Could we one day see various brand hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles affixed with a discrete “Voltec Inside” badge on their flanks?
Probably not, but that General Motors is willing to supply the second-generation Chevy Volt’s powertrain architecture to competitors is more certain, according to Automotive News.
“We want to be the partner of choice in propulsion system development in this complex and turbulent era we are approaching,” GM’s global powertrain chief, Dan Nicholson told the publication during the opening of GM’s Powertrain Performance and Racing Center in Pontiac, Mich.
And, it could make sense. Not every automaker has – or wants to spend – the resources to develop its own cutting edge electrified powertrain. What’s more, GM designed the 2016 Volt’s powertrain as ideal for not only plug-in hybrid operation, but it can also be fitted with a smaller battery and set up as a regular hybrid.
The 2016 Chevy Malibu Hybrid – a non-plug-in car – was the first spinoff using the new Volt’s architecture, and GM says it can share the wealth with others.
Brands like Land Rover, Jaguar, Subaru, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, and Mitsubishi could benefit. All of these brands trail the rest of the industry when it comes to hybrid, electric, and extended-range electrics, and all are short on resources needed to catch up quickly.
The Volt’s powertrain – evolved after five years on the market already – includes a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and the electric motor, will fit under the hood of a compact car. To make it work, other automakers would have to do their own packaging, make the batteries fit, and they might be on their own for calibration, too.
Not only would a company with smaller resources than GM save money on the costs of development, manufacturing, and labor, but GM would also save on costs.
Partnering on powertrains and platforms is nothing new in the automotive industry, and if GM does farm out the Volt powertrain, there’s a chance it will be beneficial to both GM and whoever partners with the company.