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GM's R&D head says Voltec powertrain not suitable for vehicles bigger, smaller than Volt


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GM's R&D head says Voltec powertrain not suitable for vehicles bigger, smaller than Volt

by Eric Loveday (RSS feed) on Apr 22nd 2010 at 2:53PM

Believers in the extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV, aka plug-in hybrid) technology utilized in the upcoming Chevrolet Volt like to think that the Voltec powerplant could be adapted for use in all kinds of vehicles. We've heard remarks about how perfect it would be to have a Voltec-powered truck and even ideas of a micro-car with ER-EV setup squeezed inside. Honestly, we like many of the ideas and believe that plug-in hybird (PEHV) technology is a great bridge between the internal combustion engine and battery-powered vehicles, but how many vehicles are suited for and could accommodate General Motors's Voltec powertrain?

GM Vice President of research and development Alan Taub sat down with Autocar to discuss future Voltec-powered products and as it turns out, dreams of an ER-EV this and a Voltec that simply won't be a reality. Taub said:

With battery technology as it currently stands, extended-range vehicles that are larger than the Volt - luxury saloons, trucks and SUVs - aren't really possible; they would simply be too heavy to be efficient. For those types of cars, fuel cells and biofuels are the future. Ironically enough, the ER-EV powertrain won't really package in a much smaller car than the Volt, either. So expect them all to be between four and five metres long.

Despite the just-revealed Volt MPV5 Crossover concept, it looks like Voltec is quite limited in its usefulness. This doesn't rule out the chance that GM could develop another ER-EV powertrain to accommodate other vehicles, but it does mean that we shouldn't expect our dreams of a Voltec-powered Silverado or Aveo to become a reality anytime soon.



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So expect them all to be between four and five metres long.

That title is kind of scary, but what I quoted is reassuring: a Fiat Punto is roughly 4 meters long, a Buick LaCrosse is roughly 5 meters long. That's large enough of a range to build a series of different vehicles. :AH-HA:

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