Thunder Down Under! Australia Getting Volt

General Motors does not like to call its Chevy Volt compact car a hybrid, preferring instead to describe the Volt as an electric vehicle equipped with a “range extending” gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. That’s why they dubbed the Volt an “Extended Range Electric Vehicle.” But whatever they want to call it, Australian drivers will soon be able to own one.

GM’s Aussie subsidiary, Holden, recently announced that the rebadged Holden Volt will be available in the country beginning late in 2012. The car has been available in the U.S. for close to a year, and through November General Motors had sold 6,468 Volts nationwide. In addition, the car has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award, the 2011 Automobile of the Year by Automobile Magazine and 2011 North American Car of the Year announced at the 2011 North American International Auto Show. That’s all the plus side. More recently, however, GM has been scrambling to deal with an investigation into possible fire risk with the Volt.

holden volt

image via GM

The Holden version of the Volt is virtually identical to the U.S. version – in fact the first batch of Aussie Holden Volts had left-hand steering wheels – and employ the Volt’s Voltec propulsion system. The system consists of a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provide a pure electric range of between 60 and 80 kilometers (35-50 miles), depending on conditions. A 1.4 liter gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) by operating the vehicle’s electric drive system until the car can be recharged or refueled.

The Volt’s lithium ion battery can take a full charge in up to four hours via charging station and from six to 10 hours using a home outlet. Holden has not yet released pricing or delivery information on the Volt, but the car is expected to be in showrooms by the end of 2012.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.