The highly anticipated Chevrolet Volt is getting ever closer to the showroom floor. Whether you think of it as an electric car or a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid, the Volt represents a significant step forward for mass-produced fuel-efficient cars.
The Volt is different than other hybrids on the roads today in that it uses electricity as the sole means for powering the car; the gasoline engine works only to recharge the car’s lithium-ion battery pack. GM estimates that the Volt will travel up to 40 miles without using a single drop of gasoline, more than enough to cover the average American’s commute to work. Recharge your Volt while at work and you’d then be able to drive home without burning any gasoline. If recharged via a renewable energy source, the car’s power would be entirely emissions-free.
You can learn more about the Volt in The Volt: An Electric Car That Could Change Everything and Update: The Chevy Volt, the Electric Car of the Future.
Last week, GM vice chairman Bob Lutz appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to talk about the Volt. Letterman recently purchased a Tesla Roadster, an all-electric car that gets more than 200 miles per charge, and previously said that the Volt’s 40-mile capability was “crap.” (You can watch Lutz and Letterman’s exchange below.)
When asked why GM couldn’t make a car with performance comparable to the Tesla, Lutz replied that GM needs to sell cars at volume, and thus needs to give the Volt a practical price tag. Lutz then said that when the Volt hit dealerships in late 2010, it would cost about $40,000 (the Tesla sells for more than $100,000).
But the first 200,000 Volts Chevrolet sells will be eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500, bringing the final price to about $32,500.
So, what do you think? Would you pay $32,500 to $40,000 on an electric vehicle such as the Volt? What if gas prices rise back up to $4 a gallon, or more? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.