Chevrolet Cuts Volt Price By $5000

Today General Motors announced the 2014 Volt will receive a $5,000 price decrease to allow for a starting MSRP of $34,995 (including $810 destination fee).

The Volt is one of the top three best-selling plug-in electrified vehicles – the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S being the other two – and has been on the market since December 2010.

With this move, Chevrolet has now followed Nissan’s lead set for the 2013 model year in lopping off from initial introductory pricing. Nissan launched the Leaf around the same period, and this year cut prices for the SV and SL trim levels, and introduced a lower-level S trim package which was $6,000 less than the lowest priced 2012 version.

In contrast, Tesla – which sells cars that can cost between $70,000-$133,000 generally increased its pricing on Friday last week.

GM notes that if a consumer is eligible to include the $7.500 federal tax credit, net pricing would start at $27,495. There are also state level and potentially local level incentives on a case by case basis for which the Volt is potentially eligible.

“We have made great strides in reducing costs as we gain experience with electric vehicles and their components,” said Don Johnson, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet sales and service. “In fact, the Volt has seen an increase in battery range and the addition of creature comforts, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and MyLink, since its launch in 2010.”

General Motors also notes its data shows that Volt drivers travel an average 900 miles between fill-ups and visit the gas station once a month.

The Volt uses premium gas and its tank is a little under 10 gallons to fill. The allowance of all-electric electric motive power means a very wide variance in actual potential user experiences.

On the more extreme end, Volt owners have been known to try and make a game of keeping the car in its all-electric mode – estimated by the EPA at 38 miles. If they do so and never or rarely dip into gasoline, they may extend the period between fill ups for months on end.

The Volt has a special steel pressurized gas tank and monitoring software to know how fresh the fuel is on board. If the owner stays in the electric zone the engine will fire up after several months to burn off gas before it becomes stale.

Where the Volt varies from pure electric cars is it is an “extended-range EV. On the positive side it has no “range anxiety” and can be refueled like a regular car at a gas station in addition to via an electric charger. On the less than positive side, its electric-only range is much less than the Leaf – rated at 75 miles with a 90 percent charge, or Model S – rated up to 208 miles for the 60-kwh version, and 265 miles for the 85-kwh version.

Volt sales have more or less lagged in recent months and it is hoped the price reduction for the car that’s been highly awarded will pick up. GM has not said when a “generation two” will be launched, but it’s generally believed it could be 2015 or 2016.