We've heard time and again that it's really expensive to develop a hybrid, electric car or extended-range electric car. Chevy's upcoming Volt not only has a battery large enough to allow an announce range of 40 miles in electric-only mode, but it also uses a brand new engine design that's not used in that exact form in any other platform. You might imagine, then, that the Volt will be even more pricey to design than the average EV. You'd be right. According to the business plan that GM submitted to Congress, the Volt program will cost nearly $750 million to develop before it's all said and done. To top it all off, the car won't be profitable for at least the first few years that it is in production thanks to the high cost of its battery.
Still, GM seems to have learned an important lesson as it fell far behind in hybrid technology, which was another extremely expensive bit of kit to create and the court of public opinion has dictated that the cost is worth it. So, despite the fact that The General won't make any money on the Volt until around 2016, don't expect the automaker to put the brakes on the program any time soon.