The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle will come with a standard, eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery pack when it goes on sale late this year – the best in the business thus far.
At current prices, the cost of a Volt battery pack is about $16,000, or the price of a new compact car, so the GM announcement is potentially significant – at least for the first owner of the car. (See Driving the Chevrolet Cruze)
The replacement cost of electric vehicle batteries is one of many concerns that have thus far kept EVs as mere low volume curiosities instead of the mainstream vehicles that proponents maintain they should become.
Nissan’s electric Leaf is also due to go on sale this December in Europe, Japan and the U.S. on a limited basis. Nissan has not yet released warranty details, but unlike GM, it has released Leaf pricing. Including the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit for which the Leaf is eligible, the consumer’s after-tax net cost of a Leaf could be as low as $25,280. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is $32,780. Leaf leasing begins at $349 per month.
It has been widely speculated in the media that GM will ask $40,000 for a Volt, before taxpayer subsidies. However, that was before GM returned to profitability and started becoming more aggressive in its marketing.