Even though the Frankfurt Auto Show doesn’t open its doors until mid-September, automakers are already rolling out the first official images and info of concepts that will make their debut. For GM the big news is the Monza Concept, shared by both Opel and Vauxhall, which will utilize a next-generation Voltec drivetrain, and could point the way forward for the plug-in hybrid.
Besides the questionable tactic of naming it after a subcompact car from the malaise era, I like what I see in the Monza Concept. A combination coupe, station wagon, and DeLorean, the Monza Concept is powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain similar to the one in the Chevy Volt and Vauxhall Ampera. But instead of the 1.4 liter four-cylinder generator, it uses an all-new 1.0 liter, three-cylinder all-aluminum turbo engine that is lighter and more efficient.
The 1.0 liter engine also forgoes gasoline for compressed natural gas (CNG). While popular in Europe, could be even more popular here in the U.S., the dangers of fracking be damned. No word on stats like fuel mileage or all-electric range, though the sweeping good-looks hopefully influence future Volt vehicles.
Also of note is a LED “projection technology that uses a door-to-door dashboard to display pertinent information. Drivers can customize this information to their tastes, and it looks pretty neat, though it is likely just vaporware for now. It certainly won’t contribute to the Volt’s promised price cut.
With the Monza Concept, we get one step closer to a next-generation Chevy Volt. What are your hopes for GM’s future plug-in hybrids?