The highly-anticipated Chevy Volt could be the car that revolutionizes the American auto industry -- or it could be too expensive for that. The midsize, four-door Volt, General Motors claims, will be capable of operating on battery power alone for up to 40 miles before a small gasoline engine kicks in to extend its range. It could give owners all of the environmental benefits and cost savings of an electric car, with none of the range limitations. But GM has invested so much money in developing the technology behind the vehicle that, some analysts worry, it may be impossible to sell the Volt at a price most buyers can afford.
A GM executive, however, is now hinting at a lower-than-expected price tag. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Jon Lauckner, GM's head of global program management, said the Volt's price could be notably lower than the anticipated $40,000.” Last year, Congress approved a $7,500 tax credit on the purchase of extremely efficient vehicles, which is expected to apply to the Volt. If the Volt’s price comes in much under $40,000, tax savings could push it into the low $30,000 or even high $20,000 range.
Autoblog adds, “General Motors has said it won't set final pricing until late 2010.” The vehicle is expected to reach a limited number of dealerships in pre-selected metro areas by the end of the year. “The notion that GM may launch the Volt earlier than initially planned – possibly as early as this upcoming summer or fall, well before the expected launch in November – is also reportedly being discussed by GM's top brass,” Autoblog notes. GM executives reportedly want to launch the Volt before Nissan launches its Leaf electric vehicle, to win bragging rights in the green car race.
“Regular production of the Volt is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year in Detroit,” Edmunds Inside Line reports, but GM Chairman Ed Whitacre “hinted that small quantities of the Volt may get into the hands of consumers in the U.S. before November” when he spoke to reporters yesterday at an event celebrating production of the first Volt battery pack.