The gist is that GM has a lot of work on its plate if it wants to introduce a car that relies on batteries with an electric motor driving it for the first 40 miles and use an internal combustion engine, ICE as a generator to keep the battery pack charged after that. This technology is still fairly new and many question the feasibility of selling it at around $30,000 to 40,000, especially in the state GM is in.
Traditional Introduction Of Technology. If you look back in history, most newer technologies were introduced in the upper end market. Whether we think of independent suspension, air conditioning, seat belt and stereos, etc., all these creature comforts and advanced technologies were released in the premium version of manufacturers. Only when enough had been sold and the cheaper best sellers brought in enough money, would these technologies find their way down to the more affordable ones.
GM’s Quest. GM is raising the bar high, some would say too high. How can a beleaguered car maker whose image has been tarnished dream of offering a $40,000 ER-EV/PHEV car? Who will buy it? Most likely early adopters and those that just need to have the very first batch. At $40,000, that clientele wail have a choice of cheaper economic cars also, but the allure of an ER-EV/PHEV would allow them to say: “I can drive without gas during the day.” Of course a series PHEV or ER-EV so far is the perfect stable mate to a pure electric vehicle, EV. Imagine driving every day with a pure electric car and taking the extended range one for weekends.
A popular sentiment would have GM sell its Volt through the higher end Cadillac brand and thus raise the premium enough to recoup developing costs sooner. In this aspect, GM knows it can count on a faithful clientele who would be early adopters and still re-brand its Chevrolet as a technology automobile brand in the future.
No matter how GM looks at it, it has already admitted that they would loose money on the Volt, at least for the first few years. Another point to question is whether or not an advanced hybrid is the way to go as the rest of the industry is already turning their attention to pure electric cars. This is something GM has been mum about. It is a lot of gambling for a stepping stone solution such as a PHEV, even if that solution will be an intelligent one for families wanting to travel great distances. One bright glimmer of hope is that car collectors will always look favorably at a first editions, especially one with highly advanced technicalities at their time. Given the character of the Volt, it will make for a good collectors item for decades to come.