Since recovering the development costs through sales will take several years and the company will then have to reinvest the money in a new generation of the system, GM wants to license it to other carmakers. The American company has not specified any potential customers or whether it has been approached by a potential buyer, but the idea is in the air.
The Chevrolet Volt features an 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that powers an electric motor. The two are supplied with electrical energy from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that works as a range extender. The term is a fancy definition of a generator, as the internal combustion unit does not directly drive the wheels. With a full charge, the Volt can travel up to 53 miles (85 km) on electric power alone. The range extender then kicks in to allow a maximum range of 420 miles.
In an interview with Automotive News, GM’s Vice-President of Global Powertrains has revealed that they are willing to license the Voltec powertrain to other carmakers. GM has a long history of collaborations, as do most large car manufacturers.
So, all selections are on the table for the potential partnership. The most likely partner would be a company that has not developed its own hybrid or extended range electric vehicles. This means that Toyota will probably not be interested in this powertrain, and neither would Ford Motor Company.
However, GM’s former partners at Fiat might have considered the idea if they had not acquired the Chrysler Group, one of GM’s main competitors. Even so, the principal voice of the FCA corporation, CEO Sergio Marchionne, always seems to be interested in a collaboration, so we would not close bets on this possibility.
The French at PSA Peugeot-Citroen have developed their hybrid solutions and have even made fully electric vehicles with Mitsubishi, but the company has just returned to profit and might not be interested in investing in another powertrain solution. However, PSA Peugeot-Citroen already has a collaboration with General Motors, but it is not as close as it can be, so all options are open when it comes to the French group. Other possibilities involve Mitsubishi, Mazda, Subaru, and Suzuki.