GM unveiling a Plug-in in Detroit?

There’s a little bit of controversy out there regarding a plug-in hybrid that officially, Saab never made. If you’ve been reading this website for a while, then you’ll know some of the history on this issue.

If you’re relatively new to this site, then the full history on this issue is documented here and ‘the smoking gun’ is here. What follows is a very brief precis:

* In March 2006, Saab unveiled the Biopower Hybrid Convertible at the Stockholm Motor Show.

* This car used multiple electric drives as well as a 2.0 Biopower engine

* After the Stockholm show, we learned that GM changed the initial press release to cover up the fact that the Biopower Hybrid Convertible also had a plug-in functionality. Even though GM changed the press release, some of the initial releases that mentioned the functionality were sent out to various press outlets and published.

Back in March, when all this happened, I predicted that GM would unveil this technology in another market, quite possibly using another one of it’s brands to do so.

Well, recent reports seem to indicate that that will indeed be the case. There’s no mention of which brand will get the publicity, but according to the LA Times, GM will unveil a plug-in vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in January 2007.

GM won’t talk openly about its new electric vehicle — first hinted at in an interview Vice Chairman Robert Lutz granted industry trade publication Automotive News this week.

But a knowledgeable person within the giant automaker’s technology division confirmed that GM had developed a prototype that would run initially on power provided by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, switching to electricity provided by the onboard gasoline- or diesel-fueled generator when the battery charge was depleted…..

…..Rick Wagoner, GM’s chairman and chief executive, is expected to discuss the company’s environmental vehicle programs in a Nov. 29 speech at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but sources said he was unlikely to talk about specific models such as the extended-range electric vehicle.

The new car, if developed as a production model, would be recharged daily by owners and probably would deliver sufficient power from the batteries to cover the typical daily commute of 20 to 30 miles before depleting the battery charge and switching to electricity generated onboard.

It could be plugged into a home charging unit or into a publicly available recharger such as those deployed around California at shopping centers and public facilities when the EV1 and other electric vehicles were on the road in the late 1990s.

Just how closely this new vehicles architecture will mirror the Saab Biopower Hybrid will be interesting to see.

All eyes will be on Detroit in January and here’s hoping Saab get the nod. I haven’t heard of any other US Auto Show plans for the little Swede.

It’ll be quite disappointing if they go with another brand.

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Thanks to 1985 Gripen for the heads up.

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5 Comments

  1. Just maybe Saab didn’t develop the plug-in feature. Maybe some other GM brand did and Saab just incorporated it into the 9-3 convertible. So maybe it wouldn’t be fair to let Saab unveil the technology?

    Just me making some loud and noisy thinking…

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