The final figure comes after a $7,500 federal rebate

The final figure comes after a $7,500 federal rebate

The epic development period of the Volt has been unique in many ways, not least of which because it was announced about three years ahead of its actual debut - which is still more than a year out. But this week Bob Lutz told David Letterman one key detail of the upcoming plug-in hybrid from General Motors: its price.

Phrasing it as a 'best estimate' Lutz said the MSRP would sit 'around $40,000' and that the customer would be paying about $32,500 once a $7,500 government rebate is taken into account. That $7,500 rebate is part of a package intended to help boost sales and production of advanced vehicles, including plug-in hybrids.

That price fits well with previous hints and rumors on price - though not with GM's early, optimistic sub-$30,000 estimate - but GM is still expected to be taking a loss on the car even then, at least through the first term of its production. Even at the current price, GM is relying on the tax credit to make the Volt affordable.

Other tidbits dropped by Lutz: the first few examples of the car will be slipping onto showroom floors at the end of 2010, but the average buyer won't be able to find one until 2011.