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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen very widely varying estimates on the street-cost of a Volt. I believe that it'll have to compete with the Prius in terms of cost in order to be at all successful in the marketplace. You can buy a new Prius for 22K. If the Volt debuts for anything near 30K, it's going to flop. I think GM should set 25K as the high-end range for market price. They surely cannot expect to recoup their R&D costs within the first batch of 10,000 Volts that roll off the production lines. It may take a few years... However, they will surely never recoup these costs if they price the thing right out of the market... Just my 2 cents... ;)
 

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The Volt is plug-in, the Prius is NOT.

The Volt range extender can use pure gasoline or E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), the Prius can NOT.

The Volt has significant range and performance that is purely electric for 40 miles, the Prius does NOT.

Americans will recognize the value in these differences, the Japanese will NOT.
 

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The Volt is plug-in, the Prius is NOT.

The Volt range extender can use pure gasoline or E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), the Prius can NOT.

The Volt has significant range and performance that is purely electric for 40 miles, the Prius does NOT.

Americans will recognize the value in these differences, the Japanese will NOT.
Assuming that the most important, underlying factor of price is removed from the equation. I, personally, don't think that consumers will pay a $10000 to $15000 premium (at least the average consumer won't.)

As the price of fuel goes up and people start wanting vehicles that get better mileage and have lesser impact I think many people will start to pick up used Prius' which will be flooding the market. I think many people will try to get a used Prius for a couple of years and then maybe try to trade in for a used Volt of plugin Prius. These are only speculations but I could see it becoming reality.
 

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I've seen very widely varying estimates on the street-cost of a Volt. I believe that it'll have to compete with the Prius in terms of cost in order to be at all successful in the marketplace. You can buy a new Prius for 22K. If the Volt debuts for anything near 30K, it's going to flop. I think GM should set 25K as the high-end range for market price. They surely cannot expect to recoup their R&D costs within the first batch of 10,000 Volts that roll off the production lines. It may take a few years... However, they will surely never recoup these costs if they price the thing right out of the market... Just my 2 cents... ;)
I couldn't agree with you more! Automotive history is littered with failed technology that was better and generations ahead of it's time, but they failed because they could not compete price-wise with what was on the market at the time. Sure, the Volt is pure electric, and superior. But if I'm Joe-Average-Car-Buyer and I'm shopping for my next car, and I want better mileage. I won't be looking at just the Volt. I'll be looking at the Prius, the Civic Hybrid, the Ford Escape Hybrid, as well as the Volt. I'll be weighing my costs of ownership. those include things other than fuel. They include whether my budget can withstand the monthly payment. I'll be looking at resale value 6 years down the line. I'll be looking at styling. I'll be looking at reliability.

Don't bet the farm on the fact that the Volt will sell no matter what it costs just because it's electric. That might be the case for the first 10,000 units. After that you saturate the electric vehicle only group and you start to compete for the eye of other car buyers. If GM wants the Volt to succeed, they have to price it competitive with current hybrid vehicles or "The General" looses another one to the Japs.
 

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Price

The batteries for the Volt are going to cost at least $10k in 2010, so you have to add at least that to the $22k price of the Prius. If I had to guess, I'd put the initial price of the Volt around $35k. More than that is going to be difficult to justify unless the price of gas goes up very significantly. Long term, I think the price will come down to below $30k (all in 2008 $).

I think there will eventually be many cars with the same technology at a range of prices, but they are always going to be more expensive due to the extra cost of the batteries. People will buy these cars for many reasons, one of which will be if they can convince themselves that the initial capital costs will eventually be paid for in reduced fuel costs. My calculations say that over 12.5 years and $4/gallon, 12000 miles/year, that you would break even in NY state ($0.12/kwh) at about a $10k price premium. Cheaper electricity or more expensive gas would allow for a shorter payback time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The Volt is plug-in, the Prius is NOT.

The Volt range extender can use pure gasoline or E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), the Prius can NOT.

The Volt has significant range and performance that is purely electric for 40 miles, the Prius does NOT.

Americans will recognize the value in these differences, the Japanese will NOT.
Regardless of the differences between these two vehicles, you must admit that the Prius and other hybrids are the primary competition for the Volt. Its extra features are not going to make people pay an extra $10K.

You can convert any production Prius to a PHEV for far less than $10K.

Ethanol is a net energy loser and basically nothing but a subsidy to Archer Daniels Midland.

Your 4th point is just your opinion, and I simply don't agree.

I think cost is the bottom line no matter what nation you are from. If GM prices this car significantly higher than other similar vehicles, they will be shooting themselves in the foot. I understand the R&D costs are astronomical and the production costs are high, but surely GM is prepared to recoup the R&D costs over the course of many years, and they must plan on lowering the production costs over time rather than jacking up the cost to consumers. The Volt is not going to be a quick fix for GM. It could put them over the hump in the long run if they play their cards right. If they can't learn from the mistakes they made with the EV-1 (which could have saved GM years ago) then none of us will ever be driving Volts and we'll have to wait until "Who Killed the Electric Car: Part 2" comes out on DVD...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The batteries for the Volt are going to cost at least $10k in 2010, so you have to add at least that to the $22k price of the Prius.
By that logic, the batteries in the Prius cost $0... ;) Also, 12.5 years to recoup the added cost is only true if you NEVER put gasoline in your Volt.
 

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The question may actually be, for a majority of people, not what you want in a new car, but what you are willing to give up to get it.

If all you want is better mileage, nothing else matters, then you can shop around and buy the highest mileage car out there.

If you need to haul 3 kids around with you all day, maybe you get something a little bigger.

If you want to drive something with good mileage and has some style to it, you buy something else, altogether.

It all depends on what really matters to you. We all have different buttons that get pushed when we go out and buy a car.

For me, I will never drive a Prius because a) its ugly, and b) it a Toyota. Those two things are more important to me than even price.

I would bet there are enormous amounts of people out there who agree. Some times, styling actually matters to people more so than the "cost/return" argument.
 

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If what matters to you is to have the option to use no gas at all, then you look at cars that fit that criteria. Then cost might matter next. Or maybe styling, then cost. Whatever...

There is room out there for everyone. We are free to have the option to buy what we want and like, and in some cases NEED. I have many friends who haul stuff all the time, they NEED a truck. My wife and I go camping with our two kids, dog, two tents, food, grill, toys, all sorts of STUFF, I also NEED an SUV for my hobbies. But I don't need to drive the SUV to work every day.

What I don't like is somebody telling me that I should want something else due to some logical analysis exercise. And if I disagree, I'm an idiot. That may still be the case, actually, but I can make that decision for myself.

COST of the vehicle is mearly part of anyone's purchase equation. If not, everyone in the world would be driving Hyundai's or Chery's.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
good points. but surely, cost relative to similar products. is a HUGE factor in the mainstream success or failure of any product being sold on the market, no? my reasoning for wanting a Volt is that I commute 5 miles each way to work and on the days where i don't ride my bike, i'd like not to use petroleum. however, cost will still be the first factor that comes into play when i consider buying a new vehicle. i'd like it to be a Volt, but first the Volt has to exist, and second, it has to be affordable to me. buying decisions aren't based solely on desire/need.
 

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I agree, But who decides if the products are "similar"? You? Me? I think that is also a personal decision.

In my opinion, the Prius and the Volt could not be more different. Therefore, to me, they are not comparable in any way. Now, if the production Volt morphed into a Prius looking car, with Prius type performance, then you can can compare price, perhaps. If that is a primary concern in your new car. But they are still technologically different. That may matter to others.

For me, even if the Volt is more expensive, I intend to buy it because it is from GM and not Toyota. Others may take a different approach, and thats OK. I don't care. I only hope the production Volt can keeps its looks, because that metters to me. Based on the comments from GM, I may get my wish.

Finally, if the Volt also turns out to be UGLY, In my opinion of course, I will just keep my Grand Am.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i think Madison avenue decides which products are similar. we as individuals get to decide whether or not we agree, but we don't decide whether the rest of the world will classify them as similar. the mass media and advertising makes that decision for pretty much everything. it should be obvious that they have already decided that the Volt is competition for hybrid vehicles.

in any case, the average price for a new car is about $28K. And granted, the Volt is not your average car... But if it is priced out of mainstream availability, it will surely fail. i'm just trying to take an objective perspective... one that might be translatable to the market as a whole. and cost is definitely king.
 

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As far as advertising goes, I think GM is and will be making a clear distinction the the Volt is not the same as a Prius. At all. They are even startingthat process now by marketing the car as an E-REV. Very distinct from the Prius label.

I think you are right, advertising will make a statement about similarity. But not from GM. It is to their advantage to market the car as being a new breed, unlike anything else offered by anyone.

Toyota, on the other hand, has to see that the only way to try to gain advantage is to say that the Volt is in fact direct competition to the Prius. Especially if in 2010, the Prius has a cost advantage argument.

The question may be then is whose ads will we align ourselves with? That may depend on if we think that cost is more important, Toyota vs GM is more important, gas vs no gas, styling, etc ...

I still think it will go back to a personal decision. Madison Ave, car mags, websites, etc. may try to influence us, but hopefully we are not the lemmings we are made out to be.
 

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I think that there is still too much speculating going on about competition and comparisons with still way too much being unknown. I've read that by 2010 Toyota will have a plug-in Prius which may be closer competition to a Volt. Who knows what other programs Toyota might be working on in the mean time to rival or over shadow GM. Mitsubishi might beat the Volt to market with their MiEV. Maybe Honda will have a product out as well.

At this point I'm interested in a Volt and fairly enthusiastic but until it comes to market and we see what is actually going on with the rest of the market it's hard to know what will and will not be competition and what will or will not be available for a cheaper or more expensive price tag.

I would not doubt if Toyota, Nissan and Honda are not working on Volt similar projects but not disclosing and laying everything out on the table. I see what GM is doing now as being an attempt to draw people and create hype (for themselve but maybe for other makers as well.) I could see all this current disclosure and marketing attempts going up in smoke should they be beaten to the market by another player offering a similar product. If I was the competition I would sit back and watch GM in the way that they are developing and hyping this product while very quietly developing my own in hopes of being out first with something better and un-anticipated (sneak-attack.)

Who really knows though, only time will tell!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As far as advertising goes, I think GM is and will be making a clear distinction the the Volt is not the same as a Prius. At all. They are even startingthat process now by marketing the car as an E-REV. Very distinct from the Prius label.

I think you are right, advertising will make a statement about similarity. But not from GM. It is to their advantage to market the car as being a new breed, unlike anything else offered by anyone.

Toyota, on the other hand, has to see that the only way to try to gain advantage is to say that the Volt is in fact direct competition to the Prius. Especially if in 2010, the Prius has a cost advantage argument.

The question may be then is whose ads will we align ourselves with? That may depend on if we think that cost is more important, Toyota vs GM is more important, gas vs no gas, styling, etc ...

I still think it will go back to a personal decision. Madison Ave, car mags, websites, etc. may try to influence us, but hopefully we are not the lemmings we are made out to be.
good points. thanks for your thoughts.
 

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Volt payback

By that logic, the batteries in the Prius cost $0... ;) Also, 12.5 years to recoup the added cost is only true if you NEVER put gasoline in your Volt.
The Volt will have more than 10X more battery capacity than the current Prius, so given the fact that my estimate for the cost of the batteries has more than 10% uncertainty, I didn't bother to factor in the Prius battery.

It is true that the calculation will only work for me (or people like me) since I will very rarely need to use gas in a car like the Volt because my daily driving is well within the Volt's EV range. I was trying to make the point that each person will decide which car works for them based on many factors. For me, the economic factor will probably be a wash at ~$32k, with the added benefit of a hedge against very high gas prices.
 

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Regardless of the differences between these two vehicles, you must admit that the Prius and other hybrids are the primary competition for the Volt. Its extra features are not going to make people pay an extra $10K.

You can convert any production Prius to a PHEV for far less than $10K.

Ethanol is a net energy loser and basically nothing but a subsidy to Archer Daniels Midland.

Your 4th point is just your opinion, and I simply don't agree.

I think cost is the bottom line no matter what nation you are from. If GM prices this car significantly higher than other similar vehicles, they will be shooting themselves in the foot. I understand the R&D costs are astronomical and the production costs are high, but surely GM is prepared to recoup the R&D costs over the course of many years, and they must plan on lowering the production costs over time rather than jacking up the cost to consumers. The Volt is not going to be a quick fix for GM. It could put them over the hump in the long run if they play their cards right. If they can't learn from the mistakes they made with the EV-1 (which could have saved GM years ago) then none of us will ever be driving Volts and we'll have to wait until "Who Killed the Electric Car: Part 2" comes out on DVD...
I would be very interested to see a link to a vendor who will convert a Prius to a PHEV with 15kWh of batteries for far less than $10k or even $10k for that matter. In fact, I'd like to see a link to a vendor who will sell 15kWh of Li-batteries for $10k or less.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I would be very interested to see a link to a vendor who will convert a Prius to a PHEV with 15kWh of batteries for far less than $10k or even $10k for that matter. In fact, I'd like to see a link to a vendor who will sell 15kWh of Li-batteries for $10k or less.
http://www.eaa-phev.org/wiki/PriusPlus

Prius P-HEV conversion does not make it into an EV-only, so I guess it's not apples to apples. but the parts cost about $4K--including batteries.
 

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There is one point that everyopne seems to be skipping over:

That there is an assumtion there will always be gasoline available to fuel up that low cost ICE based vehicle!

I remember the cars in line to get 10 gallons of gas during the oil embargo of 1973 & 1974 (I was 20). Then there was the doubling of price in gas from $0.25 to $0.50 per gallon, while oil went from $3.00 ro $12.00 per barrel! I also remember the attempts at government price controls and rationing.

Now here we are with oil at $117.00+ per barrel, and gas prices over $3.50 per gallon with no where to go but up. The Arab oil exporting countries could very easily start to reduce exports to the USA, while still making trillions of dollars shipping oil to China and India and the rest of the world.

So what will you do with your Prius, Civic, or Escape Hybrid at that point in time? You will park it, or wish you had the hindsight to buy something with a real all electric range to get you back and forth to work!

So like MetrologyFirst said - Price is only part of the equation.
 
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