Alabama Power promotes energy efficiency with the Chevy Volt

By Arielle Clay

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Alabama Power is working to educate the public on how to save energy.  They say one option to help the environment is by driving an electric car, calling the vehicles the future of green transportation.  On Thursday, the company showcased the new Chevy Volt.

The Volt is a battery powered extended range vehicle.  It has a battery that can power the car for an average of 35 miles.

"The vehicle is designed to run on electric gas free emissions free.  So if you drive 25-50 miles a day you can do this with no fuel," General Motors representative, Araba Dowe said.

However, unlike fully battery powered vehicles the Volt also takes gasoline.  When the battery runs out the gas kicks in and powers a generator that keeps the battery going.  

"The fuel acts as a generator as more energy for the battery," Dowe said.

The GM rep says in the past long trips have been a challenge for people driving electric cars.  That's because in many states the infrastructure is not in place to charge the car's batteries.  She says the gas component gives drivers more flexibility in where they can go.

With a fully charged battery and a full tank of gas the Volt can travel for about 370 miles.  

It takes the Volt's battery 10 hours to charge.  It can be plugged into a standard home power socket.  

The car costs roughly $32,000.  It is currently available in seven markets.  Alabama is not one.  GM says the car should be available here by the end of 2011.

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