Near the end of July, General Motors announced the pricing for the Chevrolet Volt, the range-extended plug-in hybrid that’s been in the making for nearly a decade. While many potential buyers anticipated that The General would announce a base price in the upper $30,000 range, AutoBlog reports that GM had other plans and announced that the Chevy Volt would sticker at the base price of $41,000 or $350/month for a three-year lease. The announcement shocked much of the public and the hopes of landing a raging deal on the Volt vanished. Of course, the federal government offers a $7,500 rebate on the purchase on qualified clean vehicles like the Volt, but even with an after-rebate price of $33,500, many still consider the Volt to be less of a bargain than they had hoped for.
Now, more than a month after General Motors announced the Volt’s finalized price, many potential buyers are still in awe. So, let’s dig a little deeper and look into the aspects that led up to the Volt’s price and assess whether or not the extended-range plug-in is worth the money. At $41,000, the Volt is priced well beyond the means of your typical compact car buyer, but the Volt is far from a typical car. It offers 40 miles of range between charges and for many, that range will cover their day-to-day driving needs. For some, the gasoline generator will be used, but for those who drive less than 40 miles a day, the Volt’s battery pack will provide sole means of powering the vehicle. By eliminating the need for gasoline, the Volt will save many drivers hundreds of dollars per month on fueling costs, thus effectively lowering the operating costs of the vehicle. This bit of info is often overlooked when one considers the price of the Volt to be too high. Additionally, AutoBlog reports that the Volt’s complex powertrain and never-before-developed technology makes the vehicle costly to produce. It’s unlikely that General Motors will profit much, if at all, off of sales of the Volt, but the vehicle was not developed as a money-making product.
The Volt’s $41,000 price tag is reasonable, but many potential buyers have been quick to point out that Nissan’s battery-powered Leaf is significantly cheaper. Therein lies the problem with the Volt’s price. The Nissan Leaf boasts 100 miles of range on battery power alone and ,without the complex powertrain found on the Volt, manages to undercut its price by more than $8,000. As AutoBlogGreen reports, The Leaf starts at just $32,780, but that price drops down to a rather remarkable $25,280 after federal rebates. Though it’s limited in range due to its battery-only design, it’s still difficult to overlook the price disparity between the Leaf and the Volt. While both the Leaf and the Volt are targeted at a different group of buyers, comparisons between the two vehicles are inevitable.
Let’s turn our attention back to the opening question: At $41,000, is the Volt overpriced? The answer really depends on who you ask. For some, the Volt will prove less costly in the long run than a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle, but for others, the Volt’s operating costs could be nearly equal to that of a conventional car. Additionally, some potential buyers may find that the Nissan Leaf is significantly more affordable, both in base price and operating costs, than the Volt.
Sources: AutoBlog, AutoBlogGreen