Volt Birth Watch 4: Pay No Attention to That Plug Behind the Curtain
General Motors is considering an unusual program to keep the price of the Chevy Volt within the grasp of the average auto buyer: renting them the battery pack. The Financial Times reports that GM is considering selling the car for the price of a Chevy Malibu, and then charging owners a monthly rental fee for the batteries. Volt chief engineer Frank Weber estimates an average owner would pay about $25/month for gas, compared to $125 for a traditional Malibu. The battery pack would rent for about $100/month giving a similar total operating cost. Oops! Unless we're missing something, Weber forgot the cost of plugging in to recharge the battery. Since the primary reason most people look at any kind of hybrid is lower operating cost, we've got to say this seems like a
bone-headed self-defeating marketing idea.