GM CEO Dishes On Two New Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

#GM, #Volt

The Chevrolet Volt may finally be rolling off the assembly line, but it seems General Motors’ push for vehicle electrification is far from complete. According to CEO Dan Ackerson, the company is preparing to launch two new plug-in hybrid/extended-range electric models, and aims to have each U.S. brand selling at least one model with similar technology.

Speaking at the Automotive News World Conference in Detroit, Ackerson revealed to the Detroit Free Press that the company is planning to utilize the company’s Voltec plug-in hybrid/extended-range electric driveline in a new mini-minivan/MPV. The announcement isn’t exactly shocking, as GM has long indicated it needed to implement the driveline in several models to help recoup development and production costs (presently, Voltec is only used in the Volt, and its badge-engineered European cousins, the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera).

Sound familiar? GM previewed such a vehicle with the Volt MPV5 concept, which was unveiled at the 2010 Beijing auto show. Like the Volt, the MPV5 rode atop a modified form of GM’s Delta II architecture, and bore considerable resemblance to the new Orlando MPV sold in Europe. Those points, along with an interior that looked suspiciously close to production-ready, suggested the concept wasn’t exactly a pie-in-the sky exercise. Although the concept was badged as a Chevrolet, a number of brands -- including Buick, GMC, or even Opel/Vauxhall -- could lay claim to the production model.

The MPV may not be the only new Voltec application. Ackerson revealed GM plans on rolling out a second extended-range electric hatchback, but declined to provide any additional details. Although he could be speaking about an all-new vehicle, we can’t help but note the Ampera -- which has yet to reach European showrooms -- is also classified as a hatchback.

Ackerson also dished on the scuttled 2-Mode plug-in hybrid architecture, which was once slated for the stillborn Saturn Vue PHEV, and subsequently, a badge-engineered Buick variant. Although it still allows drivers some amount of pure electric propulsion, the driveline differs markedly from the Voltec system, and uses a scaled-down variant of the company’s 2-Mode hybrid transmission, found in its full-size hybrid pickup and SUVs. Ackerson noted the driveline is once again destined for production, and will likely be offered in a Cadillac SRX -- unsurprising, as the SRX’s Theta II architecture is similar to that used in the Vue.

Source:  Detroit Free Press

@Doug: gas prices dictate the affordability of a PHEV. Most people can do with 30-35 miles a day which would mean they can cut out gas nearly entirely. Oil is a financial instrument and as the economy comes back the price of gas will continue to rise. Further, as more Voltec cars are built the price will invariably come down.
Doug S.
GM is heading down of path of self destruction without placing more RD in hybrid technology. The Volt is a breakthrough in technology but is not a mass market vehicle. We middle income and retired families are looking at hybrid car releases for our next and maybe last purchase for a while and some look exciting. Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Nissan and Honda either have a hybrid or a model is soon being released. Hyundai has an exciting hybrid soon to be on the market in the Sonata and sibling KIA Optima mid size sedans getting 39/41 mpg costing only $1900 more than the gasoline version. The other automakers prices are still $4000/10000 over gasoline which is cost prohibited vs gas savings. GM will not get another bail out if they fail so I would recommend to the stock holders to write letters and get the board of directiors to look at what the market dictakes and the future will hold. Plug ins for massmarket are 15 years away or until battery technology improves dramatically.
That's already the second story I read at the Automobilemag, where the name of GM's CEO was spelled incorrectly: Akerson, not A c kerson!

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