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GM Korea road tests Volt electric car

GM Korea Co., the South Korean arm of U.S.-based GM, began testing its electric vehicle the Chevrolet Volt in Korea on the road on Monday.

The week-long test drive will be conducted by the U.S. Embassy to Korea, with a specialist engineer from GM Korea.

The vehicle will be used by the U.S. Embassy for official functions for one week until April 24. The Volt being tested by the embassy will also be used for Earth Day events on Friday, the carmaker said.

“The local testing of the commercial model of the Volt will get people talking about electric vehicles as they see it on their roads,” said GM Korea chief executive Mike Arcamone said in a statement.

“We will be able to conduct various tests under actual driving conditions and get a better idea of its applicability in Korea.”

The Volt is fitted with both an electric motor and a 1.4-liter internal combustion engine, giving it a 610-kilometer driving range.

The vehicle operates as a full-electric vehicle, using power stored in its lithium ion battery pack, for up to 80 kilometers on a full charge, and uses an internal combustion engine when the battery is depleted.

The vehicle was launched on the North American market late last year, and has recorded monthly sales figures ranging between 281 and 608 units during the first three months of this year and December.
U.S. Ambassador to Korea Kathleen Stephens drives a Chevrolet Volt electric car at the embassy in Seoul on Monday. (GM Korea Co.)
U.S. Ambassador to Korea Kathleen Stephens drives a Chevrolet Volt electric car at the embassy in Seoul on Monday. (GM Korea Co.)

“This is the first Volt to be tested by an outside organization in Korea, and we plan to provide the Volt to concerned government organizations throughout the year for testing,” a GM Korea official said. He added that there were two other Volt vehicles in Korea and that they are currently being operated by the company’s research center, and that the company is not planning to introduce the vehicle to the domestic market within the year.

“On-the-road testing of the Volt is part of the company’s plans to see the vehicle’s marketability in Korea and to test other requirements such as infrastructure to determine it viability in Korea.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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