CARB rules Chevrolet Volt a ULEV, won’t get access to Cali’s HOV lane

2011 Chevrolet Volt

When hybrids first started to show up in numbers on the streets in California a decade ago, there was a major advantage aside from the financial incentive and environmental friendliness; hybrids got to drive in the state”s coveted HOV lanes. Well, that policy has gone by the wayside, as hybrids just became too commonplace in California, and it became counterproductive to give them HOV access based on their hybrid status alone.

Nissan”s Leaf has been designated a zero-emission vehicle and as such will qualify for HOV Lane access, a $5,000 state tax rebate and preferential parking. The Chevrolet Volt we learned today, will receive no such treatment.

The California Air Resources Board designated the Volt an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. While that may sound great, it represents the average in emissions standards, says CARB, as almost 55% of newly registered vehicles in California qualify as such. There are three ratings higher than ULEV, a class which by the way also contains the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), Partial-credit Zero-Emissions Vehicle (PZEV), and Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV). The volt is actually dirtier than cars like the Toyota Prius, Jetta TDI and Honda Insight.

The extra credit and preferred HOV Lane status will certainly mean a bigger California market share for the Leaf than the Volt. The tests are done using the gasoline figures, so the Volt”s electric-only range isn”t taken into consideration, just the efficiency of the gasoline powered range extender.

Refresher: The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is powered by 16-kWh, “T”-shaped lithium-ion battery that powers the electric drive unit, which allows it to drive 40 miles on battery power alone. The system puts out 149-hp and a maximum torque of 273 lb-ft, allowing the Volt to go from 0-60 mph in about 9 seconds, hitting a top speed of 100 mph. The battery can be re-charged by plugging into a household outlet and takes 4 hours to recharge on 240 volts, and about 10-12 hours on a standard 120-volt outlet. The Chevrolet Volt also carries an 84-hp 1.4 4-clyinder engine that allows the five-door, FWD sedan to travel additional miles while averaging a fuel-economy of 50 mpg. A fully charged battery and full tank of gas will allow the Volt to travel 310 miles. Prices for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt start at $41,000 but with a full federal income tax credit (which range from $0 to $7,500), the Volt can cost a total of $33,500.

2011 Chevrolet Volt:

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: AutoblogGreen (via Kicking Tires)