In order to meet its production deadline of 2010, Chevrolet’s highly anticipated Volt plug-in hybrid will debut at a cost of $35,000 — five grand more than expected.
GM chalks up the increase on the Volt’s price tag to electricity-hungry features like windshield wipers and a stereo system that drain power from the battery, which in the Volt’s case is doing double-duty by also driving the wheels. Most vehicles recharge their batteries through the alternator, but the Volt has no alternator. This has forced Chevy engineers to introduce expensive redundancy systems to keep the accessories powered.
GM says it will work these tricky engineering problems out, but not in time for the 2010 deadline. Rather than delay the Volt’s release, the company decided to go with those redundant systems to power the accessories, thus bumping the price up. Presumably, the next-generation Volt would have a slimmer price tag, although we’ve never heard an automaker quote prices this far in advance of a debut. Economic factors could still sway the price considerably over the next two years.
The question we want to ask our readers is how much of a difference this makes. Does a $5,000 price increase put the Volt out of reach for you? Would you have considered it at $30,000 but not at $35,000? Let us know what you think.