2011 Chevy Volt - Click above for high-res gallery
Why does (ok, ok, might) the Chevy Volt cost around $40,000? The main reason the car will cost so much more than a comparable sedan is the 16 kWh lithium ion battery pack running down the floor of the cabin. The exact price of that pack is still a GM secret, but it's probably in the $8,000-10,000 range. That's a lot of money, and the price of a battery pack is a tremendous factor in the high cost or any EV that's coming soon. Considering the high upfront cost, how can the economics of an electric vehicle make sense? By being able to use that battery after the car dies.
Our friend Paul Scott says that the economics of owning or leasing an EV may be better than are immediately apparent and has put together a post on the value of plug-in vehicle batteries in the afterlife. Their obvious application will be as back-up power sources for sucking down low-cost off-peak charging from your utility (to use the next day when rates are higher) or for storing wind and solar power for later use. SoCal Edison's Ed Kjaer told Scott that the big packs could have long afterlives in people's garages or other safe locations. No one's quite sure how much a 10-year old battery pack will be worth after it's helped move a car 120,000 miles, but there's a good chance it'll be a pretty penny. Heck, Toyota offers a bounty of a few hundred bucks on its NiMH Prius battery packs today.
[Source: EVs and Energy]