With the announcement last week initial prototypes for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid have already met their target of 40 miles of electric-only driving, GM CEO Rick Wagoner is confident the car could be released earlier than first predicted and has told German media that it could even cost less than $30,000.

Speaking with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wagoner said GM is aiming to launch the Volt by early 2010 and hopefully beat Toyota to become the first major carmaker with a volume plug-in hybrid for sale.

A price of less than $30,000 should see the Volt reach its production goals of 60,000 annual units and may even put to bed the rumors of a possible battery-rental scheme that GM was previously considering - although the scheme hasn't been completely ruled out yet.

GM is hoping that the new Chevy Volt will be its comeback car, its reclamation of power over its Japanese rivals who are winning the minds - and wallets - of Americans in light of the weak economy and high fuel prices, and with a sub $30,000 price tag it may just do that.