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by Brett Davis

General Motors has announced the price of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. US$41,000 (AU$45,500) as a starting price. Not bad for a plug-in hybrid. It’ll go on sale in the US in October/November.

The plug-in hybrid is also an eligible vehicle under the American government’s federal tax credit system, which means US$7500 in the pocket for any buyer. General Motors is also offering the car on a lease plan for a little as US$350 for 36 months with an initial down payment of just US$2500, although this is only available to customers within the same area codes of the launch cities; Austin, California, Michigan, New York City, Texas and Washington D.C

Nissan’s Leaf is the only real competition in this category of car. The Nissan Leaf is planned to go on sale in December. The difference? Well, GM/Chevrolet say the Volt will do 40 miles (64km) on battery power alone until the petrol engine kicks in. Nissan say the Leaf will achieve 100 miles (160km). Nissan also say the Leaf will be available from $32,780 (AU$36,360).

On the other hand the Chevrolet Volt comes with piece of mind, showcasing an 8-year/160,000km warranty on the speculated ‘fragile’ lithium-ion battery pack. This deal puts an end to any uncertainty; eight years resembles a fair amount of confidence from the manufacturer. It’s unclear as to what warranty deal will be offered with the upcoming Nissan Leaf.

Joel Ewannick, chief of marketing in the US, said to reporters recently,

“Our strategy will be, ‘It’s more car than electric’. They’re looking for a real car. They’re looking for a car that will meet their transportation needs, that gives them no anxiety. You can drive it [Volt] across the country without having to recharge, and our competition can’t do that.”

The latest reports say the Chevrolet Volt will go on sale in Australia some time in 2011, for around $60,000 thanks to delivery and compliance charges.

*Update: Nissan has announced the Leaf will be offered with the same 8-year/160,000km warranty deal as the Chevrolet Volt.




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