When Green Car Reports broke the news on Thursday that General Motors had decided to produce a version of its Cadillac Converj concept, the idea advanced quickly through the blogosphere.
While there has been no official confirmation of the decision from G.M., the story was reported just as the automaker announced a new contract with A123 Systems. The Massachusetts-based battery maker, which currently supplies Daimler, Fisker and BMW, among others, will produce an undisclosed number of packs for future G.M. vehicles.
A123 was then brought into the Converj conversation, as some media outlets reported that an A123 pack would power the supposedly green-lighted Cadillac. At the 2009 Detroit auto show where it was unveiled, the Converj was called an “extended-range electric vehicle” — the same description G.M. applied to the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.
Exclusively to Wheels, however, a G.M. spokesman, Rob Peterson, confirmed in an e-mail that while the Converj was at least under consideration, batteries from the company’s new supplier were destined for other projects.
“No final decision on Converj and A123 pack is earmarked for another program,” he wrote.
“It would be a surprise to me if it was the launch vehicle,” said Jason Forcier, an A123 executive, when asked in a telephone interview whether he thought the Converj would be the first G.M. production vehicle to use one of his company’s battery packs. He described the coming unit for G.M. as “a large energy pack, bigger than the 16-kilowatt-hour battery in the Volt.” According to Mr. Forcier, the new pack will be ready for production by the end of 2012.
If the Volt platform is to be used by an upmarket Cadillac product, G.M. would be joining a growing movement. Other brands, like Ford and Toyota, are basing entire model families — the C-Max and the Prius, specifically — on a single-platform strategy, and G.M. itself fueled speculation that the Volt would spawn siblings by showing the Volt-based crossover MPV5 concept at the Beijing auto show in 2010. That would fall neatly into a strategy announced by Daniel F. Akerson, the company’s chairman and chief executive, to whittle its number of vehicle platforms as a means of cutting costs.