GM unveils new hybrid SUV

Chevy Volt MPV5 exterior

GM is announcing a new hybrid SUV that will be based on the Chevy Volt (coming later this year). Like the Volt, the Volt MPV5 (I know, the name sucks) will travel a limited amount of distance on electric power alone. This crossover/SUV will be able to travel about 32 miles or 51 kilometers without using a drop of gasoline. Usually, announcements regarding hybrids and electric vehicles are done in more advanced countries like in North America or Western Europe, so this announcement in Beijing, China is interesting for several reasons.

This vehicle will have a good deal of anticipation because the Volt sedan will only appeal to a certain segment of the market that drives small cars. I for one will almost certainly not want to have a small Volt sedan as my primary car because it is just too small for me. However, the Volt MPV5 may be in the conversation as a more realistic option for many people and families.

The name, Chevy Volt MPV5 is not the official name of the vehicle, only the concept version and if GM decides to actually name the production version with the same name then I would be surprised. The name MPV5 stands for Multi-Person Vehicle and 5 represents the passenger capacity (the Volt sedan only holds 4 passengers). Mazda used to have a minivan called the MPV and now have a crossover called the Mazda 5, so for that reason alone, GM should change the name of this vehicle. Moreover, this name is not catchy or memorable and should really be given a name that resonates with people, like Volt, Malibu or Regal.

Although this is just a concept car, judging by the presence of door handles on the car, it appears that it is a rather advanced prototype that is not far from being a final product. For those that don’t know, looking for door handles on a concept car gives a good indication of how far along a manufacturer is in the process and their intention to really produce the vehicle.

It is unclear why they chose the Beijing auto show to unveil this concept car but perhaps they want to be the only company making alternative energy related news which may not be a bad idea. It does run the risk however, of not making as big an impact as it would if it debuted somewhere in North America first. Most of the mainstream American media is likely not in China right now so this is a real risk. However, if they do a good enough job of spreading the word then they will be the only company in peoples’ mind right now. It is clear that China is not going to be a major market for this vehicle, at least not initially and the real bread and butter will be North America and perhaps Europe so they will definitely have to make a big deal when they have their North American debut for it.

Until then, you can check out some of the pictures of this new vehicle.

 Chevy Volt MPV 5 side view

Chevy Volt MPV5 rear view

Chevy Volt MPV5 interior view