I don’t often post on other vehicles, but today GM announced the Chevrolet Bolt. It looks interesting. The Bolt is a concept vehicle. An official release date wasn’t mentioned but the Wall Street Journal states it will be available in 2017. GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, said, “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.” The Bolt will be an all-electric crossover with more than a 200 mile range and a starting price around $30,000 according to GM. It will be sold throughout the world and in all 50 states. GM said the Bolt concept uses a smartphone rather than a key fob, has a 10-inch touch screen and a panoramic sunroof. GM also announced the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the Detroit auto show. The Volt has an 18.4 kWh battery (the current model has a 17.1 kWh). GM estimates that the 2016 Volt will have an all-electric range of 50 miles. They also stated that the 1.5L ICE engine will have a combined fuel economy rating of 41 mpg.
The forum at GM-Volt.com has an extensive discussion about the article. There’s also an article in the Wall St. Cheat Sheet, “Did This Guy Just Kill the Chevy Volt?” I think the only reason the Volt and C-Max Energi are competitors is there are only a few PHEV/EREVs on the market today, the Prius Plug-in and the Volt. All three vehicles are different. My wife and I checked out the Volt. The driver area was way too small. I thought it looked like a fun extended range electric vehicle (EREV), but it was rather small for my six-foot height. It didn’t take us long to decide it wasn’t the car for us. The finish of the Volt looked nice but my wife almost instantly said, “No way.” The C-Max Energi is the only one that can fill our needs of these three models.
This blog was first published 13 Oct 2012. It was updated on 13 Dec 2012.
Nissan and GM have both over built their inventory of Leaf and Volts respectively. In Utah, Nissan is offering a 36-month 36,000 mile lease on the 2012 Leaf SV of $219 per month and a $1,999 initial payment. This is a $36,050 MSRP car! GM is offering a 36-month lease on a 2013 Volt at $299 per month and $1,529 due at signing. This is a $39,995 MSRP car. These lease deals are fantastic for a buyer with a garage. In the case of the Leaf, it is probably best used as a second car, but Nissan provides 10 free rental days as part of the lease deal on another Nissan vehicle. The Leaf and Volt both qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit. With a lease, the lessor, which is the owner of the car, takes the tax credit. This means that you do not need to wait to receive the benefit of the tax credit. It also means you do not need to have a tax liability of at least $7,500, tax credit amount. Until Nissan and Chevrolet discontinue their cut-throat lease deals, many consumers will be hard pressed to justify buying a Ford C-Max Energi. These lease deals are making the Volt and Leaf competitive with many far less expensive and less energy efficient cars. It also puts pressure on Ford. If the C-Max Energi ships and these cut-throat deals are still available, C-Max Energi sales will be affected.