Austin a launch city for Volt plug-in hy­brid? CEO may say


Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. will add Austin and New York to the list of launch cities for its Chevro­let Volt plug-in elec­tric hy­brid car, The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Wed­nes­day.

GM’s chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ed­ward Whi­tacre Jr., is ex­pected to an­nounce those plans to­day at a lun­cheon ad­dress to the Greater Austin Cham­ber of Com­merce at the Hil­ton Austin ho­tel. The cham­ber said 750 peo­ple are ex­pected at the event.

A GM spokesper­son de­clined to com­ment on the Jour­nal re­port, but the au­tomaker had pre­vi­ously said Whi­tacre’s speech would deal in part with the roles Austin and Texas will play in GM’s re­cov­ery.

Whi­tacre is also plan­ning to drive to the Hil­ton in a Volt.

Once the world’s biggest au­tomaker, GM emerged from bank­ruptcy last year, re­paid gov- ern­ment loans ahead of sched­ule and is pre­par­ing for an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing of stock.

The Volt is set to go on sale this fall in limited num­bers. GM has said the ve­hi­cle’s launch mar­kets will in­clude Cal­i­for­nia, Michi­gan and Washington, D.C.

The Volt runs pri­mar­ily on an elec­tric mo­tor pow­ered by recharge­able bat­ter­ies. The ve­hi­cle also has a small gaso­line en­gine that can be run to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity to drive the car.

Sev­eral other au­tomak­ers, in­clud­ing Ford Mo­tor Co. and Nis­san Mo­tor Co. Ltd., are rolling out elec­tric cars later this year.

Last month, a Cal­i­for­nia com­pany, Coulomb Tech­nolo­gies, tagged Austin as one of nine cities it will pro­vide with hun­dreds of free recharg­ing sta­tions as part of a project backed by fed­eral stim­u­lus money. Austin En­ergy also plans to be­gin in­stalling recharg­ing sta­tions around Austin late this year.

Jin Lee

GM CEO Ed­ward Whi­tacre Jr. is plan­ning to be be­hind the wheel of a Chevy Volt when he ar­rives at a lun­cheon in down­town Austin to­day.

Ed­ward Whi­tacre Jr.

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