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Future models - Holden - Volt

Chev Volt plugged in for as little as $37k

Price set: Chevrolet's plug-in Volt will go on sale for $US41,000, but that price can be cut by up to $7500 with federal tax breaks.

Sharp price and lease deals announced for GM’s Volt – helped by big tax breaks

Holden logo28 Jul 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

AMERICANS will be able to get behind the wheel of a petrol-electric Chevrolet Volt for as little as $US33,500 ($A37,174), thanks to a combination of sharp pricing announced by General Motors overnight and generous US government tax breaks of up to $US7500 ($A8323).

Alternatively, they could choose to lease a Volt from $US350 ($A388) a month over 36 months when the so-called range-extender hybrid car goes on sale in a limited number of US states later this year before a wider roll-out that will include Australia in 2012.

But Australian motorists should not get their hopes up for similar pricing when the Volt arrives under Holden badges, as import costs – including a five per cent import tariff – and a lack of federal government incentives could force the price into the prestige car bracket.

Australian motor manufacturers and importers have lobbied the federal government for green car incentives similar to those offered in the US, Japan, Europe and elsewhere, but so far to no avail.

Holden’s senior product communications manager Jonathan Rose told GoAuto that Holden was not ready to discuss pricing of Volt.

“We will outline the complete offering for Australian Volt customers, including pricing and warranty details, closer to the time of our local launch in 2012,” he said.

Mitsubishi has announced that its i-MiEV electric city car will be leased to Australian customers for $1740 a month over three years, equating to $62,640.

13 center imageLeft: GM vice president Joel Ewanick with the Volt.

The base American price for the Volt will be $US41,000 ($A45,497), including taxes and shipping costs. Depending on their financial circumstances, buyers could then qualify for tax breaks of between $0 and $7500 on their purchase.

They might also qualify for further state and local incentives, making the option even more attractive.

The big issue is going to be supply, as GM already has a long queue of early adopters wanting the comparatively meagre supply of vehicles. Earlier this month, GM announced it would build just 10,000 units at its Hamtramck plant in Detroit in 2011, rising to 30,000 in 2012.

That buyer queue is only set to grow, with GM opening a special website for potential customers to lodge their order with dealers in areas when the Volt will make its sales debut – California, New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Washington DC and Texas.

The $41,000 base price for Volt compares with $US32,780 ($A36,384) for the all-electric Nissan Leaf that will also hit US showrooms in some states late this year in a staggered roll-out across America and global markets.

Nissan’s Leaf is also expected to arrive in Australia in 2012.

Although GM’s plug-in Volt has an $8200 price penalty over Leaf, GM has already started pitching the range-extender advantages of its petrol-electric drivetrain that it says offers a range of about 550km on a combination of battery and petrol power compared with Leaf’s 160km on its lithium-ion batteries alone.

General Motors vice president of US marketing Joel Ewanick said the Chevrolet Volt would be the best vehicle in its class because it’s in a class by itself.

“No other automaker offers an electrically driven vehicle that can be your everyday driver, to take you wherever, whenever,” he said.

“The Volt will be packed with premium content and innovation, standard.” Among the Volt’s benefits outlined at the Plug-in 2010 conference in the US last night are five years of OnStar satellite direction and internet connection service via a mobile phone app and an eight-year/160,000km battery pack warranty.

The OnStar service includes automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation.

The first 4400 Volt buyers will be eligible for a 240-volt home charging station courtesy of the US department of energy. This helps to reduce charging time over the conventional 120-volt plug-in system standard with Volt.

The Volt travels up to the first 64km on its 16kWh lithium-ion battery before the petrol engine kicks in to generate electricity to travel a further 482km on a full tank.

Standard features include ESC, eight air bags – dual-stage frontal, side-impact, knee, and roof-rail side-impact – and a Bose premium sound system.

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