One of the chief barriers to entry for alternative powertrain vehicles like electric cars and plug-in hybrids is the price, as even entry level models are spendier than economical sedans. Makers are promising lower prices, as GM has promised a cheaper Volt, by thousands, in the next generation.
Cheaper Volt by thousands promised by GM exec
As most are aware, the hitch in buying a Chevrolet Volt is that it’s so damn expensive that by the time the gas mileage yields a savings, you’ve sold it.
Car makers aren’t stupid. For the most part. Pontiac did make the Aztek. To whit, General Motors has been trying to soften the blow of buying a Chevrolet Volt. For 2012, according to CNN, the company dropped the base price $1,005, from $41,000 to $39,995, by taking the satellite navigation from the base model. Deals were cut for leases, some going for as low as $129 per month.
Even with $7,500 off thanks to the federal tax credit, that’s a $30,000-plus price tag. However, according to USA Today, the president of GM North America, Mark Reuss, promises the next one could be “thousands of dollars cheaper.”
Economy of scale
The effect of economy of scale is basically that the more of something is made, the less it will cost for a number of reasons. Reuss asserted recently at the Automotive News World Congress that a cheaper Volt would essentially benefit from precisely that effect.
The current Volt is using a Chevy compact architecture; in essence, the car is a technology package, using electric motors and so forth, stuffed into a car that otherwise wouldn’t have it. The next Volt, Reuss promises, will use a bespoke platform, purpose-built. As better and less-costly components come available, the cost of the battery pack, which according to CNET costs about $8,000, and other stuff will be cheaper, allowing Chevy to take several thousand off the price tag, potentially.
The Nissan Leaf is also going down in price, in case anyone was thinking of visiting, say, Nissan dealers of Everette, Wash., to look into an EV rather than a PHEV. Then again, the Volt can go a lot further due to the gas engine.
Whenever the next one does come out
This is all well and good, but a cheaper Volt still has to wait until the life cycle of the current model comes to a close, which of course is some years away. Until then, it will remain too expensive to actually start saving money.
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The next gen-model is promised to be vastly different, as it has been promised to be tauter and sleeker than the current model, which is the best looking car Chevy makes. The Corvette does look good, of course. The Sonic, Malibu and Impala all leave a bit to be desired in the looks department. The Camaro looks like it was beaten with ugly sticks by an ugly gang, who then threw it only ugly ground and kicked it repeatedly with ugly boots, before it was taken to an ugly hospital and underwent a botched operation.