PARIS AUTO SHOW

Opel to get its own version of Volt

Chevrolet Volt
PARIS -- General Motors’ second extended-range electric vehicle will be an Opel.

Opel, GM’s European brand, will sell its own version of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in just months after the Volt’s promised on-sale date in late 2010, said Hans Demant, managing director of Opel.

“Since fuel economy and the whole issue of ecological driving is as important in Europe as it is in North America, we made a decision that we’re going to trail the North American Volt with an Opel version of that vehicle in the 2011 time frame,” Demant said here.

Though the Opel plug-in will share the Volt’s powertrain, it will have its own design, he said. The vehicles could have similar silhouettes that provide aerodynamic advantages.

But “it’s not a badge vehicle, definitely not,” Demant said.

Leading up to the arrival of the Opel version, GM representatives will be working on developing the infrastructure in Europe to allow for charging of the vehicle. Though the Volt’s range can be extended by a gasoline engine, GM is targeting it to daily commuters who can operate the car on electric power alone for as far as 40 miles a day. The lithium ion battery then can be recharged overnight.

“If you own a nice flat in Paris, charging it at home might be difficult,” Demant said. “We need to find a way to charge that car as often as we can, so that you can, with the extended range, use your internal combustion engine as little as possible.”

You can reach Amy Wilson at awilson@crain.com

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