The Holden Volt hybrid will be sold only in one in five of the local car maker’s dealerships.
Holden today confirmed just 49 of its 240-odd dealerships will sell the electric car that uses a petrol engine to extend its driving range and will cost about $60,000 when it goes on sale in late 2012.
The limited network is a result of Holden requiring commitments from dealers wanting to sell the Volt. These include the installation of a dedicated charging station, investing in new tooling and service training, and achieving recognised environmental accreditation.
The Volt’s extended range capability means the Holden dealerships selling the vehicle aren’t limited to Australia’s main cities. The dealerships are featured in all states except Northern Territory, with Tasmania limited to just one, in Hobart.
Holden says its dealers are already receiving strong interest in the Volt but is being coy about numbers.
“We do have confirmed customer orders, but we’re not yet ready to reveal exact figures,” said Holden spokeswoman Andrea Matthews.
Holden’s executive director of sales and marketing, John Elsworth, said Holden dealers will need to attain at least a level two Green Stamp Plus Accreditation through the VACC, chiefly through environmental management such as “recycling, efficienct energy usage and reduction in the use and disposal of toxic chemicals”.
“[Green Stamp] Accreditation assures customers that the dealer takes its environmental responsibility seriously,” said Elsworth.
The Holden Volt will be a rebadged version of the model that’s known as the Chevrolet Volt in many markets, such as the US, and the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera in others.
Holden is marketing the Volt as an electric car, though it differs from typical battery electric cars that have already reached the market – the Mitsubishi iMiEV and Nissan Leaf.
The Volt teams up to three motors, with a traction motor joined by a generator and the 1.4-litre petrol engine.
The engine supplies power for the electric drivetrain once the Volt’s lithium-ion battery park has been depleted to a minimum state of charge. The Volt can then be recharged like an electric car.
This allows the Holden Volt to travel more than 500km, according to Holden, once the vehicle has covered up to 80km on battery power alone.