chevy-volt.jpgChevrolet is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the list of launch markets for the Volt — and some cities will be ready to sell the cars as early as this year. The initial launch of its groundbreaking electric car was expanded in response to intense interest in the Volt from customers across the country, according to the General Motors CEO, Ed Whitacre.

Thursday’s announcement brings the total initial Volt retail markets to seven, including California, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011.

“We can add markets as diverse as Texas and New York because the Chevrolet Volt can handle both urban commuting and longer trips, in Austin summers and Manhattan winters,” said Whitacre. “The Volt can be your primary vehicle, giving you the freedom to drive gas-free without the stress of planning every trip around the battery’s charge level.”

The Chevrolet Volt is capable of about 340 miles total driving range. For trips as long as 40 miles, the Volt gets its power solely from electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, an engine-generator automatically engages to extend the driving range to about 300 miles on a full tank of gas.

According to a U.S. Department of Transportation survey, the average driver in America commutes less than 40 miles per day, meaning Chevrolet Volt owners may never use gasoline or produce tailpipe emissions in everyday driving.

A portable 120-volt vehicle charge cord that can recharge the Volt using a standard residential outlet comes standard with every car — in about nine or 10 hours using a 120-volt outlet, or three to four hours using a 240-volt outlet.

Volt production begins late this year at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck facility.  Pricing has not been announced, but vigorous customer interest has been expressed on a website where people signed up to be among the first customers.

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