According to various reports published over the Internet in the last few days, it seems that General Motors is at the moment working on a plug-in hybrid car based on the Cadillac SRX crossover. The car will most likely share some of the technology that General Motors developed for the soon to be popular Chevrolet Volt over the past four years, allowing the American car manufacturer to lower the costs of its emerging electric automobile offerings.
This new Cadillac model would also be inspired from an abandoned project to launch a rechargeable crossover car that General Motors had thought about 1-2 years ago under the now forgotten Saturn and Buick brands which were closed for good due to low sales. If the project will go into production, it will be the very first American luxury automobile after the company gave up on making the Converj concept car which was a Cadillac variant of the Chevrolet Volt.
The current Cadillac SRX debuted back in 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show as a concept car that General Motors said that it could carry an electric and fuel-cell powertrain in the near future. This new project will allow the company to extend its lead over the Japanese automaker Toyota, in what GM names “extend range electric vehicles.”
The Chevrolet Volt will be manufactured in 10,000 units next year, but recently the executives affirmed that this figure will go up as the demand for the car is very high. Officials at General Motors stated last month that the company is planning on hiring 1,000 engineers and research in Michigan in the next two years to have the necessary support for developing new hybrid and electric cars which will most likely replace conventional gasoline powered cars in the next 2-3 decades.
The first delivers of the Volt were made at the beginning of this month in several selected United States markets – including Michigan and California. The Volt is considered by General Motors to be the most important model at the moment in the company’s attempt to regain the image that was affected by the 2009 bankruptcy and the federal bailout. However, the $41,000 Chevrolet Volt will most likely bring a marginal profit for General Motors due to the high costs of developing this first-of-its-kind automobile that will definitely set new trends in the automotive industry.
The European variants of the Volt will be the Opel and Vauxhall Ampera, which will go on sale in the last part of 2011 for a bigger price. The Volt has been rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a 35 miles range, powered by the lithium-ion battery pack that has a weight of 400 pounds. Beyond this range, the Chevrolet Volt will use a 1.4-liter gasoline power unit.
The Japanese automaker Toyota is already preparing a plug-in version of their highly acclaimed Prius model which will be launched in 2012 at a price more affordable than the Volt, according to the officials at the Toyota Corporation.