On page four of a five-page BusinessWeek article entitled "The Inside Story of GM's Comeback and Mary Barra's Rise," there's a single paragraph that mentions General Motors CEO Dan Akerson hinting at "a next generation of electric vehicle.... [A] compact car that can go 200 miles on a charge and carry a generator, too." The article says "it will be similar to the Volt," however it notes that the candidate generators "could run on gas, diesel, or natural gas," and the package is being mooted to sell for $30,000. With all that, you have the makings of a range-extended electric vehicle that could be similar to the current Volt or, just as likely, be very different from it.

None of that's new, though – we heard the same talk and specs in September when Akerson was on a tear about beating Tesla, and GM exec Doug Parks let loose the numbers for this coming electric offering. But reportage at that time didn't include Akerson's hope that this future vehicle "be a moon shot so we can surprise the competition."

That would be a great market segment for a moon shot, since we can't see how GM plans to shock and awe the premium competition with its Cadillac ELR, and this new model would seemingly avoid fisticuffs with Tesla when their entry-level car is due in 2016. If GM can achieve its lunar target for the electric compact, in three years, consumers might have less humbug about the $25,000 price ceiling and be more willing to give it a chance.

Assuming it happens, do you think such a vehicle would make sense as a Volt replacement? Or would it be better as an expansion to the franchise, the start of a Volt family? Have your say in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 166 Comments
      Phlegming Liberal
      • 1 Year Ago
      I own a '13 Volt and LOVE it. There are some issues I have with it of course, like seating for 4 people only, the hatch back is loud when shutting, some cheap plastic, the MMI touch controls aren't as intuitive. But it's roomy, the rear seats fold down and the hatch allows some pretty large storage space. Overall it drives nice, the steering is well hefted and though more isolated than my Porsche Cayman S, feels pretty good. The instant acceleration feel from the electric motor is addictive. It could do with better suspension but then again I didn't buy this for handling. Oh and I spent $21 last month on electrical charge (separate line item on my bill) for the car, and I have a 32-mile commute daily. This compares to ~$300/month for my old 335xi, the car basically pays for itself. I will definitely be interested in Gen2 Volt.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Phlegming Liberal
        "the car basically pays for itself" This is the message that EVs need to get out there.
        thecommentator2013
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Phlegming Liberal
        @Phlegming Liberal As a Volt owner I can only support your position. Theory may not support the Volt's concept. Reality does. That's what counts to me: REAL LIFE.
      HypotenusLuvTriangle
      As a very happy Volt driver, the only thing that would make the Volt PERFECT would be if the battery range was 60% more or even double the current range. Or possibly use the same battery pack they use in the Spark EV (I love that pack since they're my batteries, I work for A123) but that won't happen. But a 200 mile range Volt? That just seems too much. At that point, I would hardly need to put gas in the car. My wife and I don't spend going more than 90 miles a day. (gets charged at work) We've had it for 15 months, have 15000 miles, and 11,000 of those are all electric. At about 115mpg for the lifetime of the vehicle. We have only made one or two road trips with it. So, if you're not driving super far distances constantly, a 200 mile range battery with a generator would not be cost effective. They designed the current battery for 30-40 mile range because "80% of drivers only drive 40 miles a day" so for the majority of drivers it wouldn't be cost effective either. Also, the mass of a 200 mile battery pack with a generator... that would be one heavy compact car.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      If it's the same price as a Volt, then I think it could work as a Volt replacement. If it costs more, then maybe gotta go with the family idea. This idea sounds fantastic. Although if they can get me 200 miles range they can keep their range extender, I don't need it and just having it means dealing with gas even if it never kicks in. That's something I don't want to bother with.
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they could just make the current one seat 5, with a tad more range, that would be plenty.
      Brian Rautio
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they can actually do it, sounds like the perfect commuter. One of those for commuting and a Boxster S for the weekend, please.
      ScottM
      • 1 Year Ago
      This would leave the question on what to do w/ the Volt....it's already compact. My gut tells me it'll increase in size to more of a Malibu stature; which would be great. Do that, make the range 100KM's, add a sunroof - and you all are looking at a future Volt owner :)
        SteveG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ScottM
        For me that would be the opposite. It is already too large. I think you are correct though.
          ScottM
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SteveG
          My problem is I'm 6'2...when in the Volt - there is zero room in the back seat for passengers. I don't need 'dramatically' larger - but room for 4 is sufficient. I drove the Volt - and loved it. If it was a bit bigger - and had a sunroof (which alone would not have broken a deal) - then that is the car I would be driving now...
          Txdesign
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SteveG
          I also agree that it's too big already. People who really need larger cars with seating for four are not the current primary EV customers. I'd like the option of a 2-door hatch.
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla is planning a 200 mile range sub $40k car that runs on pure battery. GM plans to match that EV range plus include a range extender for $35k? I'll believe it when I see it. It took them a long time to get the Volt down to a $35k starting price. How can they up the battery from 38 to 200 and keep the price the same? It would be great if they could. Maybe they are planning to mimic the BMW i3 approach, and the $35k would be for battery only but another $3k gets you the range extender? I always thought GM should have offered the current Volt in different body styles including a wagon/CUV style and maybe a 2 door. Hopefully the next design will not have the T shaped battery that limits the back seating space, and lets them make a Volt family of vehicles sort of like Toyota is doing with Prius.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      If true,this is really great news.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM has always had great R&D, so if they say this is possible, I believe it. OTOH, GM Is not always very good at translating technology to a finished product, or marketing such a product. The Volt is a great car that doesn't sell very well. Given the price, t probably should have been branded a Buick or Cadillac from the start, and it didn't help that they showed a beautiful concept that looked nothing like the finished vehicle.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      "compact car that can go 200 miles on a charge and carry a generator, too." Sounds to me like maybe they are planning something less hybrid like the Volt and more like the BMW i3. It might be a pure EV that may (possibility as an option) have a range extender. I'm guessing it will be a smaller, less powerful engine than seen in the Volt, and likely only work as a generator, in series.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      America now has TWO innovative companies: Tesla and GM.
        EZEE2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        Wouldn't it be great if this car does come out, as advertised? I am normally way to cheap to spend this kind of money on a car, but wow....200ev and a range extender? Just wow.
      peteMT
      • 1 Year Ago
      An admirable goal, but why? Suppose the next Volt had a 50 mile EV range, a new 'range extender', 50 mpg on gas, and a price of $25k? How many of those would sell? People crow about Tesla ($$$ omg wealthy peopal) and the BMW ($$$!) and deride the Volt. It's astounding. I think my idea above is better for more sales; make that 200 mpg model the Cadillac ELR instead and watch sales take off.
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