But it's not really fair to analyze it that way. GM plans to sell a lot more than 20,000 Volts. Moreover, the Volt's technologies -- battery cells, battery packs, controls, electric motors -- will be used in other GM programs, from the Spark to other electrified vehicles. "No one should expect a quick payback on this kind of vehicle," David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, told us in an email. "My guess is that it will become five-plus years before the costs become competitive."
That's not to say there aren't reasons for concern. The Volt hasn't hit its sales projections, and the poor showing of other electrified vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i, don't bode well. What's more, the Volt's near-term outlook is troubling. It still costs twice as much as a Chevy Cruze, and it runs $15,000 more than some competitors, such as the Prius c.
"If you compare it to other high-mileage vehicles, some of which come fully loaded for $25,000, it's hard to get a return on the extra investment," Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., told us. "You can't save enough on gas to justify the higher price."
So, yes, there are reasons for concern. And, yes, GM needs to cut the Volt's pricetag... a lot.
Still, it's too early to be making a per-vehicle assessment on the Volt. GM knew it would be playing in a new market. Its engineers knew that the up-front costs would be high. Yet the company jumped in anyway. That suggests it plans on sticking around for a while. "They had to develop the technology," Cole said. "And you can't delay engineering until all the costs are in line, because you'll be left out of the game."
It is ecnomically feasable, until the price of these vehicles are down. The rebates should be retolled/reworked to make use it by all. This is a luxary vehcile in looks and ride. It is one a kind and this is the just begingin. Let us not kill the concept. Or look for the time to pay $10 per gallon and become economical slaves to oil producing countires.
Mr. McDermott: You said right, at present technical conditions VOLT is the right vehicle. I use it. But the price should come down to max . and the tax rebate should be rollover or upfornt . These are some economical issue with this car.
Also this car should make as FIVESEATER to make this attaractive and pleasant to look inside ( the back seating.
3drob, you calculations are correct, if they are going for mass production. In mass production the cost per vehicle comes down to bottom level. But here the news is GM is selling each Volt for a loss of approximately $30,000.
Engineers and industry analysts predict the prices will drop with economies of scale, but not as much as all of us hope. Two engineers -- both with major auto companies that are building electric cars -- have told me that they foresee battery PACK (not cell) costs coming down to between $250 and $300/kWh between 2020 and 2025. Several analysts have made similar predictions of $300/kWh - $400/kWh by 2020. Today, the figure is said to be closer to $800/kWh, according to automakers, analysts and the National Academy of Engineering. At $300/kWh, a big 85-kWh lithium-ion battery like the one in the Tesla Model S would run $25K, so much work remains.
High volumes only serve to make things less expensive when the labor costs dominate. I'm not able to say one way or the other at this point, but I rather suspect the material costs will tend to keep large batteries expensive. All the automation and process improvement will only help reduce the labor costs of assembling these cells. High volumes may in fact raise prices on batteries as the demand for limited resources goes higher.
VW did make a deisel "rabbit" pickup truck, some of the owners glaimed as much as 70mpg (they are collectables) but the rest of the veheicle was junk, rusting out in a few years and bad wiring. At that time i was with my first "love" a powder blue and white 61 chevy step side that I bought for $100 and helped me get through school and start my first business. Gas was 25 cents. Deisel was hard to come by then also unless you took it out of your heating system!
I want the Volt to succeed. I want to be free of the ties to parts of the world that actively hate us. Right now, they have some power over us because we need something they have. The sooner we can eliminate that tie, the sooner they become powerless.
almoore--This is exactly where I am parked at the moment. I looked at a Volt thinking that being friendly to the environment was the way to go and the thing I should do. I visited a Chevy show room, talked with the sales rep on the floor and got his "best estimate" as to the costs minus any rebate the Fed might give me. I could not justify the cost-- not at all. One thing also that was disconcerting, the sales rep had no idea as to what resale allowances might be. There is no data available (his words). I bought gas today for my Toyota Pre-runner, 15 gallon tank at $3.83 a gallon. We can all do that math so maybe there will come a time when the Volt will provide a decent ROI--but not now. Another disconcerting thing, we won't be getting any help from Washington any time soon so the cost of gas will definitely increase. We may all be riding the bus before this is over.
A half century ago, cars were still built by people, not robots. Even on some of the countryís longest assembly lines, human workers installed windows, doors, hoods, engines, windshields, and batteries, with no robotic aid.
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