• Apr 19th 2010 at 8:05AM
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Chevrolet Voltec CUV design patent – Click above for high-res image gallery

The media previews for the 2010 Beijing Motor Show are happening at the end of this week and, assuming a certain Icelandic volcano doesn't upset the atmosphere further, we expect to be on hand. One of the possible debuts is a new Chevrolet-badged MPV concept. What makes this vehicle particularly interesting is that it may be propelled by the same Voltec extended range EV powertrain used in the Volt.

On the design patent that was issued last week, one of the credits is given to Bob Boniface, the design manager that led the development of the original Volt concept as well as the production Volt and Opel Ampera. The association with Boniface as well as some of the design details imply that this new vehicle will be an ER-EV. The shape of the headlamps and tail-lamps as well as other elements of the front fascia seem to be lifted directly from the Volt. A very similar looking vehicle appeared briefly in a GM video released last summer alongside the production Chevrolet Orlando and featured the same blocked off grille used on the Volt. This vehicle is smaller than the Orlando and would likely be a roomier five-seat alternative to the Volt.

[Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, via GM Inside News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting, though a 7 seat Orlando would be a better addition to the Voltec lineup, any new vehicles would be welcome. Now that it looks like the Volt will get 40 miles AER, a 5 seater this size would probably get 37 or 38, though with the improvements in battery tech, it may be able to match the Volt. These EREV's, if built in sufficient numbers to bring the price down, will kick BEV's to the curb. Who wants a limited range town car when you can have all the strengths of an ICE and use electricity 80-90% of the time? It will probably be 10 years before batteries are cheap enough, and light enough, and small enough, to replace ICE tech entirely. The ICE in an EREV will be used so seldom that it will only need to be serviced annually, if that, but it will always be there when you take that trip to the beach or have an emergency and need to drive 300 miles in a day, and prefer not to stop off to recharge your battery for an hour or two, 2 or 3 times to get 300 miles.
      But there is definitely room for BEV towncars like the Leaf as second cars, and for long range BEV's with larger, even more expensive battery packs. Bring on the competition! The next 2 years are going to be a lot of fun!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here in the UK and in Europe most can manage quite well without a car, as they are a convenience.
        Americans may prefer huge SUVs, and to drive a long way if needed on cheap petrol to work.
        If oil goes up as much as I think it will, and the present ponzi scheme in housing and finance collapses as badly and totally as seems likely to me, together with the Chinese ceasing to finance excess expenditure by Americans, then folk in the US will be very glad indeed to drive anything at all that will get them to work if they still have a job.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Europe and Asia are good markets for EVs as many people live in cities.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are far more optimistic than I on the future price of oil, and the economy.
        I see oil prices going through the roof, whilst the economy tanks, partly through the same oil price rise, partly through the financial mess.
        So I would guess that EV's will catch on, but not in the form of very powerful new ICE range EV's, or complex hybrids, but as minimalistic NEVs, or for the very lucky a proper EV but with a very small battery pack, perhaps around 13kwh with a range of 50 miles, with a following wind.
        Ideally folk would be able to put in more battery, as they saved up the money, but I think that most will be struggling enough so that they will be thankful to be able to get to work, and even more thankful if they are one of the ones to keep the work to get to.
        • 5 Years Ago
        David, the use of lots of NEVs will probably be more popular across the pond where you are (UK, right?) than in the USA. People drive farther here and people are spoiled brats, so most won't go for an NEV. And unless they change the laws, NEVs are totally crippled in the USA with the pathetic 25mph speed limit. They need to raise it to at least 35 before people will be interested. (At that speed, they are viable city cars.)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Niiiiice. China has some great incentives for EVs. I'd love to see some Chinese-built vehicles based on USA Voltec technology rolling off the assembly line. Take that, BYD!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So instead of switching to lighter-weight hatchbacks and more aerodynamic station wagons, GM is throwing tones of expensive technology into making big bloated minivans and cross-overs more efficient? Seems illogical, but this is America after all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I disagree. In order to make Hybrids and EV's desirable to many people out there, you're going to have to make them equally as functional as current ICE vehicles. Some people just like to drive a bigger vehicle to either haul more people or more payload. You're not going to see SUV's, CUV's, and minivans disappear, just like you're not going to see pickup trucks disappear. If everything could be accomplished with a small hatchback or wagon, no other type of car would exist today.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I must admit I love it. However I did design it a year and a half a go.
      I think someone was peeking at my drawings...
      OK... It had to turn out something like that anyhow. Right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nice photoshop, TANP! I drive a RAV4 now, and that Voltec CUV would be much better in every way!
        Evan has a point as well, it would be great if GM made their third and fourth choices a very high mileage, high efficiency sub-compact hatchback. It would give them the green halo in an even more emphatic manner than just the Volt alone. And then market a compact pickup, along the El Camino kind of lines, but hopefully bigger, or at least longer, than the old LUV trucks.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Big and bloated? This is a compact vehicle based off the exact same platform as the Volt. This would be probably have the same overall dimensions as a Toyota Matrix. Though.. you'd probably think that was big and bloated too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It appears that GM is betting the farm on hybrids, and these are hybrids. If there is a ICE it is NOT an EV. Do they really think that EVs will never play a significant role?
        • 5 Years Ago
        They are trying to drive the devlopmental costs down on the Voltec platform, spreading the cost around and mass production is the only way to do so. It wouldnt suprise me in the least to see the Voltec platform end up under most of the Chevy platforms within a couple of years. Given the talk of trying to make the platform smaller and cheaper I could even see it in a compact class setting at a lower then 20k price point but thats a long way away at this point. Ev's will eventually be the real winner but until the battery tech comes up then ER-EV's are pretty good (although I still think it might aswell be a mild hybrid because it still pollutes and costs more).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh pffff. Drop the purist elitist mind-set. You should cheer on EREVs as they will help bring down the component costs for pure EVs. EREVs are pure EVs as long as you stay in the EV range.

        And yes, GM has said that they will eventually start making pure EVs.

        I think the EREV model is genius . . . especially for the US market. No range anxiety. Works for people that have to drive long distances occasionally. Great pure-gas mileage if the 50mpg number is true. No need for 220V charging system to charge overnight . . . can charger overnight with a simple 110V outlet.
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