Bob Lutz has gone on record as saying the Chevy Volt should have been a pickup, and he takes every chance he can get to talk up his latest venture, plug-in hybrid pickup builder VIA Motors. Eventually, somebody will build a plug-in hybrid pickup, but what would such a truck be called?
Well some dreamers over at the GM-Volt forums have come up what they’re calling the Chevy Watt, a Chevy Colorado pickup with the drivetrain of the Volt plug-in hybrid. I’d buy it in a heartbeat, as long as the price was right.
After all, think of all the advantages to a plug-in hybrid pickup, and I don’t just mean fuel economy (which would be stellar, mind you). The Chevy Watt could serve as an on-site power generator, running things like air compressors and flood lights without the need for long and dangerous extension cords. Even with an electric range of just 20 miles, fleet operators would see fuel savings on the scale of thousands of dollars every year, per vehicle, assuming average gas mileage in the mid-30s.
Unfortunately, the American pickup market is dominated by conservative suits who don’t want to rile up their bread-and-butter basket of status quo buyers. Sure, Ford is building an aluminum F-150, and Ram now offers 28 MPG diesel engine. But to many pickup buyers and enthusiasts, “hybrid” is a dirty word they want nothing to do with. So for now, the only dealership we’ll find the Chevy Watt at is in our dreams.
Will GM be the first to market with a plug-in pickup, or will another (possibly foreign?) automaker swoop in and steal their thunder?