GM’s Volt: Electric Car Rivals Hybrid Prius

Chevrolet Join Toyota, Honda in Gas-Sipper Auto Market

The much talked about electric car soon to be released by GM, the Volt, was recently shown off to media. The move was meant to excite interest into GM’s second foray in the business of electric and hybrid vehicles. The Volt, scheduled for a 2010 release, is powered by a large, T-shaped lithium-ion battery, like the power source found in most laptops.

Chevy Volt’s Gas Mileage

The Volt runs on an electrical charge, joining the myriad of charged devices Americans already possess, like iPhones, Computers, PSPs and other electronic devices. Unlike these devices, the Volt switches to a gas engine once the juice runs out. Which, as it turns out, won’t be that often.

The Volt is built to accommodate the average American, who doesn’t typically drive more than 40 miles per day. The Volt can be plugged into a household power outlet and will run for about 40 miles off one night’s charge, GM explained. The gas engine turns on after 40 miles and continues to run the Volt for about 300 miles.

Reps for the electric car added that the cost of charging the vehicle will be “less than a cup of coffee” and will use less electricity annually than your refrigerator. The Volt will cost 2 cents per mile, versus today’s regular compact cars’ 12 cents per mile, at $3.60 per gallon of gas.

GM Volt: 2010 Release, Cost $40,000

GM leaders are reluctant tp promise too much information about the Volt, though in an interview with Volt blogger Lyle Dennis, GM executive director of Electric Vehicles and Hybrids said there would be “significant and substantial volumes in first and subsequent years.” Early reports indicate a November 2010 release of about 10,000 Volts, with increasing production in the following months.

The cost has been an issue for the Volt. GM wants to keep the price affordable to keep the Volt as a viable option for the average American family looking to buy a more fuel-efficient car. According to Consumer Reports study, 79% of consumers say they are buying a car with better fuel economy.

However, if the Volt’s price is too high, consumers won’t be saving much money in the end. A recent New York Times article about the Volt says GM is aiming for a $30,000 price tag, but more realistically consumers can expect to pay around $45,000.

Volt Tax Breaks Outweigh Prius, Civic

Tax break for electric and hybrid vehicles are nothing new, however recent news of a $7,300 tax credit for new Volt purchasers is raising eyebrows. Tax breaks for the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid were at $3,400. The tax credit has expired for the Prius and Civic hybrids since the government only offered it for the first 60,000 purchased.

Advantages of Owning a Hybrid

Whether consumers opt for the new Volt or purchase one of many other hybrid options on the market, the advantages of hybrid vehicle ownership are clear. Gas savings not only outweigh the initial cost but according to a recent analysis by Yahoo! Green, there are other money savings perks.

The report found that hybrids hold their value better than non-hybrids. Also, some lenders offer discount loan rates for hybrid vehicles. Insurance carriers also usually offer discounted premiums. In fact, the study found that owning a Honda Accord was 45% more costly than owning a Toyota Prius, once the tax breaks were included.

No doubt about it, consumers are eyeing the electric outlet as their next fuel source.

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