Environmental consciousness often comes at a relatively steep price — $41,000 in the case of the Chevrolet Volt, due to hit showrooms later this year. Though a $7,500 federal tax credit will reduce the cost of General Motors' first mass-market electric car to $33,500, rival vehicles are considerably cheaper. Toyota's Prius hybrid starts around $22,000, while Nissan's upcoming all-electric car, the Leaf, will come in at approximately $26,000 once the tax credit is factored in. Will sticker shock wither the Volt's prospects? (Watch a promotional video for the Volt)
Not in the long run: People forget that the Prius was also relatively costly "when it was targeted to a small group of early adopters," says the Empty Wheel blog at Firedoglake. GM failed to jump into the hybrid game back then, convinced it would never be profitable. "Toyota, on the other hand, sucked it up and lost money for years" as the hybrid market slowly grew and the costs came down. "That decision... has been one of the most valuable things Toyota has done."
"Chevy Volt: Why don’t people understand two for the price of one?"
The price is a problem, but not the only one: "Price is only one potential barrier to mass adoption," says Peter Whoriskey in The Washington Post. Drivers will also have to get used to plugging in their cars and waiting for them to recharge. "It takes hours to recharge the vehicles, and in the absence of a network of public recharging stations, drivers that run out of juice may need a tow truck."
"GM Volt's price induces some sticker shock"
With the Volt, that shouldn't be a concern: Sure, it's more expensive than the Nissan Leaf, but the Volt has something the Leaf doesn't, says Ariel Schwartz in Fast Company. Namely, a small gas engine that can take over when the car runs out of electric juice, increasing its range. If the Volt truly "can squeeze out 340 miles on a single tank of fuel and a fully-charged battery," it may be a better buy than the Leaf. "We'll know for sure which option is most appealing by this time next year."
"GM: Chevy Volt will cost $41,000"
It's expensive to buy, smarter to lease: "The better deal seems to be to lease the Volt," says Brian Dumaine in Time. GM is offering a 36-month lease starting at $350/month with a $2,500 down payment, and the $7,500 tax credit applied against monthly lease payments. "Whether GM will be able to sell three–year-old Volts coming off lease for a profit is another question… But, that's the company's problem."
"Volt sticker shock?"