For those longer road trips, after the first 35 gas-free miles, driving the Volt at a speed of 70 miles per hour, mileage will be closer to 35 MPG than 40 MPG. That's a little bit behind the 47 MPG a Prius will likely yield at that kind of speed. Still, getting 35 MPG or more will handily beat the Porsche Panamera.
GM (GM - Get Report) made the mistake in launching the Volt by branding it a Chevrolet. It should have been a Cadillac, given that it's a premium construction car competing mostly with cars costing a lot more. Anyway, the Cadillac version of the Volt arrives in early 2014, in conjunction with what is expected to be the updated Chevrolet Volt 2.0.
Some people, however, aren't considering a car at those price levels. Some people would only consider an electric car if it cost under $30,000 before any tax incentives. As a reminder, a plug-in electric car with a battery 16 kWh or larger is eligible for up to $7,500 in a federal tax credit, as well as $1,500 from the state of California, if that's where you live.
And the largest number of electric car drivers live in California. Surprise, surprise.
Therefore, once that sticker price falls below $30,000, the net cost to the consumer starts to look a lot like it's hitting $20,000. That's below the average new car price in the U.S. today.