Daniel Gross isn't fazed by the Volt's price tag because he thinks it will come down. A parallel:
When the automobile age dawned at the turn of the 20th century, cars were toys, luxury products and status symbols for the rich to race and tool around in. They weren't affordable for the overwhelming majority of Americans. In 1903, most car companies were "turning out products with steep prices of $3,000 or even $4,000," writes Douglas Brinkley in Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress. In 1903, about 12,000 cars were sold in the United States The following year, Henry Ford introduced his Model B "at a startling $2,000." Now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator only goes back to 1913. But $3,000 in 1913 is worth about $66,114 today. This BLS report suggests that average family income in 1901 was about $750. Any way you slice it, cars were very expensive.
(Photo: US President Barack Obama gets out of an electric Chevy Volt following a groundbreaking ceremony for Compact Power's new advanced battery factory in Holland, Michigan, July 15, 2010. The plant will build batteries for electric vehicles including the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus. By Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty.)
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.