The Chevrolet Volt certainly has green credentials, but it seems to have missed a mark or two in California. New reports suggest the car will not be eligible for California's $3000 California PHEV credit when it goes on sale this year, and, according to the California Air Resource Board, the Volt qualifies only as an SULEV status, unlike the Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Jetta TDI.
The Volt does not qualify for the California-only rebate because it does not meet the state's stringent "advanced technology", or AT PZEV, requirements, which include a 10-year, 150,000-mile battery pack warranty. The Volt's battery pack has an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty. That's the same as the Nissan Leaf's, but because the Leaf only has batteries, it does not have to meet the same warranty requirement.
Beyond the credit, the AT PZEV designation, which the Toyota Prius carries, also allows access to HOV lanes.
GM says it will qualify for the cleanest emissions level, but it will take several years to meet the tough California standard. The Volt still qualifies for a $7500 federal rebate.
The Volt also does not qualify for SULEV status, missing the California Air Resource Board's requisite level of CO2 emissions by 0.3 gm/mi. This happens because, under the CARB's test cycle, vehicles must run on their engine, meaning the Volt's electric-only range is ignored.
Our testing showed that, despite California's byzentinian classification, the Volt returned stronger fuel economy than the current Prius (and the upcoming plug-in model) and a range that exceeds any current electric vehicle. And that, always, your mileage will vary.
Source: California Air Resources Board (PDF)