By on January 12, 2011

GM will do with its Volt what arch nemesis Toyota did with its Prius: Add siblings. GM plans two more plug-in hybrids, based on the Volt. Not right now, but in the next few years, Daniel F. Akerson, told the New York Times.

GM might add a hatchback and a crossover, all using the same plug-in technology as the Volt, Akerson said.

A plug-in version of the Cadillac SRX  is “likely.”

This has the New York Times confused: “It was unclear whether that was the crossover to which he was referring or whether there would be a fourth Volt-based model. G.M. executives said they could not elaborate on Mr. Akerson’s comments.”

Akerson said the hatchback and crossover could go on sale in 2012 or 2013.

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16 Comments on “The Volt Will Get Siblings Too...”

  • avatar

    GM: sell a couple of Volts first, then make big plans…

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      They can’t afford to wait until they have sold a few. It takes a couple of years to develop and introduce even simple derivatives,  so in order to capitalise on the expected momentum they need to kick off derivatives now.

      To be a cynic, everybody has stopped talking about the Volt, they mentioned these derivatives to get the fanbois gushing again (see, no doubt).

  • avatar

    It’s certainly ambitious. The main problem at present would be the price. If some people find the Prius and other hybrids difficult to justify based on the price, then GM may have some difficulty turning these into volume sellers. Still, if the Volt turns out to be fairly reliable, that may help solidify the Volt/Electirc brand in people’s minds in a manner similar to the strong association between ‘hybrid’ and ‘Prius.’

  • avatar

    Discretion being the better part of valor, GM shouldn’t act as if it has the resources or engineering prowess of Toyota.

  • avatar

    Chevy decided not to bring the Orlando stateside, but then showed us the Volt5 MPV, which looks just like the Orlando with Voltec. Then we heard something about that MPV being called the Amp.

    Whatever it’s called, if it’s seven passengers with modular seating and still gets decent no-gas mileage, they could have a nice competitor to the versatile but bland Prius v.

    It’s a shame they’re not ready to field anything yet; it looks like the Prius v will have a handy head start, with Chevy playing catch-up, as usual.

    • 0 avatar

      Except the Prius V is 5 seater only – i.e. a wagon version of the current Prius.

    • 0 avatar

      From Reuters coverage of Akerson’s announcement:

      “GM is also developing a crossover that could use the Volt technology, Akerson said. That would be based on the Chevy Orlando sold in Europe, a person familiar with the plan said.
      The GM future product plan also includes a pure electric car that would compete against the Nissan Leaf and the upcoming electric Ford Focus, the person said.”

  • avatar

    GM comes late to the hybrid game and passes Toyota in 2 years?

    Can’t wait for the electric sport ute, Holden style for the city slickers.

  • avatar

    I think the best thing for GM to do is to offer the same technology across a few vehicles to help spread development costs.  A good idea if they sell enough of them.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. What is going to make a Volt a more affordable vehicle is economies of scale. Like any technology, automotive or not, the first applications are generally the most expensive, but as the technology becomes more common and is used more it becomes more affordable across the board.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      As long as they have a standard formfactor for the Voltec components, that can be hacked on like a small block or LS engine..
      (I still think they should have a microturbine and go full serial tho, hopefully they will, in the same formfactor with the same stock mount locations..)

    • 0 avatar

      I am not sure it has to be same form factor, but the more parts that are, the better.  If some small parts are easy to swap out to make it fit with minor costs, then it doesn’t matter.

  • avatar

    It seems to me that a lot of the cost issues must relate to the incredibly complex sometimes-series-sometimes-parallel hybrid drive system used.

    Could someone please explain to me why a simple series hybrid (ICE just runs to power the batteries, all drive from the electric motor) is not feasible?  It seems like it would be a lot cheaper, and certainly simpler.  Say with a 150 hp electric motor…but of course on average the actual power used would be a some fraction of that, so a 50 hp ICE shuold be plenty to make it work, no?  Of course with the plug-in ability as well.  Simple engineering, zero range anxiety.  Probably 15% or so lower fuel efficiency than a parallel hybrid once the ICE kicks in, but so what?  For the average sub-100 mile day, it would be great.

    I think such a contraption was sold by Fiat or possibly Renault in Europe, no?  What are the technical issues with this configuration?  To the layperson (me) it seems like a no-brainer.


    • 0 avatar

      Battery wear could be a problem if it is not done correctly.  Also, part of the Volts idea is to make is usable when going up a mountain so that he could do that with the ICE running in CS mode.  When you start to think of the corner cases that are involved here and actual driving conditions that would be encountered, it becomes obvious that it isn’t really a simple solution.
      Also, the series sometimes parallel hybrid feature improves mileage by 10%.  Seems like a smart move to have it that way.

  • avatar

    I thought all of this was announced already.

  • avatar

    GM folks have short memories.  They already killed the Cadillac Converj concept when they realized it would only go 20 miles in EV mode and cost $60k to start.
    People want “green” to be economical.  A hatchback might work, but a crossover and plug-in SRX may not.

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