I.E. Chevrolet dealers begin selling the Volt

Inland Empire car dealers are taking part in Chevrolet’s experiment to see if Americans are willing to shift to electric autos.

As covered in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

The silver-gray Chevrolet
Volt parked in the showroom at an Ontario car dealership on a rainy
Wednesday afternoon was one of the first of the new electric cars to be
sold in the Inland Empire.

That specific Volt, with a sticker price of about $40,000, already
had a buyer, and Mark Christopher Chevrolet sales manager Karl
Scheiffle expected the car to be driven off the lot on New Year’s
weekend.

The Ontario dealership has presold about a dozen Volts,
Scheiffle said, with the first of the bunch leaving the lot about two
weeks ago.

“It’s going to take off and people are going to have fun with it,” Scheiffle predicted.

Waiting for its buyer, the Volt rested in the Ontario showroom
alongside two new Corvettes – one a fiery red and the other in metallic
gray.

It was like the old Chevrolet meeting the brand’s attempt to
reinvent itself. The Corvette has always been designed to burn gasoline
and go fast.

The Volt, by contrast, is capable of using gasoline but its
selling point is the electric “Voltec” power plant that owners can
recharge by pugging in to a household socket or by shelling out for a
special charging station.

“There’s no question it will transform the industry,” said Jay
Yerman, sales manager at Tom Bell Chevrolet in Redlands. “It’s the
stepping stone to the next leap electric cars will take.”

The Chevrolet Volt’s “Voltec” system can run 25-40 miles on electric power before a gasoline-powered system kicks in, according to an evaluation by Ward’s AutoWorld.

Ward’s has also checked out the Nissan Leaf, a competing vehicle that relies solely upon electric power. Ward’s named both vehicles’ “propulsion systems” for the company’s annual “10 Best Engines” list.

It will be interesting to see if Americans adopt electric vehicles, and if doing so reduces the nation’s pollution and reliance upon fossil fuels, given that the power used for these vehicles is likely to come from power plants that burn coal or natural gas.