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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, 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 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 Keeir on 1/19/2010 3:46:36 PM , Rating: 3
So many many wrongs

The Volt's Battery Pack Size is 16 kWh

However, a single Charge of the Volt will put between 8 kWh and 8.8 kWh into the Battery.

This is maintain the ability at year 10 to still have a 8 kWh to 8.8 kWh battery availible for AER usage, thanks to Californian Emission Legislative that mandate emission reducing car parts be warrantied for the same operation up to 10 Y(15 Y)/150K Miles.

Depending on Using the 110V or the 220V charger options, a slightly different amount of power will be drawn from the wall, but ~10 kWh is likely are good estimate, not 16 kWh.

Its funny you bring up SCE. SCE has a special Electric EV rate schedule

Super off peak cahring rate appears to vary between 7 cents per kWh and 14 cents per kWh.

Thankfully the Volt can be set to use only Super off peak charging and can use Gasoline instead of electric during peak hours.

if we assume super off peak charging primary, at 130% baseline loads, it appears a Volt's per mile cost on SCE is 3.5 cents per mile. This equates to $1.75 a gallon gas in a 50 mile Prius.

By Nutzo on 1/19/2010 4:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks, I hadn't seen the SCE info for electric cars.

Problem is that you have to have a "smart" meter or a secondary meter installed for several hundered dollars.
You also need to live in an area that that support the smart meter if you go that route.

It's not SCE that's the rip-off, the rates are set by government agencies out here. They mandate that SCE buy expensive green energy, they stop the building of any low cost power plants, and then guarantee that SCE makes a percentage of profit.

By Keeir on 1/19/2010 4:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm... maybe currently...

I don't live in SCE's service area, but I was under the impression that by the end of 2012, SCE will have rolled out Smart Meters capable of the EV pricing.

Customers can either pay a little now and get a smart meter installed. Or wait till 2012, which appears to be "free" installation of smart meter.

All california utilities seem to be heated that way.

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