General Motors has revealed teaser images of the production version of its radical Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. The styling echoes the new Chevy Malibu saloon, and the designers claim to have added seven miles to the Volt’s electric-only range by smoothing some of the edges and creases in the original shape. They claim the Volt will now travel 40 miles on electric power, enough for the daily needs of 70 percent of American drivers.
So when do I get to buy a Chevrolet Volt?
GM’s engineers are racing to ready the car to go on sale in the United States in November 2010, and beat Toyota to be the first major carmaker to offer a plug-in hybrid. The Volt will come to Europe in 2012 badged as an Opel or Vauxhall.
Chevrolet is GM’s budget brand in Europe and is not seen as being able to sustain the high price of the Volt. 'Customers will have to adjust to a substantial surcharge,' GM Europe President Carl Peter Forster told industry journal Automotive News. This will be 'up to €10,000 (£7900) more than a comparable model with a conventional drivetrain.'
The Volt will be similar in size to an Astra, meaning it is likely to cost around £24,000 when it goes on sale in the UK. Customers in the United States are set to get a substantial tax break. Presidential candidate John McCain committed to a $5000 (£2650) incentive for the Volt after testing a prototype with GM product boss and fellow former fighter pilot Bob Lutz. Barack Obama is also in favour of tax incentives for the Volt. GM has asked for a $7000 (£3700) tax break to reduce the likely $40,000 (£21,200) cost of the Volt in America.
Over 33,000 interested buyers have committed to buying a Volt on an unofficial website, but on average are prepared to pay only $31,000 (£16,400) for the car.
Can't wait to see the Chevrolet Volt for real, or is this another over-hyped eco-friendly idea? Click 'Add your comment' below and have your say.