News of the Chevrolet Volt’s death predated an official announcement last November that the automaker would pull the plug on the PHEV, but we’ve heard rumors the automaker potentially had a replacement in store.
That’s likely not the case. GM President Mark Reuss told attendees at the automaker’s investor day conference last Friday that GM is finished developing hybrid powertrains. Instead, the focus will be on the final solution: battery-electric cars.
“Hybrids are just countermeasures to an internal-combustion engine,” Reuss said. He added the automaker “can’t spend money to force the customer to carry around extra stuff they may not need.” Obviously, he’s pointing at the Volt’s backup gasoline engine coupled to the electric powertrain. The Voltec powertrain, a hero once upon a time, no longer makes sense in today’s market.
Rumors pegged GM to introduce a plug-in hybrid crossover to replace the Volt after its death early this year. However, with Reuss’ comments, it appears the Chevrolet Volt won’t receive a replacement the model deserves. While added longer ranges helps mitigate range anxiety itself, charging infrastructure remains a major hurdle to EV ownership. The Volt’s gasoline backup provided a fossil-fuel powered security blanket, for better or worse.
The news of no more hybrids at GM follows word that Cadillac will spearhead GM’s electric-car renaissance. The brand showed off an unnamed concept car ahead of the 2019 North American International Auto Show that previewed an electric SUV coming next decade. The SUV will ride on a new platform GM called BEV3—a scalable architecture that GM will employ across all of its brands eventually. The platform can underpin front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive electric vehicles.
Eventually, we’ll see nine of GM’s 20 planned electric cars by 2023 ride on the BEV3 platform.