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Chevrolet Updates Volt for California Drivers

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer January 2012
  • Chevrolet is adding a Low Emissions Package to Volts sold in California.
  • The package qualifies Volt owners for tax incentives.
  • The updated Volt will also be allowed in California's HOV lanes.

Car shoppers in California now have an extra reason to consider Chevrolet's plug-in hybrid Volt. That's because the automaker recently announced several updates to 2012 models that allow Volt buyers to qualify for state tax rebates - and carpool lanes - for the first time.

According to the automaker, all 2012 Volts shipped to California will feature a special Low Emissions Package that consists of modifications to the hatchback's engine and exhaust. Designed to meet California's strict emission standards, the modifications include a secondary air injection pump designed to stream ambient air into the Volt's exhaust stream. Chevrolet says that helps the catalytic converter remove even more pollutants than the system's current design.

But for most California-based car shoppers, the biggest news isn't the Volt's revised exhaust system, but the perks that come with it. For one, Volt owners now qualify for a $1,500 state tax rebate for electric vehicles - a big deal since 93 percent of last year's state incentives went to drivers of the Volt's main rival, Nissan's all-electric Leaf. Other vehicles available with such tax incentives include the all-electric Tesla Roadster, hydrogen powered Honda FCX Clarity and recently released Mitsubishi i.

But many California drivers will prefer yet another perk offered with the new Low Emissions Package: HOV lane stickers. Chevrolet says owners of a Volt with the new package can now apply for one of the 40,000 available stickers that allow EV drivers to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes, or "carpool lanes," without another occupant in the vehicle. And in traffic-laden California, that's a big deal.

"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."

According to Chevrolet, 2012 Volts equipped with the Low Emissions Package will be available shortly, with prices starting around $40,000 including destination. The automaker hasn't announced if it plans to offer the package nationwide.

What it means to you: The most practical electric vehicle now offers a new perk for California-based drivers.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Chevrolet Updates Volt for California Drivers - Autotrader