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BusINess » Business Transportation » Officials give preview of Volt, Think City cars

Officials give preview of Volt, Think City cars

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt sits in front of Avalon Manor in Hobart on Tuesday as part of the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting. A Think City car also was on display as part of the preview of electric vehicles. Automaker representatives touted the economic and environmental benefits of the vehicles. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt sits in front of Avalon Manor in Hobart on Tuesday as part of the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting. A Think City car also was on display as part of the preview of electric vehicles. Automaker representatives touted the economic and environmental benefits of the vehicles. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

Two new electric vehicles made their 2011 Northwest Indiana debut Tuesday at the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting.

The Chevrolet Volt and the Elkhart-made Think City were parked outside Avalon Manor for guests to view and test-drive. Inside, representatives from the manufacturers touted the economic and environmental benefits of the vehicles.

Larry Speicher, General Motors regional manager, said the marketing strategy for the Volt is “more car than electric.”

“We’re making this a friendly-to-drive electric vehicle for the people who decide to make a purchase,” he said.

Speicher said the Volt’s extended range capability means it can be driven from 350 to 390 miles nonstop. After being charged, the car will travel the first 25 to 50 miles on full battery power. Once the battery is depleted, the on-board motor generator starts to run and provide electricity for the electric motors to run the next 310 to 340 miles.

“It’s a tremendously flexible vehicle,” he said. “It can be driven across the country in all climates without range anxiety.”

The Volt also is made of “Cadillac quality,” Speicher said.

“We pay attention to the details and the materials to make this vehicle very nice,” he said.

The Volt plugs into a standard 120-volt household outlet, which amounts to about a 10-hour charge. Customers can also charge into a 240-volt outlet for a quicker, four-hour charge.

“The cost of recharge from empty to full is about $1.50,” Speicher said.

The Volt’s sticker price is $41,000, but after federal tax credits, the cost would be reduced to $33,500.

Speicher said GM has invested more than $700 million in the Midwest to bring the Volt to market.

The Volt is currently available in Michigan and select other states and will enter the full market including Indiana and Illinois about fall.

The Think City is a stand-alone model manufactured in Elkhart after being partially assembled in Finland. Think North America representative Tim Cunningham said the car currently is being made for fleets, and there are about 2,000 on the road right now.

Carl Lisek, South Shore Clean Cities coordinator, said Think is going to establish dealership networks in northern Indiana.

“They’re getting ready to launch,” he said.

Lisek said it’s the group’s goal to start an electric vehicle consortium.

“We’re going to be working together to bring electric vehicles and electric charging stations to northern Indiana,” he said. “There are just so many things we’re doing to help Northern Indiana go green.”

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