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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Holden doesn't rule out making electric car

Holden says it would be an "enormous leap", but it hasn't ruled out building the Volt electric car at its Australian assembly operations in Adelaide.

The company said it remained committed to bringing the US-made version of the car to the Australian market in 2012, before considering local production.

The Volt shared its Delta platform with the Cruze, the four-cylinder car Holden will build in SA from next year.

"Having the same platform certainly gives us a first step in terms of future development opportunities but anything involving electric vehicles would be an enormous leap," Holden spokesman Scott Whiffin said.

"We've only just launched the imported Cruze and are working towards a range of locally-built, fuel-efficient models on petrol and diesel. We'll get this piece right then look at potential alternatives including E85, LPG, stop-start hybrids and other powertrains.

"We plan to bring Volt to market as an imported vehicle in 2012 and we'll look at the market reaction to it before considering any further moves on that front."

The company's comments followed calls from South Australian Premier Mike Rann for the company to build an electric version of the Cruze in Adelaide.

Mr Rann met the head of General Motors Fritz Henderson in the US overnight and was also given a test ride in the Volt.

"Because the Cruze has the same architectural base as GM's new Volt, it is technologically possible to ultimately have an electric version of the Cruze manufactured on the new car production line at Elizabeth," Mr Rann said.

"While the Cruze will be a fuel-efficient car, I would like to see the Elizabeth plant manufacturing the same model but with an even greater fuel efficiency in the future as the technology develops.

"Developing and adapting this new Holden four-cylinder to even lower carbon emission standards will further entrench our car manufacturing industry."

Mr Whiffin said the Premier was clearly impressed by the Volt, judging by his comments.

"Premier Rann is a great advocate for Holden and the Australian car industry and we're delighted he had the chance to meet Fritz Henderson in Detroit," he said.

"We're also pleased that senior Volt engineers were able to give him an understanding of what is an incredibly important vehicle for us."

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