GM releases Volt Pricing around 33k

At the Plug-in America conference in San Jose, GM announced the pricing for the Volt. The base model will start at $41,000, before a fedral rebate, but will be cut down to $33,500 after a $7,500 federal stimulous. GM also announced a 36 month lease option will be available for $350 a month with $2500 down. They also put in a clause that will allow customers to buy the Volt at the end of the lease. This is smart considering the backlash from when GM crushed the EV-1.

In an interview with Katie Fehrenbacher from Earth2Tech Mark Perry pointed out that the Leaf cost $13,000 less then a Volt. This is taking into account California’s $5000 electric vehicle rebate.

This does not mean the Volt is not compeditive. Besides having an additonal 240 miles of range over the Leaf the Volt appears to have the styling and feel of an upscale Chevy sedan, while offering fuel economy far superior to any luxury car. Of course until the Volt shows up in showrooms it is imposible to say whether the interior will be as nice in person as it appears on the internet.

Taking about the internet Nissan announced that the Leaf will always be connected thanks to AT&T. This could give the Leaf an advantage if the smart grid revs up, though GM has announced the Volt will come with 5 years of OnStar for free. Still, having an intenet connected car could prove to be very useful for the Leaf, especial in terms of finding charging stations. But regadless of whether you choose the Leaf or Volt it’s clear that plug-in cars will be hightech.

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Volt 1776 Freedom Drive

Historically America has been a country built on oil, but GM took a major step to change that when they took the Volt halfway across the country starting in Austin, Texas and ending in New York city. The road trip starting on July 1st and culminated on independence day. The journey took the Volt 1776 miles in just 3 days, simultaneously  making a reference to the revolution and taking on the Nissan Leaf.

The road trip was an important PR and marketing opportunity for GM. The distance covered demonstrated the Volt’s best characteristic, it’s not limited to traveling 100 miles at a time. GM was also able to put the skeptics behind them and demonstrate that the Volt is not just a new car but a revolution.

The question though remains, do Americans want to pay up to $10,000 more for a 300 mile range extender, or will they be content with the shorter range of a Nissan Leaf. By the end of the year we should begin to see the answer to that question, as consumers begin taking delivers of the two cars.

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From the Model T to the Model S

To say that the United Stated states has a love affair with the automobile is probably an understatement. After all we have been perfecting the gas car for over a hundred years.

In 1908 Ford Motor Company debated the model T, regarded as the first affordable automobile and the model that popularized the gas car.

Ford’s big innovation was the assembly line, which automated the assembly process and allowed Ford to build a car that the average worker could afford.

Now, 102 years later the vast majority of cars sold still rely on fossil fuels. That could begin to change starting in late 2010.

6 year old electric vehicle startup, Tesla Motors, hopes to replicate what Ford did over 100 years ago. The exception, this time the gas engine is being replaced with an electric motor.

Another difference, by the time Tesla rolls out the Model S major car companies like Nissan and GM will already have electric powered vehicles on the road.

Speaking of Nissan, the company has partnered with Radio Shack (now rebranded as ‘The Shack’) and 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, to promote the upcoming 2011 Nissan Leaf.

Built on the same successful platform as the Versa, the Leaf will sell for about $25,000 after federal rebates and advertises a range of 100 miles per charge. Nissan tells us that 80% of Americans drive 40 miles or less per day, so they are marketing the Leaf as a primary vehicle.

The Detroit News reported that Nissan has gathered 13,00 pre-orders in the U.S.A and 6,000 in Japan. By 2013 Nissan hopes to sell half a million Leafs, that represents less then 1 percent of annual vehicle sales stated the paper.

Not on sale until 2012, the Model S will carry a price tag of $45,000 and Tesla is estimating between 15,000 – 20,000 cars will be built annually. Tesla is also promising to expand their portfolio with a crossover and van after the model S, though the company has been vague about details such as pricing and availability.

Before either the Leaf or Model S show up in dealerships the much anticipated Chevy Volt will go on sale in November 2010. The main attraction of the Volt is the road trip friendly range extender. According to GM officials the Volt will go the first 40 miles emission free, until the gas engine (rang extender) kicks in, providing an additional 300 miles between fueling. The catch, the Volt will carry a $35,000 price tag and is not a true zero-emission vehicle.

[Detroit News] [earth2tech]

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