Monday, March 1, 2010

Report: GM Drops Cadillac Converj to Focus on Cheaper Plug-In Hybrids

Bob Lutz in the Cadillac Converj

GM's Bob Lutz sits in the Cadillac Converj. Lutz said, �SThe Cadillac Converj is cleared for production,⬝ at this year's Detroit auto show. But according to reports, the vehicle has been canceled.

Bloomberg is reporting that General Motors stopped work on the Cadillac Converj, a sleek electric-drive coupe, to focus on cheaper plug-in hybrids for its luxury brand. The report is based on comments from two GM executives who asked not to be identified because the details aren�"t public.

The decision, if verified by GM, represents an acknowledgement of the high cost of producing plug-in hybrids that run without using any gasoline for long distances�rather than the type of plug-in hybrids that can use smaller and therefore less expensive battery packs. The Cadillac Converj was intended to follow the design of the Chevy Volt�referred to as an extended-range electric vehicle or plug-in series hybrid�which runs up to 40 miles before the gas engine is used to maintain the vehicle�"s range.

�SThe future lies in plug-in hybrids with smaller electric range,⬝ said Eric Noble, president of CarLab, an Orange, California-based automotive consultant, told Bloomberg. Dropping the Converj is �Sa tacit admission from GM that they over-batteried the Volt.⬝

Right-Sizing Plug-in Hybrid Batteries

The three major categories of electric-drive vehicles are conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure electric cars. Conventional hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, will continue to use relatively small battery packs�while pure electric cars require much larger batteries in order to deliver approximately 100 miles of range between charges.

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