GM may offer the Volt’s plug-in powertrain to other automakers as a way to lower production costs, says Automotive News.
“We want to be the partner of choice in propulsion system development in this complex and turbulent era we are approaching,” GM’s global powertrain chief Dan Nicholson told AN. The 2016 Chevy Volt offers 53 miles of electric driving range and a 42 MPG fuel economy rating once the battery is depleted.
The Voltec’s 1.5 liter gas generator is small enough to fit under the hood of most compact cars, though the difficulty lies in making room for the T-shaped 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. Nicholson didn’t say whether automakers could use their own battery technology.
Offering the Volt’s plug-in powertrain to other automakers could be lifeline for companies like Subaru, Mazda and Fiat-Chrysler, all of which currently lack any plug-in hybrid vehicles. Despite low gas prices, state and federal regulations mandating a certain number of zero or low-emissions vehicles will require automakers to field either plug-in or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Those companies that fail to meet emissions and fuel economy standards face stiff fines. While many automakers are already developing their own plug-in powertrains, it is a costly and time-intensive endeavor. It is estimated to have cost GM as much as $1.2 billion to develop the first-generation Chevy Volt, and it took 3 years to go from concept to production model.