Thursday, November 12, 2009

GM Will Build Chevy Volt-Based Cadillac Converj



There will be a Cadillac version of the highly-anticipated Chevy Volt Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV), according to the Detroit News.

"General Motors Co. has decided to produce the Cadillac Converj" coupe, the News explains. "Cadillac included the Converj, a concept car that wowed industry critics and the public at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, in a presentation made to the automaker's board of directors Nov. 2, according to sources familiar with the production plan."

An E-REV, like a hybrid, uses both gasoline and electricity. Unlike a hybrid, however, an extended-range electric car can travel on battery power alone at full speed. GM claims that the Volt and Converj will be able to travel about 40 miles before using their first drop of gasoline – meaning that many owners will be able to get through an average day on electricity alone. On longer trips, when the battery is depleted, the gasoline engine will start. The engine will not power the wheels directly, instead acting as a generator to recharge the battery. The cars will also recharge from a standard home electrical outlet, enabling owners to rely on cheaper electricity for most of their driving, using more expensive gasoline only for unusually long trips.

The Converj shown at auto shows over the last year is a two-door, four-seat car design with Cadillac’s uniquely angular styling and a huge egg-crate grille.

Autoblog notes that GM vice chairman Bob Lutz "has previously gone on record as a champion of a production Converj, and he has said that a serial version would look very similar to the 2009 showcar – in much the same way that the Camaro evolved from concept to production. As the concept was gorgeous, we're down with that."

Motor Trend speculates that "the car still is slated to share much of its drivetrain with the upcoming Chevrolet Volt…that would call for a 1.4L four-cylinder engine and a lithium-ion battery pack, the latter possibly with more power than the Volt to suit its upscale market approach."

GM has given no hints on pricing. Recent reports have indicated that the Volt may cost close to $40,000. A special $7,500 federal tax credit for ultra-efficient vehicles will help defray some of that cost, but it’s still a price tag more comfortable for Cadillac shoppers than the typical Chevrolet customer.

Jalopnik notes, "The Converj will be able to command a higher premium at the dealer, or at least not induce the sticker shock everyone has over the Volt." A second car built using Volt technology will also help to spread the enormous research and development costs of the project. "The entire Volt program now makes a lot more sense to us financially," they conclude.

The Detroit News report did not give a firm date for Converj production. The News projects that the Volt will begin production "in November/December 2010."

If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.

source: usnews.rankingsandreviews