A price of $40,000 is currently being suggested by sources close to the project, but considering its chief rival – the Toyota Prius carries a base MRSP price of just $21,500, those boys in Detroit have got a challenge ahead of them.

The Chevrolet Volt could arguably be the most important model in GM's history, but the high development and production costs are driving the base price for the model skywards. A price of $40,000 is currently being suggested by sources close to the project, but considering its chief rival – the Toyota Prius carries a base MRSP price of just $21,500, those boys in Detroit have got a challenge ahead of them.

In order to battle this extreme price, GM will look for a bit of help from the US taxpayers by requesting for Congress to create a new tax credit for "extended-range electric vehicles" which would include the plug-in Volt. This could knock off up to $7,000 off the sticker price and put it back in the price range of the average joe.

Sources have stated that initial sales will be between 10,000 and 30,000 units in the first year which is likely to grow exponentially after the first few years once production is in full flow. If the Volt is an out and out success there is a very real possibility of worldwide sales topping 500,000 per year by around 2015 as consumers look to avoid the sky-high fuel prices.

Originally displayed in concept form at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, the Chevrolet Volt is powered by an electric motor running off lithium batteries which can run for about 40 miles, after which the batteries are recharged by a small gasoline engine or can be plugged in to an electrical outlet.

The image above shows the original teaser image of the production Volt which was released late last year and check out the additional images on the right for the concept version.

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