2019 Chevrolet Volt
When General Motors announced in November that it would stop production of the Chevrolet Volt, it was a shock to many green car fans' systems.
The Volt was one of the first two modern electrically powered cars to go on sale in 2010, and is still the longest-range plug-in hybrid on the market.
Its faults are few, though perhaps critical: Mostly, its cramped back seat.
Americans have quit buying many small hatchbacks like the Volt, and Detroit automakers especially have all announced plans to quit building as many cars, focusing instead on crossover SUVs.
Even as GM made plans to close the factory that makes the Volt, as well as the compact sedan that underpins it, the Chevy Cruze, CEO Mary Barra was writing status blogs on LinkedIn about GM's commitment to electric cars.
That led us to wonder in last weeks' Twitter poll, what might happen to the Voltec plug-in hybrid power system that GM spent almost $1 billion designing. The question was: "What will happen to GM's Voltec system now that the Chevy Volt has been discontinued?"
In addition to Barra's comments about increasing investment in GM's Warren, Michigan, battery lab, company executives have said in recent months that the third-generation of the Volt will be a crossover SUV, which would address the primary complaint about the Volt's skimpy back seat.
The majority of our readers agreed that would be the most likely outcome, with 52 percent saying that GM will build an SUV with the system.
What will happen to GM's Voltec system now that the Chevy Volt has been discontinued?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) December 4, 2018
The next largest group, 29 percent, was the most pessimistic, saying that the system will simply die, implying that GM is not serious about making cars that plug in, even though it also sells the Chevy Bolt EV, which was the first affordable long-range electric car when it went on sale in 2017.
Besides those, we offered two dark-horse possibilities: that some other automaker might pick up the system and use it in a different car, and that everyone will begin using it. These possibilities would require GM to license its Voltec patents, which seems unlikely, but not beyond the realm of possibility. A not insignificant 15 percent of our readers thought that someone will copy the technology and another 4 percent thought it might become ubiquitous.
As always, remember that our Twitter polls are unscientific because of our low sample size and the fact that our audience is self-selected.