General Motors has announced plans to launch European versions of its much-ballyhooed Volt, the plug-in hybrid it expects to start producing in 2010, according to a report this week in the Financial Times. GM expects to sell it on the Continent as an Opel, and in the United Kingdom as a Vauxhall. The Volt will be a so-called series hybrid, in which the car is always propelled by its electric motor, with a backup internal combustion engine recharging its lithium-ion battery pack when necessary. Toyota's plug-in electric car, also scheduled for 2010, will be a parallel hybrid, in which the electric motor and internal combustion engine alternatively provide traction, as required. According to the FT, groups led by Korea's LG Chem and Boston's A123Systems are competing for the contract to provide the Volt's batteries.
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