Monday, March 7, 2011

GM takes on Nissan in electric car battle

General Motors and Nissan are going head-to-head for control of the electric car market. The Chevrolet Volt retails for approximately $41,000, while the Nissan Leaf comes in at just under $33,000. The price of the Volt, in particular, was the topic of intense discussion for some time. Both are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and a $5,000 state credit is available in California. Leasing will be an option for both models.

Since the advent of the electric car, price has been a sticking point with consumers. The aim of both automakers is to produce an affordable electric model, something heretofore unavailable in the US market. While the Volt boasts a higher sticker price than the Leaf, it had the advantage of being a plug-in hybrid. It will run on battery power for the first 40 miles of a trip, then switch to gas to power the electric motor. This allays another traditional fear that has plagued electric cars: running out of power when the battery loses juice. By comparison, the Leaf has a range of 100 miles per charge. As such, experts project the Leaf as more of a commuter vehicle, while the Volt can be viewed as a primary vehicle. Questions about range give the Volt a perceived early edge over its Japanese competitor.

Abdulaziz Alhadlaq

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