LOS ANGELES — The Chevrolet Volt took center stage at the recent “Get LA Off Oil Day” held in Los Angeles, considered one of the most significant markets in the world for driving the future of environmentally friendly vehicles.
The event, held June 22 in downtown LA, was organized to encourage residents to explore more fuel efficient forms of transportation, setting an example for other cities across the U.S.
Shad Balch, a product spokesman for GM’s advanced technology vehicle programs based in California, said Los Angeles is a critical market for Chevrolet as the automaker prepares to launch the Volt later this year.
“We’re working hard to win back customers in LA by showing how Chevrolet is committed to reducing oil consumption and preserving our environment,” said Balch. “The grassroots events like Tuesday’s ‘LA Get off Oil Day’ allow us to engage a key customer base and show how Chevrolet is a part of the environmental solution.”
Los Angeles was the first American city to incorporate fuel cell vehicles in the fleet for everyday use, second in the world to Tokyo.
“There is no better place in the world for alternative fuels than Los Angeles,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, praising the Volt at a press conference for “LA Get Off Oil Day.”
GM also had several of its fuel cell vehicles on hand for the LA rally, which included a caravan of fuel efficient vehicle driving through downtown LA as part of the event.
California, along with Michigan and the greater Washington D.C. area, will serve as the initial launch markets for the Chevrolet Volt when the vehicle goes on sale.
Chevrolet will deliver more than 100 Volts to several utilities across the U.S. as part of an extended demonstration program. The program includes 500 charging stations that will be installed for residential, business and public use.
The first buyers of the Chevrolet Volt will be eligible for one of 4,400 free home charging stations.
They will be used to learn more about the installation process, vehicle charging and to gauge customer feedback.
The program is made possible with a grant of more than $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Chevrolet Volt is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt’s lithium-ion battery is depleted, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range if there is no access to an electrical outlet to recharge the battery, providing peace of mind by eliminating range anxiety.
Volt production begins later this year. Pricing has not been announced. — M. Amick