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The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf initiated a whole new movement in the auto industry. With the realization that an all-electric vehicle can be useful in everyday driving situations thanks to a large battery and more efficient fast charging technology, automakers are hopping on the electric vehicle bandwagon.
“Overall automakers want to be prepared,” says Devin Lindsay, an automotive powertrain analyst from IHS Automotive. “EVs are another tool for automakers to reach out to consumers” he says, mentioning that automakers are taking EVs seriously, rather than just putting a bunch of batteries and motors in an existing product.
It’s interesting to see how automakers make electric cars from the ground up to use only electric propulsion. For example Tesla and Cadillac are all making vehicles that will exclusively be used with an electric powertrain. Others are modifying their current successful vehicles to EVs. Lets take a look at the different EVs that will be arriving soon (or are already here), and learn a bit about the new technology behind it.
A few days ago, Cadillac announced that the Volt-based Converj concept would enter production. Well, it’s gotten a name change to suit its newfound status: look for the Cadillac ELR to hit dealers in a few months.
After all, a sensible, less-ambiguous name like “Converj” couldn’t be used: it had too many letters! ELR brings the Volt-based luxury electric car into Cadillac’s naming convention. Naturally, the letters don’t stand for anything, but “Electric Luxury Ride” seems to make the most sense.
We like to think somebody at Cadillac’s naming division is a big fan of Electric Light Orchestra (and fudged the spellcheck), and we’re going to bet that “Mr. Blue Sky” finds its way into an environmentally-themed marketing campaign when the car is released.
GALLERY: Cadillac ELR
Cadillac‘s Converj electric car, reported to be dead, has made an appearance at his year’s Beijing Auto Show, sparking speculation that the opulent alternative fuel vehicle is still alive and kicking.
The Converj, which mates the Chevrolet Volt’s electric powertrain with the features and amenities of a Cadillac, can travel about 40 miles on electric power alone, and then uses a gasoline motor for propulsion. The car can be plugged in to recharge its batteries as well. And did we mention it looks awesome?
While Bloomberg had reported in March of this year that GM had decided against producing the Converj, its Beijing appearance suggests that their may be renewed interest for the luxury hybrid. So pass the rumor along: the ConverJ isn’t dead yet.
GALLERY: Cadillac Converj
When it launches, the Chevrolet Volt is poised to become the next Toyota Prius, the poster boy for environmentally responsible motoring. And while it might be what mother earth and the Obama Administration want, you can be sure it’s not what the 77-year-old Camaro-loving head of GM’s marketing department wants. No, Bob Lutz wants high performance vehicles and is prepared to deliver them as long as there’s demand.
Lutz has even gone so far as to explicitly state that a high-performance version of the Volt plug-in hybrid is not out of the question. In an interview with Fox News, Lutz was asked if Chevy might build a Volt SS. Lutz replied: “I would not discount that as a possibility.”
The reality of building a high performance Volt is actually very real, with the trade-off being less impressive fuel economy and range. Currently many manufacturers use conventional hybrid systems to deliver the performance of a larger engine with the fuel economy of a smaller one. One absurd example is BMW’s X6 ActiveHybrid that makes 480-hp and gets 24 mpg.
That being said, it’s more likely that a high-performance version of the Voltec powertain would be offered in the Cadillac Converj coupe, which was recently reported to be heading for production.
First unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the seemingly futuristic Cadillac Converj is now well on its way to production. According to a report in The Detroit News, the Volt-like plug-in hybrid, has been given the green light, but won’t be offered for several more years.
Similar in both look and size to the Cadillac CTS Coupe, the Converj would use a similar plug-in hybrid electric system as found in the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, although presumably with a focus more on power.
By adding an extra PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) to the GM lineup, it would allow for lower cost per unit production of the expensive hybrid system parts – like the lithium-ion batteries. Having a Cadillac PHEV model also makes sense as it will be easier for GM to recoup the cost of the expensive hybrid system in a high-dollar premium vehicle.
Cadillac already sells a hybrid version of the Escalade, but a sporty PHEV luxury coupe would certainly help in creating the sort of brand image that GM has been seeking for Cadillac.
[Source: The Detroit News]