The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in car capable of driving about 40 miles at a time on battery power without using any gasoline, will have a sticker price of $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, General Motors said Tuesday.
Although electric car technology has been around for years, one of the main obstacles to producing the cars for the mass market has been the cost of making the large batteries that power them. The price announcements for the Volt and its electric rival, the Nissan Leaf, have been highly anticipated. Nissan, the only other major manufacturer expected to bring such a vehicle to market this year, said the Leaf will cost $32,780.
The Volt is scheduled to go on sale late this year. GM said Thursday that dealers in targeted launch markets, including California, New York and Michigan, could begin placing orders for the car. G.M. will also lease the Volt for $350 a month in the hopes of attracting consumers who want lower monthly payments or would hesitate to buy the vehicle until they are more comfortable with its technology.
The Volt is propelled by a 120-kilowatt electric motor that pulls power from a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That gives the sedan an all-electric range of about 40 miles, gas and emissions free. But the Volt also has a 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. When the car runs out of electricity, the gas engine kicks in and works as a generator, supplying electricity to the motor. The car can reach 60 miles an hour in just under nine seconds and has a top speed of 100 mph.
This design extends the range of the Volt by about 300 miles, according to GM, but it also means the car is burning gasoline. GM expects that many buyers will be able to make their daily commutes or errand runs within the 40 miles, or will be able to recharge while at work and that many will only rarely use the gasoline powered generator.