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Interior and exterior views of the Cadillac Converj concept-- according to a new report, the Converj has received the go-ahead for production and will hit the streets in 2011. It could be GM's first profitable electric vehicle and is expected to have more power than the Chevy Volt.  (Source: Motor Trend)
GM gets the second entry in its electric armada ready as it faces troubling times

When it comes to GM, it’s hard to remove its financial predicament from news of its tech developments.  However, assuming that it can survive, GM has approved production of the Cadillac Converj according to a recent report.

Though some have poked fun at the name, the Converj has been quite popular ever since it was introduced as a Volt-derivative plug-in Cadillac concept at the North American International Auto Show 2009 in January.  The model seemed a logical move -- the Volt's production price is well above that of an average Chevy, but closer to that of a luxury brand model -- like a Cadillac.  By essentially re-releasing the Volt with luxury styling, the cost of deploying the Volt could be offset somewhat with an even pricier model under the Cadillac umbrella.

The vehicle has received official go-ahead from GM according a report from Motor Trend.  GM reportedly plans to unleash it on the roads in 2011 making it a 2012 model year vehicle.  Sources say that the Converj could even be the first profitable electric vehicle -- a major victory for GM, and a big boost in getting federal approval of their revised restructuring/bailout proposal, due June 1.

The source at GM says that the Converj will be followed up by a people-mover/crossover utility based on the Voltec (Volt) architecture. 

A GM spokesperson denied both comments, saying that no changes had been made with the Converj or other models.  However, Motor Trend stands by its source, stating.  The publication points out that the drivetrain (lithium-ion battery pack and 1.4L four-cylinder engine) could be largely reused from the Volt, with more battery mass added to give it more power.  The main work would be working an all-new sheetmetal and interior.

The new production model will reportedly be a two-door coupe, like the concept.  This is different from the 4-door with hidden handles version that retiring product chief Bob Lutz suggested.  The height of the production vehicle will also have to be tweaked to make production financially feasible.

The source says that they believe the Buick brand is a likely target for the people-mover.  GMC is another branding possibility.  The Voltec CUV would have two to three rows of seats

GM is continuing to make efforts to grow its profitable brands as it reluctantly agrees to kill other ones, as part of its restructuring -- including Saturn, Saab, and Hummer, according current expectations and reports.  GM has also entered into a partnership with Segway to release new light electric two-wheelers for urban streets.

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expensive but
By RamarC on 4/15/2009 12:25:24 PM , Rating: 5
A lot of folks think GM should be releasing 'affordable' electric vehicles, but new technology always debuts at the high end first. That's the only way the intial costs of the parts can be recovered -- with an expensive product.

Many convenience features we now take for granted on cars debuted in a top line Mercedes. In dash navigation, air bags, and the like were so expensive initially, they could only be offered in an auto whose overall price could justify the additional feature cost.

RE: expensive but
By m0mentary on 4/15/2009 12:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for a high-end electric vehicle, I'd like to keep usable back seats. Those might be concept pics, but I really hope the Converj can carry more than just one adult passenger and a couple set of golf clubs.

RE: expensive but
By RamarC on 4/15/2009 1:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
i expect the interior to be practically identical to the CTS coupe.

RE: expensive but
By FITCamaro on 4/15/2009 1:07:04 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly. You don't see anyone b*tching about the $100,000 Lexus "hybrid" that uses the electric motor more as a performance feature than a gas saving one. It still gets 12 mpg.

RE: expensive but
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 4/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: expensive but
By Jeffk464 on 4/15/2009 2:43:33 PM , Rating: 1
I think its going to cost $40,000 but drop down to around $30,000ish with the government subsidies. Subsidies are not all bad and encourage new technologies until they are profitable. Windpower was subsidized for years and is now getting profitable.

RE: expensive but
By Keeir on 4/15/2009 3:06:55 PM , Rating: 3
Windpower was subsidized for years and is now getting profitable.

Sorry, but this is really untrue.

Windpower is still produced at roughly 10-15 cents per kWH wholesale price. Its true, this is down sigificantly from early costs in the 20 cents+ kWH prices, but its far "from profitable".

Some companies are making money because of government subsidies combined with regulation that force power company to have purchase "pollution free" power regardless of price.

Windpower (or any renewable power source) really shouldn't be considered economical until it approaches the wholesale prices of coal/current Nuclear plants.. which is around 4-5 cents per kWH (Heck, the Palo Verde On Peak Spot is just 2.41 cents per kWH right now). Until that occurs, in the free market, the Windpower would not be "profitable".

RE: expensive but
By Oregonian2 on 4/15/2009 6:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
Depends what you do with that windpower.

Here in Oregon, at least the biggie electric company (PGE) sells green power to customers (including residential) at a higher cost than for their "regular" power.

Customers (such as myself) are sent forms about every year or so to option that wind power in our bill.

Don't recall what they charge for it, but it might be profitable for them at those higher prices.

P.S. - If windpower is sold on the wholesale market for 10 cents/kwh, I'd assume then that the producer is making a profit off of that which they charge even if the wholesale customer isn't (presumably buying it because a government law requires it).

RE: expensive but
By Keeir on 4/15/2009 7:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, no, I mispoke

The DOE in 2007 estimated costs for wind to be between 10 to 15 cents per kWH. Its hard to really understand the costs of wind power unless a firm grip on expected lifespan of wind turbines is known... which is still an unknown. I don't have access to data of a particular wind company, so I will assume the DOE estimates are "reasonable".

Yes, its true, but at the same time, using the DOE estimates, wind power would need to be priced between 8 to 10 cents higher than the other power to "break even" for the power company. Often times a power company with seperate power prices leaves the cost of infrastructure and billing on the older coal/nuclear/hydro power rather than fully charge it on the renewable. Obviously there are company that do not do this, but given the US average premium for "green" power, it seems the only way it can be acchieved.

PS. Its not really profitable for society. Its wealth transfer forced by regulation and as I understand not the goal of subsidies driven theory to create industries that only exist due to regulation. IE the original poster "Since we subsidies wind in the past, we now do not need to subsidize a the industry as it makes its own profits"

RE: expensive but
By Black69ta on 4/16/2009 1:01:11 AM , Rating: 1
And original Computers took up a whole room. Just because Locomotives use Diesel generators doesn't mean that the technology is small enough to be feasible in a passenger car.

RE: expensive but
By Jeffk464 on 4/15/2009 2:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
Its amazing, GM waited untill they were practically dead to come out with desirable products. Now they have a lot of "Americas Most Wanted" products coming out and they might go under. Not only that but they trashed their name with crappy products for so long that people will be reluctant to buy from them.

I Say it was a great day when Obama S canned the CEO of GM.

RE: expensive but
By Oregonian2 on 4/15/2009 6:50:00 PM , Rating: 2
First, I don't think the Volt and volt derivatives are "desirable products". They'll be symbolic, but they won't sell very much nor are they expected to. They'd be "desirable products" at half the expected prices, but not for that which is expected (not their "fault", they are a new class of vehicle).

Secondly, all reports have their regular cars to be very reliable decent cars for quite some time now -- but yes they're stuck with their bad reputation from previous years with little success in getting rid of it no matter what they do.

Canning the CEO of GM was a nice symbolic gesture but I suspect that wasn't the biggest problem with GM.

What amazes me is Ford. :-)

RE: expensive but
By matt0401 on 4/15/2009 11:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
First, I don't think the Volt and volt derivatives are "desirable products".

I completely disagree. I frequent a few news sites dealing with environmental issues and green cars (autobloggreen and treehugger to be specific) and while those left-of-centre sites often salivate upon hearing of a minor detail about the new Prius or news of a new wind farm being developed, the Volt has these sites orgasming at the thought of it being produced. It is a VERY desirable product. Sell as much as a standard mid-size sedan? No, not nearly. But sell all in stock to a legion of diehard hippies? Most likely, if not definitely.

These will sell.

RE: expensive but
By djc208 on 4/16/2009 8:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
It's a very desirable product for this subset of people, but they are not a large subset of people. I thought the Dodge Magnum was one of the best looking cars built, but obviously I was in the minority on that one since it doesn't exist any more, and that was based off an existing archetecture and therefore cheaper to produce.

No one is saying GM won't sell the Volt, but same as the Prius or the Tesla, only people who value mother Earth green more than Uncle Sam green, or are looking to make a social statement, will buy right now. That's not a huge market in the 10-million car sales year the auto industry is praying they can get this year.

Add in the fact that with gas prices back down as low as they are fewer people are seeing the benefit of spending extra on a more fuel efficient vehicle, and the Volt isn't coming out into the best market it could have.

Technologically GM needs this vehicle to survive into the future. Financially it's a horrible time to do it. GM needs to worry more about building world class Volt sized conventional cars. Maintaining its current competitive Cadillac products since they make good profits and target people who are much less affected by economic downturns. And staying competitive in the full-size truck market. The home buyers may be backing out but the core of that market isn't going anywhere, and it's a large market with lots of applications.

RE: expensive but
By cerx on 4/16/2009 10:40:55 AM , Rating: 2
What amazes me is Ford

Ford isn't having troubles now because they already went through that, a couple years back. They re-worked their union contract so they pay less than the others (or at least less than GM). They've also come out with some newer and better cars in the last couple years so of course that is part of it, too.

RE: expensive but
By walk2k on 4/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: expensive but
By hduser on 4/15/2009 5:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, I kinda like the looks of this Caddy. Then again, I like the looks of the preproduction Volt. I don't like the style of the current production Volt as much. I wonder what the production version of the Caddy will look like.

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