After nearly four years of development and extensive testing with the pre-production models, General Motors has officially announced pricing and has begun taking customer orders for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt in seven select markets starting today. For the general public who are not up to speed on the details, the Chevy Volt is the first electric vehicle with extended-range capability and not limited to the battery’s capacity. The Volt’s MSRP will start at $41,000 ($33,500 net of full federal income tax credit, which ranges from $0 – $7,500) and includes the $720 destination charge.
The Chevy Volt has a total range of approximately 340 miles. The beauty is that the Volt uses a small gasoline engine which recharges the Li-Ion batteries and extends the car’s range another 300 miles after it runs tailpipe-emission-free for 40 miles on battery power. The purpose of the small engine is to recharge the batteries and extend the range of the vehicle — not to assist the powertrain as with the case of hybrid vehicles.
Even though the Volt is an electric vehicle with a 111 kilowatt motor, many people can set aside their anxiety of being stranded with a depleted battery. A 55 hp engine and a gas tank not larger than 10 gallons is enough to drive the Volt an additional 300 miles. The Volt gives you the choice to recharge the battery either by plugging into an electrical outlet or using the small onboard engine.
The $33.5k price tag (after the maximum federal tax credit) approaches the luxury car segment. GM realizes that EV technology isn’t cheap and has made it a point to offer a lot of value by including a long laundry list of standard equipment such as an 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on the battery, 7 inch touchscreen navigation system, Bose premium sound system, and full OnStar “Directions and Connection” service for 5 years (a $1500 value) as standard equipment.
After speaking with Volt marketing director, Tony DiSalle, GM is confident in the overall value of the Volt and is offering a lease program with a monthly payment as low as $350 for 36 months at MSRP with $2,500 due at lease signing.
With a list of standard equipment longer than Pacquiao’s string of boxing titles, there isn’t much left to add on to the Volt. Thus, upgrades are limited to three options: a leather upgrade package, 17 inch aluminum polished wheels, and premium paint. A fully loaded Volt totals up to $44,600.
The Volt incorporates a lot of sophisticated technology and GM has developed an advanced mobile app for Volt owners to interface with their car. The apps will integrate into the Volt’s OnStar system enabling both groundbreaking vehicle remote control operations as well as information retrieval. The mobile app will be available on the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid smartphones.
The Volt will initially be sold to Chevrolet customers in California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and Washington D.C. area. with an initial production run of 10,000 cars for the 2011 model year that starts delivering to customers near the end of 2010. With next year’s model, production will increase to 30,000 units and availability will expand across the U.S. in anticipation of the growing demand for electric vehicles. The best way to find a Chevrolet Volt dealer is to visit the website http://www.getmyvolt.com.
Right now 600 dealerships have been authorized and trained to manage the Volt transaction process. GM is working hard to make the customer experience to be a positive experience from the moment the customer contacts the dealer, to the time the vehicle is delivered, and beyond. All authorized Chevy Volt dealerships are working hard to meet the higher training requirements and increased requirements for tooling, parts, and service.
Chevrolet Volt customers will receive one call that confirms the production date of their car and a second call (2 – 3 months later) that confirms the ship date. The Volt is expected to begin shipping to customers near the end of 2010.