General Motors’ announcement that its new electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, would have a price tag of $41,000 created some sticker shock, and critics quickly charged that no one would buy it.
They might be right, but GM is also offering a terrific lease deal that will enable many consumers to acquire it without paying that price. The lease will cost $350 a month with $2,500 due at lease signing – bringing the new car into a much more affordable range.
Chevy dealers don’t seem to have any doubts about the car’s marketability. Some 600 dealerships, about 90% of the total, have signed up to sell the Volt, which will go on the market later this year in New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas and Washington, D.C.
The car can only go 40 miles on the initial charge in the ion-lithium battery, but a small gasoline engine then steps in, not to directly drive the vehicle, but to power a generator that delivers electricity to the motor. Unlike hybrid vehicles, which are powered either by electricity or by gasoline, the Volt will be driven exclusively by electricity.
Nonetheless, drivers will have to buy gas. But no gas will be consumed for those first 40 miles, and the car will get an estimated 50 miles per gallon when the internal combustion engine kicks in. The battery can be recharged at a normal residential outlet – no special charging station is required. Recharging time on a 110-volt outlet is six to seven hours.
A rival model from Nissan, the Leaf, which goes on sale in December, will have a 100-mile range on a battery charge, but has no gasoline engine to extend the range. It will be priced at $32,780.
Those who do want to buy the car will benefit from a $7,500 federal rebate and other state incentives. GM reckons that a lot of well-to-do early adopters may be keen to snap up the first year’s production of only 10,000 vehicles. The government is also ready to acquire the vehicle for its fleets. Nissan says it already has a waiting list for its electric vehicle.
Costs will eventually come down as manufacturers are able to standardize and scale components, such as the battery pack, that are now expensive to make. In the meantime, it doesn’t look like GM or Nissan will have any trouble selling their initial offerings, even at elevated prices.
By. Darrell Delamaide for OilPrice.com