GM Volt Cost Estimate Up

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GM Volt Cost Estimate Up

We really aren’t ready for Peak Oil and we aren’t going to be ready in a few years. GM’s pluggable electric hybrid Chevy Volt was originally projected to cost $30,000. GM’s latest estimate for the Volt’s cost? $48,000.

Figuring out how to make wipers, a stereo and other accessories that don’t kill the Volt’s range has proven a tough nut to crack, and it’s one reason the Volt’s price seems to be rising. The Volt came with a $30,000 price tag when GM unveiled it at the North American International Auto Show last year. At this year’s show, Lutz told us it could hit $40,000. Now he’s saying it could hit $48,000 and it could be years before GM sees a profit from it.

GM wants the Volt to go 40 miles on electric power before switching over to gasoline. The 40 miles is enough to let most people drive to work and back. Then to avoid gasoline usage you’d have to plug the car in every day. Easy to do if you park in your own garage. Not so easy if you don’t.

GM will probably start out selling the Volt at a loss. Though if oil production starts declining by 2010 then the demand for electrically powered cars might allow GM to sell the Volt at a much higher price.

“When GM brings out that electric car, they’re going to be taking a huge loss on that for a number of years,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a speech to a business group.

Battery cost is a big problem.

The Volt’s 300-pound battery pack will be among its most-expensive components. Menahem Anderman, a battery analyst based in Oregon House, Calif., has estimated each such lithium-ion pack may cost about $10,000.

GM is attempting to show the batteries will last 10 years.

“Production timing of the Volt is directly related to our ability to predict how this battery will perform over the life of the vehicle,” said Frank Weber, Chevrolet Volt and E-Flex systems global vehicle chief engineer. “The challenge is predicting 10 years of battery life with just two years of testing time.”

At 10 years life expectancy the cost per year for the batteries works out to over $1000 once interest on the money is considered. But maybe the batteries will last longer.