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1st Chevy Volts hit Long Island today

A volt being prepped at a dealer in

A volt being prepped at a dealer in Freeport Credit: Alejandra Villa

A New Jersey dealership delivered the first Chevrolet Volt extended range electric car to a customer Wednesday morning and, a few hours later, Robert Chevrolet of Hicksville became the first Long Island dealership to get a delivery of the innovative compact, General Motors said.

The first customer took delivery of his Volt at about 9 am at Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, GM said.

Robert Chevrolet general manager Scott Brown said a truck arrived at his showroom at about noon with a Volt that will be delivered in the next few days to 57 year-old Syosset veterinarian Jeff Siegel, a friend of Brown’s who describes himself as an avid car collector wowed by the Volt’s unusual technology.  “I’ve been dying for this Volt for a long long time and now it’s here,” he said via cell phone after visiting the car at Robert.

Unlike hybrid gasoline-electric cars such as the popular Toyota Prius, the Volt is powered almost exclusively by plug-in rechargeable batteries running two electric motors. GM says it can travel 25 to 50 miles on electricity alone, after which a small gasoline engine onboard automatically starts up to generate electricity to power the motors and, at highway speeds, also helps propel the car.

Siegel, who travels to the homes of his patients, says he will use the Volt to commute from his home to Hicksville, where he parks his truck — a distance of only about three miles each way. So, he says, he should be able to drive the car entirely on electricity unless he takes it on the occasional long trip.

“I’m a bit of a car collector and a little bit of a green guy,” he said, “and the whole idea of not using gas was very exciting to me,” said Siegel.

He said he is paying sticker price for the Volt, which begins at $41,000 with freight but qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax rebate to make it more affordable.

Pictured above is the first Volt delivered to the Paul Conte Chevy dealer in Freeport yesterday.

The Volt and the Nissan Leaf that is now on sale elsewhere and expected to be available in this area next year are among the first of a coming wave of mass market electric cars from major automakers. Toyota plans to offer a plug-in rechargeable version of the Prius in 2012 along with an electric RAV 4 SUV and a small electric commuter car. Ford is planning to launch an electric Focus compact and a Transit Connect van next year and a plug-in hybrid in 2012, Honda has promised a plug-in hybrid and a pure electric car in 2012 and Mitsubishi and Subaru also have talked about electrics for future sale in the U.S.

GM has said it plans to produce about 10,000 Volts through the end of next year and that all of them have been spoken for by dealers, if not by consumers.

One of five delivery trucks that left GM’s Hamtramck, Mich., plant Monday for the East Coast was to deliver one car each yesterday to dealerships in Forest Hills and then continue eastward to eight dealerships in Nassau and Suffolk — in Hicksville, Freeport, West Babylon, Bay Shore, St. James, Medford, Riverhead and Southampton, said GM spokesman Laura Toole, who is based in Manhattan.

Those five trucks were the first to leave the plant, said Toole, and were to have been the first to arrive at dealerships in any of the initial markets for the car, which also include parts of California, Texas and the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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 PHOTOS: Fiat 500 | Nissan Leaf EV | MINI Cooper EV | Chevrolet Volt

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