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GM Slashes Price of Chevy Spark EV

Maker is the latest to try price cut to boost sluggish sales.

by on Apr.15, 2015

The Chevy Spark can launch to 60 in 8 sec.

General Motors is slashing the price of its slow-selling Chevrolet Spark battery-electric vehicle in a bid to boost demand.

It’s the latest in a string of price cuts by automakers struggling to build interest in plug-based vehicles, and the announcement comes just days after GM confirmed it will next month shut down production of its Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid due to lack of demand. It will re-launch production with the second-generation Volt that was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

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“Chevrolet is committed to making EV driving more accessible, affordable and fun” Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Car and Crossover Marketing, said in a statement. “Spark EV customers will benefit from an impressive blend of technology, capability and low cost of ownership, now at an even more impressive price.”

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Ford Latest to Cut EV Pricing as Battery-Car Market Struggles

Maker trims $6,000 from price tag of Focus Electric.

by on Oct.21, 2014

Ford has so far sold only 1,500 Focus Electric vehicles this year - less than 1% of total Focus sales.

With battery-car sales lagging expectations, automakers have been slashing prices in a bid to spur demand. The latest to announce a big discount is Ford Motor Co., which will trim the MSRP on its Focus Electric model by $6,000.

That’s on top of the $4,000 discount the Detroit maker took on the compact battery-electric vehicle a year ago. Originally introduced in January 2011 at $39,995, buyers now can plug in a Ford Focus Electric for just $29,995 – plus delivery charges and the usual fees and taxes.

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Ford is by no means alone. With rare exception, automakers have been cutting prices of both plug-in and pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, models in a bid to boost sluggish sales. And with gas prices now near or below $3 a gallon in much of the U.S., industry analysts suggest it will be even more difficult to convince buyers to opt for vehicles that plug in rather than tank up.

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Toyota Latest to Cut Battery Car Prices to Boost Demand

Prius Plug-in price to drop by as much as $4,620 as sales plunge.

by on Oct.09, 2013

Toyota hopes to charge up sales of the Prius Plug-in by cutting its price.

Toyota has become the latest maker to try to use price cuts to spur demand for its struggling battery-based products, trimming as much as $4,620 off the MSRP of the plug-in version of its otherwise popular Prius Hybrid.

Virtually every automaker marketing advanced battery vehicles, including Ford, General Motors, Honda and Nissan, has been forced to trim prices this year as sales of plug-ins, extended-range electric vehicles and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, have lagged well below expectations.

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For 2014, the base version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in will start at just $29,990 – plus delivery fees – a discount of $2,000. Unlike the new base model of the Nissan Leaf battery-electric sedan, Toyota says the price cut “is not accompanied by any reduction in vehicle content.” In fact, it has added such content as automatic climate control.

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Chevy Cuts Volt Price by $5,000

GM hopes to spark bigger sales.

by on Aug.06, 2013

Chevy has repeatedly cut the price of the Volt plug-in since its late 2010 launch.

Hoping to get potential buyers to plug in, Chevrolet is giving the Volt a jolt by cutting the extended-range electric vehicles price by $5,000 for the 2014 model-year.

The maker had already cut the cost of the 2013 model by $4,000 and offered a $5,000 giveback on leftover 2012 Chevrolet Volts. The latest move comes in the wake of a 3.3% decline in sales of the battery car last month. And while Volt sales are up 9.2% for the first seven months of the year, that lags well behind the surge in demand for two key competitors in the new battery-car segment, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.

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Chevy isn’t alone, however, in using discounts to try to draw buyers into showrooms. In fact, the big 371.9% jump in sales of the Leaf battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, followed the Japanese maker’s announcement of its own big prices cuts early in the year. Nissan recently launched production at an assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee – the sprawling complex also producing Leaf batteries. It followed by adding a new stripped-down model and trimming prices on more well-equipped versions of the BEV.

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Ford the Latest to Drop Battery Car Price

2014 Focus Electric base price dropped $4,000.

by on Jul.10, 2013

Ford has struggled to charge up consumer interest in its all-electric Focus Electric.

Ford Motor Co. becomes the latest automaker to slash pricing to try to boost sales of its slow-selling battery-car, the 2014 Focus Electric.

Sales of both battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and plug-in hybrids have generally lagged proponents’ expectations prompting makers to drop base prices or increase incentives in the hope of luring more consumers into showrooms.

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Among other makers who have cut prices in recent months are Nissan, Chevrolet and Honda. Meanwhile, Toyota is increasing marketing efforts to revive demand for the conventional Prius hybrid after an unexpected sales skid during the first half of the year.

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Chevrolet Volt Unplugged: GM Slashes Prices to Spur Sales

Buyers now can get as much as $5,000 in incentives.

by on Jun.11, 2013

Chevy hopes to spur lagging Volt sales.

With signs that sales of its Chevrolet Volt battery car could be coming unplugged, General Motors is offering potential buyers as much as $5,000 in incentives – making it the latest maker to try to cut prices in a bid to boost lagging demand for electric vehicles.

Whether the move will work remains to be seen, as GM has already trimmed the price on the Volt plug-in hybrid. But rival Nissan has had some clear success after cutting the price on its own Leaf battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, earlier this year.

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Both vehicles were introduced to high expectations nearly three years ago, but they have so far consistently missed sales targets. In fact, only a handful of battery-based vehicles have come close to meeting expectations, most notably the Tesla Model S.

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Desperate for Sales, EV Makers Slash Prices

Honda trims lease on Fit EV by a third.

by on May.30, 2013

Honda will trim the price of its Fit EV by a third.

Honda will slash by a third the cost of leasing its new Fit EV making it the latest maker to try to boost demand for battery cars by reducing their hefty price premium.

Other makers who have already taken steps to improve the affordability of their electric vehicles include Nissan with the battery-electric Leaf, and Chevrolet with the plug-in Volt. High prices are one of the key reasons potential buyers have steered clear from so-called advanced propulsion vehicles, according to industry research.

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Honda says it will reduce the price of the Fit EV lease from $389 to $259 a month, and customers will no longer face mileage limitations.  Existing customers will see their lease prices adjusted, as well.

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Nissan Slashing Price on Leaf Battery Car

by on Jan.14, 2013

Nissan will reduce the price on a new version of its Leaf battery car by as much as $6,000.

Nissan will drop the price on a new version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle by 18%, or about $6,000, the maker announced during a North American International Auto Show news conference.

The Nissan Leaf S trim level will now start at $28,800, according to executive Carlos Munoz, who noted that with the $7,500 federal tax credit on qualified electric vehicles and various state incentives added in, buyers in some parts of the country will now be able to purchase a Leaf for as little as $18,000.

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“We are confident this will represent a tipping point,” in terms of driving up demand for the Leaf, the first mainstream battery-electric vehicle from a major manufacturer in nearly two decades, said Munoz.

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Nissan to Introduce Lower-Priced Leaf

Less expensive model to debut after launch of US production.

by on Oct.09, 2012

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn at the Leaf debut.

Hoping to sharply boost demand – while also taking advantage of its new, lower-cost U.S. production base – Nissan plans to introduce a lower-priced version of the Leaf battery-electric vehicle next year.

The move will follow the December 2012 launch of production of the Leaf on a new assembly line at the sprawling Nissan manufacturing center in Smyrna, Tennessee.  Currently, the battery car is imported from Japan – which means it is subject to lopsided exchange rates penalizing the Japanese yen.

Cutting the price could prove critical to near-term sales, as well as the long-term viability, of the Nissan Leaf. After a moderately strong start in 2011, sales have taken an unexpected dive this year.

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The new model will feature far less content, “though this is not a stripper,” according to a well-placed Nissan source.  That translates into no navigation system or HID headlights – features normally not found in the segment a vehicle the size of a Nissan Leaf would normally compete in were it not for its unique battery drivetrain.

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GM Betting on “Game-Changer” Battery

New technology could yield huge jump in range.

by on Aug.10, 2012

GM may have found a partner that could double the range of battery-based vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt.

Perhaps the single biggest problem with electric vehicles is the limited range of today’s batteries.  But General Motors is betting that a small California company may have a breakthrough that could substantially increase so-called energy density yielding a major increase in the distance battery cars can travel between charges.

The automaker’s investment arm, GM Ventures LLC, is investing heavily in Envia Systems, based in Newark, California. The firm claims to have developed a new way to pack about 400 watt hours of energy into a kilogram of battery.  Put into perspective, that’s a full ten times as much “juice” as the nickel-metal hydride battery in a Toyota Prius can hold and as much as twice the energy even the best of today’s advanced lithium-ion batteries can manage.

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That would potentially permit a Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid to go 70 miles on a charge, for example, compared to 35 today.  And pure battery-electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric, could deliver range closer to what a gas-powered vehicle might yield on a tank of petrol, rather than the 70 to 100 miles they can eke out today.

“I think we’ve got better than a 50-50 chance to develop a car that will go to 200 miles on a charge,” says GM CEO Dan Akerson, who calls Envia’s technology a potential “game-changer.”

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