US automaker speeds up EV rollout

Chevrolet Volt is to speed up the rollout of its Volt electric vehicle in the US, it has announced.

The company confirmed January 27 that consumers will be able to buy Volts in every participating dealership across all 50 states in America by the end of this year.

So far, sales have been restricted to Washington DC, California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Texas, but the automaker says that it is seeing a surge in visits to its showroom as a result of the Volt's introduction in December 2010.

Chevrolet quotes Maryland dealer Harry E Criswell III, who says that he sees "10 to 15 customers a week who are seriously considering buying a Volt."

The Volt is set to go on sale in Canada in the second half of this year and will be launched in Europe at around the same time rebadged as the Ampera, with sales beginning in the UK in 2012.

Chevrolet's announcement comes just a day after Nissan confirmed that it was ramping up production to meet demand for the all-electric Leaf, which launched at roughly the same time as the Volt.

It says that it is on track to produce 10,000 cars by the end of March, leaving it with a further 16,000 to produce to fulfil orders in Japan and the United States - with deliveries to Europe expected to begin in the coming months.