• Aug 6th 2013 at 12:30AM
  • 46
General Motors is cutting the price of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle by $5,000 for the 2014 model year in the hopes of driving sales higher, even though the company already loses money on every Volt it sells. The announcement of the price cut follows a reduction of $4,000 for the 2013 model year, compared with the 2012 version of the car. The latest cut brings the sticker price down to $34,995 and real cost of the car, including a $7,500 Federal tax credit, to $27,495. The Volt carried an MSRP of $41,000 in 2010 when it debuted.

In California and Colorado, which have state incentives layered on to the Federal credit, the real cost drops even further.

TRANSLOGIC 51: Chevy Volt Real World Test

Volt sales this year are up 9.2% for the first seven months of the year, but that trails a surge in demand for competitors like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. Leaf sales are up 372% this year after a cut in prices.

Micro-car maker Smart has trimmed the monthly lease price of its Fortwo Electric Drive, or ED, model by nearly a third – while also introducing a new "Battery Assurance Plan" meant to assure the vehicle delivers the promised performance and range as long as it is in an owner's hands. Motorists can still buy the battery version of the Smart Fortwo but the maker is encouraging them to lease the vehicle instead. When the gen-3 ED was launched the maker had priced it at $199 a month – which actually included $119 for the car itself and another $80 a month for the Battery Assurance Plan.

Indeed, there has been an across the board cut in prices of EVs, including the Ford Focus EV and Honda Fit EV, to sell off excess inventory and increase revenue of the vehicles. Nissan, for example, has been able to save by producing batteries in a plant in Tennessee.

The Volt is a plug-in electric vehicle, which means it has a battery that propels the car about 38 miles before a gas generator kicks in to power the battery until the next opportunity to recharge. This approach is meant to quell "range anxiety" among would-be buyers. By having the gas-powered motor, the car will never be stuck for lack of power, as long as there is gas in the tank.

A tank of gas might last a couple of months.
The Volt's 38 mile electric range, compared to the Leaf's 80 to 90 mile range (the Leaf is a 100% EV with no gas-fed range extender), is not thought to be a deterrent for most drivers because statistics show that 78% of commuters travel fewer than 40 miles per day.

For those drivers who are able to recharge their cars at work, a tank of gas might last a couple of months. This theory has been born out in the lives of many actual Volt owners.

If the Volt has a weakness, it isn't the electric powertrain. The pick-up of the electric motor, owing to the terrific low-end torque, makes it a pleasure to drive. The car's design, though, has been criticized by some as being bland, and the backseat is fairly cramped for adult-passengers.

Why do the automakers make EVs if they lose money? New Federal fuel economy regulations phasing in between now and 2025 incentivizes the companies to sell EVs. Washington has been pursuing a policy to support EVs and hybrids through tax credits in the hopes of getting motorists to opt for vehicles that use less fossil fuels.

For those who want to enter the age of electric, or mostly electric driving in the 21st century, Chevy just made it $5,000 easier on the wallet.

David Kiley is Editor-in-Chief of AOL Autos.


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  • 46 Comments
      Velocity105
      • 2 Years Ago
      There's no difference between this and every other car. It still has an engine, it still pollutes and it's a pain because you have to recharge it at the same time. Create a plug-in with decent range like 200-300 miles before charging and you won't have to slash prices. Big Oil isn't going to let that happen though are they?
      hmadden
      • 2 Years Ago
      Couldn't give it to me.
      m_handy
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM is selling the cars at a loss, while they ramp up technology and production. Toyota and Ford did the same thing, why attack GM? I used to work in a GM dealership, in service, and I had a customer buy one, (The VOLT) and a couple of weeks later, came back and bought another, and a week after that brought two family members in to buy a VOLT. Even in Rate Hell California, his cost per mile is 1/3 of having a gas car, he tells me. After rebates etc, $27K is not bad at all for a mid sized car. Compares to a Honda Accord, or Toyota Camry, etc. As far as the recycling issue, when you buy a new battery, the dealer sends the old one in for recycling. It's called a "core". Soon, there is likely to be technology where your car will solar charge while it sits in your parking lot for 8-10 hours a day, so the plug in part will be un necessary. It's time has come, folks, about 30 years late, but it's here and now.
      rich
      • 2 Years Ago
      Volt is a great specialty car with a very limited market, is too expensive and does not have a payback. If you live in your own home, drive relatively short distances, don't mind the hassle of plugging it in every night and are a tree hugger then it may suit your purpose.
      mahrmach
      • 2 Years Ago
      A worthless glorified golf cart from Govrnment Motors. Let Obama use one for his offical car. Opps he can't because it only goes fifty miles. JOKE.
        rmg21943
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mahrmach
        it took 5 years before they worked the bugs out of the PRIUS too.
          mociambz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rmg21943
          but they did it on Toyotas money not the taxpayers money big difference
        spsb47
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mahrmach
        On strictly electric, yes, at most 50 miles. The 40-95 mpg engine combined with regenerative braking, it most likely goes farther than what you are driving and does it for cheaper.
      buster
      • 2 Years Ago
      They still won't sell.
      rmweld
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chevy will have to cut the price under $5000 before they sell and then maybe not then, without a $6000 rebate.
      outsidehammer
      • 2 Years Ago
      And still they won't sell.
      adesign20013
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a piece of s...!
      wongtpa
      • 2 Years Ago
      When will Obama drive one? Michelle? The kids? Never! The car is for the fools supporting Obama!
      billcdaly
      • 2 Years Ago
      I parked next to one yesterday and it really is a good looking car. Unfortunately ( even though money is lost on production) its original cost of $41,000 is way more than the market would pay. If they originally got that car down around the $30,000 range , after the government incentive, it would have sold thousands more units. Good car, price way too high.
      marty
      • 2 Years Ago
      you did not ment5tion the VOLTS M.P.G. LIKE YOU DID THE OTHERS????? "SAME OH ----"
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