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Volt driver Jay Leno does 16,000km on a tank

Bright sparks: GM says Volt plug-in hybrid owners like Jay Leno pride themselves on sticking to pure electric power for the majority of driving.

US TV host Jay Leno yet to fill up his Chev Volt after 11 months of commuting

16 Nov 2011

AMERICAN television host and car nut Jay Leno is said to have travelled 10,000 miles (16,000km) purely on electricity in his range-extender Chevrolet Volt since taking delivery of it in December as one of the earliest customers to receive a production car.

The TV star’s Volt is said to still have the original tank of petrol delivered with the car, which he uses to commute daily to the Los Angeles TV studio to record The Tonight Show, as well as running various personal errands.

Chevrolet claims Mr Leno, who owns a vast garage of supercars and collectible vehicles, is one of a growing number of plug-in Volt owners in the US who have racked up five-figure mileages under electric power, priding themselves on sticking to electric drive in their travels rather than push the limits until the petrol engine kicks in to generate more electricity.

“I like electricity when I need it and gas when I need to use it,” Leno is quoted as saying in a GM media release.

“I travel 28 miles (45km) to the studio every day, then I go shopping, run errands, pull in the driveway that's 40 miles (64km) or so, then I plug it in, but if I need to travel further the car is ready for that too.”

Chevrolet is set to issue “10,000 Electric Mile” badges to Volt owners who rack up that milestone.

The Volt, which runs on electric power from its 16kWh lithium-ion batteries for about 60km before the 1.4-litre petrol engine kicks in to generate more electricity, is set to go on sale in Australia in late 2012.

In the US, a Chevrolet survey of Volt early adopters found they fill up with petrol once a month on average, traveling more than 900 miles (1450km) between service station visits.

The company says Volt owners have covered more than 10 million miles (16 million kilometers), with roughly two thirds of that distance powered by grid electricity.

Global Chevrolet marketing vice president Chris Perry said Volt owners were an extremely passionate and enthusiastic group.

“They carry pictures of their car, refer to themselves by their VIN number and freely talk about their ownership experience with anyone who will ask,” he said.

“The 10,000 Electric Mile badge not only recognises their achievement, but gives another point to brag about with anyone interested in learning more about the Volt.”

The owners are said to have become adept at finding electricity sockets to top up the batteries when away from home, including shopping mall car parks and office garages.

In Australia, GM subsidiary Holden has begun road-test engineering validation of the first of three left-hand-drive Volts in preparation for the launch of pioneering car in a year’s time.

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