General Motors is finally giving some of the most important details about the Chevrolet Volt. It’s a plug-in hybrid car that goes on sale late this year.
G.M. says the Volt will cost $41,000 (buyers may be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit for alternative fuel vehicles). The automaker also will offer leases on the Volt for $350 a month, since its sticker price puts it in the range of a small BMW or a Lexus.
G.M. has been talking about the Volt for a long time. Here’s a story I did for the New York Times in November 2008. Back then, G.M. used the Volt as the centerpiece of its efforts to win a federal bailout from Congress. Those efforts failed, and G.M. went through a government-sponsored backruptcy a year later.
G.M. isn’t the only company offering new technology. Nissan is bringing out the Leaf, an electric car that will start at around $32,000. You can read more about both cars here.
Nobody expects either G.M. or Nissan to sell very many Volts and Leafs (or should that be Leaves, grammarians?) But that’s not the point. Both carmakers have been behind their rivals, including Toyota and Ford, in embracing alternative fuel vehicles.
Until only a few years ago, executives at G.M. questioned whether hybrids like the Toyota Prius were anything more than public relations efforts, while Nissan barely had any research efforts.
Now, however, it looks like auto companies are changing gears in their approach to the market. That’s something we’ll be watching closely as Changing Gears gets up to speed.
Would you buy a Volt or a Leaf? Do you own a hybrid? Tell us what you think.