General Motors has debuted a concept crossover version of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle at the Auto China motor show on April 23.

The firm introduced the new Volt MPV5 model on the first press day of the show, which opens to the public on April 25.

It uses the same extended range propulsion system to be debuted in the Chevrolet Volt, due for release in 2011, but is 18 centimeters longer, 7 centimeters wider and 18 centimeters taller than the production version.

Inside, the five-passenger MPV features up to 1,764.1 liters of cargo space with the seats folded and 863.7 liters of space behind the second row.

General Motors says that the Volt MPV5 can manage 51.5 km on pure electric propulsion, double what the average urban commuter in China travels each day. When the battery is depleted, a 1.4-liter engine generator kicks in to sustain the battery charge and provide up to 482 km of electric propulsion.

General Motors is trying hard to prove that its "Voltec" extended-range engines are a viable alternative to the plug-in battery electric vehicles currently under development from rivals such as Ford and Nissan.

"The Volt MPV5 concept demonstrates the flexibility of the Voltec propulsion system, which can produce enough electric power to propel a range of vehicles, from a compact sedan like the Volt to a crossover like the Volt MPV5 concept," said Doug Parks, GM's Global Vehicle Chief Engineer for Electric Vehicles.

Japanese top-end car maker Mitsuoka Motor has also unveiled its version of an existing EV model, named the "Like".

Essentially a remodeled Mitsubishi iMiev, customers will be able to place orders for the five-seat Like from May 2010. The price tag will be 4.28 million yen (€34,211), although government subsidies are expected to be available in Japan.

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