At the Plug-In 2008 conference
in San Jose CA this week General Motors will be on hand to announce a partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to promote plug-in vehicles. GM VP for Global Program Management Jon Laukner will be delivering a keynote address at the Plug-in conference on Monday, and the EPRI partnership is expected to be part of the discussion. At this point GM doesn't have any production plug-in vehicles, but will debute two different models in the next two years. A plug-in version of the Saturn Vue Two-Mode hybrid is expected to debut in late 2009 while the Chevy Volt should appear a year later. The styling of the production car based on the Volt concept should be debuting in the next few months, possibly in September in conjunction with GM's centenial celebration. One possible key to the ultimate success of plug-in vehicles would be the installation of public charging stations allowing drivers to top up the battery as they go through their daily routines. Doing this will require the participation of local governments, businesses and electric utilities. Another factor that would help make plug-in vehicles financially viable for consumers would be the establishment of an aftermarket for lithium ion batteries that may not be useful for cars but could be used by utilities for buffering power supplies. EPRI previously announced a similar promotional partnership with Ford.