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tech has been proven - they wait for the first review, see that it works and has been refined, then they jump on board.” The Volt now has over 500 million miles under its fan belt - the beta test is over, and it’s time for the luxury buyer to experience what the technology can do. Several reviewers have expressed a bit of sticker shock at the lofty price of the ELR - Consumer Reports said the car is “priced out of its league,” while Automobile believes it will face tough competition not only from the Model S but from the BMW and Mercedes coupés. MSRP starts at $75,000, compared to $34,185 for the 2014 Volt. Both cars are built on GM’s Delta II platform, use the Voltec propulsion system, and have similar performance specs. Will buyers really pay double the price to experience the ELR’s luxury features? Absolutely, says GM. The electrified luxury vehicle represents a new portion of the market. Those who

Photos courtesy of GM

Charged spoke with Kevin Kelly, GM’s Manager of Electrification Technology Communications, as well as ELR Chief Engineer Chris Thomason and Product Manager Darin Gesse. They told us that the rationale behind GM’s strategy had to do with the newness of the technology. The combination of an electric powertrain with a gasoline range extender was something that had never been available before, and early Volt customers knew that they were taking a risk by buying the vehicles. As Gesse told us, many Volt buyers are the type of customers who could afford a luxury car, but want to be on the cutting edge. That customer base has been a huge asset for GM, offering invaluable feedback on their real-world experience with the car. However, the luxury car buyers who will be interested in the ELR are not the beta-testing type. “They are our fast followers, who want to be part of the change, but they want to make sure the

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Iss 11 DEC 2013  

CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Iss 11 DEC 2013