General Motors Co. will price its Chevy Volt range-extender hybrid-electric vehicle at $41,000, including a $720 destination charge, and lease the vehicle at $350 per month for 36 months with $2,500 down.

That puts the bottom line at $33,500 for those qualifying for a $7,500 federal electric-vehicle tax credit. The Volt goes on sale in November in certain U.S. markets after four years of buildup.

“That is a very significant value,” Joel Ewanick, vice president-marketing tells media today during a conference call.

Advertising largely will focus on the lease price for the car but also clearly state the retail price, so as not to mislead consumers, he says.

The federal tax spiff is not available at the point of purchase but is claimed as a deduction when buyers file their annual tax returns.

The Volt's starting price before the tax break is $8,000 more than that of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s all-electric Leaf, which goes on sale in the U.S. in December at $32,780 retail, or $349 per month for a 36-month lease.

But Ewanick says the Volt’s unique nature justifies the higher sticker.

“Our strategy for the Volt will be (that) it’s more car than electric,” he says of the marketing message, noting its status as a range-extender EV, with a gas generator that charges the battery on the fly, makes it unique in the marketplace and eliminates range anxiety for consumers.

The Volt can travel 40 miles (64 km) on a charge from a 120V or 240V outlet, then another 300 miles (483 km) on a single tank of gas providing fuel for the on-board generator.

“We think it's a huge value that people are willing to pay for,” Ewanick says of the overall 340-mile (547-km) range of the Volt.

The Leaf, in contrast, is a full EV with no backup generator, able to travel up to 100 miles (161 km) on a fully charged battery, Nissan says.

Beginning today, an ordering website for the Volt, getmyvolt.com, goes live. The website allows consumers in the first roll-out states for the car to place an order with participating Chevy dealers.

Some 600 dealers have qualified to sell the car in the launch states/districts of California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas and Washington, D.C.

By 2012, GM plans to take the Volt nationwide, with most dealers expected to meet requirements to sell the car, says Tony DiSalle, Volt marketing director.

After getting in touch with a dealer, buyers will be placed on a waiting list and contacted by a Volt representative. Chevrolet will have representatives available 24/7 to answer buyers’ questions about the car.

Consumers outside the launch states will be able to purchase a Volt but will not be eligible for the lease deal. They’ll also have to arrange shipping if they want to take delivery at a local Chevy dealer.

The Volt will come equipped with navigation, Bluetooth and eight airbags.

Buyers can add four option packages, which include leather seating, rear backup camera, polished wheels and premium paint.

Five years of OnStar service also is available. Fully loaded, the Volt will retail for $37,100, after the tax credit.

Ewanick says the residual value for the Volt will be strong, but he declines to provide a projection.

The Volt's 8-year/100,000-mile (161,000-km) warranty is boosting the residual value enough to make the low lease price possible, he adds.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com