What will happen to GM's Voltec system now that the Chevy Volt has been discontinued?


2019 Chevrolet Volt

2019 Chevrolet Volt

GM's discontinuation of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid—sorry, extended-range electric vehicle—technology last month came as a blow to many plug-in car fans.

The car could allow 90 percent of Americans, according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data, to drive to work and back every day without using a drop of gas.

For all intents and purposes it was an electric car that generated no range anxiety. If you went beyond its 53-mile electric range, you could just keep driving as far as you wanted on gas.

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GM announced on Nov. 19 that it would discontinue building the car in a wave of layoffs and plant closings that saw both the Volt's factory and that of the Chevy Cruze that underpinned it cut off. As a fuel-efficient small hatchback, the Volt was no longer meeting sales targets.

That has left a lot of fans of its complex-but-ingenious Voltec gas-electric powertrain wondering whether they've missed the opportunity to own one (or another one), or whether GM or someone else might build another car along the same lines.

So our Twitter poll question for this week is: "What will happen to GM's Voltec system now that the Chevy Volt has been discontinued?"

Among the possibilities that occurred to us are that: It may just die. This is the scenario that most worries Volt fans. 

GM will build an SUV with the Voltec battery-electric hybrid system, perhaps with a bigger battery, or slightly less range than the Volt with the same battery. (This seems the most likely scenario to us.)

CHECK OUT: Commentary: How the media may have punctured plug-in hybrids' balloon

GM could sell the Voltec technology to another automaker. In 2016, the company said it was looking for other companies to license the technology, but never found any takers.

Taken to the extreme (and to Volt fans' delight) our fourth answer considers that systems operating like Voltec could become the new normal, sort of a minimum barrier to entry for hybrid vehicles.

Whether you're an optimist or a pessimist about the Volt's technology, remember that our Twitter polls are unscientific because of a low response rate and because our respondents are self-selected. We can't wait to hear what you think!

 
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