, I'm sure, for its (already low) corporate image.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish I could say I was surprised by this. . . Yet another limited-availability California experiment car? Next are they going to announce that it's lease-only? Shall we call it EV-2?

      I exaggerate, I kid. . . (I hope I'm kidding.)

      However, I have to wonder if California is really the best testbed region precisely because of it's history with EVs, eco-infatuated culture, heavy-handed regulations, etc. If they'd bring the Volt to, say, Texas first, then they'd get a better impression of how it's going to fare in mainstream America, in places without all that baggage.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Best of all, Californians will get the Volt with the federal tax credit. The occupants of inbred flyover country will have to pay full price due to GM not giving them a chance to buy the Volt while the credit is still in place.

      This is a PR disaster. Thank goodness I hate GM- it makes it easier to read stuff like this.
        • 2 Months Ago
        "This is a PR disaster. Thank goodness I hate GM- it makes it easier to read stuff like this."

        I guess if it was from Toyota it would be more interesting. What a moron.
        • 2 Months Ago
        You think Californians are going to buy over 250,000 volts before further release (tax break number)? If so, does this not make the argument for limited release in one state?

        Great sales, limited distribution cost. Limited dealer upgrade costs. Hot target market. Targeted marketing demographic.
        • 2 Months Ago
        You can still buy a Cali bound car and register it in your state. This is actually a good PR move. It is released into a market that has the money, interest and history of buying similar products. It also has celebrities that offer free advertising and boost exposure and credibility (similar to the Toyota plan). The idea is to develop a waiting list in a hot market and slowly expand from niche vehicle (what the Volt will be) and into a mainstream vehicle. This is the same game plan used by Honda (FCX) BMW (E-Mini), and Nissan (Leaf, Hybrid Altima) to some degree.

        The Volt will be in very limited quantities at first and will be in very high demand. I bet the initial batch sell for over twice sticker.

        It is also very practical. This is a novel vehicle for GM and will need to be phased into the dealer network slowly, lots of training will need to take place of sales people and mechanics.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I swear CARB has done as much to hurt EV's as they have help them. I am not buying that CA has put pressure for EV's. Pressure for fools cells maybe.

      I find it difficult to believe that leaving the ICE out and adding 16kwhs more in battery pack would not make a great 100-120 mile range EV. It just seems the logical step for the Volt to offer a full EV version with little effort.
        • 2 Months Ago
        The Impact was the concept car AeroVironment built for GM that with minor changes became the EV1 that GM assembled in low volumes.

        The gen II EV1 with 26.4 kWh NiMH battery pack "could travel between 100 and 140 miles between charges" according to the Wikipedia article, but I don't think it was ever tested using the EPA measurement methods that, for example, the Tesla Roadster underwent.
        • 2 Months Ago
        It would take three times the size or a battery to get 120 miles range over the 40 miles range, of the Volt. That would weigh almost 500lbs heavier than a Volt, and the cost of that additional battery is about $13,000 more than the ICE of the Volt engine generator.

        Grow up son. Why do you think the Leaf is being sold for $25,000 WITHOUT a battery in it? The battery for the Leaf would cost another $15-20,000 at cost, or $20-25,000 with margin. If you don't want to spend 40k for the Volt why would you want to spend $50 k for a smaller Leaf?
        • 2 Months Ago
        I expect your right. GM could never figure out how to make a EV go 120 miles per charge. I recall a car called the Impact, a GM executive said they were going to sell in 1990. Engineers were smarter back then and battery technology superior. It has nothing to do with revenue streams from ICE maintenance. Your right Stan, my bad.

        GM should just leave it to the small company that built my car. (Below) As some mentioned it was Aro Environment that developed the EV1, not GM.

        http://www.evalbum.com/1892

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXUSftdXg5k
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