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Chevy allows 15 future buyers to test Volt ahead of release

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Chevy allows 15 future buyers to test Volt ahead of release

Christina Rogers / The Detroit News

Seeking some real-world feedback, Chevrolet is putting 15 would-be buyers behind the wheel of its 2011 Volt to road test the electric vehicle ahead of its release this fall.

Each volunteer will get a pre-production Volt to drive for three months as part of evaluation program starting in October. GM has dubbed the hand-picked group, the Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board.

General Motors Co. plans to begin shipping the 2011 Volt to dealer showrooms later this year.

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The Volt is the first in a new wave of electric vehicles going on sale in the next couple years. GM says the real-world testing will help the automaker learn more about owning and charging its electric vehicle.

"We are eager to learn as much as we can from potential customers about their experience with the Volt," said Tony DiSalle, the Volt's marketing director, in a release. "We want to know their thoughts, impressions, and perceptions.

"This special group of electric vehicle experts gives us the opportunity to learn even more as we near market launch."

Volt drivers can travel about 40 miles on a single charge, although the car's range varies according to climate, road conditions and driver behavior. After the battery is about 70 percent depleted, a gas engine kicks in extending the car's range another 300 miles.

To date, GM has built 200 pre-production vehicles at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

The advisory group includes car enthusiasts and energy industry leaders. Among its participants are Andy Lipkis, president of TreePeople, a Los Angeles-based environmental group, and celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio, former "Top Chef" contestant and owner of Volt restaurant in Frederick, Md.

The Volt initially will be sold in Michigan, California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and Washington, D.C., before a national rollout 12 to 18 months later.

GM has limited production for the 2011 model year to 10,000 but will eventually expand to as many as 30,000 annually.

The Volt's price tag starts at $41,000 but it is eligible for up to $7,500 in tax credits.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100928/AUTO01/9280427/1148/auto01/Chevy-allows-15-future-buyers-to-test-Volt-ahead-of-release#ixzz10s2Rwxgb

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