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An electric Holden?

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An electric Holden?

Richard Blackburn

September 22, 2010 - 11:52AM

General Motors has developed an electric prototype based on the Cruze, the small car that Holden will build in Australia from next year.

This car could be the forerunner to the first locally-built electric Holden.

General Motors will next month begin testing a fleet of electric cars based on the Cruze, the small car that Holden will build from next year.

The pilot program in South Korea will provide real-world data on driving patterns, achievable range, recharging times and customer acceptance of the technology.

The vehicles have been co-developed by General Motors' Korean subsidiary, Daewoo, and the LG group, which is supplying the battery and motor technology.

Daewoo builds the Cruze sedan for Holden at the moment, but the car will be built in Holden's Elizabeth plant in South Australia from early next year.

Despite the connection, Holden says it won't be taking an active part in the electric vehicle testing.

Holden spokeswoman Emily Perry says the project is specific to South Korea.

"The demonstration program aims to gauge consumer interest around EVs and help GM learn more about the real world performance of battery electric vehicles on Korean roads.

"At this point, there are no production or sales plans for Korea or other markets - but it obviously highlights the flexibility of the Delta platform beneath the Cruze and some of the potential future powertrain applications for the vehicle which will be built here next year," she says.

She says that although there are no plans for a similar trial in Australia, the local operation is always keen to tap into global projects.

"We watch very closely what other parts of the global family are doing with these platforms and how we can leverage new technology," she says.

Holden is part of a local electric car working group that also includes Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota, and the car maker plans to sell the US-developed Volt electric plug-in hybrid car in Australia from 2012.

The new local version of the Cruze is being developed with money from the federal government's Green Car Innovation Fund, and both Holden and the Government have indicated the car will eventually use alternative powertrains.

The Cruze EV has a 31kWh battery that generates up to 150kW of power. GM claims the vehicle will complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.2 seconds with a maximum speed of 165km/h.

Testing by LG Chem suggests the electric Cruze will be good for a range of up to 160km, although one of the key elements of the pilot program will be to monitor real-world range.

Recharging takes eight to 10 hours on a standard household powerpoint, although GM will also be testing quick-charge technology as part of the trial.

The car's battery pack is mounted underneath the floor, which means it doesn't eat into luggage space.



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