DETROIT - The first Chevrolet Volts should be available to retail customers in California, Texas, Washington D.C., and New York starting this week, according to GM. The first of an expected 160 vehicles left the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant Dec. 13 and will be shipped this week.

The heart of the Volt is its Voltec electric propulsion system, which combines battery-only electric driving with an efficient, gas-powered engine giving the Volt up to 379 total miles of driving before having to recharge the battery or fill up the small gas tank. The Volt is the only mass produced U.S.-built electric vehicle.

Earlier this year, Chevrolet shipped 15 pre-production Volts to technology enthusiasts and electric vehicle advocates whom were the first consumers to experience the Volt every day under real-world conditions during a 90-day vehicle and charging evaluation program.

MotorTrend, Automobile, and Green Car Journal each recently selected the Volt as their Car of the Year. The Volt was also recently on display at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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