Chevy Volt's $40,000 Price Tag Unveiled - Is it too high?

There it is - fourty thousand dollars of pure electric, plug-in driving. Is it surprising to see such a high price from one of the most hyped cars in a long, long time? While it's far beyond the thirty thousand dollar price tag that Chevy has been hoping for, I'd venture to say it's still not that bad all things considering.

After evaluating user comments around the net, it's become clear that people have lost all sense of reason and reality. This is not the time to complain about the price... at least not yet anyway.

Sure, few people are going to race to the dealership to purchase a fourty thousand dollar car. I get that, and I would venture Chevy does as well. The Volt is not the average family communter car destined to replace the Honda Civic sitting in everyone's garage, and I don't think it was ever intended to be. Everything from the styling to the first year limited production schedule says otherwise.

Volt is about research, development, and the future landscape of the automotive industry as a whole. There have been experimental electric vehicles before, demanding prices far beyond what Chevy is asking for. Volt is the step between experimental and mass production, and like the evolution of every technology, will get cheaper over time in future products. The only thing that makes Volt any different from the evolution of DVD, cellular phones, high-definition television, and even the early days of the automobile is the fact that everyone is looking for releif from the wallet-crushing pressure of today's fuel prices, meaning people don't want to wait. We want the low-cost benefits of an established mass-adopted product now, not later.

It's also important to remember that dealerships won't see the Chevy Volt until sometime in 2010, provided they can still make that aggressive deadline.

Who knows what the landscape will look like in 2010, but if fuel prices continue their upward trend, some folks may be happy to plop down forty large. Over the last 24 months, the cost per gallon or regular unleaded gasoline has risen from an average of $2.80 to $4.03. Metro areas are seeing prices higher than average (in my home town of Chicago, it's not uncommon to see $4.25 to $4.35 at the pump). Should current trends continue, the average cost per gallon will be between $5.25 and $6 depending on your area. With a 40 mile range before the Volt's gasoline motor kicks in to keep you rolling, many may be able to cut their fuel costs by 80% or more.

If you're a 40 mile round-trip commuter, $40,000 may not seem so bad over the lifespan of your car if fuel prices continue to reach even higher (provided there's not a massive surge in home electrical costs).

So for all you nay-sayers out there, it's not the time to complain about price or availability. In fact, it's a time to be excited about a product that may just finally build the bridge to mass production of less-expensive, viable mostly-electric daily commuter vehicles that you'll someday be able to drive... even if its not in 2010.


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