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GM reveals Cruze EV

Plugged in: GM Daewoo will begin testing its Cruze EV in October.

All-electric version of Holden’s Cruze emerges in Korea – and could be built here

Chevrolet logo21 Sep 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

GENERAL Motors will next month commence field trials of an all-electric version of the Cruze sedan – the same vehicle GM Holden will produce in Adelaide from next year – raising the long-term prospect of an Australian-made Holden EV.

The demonstration project, which GM says aims to explore the market requirement and customer acceptance of battery-electric vehicles in the South Korean capital of Seoul from late October, will involve a fleet of Cruze EVs developed by GM and LG.

Early testing shows the Cruze EV can travel up to 160km on a single charge, matching Australia’s first mass-market EV, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and easily exceeding the driving range of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, which Holden has committed to offering within its line-up by 2012.

137 center imageHolden will produce both sedan and locally designed hatch derivatives of the Cruze in South Australia from next year.

It will also have the technical ability to produce any vehicle based on the latest GM Delta II platform that underpins a range of GM small-cars, including the Cruze, Astra, Orlando and Volt.

Holden has already flagged the Cruze’s potential to employ a range of alternative engine technologies – including E85 ethanol, LPG, CNG and idle-stop hybrid systems – and is expected to replace the current model’s 1.8-litre petrol engine with a version of the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol four that power’s Europe’s Astra.

However, it stops short of committing to a production version of the Cruze EV.

“The demonstration program aims to gauge consumer interest and help GM learn more about the real-world performance of battery-electric vehicles on Korean roads,” Holden’s director of external communications Emily Perry told GoAuto.

“At this point, we have no production or sales plans in Korea or other markets, but it obviously highlights the flexibility of the Delta platform beneath the Cruze and some of the potential future powertrain applications for the vehicle.” Holden’s parent company was a little more bullish, saying the Cruze EV was co-developed by GM Daewoo, LG Chem and LG Electronics to benefit GM’s “core vehicle electrification competencies”, including batteries, electric motors, power controls and charging.

GM says the EV demo fleet is a key initiative in its global battery and electric vehicle development strategy, and will be replicated with other partners in other urban markets later this year.

Global engineering vice-president Karl Stracke said the Cruze EV program will provide real-world data on customer acceptance of electric vehicles by studying driving patterns and charging behaviour, while sharing costs and resources with LG.

“This Cruze EV demonstration project reinforces GM’s commitment to being a leader in the development of electric vehicles and green technologies, building on our portfolio of hybrids and the Chevrolet Volt,” said Mr Stracke.

“We’ll apply the learnings from this and our other demo projects to help us deliver the world’s best vehicles for our customers.” GM said its Cruze EV demo fleet – powered by under-floor batteries from LG Chem and propulsion systems (motor/inverter) from LG Electronics – will constitute the first full-size sedan electric vehicles to hit the road.

The Cruze EV is equipped with a 31kWh battery that generates maximum power of 150kW and accelerates the Cruze sedan to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 165km/h.

In Korea, it can be fully charged via a 220-volt household power outlet in 8-10 hours, and less in ‘quick-charge’ mode.

“Although there is much more work to be done, our ability to develop this vehicle in less than a year offers a peek at the very promising plans we have for our customers in Korea and around the world,” said GM Daewoo president and CEO Mike Arcamone.

Peter Bahnsuk Kim, the vice-president and chairman of LG Chem, which has worked with GM since 2008 and is the exclusive supplier of battery cells for the Volt, said the Cruze EV project would expand LG Chem’s operations with GM in Korea.

“Expanding the domestic electric vehicle market carries significant meaning for collaboration between GM Daewoo and LG Chem,” he said. “Over the past two years, we have forged a strong partnership with GM, and now we look forward to doing the same with GM Daewoo in our home country.”

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