2. Nissan (NSANY) Leaf. Production started in the U.S. of the improved and cost-reduced car in January, and U.S. sales are now running approximately 2,500 per month. With an advertised lease price of $199 per month, this is taking some sales from the Volt.
3. Fiat 500 electric. For sale only in California, hundreds of customers are signed up to take delivery from Fiat dealerships in California starting this June, and this number is growing every day. As with the Nissan Leaf, the price is $199 per month, taking customers away from the Volt.
4. Chevrolet Spark EV. For sale in California and Oregon starting in the coming weeks, this more powerful all-electric competitor to Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500 electric also costs $199 per month. Clearly some people will prefer this rocket (402 lb.ft worth of torque) ahead of the Volt.
The cash price is also a record-low $27,500 -- $17,500 in California after tax incentives, minus the $3,000 per year an employer such as Evernote will pay. Basically, some people are getting this car for essentially free on a six-year basis.5. The all-new model year 2015 Volt. There is an all-new 2015 Volt 2.0 coming some time in 2014, and savvy potential buyers are holding off for this significantly improved version. Let me tell you a little bit about the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Volt 2.0, which I expect to enter production some time in 2014. This speculation is based on the best information that I have been able to find, and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. It is speculation, and it is possible that all of this information is somehow wrong. That said, here are the key aspects of the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Volt 2.0, according to my best sources:
Battery: This is the centerpiece of the Volt 2.0. Significant improvements in battery technology, cooling, heating and packaging is enabling GM to offer the Volt 2.0 in two different versions:
A five-seat version (unlike the Volt 1.0, which was only available with four seats) with a 16 kWh battery. This uses the same T-shaped battery as the Volt 1.0, but there is a "cut-out" for a fifth passenger, effectively dividing the battery into two clusters -- one between the front seats, and the other under the rear seat. Viewed from under the car, it would look identical to the Volt 1.0, however.
A four-seat version, just like the Volt 1.0. By filling in this space in the "tunnel," battery capacity increases from 16 kWh to 20 kWh. This version would also be a "spare part" that would also fit inside the Volt 1.0, proving the long-term upgradeability of the Volt. The battery enclosure would be identical to the Volt 1.0, preserving long-term upgradeability and spare part economics.