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Low-emissions Chevrolet Volt models shipped to California

Thu, 23 Feb 2012

Californians won't have to wait much longer to take their Chevrolet Volts in high-occupancy vehicle lanes. General Motors began shipping a special version of the range-extended sedan to the state this week.

The cars will arrive with a special Low Emissions package that makes it legal to drive them in the Golden State's carpool lanes. The Volts also will qualify for the state's $1,500 rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.

Previously, the Volt didn't qualify for any of California's incentives because the car uses a four-cylinder engine when the battery runs out. This new version spits out less pollutants, even when running on gasoline.

Commuters in the Golden State who use the HOV lanes save an estimated 36 minutes per day in traffic, according to GM. California has more than 1,400 miles of carpool lanes, which were originally restricted to vehicles carrying more than one occupant.

Now, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is making 40,000 Clean Air stickers available for registered vehicles that meet state emissions standards.

GM sold 7,671 copies of the Volt last year in the United States, while the Nissan Leaf--which already is allowed in California's HOV lanes--sold 9,674 units. More than 60 percent of Leafs sold were delivered in California, while only about 30 percent of the Volts went to the state.

By Jake Lingeman