Chevrolet Volt MPV5 (2010) – it's the real Orlando

Published: 23 April 2010

This is the new Chevrolet Volt MPV5 concept car – shown off at the 2010 Beijing auto show this week. It's also a thinly veiled look at next year's crossover MPV to move Chevy into more family focused territories.

But the Volt MPV5 looks just like the Orlando concept car!

Good spot. The Orlando show car was shown at the Paris 2008 expo and this is, bar a few show-off details, the production iteration. The Volt MPV5, as its name suggests, is the first brand extension of the Volt plug-in hybrid that's bound for showrooms in 2011. This one's taller, bigger and more practical; Chevy calls it a crossover, but it's closer in spirit to a five-seat MPV than a mud-plugger.

The Volt MPV5 concept uses the same Voltec hardware as the Volt family car: there's a range-extending hybrid system, whose petrol engine is only ever used to charge the 16kWh lithium-ion battery to drive the electric motors. A zero-emissions EV range of 30 miles is claimed (double the daily average urban commute in China) and when the batteries are nearly flat a 1.4-litre petrol engine kicks in to charge up and provide a further 300-mile electric range.

The production Orlando car will use GM's global Delta 2 architecture, as seen in the Cruze and Astra, and a seven-seat option is expected to feature as on the original concept car. See the real thing at the September 2010 Paris motor show, with UK sales in March 2011.

So the Chevy MPV5 isn't just pie in the sky?

Nope. The designers based at GM's studios in the US and Australia say this is close to production. Strip away those 19in wheels, and the rest of the car is stock. There's a 2760mm wheelbase (up 15mm over the donor Volt) and it's 181mm longer, 73mm wider and 182mm taller too to liberate more cabin space.

Although only a five-seater in this MPV5 iteration, the second row of pews tumble flat to make a 1764 litre boot. With all the seats in place, the boot stands at an impressive 864 litres. Expect the choice of five- or seven-seater specs in production guise.

'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, Global Vehicle Line Executive and Global Vehicle Chief Engineer for Electric Vehicles at GM.

That's one helluva job title. Almost as big as the mountain GM has to climb to persuade punters to pay the premium for a plug-in range extender...

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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