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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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RE: Of course it's including the tax credit
By Mint on 1/19/2010 5:43:48 PM , Rating: 2
If you can help bring to market a technology to get America off foreign oil for, say, $7500 * 250k ~= $2B spread over a few years, and our increased independence helps us cut just a few percent off our half trillion yearly spent on defense, it's a no-brainer.

Then you have the reduction in urban air pollution, too, which costs tens of thousands of premature deaths per year (look it up).

This is not just to appease some kooky global warming alarmists. It makes sense in so many ways.


RE: Of course it's including the tax credit
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2010 6:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then you have the reduction in urban air pollution, too, which costs tens of thousands of premature deaths per year (look it up).


Such bullshit. We do not have tens of thousands of deaths per year because of air pollution. And define "premature" deaths for me please. Anyone who doesn't live to the national average is "premature" ? That's absurd logic.

Please find me all these deaths where the coroner pronounced the cause of death was "urban air pollution".

quote:
If you can help bring to market a technology to get America off foreign oil


We already have a product. It's called DRILLS and pumps. We have them, we should use them.

quote:
This is not just to appease some kooky global warming alarmists. It makes sense in so many ways.


How ???


By Yawgm0th on 1/20/2010 4:44:13 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Such bullshit. We do not have tens of thousands of deaths per year because of air pollution. And define "premature" deaths for me please. Anyone who doesn't live to the national average is "premature" ? That's absurd logic.

Please find me all these deaths where the coroner pronounced the cause of death was "urban air pollution".
I disagree with OPs position, but he's not far off. Air pollution is a serious health problem, particularly in the more densely packed urban environments. Of course you're not going to see cause of death of random people in big cities as hydrocarbon or CO inhalation (not counting suicides, of course). However, the overall air-quality does have a long-term health impact. You see an increased rate of lung problems. Average life spans are reduced.

It's really not up to debate. Air pollution has an undeniable causal relationship with reduced life expectancy.

It's like saying smoking doesn't kill. Sure, a puff from a cigarette won't kill you now, but a pack a day for thirty years very well could give you lung cancer. You wouldn't put "tobacco inhalation" as the cause of death, but it did cause the lung cancer.

quote:
We already have a product. It's called DRILLS and pumps. We have them, we should use them.
You fail in the same way as OP, more or less. Fungible markets mean it doesn't matter much if we drill domestically. Unless we can produce petroleum to the point of a surplus (truly impossible at even 30% of our current usage, no matter where we start drilling), the market will adjust itself such that our foreign providers, regardless of how much we like or don't like them, will still get compensated very well for their oil.


By Mint on 1/20/2010 11:45:08 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Such bullshit. We do not have tens of thousands of deaths per year because of air pollution. And define "premature" deaths for me please.


Defined by who? How about the American Medical Association? World Health Organization? EPA? It's not the dumbass definition that you assumed it to be.
http://www.wunderground.com/health/airpollution.as...
http://dx.doi.org/10.1001%2Fjama.291.10.1238
EPA estimated 20k per year in 1997. WHO estimated 70k per year in the US. Journal of the Americal Medical Association says 22k-52k.

http://www.thestar.com/article/477901
20k premature deaths per year in Canada (Canadian Medical Association), 620k visits to the doctor.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/412202
European Respiratory Journal says 3% of deaths in the US are due to air pollution (~80k/yr)

The bottom line is I don't give a flying crap if you don't want any of your tax dollars going to PHEV subsidies. Drivers are shortening our life expectancy, sending us to the hospital, and killing more people than traffic accidents, and think how much you pay in insurance to cover just the latter. Gas tax doesn't come close to covering the costs.

quote:
We already have a product. It's called DRILLS and pumps. We have them, we should use them.
You're an idiot if you think we can triple our oil production by drilling more.


By Yawgm0th on 1/20/2010 4:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you can help bring to market a technology to get America off foreign oil for, say, $7500 * 250k ~= $2B spread over a few years, and our increased independence helps us cut just a few percent off our half trillion yearly spent on defense, it's a no-brainer.
You clearly have no understanding whatsoever of how a worldwide market of a fungible product works -- or where we get our oil. Almost all of it is foreign. Even if the Canucks could provide us with all of our oil (assuming by "foreign" you meant "from countries we don't really like") that wouldn't effect how much money goes to the Persian Gulf or Venezuela. If we don't buy their oil, someone else will at a similar price while we continue to pay a similar price.

Reducing how much we use we reduce would reduce quantity demanded for the entire market, but it's not enough to particularly damage the oil states that "we don't like" -- certainly no more than it hurts our domestic oil companies or our hat's oil companies.

If you want to lower air pollution, a better way would be to eliminate all subsidies and mandates for ethanol. Making Ethanol doesn't substantially impact the petroleum market (which, as I said, doesn't really do anything for us geopolitcally or economically anyway) and, in fact, results in MORE pollutants and CO2 being emitted.

Alternatively, apply that same money towards other ways to clean or prevent air pollution and the effect will be much greater. The technology has come a long way in ten years, but subsidizing it now is not going to make it move much faster. Give it five or ten years and we'll be ready to see a more reasonable shift to cars like the Volt -- but without the outrageous subsidies and the drawbacks.


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