Next Chevy Volt $10,000 Cheaper To Build, Profitable For GM?

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2013 Chevrolet Volt  -  Driven, December 2012

2013 Chevrolet Volt - Driven, December 2012

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Here and there, a few little tidbits about the next-generation Chevrolet Volt electric car are starting to leak out.

The latest comes from GM CEO Dan Akerson, who told the audience at Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference Tuesday that the next Volt would cost "$7,000 to $10,000" less than today's model.

The 2013 Chevy Volt carries a base price of $39,995 before Federal, state, and local incentives--roughly double the price of Chevrolet's non-electric compact Cruze four-door sedan.

Akerson also noted that the second-generation Chevy Volt would be profitable, unlike the current version.

"We're losing money on every one," he admitted.

The next Volt (and derivatives, presumably including a next-generation Cadillac ELR range-extended luxury coupe) will be considerably lighter than today's car, which weighs in at 3,781 pounds.

And it will ride on a dedicated platform, according to GM product chief Mark Reuss, rather than an adapted version of GM's compact-car underpinnings used for the Cruze and other models.

GM said last fall that it plans to downplay hybrids in favor of its Voltec range-extended electric technology.

It sees the Voltec powertrain giving it a big lead on any other carmaker that offers a plug-in hybrid adapted from conventional hybrids--including Ford, Honda, and Toyota.

The current Volt, launched in December 2010 as a 2011 model, will likely run through the 2015 model year with few modifications.

The next generation will probably be unveiled in 18 to 24 months as a 2016 model.

The Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car was the best-selling plug-in vehicle sold in the U.S. last year.

Through April, its sales are pretty much neck-and-neck with the Nissan Leaf (now built in the U.S.) and most likely lower than those of the Tesla Model S electric luxury sport sedan.

The Fortune conference was held in Laguna Niguel, California, which also gave Akerson a chance to tease the audience for driving "ugly German cars."

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