WARRNAMBOOL's Callaghan Motors has been selected among 49 Holden dealers across Australia to sell and service the new GMH Volt electric car when it goes on sale later this year.
GMH said country dealers had been included to ensure electric car ownership was not restricted to big city customers. Dealers will install a dedicated charging station and invest in new tooling and training.
Callaghan Motors dealer principal Steve Callaghan said it was major investment to set up the infrastructure for the Volt and he described it as a strategic move for his business.
"It's a $30,000 to $40,000 investment to set up for the Volt but it is a long-term investment.
"We need to stay ahead of the game and this will set us up for the future," Mr Callaghan said.
He expected single-digit sales of the Volt in the first 12 months and said the car would probably cost between $50,000 and $60,000.
The Volt has a range of about 80 kilometres when fully charged.
However, its electric motors are supplemented by a petrol engine which recharges its lithium-ion batteries and extends the driving range.
The batteries can be fully recharged in six to eight hours from a standard electrical outlet. Mr Callaghan said US television personality and car enthusiast Jay Leno owned a GM Volt and had done 16,000 kilometres and had only used one tank of petrol.
Mr Callaghan said he expected initial buyers to be to environmentally conscious community trend setters.
"I expect local government bodies may show leadership in this regard. Private sales would be to people who are environmentally aware and for whom money is not the issue," Mr Callaghan said.
Holden began trials with right-hand-drive versions of the Volt in Melbourne last week.