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Chevy Volt Charges into Connecticut

Connecticut is set to receive its first Chevy Volt , the much-touted plug-in electric car, and it's causing quite a buzz. Sales representative Matthew Konspore, of Karl Chevrolet in New Canaan, is ready for the new electric vehicle, which will arrive in his showroom in the next couple of weeks. "The new GM has taken the concept of an electric car and used American engineering and hard work to produce one amazing groundbreaking automobile. It's a car for the future that is available now," he says.

Conventional hybrids have smaller batteries and are powered mostly by gasoline engines. As a result, they rely mainly on electric motors to assist the gas engine at lower speeds as well as for small amounts of electric-only driving. But the Volt drives primarily on power from its battery.

Steve Karl, co-owner of Karl, and others have been watching the development of the vehicle for years. "It's exciting," he says. "The Volt is definitely going to re-invent the wheel," he says. And, he adds, the car "handles great" and is extremely quiet. "It's got no transmission. You literally get all the power you need when you need it."

After charging its battery for 6-8 hours in a standard 110-volt outlet, the Volt can run exclusively on electricity for up to 40 miles. After that, the car -- a standard mid-sized sedan -- runs on a range-extending gasoline generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank. This is likely the key to its success. Says Karl, "Most Americans -- 70 percent of them -- commute less than 40 miles per day, so most people could drive a Volt on pure electric power. They could plug in at home, drive to work and back and never use gas."

According to the Chevy website, there are other perks that make the vehicle a must-drive. For instance, drivers can commute gas-free on an electric charge for a daily average of $1.50, and to save more money, they can set their chargers to charge during off-peak hours. And, the Volt charges fully in as little as 10 hours using the same outlet used to charge an iPhone.

The price for this electric powered vehicle starts at $41,000, including shipping and a charging cord for 120-volt hookups. And the Volt is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, as well as some state incentives. Chevrolet is also offering leases starting at $350 for 36 months with $2,500 due at signing. A 240-volt charging link, which replenishes the battery in about four hours costs $490. G.M. estimates an installation cost of $1,475 for 240-volt charging. Charging the car takes 10 hours using 120-volt household current.

Clearly, the Volt will put a charge in the burgeoning electric car market.

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