General Motors is lobbying for a $7,000 tax credit for buyers of the $30,000 $40,000 2011 Chevy Volt — more than double that originally offered for Prius buyers. The automaker's arguing the credit should be based on battery capacity. "What we favor is actually a sliding scale depending on how much battery you have on board," said Jon Lauckner, GM VP for global program management. "When I talk about $6,000 to $7,000, we're talking about a battery that's at least two times the size of a typical conversion plug-in or even a plug-in hybrid that we would offer." Of course, since new Chevy products apparently now command 4 times their MSRP, we predict the Volt will cost $153,000 after the tax credit.
If congressional leaders agree to GM's recommendation, the Volt could have a "real" price to consumers closer to the originally reported $30,000. However, since GM is suggesting basing the tax credit not just on battery size, but also on the potential quantity of petroleum avoided, lawmakers could conceivably balk at the tax implications as more alternative fuel vehicles enter the market. In the meantime, we're going to stuff 30 batteries into the back of the Jalopnik Caprice and wait for our $21,000 check from the gubment, secure in the knowledge we're still creating the usual level of smug.