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Holden reveals Volt dealers

On a charge: Only 49 of Australia’s 270-plus Holden dealers have been authorised to sell and service the Volt range-extender hybrid from late this year.

Regional centres account for almost half of the 49 Holden dealers to handle Volt

11 Jun 2012

FEWER than one in five of Australia’s more than 270 Holden dealers have been authorised to sell the US-built Volt range-extender electric car when it hits the local market later this year.

Holden today announced it had selected 49 dealers nationwide to sell and service the groundbreaking range-extender hybrid hatchback and emphasised its long-range capability by opting for 21 in regional centres as far away as Townsville.

The company reports strong early interest in its first electric car and opened the order books to dealers last month.

It has promised to announce Volt pricing, specifications and launch timings by the end of July.

In keeping with the environmental nature of the car itself, GM Holden required all the Volt dealers to meet a set accreditation level through the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

Holden said dealerships that attain such environmental accreditation must implement a minimum number of environmental management practices across their business, which could include recycling, efficient energy usage and reduction in the use and disposal of toxic chemicals.

Holden sales, marketing and aftersales executive director John Elsworth said each dealer had also committed to invest in new tooling and infrastructure to support Volt servicing requirements.

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“Many Holden dealers already have a strong environmental focus, but Volt dealers will also be required to achieve at least a level 2 Green Stamp Plus Accreditation through the VACC Green Stamp program,” said Mr Elsworth.

“Accreditation assures customers that the dealer takes its environmental responsibility seriously.

“Each dealer will also install a dedicated Volt charging station and invest in new tooling and training to ensure the highest standards of service for owners of Holden’s first electric car.

“We asked dealers to place their first Volt orders last month and, while it’s too early to confirm numbers, we are receiving anecdotal feedback that there’s strong interest.

“We would urge all customers to contact their dealer in the first instance if they want to secure one of the first Volts when they arrive in Australia.” Of the 49 dealers nominated by Holden to carry the Volt, 17 are in Victoria, with 10 in Melbourne and seven in regional outlets, including Geelong and Wodonga.

New South Wales gets nine, including seven in Sydney, with regional dealers in Newcastle and Coffs Harbour, plus two in the ACT.

Queensland also gets nine Volt dealers, but only two of those are in Brisbane, the other five being spread along the coast.

Capital city dealerships dominate in Western Australia (six out of seven being in Perth) and South Australia, where all four are in Adelaide.

The only place in Tasmania for customers to buy a Volt and have it serviced is in Hobart.

Unlike the Toyota Prius petrol-electric hybrid models, which have a very limited electric-only range, and the all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which has to be recharged regularly, the Volt will run for up to 80km exclusively on its electric motors before needing to be recharged, but will not simply stop.

A 1.4-litre petrol engine will kick in if the battery power gets too low, not to drive the wheels directly but to act as a generator that charges the battery pack on the move, eliminating the sort of “range anxiety” that has afflicted regular EVs while still providing a useful all-electric range.

The Volt also differs from other EVs like the i-MiEV and the forthcoming Nissan Leaf in being compatible with domestic Australian 10-amp power outlets rather than industrial-standard 15-amp sockets, which simplifies the recharging requirements for owners at home, at work or even visiting friends.

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