2011 Opel Ampera – Click above for high-res image gallery

We've heard a lot of rumors in the past about what kind of vehicles General Motors could put its plug-in hybrid Voltec powertrain into – Cadillac Converj? Nope – but for now it's just the Chevy Volt / Opel Ampera almost twins that get the special eco-treatment. According to Autocar , though, we could someday see a CUV, a smaller hatchback version and a four-door hatch bigger than the Ampera join the Voltec family. GM Europe president Nick Reilly told Autocar that these vehicles could arrive in 2015, as that's when the second-generation Volt/Ampera will enter production. This far out, we don't take his words as anything definitive on the matter, but it is good to hear a bit about GM's long-term plans. Reilly also said that the European plug-in vehicles could be made at GM's Ellesmere Port plant in the UK. GM spokesman Robert Peterson told Green Car Advisor that GM has not made any firm commitments on new Voltec models.

More importantly, Reilly said future Voltec vehicles will be a lot cheaper than today's models. He told Autocar:
We're anticipating a 50 per cent improvement in the cost of the electrical components in the EREV powertrain in time for the second-generation cars. ... [they will cost] between £5000 and £8000 more than a like-for-like petrol-engined model.
That comes to around $7,900 and $12,600 U.S. (at current exchange rates). If Reilly is right, and if the $7,500 federal tax credit is still around in 2015, there'll be very little reason not to choose a plug-in car when you're shopping for a new vehicle.

[Source: Autocar, Green Car Advisor]


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