Bloomberg reports that General Motors is fast-tracking development of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in response to Toyota’s success with hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles.
The plug-in, according to anonymous GM officials cited by the report, would have an effective fuel economy of more than 60 mpg—somewhat better than the Prius’s combined EPA rating of 55 mpg.
The plug-in designs GM is testing may be ready in time for the Detroit auto show in January , the people said. Any commercial production is at least a year away, they said. The people declined to say how much the company is investing.
...The plug-in research isn’t directly tied to GM’s hybrid project with DaimlerChrysler and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the people said. The first GM model from that effort, a version of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, is scheduled to go on sale next year.
The GM Saab flex-fuel E100 hybrid introduced at the Stockholm Motor Show (earlier post) is rumored to have light plug-in capability.
GM’s mild-hybrid Saturn VUE goes on sale this year, and its forthcoming two-mode hybrid SUVs in 2007.
Toyota is seen as working on a next-generation Prius that will deliver about 100 mpg and may likely be a plug-in. (Earlier post.)