Two of the most highly anticipated new car launches of all time will take place in the coming months as General Motors Company’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Motor Company’s Leaf all-electric-vehicle hit dealer showrooms.
With the Volt expected to launch in November and the Leaf expected to begin shipping the following month, the automakers have begun ratcheting up their marketing campaigns as each attempts to steal the other’s thunder.
Earlier this month, GM announced that the lithium-ion battery pack that delivers electric power to the Chevrolet Volt will come with an eight-year / 100,000-mile warranty. Now Nissan has announced that it will give Leaf owners a matching, eight-year / 100,000-mile battery warranty.
In their attempts to entice consumers to embrace their new technologies, Nissan and GM each hope their warranties will give buyers one less thing to be concerned about.
There are some major differences between the core technologies being employed by the Leaf and Volt. The Volt will use a liquid heating and cooling system to prolong the life of its batteries while Nissan has chosen to go with an air-cooled system to extend the life of the Leaf’s battery pack.
The Leaf will go on sale initially in Arizona, California Oregon and Tennessee where the automaker, federal and state governments and private sector businesses have been preparing the infrastructure needed to support battery electric vehicles.
In addition to developing the necessary infrastructure, the EV Project will also study the effects of EVs on area electric grids as well as the driving behaviors of EV owners.
According to Nissan, more than 55% of the 17,000 consumers who have already reserved their Leaf’s live in the initial five-state launch markets.
Nissan plans to make the Leaf available in Hawaii and Texas beginning in January 2011. In April, the Leaf will go on sale in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington D.C. and nationwide by the fall of 2011.
GM plans to launch the Chevy Volt in California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and the Washington D.C. area initially.
Both automakers expect to make their new models available nationwide eventually and both are participants in the EV Project.
The Leaf will have an M.S.R.P of $32,780. The Volt will be priced slightly higher at $41,000. Both models will qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Nissan and GM are also offering lease options for their new models.
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