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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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RE: Killer design
By FITCamaro on 4/15/2009 2:57:36 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you think locomotives had that design? Because it was the most efficient.

It also is the most flexible design. The car doesn't depend on the gasoline engine. They could remove it if they wanted to and the car could still work. But they can also replace it with a diesel engine or a fuel cell with minimal rework.

RE: Killer design
By yomamafor1 on 4/16/2009 11:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
Actually its not because its most efficient, but rather the most suitable design for locomotives. Train pullers usually require massive torque in order to start the entire train, while speed is the secondary concern. Therefore locomotives use electric motor's advantage of constant and maximum torque for its power strains.

Putting the same technology onto a car renders the car to have excellent acceleration, but poor top speed. Just like the Tesla Roadster, where it can beat a lotus from the stop, it can only reach 125Mph top speed.

RE: Killer design
By djc208 on 4/17/2009 7:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
There is also the issue of size and weight. The transmission on a car is a fairly large component with clutches, gears, controls, and drive shafts. Given the amount of power and torque required to move a train how much larger would that gearbox have to be? Plus the extra maintenance and complexity.

The diesel/electric drive is simpler and more compact than a direct drive setup would be.

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