General Motors has announced that it won't be making any more plug-in hybrids. It has killed off the Chevy Volt as of March 2019.
So we're disappointed that General Motors is only going to have pure electric and pure gasoline cars/trucks -- no more plug-in hybrids. Here's an excerpt from a Green Car Reports story, "GM president dashes hope of another Volt, says no more hybrids."
However the message could hardly be clearer, that GM plans on focusing on pure battery electric cars in the future, and not "waste" resources building plug-in hybrids.
Hopes for a replacement for the Volt that might be somewhat larger—perhaps a crossover or something with more rear-seat room—sound likely to go unfulfilled, despite the fact that GM is planning to introduce exactly such a car in China this year: the Buick Velite 6 plug-in hybrid. The Velite 6 is also expected to have a fully-electric option when it goes on sale.
Yes, as that story says, us Chevy Volt fans were hoping that if GM discontinued that car, it would introduce Volt technology in a crossover or SUV. That seemed like a no-brainer, but apparently GM executives are lacking in the cranium department.
Look: my wife and I are avid environmentalists. We've owned an all-electric Nissan Leaf (briefly), several Toyota Prius'es, and a hybrid Toyota Highlander. But the Chevy Volt has met our needs better than any other green car.
We live in the country, about six miles from the Salem, Oregon city limits. My wife is the primary driver of our Chevy Volt. It's gasoline engine, which is better termed a generator, rarely is used. Almost always the 45 miles or so of all-electric range is all that's needed for driving into and around Salem.
But if my wife needs to go to Portland, or on longer trips locally, the Volt transfers almost imperceptibly from battery to gasoline power. That's a big plus for us. Range anxiety was one of the reasons we sold our all-electric Nissan Leaf and leased a Chevy Volt back in 2012.
My wife absolutely loves the Volt. It's like her favorite thing ever, with the exception of me and our dog (I think). The Volt has improved over the years, with the 2018 model we have now considerably more attractive both inside and out than the previous models we've leased.
Yet GM has decided to say bye-bye to the Volt.
That makes no sense to us. Most other plug-in hybrids have a considerably lower all-electric range, the Honda Clarity being an exception. Or, if they have a higher all-electric range, the gasoline backup is so puny, the total range is much less than the Volt's (BMW i3, for example).
I'd been hoping that GM would have a plug-in hybrid SUV or crossover if the Volt was discontinued. However, a Chicago Tribune story has the right-on title, "Where are the plug-in SUVs? Automakers ignore what buyers want."
The world's automakers are asleep at the wheel.
While customers clamor for more SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Ford Edge, Chevrolet Traverse and Honda HR-V and as electric-drive technology advances rapidly, it's virtually impossible to find an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle in the fast growing urban-utility vehicle segment.
Mitsubishi builds the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV. Mitsubishi, for crying out loud.
That's no knock on the Outlander, but it demonstrates a shocking bankruptcy of imagination at Chevy, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Volkswagen. Each of those brands literally builds millions more vehicles than tiny Mitsubishi.
But the little brand with the triple-diamond badge was the only one that understood: At the intersection of growing environmental awareness and soaring SUV sales lay a new class of vehicles that deliver the height and room of an SUV and run on batteries at least some of the time.
Yet the Mitsubishi SUV only has 22 miles of all-electric range. That isn't very much -- about half of what the Chevy Volt offers. Thus my wife likely will hold on to our 2018 Volt for quite a few years.
Maybe one day we'll feel comfortable getting another all-electric car. However, we really like plug-in hybrid technology, since it works so well in the Chevy Volt. Hopefully some brand other than GM will realize that there's a fairly large number of buyers who want to go more green than a gasoline car, yet aren't attracted to an all-electric car, or a typical hybrid.
Plug-in hybrids hit the sweet spot for us and many others. It's just too bad that GM has given up on this market.