The Chevy Volt may be able to travel about 40 miles without emitting a gram of CO2, but the car isn't clean enough to qualify for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access in California. Make that wasn't clean enough.
Today, GM announced that California dealers are now taking orders for an "Enhanced, Advanced Technology – Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle" (enhAT-PZEV) version of the Volt.
We've known this Volt would be coming for over a year, and it puts us one step closer to the E85-capable Volt that was promised, as well.
The enhAT-PZEV lower-emissions Volt will be the standard version in California starting early next year but it doesn't come with the coveted HOV sticker. All it means is that new Volt's owner will be "eligible to apply for one of 40,000 available HOV lane stickers" handed out on a first-apply, first-served basis. The enhAT-PZEV Volt is also eligible for an extra $1,500 worth of rebates from California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.
The new Volt's owner will be "eligible to apply for one of 40,000 available HOV lane stickers" handed out on a first-apply, first-served basis.
When we first heard about the enhAT-PZEV last year, we were told the Volt's standard 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty would need to be upgraded to 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty to qualify for enhAT-PZEV status. GM's press release doesn't mention any change to the warranty, so we'll need to follow up on this. UPDATE: GM confirmed that the enhAT-PZEV has the better, longer warranty, as required by the HOV access regulations).
The powertrain changes feature a modified engine and exhaust components, including a "secondary air-injection pump that streams ambient air into the exhaust stream to increase its ability to remove pollutants." This took GM engineers a while to get right, but what's ironic is that anyone can get "access" to those HOV lanes by carpooling. After all, the entire point of HOV lanes is to put more people in fewer cars, right? Plus, there is the argument that banning green cars like hybrids from HOV lanes slows everyone down.
Dealers taking orders for low emissions models that qualify for special driving privilege
LOS ANGELES – A Low Emissions Package that qualifies the 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car to access California's High Occupancy Vehicle traffic lanes will be standard on all models sold in the Golden State early next year.
"HOV lane access is a coveted perk in California," said Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing. "The low-emissions Volt will be a strong draw for drivers who commute daily in the most-congested driving environments in the United States."
Owners of a 2012 Volt with the Low Emissions Package will be eligible to apply for one of 40,000 available HOV lane stickers issued to vehicles that qualify as a California Enhanced, Advanced Technology – Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.
Additionally, the new Low Emissions Package makes the 2012 Volt eligible for owners to receive up to $1,500 in state rebates through the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. This incentive is in addition to the federal government's $7,500 tax credit.
California has more than 1,400 miles of HOV lanes. Originally, these lanes were restricted to vehicles with two or more occupants to help minimize congestion. However, the state updated the program to allow single occupancy use of HOV lanes as a way to encourage early adoption of advanced, low emission vehicles.
Chevrolet engineers modified the Volt's engine and exhaust components – specifically the catalytic converter – by adding a secondary air-injection pump that streams ambient air into the exhaust stream to increase its ability to remove pollutants. The additional oxygen helps the catalytic converter remove even more pollutants than the already clean standard Volt.
The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas-and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Volt owners have travelled more than 10 million miles since the vehicle launched late last year. Roughly two-thirds of those miles were powered by grid electricity.
"The Volt may be the most-technologically advanced vehicle on the road today with a long list of valuable benefits from gas-free commuting and refined performance to connectivity," Perry said. "Future owners in California can now add HOV lane access to that list."
There are more than 140 participating Chevrolet Volt dealers in California.
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.