Chevy Watt: The Dreamy Volt-Powered Plug-In Hybrid Pickup Truck


Ever wonder what the end result could be if you stuffed the Chevrolet Volt’s electric powertain into a Chevy Colorado?

Well, wonder no more…the Chevrolet Watt has arrived.

Arrived on that is.

The Watt is one man’s vision of what General Motors could do if it ever attempted to combine Voltec technology with its compact/midsize truck platform.

We’re certain the Chevy Watt would be well received, but will GM ever build it (or, for that matter, will GM ever do a plug-in truck)?

Sure GM will, at some point in the way distant future, but it’ll most certainly be a full-size truck that gets the plug-in tech and it won’t use the Volt’s Voltec system, but rather something specifically designed for truck duties (think VIA Motors).

But we’re allowed to dream, right?

What do you think of the Chevy Watt?  Would you buy it if it were pure Voltec with no changes dropped into a Chevy Colorado?

Source: GM-Volt


Category: Chevrolet


45 responses to "Chevy Watt: The Dreamy Volt-Powered Plug-In Hybrid Pickup Truck"
  1. David Murray says:

    Being how popular trucks are, it amazes me nobody is producing PHEV pickup.

    1. kdawg says:

      You mean, besides VIA right?

      1. David Murray says:

        Indeed.. I don’t really count them because the price is outrageous.

        1. offib says:

          I’ve never heard about prices from VIA. Production would be issue. They only make around 10,000 a year at the very maximum.

    2. Jouni Valkonen says:

      It is exactly because pick-up trucks are selling so well that it does not make sense to make plug-in version. Why change very profitable business model?

      Perhaps this will change in 2018 when Tesla introduces pick-up and genuine competition for GM/Ford.

  2. Gsned57 says:

    I like it but with the added weight and aero drag I think your aer would drop to 25 on the highway. Also can you tow in a volt? I’d prefer a van over a truck but love the idea.

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      The Watt truck would be AWD version, so towing is not a problem. The problem is that GM does not have serious plans for introducing a plug-in truck.

  3. scottf200 says:

    Looking forward to more of the ViaMotors equivalent getting publicity. Powertrain:
    Cost Calculator that use to be online is buy submission now:

  4. jmac says:

    Hate to be bearer of glad tidings, but Rome is burning.

    According to an article in Automotive News Europe:

    Opel will discontinue weak-selling Ampera, sources say

    “Despite sharing European Car of the Year honors with the Volt in 2012, the Ampera has been a commercial flop since its launch that year.

    In 2013, sales sank 40 percent to 3,184 cars. They’ve decelerated further this year, plunging 67 percent through the first five months, to 332 cars.

    In Germany, Opel’s home market, just 46 Amperas were sold in the first half of this year. Ferrari has sold nearly twice as many F12s in Germany — 83 — during the same period, according to data from the German motor transport authority (KBA).”

    1. kdawg says:

      Need a price reduction. I’m sure the i3 stole some sales.

      1. David Murray says:

        Indeed. The Ampera is way overprice in Europe.

        1. Acevolt says:

          I saw one in Hamburg on the lot for 28.990 Euro’s. That didn’t seem too bad.

      2. Mikael says:

        Nah, it went out of business long before the i3.

        The Volt and Ampera was almost only getting sold in the Netherlands. In 2013 they sold more than 3100 out of the total 4000 Volts/Amperas.

        Once there were any other PHEV’s avaliable on the dutch market the Volt/Ampera sunk like a stone. First it was the Volvo V60 plug-in that stole most sales and then the Outlander PHEV killed it off totally.

        The Volt/Ampera went from 3100 sales in the Netherlands in 2013 to 9(!) sales so far in 2014.
        While the Outlander PHEV and the V60 PHEV have sold over 7000 combined in 2014.

        Both being more expensive than the Volt. So it’s not just the price (even though it is way way too expensive for what you get), it needs to be improved as a car a lot too.

      3. Mikael says:

        And basically all the rest of the sales were in Germany. They have sold around 1470 there to this date. 1100 of them were sold in 2012.

    2. Thomas J. Thias says:

      Yuppers are flying today!

      I would say, Rome is electrifying with this report from Vauxhall that GM may build the Voltec platform at Ellesmere Porte Assembly by 2016!

      I love competing rumors!

      Link Goes To Vauxhall-


      Thomas J. Thias


      1. Malcolm Scott says:

        Thanks Thomas. Have been very worried that there will not in future be a RHD source for GM EVs that might come to Australia after hell freezes over, or our Prime Minister falls under a bus.

    3. Jaime says:

      and chevrolet europe disappears, which also will be not a Volt in Europe.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        They won’t use Chevrolet as previously intended, it’s be limited to a few things like the Corvette.

        So, they could drop it entirely, sell the Chevrolet Volt or simply sell Opel/Vauxhall Volt.

  5. scott franco says:

    A chevy volt-truck?

    No I would not buy it sam I am.

    Better off with a CNG conversion. Range and low pollution, no gas. None. Nada.

    1. James says:

      Sorry Scott, but you must’ve been listening to T. Boone Pickens too much. All the gas/oil barons love to yack up natural gas as the savior of our energy woes. Ever wonder why it’s the guys who own the fracking rights and land leases who get that airtime? Natural gas, like oil, is also non-sustainable. There are finite amounts of it out there, and we waste it like fast food wrappers in the dumpster at McDonald’s. See the satellite photos of N. Dakota oilfields spewing enough natural gas plumes from their oil rigs to power small cities. Why? It costs too much to harvest, they say, so they let it fly off into space! Y’know – it’s because we have so much, right?!!! No – it’s because those people have the sense of fools. Waste is their middle name.

      In truth, natural gas isn’t the easy, abundant apple to pluck. Drillers are hydro-fracking us to death to obtain it. So, since they believe fracking the earth is a perfectly sensible way to extract gas – they say it’s our energy future. Well, they’re wrong!

      If you and your children drink water, I suggest you study the danger of fracking. At that point an extended-range electric truck would really look a whole lot more attractive to you, I am sure.

      VIA has an EREV truck. To add to it’s fantastic capabilities is the VIATRUX’s ability to be an emergency power source to your home during blackouts and power your electric tools when on the jobsite.

      Since fullsized pickups sell over 1,000,000 units per year in the USA, the economies of scale by one of the big 3 truck builders would kick in immediately if they built a VIA or VIA-type platform. It’s a simple equation as VIA just slaps a large bank of lithium battery packs inside existing frame rails – so no proprietary platform development is needed. Today’s hyper lightening of trucks ( aluminum F-150; GM’s panic move to redesign it’s trucks to match Ford ) indicates their ability to spend big when they feel they have to. Government mandates have pushed Ford and GM to act. Whomever puts out the first VIA-type truck ( 40 miles all-electric range + 35 MPG in range-extended mode ( gas ), can take the market. This is something GM and RAM ( Chrysler ) have not done in 30 years! Wouldn’t you think they would race to put a VIA on the road to punch Ford in the face?!!!!

      Oh no – and they won’t do a Colorado/Ranger-sized EREV/PHEV either. Why? They’re lazy, cheap, short-sighted, greedy, out-of-touch and lack vision. It’s a slow road to China for these guys. It’s tiny baby steps, and nobody takes those kinds of chances.

      Bob Lutz, former GM Vice President and co-father of the Volt is now Chairman of VIA Motors. He now says GM goofed and Volt should’ve been a truck. Obviously, because it’s costs would not be a factor if sold in the 300,000 – 650,000 unit numbers big trucks sell each year. A GM/Ford/RAM/Toyota VIATRUX would sell for approx. $45-50,000.
      While that sounds expensive – look at the King Ranch and High Sierra rigs they sell today for over $50,000, including the one given to SuperBowl MVP Seattle Seahawk Malcolm Smith.

      I would buy a $30,000 Voltec EREV Midsize Colorado in a New York minute. The size of that model is perfect for the first VIA-like model. A fullsizer would send Ford flying to the drawing board to build a competitor. That one move would SKYROCKET autodom ( esp. North American autodom ) into electrification.

      They won’t do it unless forced by laws. They just won’t. They’ll piss and moan and make excuses that it’s just too expensive. Meanwhile, a tiny company named VIA Motors uses brand=new pickups from Chevy and GMC, fresh from their Mexican factory – trucks them 80 miles to their Mexican facility and converts them to 40 mile AER wonder-trucks! GM could build these and have them ready for the 2016 model year – SIMPLE!

      People who moan, “Oh VIA trucks are EXPENSSSIVE!”, have zero understanding of economies of scale. Make a ton of ém and costs come way down…WAYYY DOWWWN. A tiny
      company like VIA has no means of building trucks in numbers like Ford, GM and Chrysler can.

      GM; Ford; RAM and Toyota are dinosaurs. Their parts units like Delphi and Mopar are multi-billion dollar behemoths. Servicing oily, smelly gas burners with 4-500 complex moving parts is how they extract money from North Americans. Their profit strategy is as old as the hills and it isn’t changing any time soon. We could all picket in the streets and GM will continue to make excuses and piddly steps like using aluminum and plastics in their truck and CUV bodies. While doing this, they’ll tell you to thank them and endorse them by opening up your wallet.

      I think not.

      1. Malcolm Scott says:

        plus there is a lack of competition from imports owing to the 25% import duty on new and used trucks. I thought it was 15%, but according to this link it’s actually a horrendous 25%.

        1. James says:

          Toyota Tundras are built in Texas, Nissan Titans are built in Canton, Mississippi. The Titan has become a major dud, and future Titans will be rebodied Chrysler RAM trucks built alongside RAM 1500s in Saltillo, Mexico.

          How do Silverados and RAMS made in Mexico come across the border duty-free? NAFTA, and possibly, they are partially built there and finished here.

          I know the high duties on foreign trucks are from the 1960’s “Chicken Tax”. It’s the reason so many vehicles can’t make it here, especially in the van world. Sprinter vans are costly here due to being built in Germany, dismantled totally and rebuilt at Daimler’s U.S. facilities once they reach our shores. Same for Ford’s Transit-Connect vans – once built in Turkey, seats added, plus windows – then windows and seats removed
          by American workers when they arrive. Transit-Connect v.2 comes from Spain – same deal. The big Ford commercial van ( Transit- NO Connect, lol ) is now being manufactured here in St. Louis, but still has a questionable, Sprinter-like high price????

          The Ford Ranger is now built elsewhere and not sold here, also, the Colorado ( S10 in Asia )until GM smartly redesigned it for our market and will build it in Missouri.

          Too complicated to follow – but these trucks
          and vans should be built here, and we should
          push Congress to open up the markets to vans from VW and others to fill needs that just aren’t being filled in our market…$40,000 for an empty, steel-box shorty cargo van?!!!

          1. James says:

            * U.S. carmakers bribed legislators to add paragraphs to a huge agricultural bill in the 1960s called The Chicken Tax ( Google it )…

            It was a backhanded, ugly and sneaky way for them to give us Americans the shaft. Cutting away competition from overseas and stuffing it deep down into what was a good bill that limited poultry imports that were hurting American farmers.

            Ever wonder why the Ford Econoline, Dodge and GM vans remained unchanged for literally decades? Why one couldn’t get an RV-camper that got good gas mileage? Why we drooled overseas at small diesels vans and campers
            that just never made it to our shores? Chicken Tax.

      2. Bill Howland says:

        I was initially interested in the Chevy Impala CNG for 2015, but then I lost interest when they said it will be a $10,000 option, and there is still no low cost reliable home refueler.

        I’ve put solar panels on my house, so therefore, I’m rather married to EV’s at this point.

  6. 13Volt says:

    I would trade in my Volt and my F 150 and buy this in a heartbeat if it came out.

  7. jmac says:

    ChEvy should havE

  8. jmac says:

    The idea is good.

    The car is too expensive for what it is.

  9. Lensman says:

    I’d like to see some real-world reports from “average Joe” drivers before making a decision to buy an EV pickup, made using today’s technology. EVs are very limited in the amount of energy stored in their battery packs; that’s why there is “range anxiety”.

    Start hauling around heavy loads, or towing heavy trailers, and the already limited distance an EV can go will shrink substantially more.

    Yes, I know the Volt is an “extended range” EV, so can switch to gas power when the battery runs low. But I think the Volt is overly complex in the way it has been engineered, and it has to have premium gas fed do it. Probably not the best option for a pickup, which is likely going to be using a lot more gas than the Volt.

    Someday EV pickups will be commonplace. Nothing is going to prevent the EV revolution from making gas guzzlers obsolete. But it won’t happen overnight.

    It may well be possible to engineer a successful and affordable plug-in hybrid EV pickup, even using the somewhat limited batteries available today. But if so, the powertrain will be something like the BMW i3 with the range extender option… and not the overly complex Voltec powertrain, which is not very efficient in its use of gasoline.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “But if so, the powertrain will be something like the BMW i3 with the range extender option… and not the overly complex Voltec powertrain, which is not very efficient in its use of gasoline.”

      How is that NOT efficient? It is NOT nearly as performance limited as the i3 REx. If it is truly for a pickup trucks, then it needs to be full performance. Anything smaller would be unacceptable.

      PHEV is perfect for the pickup idea.

      Lastly, I don’t understand why people think Voltec is complex.

      It is FREAKING simple, that is why GM uses it. It is FAR LESS complex than a 8 speed transmission.

      It is nothing more than a simple Planetary gearset with 3 clutches. That is about as simple as its gets as far as transmission goes.

      If you are talking about the complex with Electric motors, generator and then ICE. Then it is NOTHING more complex than a Ford/Toyota/Honda hybrid system.

      The complexity of the Volt is overblown.

      As far as MPG goes, it is about the same as Ford Energi models. That is mainly due to the weight of the car which is largely battery. The additional efficiency difference is due to the Atkinson cycle engine used in the Ford/Toyota/Honda system where the Volt doesn’t.

      1. James says:

        Lensman, GM succeeded with Volt in showing thre is a relatively simple ( compare with Toyota/Ford’s Hybrid Synergy Drive ) way to conduct gas-free driving for 40 miles or so, and realize top mileage afterwards, EVEN after carrying two power sources!

        ModernMarvelFan adroitly points out Voltec is deceptively simple compared to less-efficient ( HSD ) alternatives. Hybrid Synergy Drive in a truck would be nonsense. All that trouble for a gas engine with electronic-assist! Both switch on and off continuously where Voltec does not. Voltec uses no CVT, no 8-9 speed transmission, only a planetary gearset which has been shown to be very bulletproof.

        There’s Prius on the books with over 1,000,000 miles on them, and Voltec is simpler. By using regenerative braking and a motor with one moving part for much of it’s use, a Voltec EREV truck would see the shop much less and lighten those very expensive service calls like brake jobs and oil changes by years and years, not months. All good for the consumer and a Voltec truck is safer than even the top-rated Volt due to it’s ladder frame protecting the batteries.

        It’s really a no-brainer. Diesel and gas variations could be made. Diesel/electric power has been used in freight trains forever, and has proven the best alternative
        and you can’t get more duty-intensive that THAT, can you?! Also, other commercial vehicles like forklifts use electric power for labor-intensive duty.

        Today’s battery technology improves monthly and it’s high time to jump in now. No need to wait for some better tech later. When a ViATRUX can go 40 miles all-electric with a
        stock Silverado up top-carrying a V-6 too — then produce 30-35 mpg afterwards…Why sit
        and wait for technology to mature?!!! It’s already there. To sit around and hope is to go backwards – Meanwhile OPEC dances, greedy politicians call themselves “public servants” and steal you blind, and GAS/OIL companies make record profits each and every quarter.

        1. James says:

          * with off-the-shelf ( EcoTec powerplants ) hardware, I might add!

          1. James says:

            ** may I also point out that major metro areas use diesel/electric hybrid articulated buses. My city of Seattle was one of the first, and I see them daily, all over town.

            Today – BEV bus companies are beginning to make inroads. Cities like L.A. are experimenting with several BEV bus routes. Their buses recharge from overhead rails at park and rides and transit hubs. This way – the bus drives millions of miles all electric. How’s THAT for duty cycle?

        2. VoltOwner says:


          The Volt actually does have a CVT-like mode when the ring gear is driven by both electric motors. This is done to increase efficiency by letting the main motor RPM drop back into it’s most efficient range, which means that the RPMs do not need to follow road speeds, like a CVT. This is also the mode where gas engine torque is used to 1. Generate electricity, & 2. resist the ring gear, or “drive it backwards” which, again, lowers the main motor RPM. Most anytime power requirements are low it will be doing the CVT-like thing, but you can feel it shift back to the main motor alone whenever you start mashing the pedal…

    2. kdawg says:

      “But if so, the powertrain will be something like the BMW i3 with the range extender option… and not the overly complex Voltec powertrain, which is not very efficient in its use of gasoline.”

      You do realize the Volt get 37mpg in CS mode and the BMW i3 gets 38mpg, right?

    3. Mikael says:

      It would be interesteing to see how many times something it towed or howled with an US truck on average compared to total trips.

      Since we almost don’t have any “car”-trucks like the F-150 in Europe (I can’t remember that I’ve seen more than 5 “car”-trucks in my whole life in Europe, I saw more than that in a minute when in the US) I wonder how we have been able to survive without one since it seems like life isn’t complete unless you are towing a boat while you buy groceries or howl lumber while driving the kids to a football game.

      I would be surprised if a PHEV couldn’t remove most of the miles on a truck too if the battery had a decent capacity.

      1. VoltOwner says:

        Personally, my truck never goes anywhere unless it’s hauling something too big to fit in the Volt or towing a trailer. It’s logged just 50,000 miles in 17 years. It does use more gas in 300 miles than my Volt has used since it was new, so it sits with a solar panel keeping the battery topped up, waiting for the trip to the college dorm, or a run to get something big from the Home store. Last month I had to tow a trailer a mile, then last week I needed some 10′ lengths of pipe…

  10. James says:

    Can you imagine the ad campaign for GM’s new “WATT” pickup?…

    ‘SAY WATTTTTTT?!!!”….lol.

    Dumb name – great concept. Tons of us have thought about it and dreamed it could come true. They could build them so easily as Voltec paved the way and VIATRUX showed how easily Voltec/EREV parts fit inside existing truck chassis.

    No matter WATT company takes the lead, a diesel-electric, gas I-4 or V-6 truck EREV with 40 mile electric capability and a MPGe of 70-77 would absolutely rock the industry!

    “Lightning” has been taken, “WATT” sounds dumb, and you can’t call it “Patriot”, so maybe something like, GASKICKER could work…? 🙂

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      I guess, Volt, Amp, Tesla are all taken… What is next?

      Watt is NOT necessary “electric” terms. It is just a SI power rating.

      Henry? Farad? Induction?

      How about Magnito? Flux? Gauss? too geeky?

      Just call it 360V or use the Voltage of the battery pack…

      1. kdawg says:

        Ion (was use w/Saturn though)

        1. Mikael says:

          Bipolar? 😉

          How about “Patriot Freedom Power”, that would definitely be a great hit even in the smallest town of…eeh… not so educally and progressively blessed.

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Cool list. But I am going to play the hyper critical role here. =) Don’t take it personally.

          Bolt (too mechanical, Chevy like a rock was bad enough, now, it is a “bolt”?)
          Jolt (Too scary)
          Zap (Already taken by Zap cars)
          Shock (Not gonna fly by lawyers)
          Electron (sounds too small)
          Pulse (Not bad, I might go with it)
          Flow (could be imaging bathroom…. NOT good)
          Field (kind of boring)
          Power (NOT unique to electrical terms)
          Freq (sounds like “freak”)
          Fuse (so it will burn out sometimes?)
          Grid (instead of ridgelines, maybe gridlines)?
          Inductor (Maybe use a Latin version to sound fancy?)
          Ion (was use w/Saturn though)
          Ohm (Somewhat geeky. But acceptable)
          Zener (LOL)
          Piezo (sounds like a motorcycle)
          Wave (Maybe okay)
          Polarity (too polarizing. =)
          Drive (tongue twisting in the commerical for the “summer drive” sales campaign)
          Relay (Isn’t there a model named that already?)
          Short (Nobody wants to be “short” driving the Short).
          Switch (maybe)
          Resistance (Sounds kind of negative)

          I am going to add a few:

          Cap (short for capacitor or capacitance)

          Or it can always be some abbreviated letters..

          like DVM, KVL, KCL..

          1. Trace says:

            Pulse sounds too close to Pulsar. Nissan has that one locked up.

        3. James says:

          I like Shock. A truck with a plug would most definitely SHOCK the competitors! It would SHOCK buyers, their friends and families when they reported 70mpg!!!

          There is that risk of the PR train rolling off the tracks. Remember GM named EV-1, the “IMPACT” — and how many bad jokes that invoked!…Enough so that GM changed the name to EV-1 by introduction.

  11. Johnny GT says:

    Eventually, someone will figure out how to start swapping Volt powertrains into other cars. A truck might happen.

  12. Dennis says:

    I like: BEV — NOT HYBRIDS There are many suitable electric motors and controllers available in the independent after market. The Major manufacturers have designed the most complicatrd and unique electric motor designs the engineers because they are different and not because they are better. Compleity adds to their service deparment profitability. I love simplicity. I can build the BEV power train for economy and reliability and it will cost less than price of a wrecked vehicle to disassemble then you are using the drive train designed for a car, but you want a truck and towing capability. That is a bad design. Only a proper design using crap to build even worse crap when it is built, and you want it to run on fossil fuel, your being loyal to an automotive company, be independent be true to yourself. NOT GM…