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.
quote: [Comment From Jon Lauckner] No, not extensively. First, in the U.S. a diesel fuel infrastructure (fueling spots) is a tiny fraction of 170,000 fueling stations currently. Secondly, the cost of a diesel engine is far greater than a gas engine. Recognizing most people will drive their daily commute (78%) using only electricity, we didn't think it made a lot of sense for consumers to incur the additional cost and inconvenience of a diesel range extender. You're right though, the efficiency of a diesel would be better than a gas engine, but remember, the U.S. emissions standards (Bin 5, Tier 2) also require a "mini-chemistry set" to meet emissions and this hurts their theoretical thermodynamic efficiency compared to a gas engine.