An update at least a year-and-a-half in the making, General Motors has just started delivering 2012 Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in models that are eligible for California customers to drive alone in that state's high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes, as the automaker looks to spur sales from the most populous U.S. state.

In addition to HOV-lane access thanks to enhAT-PZEV designation, 2012 Chevrolet Volt buyers can be eligible for a $1,500 California rebate in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit. About 140 California Chevrolet dealers will be carrying the vehicle by the end of the month. Meanwhile, the state is producing 40,000 Clean Air stickers that will give 2012 Volt drivers solo HOV lane access. Volt buyers in Georgia, Florida and New York can also get solo HOV-lane access in those states.

GM is looking to spur Volt sales in California, which accounts for about 10 percent of the country's population. Earlier this month, GM started offering a so-called "Quad $0" lease program on Volts made last year, meaning that customers would be able to lease the car without having to come up with a downpayment, a security deposit, the first month's payment or any cash upon sale. Those Volts are not eligible for solo HOV-lane access.

Last month, GM sold just 603 Volts, down 61 percent from its monthly-record 2011. The automaker aimed for 10,000 Volt sales last year but fell short at 7,671 vehicles.
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2012 Chevrolet Volt Cleared for California's Carpool Lanes
Low Emissions Package model certified for special driving privilege and rebate
2012-02-23

DETROIT – A low emission model of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car are on their way to California, where customers will qualify for a $1,500 state rebate and be allowed to drive solo in the state's carpool lanes.

Volts with the Low Emissions Package, which is standard for California, began shipping from the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck plant this week and should begin arriving at the more than 140 participating Chevrolet dealerships in California before the end of the month.

"The Volts with the Low Emissions Package are certain to be a strong draw for California commuters looking to travel the state's notoriously congested freeways in the carpool lane," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing.

Commuters who use carpool lanes in Southern California save an estimated average 36 minutes a day, or about a third of their total driving time.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is making 40,000 Clean Air Stickers available for registered vehicles that meet the state's emissions standards. Applications can be downloaded from the DMV's web site at www.dmv.ca.gov

Additionally, the new Low Emissions Package makes the 2012 Volt eligible for owners and lessees to receive up to $1,500 in state rebates through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. This incentive is in addition to a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 Clean vehicle rebate applications can be submitted online at www.energycenter.org

California has more than 1,400 miles of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. Originally restricted to vehicles with two or more occupants to help minimize congestion, the lanes are now open to single occupancy use by owners of advanced, low-emission vehicles. Volts registered in Georgia, New York and Florida also are eligible for single occupancy access to carpool lanes.

The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas-and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Volt owners have travelled more than 10 million miles since the vehicle launched late last year. Roughly two-thirds of those miles were powered by grid electricity.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.