Austin among cities that will take part in rollout of Volt, Chevy’s electric hybrid
General Motors Co. might not have many of its new Chevrolet Volt electric cars to sell in November, but Austin will get some of the first ones.
That much was promised by CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. on Thursday, who said Austin will join New York, Connecticut, Michigan, California and Washington, D.C., as launch locations. Why Austin? Partly because that’s what the company’s chairman and chief executive — a native Texan who still lives in San Antonio — wanted.
“I can’t think of a better location than Austin,” said Whitacre, who drove a preproduction Volt to the Hilton Austin hotel to speak at a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
“Austin is known as a green town, an environmental town, and that is what the Volt is all about,” Whitacre said. “Plus, this is GM country down here. It seems like it is a very logical
Continued from B5 decision” to include Austin in the launch.
Texas is a key market for GM, which has more dealers here than in any other state, though GM declined to provide a number.
In addition, Austin is among the cities that are establishing a crucial infrastructure for electric vehicles: public recharging stations. A California company expects to begin installing stations soon in Central Texas, and Austin Energy is also planning to add more this year.
Dealers don’t expect many Volts to be available at launch. GM expects to make 10,000 Volts by the end of 2011 and 30,000 in 2012, but the automaker has not said what the Volt will cost. Some analysts say GM will charge $40,000; others say the price must be less than $35,000 to be competitive.
The Volt has a driving range of more than 340 miles; it travels the first 40 miles solely on battery power. A small gasoline engine then kicks in to generate electricity to propel the car. That added range makes it unlike any other electric car, Whitacre said.
After pulling up to the Hilton Austin in a Chevrolet Volt on Thursday, Ed Whitacre Jr., the chairman and CEO of General Motors, said Austin will be among the first markets to offer the electric hybrid vehicle. ‘I can’t think of a better location than Austin,’ said Whitacre, a resident of San Antonio.
The Volt has a driving range of more than 340 miles, with the first 40 miles entirely battery-propelled. GM has yet to name a price for the Volt; the high end of analysts’ estimates is about $40,000.
Nick Richards, a communications manager for GM, took a look under the hood of a Chevrolet Volt at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s event Thursday.