GM will introduce the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle with a starting MSRP of $41,000; after applying the Federal income tax credit of $7,500, the price drops to $33,500. Chevrolet will also offer a lease program on the Volt with a monthly payment as low as $350 for 36 months at MSRP, with $2,500 due at lease signing, and with an option to buy at the end of the lease.

More than 600 Chevrolet dealers in the seven launch markets—California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and Washington DC— will begin taking orders. Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin in launch markets late this year, with initial production of 10,000 units for the first year.

To find a participating Chevrolet Volt dealer, customers are directed to The dealer will begin the order process, to be followed up by contact from a dedicated Volt advisor.

The Volt has a total driving range of about 340 miles (547 km) and is powered by electricity at all times. For up to the first 40 miles, the Volt drives using only electricity stored in the 16 kWh lithium-ion pack. (There may be a few operational exceptions to that. For example, if the engine has not been run for a long time (i.e., weeks), the Volt may briefly fire up the engine during driving to lubricate the engine parts and burn off some of the fuel, said Tony Posawatz, vehicle line director, global electric vehicles and Chevrolet Volt.)

When the battery runs low, a gasoline-powered range extender extends the driving range for 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.

Depending upon their tax situation, Volt owners can qualify for up to $7,500 in Federal income tax credit, as well as other potential state and local tax credits, depending upon location.

One credit for which the Volt will not be qualifying is California’ Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) rebates of up to $5,000 per light-duty vehicle for individuals and business owners who purchase or lease new eligible zero-emission or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Certain zero-emission commercial vehicles are eligible for CVRP rebates up to $20,000.

To qualify for the CVRP, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles must meet the Enhanced AT-PZEV definition as defined in the California ZEV Regulation section 1962.1(i), Title 13, CCR, including the SULEV, evaporative emissions, onboard diagnostics, extended warranty, and zero-emission Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and advanced componentry PZEV allowance standards as defined in section 1962.1(c).

With an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its battery pack, the Volt doesn’t meet at least one of the Enhanced AT-PZEV requirements to qualify.

The Volt team plans to address that with an additional vehicle package, Posawatz said, that will address battery and emissions issues. A third package for the Volt—an E85 package—is also under development.

For the launch, GM decided to go with the lowest cost, national package: the core Volt being rolled out later this year. Launching with the higher-priced Enhanced AT-PZEV package nationwide might have proven difficult, as there is some sensitivity to pricing, Posawatz suggested. And tasking the engineering team with introducing two or three packages of an entirely new technology set and platform at the same time wasn’t an option, especially given the time constraints under which the entire Volt development was placed.

GM is working to highlight the value packaged with the Volt, in terms of features such as five years of OnStar Directions and Connections services bundled into the base price (along with the smartphone mobile apps) and a charge cord. Safety features include eight air bags and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with Traction Control. The Volt is constructed of 80% high-strength steel for additional safety and protection.

In addition to the 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty, Chevrolet will provide:

  • 3-year/ 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage
  • 5-year/ 100,000-mile roadside assistance and courtesy transportation
  • 5-year/ 100,000-mile limited gasoline engine coverage
  • 6-year/ 100,000-mile corrosion protection coverage