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 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 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.

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.
Show full PR text
2012 Volt Moves Into California's HOV Fast Lane
Dealers taking orders for low emissions models that qualify for special driving privilege


2011-11-16

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.


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  • 20 Comments
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      I read the Volt ICE is capable of 50mpg when it's run at the optimal speed. Maybe that's what they did? If I remember correctly, GM chose not to run it at its optimal range, because it would feel 'awkward' to drivers?
        Ziv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick
        That is correct, GM has stated on at least two occasions that their CS mpg would have been around 50 mpg if they had chosen to run the genset at a steady 3800 rpm, but they chose not to because the engine noise would be perceptible to the driver and passengers and might be disconcerting. Amazing. They didn't even offer a high efficiency mode or HE model, they just ignored the 50 mpg bragging rights altogether. If true.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          If they made that choice, it worked out well. The car is so very quiet, even in RE mode. It's so quiet I wonder if adding the secondary air injection pump (as the enhAT-PZEV model will) is a mistake. On my Audi, the AIR pump was louder than the engine and my Audi was a lot louder then the Volt. Maybe GM has a special quieter AIR pump they can use.
          Nick
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          Yeah I find that to be quite amazing. They traded a lot of efficiency for silence? How about simply adding better sound insulation? They could have at least allowed those who want to, to switch modes or offer a free code upgrade.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey PR! What does that add up to in total for rebates and such on the Volt?
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Dammit, where is PR when I need him?
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      For PZEV compliance all emissions related components must be warranted for 10yrs/150,000 miles including electrical components of HEVs and PHEVs. Evaporative emissions must be zero. The range extender engine must meet super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV) standards which are the absolute strictest standards to date for ICE cars. A super-clean burning ICE that only operates 20% of the time will be a huge help for the air quality of a city like Los Angeles, California. It's my hometown and let me tell you about it. It has the worst air pollution of any city in the United States. 13 million people, more than one-third of the population of California, lives in the Los Angeles area. It has 800 miles of freeways. LA is a basin larger than Rhode Island surrounded by mountains on all sides. Because of the interaction of the Pacific ocean there is an atmospheric phenomenon known as the inversion layer. The inversion layer traps all the pollution in the LA basin. This is why California Air Resources Board (CARB) is has the strictest emissions laws in the world. The Volt meets this very strict emission standard and should be eligible for the incentives. These incentives work. I recently heard that LA is now the second worst air quality city in the US. They're moving in the right direction.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Agreed except that the "strictest emission rules in the world" is a fairytale. It's very strict with diesel passenger cars for example, but then all big SUVs and trucks (which a huge proportion of vehicles are) are allowed to spew pollutants in much higher amounts. I'd say that 30% of all vehicles driving around L.A. (including belching tractor trailers) would be completely illegal in most of western Europe. There's millions of large displacement engines (people think anything smaller than 3.5L V6 is small..!!) and millions of cars are at least 8 years old.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Nick, that's not true. Trace emissions on passenger vehicles are measured per mile, and larger vehicles are not allowed to emit more. There used to be a special category for trucks, that went away about 4 years ago. The idea that a SUVs or light trucks are getting away with something is false. The CARB emissions truly are tighter in almost all ways than Europe. I don't know where you get the idea vehicles here are dirtier than Europe, Diesels are allowed to belch more particulates and NOx in Europe and older cars are not taken off the road there either. 8 year old cars are common in Europe.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      So i take it the Volt pollutes less than a Subaru WRX now? http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii-2010-prius-main-forum/64518-emission-comparison-prius-hs250h-insight-civic-hybrid-jetta-gas-tdi-wrx-sti-4.html
        usbseawolf2000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        See post#52. It has a comparison with eAT-PZEV Volt and eAT-PZEV Prius PHV along with Fisker Karma to see the current available plugin hybrid tail pipe emission. http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii-2010-prius-main-forum/showpost.php?p=1466544&postcount=52
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      HOV access should only be allowed when it is in electric mode.
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Yeah because that will easy for the police to determine from afar. That's just what we want them spending their time trying to determine.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh, the Volt gets stickers and now you're griping about the stickers? LEAFs get them. Prius PHEVs get them. Now you're annoyed?
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      the warranty thing is bs. that has nothing to do with environmental concerns and particularly thoughtless if battery cars are difficult to warrant that long. that's an unreasonable demand on car makers.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Unreasonable demand on carmakers? First time I ever heard you take their side. Good job dude!
        GSP
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        The warranty requirements are not BS. They help the vehicles remain low-emmission for a longer fraction of their useful lives. This helps CARB achieve its air quality goals. GSP
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      How about just make a real EV like Nissan, Tesla and Ford for HOV access? *roll eyes*
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        GM is preparing a conversion EV like Ford is. GM's is the Spark EV.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          I believe they are going for around 2,000 a year. IOW they plan to produce enough so that they can sell them at an inflated price to quasi Government organisations under a 'buy American' flag but nowhere near enough to make them remotely price competitive.
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