GM thinking beyond the Volt: Family of electric-cars in the works

The Chevrolet Volt isn’t even out yet and GM is thinking of launching a family of electric vehicles. According to GM’s Robert Lutz, GM hopes to launch a family of electric vehicles that would share many parts with GM’s mainstream models. But to move any further with their “electric” plans, GM needs suppliers to come through with the batteries required to power their electric vehicles.

To reduce costs, the company is putting together an E-Flex architecture for electric cars. The first version of the E-Flex system, shown in the Volt at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, allows the Volt to get as much as 150 mpg.

“The hope is certainly to proliferate E-Flex over a wide variety of brands,” Lutz told The Wall Street Journal. “It is a goal to be able to build E-Flex vehicles in the same plants as our mainstream models.”

Essentially, GM wants its entire lineup to accommodate either a traditional gasoline engine or a battery-powered E-Flex powertrain.

GM has teamed up with A123 Systems Inc. in order to produce lithium-ion batteries for its E-Flex hybrid powertrain that will be used in the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. According to Bob Lutz, production for the Chevrolet Volt is on track for late 2010.

GM hopes to have the Volt running and testing by Spring of 2008. “We should have the battery packs by October,” Lutz previously said, speaking to reporters in an industry conference. “We”ll have some on the road for testing next spring, and we should have the Volt in production by the end of 2010.”

GM also said that it will introduce four new hybrid models this year including hybrid variants of the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Saturn Aura and the new Chevrolet Malibu sedans.

Also in the works for next year is a plug-in version of the Satrun Vue that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current GM SUV.


Source: WSJ

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