Future Volt lineup: More body styles, lighter cars, smaller engines

2011 Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt, despite being a big deal for General Motors and America, has been met with more controversy than it has acclaim, especially since its sales have been beaten by Nissan’s smaller and cheaper LEAF. Not to mention, for a car of its position, where it’s purpose is to be kind to the environment but most importantly, to the wallet between fill-ups, it’s awfully too expensive especially when compared to the Toyota Prius, which is nearly half the price.

That said, the Volt’s future is under a lot of work as Opel’s CEO Karl-Freidrich Stracke has just announced. Stracke used to be the vice president of global vehicle engineering at GM and still controls the Volt’s future since the Chevrolet Volt, is sold as the Opel Ampera in Europe.

In a press conference, Mr. Stracke said that General Motors is planning on matching or beating the Toyota Prius in terms of sales. To put that into numbers that translates to over 400,000 sales, which is an ambitious plan considering the Ampera’s and Volt’s 60,000 models projected for 2012.

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In order to help General Motors achieve these numbers, Stracke said that they are working on expanding the Volt lineup much like Toyota has with the Prius lineup, adding variants such as a sub-compact, an MPV and others.

“We will come up with more models in the next generation,” says Stracke. He also discussed revisions in terms of the Volt’s power and drivetrains saying that the current complaints regarding refinement and efficiency that are plaguing the Volt’s current range-extending 1.4L engine could be eliminated by the introduction of a smaller, turbocharged engine.

Stracke also said that battery technology is always improving and many advancements have been made that will deem the industry’s current lithium-ion standard obsolete.

Despite plans of expansion, Stacke thoroughly recognizes that the E-REV—the internal name for the Volt and Ampera platform—is not the solution for every segment saying, ““While E-REV is right for the C and D segment, the A and B segments can be served with fully electric cars.” The aforementioned segments translates into cars that are in the same category as the Volt and even Malibu sized cars, but nothing smaller.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: CARandDRIVER