A few significant hints about GM’s not-too-distant plans were uttered this month at a Silicon Valley symposium by GM’s Dave Barthmuss, western region group manager for environment and energy communications.

Intermingled with general answers about GM’s broad plans for advanced-tech powertrains, Barthmuss said he considered it possible California could have one million EVs on the road by 2020, and as soon as this January, GM may have a plug-in hybrid SUV on display at an upcoming auto show.

The occasion was the Charged 2011 – EV Symposium Silicon Valley, and plugincars.com's Brad Berman got the scoop.

Yes, at present the Volt is a "halo" vehicle, but GM says it will be a mainstream vehicle as soon as possible. It also is the first of many more Voltec platform vehicles to come.

In an interview after Barthmuss spoke on a panel titled, “Economic Case for EVs,” which explored how the San Francisco Bay Area may become the electric car capitol of the U.S., the talk veered toward pending plans.

Following up on earlier GM plans that have not come to fruition for a Voltec-based SUV, Berman asked, “What’s the latest on a plug-in hybrid crossover SUV?”

Barthmuss answered, “Are you going to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show?”

“Why would I want to go?” Berman replied.

“Because it’s always great to spend January in Detroit,” Barthmuss quipped, then he added, “Stay tuned.”

What other neat ideas could we see in coming years if not months?

We were not there, but the intonation was clear enough for Berman to feel positive that he was being told GM may well have a plug-in SUV by mid-January, 2012.

In January 2008, the company had looked at a Saturn-based version , so we know the concept had already been in the works.

Barthmuss’ other comment about one million EVs on the road in California by 2020 is also significant in light of President Obama’s goal of one million in the entire U.S. by 2015. To equal the president's countrywide goal in a single state just five years later speaks of rapid proliferation.

A few years ago, the plug-in Saturn Vue was planned for 2010.

"It could happen,” Barthmuss told a questioner at the symposium of the one million EVs in California.

In response to (an uninformed) critical reply that it did not seem likely given that GM is only building 10,000 Volts this year, Barthmuss answered with another hint from what he knows.

“You’re not contemplating how many more we’re going to build in the coming years,” he said.

Source: Plugincars.com