It’s been fairly common knowledge for the past few months that General Motors intends to expand its plug-in electric vehicle lineup in the near future with an all-electric model that will not only replace the Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt in the European market but will provide an additional plug-in model to sell alongside the upcoming second-generation range-extended Chevrolet Volt in the U.S. It’s even been rumoured that such a car would carry a 200-mile all-electric range, putting it in direct competition with the highly-anticipated 2017 Tesla Model ≡ electric sedan.
To date, information about the upcoming Chevy plug-in has been sketchy, but now our friends over at GreenCarReports say they have more information than ever before with the news that General Motor’s next all-electric car will be an all-electric variant of the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact. What’s more, since Chevrolet has trademarked the name “Bolt,” causing us to question if that particular name will be the one given to the supposed 2017 model-year electric car.
Interestingly, contrary to previous reports, GreenCarReports says that the 2017 plug-in EV will be based on the next-generation Sonic subcompact, not the current generation 2015 Sonic. Likely to be unveiled in just over a year at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, the next-generation Sonic will be build on an all-new GM platform known as the “Gamma G2SC platform”, which will replace the current “Gamma II” platform used for the current generation Chevrolet Sonic and Chevrolet Spark.
Of interest to European readers is the rumor from a source close to GM which says the Sonic EV will be rebadged for the European market as the 2017 Opel(Vaxuahall) Corsa EV. A popular subcompact car across Europe since the 1980s, the fifth-generation Corsa has just gone on sale across Europe, indicating it’s unlikely to get a major refresh any time soon. While we’re not discounting the source at GM however, we’d like to note that the current, just-released fifth Generation Corsa — known as the Corsa D by industry insiders — does not share a common platform with the Sonic. Instead, it is built on the SCCS platform jointly developed by GM and Fiat for use in the European market.
For General Motors to produce an all-electric variant of the Sonic EV and rebadge it as an Opel Corsa would require either the entire Corsa lineup to be given a completely new platform in just two years’ time, or for the electric variant to be built on a completely different platform. While that’s possible, we think it’s unlikely.
If we turn our attention back to the U.S. market however, there’s more solid news on the production schedule for the all-new electric Chevrolet, which GreenCarReports says will replace the limited-production, limited-market Chevrolet Spark EV in the marketplace.
According to its sources, GreenCarReports says the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic will enter production in Q4, 2016, with the electric version following in short order, most likely by the end of Q1, 2017. What it can’t tell us however, is if the 2017 model-year plug-in Sonic will feature a 200-mile electric range or not. Given the fact that Nissan is rumoured to be developing a longer-range electric car for a similar time-frame and GM’s favourite battery manufacturer LG Chem is promising a production-ready 200-mile electric car battery pack within a year, we’d suggest that GM will have to offer at least 200 miles or range, or miss out on a very important segment of the burgeoning electric vehicle market.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.