GM’s product development chief, Mark Reuss, has confirmed that the company is working on a new electric car.
According to Automotive News, Reuss, formerly the head of Holden, made this statement at an investors’ conference held last week, but wouldn’t elaborate further on the project. At that same event, GM CEO Mary Barra outlined the company’s plans to reduce its current 26 car platforms to just four architecture kits by 2025.
Two unidentified sources who spoke to the trade publication said that GM’s new electric car would be based on the Chevrolet Sonic (below), a car that’s currently rebadged as the Holden Barina for Australia.
The electrified Sonic isn’t expected to hit the US market until 2017 and is expected to have a driving range of around 320 kilometres on a full charge.
It’s not known at this stage whether the electric Sonic will be sold broadly across the States and the world, or be a so-called “compliance car”.
Compliance cars, such as the Fiat 500e and Honda Fit EV (based on the car we know as the Jazz), are sold or leased only in a limited number of US states, primarily California, to comply with local regulations requiring a certain percentage of cars sold by the largest automakers to feature a zero emissions drivetrain.
The Chevrolet Spark EV (above), which is sold only in California and Oregon, is currently the only pure electric vehicle in GM’s lineup and has range of around 130km.
In addition to this there’s also the globally available, range-extended Chevrolet Volt/Holden Volt/Opel Ampera, which is powered by an electric motor, but also has a petrol engine on-board to help top up the batteries when they’re running low.