Though competing automakers are usually sworn rivals, profits trump all. This is exactly why we see so much information sharing among competing brands. Just recently, we’ve seen Mercedes provide powertrains to Aston Martin, Mazda give Scion an entire car, and Subaru donate its boxer-four engine to Toyota. Now a new report from Automotive News claims that Chevrolet is looking into sharing the 2016 Volt’s hybrid technology with other automakers.
In a conversation with GM’s global powertrain chief, Dan Nicholson, he said: “We want to be the partner of choice in propulsion system development in this complex and turbulent era we are approaching.”
Offering up the base technology to smaller automakers, like Mazda or Mitsubishi, would suddenly give the small guys a chance to catch up with everyone else in the automotive realm. What’s more, it would also allow General Motors to spread the cost of developing this powertrain across multiple brands, and potentially passing savings on to buyers.
In all likelihood, GM would be quite cautious in doing this. Instead of holding its rivals’ hands through the process, it would pass the 1.5-liter engine and its electric bits on to its rivals and leave them to figure out how to make it work for their cars. This would require enough fiddling to make each version of this powertrain unique. For example, Mazda could sacrifice a little battery size to save weight, whereas Mitsubishi could create larger battery and pump up the output to better motivate its larger crossovers.
The Volt’s powertrain has been heralded recently, as it was awarded a spot on Wards 10 Best Engines list thanks to its 53 miles of EV range, zippy performance, and 106 mpg-e combined rating. With all of this fresh in mind, I can see why GM would want to try to make some extra profit on this powerplant while spreading its costs.
Autoblog.com reached out to GM spokesperson, Kevin Kelley, for comment on this report. While he did not deny its validity, he did say he was “not aware of anything going on” in the powertrain-sharing department at this time.
We’ll continue monitoring this developing story and bring you more details as they become available.