Click above for live high-res gallery of the 2011 Chevy Volt

GM is not going to let the Volt or its E-Flex powertrain get lonely. The first Volt -- the one due in late 2010 -- hasn't been finished yet, yet is so popular that GM is publicly theorizing about how far it can spread the technology through the empire. Ideas include a smaller car with a smaller battery pack that could go 20 miles on pure electric, and be much cheaper. A proper wagon, just "a little bit bigger," could also make the cut.

And those variants don't all need to be Chevrolets. Other GM brands will certainly be blessed with Volt technology, if not an outright case of brand engineering. Cadillac is one of the wolves thought to be circling the Volt's henhouse, and using Volt systems in a Caddy might allow GM to make a profit on such a car without tax breaks. If there were a more economical Volt with a shorter electric range, Saturn would seem to be a prime candidate.

It looks like the sole E-Flex powertrain option not planned is an electric-only car, one without a range-extending gasoline engine. GM feels that people would find it too risky to have no backup. But back to that first car, the plain vanilla Chevy Volt that's still two years away from showrooms – a Volt team member doesn't appear to have forgotten the prime directive: "You always have to do the first car right and well." Amen.

[Source: CNN Money]

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