South Australia Premier Mike Rann came to the Detroit area on a mission. His destination was the Warren Tech Center just outside the city limits. He toured the tech center and the battery plant at GM's research and development center. He even spoke with GM CEO Fritz Henderson and Volt Chief Engineer Andrew Farah. He toured the Volt's preproduction operation at the facility, drove a Volt, and spoke at length with the CEO. He had one goal in mind, bringing the Volt to Australia.
Not only does Rann intend to have the Volt for sale in the Australian market, he also plans to ask GM to allow them to build their version of the Volt there. Initially, Rann wants the Volt imported to Australia in 2012, but then hopes to utilize the Voltec technology at GM Holden Ltd. to build a Voltec powered Holden Cruze.
The Cruze will enter production at the companies Elizabeth plant in Adelaide next year. According to Rann in a discussion with The Adeliade Advisor, "It is technologically possible to have an electric version of the Cruze manufactured on a new production line in Elizabeth."
The production line for the Cruze is currently under construction and is expected to be ready for production of the Cruze by the third quarter of next year. Rann went on to state, "While the Cruze will be a fuel efficient car, I would like to see the Elizabeth plant manufacturing the same model but with an even greater fuel efficiency in the future as the technology develops."
Hoping for and getting is two different things. What Rann wants may only be a dream. According to GM spokesman Rob Peterson, "It's unlikely Volt technology would go into a Holden Cruze. Although the Cruze and Volt do share similar architectures, the reengineering expense would be too great. The Cruze will not get Voltec."
Though Rann's dreams might not come true, GM does acknowledge that a Holden Volt is a possibility. GM Holden spokesman Scott Whiffin said," Having the same platform certainly gives us a first step in terms of future development opportunities, but anything involving electric vehicles would be an enormous leap."
So many conflicting stories from the various people involved with the Volt can lead to confusion, but Australia is not giving up. In October, Australia's Federal Industry Minister Kim Carr, will head to Detroit to talk about Voltec with GM CEO Henderson.
If a Holden Volt comes out of the talks, it would represent the fourth possible application of the Voltec technology including the Chevy Volt, the Opel Ampera and possibly the Cadillac Converj.
Source: Wards Auto (login required)