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USA: Owners happy as Chevy Volt sales power up

Some early buyers of the Chevrolet Volt from Lou LaRiche Chevrolet are giving the car rave reviews, and the Plymouth Township dealership is on pace this year to double its Volt sales.

The Volt is a General Motors Corp. plug-in electric hybrid that relies on both battery and gasoline power and has a listed range of over 350 miles. The gas engine kicks in when the battery charge drops to a certain level, but instead of powering the car through a transmission, the engine turns a generator that runs the electric motor, taking over for the battery. The Volt also features regenerative braking, which recaptures the energy used in braking to further recharge the battery.

“After doing the math, it paid for itself,” said Dave Brown of Redford Township, who bought his Volt from LaRiche in April 2011.

A gauge on the dashboard of Brown’s Volt shows the car has more than 17,500 miles and has used just 54 gallons of gas.

‘It’s the technology’

“I love it. You have power when you need it,” said Victoria Wheeler of Canton Township, who took delivery of a Volt last August. Wheeler used to drive a Chevrolet Suburban that got 13 to 15 miles per gallon; the Volt’s gas mileage for her has been about 185 miles per gallon, she said, and electricity costs are minimal.
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