Chevrolet Beat EV electric vehicle with GM executives, India, June 2011Enlarge Photo
Right now, the sole plug-in vehicle you can buy from Chevrolet--or indeed all of General Motors--is the 2011 Volt range-extended electric car.
But that doesn't mean GM isn't testing a lot of other concepts.
The company just isn't doing it in North America, the sole region where Volts are sold this year.
Electric Beat minicar in India
Yesterday, Chevy unveiled an electric conversion of its Beat minicar in New Delhi, India.
Chevrolet Beat EV electric vehicle at launch event, New Delhi, India, June 2011Enlarge Photo
GM India actually has substantial experience with alternative-fuel vehicles. It offers both the Chevrolet Beat and Spark minicars in versions running on liquid petroleum gas (LPG), as well as a Chevy Aveo that runs on compressed natural gas.
The Chevy Beat EV uses a liquid-cooled 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack powering a 45-kilowatt electric motor that drives the front wheels.
Chevrolet quotes a range of roughly 80 miles (130 km) for the little electric Beat.
Fourth global electric-car project
The Beat EV project in India is actually the fourth such project announced by General Motors over the last year. So far the company has launched electric-car demonstrations in Germany, South Korea, and China.
Chevrolet Cruze EV, test fleet in South Korea, October 2010Enlarge Photo
A month later, the company launched a test fleet of all-electric Chevrolet Cruze sedans with a quoted 100-mile range in South Korea.
That same month, a fleet of Opel Meriva minivans converted to electric drive was announced in Germany. With a limited 40-mile range, the goal is to test whether the vans can serve as energy-storage components on future smart electric grids.
Like the other projects, GM didn't specify the size of the Beat EV fleet, but it is likely to be fewer than 100 cars. They will be used exclusively within India, and there are no plans for export.
[GM India, IndianAutosBlog]