South Korea is really getting serious about electric vehicles. Following the news last week of a Kia CUV EV to join Hyundai's BlueOn i10, GM has announced it will build a demonstration fleet of battery-powered Chevrolet Cruze sedans from the end of October.
The cars will be deployed in Seoul, with GM planning on testing them in other, unspecified urban markets at a later date. The idea is to test the market needs and consumer acceptance of battery electric vehicles and to gather data on real-world driving patterns and charging behavior.
The demonstration vehicles will be badged both as Daewoos (as the Lacetti Premiere) and Chevrolets (as the Cruze), despite the fact the latter is not sold in South Korea.
The project is a joint venture between GM Daewoo, LG Chem (who make the batteries) and LG Electronics (who make the motor and invertors). GM and LG Chem have been working together since 2008 with this being their second project together after the Chevrolet Volt.
The Cruze EV features an underbody-mounted 31-kwh battery and an electric motor producing 150 kw (equal to 202-horsepower). Tthe demonstration vehicles can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 8.2 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 165 km/h (102.5 mph). Tests by LG Chemical estimate that the driving range could be up to 160 km, with a recharge time of 8 to 10 hours on a standard 220 volt outlet.
GM has yet to reveal how many cars will be built or who exactly will be testing them, though these details will probably come with the launch October.
By Tristan Hankins