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Holden Volt joins electric trial

More than 60 vehicles and 200 charging stations are being used in the EV trial

The cars have been enlisted to supply recharge data for the Victorian Government's Electric Vehicle Trial. Four Aussie-spec Volts will join four left-hand drive evaluation vehicles in a 12-week test of the vehicles' typical range and recharge patterns ahead of the car's local launch late this year.

Holden's director of Energy and Environment Richard Marshall says: "By getting involved in the Victorian Electric Vehicle Trial we hope to develop a better understanding of how people drive and recharge vehicles in Australia."

The eight cars will be driven by Holden staff, who will provide feedback to the launch team and share their experience of living with an electric car via social networks.

"Ordinarily the vehicle development process is shrouded in secrecy but with Volt we're taking a different approach and encouraging the evaluation drivers to talk about their cars with friends, families and online contacts," Marshall says.

The Volt is the size of a Holden Cruze but is powered by what GM says is the world's first extended range electric vehicle, meaning the 1.4-litre petrol engine is used to generate more electricity instead of helping with locomotion. Holden says the Volt has a range of up to 80km on electric power, with the petrol engine extending that to 600km.

More than 60 vehicles and 200 charging stations are being used in the EV trial, which will run until 2014. The Victorian Government will use the data to map driving and recharge habits that will help plan infrastructure and energy grid upgrades. Carmakers taking part include multinationals like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Holden and Toyota, local importer EDay Life and Victorian-based EV conversion specialists Blade Electric Vehicles.

Updates from the drivers will be posted on Holden's blog