You may have heard of, or even visited, GM-Volt.com — a forum for Volt aficionados. This is noteworthy because the site’s founder, Dr. Lyle Dennis, was the proud owner of the eighth Volt off the line and was in close contact with the team leading the Volt’s development, even being part of the Volt customer advisory board. And he just purchased a Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid
The C-MAX Energi features a 21-mile EV range and a total range of 620 miles. It also seats five passengers to the Volt’s four. And as luck would have it, Mr. Dennis needed to fit more than four people into his vehicle — a feat that’s impossible to achieve in the Chevy Volt thanks to the center console that runs from the front to the rear seats. The console covers the large T-shaped lithium ion battery, and therefore limits the Volt’s ability to seat more than four people — the driver, along with three passengers.
The GM Authority Take
Possibly the most dismal part of this story is that GM could have a competitor to the C-MAX Energi in the form of a Chevy Volt MPV. It showed off a concept of such a vehicle, aptly named Volt MPV5, at the Beijing Auto Show in April of 2010, but the car has since vanished from the auto show circuit, as well as our collective radars. So for some reason, GM decided against (or is really dragging its feet on) bringing the Volt MPV5 concept to market (or the Orlando MPV to the U.S.).
And that’s a shame, since the Voltec powertrain needs to be made available in as many vehicles as possible in order for GM to drive down cost as well as to increase its popularity — both factors that ultimately determine the long-term viability of Voltec. Let’s hope that the Cadillac ELR isn’t the only vehicle powered by the excellent Voltec powertrain in the near future, although that may well be the case.
At the end of the day, this is yet another case of Chevy not being a true full-line automaker. It lacks an MPV in the U.S. (read: Orlando), a modern line of utility vans, as well as a compact hatchback and coupe. It also refuses to offer all wheel drive in its midsize (Malibu) and full-size (Impala) sedan offerings, while the competition seems more than happy to oblige (read: Ford Fusion and Taurus). Does GM, and by association — Chevrolet, not mind that Ford eat its lunch in those segments?