• Jan 12, 2011

2011 Chevrolet Volt charging port - Click above for high-res image gallery

The more vehicles General Motors is able to build using the battery technology pioneered in its 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the better chance the automaker has of earning a return on its significant investment into the electrically driven automobile. It's the classic economies of scale issue... but what is the next logical vehicle application?

While many of the early prognostications pointed to a Voltec-powered Cadillac, a report from AutoWeek says GM CEO Dan Akerson is suggesting a minivan may come first. There's also some talk that an unknown hatchback is in the works (yes, the Volt is indeed a hatchback that's shaped to look more like a sedan, but whatever).

Also notable are Akerson's expectations that at least 10-percent of all GM production will be hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles within 10 to 15 years. Akerson wants each of the automaker's four core divisions – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet (check) and GMC – to have a vehicle using Volt technology, though no timeframe for that expansion has been given.

In other Volt news, Akerson told reporters at the 2011 Automotive News World Congress that the General is on track to sell 25,000 Chevrolet Volts for the 2011 model year, which is a sizeable increase from the 10,000-20,000 units expected as production began.

Moving past the ever-present greenery, Akerson and GM North American President Mark Reuss both stated that the company is putting some of its next-generation truck programs on the fast-track. We'd imagine that means we'll see new fullsize pickups from Chevy and GMC sooner rather than later.



Photos copyright ©2011 Chris Paukert / AOL
[Source: AutoWeek]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why? GM does not make Minivans, the reason is because their minivans sucked compared to competition. Use the tech on cars that you know how to build, something like a cross over, SUV or a luxury pick up.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think they mean a smaller minivan (microvan if you will) because the vehicle/platform that is designed really needs to be sellable in Europe, and they are more open to smaller minivans than the traditional Grand Caravan-sized thing we think of.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Judy: Are you blind? Just because they took the sliding doors off and gave them a CUV designation the Enclave and it's friends are still just minivans in disguise and by all accounts they are doing quite well.

        You are quite right. As of Dec. 2010 GM had shoved well over 720K Lambdas out the door. Could be as high as 770K.
        • 3 Years Ago
        20 years of Astro sales say that GM did OK at minivans back when they sold them.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Judy: Hush, you. It's a "Crossover", not a "minivan"! I defy you to find the m-word in any of GM's marketing materials for the Lambda CUVs.

        Tho owning a comparable CUV, sliding doors would actually make *more* practical sense for parking lots and rear-seat access...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Are you blind? Just because they took the sliding doors off and gave them a CUV designation the Enclave and it's friends are still just minivans in disguise and by all accounts they are doing quite well. GM's biggest problem with their minivans was leaving them to wither on the vine for far too long.

        Hopefully each GM brand will get a DIFFERENT Volt-tech model and not just a rebadge as in days of old.

        I have always thought the Minivan was the best platform for a Hybrid/EV. Plenty of places to hide battery packs and buyers who are more interested in practicality and economy than power.
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should have put the technology to use in Cadillac division first. That concept looked much better than the volt and the high price tag would have made much more sense than on the Chevy Volt.
        • 3 Years Ago
        GM is learning fast! It took them 13 years to copy the Prius with the Volt but only a couple of years to copy Toyota's plans to develop multiple variations of the Prius.

        I wonder if they'll dump these minivans on fleets like the Volt?
        • 3 Years Ago
        With the high level of NVH isolation and current price point, Buick is actually the best fit for the next Volt.
        • 3 Years Ago
        thank you Eric! I remembered that concept from last year, but couldn't remember the name or where it was shown so I was having trouble finding an image. I think it's a pretty decent looking minivan/people mover/whatever.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John H- isn't the new little Buick Delta2 based, just like the Volt? Otherwise, the Verano van will use the Delta2 structure as well. I would wager a pint that Akerson is hinting at that. Minivan use cycles seem like an ideal application for the Voltic system- mostly short trips from home, but still good for going to 6 flags and Grandmas house.
        • 3 Years Ago
        FT, I know it's not pc, but stupid people make me laugh. You make me laugh with every post.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Can't wait until we get an edit function- Buick Verano (sedan), and Chevy Orlando (minivan).
      • 3 Years Ago
      I loved my old 1989 Astro van and drove it into the ground. If they made one with a Voltec powertrain I'd buy it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ John H.

        "The question is whether the locksmith / florist / whomever would have a daily drive of 40 miles of less between Level 2 recharges / top-off[s.]"

        Of course, with a different shape comes a different way of configuring the battery pack - and it's the battery pack that gives the 40-mile range. Therefore, a Voltec-based delivery vehicle could conceiveably have a much longer range depending on how much battery capacity is packaged under the floor.
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM can't build minivans????????????? Any GM minivan you can find, I guarantee will have close to 200,000 miles or better, and they drove better and rode quiter than any of the competition. Just more autotrash nonsense of talking before you know the facts.
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM'S electrical program is the best, and will be used more in the future than any other considering the VOLT technology is far advanced over any,( foreign or domestic) manufacturer on the planet.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Electric cars, and to a lesser extent, hybrids, aren't the way forward.
      This is:
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4133668.ece

      It's not a case of "it will never catch on" but rather the public's attitude to electric/hybrid cars, which are for the most part seen as unconventional.

      Personally, I'd prefer it if they brought over Flexifuel instead, as they do in GM do Brasil.
      • 3 Years Ago
      nice, build it, fast, and other models, fast, there are going to be many series hybrids (not just plug in like the volt) from competitors come 2015, you've got the edge now GM, use it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saw Chevy Volt at the North American Auto Show. While it looks OK (I say just OK) in terms of exterior styling, the interior dissapoints. Hard plastic materials, outdated center stack, squared off instrument cluster (ouch!), less than stellar fit and finish. It just didn't do it for me. With all this hype about this car in the last couple of years, I would never pay $41,000 price for such interior. If you think about it, this is not a pure electric car, you still have to put gas. Honestly, how many of us driver 35mph or less?
        • 3 Years Ago
        The instrument cluster is great, I don't know what you're talking about. I agree the center stack isn't good. I haven't seen any fit and finish problems on any Volt I've seen.

        Do you mean drive 35 miles per day or less? There is no 35mph limit, I've gone up a steep grade at 70 in one on electricity only. As to who drives 35 miles per day or less? Most people do this on most days. How many miles do you drive per year? 12,000? That's 33 miles per day. That means most days you are driving less than 35 miles.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sorry you're misinformed. When charged you can drive all the way up to the 100mph top speed without the gas engine coming on.
      • 3 Years Ago
      so this means it will be more than $225000 ???
      • 3 Years Ago
      what about the Converj?
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