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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

GM Shows a Bigger-than-Volt Concept in Beijing

USA Today

The Chevy Volt may be getting bigger.

General Motors is showing a five-passenger crossover version of the electric car at Auto China in Beijing this week. The Volt MPV5 concept is about 7 inches longer than the production Volt and about 7 inches taller.

The concept is designed to show that the battery/electric vehicle can be used across a wide family of vehicles, much like the Cadillac Converj concept did at the Detroit auto show earlier this year.

"The Volt MPV5 concept takes the efficient design of the Chevrolet Volt and adapts it to the family vehicle crossover segment. It's immediately recognizable as a true member of the Chevrolet family," said Bob Boniface, director of GM North America Crossover Exterior Design.

The car is technically just a concept at this point, but it appears GM is putting some serious thought into this concept: A 16-kWh T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack powers the electric drive unit. The Voltec propulsion system, which utilizes the same foundation as the Volt, gives the car gas and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving.

The flexibility of the Voltec system enables the Volt MPV5 concept to meet full vehicle speed and acceleration requirements while driving the vehicle and its five occupants up to 32 miles on pure electric propulsion. This is double what the average urban commuter in China -- where the car is being shown -- travels each day, but less than the 40 miles the upcoming Volt will get.

When the battery is depleted, a 1.4-liter engine generator sustains the battery charge and provides up to 300 miles of electric car battery propulsion.