From the earliest days of development of the Voltec plug-in hybrid system underpinning the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt, GM has been insistent that the fuel saving drivetrain would appear in other vehicles including sedans and MPVs. One of the first segments GM hinted at as a possibility for the Voltec system was the MPV segment, where back in 2008 the automaker unveiled the Chevrolet Orlando concept, a compact MPV that shared the same platform as the Volt plug-in hybrid.
Now, at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, GM has finally unveiled an MPV featuring the Voltec plug-in hybrid system. Dubbed the Chevrolet Volt MPV5, the new concept vehicle shares a striking resemblance to the original Orlando.
The styling of the Volt MPV5 concept also borrows design and aerodynamic cues from the Chevrolet Volt. The front fascia is among the most aerodynamic of any MPV thanks to its closed grille and aero-optimized lower air dam, both of which help improve fuel efficiency. A full-underbody belly pan, along with rocker claddings, creased tail lamps and specially designed blades on the rear quarter, also help the Volt MPV5 concept cut through the wind with little fuss.
Its Voltec powertrain powers the car through an electric motor that drives the front wheels. As with the regular Volt, a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in the tunnel and under the rear seat provides 30 to 40 miles of all-electric range. After that, a 1.4-liter Ecotec engine kicks in to drive a generator that provides electric power to the motor for another 300 miles.
The Volt MPV5 is slightly larger than its hatchback sibling, however. Its 108.6-inch wheelbase is just 0.6 inches longer, but the car itself is 7 inches longer, almost 3 inches wider, and a full 7 inches taller than the five-door Volt.
Inside, the Volt MPV5 concept adopts the Volt’s center stack and gauge cluster along with its two-tone leather seats. When it comes to cargo, the Volt MPV5 concept carries on the MPV tradition thanks to its flip-and-fold second row seating, which provides up to 62.3 cubic-feet of cargo space with the seats folded and 30.5 cubic-feet of space behind the second row.