GM’s Australian brand, Holden, was “…really, really close” to having a production-ready Commodore EV that might have rivaled the Volt. The fully-electric large sedan project was cancelled though with the announcement of Holden’s closure by 2016.
That revelation comes via a GoAuto interview with Axiflux chief finance officier David Jahsan, whose company ended up with the remaining assets of the project. The Holden Commodore EV was primarily the work of GM and EV Engineering, but had a ton of other big names involved too, including GE Finance, Project Better Place, Bosch Australia, Futuris, and Axiflux. One by one though, these partners dropped out of the project, and once Holden’s fate was sealed, so was the project.
A total of seven demonstrator vehicles were built, and the Commodore EV would have cost about $10,000 less than an imported Chevy Volt. A Holden Volt comes in at about $59,000, which works out to about $55,000 USD. That means the Holden Commodore EV could have cost as little as $49,000, or less than $45,000 USD.
That’s all well and good, but what about range? Well if you recall, a Holden Commodore EV set the 24 hour driving distance for EVs back in 2012, covering some 1,172 miles thanks to a battery-swapping station. Between charges, engineers were able to drive a 75.8 mile loop at an average speed of 48 MPH, while still having about 25% charge left, implying a real-world driving range of about 100 miles per charge. This would have easily rivaled many smaller, cheaper EVs like the Nissan Leaf, and could have been the basis for a better Tesla Model S competitor as well.
Alas, the seven test vehicles are all that remain of this grand project, and these last Holden Commodore EVs will likely be driven until they die. In 20 years or so, maybe I’ll have a chance to track down these could-have-been-cutting-edge EVs, and see how they held up after the project came to a close. It’s sad to see another ambitious EV project abandoned by GM at such a critical time. I guess Australia just wasn’t meant to have electric cars, at least not yet.