Chevrolet sings the body electric.
General Motors is not taking any chances with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt when its version of the electric car goes on sale later this year. The automaker is trumpeting the Volt as a “real car” even as they announced its really expensive sticker price: $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax break kicks in. GM also will lease the Volt for $350 per month with $2500 down, with that tax credit offsetting the lease price.
So why is the Chevrolet Volt so expensive? That’s easy: it relies on lithium-ion technology and also features a backup 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine to extend its range. Critics pounced on the price, noting that it is $8,250 more than the upcoming pure electric Nissan Leaf, but that vehicle has a range of only 100 miles before it must be recharged.
GM’s “real car” marketing is designed to tell consumers that the Volt is a difference maker, a vehicle that won’t be limited by range. Indeed, after 350 miles of driving, the Volt can keep moving with a stop at any gas station along the way.
“The Chevrolet Volt will be the best vehicle in its class…because it’s in a class by itself,” said Joel Ewanick, vice president of U.S. marketing for General Motors, who made the announcement at the Plug-In 2010 conference. “No other automaker offers an electrically driven vehicle that can be your everyday driver, to take you wherever, whenever. The Volt will be packed with premium content and innovation, standard.”
With its announcement, GM also has started to take orders for the vehicle. But there are some catches: the Volt will be introduced in select markets initially, meaning if you live outside of the California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and the Washington D.C. areas, you’ll have to wait until later in 2011 when the Volt goes national.
The Chevrolet Volt will run on pure electric power for the first 40 miles before the depleted battery pack gives way to the gas engine. When the battery pack runs low, the engine will extend the Volt’s range by about 300 miles on a full tank of gas. Regenerative braking and access to a home or on the road charging station will enable Volt owners to “rejuice” their vehicles.
For the first 4,400 buyers in eligible markets, the Department of Energy will offer free 240-V recharging stations for the home. Those stations will cut recharging time in half.
Will customers go for the Volt? If not, they can choose the similar sized Chevrolet Cruze, a gas powered car that when properly equipped will get about 40 mpg on the highway and retail for half the price of the Volt.
Source: GM Corp.
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