As it happens, Honda's CEO may be wrong. But we don't know. For one thing, Tom's original post didn't offer a context or even a date for Fukui's remarks. If Fukui was referring to the premium supportable at $2.80/gallon (which is not too terribly long ago) when prices looked tolerably stable, then $2K may be quite right... at that time.
My concern is that Honda is pretty good at giving 44K people/month something they want and Honda thinks (or publicly asserts) that $2K is all they'll pay in premium for a battery-powered vehicle. Their point of view needs some consideration, and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
The other day Tom (I think it was Tom) posted something else about alternative powertrain premium pricing (titled something like "Maximum Competitve Price for the Volt") and I don't know where he got his numbers but he made a case that $6.8K or so was about the maximum GM could charge for a Volt over a conventional vehicle of similar capability. I offered one reason why I thought Tom's analysis was erred on the high side.
With just 10K Volts on the horizon, pricing isn't really important... that's a very small number and there are enough people interested specifically in GM's effort to make it very likely that GM can sell 10K Volts.
However, when GM wants to crank up to volume shipments, traditional concerns over vehicle pricing become much more important. GM is no longer skimming the cream of the oil avoider market off... they've already been through that... they have to compete on capabilities and cost.
When we hit that point, the $3.6K or so maximum premium Tom mentioned for fuel savings starts to look much more realistic. The $2K (or whatever) for performance is important. People have a liquidity preference and can not help but compare the Volt price to other conventional vehicles (Why am I spending an extra $20K over a Camry?). $6-7K may well be the supportable max over something like a Camry. It might even be less.
Uncertainty will cut both ways... Yes, gas prices might reach $6 or $7 and a fuel-efficient car will be important to me but what if I lose my job? This would be a very large payment for an unemployed person. What if fuel comes down?
The alternatives are numerous. What else could I buy? I could get a Yaris and keep $28K in change. I could carpool. I could take the bus. There's terms in economics for this (it has been a long time) but the availability of alternative buying and coping strategies makes a purchase decision more interesting and less certain for GM.
Right now, I don't carpool or vanpool. It's a short commute and would be more nuisance than it's worth. I bicycle to work fairly often. But through the winter, if gas doesn't come back down, I am likely to consider carpooling. So will others, if gas increases. You cut your commute expense about in half with carpooling... with no additional investment. That's waaaayyy cheaper than getting a Volt.
In other words, there's quite a field of choices and alternatives and these affect GM's ability to sell the Volt at a super-premium price. Honda is looking at this to determine how to price their upcoming offering, too.