GM keeping its green promises, will produce luxury Cadillac EV

On November 9 General Motors stated that its Cadillac Converj EV luxury compact has been green-lighted for production, proving that the largest US automaker is committed to following through on its pledges to produce more environmentally-friendly automobiles.

Before GM emerged from bankruptcy July 10, with about $50 billion (€34 billion) in federal aid, company executives said there were no plans in place to bring the stylish Cadillac Converj EV to production. But the company told the Detroit Free Press newspaper that the Cadillac Converj will become GM's second EV, following its ambitious Chevrolet Volt compact car.

Cadillac did not specify a date the Converj will be available but previous estimates have targeted late 2012.

GM is clearly more committed to producing green cars than its Detroit compatriot Chrysler, which announced Monday that it is shelving its electric car program to focus instead on the new Fiat-based lineup. GM and Chrysler both stated that hybrids and EVs would play a key role in their restructuring plans earlier this year, when both were begging the federal government to bail them out of bankruptcy.

The Cadillac Converj debuted last January to rave reviews for its sleek styling, photovoltaic solar roof panel and technological advancements, such as utilizing video cameras in place of rear view mirrors to reduce wind drag and thus increase fuel efficiency. The car featured the same Voltec electric engine that is used in the Chevrolet Volt, which will hit the market late next year.

Like the Volt the Converj differs from other plug-in hybrid EVs in that it runs exclusively on electricity for the first 40 miles (64 kilometers) before switching to a gasoline engine. The top speed in electric mode is 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour) and can be recharged in three hours using a 240-volt outlet.

Consumers of the luxury Cadillac marque likely won't be as put off by the price increase green technologies usually incur, a problem the brand may face with the Volt compact, which will likely carry a steep $40,000 (€27,000) price tag.

GM is positioning its Volt as a global competitor to the Nissan Leaf and other EVs arriving in the next few years, as the Volt will provide the basis for its European Vauxhall/Opel Ampera.

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