First let me say that, being a lifelong GM devotee I'm extremely happy to see their EV engineering efforts. The Volt, as described, looks awesome.
If, at the end of the development cycle, they land on a 40 thousand dollar money-loser for GM, they'll be done with EV for 15 years. Ten thousand EV fanatics will buy one, a few thousand green activists and actors will get on board and then boom - the batteries will outlast Volt production by six years.
I'd hate to see GM miss out on a huge opportunity here by going for the gold right out of the gate and missing the mark. Let be be clear here though - I ~do~ want to see the Volt make it to the line in 2 or 3 years. I just wouldn't put all my EV eggs in one basket.
How hard would it be for GM to put a small team together to develop another car in parallel - without losing an ounce of their existing design effort? If confidence in the 120Kw electric drivetrain and 53Kw genset are high then hey - there is a product right there.
If a Volt can manage 50mpg and 70mph on the 53Kw alone (with a 5 passenger design tipping the scales at > 3000lbs) what could a few good engineers get from a 1500lb 2 seater with the same components? How much lower could we get wind and rolling drag with thinner tires, smaller cabin, half the mass, etc.. How much money could be saved with 80% fewer batteries and a utilitarian interior?
Keep a small battery pack (or supercaps) to handle 120Kw surges and leave easy under-bumber battery tray access to add capacity as the technology matures.
This doesn't have to look like another silly Smart NEV. Think outside of the box GM. Two seats are perfectly viable for a commuter but this car could still be a little hot rod (and no - not a Tesla wannabe either). Four hundred pound racing quads run 70mph and make 60 foot jumps on unpredictable terrain. Split the difference.
Call it the milliVolt. Alright guys laugh if you like but hey - I'd buy it tomorrow. The fuel crisis is here RIGHT NOW and the rats are steadily leaving the (2 ton vehicle) ship. How about floating a 75mpg little Mini Cooper flogger that, priced right ($14k?) just might end up a 21st century VW bug with one in every other driveway.