It’s another major milestone for the Chevrolet Volt: After Chevy engineers fine-tuned its catalytic converter for further reduced emissions, the 2012 Volt will be eligible for California’s high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lane sticker. According to Grayling Chevrolet, Volt drivers will have access to the state’s car-pool lanes for notably less stressful commutes—and as an added bonus, they’ll pay noticeably less money to gain that advantage.
Chevrolet Dayton said that’s because the ’12 Volt also will qualify for a $1,500 state tax credit from California, which comes on top of the U.S. government’s $7,500 federal tax benefit. Slicing some $9,000 from the cost of the Volt lowers the net price of admission to just $30,145, and it offers customers a surprisingly affordable opportunity to take advantage of the Chevy’s other benefits: The Volt is capable of up to 35 miles of all-electric, no-emissions driving on a single charge, and then can provide hundreds of more miles of range with an onboard internal-combustion engine that delivers EPA ratings of 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway/37 mpg combined—those are the exact same marks as the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which, however, does not qualify for the Golden State’s HOV lanes.
“HOV lane access is a coveted perk in California,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing. “The low-emissions Volt will be a strong draw for drivers who commute daily in the most-congested driving environments in the United States.”
According to Chevrolet CT, Chevrolet expects the 2012 Volt to begin reaching California dealerships in March, complete with a clean bill of health from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the agency is currently on record as saying it “does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.”