General Motors announced on Tuesday morning that its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car had delivered a fuel-economy rating of 230 miles a gallon — which sounds outrageous. With that kind of gas mileage, you could practically drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a single gallon of gas, or for around three bucks.
Of course the range on pure electric power is about 40 miles, and then the gas engine kicks in to keep the battery up. That's fine, it's still pretty economical and most people drive less than 50 miles in a day, so driving it should still be inexpensive.
I'd like to know who can afford to buy one with a price tag of $40K?
Ein Volks auto ist 'es nicht.
Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevy make hybrids (I'd stick to the Japanese brands if you're in the market) a lot cheaper which are also economical to buy, drive, and repair (something unknown about the Volt). The Chevy Volt is nothing more than a cachet vehicle; something with which the well-to-do can show off their 'greenness'. Hopefully, GM will use the technology to make small sedans in the $12 - $15K range that will be more accessible to the masses. Thing is, as GM has done for the last 30 years, it looks like they've already missed the boat:
Team Nissan is referring, of course, to the electric vehicle in the photograph above (and the video below). The LEAF, which will go into production next year – with a tentative release date of 2012 – is expected to be much cheaper than the Volt. How much cheaper? Nissan isn’t saying. Wired, for one, thinks the cute-as-a-button car could come in at $25,000 – some $15K cheaper than the Volt.
Toyota has had electric vehicles for the better part of the decade and Honda is also producing their own version. It's probably a safe bet the Japanese will do them better.
And if you do want to spend a lot for an electric, Herr Daimler has a car for you:
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler plans to roll out a Mercedes-Benz model that runs on electricity in 2010, its chief executive said in a newspaper interview.
"We plan an electric Smart for 2010 and for the same year a Mercedes (electric) model as well," Dieter Zetsche told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in comments to be published in the Saturday edition.
Daimler currently has in London a fleet of 100 first-generation Smart cars that run on electricity.
I'm sorry to say, as reports have claimed, that if GM has staked its survival to the Volt, there won't be many sunny days ahead.