With its much-ancticipated Volt due to debut next week,released a few publicity shots to goad potential buyers’ curiousity. The teasers show the new model from three angles: top, grille and tail, and the final version, while subject to tweaks before its 2010 release, looks markedly calmer than its original concept model. That’s perhaps a reflection of GM’s intent to make this a mass-market vehicle, appealing not only to eco-nuts but also to regular families seeking a decent transportational bottom line.
That bottom line isn’t going to be quite as low as most buyers would want, however; according to GM’s own research, about 33,000 respondents said they’d pay around $31,000 for the car, while GM has said the MSRP will be closer to $40,000. Factoring in government tax incentives, however, might bring the price down closer to the target. The Volt will be equipped with a battery-operated plug-in drivetrain with a 40-mile range and a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine which can charge the battery once it exceeds its range.
The number two carmaker,was meanwhile focussing on finishing touches of its popular hybrid, the Prius. Word on the street has it that Toyota will employ a noise-cancelling audio system in a future generation of the car, that uses a technology akin to that in noise-cancelling headphones. Microphones and sensors will pick up the frequency of engine and road noise, and use embedded head-level speakers to produce counter-frequencies that should result in a quieter ride. Whether or not that will quiet down your screaming kids in the backseat remains to be seen.