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GM says the 2011 Chevy Volt, America's first mass-market electric vehicle, will be offered in the low 30s (possibly before tax credit), and that it will make a profit.
Its unclear whether Volt's price tag in the low 30s is with or without tax credit

The 2011 Chevy Volt, designed and manufactured by General Motors, faces tremendous challenges as the highest profile electric vehicle launch to date.  Among the most pressing are performance -- currently the Volt can not tolerate very hot climates well -- and pricing.

Many factors, including the cost of the battery pack, the cost of the vehicle warranty (which could possibly include limited battery replacement coverage), and cost of design have led analysts to predict that the Volt will be quite expensive for a mass market vehicle -- in the range of $40,000 USD.  A $7,500 USD tax credit on electric vehicles will bump this price down substantially, but many have voiced doubts about how many consumers will bite at a $32,500 USD price point.

However, according to GM-Volt.com, the cost may be significantly less, improving the Volt's prospects.  The blog spoke with GM CEO Ed Whitacre and quotes him as saying, "We’re not in business to lose money, we did enough of that already.  [The Volt] is going to sell in the low 30s.  We’ll get a margin on that."

Noticeably absent was any mention that the low 30s price estimate included the government tax credit.  If that figure indeed proves to be before the credit, it could mean GM has a major surprise in store for the market.  If GM can hit the market in the high 20s after a  tax credit, it could steal a substantial amount of business from hybrid makers like Toyota and Honda.

Again, Mr. Whitacre's comments do not entirely rule out that the "price" he's quoting is after tax credit, though that is how GM-Volt.com has interpreted them.  Regardless, if GM can merely make a profit on the electric vehicles it is producing, that will be impressive.

If GM can achieve either goal -- a price in the 20s after tax credit, or a margin on the vehicles it sells, its bold experiment could pay off.  After all, its position is similar to that of Toyota, when the Japanese automaker entered the world market with the Prius in 2001.  At the time hybrids were unproven and doubts were high; now the car is the bestselling car in Japan and climbing U.S. sales charts.  The Volt has the potential to achieve similar success, if GM can live up to its big promises.

Update 1: Tues., January 19, 2009, 11:05 p.m. -

Turns out that like most things that sound to good to be true, the notion that a "low 30s" price might be pre-tax credit turned out to be wishful thinking.  A GM spokesperson contacted AutoBlog, commenting that while GM "has not officially announced final Volt pricing, a price in the low 30's after a $7,500 tax credit is in the range of possibilities."

While it may be disappointing to many that the Chevy Volt won't hit in the high 20s, this comes as little surprise.  Returning to the Prius parallel, if GM can indeed turn a profit, though, that will still be quite impressive.  Hopefully that prediction by Mr. Whitacre was not simply more wishful thinking.

 



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By Sandok on 1/19/2010 11:20:15 AM , Rating: 3
Well, GM has just clarified that the Volt's "low 30s" price is only possible after tax credit.

Even if it were the same price as a Prius, I doubt it'd sell half as well. People concerned with emissions don't care if it does 0-60 faster than their current ecobox and only want good emissions and reliability.

I think it'll be a good car and am looking forward to the European version which, in my opinion, look WAY better. But it's still expensive and doubt it'll sell as well as GM hopes.

Still, who knows.


By omnicronx on 1/19/2010 5:26:03 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Even if it were the same price as a Prius, I doubt it'd sell half as well. People concerned with emissions don't care if it does 0-60 faster than their current ecobox and only want good emissions and reliability.
I really don't see the logic, the Prius is not battery operated in any shape or form, do you really think the Volt won't compete if the price points are similar?

40k for a Volt, no way, it would have been doomed for failure, but a plugin for 30k? Personally I think you are crazy if you don't think this will rival the Prius, especially for those that live within 20 miles of their workplace.

The value of the volt is not its 0-60, its the battery powered operation, its also a bigger car. Personally I would not be caught dead in a Prius, but the volt really make me think.


By Mint on 1/19/2010 5:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
In Europe I could see a PHEV doing extremely well, especially with corporations that give their employees gas money. They pay the equivalent of ~$10 per gallon, so even cars averaging 30MPG cost $300 per 1000 miles over the price of electricity.

If I was in Europe I would want a PHEV yesterday. A $10k premium will pay for itself in just a few years.


By Keeir on 1/19/2010 5:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
No kidding

British price for Petrol today is ~ 7.05 USD per USG.

Electric Prices vary, but ~ 0.15 cents per kWh seem acchievable.

PHEV... I would want some sort of way to use the much cheaper electricity prices instead of the much higher gasoline prices. PHEV, EREV, straight EV... all would be good.


By Keeir on 1/19/2010 5:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
Emission eh?

Since the Volt's generator/ICE runs ~25% of the time, the Volt will likely emit between 25%-50% of the pollution emissions of the Prius. If your one of those they buy "Green" Electricity, you could even claim its C02 production is 25%-50% that of a Prius.

Seems like that would go over well with the Prius as green crowd.


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