20 June 2010

Early Chevrolet Volt Buyers may get Free Home-Charging Kit

USA Today
DETROIT — Early buyers of the Chevrolet Volt electric car could receive a free home-charging station through a U.S. Department of Energy program, General Motors said.

The Volt goes on sale late this year, and 4,400 customers will be eligible for a 240-volt charge station from ECOtality or Coulomb Technologies. In many cases, it will include the cost of home installation.

It's all being paid for through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"Many owners will plug their Volt into a normal 120-volt electrical outlet, charge overnight and drive to work in the morning using only car battery power," Tony DiSalle, product and marketing director for the Chevrolet Volt, said Thursday in a statement. "For Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the Department of Energy project to save $1,000 to $2,000."

The program will collect data from customers to learn about average charge times and time of use so that the Energy Department can better understand how electric vehicles are used.

GM has said the Volt will be able to go 40 miles on an electrical charge alone. After that, an onboard gasoline generator will provide power to recharge the automotive batteries and keep the vehicle going.

Tony Posawatz, Volt vehicle line director, said a 240-volt charger will recharge the car in about four hours.

He said some of the program's engineers already have installed 240-volt outlets to charge test versions of the Volt at home.

"These guys would never use any gas on the weekends unless they would drive the Volt up north," he said. "We're learning through the whole process that the charging experience is important to us."

Meanwhile, electric and hybrid vehicles are expected to help increase the sale of global alternative-fuel vehicles by 28% this year compared with last, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates. That outpaces an expected 8% industrywide increase this year.

As U.S. sales rebound, J.D. Power expects the U.S. market to account for 55% of hybrid sales in 2015.

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