Thursday, December 23, 2010

Electric cars roll in to Austin

Updated: Tuesday, 21 Dec 2010, 6:49 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 21 Dec 2010, 6:48 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Thirteen Chevy Volts rolled in to Austin during the past few days. Austin was one of only seven cities across the country to receive the first mass-produced electric vehicles.

"It drives like a regular car. It's not something that you've got to baby. It's got good acceleration and [has] good instant tourque with the electric engine in it that allows you to make this your daily driver," said Craig Epeling, General Motors.

The automobile maker is using Austin as a launch city for its electric-powered cars, and plans to produce as many as 45,000 in the next few years.

"You're going to drive from 25 to 50 miles purely electric," he said. "And then it has a back-up engine in it that we call a range extender that allows you to go 370 miles."

That back-up engine has a nine-gallon fuel tank.

"If you drive along and say you never use gasoline," said Epeling. "You drive just here in Austin and go back and forth to work. It will actually allow the engine to come on after a year or so because we don't want to gas to go stale in it."

"The thing that people are going to be surprised about is that it's a car. You're not going to know it's an electric car. It's going to drive like the car they have now," said Jerry Reynolds.

Reynolds has been waiting years to get his hands on the new car.

"I did buy it for my wife. I have terminal cancer," he said.

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