The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is rated at 42 mpg on the highway, but new reports suggest that we may soon find out just how many MPGe a plug-in version would get.

Australia's Go Auto spoke with GM's Jim Federico, who said that a PHEV Cruze is indeed in the cards. Astute readers will note that PHEV is not a typo here. Federico said:

The Volt will always be a plug-in electric vehicle. Plug-in Cruze doesn't make Volt redundant at all. Plug-in Cruze would have a different powertrain. Plug-in hybrids use both the engine and motor all the time. The plug-in Cruze has a place and it will be a hybrid.

For most drivers, this is a distinction without a difference, but remember that there was this, this and, finally, this. That GM is looking to expand its line-up of electrified vehicles is no surprise. In fact, that's always been the plan. A plug-in Cruze makes a sort of sense, since the Volt powertrain was tested in Cruze mules. Perhaps the Volt was more of a learning project than we originally suspected. Whether a PHEV Cruze is something GM is only considering for Australia or for other markets will, we're sure, be the subject of much speculation in the future.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 7 Hours Ago
      "Plug-in hybrids use both the engine and motor all the time" I'm sure that comes as quite a surprise to people who actually know what they are talking about Jim. the Volt is a plugin hybrid and a plugin hybrid most certainly doesn't have to run both all the time. maybe he means a plugin with tiny battery range like the plugin prius. a plugin cruze is sort of admitting the volt was a mistake as opposed to a plugin cruze from day one. but if it means there will be a cheaper plugin from gm by all means. the volt mistake is done, no need to be concerned with appearances. what you should do GM is a new EV1. a car born from intelligence. not perfume on a pig.
        BipDBo
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        If you floor the accerator in a PHEV, the engine will turn on. This doesn't happen with the Volt. How about this for a definition: A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) can run in only electric mode, but only in lower power situations. An extended range electric vehicle (EREV) performs nearly identially with or without the gas engine running.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          no such specificity is in the semantics of the term. the Volt is a PHEV. it's also a REEV. the two terms are almost identical. there are yet no terms to distinguish between the Volt type and the plugin prius type. just look at what it says. plug in hybrid electric vehicle. that is what the Volt is. you can plug it in and it's a hybrid.
          jeffwishart
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          @2WM The Volt's engine does not turn on during CD mode, but at higher speeds during CD mode the second generator's clutch connects it to the ring gear to help achieve higher power and efficiency. The engine gets the mechanical connection (via the ring gear as well) to the wheels above 70 mph in CS mode.
          Rotation
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          Dan, the terms are not almost identical. There are terms to distinguish between the Volt type and the Plugin Prius type. These terms are EREV (Volt) and PHEV (Prius). Yes, the Volt is also a PHEV. It's also an HEV. But it's also an EREV. The plug-in Prius is a PHEV. It's also an HEV. The regular Prius is a HEV. All humans are also mammals. But other mammals are not humans. Because of this, you don't call humans "mammals" unless you are trying to emphasize how humans are the same as other mammals. When you want to say something specific about humans, you say "human" even though mammal would not be inaccurate. jeffwishart: Why you would want to use other terms that are more confusing just because GM picked one is beyond me. If you want to spite GM, just say REEV or RE-EV instead of EREV. Don't be confusing just to be annoying. The mechanical connection in the Volt is immaterial. It actually makes it more efficient, why whine? As to whether I'm comfortable calling a car that can sometimes run using gas an EREV, my answer is yes, whether it's series or series-parallel.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          Actually i thought that the Volt did turn the engine in on high load situations, or above something like 60mph. Someone correct me if i am wrong.
          jeffwishart
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          Oops, that last sentence in the second paragraph should be "I definitely don't see how your assessment that the Volt is both an EREV and a PHEV is any simpler or clearer."
          jeffwishart
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          @Rotation My point is that there is no need for the EREV moniker at all. And I notice that you didn't answer my question: if it's a parallel configuration with an ESS that is capable of taking off-board power, would you still call it an EREV? I don't consider "blended" to be more confusing, and I am certainly not doing it just to be annoying. I think that it makes the most sense to have fewer names and to just add qualifiers to the names when the features are different. I definitely don't see how your assessment that the Volt is both an EREV and a Volt is any simpler or clearer. Also, not sure who was "whining". 2WM asked a question, and I answered it. I happen to think that the decision to have the mechanical connection is a good idea for highway speeds (i.e., the increased efficiency probably makes up for the higher cost), despite GM's misleading statements leading up to this release of info. So I fail to see your point here.
          Rotation
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          2 Wheeled Menace, the only time the Volt turns on the ICE before the end of the all electric range (35ish miles, 25ish in mountain mode) is if it's so cold that the battery isn't sufficient on its own. This happens around 0F or so is my understanding. In normal operation above these temps, no amount of flooring the gas will turn the ICE on prematurely.
          jeffwishart
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @BipDBo
          @BipDBo You are using GM's definition of a PHEV which unnecessarily introduced the EREV term. There is absolutely no reason that the engine has to turn on during charge-depleting (CD) mode for PHEVs. A PHEV is just an HEV with an ESS that can be charged by off-board sources. There is no reason to pigeonhole it to certain types of operation. GM wants to try and distinguish the Volt as an EREV to highlight the "EV" part, but the Volt is just a series PHEV (although it becomes a power-slit PHEV in charge-sustaining (CS) mode at high speeds). To people who think, as you do, that PHEVs must have engine operation during CD mode, I ask how you would classify a parallel configuration with a large enough ESS that a full all-electric CD mode is possible. Is this still an EREV, i.e., are you comfortable calling a car that has direct mechanical connection between the engine and wheels at all times during CS mode an extended-range electric vehicle? I much prefer to think of subsets of PHEVs that don't have anything to do with the exact configuration of the powertrain. PHEVs that have full all-electric operation in CD mode are full PHEVs, or simply PHEVs. PHEVs that have limited CD mode are blended PHEVs (i.e., the battery power is "blended" with the engine power).
        Rotation
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        He's talking about PHEVs that aren't also EREVs, Dan. Generally you don't refer to an EREV as a PHEV because an EREV conveys the additional capabilities that other PHEVs lack.
      Nick
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Prolly with a smaller battery and 10-15 miles EV range, just like the Prius.
      Larz Larzen
      • 7 Hours Ago
      I like.
      EZEE
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Here is a question - assuming the Plug in version at least keeps the same highway mileage, could we expect (sure we could) higher city mileage, as with most/all hybrids? A 60 City 42 Highway would look mighty fine, unless they charged a pile of cash for it. $30K or less would be nice...and if they could crack $27K...then we would have to start pulling out calculators to do the math on gas savings vs. that price. Oh - drove a Nissan CVT - very annoying. I heard the new one was much better - hope so. Damn thing reminded me of Deliverance with the 'Weeeeeeee-Weeeeeeeeeeee'
      Sketch
      • 7 Hours Ago
      So it's going to be a Volt with a smaller battery pack?
        Spec
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Sketch
        A plug-in Prius type of car. Well, it could be nice if they put a decent sized battery in it and sell it for a low price.
        Ziv
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Sketch
        No, it will be more like the PIP, the Volt is more of a bridge between PHEV's and BEV's, with the attributes of both at different times. The PIP and the PHEV Cruze will both use gas most of the time if you accelerate at anything other than a glacial pace.
      BipDBo
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Instead of diversifying you electrification technology by making endless iterations of hybrids on the same sized (4 to 5 passenger) car, why doesn't at least one manufacturer make a decent hybrid for a larger vehicle, like a 7 passenger minivan or cross-over?
        HVH20
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @BipDBo
        Like GM's hybrid pickup trucks, Tahoe, and Escalade models?
          paulwesterberg
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @HVH20
          Yes, but actually improve the mileage.
          BipDBo
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @HVH20
          I said "decent." I have a compact car (Versa) and a minivan (Windstar). We have 3 kids, so far, so we try to use the Versa whenever we can, but sometimes we need the minivan. If we have another, and we probably will, we'll need the minivan whenever the whole family is together. Our family puts more miles on the Versa, but the Windstar consumes twice the fuel. I would ultimately save more fuel by investing in hybrid technology when replacing my larger car. Applying hybrid technology to small, already efficient cars raises questions like, "Why buy the Volt when the Cruze is half the price, and almost as efficient (or more so, depending on how you drive)?"
        Spec
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @BipDBo
        Yeah, a PHEV mini-van would be nice.
          EZEE
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          C-Max....
          BipDBo
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          To me, a minivan has 3 rows. The C-max would be great if they would produce it with 3 rows, but, they're not. They're taking out the third row, so it seats the same as a Prius. What's the point in that? Why not just make a hybrid Focus? The only 3 row hybrid available in the US that I know of is the Highlander. I would have preferred they put the hybrid draivetrain into the Sieena. It is lower and has much more interior volume, and probably would have been more fuel efficient.
      winc06
      • 7 Hours Ago
      How many hundreds of thousands per year does the GM guy earn and he doesn't know about hybrids? A hybrid runs on both the electric motor and the gasoline engine all the time? Think about that next time some right winger tells you he want to run the government like a business.
        Noz
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @winc06
        Be careful winc06...the right wing fktards here will be on your ass soon!
        Dave
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @winc06
        Honda hybrids run the electric motor and the gasoline engine all the time (except when stopped). So does GM's e-assist system. GM's Two-mode and Toyota's HSG and Ford's hybrids can run on the electric motor only.
        EZEE
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @winc06
        @winc Opposed to a left winger who says we don't spend enough when governments across the planet are collapsing due to debt?
          Nick
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          @EZEE Except that "left-wingers" (currently the Democrats stand where Reagan stood in his time) never ask for "more money to be spent". That's made-up nonsense by far-right talking heads, nothing more. "Opposed to a left winger who says we don't spend enough when governments across the planet are collapsing due to debt?"
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          try to remember who destroyed the economy.. it was bush and pals. nitwit evil right wingers. that said, obama should have ended the wars, told some frank truths to his people (like they have murdered a million people in Iraq based on lies and spent trillions of dollars on it) and then cut the military budget to 1/10th. that would change USA from the disaster it is to something that has a chance.
          Dave
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          I hate to jump into politics, but both the Republicans and Democrats love to spend other people's money. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
          EZEE
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          Except for the additional $1.6 triollion stimulus, and the proposed additional $490billion stimulus, and the recent article bu krugman where he says Europe isn't spending enough?
          Ford Future
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          The European "debt" crisis was simply the Hysteria needed, for the EU do to a clandestine bailout of their insolvent banks. Now that the banks can borrow any amount of money at low interest rates, and buy expensive government bonds, they merely have to sit back and collect the interest to solvency. Notice, that now the hysteria is gone? Secondly, Greek debt was 160% of one year tax receipts, hardly a crisis, as long as they reform their tax collection system. Most Americans are in more debt in their Mortgage.
      Ben Crockett
      • 7 Hours Ago
      This is great to hear. This will further green up the Holden Cruze which did receive $AUD149M from the Green Car Innovation Fund (the fund of which now has been unfortunately closed). I was a bit in skeptical that GMH should have originally received funds for what is just another gas car (be it a more efficient one) but this is laid to rest now hearing this news. This should hopefully be another successful export product for Australia. Just the innovation export I like to see.
      skierpage
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Is it going to use the Voltec e-CVT or an eAssist clutched system or yet another system? Seems to me GM should focus on its best system and get the Voltec price down. But maybe GM can't get the transmissions cheaper (they're coming from Japan, I assume from Toyota or Aisin).
      Marco Polo
      • 7 Hours Ago
      General Motors-Holden is primarily concerned with attracting the Australian Federal Government subsidy for environmental technology. Toyota attracted 40 million to build the RHD Wide bodied, Hybrid Camry at its Altona, Melbourne, Victoria plant. GM's biggest seller the large Australian Commodore is starting to lose sales to the Holden Cruze Hatchback (an Australian variant) manufactured along with the sedan at its Elizabeth, South Australia factory since March 2011. GM sees the potential for attracting both Federal and State support for the ageing Elisabeth facility. The Unions upon whom the Australian Prime Minister depends for he position see this a lifeline to preserve the Australian Automotive Industry. The Prime Minister sees such funding as a desperate measure to shore-up her sinking ship of state. The Australian Cruse is an increasingly popular vehicle with good potential for export to RHD countries in the region. A hybrid Cruse would be seen as a 'poor man's' version of the more glamorous and prestigious Holden Ampera, scheduled to be exported to the US as a Buick.
        Larz Larzen
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Thanks for the extra info. It fleshes out this skeleton article.
        EZEE
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Marco and PR...the two best sourced people here...including the writers at ABG... :)
      HVH20
      • 7 Hours Ago
      The Volt is a PHEV that shares most structural components with the cruze. Similar to a Chevy Silverado and a GMC Sierra. The main advantage to a PHEV is the EV range, so having the gas engine on from the get go may improve your initial MPG, but to be honest its just dumb. I could enlarge the battery pack on my honda insight and plug in at home, then abuse the assist feature, eliminate background charging, and only charge during regen. Yes my MPG would go up, but I would rather have pure EV range for 20 miles than 100mpg for 20 miles.
      paulwesterberg
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Hey GM, while you are adding the plug could you do something to make it look a little less bland?
        throwback
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Bland sells, see Camry and Corrolla sales for further evidence.
          Edge
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @throwback
          Those cars are selling on reputation, that the Cruze does not have.
          EZEE
          • 7 Hours Ago
          @throwback
          @people who down voted edge... Unfortunately GM does not have a good rep yet. It took Hyundai about 10 years to get theirs. Check out the interior of he corolla versus the cruze. The cruze rocks, yet... Still don't believe me....two words.... Honda Element. That had to sell on reputation alone...
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