General Motors Co. has priced its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid at $41,000, including a shipping fee, and plans to tell consumers that the cost covers a peace of mind that’s missing from other electric vehicles.
The price of the Volt, which debuts in October or November, compares with the $32,780 that Nissan wants for its Leaf electric vehicle, which goes on sale in December. Buyers of both cars are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
GM says the Volt can travel as far as 40 miles on battery power before it switches to its gasoline-powered engine. The Leaf is an all-electric vehicle advertised as having an estimated 100-mile range before drivers need to recharge.
GM’s research and its experience with the EV1 electric vehicle in the 1990s indicate that customers interested in electric vehicles also want the peace of mind provided by the Volt’s onboard engine, U.S. marketing chief Joel Ewanick said today on a conference call with reporters.
“Our strategy will be, ‘It’s more car than electric,’ ” Ewanick said. “They’re looking for a real car. They’re looking for a car that will meet their transportation needs, that gives them no anxiety. …
“You can drive it across the country without having to recharge, and our competition can’t do that.”
Despite the Volt’s higher suggested retail price, GM most often will lead Volt advertising with its lease deal – $350 a month for 36 months after a $2,500 down payment, Ewanick said. That compares with the Leaf’s $349 a month for 36 months after $1,999 down.
The Volt can offer a competitive lease because of high residual values stemming from outsized demand and the 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on its lithium ion battery system, said Ewanick, who left Nissan North America in May to join GM.
The lease is only available for residents of zip codes in launch markets, he said, although any customer can pay cash for a Volt from a participating dealer. GM will initially launch the Volt in California; Michigan; New York City; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C.