In case you were wondering, Ed Whitacre’s assessment that the Volt will “make a margin” at a price point “in the low 30s” is the GM Chairman/CEO’s second big lie in as many weeks. Well, lie might be a bit harsh. Gross and willful misrepresentation is probably more accurate. GreenCarReports‘ John Voelcker got in touch with a GM spokesman who confirms what we all pretty much knew from the get go: GM “has not officially announced final Volt pricing, a price in the low 30’s after a $7,500 tax credit is in the range of possibilities.” In other words, we’re back to the same old $40k-ish number that GM execs have been throwing around for ages. Unless GM is talking about the electric-only (non-range-extended) Volt that Bob Lutz recently confirmed. But what about the margin thing?
The only real explanation for any reduction in Volt build costs would probably come on the battery side, and sure enough GM has already bragged that it will get Li-ion packs down to $500 per kw/h within the next year or so. Of course Toyota has basically laughed off this possibility, saying they’d buy up any of these mythical battery packs if they were actually available.
But mass production is a wonderful thing. Maybe, just maybe, GM could order enough battery packs from its Volt Li-ion supplier LG Chem to bring the price down, right? Wait, what’s that? GM has just signed a deal with an all-new batter supplier called SB LiMotive (a JV between Bosch and Samsung)? “We have been conducting joint research into automotive batteries with SB LiMotive and there is a strong possibility that the company will be chosen,” a GM source tells the Chosun Ilbo. “However, that does not mean we will change our supply orders from LG Chem.” Huh? Unless these (relative) newcomers have come up with something that A123, BYD, LG Chem, Panasonic and the other big battery firms aren’t aware/capable of, how does it makes sense for GM to not stick with LG Chem and work out the costs of the already-chosen battery pack? Color us confused.