LOS ANGELES -- General Motors Co. will roll out the Chevrolet Volt slowly, starting in California, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said here.
GM will provide 100 Volts to California utility companies in early 2011, Lutz said last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Production will reach 8,000 to 10,000 in the first full year, ultimately ramping up to 50,000 to 60,000 annually. The Volt, a plug-in hybrid, can travel 40 miles on its battery before a gasoline engine provides electricity.
Last week, Chevrolet chief Brent Dewar said GM would roll out the Volt in selected U.S. markets before launching it nationwide, choosing the markets by their infrastructure for recharging batteries and tax credit offerings.
GM designed the Volt to comply with regulations for all overseas markets, Lutz said. He expects GM ultimately to sell 100,000 to 150,000 a year.
Lutz said he drove a prototype Volt on public roads over the Thanksgiving weekend.
GM, he said, is designing the battery to have a 10-year or 100,000-mile life. If the battery fails after that, the owner would need to have a dealer replace it. The cost should be no more than an engine overhaul on a traditional vehicle, Lutz said.
He said he is confident that "there will be a secondary-use market for spent battery packs" that still store energy. For instance, hospitals and homes may use the batteries for emer-gencies.