I contacted GM about the recent drive.com.au article which said the operating costs for the Volt would not be much different than a regular gas car. GM was quick to deflate concerns by saying nothing was set in stone. GM is "evaluating several vehicle ownership models" and "have much to learn before a final decision will be made." The full quote is below. That's great because GM is really taking the risk off our hands leasing the battery ... or maybe not.
The above video is the former CEO of GM. He runs an alternative energy company now. In the Bloomberg interview, he mentions an obscure federal and California law that says electric car batteries must last the "life of the car." That means you really don't take any risks if you buy the battery for an electric car. GM has to replace the battery if there are any problems. This could be the real reason GM is considering a battery leasing model.
The full text of GM's response to AutoblogGreen on its plans for leasing the battery:
"As you can imagine, this article generated significant interest in this element of GM's battery strategy. However, I can assure you that we have not made any decisions on purchase price or battery leasing for the Volt. The Volt's cost of ownership (purchase price, fuel costs, cost of battery,etc.) over its life will be significantly different compared to current vehicles and may warrant a different ownership model. The E-Flex team is evaluating several vehicle ownership models that take the initial cost of the battery into account. as well as maintenance, potential upgrades, replacements and end of life considerations. In the end, this may lead to different retail strategies like battery leasing, but we have much to learn before a final decision will be made."
[Source: Youtube, GM]