General Motors’ Plug-In Hybrids Are Coming Back To The U.S. In 2027

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After abandoning the idea of plug-in hybrids in the United States half a decade ago with the demise of the second-generation Chevrolet Volt, General Motors will reverse course—just in time for the new federal vehicle emissions regulations and a market where it’s worried about uneven demand for full EVs.

The first plug-in hybrid models to be sold in North America will arrive at dealerships in 2027, GM CEO Mary Barra said in an interview with The Detroit News, the same year the new tailpipe emissions-cutting rules go into effect. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

Of course, GM isn’t abandoning its all-electric vehicle plans. The Chevrolet Equinox EV is making its way to dealers, as is the retail-oriented Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup, and there will be more affordable versions of all GM EVs coming by the end of this year, plus luxurious models from Cadillac. The reborn Chevrolet Bolt EUV is coming soon as well. 

But as the regulations have changed and Americans’ appetite for pure electric vehicles has gone down in recent months, the automaker’s strategy shifted. Barra didn’t conceal that introducing plug-in hybrids while continuing to develop its EV portfolio is purely a regulation game.

“Plug-in hybrids are an important part of meeting the regulatory space and giving consumers more options. As the regulatory space evolved, it made sense for us to assess our strategy,” Barra told The Detroit News.

It wasn’t a surprise back in January when GM’s head honcho told inventors that the company wanted to bring back plug-in hybrids, and it isn’t a surprise now. That said, we still don’t know what combustion-powered cars with an electrical plug will be available stateside three years from now.

In North America, GM’s last plug-in hybrid was the Chevrolet Volt, which was retired in 2019 as the company geared up for an all-electric future. In China, however, it’s a different story. Here, GM sells several plug-in hybrids and we might see a rebranded or slightly reengineered version of the Buick Velite 6 or the Wuling Starlight sedan. The Velite 6 is a station wagon that looks surprisingly similar to the European-spec Opel Astra, which used to be made by GM before Opel became part of Stellantis, while the Starlight is a larger, mid-size sedan.

Buick VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle

The China-spec Buick Velite 6 is available as both a plug-in hybrid and an EV

Wuling Starlight

But seeing how the global automotive market seems to favor crossovers and SUVs, the China-spec Chevrolet Equinox Plus PHEV might have a higher chance of being sold stateside. 

In a separate interview recently, GM President Mark Reuss confirmed to InsideEVs that similar PHEV technology as what’s seen in China could be deployed on U.S. market cars, but it won’t be the cars themselves. In other words, any U.S. PHEV models will be made more locally, not in China.

What do you want to see from GM’s reborn PHEV game? 

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