GM Announces $449 Million For Next Gen Chevrolet Volt + Two Future Vehicles

APR 8 2014 BY JAY COLE 77

GM Announces A $449 Million Dollar Investment For Next Generation Of Chevrolet Volt + Two Other New Offerings

GM Announces A $449 Million Dollar Investment For Next Generation Of Chevrolet Volt + Two Other New Offerings

With the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt expected in less than a year and a half, GM announced today at the Automotive Press Association that it will invest a further $449 million into both its Hamtramck, MI assembly facility and its Brownstown Battery Assembly plant.

The 2nd Gen Chevy Volt Is Expected To Debut In The Fall Of 2015 As A 2016 Model

The 2nd Gen Chevy Volt Is Expected To Debut In The Fall Of 2015 As A 2016 Model

Besides confirming the next generation Volt’s continued production in Hamtramck as part of $384 million designated to the facility, GM also confirmed that two “future products” will also be built there.

Unfortunately, other than noting they will advance their electrified lineup in some way, the company didn’t expand on the products specifically.

“General Motors is committed to building award-winning products and developing technologies in America, which helps to grow our economy from a resurgent auto industry,” said Gerald Johnson, GM North America Manufacturing vice president. “These investments will help the next-generation Chevrolet Volt build on its position as the leader in electrified propulsion.”

The $384 million investment in Hamtramck will go towards new body shop tooling, equipment, and additional plant upgrades to build the next gen Volt and these other two vehicles.

As for their Brownstown Battery plant, a further $65 million will be invested to “support the next generation of lithium-ion battery production and future battery systems.”

Production of the redesigned Volt expected to commence in Fall 2015, meaning that the next-gen Volt will debut as a Model Year 2016 vehicle.  General Motors, and its former CEO, have strongly hinted in the past that Volt 2.0 is expected to be priced around $30,000-$32,500 with 50-60 miles of extended electric range.

Recent GM Tech Investments In The US

Recent GM Tech Investments In The US

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder:

“Michigan is poised for even greater global leadership in automotive innovation.  This significant investment by GM will harness the power of our state’s unparalleled assets, such as its talent, world-class universities, and research and development capabilities.

“While challenges remain throughout the auto industry, this announcement shows that it is looking to the future, and the resulting technological advancements will strengthen our economy and benefit our environment. This is great news for Detroit, the region and all of Michigan.”


Recent GM Tech Investments In Michigan

Recent GM Tech Investments In Michigan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan:

“This is a significant investment by General Motors and it helps to further position Detroit as a leader in the innovative technologies of tomorrow.  We anticipate that the upgrading of the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and the production of GM’s next-generation electric vehicles will create well-paying jobs for Detroiters. As we continue to bring real change to our city, we need partners like GM who are committed to investing in our future.”

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77 Comments on "GM Announces $449 Million For Next Gen Chevrolet Volt + Two Future Vehicles"

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Two future vehicles. Great. I WANT to believe they will be Voltec vehicles, but the cynic in me says they’re more likely much more modestly electrified. In fact, is there anything in the announcement at all about the new offerings being electrified? For all I know, they could be two new full-size SUVs.

Now I just have to hope they unveil something at NYIAS later this month…

GM is always very guarded how they word things, but they are touting the entire investment as part of electrification…and the ‘talking heads’ are currently using plurals of everything electric when it comes to talking it up.

Very true, but although they are very different companies, I cannot help but think about how Ford talks about “electrified” vehicles. To them, even the mildest hybrid is an “electrfied” vehicle. And by talking about hybrids and EVs in the same breath, they tend to give us (especially the crowd that hangs out at insideEVs) false hope.

I know GM has talked about a 50-60 mile AER Volt and a 200-mile BEV. They’ve already shown a concept crossover Volt. If they get 50-60 miles AER in a compact car (i.e. Volt), they should be able to get 40 miles in a crossover, thus keeping with the Voltec concept. I honestly hope that these are the two new cars they will build, but I will wait and see.

Any idea whether they might reveal anything at NYIAS? I have been playing with the idea of making the trip, this just makes me want to that much more…

Hopefully GM will jump on the CUV plug-in market early and be a leader, not a follower…


The next Equinox is built on the same platform.

My local chevy dealer already told me that something like that is coming…

I am NOT sure about the other future product.

Could it be Midsize Electric? Or a Buick version of the Voltec?

One of them likely is that 200 mile EV they’ve mentioned a few times before. The one to compete with Tesla’s mainstream model.

What the other model is, I don’t know. I’m hopeful its a crossover Voltec, but only time will tell.

While it seems assured GM is bringing another long range pure EV to the market at some point…this is not likely to be included in this investment.

$384 million quite frankly is not enough money to make that happen. GM has to bring the new Cruze platform (DX2U) to Hamtramck as part of the generational upgrade, then also do the grunt work for the Volt-ification of that line.

There just isn’t enough money there to also fund another full-line pure EV project.

Just as a wag, I would suggest the 3 vehicles noted here are the Volt 2.0, the long promised MPV5 CUV (but altered from ‘1st gen’ look-below) and another unknown product based on the tech on hand.

There were some spy shots of this.. so may not be a bad bet.

Hmm, kinda small lookin’ with a person in there. It looks like they are sitting higher, however. So, another Hmmm.

Seating for 7 (2-3-2) would knock it out of the park.

That 200 mile BEV went out the door with Envia. I don’t see a way in which GM can produce a practical 200 mile BEV with LG batteries.

“expected to be priced around $30,000-$32,500 with 50-60 miles of extended range.”

I think you mean 50-60 miles of ELECTRIC range, right?

Nice write-up. I’m very intrigued about these two future vehicles. Wonder what they are?

I actually prefer they not be Voltec, but pure BEV. I don’t know that GM is willing to do that until forced to.

Most BEV’s are only compliance models. Only the Ford Focus EV, Nissan Leaf and Tesla {listed in alphabetical order} are available EVerywhere and then the promise of the smart EV being widely available any moment now.

I hope they ARE voltec or some variant. I still believe the PHEV is the way to get more of the public switched over right now. Unlimited range, yet much cheaper than a Tesla.

I also believe the Voltec approach is the best way to go in the short term. I’m okay with BEV options, but a Voltec variant should be available. If “the masses” understood what it offered, it would be the preferred option for many years (again, for the masses) until BEV’s have a 400 mile winter range (my opinion anyway).

I hear you, but I think a 400 mile winter range is a bit extreme. In my view, it’s more like 250-300 (which would probably be about 400 miles in summer). Beyond this, infrastructure can and should allow for further travel. I know you have a >300 mile trip you need to make during the winter, but I still think that it doesn’t have to be made non-stop just to consider buying the car. If there was a supercharger along the route at just the right spot, charging a 250 mile car to get another 150 miles can be done in 20-30 minutes. I think that will be acceptable to most people. There will always be those who want more.

I think you really need the 400 mark to give people the comfortable buffer they want, but it’s just a difference of opinion.

I certainly know enthusiastic people that own or lease the Leaf but rarely can travel more than 75% of the rated mileage due to concerns of being stranded. I think that same concern is amplified all the more for “mainstream” consumers that aren’t specfically EV enthusiasts.

That’s one of the reasons attributed to why Volt drivers average more EV miles than Leaf drivers – the Volt drivers run it down because the ICE can take over during the trip/errands/commute/etc., while the Leaf driver heads home sooner or uses a different vehicle unless there is at least an L2 around.

Or Volt drivers just drive more miles than Leaf owners. This is one of those cases where correlation has been confused with causation.



If I know that a Leaf won’t fit my needs, but a Volt could do it by running the engine a little, guess which car I’m going to buy.

If your argument is that people will not be willing to trust the infrastructure, or that in the future there won’t be sufficient infrastructure, then why stop at 400 miles? Although rare, I do take trips longer than that. In fact, the longest I’ve ever driven in a day is just under 1200 miles (driving cross country). Do all EVs need to have a 1200 mile range, and be able to charge overnight? If that’s the case, it’s hopeless! Let’s give up now and work on something else. Each person has different needs, and people need to be mature enough to evaluate their own needs. As far as “mass market”, there is a big difference between a mass market vehicle and one that will work for everybody’s needs. As in, the latter does not exist whereas the former can still be a small percentage of the overall market. The Ford F-series trucks sold over 600,000 copies in 2013, in a market of 16 million vehicles. That’s only 3.75% of new vehicles, yet is considered mass market. In fact, it’s the best selling vehicle in 2013. We get hung up on the “necessary” range for mass market appeal. More often than… Read more »

I have been driving my LEAF for 3 years now, and I would have to say the buffer thing was real for the first few months. Once I had some opportunities to push the range, I became comfortable with pulling into the driveway with ‘—-‘ range.

I think the main reason for LEAF drivers to want the buffer is its impressively terrible range prediction. If the range prediction was accurate (using destination and current conditions), the need to keep a reserve would go away on most trips.

More DCQC would also go a long way to help out. If I have to do a lot of travel in a day and there is not a DCQC along the route, I swap cars with my wife. I don’t have time to stop for hours to recharge on a busy day. 15 – 20 minutes on the other hand, no problem.

But mainstream consumers won’t want to have to hit “just the right spot” to wait 30 minutes to continue. And as soon as “just the right spot” is not in just the right spot, concerns start to arise.

Agreed. So we need to push for infrastructure as well as the vehicles. Unfortunately, the introduction of the SAE CCS truly has stalled many efforts, since they don’t want to be picking winners and losers. If only we could get behind one standard and start actually deploying it intelligently, this would all be much easier.

The Voltaic experience is pure electric. The extender keeps many from buying that 2nd ICE to go the extra distance. Also consider the following. We all are looking forward to the Musk Gigafactory capabable of producing enough batteries to power 500,000 of his future 200 mile battery. The factory, if held under one roof, would be one of the largest manufacturing structures and equal to the entire world’s current battery consumption. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he needs to do this and I am 100% for it. But understand the ramifications. 500,000 is one manufacturer and a drop in the bucket on global auto sales. So imagine if, strike that “when” EVs take off and exactly how many battery factories are needed if everyone goes the 200 mile battery route.
We need a 125-200 mile battery but we need a 40-60 mile EREV for a VERY LONG TIME.

Good point. The whole battery thing is a significant consideration. How many kWhs of Li-ion cells can the world’s resources support per year? Even taking recycling into account (which so far is very limited and expensive). I seriously do not think that everyone can go ICE-less, even by 2050. Improved mass transit (I’m looking at YOU, USA), smart traffic systems (again, I’m looking at YOU, USA), etc., will make a big improvement in reducing transportation consumption of petroleum. Many US companies develop successful smart traffic systems and railroad systems and mass transit systems, but the head-in-ass, so-called “conservatives” flatly refuse to commit public funds to these major improvements in efficiency. The truly “conservative” thing to do is just the opposite: commit the public funds for greatly improved efficiency. Supports domestic innovation and jobs; saves individuals, businesses and gov’t $billion$ per year in wasted fuel… The civil engineering company that my father works for in PA is installing smart traffic systems in Mexico and China and India…everywhere but here…surprise, surprise. IBM built their international headquarters for their growing transportation division in Shanghai in 2004…not here…because we are busy chasing gays out of town and bombing oil-rich countries… Alright, I’ll get off… Read more »

and the Mitsu I-MiEV

I’d like pure EV models too, but long range and recharging is an issue.

Ultimately, I think GM and Ford need to work together on a nationwide recharging infrastructure to rival Tesla’s Supercharger network. CCS might only be 90kW, so its a bit slower than a supercharger, but it’ll have to do.

Why not BOTH? I think we need a longer range pure electric from GM and we REALLY need a Voltec based SUV or CUV.

Agreed – I’ll never understand why GM came out and said that the voltec powertrain was ideal for Volt-sized vehicles, and that it wasn’t worth doing it in any other vehicles. I’m no expert, but I immediately recognized that as complete and utter BS. I’m grateful for VIA Motors showing those fools how it’s done. You can make bigger ICE, bigger electric motor and bigger battery packs – the Voltec powertrain is perfectly scalable from compacts (not necessarily sub-compacts) through Silverado 2500s and bigger.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Probably for the same reason the Volt team scattered to the four winds. GM corpthink won out in the end.

In the news today is a rash of SMART tipping by not so SMAARTas*es. I grin at the prospect of these guys grabbing a much heavier SMARTev and getting a hernia trying to tip it over.

Please come out with an electrifies minivan or 7 seat something. Don’t care what it looks like but Voltec would be ideal

I agree completely. An EREV 7 seater (40AER + 30mpg) would sell in droves! 10’s of 1000’s every month! Well, as long as it’s priced reasonably (33-40k).

So I guess we didn’t really learn much of anything we didn’t already know from yesterday.

Perhaps not, but confirmation is always nice.

Actually we did learn they’re introducing two future vehicles, and while we don’t know what they are, that is something we didn’t know yesterday.

A Volt plus 2 future (Voltec?) vehicles is welcomed news for many of us here that feel additional Voltec options (SUV, etc.) would be good for EVs

I agree with the general sentiment that the two new vehicles would be Voltec, but I’m not holding my breath…

Where is GM’s quote on the 2 additional vehicles. I don’t see it in the article.
Did I miss it?

It was part of the “where will the money go” part of the presentation.

Here it is in full context:

“The investment…is the largest to date at both facilities and includes $384 million at Detroit-Hamtramck for new Body Shop tooling, equipment, and additional plant upgrades to build the next generation Chevrolet Volt and two future products. This brings GM’s total investment at Detroit-Hamtramck to more than $1 billion over the last five years.”

$65 million at Brownstown… hmmm.. wonder how this will be used. Maybe more equipment to better automate the assembly process?

1. Does anyone know if they intend to stick with the lousy “batteries in the middle of the car (and not under the floor like everybody else)” design?
2. Isn’t the obvious move to build the same PHEV car without the H and with more B? Just replace the 400 pounds of engine, generator, fuel, exhaust, etc. with 400 pounds of energy-biased batteries and you’ll probably have about 200 miles-range of all-electric. This is, in effect, a drop-in solution.
3. I’d like to see a compact-ish minivan design (somewhere between the slightly-too-small Mazda 5 and a slightly-too-big conventional minivan) using the same platform as to the nextgen Volt: what are the odds of such a practical vehicle being made?

First of all, I have to disagree about the battery placement being lousy. Considering the low profile of the Volt, they picked the best place for it, without compromising any cargo area. I believe several other low-volume vehicles use a similar concept.

I also vastly disagree with your assessment that they could just easily swap 400 pounds of engine for 400 pounds of batteries. The biggest of the issues it the cost. If you want an electric vehicle with 200+ miles of range, the cheapest way to accomplish that today is still using PHEV concept.

+1 Faking a battery into the drive tunnel was nice move. The rear seat, not so much.

I think they could have faked a battery into the drive tunnel from the front of the vehicle to the back of the vehicle without completely giving up the middle seat. Foot space would have been limited an suited only for a child, but that is pretty much a given for the middle seat anyways in most cars with a drive tunnel hump.

It wasn’t a bad idea, it was just badly executed.

Anyone owns a Volt knows that battery didn’t take up the seat space. The battery tunnel took up the potential leg space for the middle passenger.

The battery tunnel is way too large for anyone to actually sit in the middle.

The battery is already below and behind the rear seat somewhat. But even if the seat is available, the person would have to split the leg and share the leg room with other passenger.

BMW i3 did the similar thing. It was a bench seating across but no leg room.

Also, LEAF managed to squeeze out leg room by NOT having the cooling system with it battery.

FFE splitted up the battery packs into two section.

Tesla… well, they did it completely different.

Your point made me wonder if the battery could easily be turned around and brought forward a bit, assuming the engine was smaller and the area under the hood got repackaged. If so, that may allow for 5, without a large pack redesign.

Though the pack is probably relatively expensive as is with its in depth thermal management, so a redesign may be nice (should it be determined that less active cooling is okay).

I was more thinking of the seat being more useful for kids with legs that stick straight out when seat belted into the middle seat, and aren’t really long enough to reach all the way to the floor. So the hump wouldn’t matter.

My guess, FWIW, on the two additional vehicles:

1. Next gen Volt
2. Volt lite with 20-25 mile EV range
3. BEV with 150-200 mile range

1) Next Gen Volt (gotta happen)
2) Next Gen ELR (how can they leave the old gen tech in the ELR, while updating the Volt)
3) Next Gen Spark with 150 mile range on EPA cycle (200 mile range on California CARB cycle they use for ZEV credits, allowing GM to score an additional ZEV credit per EV they sell). Maybe they put it into a different glider, maybe not, but the motor stays relatively the same.

1. Next Gen Volt, obvious
2. Decontent small battery Volt (hint:might be the same battery kWh as now)
3. Voltec CUV, because they would be crazy not too with how many people are asking for it and the early sales success of the Outlander PHEV
4. (in case #1 and #2 count as the same) Another luxury (high margin) voltec, ELR 2.0 or maybe something 4 door.

The only BEV GM makes is in South Korea. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The bigger question is “when?” for the 2 future models mentioned.

All that work for a wannabie leaf.

GM reminds me of seeing someone headed down a one way street going the wrong way. You wonder what they are thinking, and when and if they are going to turn around.

Could you elaborate? Which vehicle are you referring to as a “wannabe Leaf?” And what gives you the impression GM is going the wrong direction?

Why would the Volt want to be the Leaf?

Volt was the #1 plug-in in sales in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Volt was the #1 car under $50K in Customer Satisfaction in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (Source: Consumer Reports).

My definition, Leaf was neither.

They simply serve two different needs. I think we need to flow chart this. Kdawg, we need a chart!

Or a Venn diagram. Everyone is in different camps for what they want/need. There is some intersection, but as the market gets more mature with more choices, and people are getting more educated, they are figuring out what path they want to take.

Here’s one I made a long time ago when there were much fewer options. I could probably add ‘size’ as another criteria.

Nice Chart.

Somehow you managed to leave out the #1 BEV sales leader, LEAF.

Some LEAF owners are going to be pissed… =)

I noticed that too. Personally I find it amusing. It also betrays Kdawg’s own bias…

I actually never finished it.

Ok, but the Leaf was on the road for years before we even heard about the Spark EV, so it’s not like you didn’t know about it. And yes, they are all the same class, so to me, that spot is filled by the SparkEV, FitEV, FocusEV, Leaf, etc…

Leaf would be in the same section as the Spark EV. It was more about looking at the different flavors: Long range BEV, Short range BEV, Bigger battery PHEV, Smaller battery PHEV. The BMW i3 would need a new area as it’s a PHEV but has an 80mile AER.

A production facility getting 384mm, for future products and electrification. This isn’t going into R&D. What unit volumes make spending another 384mm on production worth it? We are looking at, at least, 3 PHEV/BEVs heading to production. I can raise a glass to that. I doubt they’d invest like this, without goal’ing for 100k+ units, either. Given time and the CEO changeover, the “50-60 miles” comment is getting past its freshness date. I’d sooner bet on a 40 mile Volt and, if we’re lucky, two 8-12Kwh alternatives. On the other end, I’d give a 60 mile Volt about the same odds as a PHEV Impala. That would be too much a gift to the ~10k buyers who would return for Volt 2. Every visit to the Tesla market affirms that folks who optioned take a hit, while cars w/in several thousand of base go fast. GM could functionally chase underneath this, but then that ignores branding and demographics. GM, or Tesla. Tesla, or GM. New Impalas are very hard to spot in Boston, and too many folks simply won’t buy a Chevy. Shame. The “80% go <40mi” won’t change what the ideal PHEV architecture should be, but there’s no margin… Read more »

If you are looking for a PHEV sedan with a battery in the 12 Kwh range, that is a 4-door sedan that seats 5 (like the Impala), there is always the BYD Qin. Selling like hotcakes in China with a sub-6 second 0-60 time similar to a 60Kwh Tesla Model S.

GM should take a good look at it….

Thanks. I like those times, but the rear seats look to be lacking.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

12kWh usable?

That’s more than the Volt.. Is it EREV (electric motor power > gas engine power)?

Even if they fulfill the most of the items on the wish lists of enthusiasts around here, will it matter if they don’t get the word out to the general public? I hope they rethink the marketing aspects too.

It’s Spring, and one great thing about Spring is that it’s the season of hope – when hope springs eternal. We can only hope that GM really comes through with something great – like the first Volt was great. Please GM don’t let us down with feeble efforts and more lipservice.

Remember long ago when GM told us, “wait ’til 2015!” in regards to electrification. We’ve been waiting. And if government regulation is what it takes for the big established car companies to finally give us electrification – all the rumbling that Hillary is the frontrunner just may keep their toes to the electric fire.

I saw today a story that seawater could be used to power a Navy ship. It was on realcleardefense. There’s a 10-year development time needed. Clearly, if this is true, the whole EV ecosystem will fall apart quickly.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Seawater can be used to generate aviation fuel thru electrolysis with added atmospheric CO2. This isn’t really news, it’s just an expensive process currently.

However, the primary energy source for the whole process is the carrier’s atomic plants.

I’m leasing a Chevy Volt now and love it. There are some things I’d like different though.

First off a bultin map navigator is a waste and especially not worth a $1000 upgrade. Put in a app on the console that links to Google Maps on my Galaxy S4 Android phone through the Bluetooth link.

Next fix the audio mixer so I can hear my phone’s driving instructions while listening to my XM radio stations. Right now I have to switch to Bluetooth audio source.

Put in a auto driving mode that integrates with Google Maps and Waze navigation apps on my Galaxy S4 through the bluetooth link to intelligence switch between battery and gas extender driving modes based on my GPS location and driving route to optimize fuel efficiency.

Add short-range WiFi like networking with nearby cars to exchange road driving information, route speeds, braking alerts, gas prices, danger alerts, auto-adujsting cruise control, special deals from road side businesses, and etc.

Link apps on the console for proximity Android phone apps like Amazon Local, Google Local, Foursquare, and etc. I’d like to see what restraunts and other places are nearby.

You better start saving far a Tesla now. Those options won’t be there from GM when your lease ends.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I could actually buy a 60kWh Model S in cash right now, but I’m waiting on the Model X, and would still likely finance it if money’s still as cheap as it is today.

That 30K-32K is most likely AFTER the $7500 Rebate so still about $39K

Nope. That would make it more expensive than the current Volt. $30k-$32k is before tax credit incentives.

The current Volt starts at $26k after incentives.

What do you do for heat and air conditioning in these EV’s and how much does it affect the mileage, please comment on your experience with cold and hot temps, thanx

GM Reality Check: 1) GM moved a large amount of its manufacturing to China and launched the VOLT there EVEN BEFORE OFFERING IT in the USA. 2) “…“These investments will help the next-generation Chevrolet Volt build on its position as the leader in electrified propulsion.” ARE YOU KIDDING? The Volt is a sad box of bolts with a Rayovac battery in it. 3) GM Bought all of the most exciting battery technologies from a variety of inventors YEARS AGO, then shelved it…why? One guess: It’s partners: the oil companies. 4) General Motors is not my friend. They continue to make archaic pieces of garbage, then when their “life” is on the line, they give a “peek” as to what they are capable of with the new Stingray. But it is still a petrol-driven car, which is very soon going to be a dinosaur. Summary: Gm should have gotten into the game BIGTIME in the late 90’s with a refining of the EV1, instead of that car being discontinued and crushed, then causing the launch of he movie “Who killed the Electric Car?”. I’ll tell you who: GM. And Elon Musk built a better mousetrap, and now the “Big3” are so… Read more »

I agree that Tesla makes an amazing vehicle and is a better “mousetrap.” But my 2012 Volt is a great car and certainly not a “sad box of bolts.” It works exactly as advertised and very well. And in 2+ years I’ve had zero problems and taken the car in once to rotate the tires and change the oil which was still at 80%. I’m open to driving something else, but there is nothing else available right now that even compares with the Volt’s versatility.