Earlier today,General Motors confirmed that it has restarted production of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt at its Detroit Hamtramck facility.

In addition, the automaker has confirmed that it is now producing Californian-market Volts, complete with a low emissions package that enables them to qualify for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access in the state.

[UPDATE: At least one Chevy dealer is now offering $5,000 off on remaindered early 2012 Volts that don't qualify for HOV-lane access. The dealership has to sell them before it can order the updated 2012 Volts.

So if you're from outside California and want to save some cash on a Volt, now's your chance! Plan a trip to Abel Chevrolet of Rio Vista, California.]

Consisting of a secondary air-injection pump, the low emissions package improves the efficiency of the Volt’s catalytic converter, giving it exhaust emissions low enough to qualify as a California Enhanced Advanced-Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle, or E-AT-PZEV.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

As a consequence, anyone buying a Volt with a low-emissions package fitted in California will not only be able to apply to gain access to the state’s HOV lanes, but also be eligible for a $1500 state rebate in addition to the $7,500 Federal tax credit towards the cost of buying their car.

New Volts will also be fitted with redesigned steel reinforcements for its T-shaped battery pack, along with extra battery pack sensors designed to improve car safety in the event of a major impact.

GM has already started to ship California-spec Volts from its Hamtramck facility, with Californian dealer deliveries due to start before the end of February.

Don’t assume however, that every new Volt sold in California in the coming weeks will be compliant with the E-AT-PZEV regulations however. 

As part of an attempt to sell Volts not fitted with the low emissions package, Chevy has been running its Quad $0 lease deal

By requiring no down payment, no security deposit, no payment for the first month of the lease and no cash due when the sale is completed, Chevy dealers across are offering potential customers a seemingly good deal on a new Volt. 

But Californian customers should double-check their Volt comes with the Californian low-emissions package fitted to avoid disappointment -- or be prepared to sit with everyone else in the terrible traffic jams Los Angeles and San Francisco are known for. 


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