But even if the VOLT becomes a top seller, Lemos-Stein said it takes years to recoup the development costs and turn a profit on the car.
"We would hold our breath on the VOLT transforming the financial risks of GM any time soon," he said.
AutoTrends Consulting analyst Joe Phillippi said that cost is "the first giant hurdle" the automakers need to overcome.
"You pay a premium for being green," Phillippi said.
An SUV hybrid might burn less fuel than a traditional SUV, but it still isn't going to be as efficient as a small compact.
But not everybody wants such small a car.
"If you have four or five kids," Phillippi said, "a Chevy volt or Toyota Prius isn't going to do it for you."
ABC News' Alice Gomstyn and Charles Herman contributed to this report.