• Jan 18, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

At this stage in the development of the Chevrolet Volt, the two biggest unanswered questions for potential buyers are: What kind of mileage will it get while in charge-sustaining mode (when the range extender is running)? And how much will it cost?

Chevrolet doesn't intend to provide definitive answers to either of those questions until much closer to the Volt's November launch, and the mileage question can't be answered until the calibration and certification process is completed sometime this summer. But General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre may have just provided a big hint on the pricing.

The Volt's MSRP will be tricky as it needs to take into account marketing, production cost and – in this case – a lot of politics. Given the nature of the Volt's plug-in technology, it will obviously be much more expensive than a comparably-equipped Cruze. However, some GM executives have been hinting there could be a surprise when the Volt price is announced. For the past two years we've been hearing about a sticker price of around $40,000. But when General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre spoke to Lyle Dennis at GM-Volt.com, Whitacre said that the Volt would be priced "in the low 30s" and be profitable.

The big unknown from that statement is whether that means before or after the $7,500 federal tax credit. We're still awaiting a clarification from General Motors on that point, but in all likelihood, that low $30,000ish price would be after factoring in tax incentives. Our recent discussions with GM's Jon Laukner and Denise Grey have hinted at a price for the Volt's 16 kilowatt-hour pack of about $600 per kWh. That would put the cost for just the full pack at almost $10,000. Factor in all the other technology in the Volt – including the electric drive and power electronics in addition to the engine – and hitting Whitacre's price point before incentives would be extremely difficult, especially with the low initial production volumes for the Volt.

*UPDATE: It's after taxes.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: GM-Volt.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Including the federal tax incentives when throwing around the price is disingenuous at best. Many people who would be interested in this vehicle are not eligible for the tax incentive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How would they not be eligible?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, I wish the car companies would quit including the tax credit in their pricing. A tax credit is not the same as a rebate, you have to wait for it and depending on individual financial situations not everyone would benefit from a tax credit. It's confusing and misleading at best. Tesla set a very bad precedent by including the tax credit in their pricing, and now everyone else wants to follow.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Including the federal tax incentives when throwing around the price is disingenuous at best"

        It was Sam Abuelsamid that made that claim, not the Volt spokesman. If that "low 30s figure" was the price after the credit, then that would mean the car would cost around $40K, and thus would be no surprise.

        Logic says if they're hinting the price is going to be a "surprise" then that suggests it won't be the price everyone was assuming it would be - meaning the low 30s figure is the price BEFORE the tax credit. With the credit it should cost in the mid 20s, making it more competitive with the Nissan and Ford EVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you don't live in the US or Ontario you won't get the credit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i disagree with the stereotyping here. i think the average green car buyer has totally different buying behavior and approach to cars than others, who are equally unique in how they approach their automotive purchases. for one, despite the fact that they aren't out for performance, they nonetheless don't think of cars as a generic white good, and therefore hold onto vehicles for longer. this means that they DO stand a chance of recouping the initial premium of a car like this.

      i think that's the nicest way of putting that, especially given some of the posts i've seen.
      Level4
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's no problem with the Volt price at all, It has been shown that people that are into this sort of things have been willing to pay more for such said product. People were always willing to pay more for a Prius even tho they never recouped the benefits of using less fuel..A Hyundai Accent would of been a more logical purchase at 12K...Theres people dropping down more then double for a Tesla which is a Lotus with batteries... The original Lotus Exige would of been the logical purchase at 50K...There is no problem as far as the price factor with the green crowd, they are always willing to pay more.....The only problem crowd this car comes into trouble as far as price goes is for the logical buyers out there that see no benefit in paying the extra $$$$$ which they won't recoup in at least 5 years...I for one am one of those logical buyers as appose to the green spiritual buyer...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level4
        Morning, Level.

        You're right. The tree huggers will flock to GM to buy a Volt, regardless of price. In their world it'll be a status symbol, and the price becomes irrelevent.

        But, the rest of the world is gonna keep right on either spending their $35-40K on a CTS, Taurus SHO or other bigger, yummier cars, or buy a Fit, Focus or Civic, and invest the rest of their $40k in a fried plantains franchise in Cleveland, Tennessee.

        The tree huggers cannot make the Volt a success. They can love it, brag about it and show it off at Greenpeace rallies nationwide, but they can't make normal, sane people spend $40K for it, and without some sort of real world (read dollars) incentive for Joe Six Pack and his cousins to buy a Volt, it cannot ultimately succeed.

        The Insight and Prius have firmly embedded in consumer's minds that a "real hybrid" costs $25K. The validity of the comparison is unimportant, save that people buying a Volt will have that perception, and view a price many thousands of dollars higher as unacceptable, without an overriding, semi-religous need to demonstrate their committment to save the whales and such, by buying one.

        I hope somehow the Volt can be competitively priced. I hope GM sells millions of them, which will reduce gas usage, drive down the price of gas, and allow people like *me* to keep right on driving our V8, RWD vehicles at a reasonable fuel cost.

        And for you Sierra Club guys, don't worry. Every dollar you overspend on a new Volt in excess of what a similarly performing ICE car would cost goes directly into my 2012 LeMons or Busts Unfettered Fund, for which my Ford Excursion and I are extremely grateful.

        Now, go ahead and flame away...but if you're honest, try and justify the price...if you can.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level4
        Normal gas cars don't ever "pay for themselves", cars are not a good investment.

        My car wont ever pay for itself, but it only costs $20 to fill the tank so the premium I paid for the hybrid system may break even at some point if I own the car long enough. Also it is a hedge against rising oil prices and it will retain its resale value over time as the market is disrupted by oil shocks and affordable EVs. Releasing less pollutants into the air is icing on the cake.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level4
        "A Hyundai Accent would of been a more logical purchase at 12K. (...) the logical buyers out there that see no benefit in paying the extra $$$$$ which they won't recoup in at least 5 years...I for one am one of those logical buyers as appose to the green spiritual buyer..."

        So we must conclude that you drive a Hyundai Accent. Right? Anything else would be illogical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level4
        Well, so be it.
        For us 'spiritual greens', we often feel like driving is bad for the environment, therefore we drive a lot less. An electric car which can put out much less carbon emissions, and solve social problems like oil crises and funding the middle east, is very liberating.

        I myself have a 6 cylinder BMW. It's fun to drive but i do very little of it, knowing what i'm doing to the environment. I want something that is green AND fun to drive, but can't afford a tesla.

        Cars like the Volt are what i've been waiting for for years. I think there are a lot of people out there like me, who are overly concerned about their impact on the environment, but cannot afford a high tech electric. You may never recoup the extra cost in gas/electric bills, but knowing that you're doing the right thing for this planet's future is priceless.
        Level4
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level4
        neptronix: good point,but thats the point its a home run for the target audience for which the Volt is going for...Convince the rest of the people to pay for an un logical expense is the struggle...

        GoodCheer: damn right its un logical!...sure the green movement has changed it's consensus from saving less gas to im just doing it to help out the environment...To the people that bought a Prius to save on gas expenses is illogical do the math, the numbers don't lie...By doing so you are already acknowledging you didn't care what the car looked like but your biggest concern was to save on gas at the pump...an Accent will save you a lot more in the long run...If you wan to drive a Hybrid to help save the earth and give less money to big oil great..but don't preach it's cheaper to own then a conventional gas car...as for the Accent, it was an example but thanks for trying to take a cheap shot at me...

        paulwesterberg: on average it will take you at-least 5 years to recoup the added expense of a Hybrid over a conventional gas fuel car..If you plan on keeping you Hybrid for over 5 years then you're making good...but then again it comes down to the original comment I made, which was a better buy would of been an Accent at 12K save the difference from a Prius and you come out winning with gas and car expenses...

        My beef is with the people that buy Electric/Hybrids to save on fuel cost which is illogical in the first place and not with the spiritual greenies that dont care about the cost just the fact they helping with the environment and their beliefs..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well I guess we'll see what the prices drop to next october when the newness has worn off and the real price starts taking hold.
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      Most have to get real value for their money. Real green idealogs with that kind of money will be relatively few, centered around college towns. That's where you find an inordinate number of Priuses and bicycles. An admirable motivation, trying to save the world one gallon at a time, doing the right thing as they perceive it to be.
      It is mainly symbolism over substance, with the only real effect of making them feel better about themselves, and just slightly superior to the rest of us struggling to provide some financial security for our families. I applaud them and the businessmen making a profit off their misperceptions of the real world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Me riding my bike and not owning a car for the last 4 years is merely "symbolic"? Would you care to tell me how much fossil fuel emissions my bike releases? How about the costs associated with riding my bike?

        Last night I watched "The 40 Year Old Virgin" for the first time and had to laugh at how they portrayed him as a bit of a loser because he didn't have a car and rode his bike everywhere. Yes, only real men need to rely on 2000 lb of metal and fire to move them 10 km from point A to B. Only wimps are able to do this daily under their own steam. Only in America.....
        _________________________

        Regarding the Volt, I think they should sell at a small loss for the first year or two to not scare off potential buyers, because costs are going to come down in a couple years when the supply chains mature, and then it will become profitable.
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        There is value to all you folks have stated. We all have our own version of reality. For me it's that earths climate is completely at the whims of solar radiation, and climate change has always been here. 10,000 years ago the ocean level was about 300' lower than it is now. Do you suppose we had global warming even before Republicans? It's smart to adapt to whatever climate change regimin we are in, and fighting the windmill to try to stop it. Which ever reality eventually makes sense to you, you have to sort through the lies, damn lies, and statistics and in the end it has to make sense. Good luck to you all.
        Level4
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        neptronix 4:52PM (1/18/2010)

        You're right, there is no smog, no melting icecaps, oil reserves are plentiful, and we're pretty much living in eden. It's an illusion perpetrated by liberal neo-fascists that only the upperclass participate in.

        Gotcha.

        That was a harsh comment because the same could be said about the side you follow...The problem with this "green" movement is that it's forcing people to choose sides and choose beliefs...The benefits of having a divided America is the politicians can get away with whatever they want because they will always have a side to conspire with them...Remarks like these of mentioning neo-fascists and upper class are only doing one thing...Helping embrace and separate the people...instead of bringer everyone together...Buy hating on others you're only separating your selves from said class...oxymoron...

        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        If you buy a new car to arrive at a proper valuation of how much premium you should be prepared to pay for a hybrid, plug in hybrid or EV will also depend on what you are willing to pay for security of supply.
        So if you live several miles from work, and so you need a car to have an income, then it may be perfectly rational to pay a large premium to ensure that you will be able to do so.
        If, for instance, Iran is attacked it is trivial for them to cut off all traffic through the Straights of Hormuz, and with it much of the world's oil supply and a fair amount of it's natural gas.
        Under those circumstances a $10k premium for the Volt or an EV looks a good buy.
        In less extreme circumstances of a rise in prices then the security of being able to mitigate or avoid them altogether is also an opportunity.
        Those daft enough to buy SUVs from anything other than necessity have not only the extra cost of the petrol to take account of if prices shoot up again, but also the car loosing many thousands of dollars in depreciation overnight.

        Here in Europe something like the Prius plug in is pretty much a no-brainer, and if Nissan manage the costs they predict for full EV's all they can make should be snapped up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        " Real green idealogs with that kind of money will be relatively few, centered around college towns. That's where you find an inordinate number of Priuses and bicycles."

        Miami, Fl is not a college town by far, yet I see Priuses popping up everywhere.. must the be shock of $4 gas 1.5 years ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        level: how is that a problem?
        Are we not supposed to take stances on things?

        I can think of a few instances in history where dividing people was really beneficial. That transitional period where people were not sure whether the world was flat is a good example :)

        As for a harsh response, this is autobloggreen, of course somebody who's talking smack about green cars and green car owners is gonna get smack-talked right back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        You're right, there is no smog, no melting icecaps, oil reserves are plentiful, and we're pretty much living in eden. It's an illusion perpetrated by liberal neo-fascists that only the upperclass participate in.

        Gotcha.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Meanwhile by some bit of wicka or divine magic, the arch nemesis of greenness is now the world leader in bringing a mass produced EREV to market. Who would even dream such a thing could happen??

      Electrification of transportation on Earth will be the single most effective step toward "sustainability" taken by mankind. The fact that its biggest proponent and cheerleader is dastardly ole General Motors makes irony inadequate.

      Good for the environment. Good for new business. Good for sustainable energy. Great for an idea that has been badly forgotten - innovation, originality, independence are the most important gifts human beings possess. Bravo!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It probably has something to do with the failure of the company after pursuing gas guzzling SUV's, then realizing what a blunder they made, then needing taxpayers to bail them out and the CEO being fired.
      • 4 Years Ago
      seeing as you can get a chevy sedan for 13710$, 33k$ is not exactly impressive but certainly better than 40k$. but if it's after tax rebate it's pathetic. very

      the right solution needs to be lean through and through GM. not this overengineered overweight cover your ass half hearted product.

      LEAN!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't agree. I think people would have prefered a plugin hybrid based on the Cobalt sedan if it meant shaving 7 grand off the price. and several similar shavings are possible
        • 4 Years Ago
        The malibu starts at $20,500 according to chevrolet.com. That's a better comparison.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a big deal!
        • 4 Years Ago
        No its not. It is only hype at this point for a product that will not be released for 11 months.

        Wake me up when the car is released for sale to the general public. That's when you will know for sure what the price is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, it puts green tech in the hands of more people. It's practical and a middle class family can afford it, unlike pure electrics at this time.

        For this, GM gets my applause and respect.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Converj is the key to the Volt's pricing. They could take the smaller profit margin on the Volt, and make a killing on the Converj. In the end, it'll worth it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yet right on this blog in June of '08:

        GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has told the Seattle Times that the first-generation Volt would retail for about $40,000. Even at that level GM won't be generating any profit on the car and likely won't start doing so until at least a second-generation model comes out.

        Now it will sell for $30k and be profitable.

        Whatever GM. How many thousand miles per gallon is that?

        Whatever interest I may have had in the Volt has been killed by the continuing sleaze of the PR from corporate headquarters.
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