The Chevy Volt is a pretty good electric car, especially since it was one of the first of its kind on the market. Yes, it is a plug-in hybrid and not the pure battery electric car many EV fans would prefer, but plug-in hybrids will likely be a big part of the transition to fossil fuel free motoring. There is only one thing holding back that transition today — money. It takes billions of dollars to develop the batteries, control systems and electric motors that will power the coming generations of electric cars.
Not every manufacturer has the resources to develop their own EV technology. Think of small manufacturers like Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jaguar, Land Rover and Fiat Chrysler. Wouldn’t it be cheaper for them to simply buy the EV components they need from someone else? Someone like General Motors, for example? A second question is whether it even makes sense for 27 car companies to each spend billions developing their own electric car technology. Wouldn’t it much cheaper if one or two companies did the heavy lifting and shared their expertise with the others?
GM’s global powertrain chief, Dan Nicholson, told Automotive News during the opening ceremonies for GM’s Powertrain Performance and Racing Center in Pontiac, Michigan, “We want to be the partner of choice in propulsion system development in this complex and turbulent era we are approaching.”
GM made the Volt powertrain adaptable to a variety of different applications. In the new Malibu Hybrid, it functions just fine without a plug. It could fit under the hood of any number of other front wheel drive vehicles, provided other manufacturers didn’t mind have a “Powered by General Motors” label or two on their cars. Selling its powertrains to others would generate income from GM and help drive down the production cost of its own cars that use the Voltec powertrain developed for the Volt.
Not everyone at General Motors has embraced the idea, however. GM spokesperson Kevin Kelley tells Autoblog that he is “not aware of anything going on” regarding negotiations with other automakers. So don’t look for that “Mazda 3 Powered By Chevrolet” anytime soon.