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Beijing show: GM’s Aussie-designed Volt MPV

True blue: Holden designers had a hand in GM'S Chevrolet Volt MPV5 concept unveiled in Beijing today.

GM unveils Holden-designed Volt-based compact hybrid people-mover in Beijing

23 Apr 2010

GENERAL Motors has described the Australian-designed MPV5 Volt-based people-mover unveiled at the Beijing motor show today as a “major commitment to providing world-class, fuel-efficient vehicles to its customers around the world”.

While the American auto giant will launch the Volt plug-in hybrid internationally in 2011, with Holden to get its hands on it during 2012, the emergence of the production-oriented MPV5 is the latest tangible sign that GM will broaden use of the technology beyond the sedan (Volt and Cruze) and liftback (Opel Ampera) versions seen to date.

A collaborative effort between GM’s Australian and North American design studios, the MPV5 also again demonstrates the international importance of Holden’s design operations, which is expanding its role as a global rear-drive large-car development hub to a centre of excellence for small cars.

As well as having a hand in the MPV5, Holden’s designers have created the forthcoming Cruze hatchback – which is based on the same Delta II platform as the Beijing concept – and the smaller Chevrolet Aveo RS.

The Aussie team also created one of the futuristic EN-V concepts unveiled at the Beijing show.

13 center imageGM has not committed to a production timetable for the MPV5, saying only that the five-seater “demonstrates the potential of the Voltec propulsion system” which combines an electric motor with a petrol engine that serves as a generator to charge the lithium-ion battery pack.

The mini-MPV borrows design and aerodynamic cues from the Volt, with the front fascia described as among the most aerodynamic of any vehicle in this class with its closed grille and aero-optimised lower airdam.

The MPV5 also has an enclosed undercarriage, sculpted cladding around the wheelarches, creased tail-lights and a unique blades on the rear quarter, all of which improve its aerodynamics and, according to GM, serve to increase its all-electric range.

GM claims the vehicle can transport five occupants up to 51.5km on pure electric propulsion – that is, without intervention from the internal combustion engine – which it says is double what the average urban commuter in China travels each day.

However, this is less than the 64km all-electric range quoted for the Volt sedan. Its maximum driving range is also said to be 482km, which is the same as the Volt.

The tale of the tape shows the people-mover rests on a 15mm-longer wheelbase than the Volt (2760mm), and is longer, wider and, naturally, taller than the sedan – 4585mm long (up 181mm), 1871mm wide (up 73mm) and 1612mm tall (up 182mm).

Finished in Sonic Blue Metallic paint, the MPV5’s exterior includes dual sunroof panels and 19-inch Volt-inspired wheels.

Inside, the MPV5 uses the Volt’s centre dash stack and instrument cluster, along with its two-tone leather seats.

The second row seats can tumble to provide up to 1764 litres of cargo space, up from the 864 litres available when the second row is upright.

Former Holden director and now president and managing director of GM China Group, Kevin Wale, said: “Rapidly growing demand for personal transportation across China is creating new environmental and energy security challenges.

“GM is committed to finding and adopting solutions, which include the electrification of the automobile. The world premiere of the Volt MPV5 concept in Beijing demonstrates GM’s desire to make China a global focus of its advanced technology strategy.” As well as showing the EN-V concepts, which were produced in conjunction with Chinese alliance partner SAIC, GM and its affiliates presented 37 production and concept cars at the Beijing show, including the new Chinese-market Sail hatch and sedan, the Wuling Hong Guang “compact business vehicle” and FAW-GM Jiefang 501 light-duty truck.

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