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.