The first buyers of the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle will be eligible for one of 4,400 free home charging stations. The program will provide Volt owners with a 240-volt charge station from either ECOtality Inc. or Coulomb Technologies. In many cases, it will include the cost of home installation.
The projects are made possible with a grant of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
"Many owners will plug their Volt into a normal 120-volt electrical outlet, charge overnight and drive to work in the morning using only battery power," said Tony DiSalle, product and marketing director for the Chevrolet Volt. "For Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the Department of Energy project to save $1,000 and $2,000."
The U.S. Department of Energy projects were established with two objectives: installing charging stations in residential, workplace and public areas to encourage consumers to purchase electric vehicles; and studying electric vehicle usage to optimize future electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
To encourage consumer purchases of electric vehicles, federal grants and other funds have been awarded to install more than 15,000 home charge stations. That total includes 4,400 home charge stations for Volt owners; 2,600 as part of The EV Project from ECOtality, and 1,800 as part of the ChargePoint America project from Coulomb Technologies.
To study electric vehicle usage, the programs will collect data such as average charge time, energy usage and the starting and ending time of the charging process. This data will be analyzed by the U.S. Department of Energy to understand how electric vehicles are driven, how and when they are charged, and ultimately what is required for widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
"In addition to saving money, these projects offer Volt owners an opportunity to play a role in developing our collective understating of electric vehicles in the market," DiSalle said.
At the time of purchase, Volt buyers will receive a portable 120-volt charge cord, and will have the option of installing a 240-volt charge station available from Chevrolet. Volt buyers that live within the program cities may apply for a free 240-volt home charging station through the Coulomb or ECOtality programs if they are willing to share their charging information. Additional consumer information on eligibility requirements and the application process will be available when the Volt goes on sale later this year.
The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle with extended range capability, designed to drive up to 350 miles without stopping to recharge or refuel. For the first 40 miles, Volt is powered by pure electricity, without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt's lithium-ion battery is depleted, a gasoline-powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 300 miles.