2011 Chevy Volt: No Carpool Access For 2012s Until March
January 20, 2012
Pictured is a 2012 Chevy Volt and not our long term one. You can tell this because a) it's parked at the Detroit Auto Show and b) it has small buttons on the door handles that let you lock/unlock the car without having to touch the key.
Item B is one of my favorite things about the 2012 model. There are few things as annoying as a car with keyless start but no proximity entry. You've already had to take the key out of your pocket, what are you supposed to do with it once you're in the car?!
Anyway, that's not the point here. For most Californians, the point of the 2012 is not the excellent access, but the car's ability to travel in the HOV lanes. For that, a car needs to be AT-PZEV. And the 2012 Volt is, if you get the Low Emissions Package. We've covered this before.
Here's the rub, when Chevy made the announcement back in November, they stated that the low emissions package would be standard on California cars. More recently they've clarified this to note that 2012 AT-PZEV cars will be shipping to California until late Feb and will be arriving at dealers in March. GM has limited non-AT-PZEV 2012 Volt deliveries to California over the last three months, but there are 2012 Volts which are not carpool lane friendly on dealer lots as we speak.
If the carpool lane (or the $1,500 California rebate -- not the fed tax credit) doesn't matter to you (carpool lane access wouldn't help my life in the slightest) then any 2012 you find will be just fine. If, however, you're looking for that AT-PZEV rating and the stickers, shop carefully and know what you're looking for.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line