Details of the second-generation Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid are coming in at a trickle, and the latest is that the 2016 model-year Volt will be improved in all meaningful areas, including performance and all-electric range, says General Motors powertrain director Larry Nitz.
Anyone who still doesn't believe that General Motors is serious about advanced technology in general, and vehicle electrification in particular, hasn't yet learned that post-bankruptcy GM is a very different company run by different people with a different set of priorities, most of which we would all applaud. One clear sign of this was the company's offering of a long list of key executives, including top technology leaders, for media interviews during January's Detroit Auto Show.
When plug-in vehicles are not cruising down the road, "they're home and they're at work" says Larry Nitz, General Motors' executive director-hybrid and electric powertrain. That's precisely why Nitz told Ward's Auto (sub. req.) at the 2011 SAE World Congress that recharging a plug-in automobile in retail parking lots while shopping is "inconsequential."
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery
Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid prototype - click above for high-res image gallery
During the recent Plug-in conference in San Jose CA, Matt Kelly of GMNext talked with Larry Nitz about the new PHEV version of the Saturn Vue. The PHEV Vue is still at least a year away and is based on the Two-Mode Vue that comes out late this year. The nickel metal hydride battery is replaced with a lithium ion unit and a plug-in charger is added. According to Nitz, who is the executive director of hybrid powertrain engineering at GM, the PHEV Vue will average about the twice the fuel efficienc