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Electric Volt chassis

Fuel-cell Volt chassis
The Chevrolet Volt moves closer to production

Although there were some previous concerns over the feasibility of General Motors' Chevrolet Volt electric car, it appears the company is ready to charge ahead with production. GM is making the necessary steps to ensure that the Volt makes use of best available battery technology to achieve its project goals -- something that Toyota is having a few problems with right now.

The company announced yesterday that 13 companies sent in proposals regarding the advanced lithium-ion batteries used to power the Volt. When the dust settled, two companies were selected. The first contract was awarded to Compact Power (a subsidiary of LG Chem) while the second contract went to Continental Automotive Systems.

"The signing of these battery development contracts is an important next step on the path to bring the Volt closer to reality," said GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner. "Given the huge potential that the Volt and its E-Flex system offers to lower oil consumption, lower oil imports, and reduce carbon emissions, this is a top priority program for GM."

The Chevrolet Volt uses a tiny, turbocharged 1.0 liter internal combustion engine (ICE) to charge its onboard lithium-ion battery pack. The ICE is not, however, used to provide propulsion for the vehicle -- that is left to the electric motors. GM says that the Volt can travel 40 miles on battery power alone before the ICE needs to kick in to charge the batteries back up again.

A second version of the Volt is also in the works. GM unveiled a fuel-cell variant of the Volt built on GM's E-Flex architecture in April. This Volt comes equipped with an 8kWh lithium-ion battery pack, three electric motors and a 4kg hydrogen fuel tank. The vehicle is capable of traveling over 320 miles with a fully topped off battery, can zip from 0 to 60 in around 8.2 seconds and has a top speed of 120 MPH.

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By DigitalFreak on 6/6/2007 8:20:11 AM , Rating: 3
Hopefully it will be reasonably priced when it's finally available, and not 25k+

RE: Price
By FITCamaro on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Pessimism on 6/6/2007 8:54:31 AM , Rating: 3
Considering they can't even standardize on a battery for a regular car the likelihood of cooperating on battery packs is slim to nil.

RE: Price
By TomZ on 6/6/2007 9:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
The only thing they could do to cut costs of the battery packs down is come up with one or a few standard battery packs that all the car manufacturers use.

In the article they talked about GM signing "development contracts" with the battery manufacturers. So odds are right around zero of having any kind of interchangeable battery packs.

RE: Price
By h0kiez on 6/6/2007 10:03:24 AM , Rating: 1
Also hopefully it won't come with those giant ass wheels. Would only drain the batteries faster due to the added power that would be needed to turn those monstrosities.

Really? Larger wheels = fewer revolutions of the axle for a given amount of travel...more efficient. Anyway, larger rims are paired with low-profile tires, so the entire wheel/tire package is usually about the same size whether the "rims" are 17s or 20s.

All they do is shift pollution from air to land.

If used by massive amounts of people, they also reduce other countries' reliance on middle-eastern oil. That's a big plus for me.

Not to mention god knows what it'll cost to replace one of these battery packs. I'm thinking somewhere around $4-7000

It's actually more like 2K - 3K based on what I can find online and that's likely to continue to get cheaper based on the obvious economies of scale. Also, as noted in the article here:

Li-Ion batteries (such as in this Volt) are supposedly going to go strong for at least 150,000 miles. I think most people would buy a new car and send this one to the scrap heap/recycling before they got around to replacing a battery.

RE: Price
By sprockkets on 6/6/2007 11:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
larger tires means more friction and grip to the road but more friction means more load on the engine and thus less fuel efficiency

Here is an easy way of knowing that is true: Is it easier to ride a bike with skinny touring tires or off road tires?

RE: Price
By Erudite on 6/6/2007 12:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, a better comparison would be is it easier to ride a bike with large tires or small tires (height).

Better yet, consider a push mower. What is easier to push along? A mower with the short plastic wheels, or one with the larger tires?

The only place I could actually find relevant information on the size of the tires said this:

Other key proportional highlights include a dash-to-axle length that positions the driver far rearward of the front wheels; large 21-inch by 7.5-inch wheels; short front and rear overhangs and departure angles that deliver a sense of taut, compact energy.

I'm not sure if that would really use enough more power to be noteworthy or not.

Quote from:

RE: Price
By bldckstark on 6/6/2007 12:32:02 PM , Rating: 3
The major problem with larger diameter wheels is that the farther you get away from the point of power application the more internal friction you create (called hystersis). This includes inertia multiplied by the distance from the axle. This is called a moment arm and is often (incorrectly) equated to torque (but close enough for a tech site). The longer the moment arm, the more energy you must expend to create the same amount of rotational force. Smaller wheels take less energy to turn, unless you can offset the mass by making up for it in other ways. Like using magnesium instead of aluminum or steel. Using an advanced design to eliminate unnecessary material in the wheel (big holes, few spokes) and the like, but usually the realities of manufacturing cancel out all of the fancy design work.

Another way to describe it is through kinetic energy. An earlier poster said that a larger wheel does not have to turn as fast to go as fast. This is true in a circumferential sense. The reality is that it must still turn with the same amount of energy as a small wheel. We still have to put 60 mph of energy into the wheel regardless of the diameter. It takes more energy to make a larger diamter wheel go 60 mph, but less to keep it at 60 mph. The problem is the large difference in attaining speed, and the small difference in retaining speed.

The moral of the story is - bigger wheels = less efficient.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 6/6/2007 1:35:16 PM , Rating: 1
Everybody misses the point, somewhat. The market has shown people don't want geeky girly-man looking cars, they want hip, mean, or just plain cool looking cars that also happen to be really, really fuel efficient. If this thing gets something wild like 60 or 80mpg in the real world do geeks want to have a car that sells like a Honda Insight or a REAL mass-market car that sells like an Accord and gets a couple mpg less but still might be astronomical compared to normal cars?

RE: Price
By emboss on 6/6/2007 3:04:56 PM , Rating: 3
Just wondering (and completely OT), did you learn physics in a non-English speaking place? "Moment arm" is common from non-physics courses, but I don't think I've ever seen angular momentum called hysteresis. Just curious as to where it's called that :)

Interestingly, I actually did a bit of experimentation with this about 10 years ago - measured the inertia of a couple of wheels, and the friction of the drive system on my car at least. I can't remember the exact numbers, but the overall result was that a larger wheel is more efficient is nearly all cases. Things have probably changed a bit in the last 10 years, but I doubt there's been any drastic changes.

A cleaner physics-orientated way of looking at it is that angular motion has many parallels with linear motion - you have (ignoring vector properties for simplicity)
{} torque: angular equivalent of mass, equals force times the perpindicular distance from the axis of rotation.
{} inertia: angular equivalent of mass, equals force times the distance from the axis of rotation (with integration for non-point-masses)
{} angular velocity: angular equivalent of velocity (equal to the speed of rotation around the axis).

Similar to the linear kinetic energy E = 0.5 m v^2, there is an angular kinetic energy E = 0.5 I w^2.

What does this have to do with wheels on cars? Well, if you simply scale up a wheel by a factor of 2, you will increase the inertia by a factor of 8. However, for a fixed road speed, the angular velocity will halve, so the required energy to get the double-sized wheel spinning with the same road velocity is only doubled. It won't even quite be this bad, as mass can usually be removed when the wheel is enlarged.

However - this has nothing to do with *maintaining* speed. The frictional losses (ie: the rate of energy "lost") in a drive system are a function of rotational speed, except for air-spoke resistance which is a function of road speed and also linear with spoke length. By doubling the radius of the wheel, you would drop the drve system friction (by up to a factor of two), while increasing the air-spoke friction (by up to a factor of two). This may not sound like you gain anything, but in cars air-spoke friction is much less than drive system friction (due partially to low spoke count compared to say bicycles). So you actually would significantly drop the overall friction, and hence gain efficiency.

It's only in start-stop driving that the energy required to spin up the wheel has any (significant) effect. Taking a wheel+tyre to be a 20 kg point mass 40 cm from the axis of rotation, and with 45 cm radius to the road surface, gives an equivalent "linear" mass of about 40 kg. Probably significantly less, as I used numbers on the heavy side for my guesses. So, increasing the wheel size by, say 20%, would increase the "mass" (with respect to acceleration) of the vehicle by about 30 kg - pretty trivial in the whole scheme of things.

While there's some situations where the increase in energy required to attain a speed would outweigh the advantages from lower drive system friction, in the majority of cases it's the other way around.

RE: Price
By therealnickdanger on 6/6/2007 4:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
You guys are all talking about bigger wheels and such, but overall wheel/tire height doesn't change all that much between a 17" wheel with thick tires and a 20" wheel with low-pros. It all varies according to tire selection. Wheels of all sizes are getting stronger with less material (therefore lighter).

Tire width is about the only factor here that will significantly affect performance/efficiency. Going from a 205 to a 265 introduces more rolling resistance/friction, not specifically more weight.

Here's a thought: don't hybrids convert "braking" into energy? In this case, perhaps more weight in the wheels would be desirable?

RE: Price
By GTVic on 6/6/2007 5:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is the weight of the vehicle that matters.

The weight of the wheels/brakes/etc is called unsprung weight. You can improve the quality/performance of the ride by lowering the unsprung weight. Hopefully the braking systems of these cars is further up the drive train which will reduce the unsprung weight compared with disc/drum brakes.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/6/2007 6:47:53 PM , Rating: 1
A lot of misconceptions in this thread. Larger tires are less efficient...not from 'hysteresis' or more tread contact, but because the tire contains more angular momentum...momentum that is lost when decelerating or turning (which is itself a special case of acceleration). However, as another poster points out, a low-profile 20" tile may not be appreciably larger than a standard 17" tire...and if it uses a low-mass rim, could theoretically have a lower angular momentum.

Another common misconception. The amount of tread of the ground does not affect rolling friction. A larger contact patch means more surface area...but less weight per unit area. The two factors cancel out. The only factors which affect it are vehicle weight and the coefficient of friction, which is determined by tread composition and (to a lesser extend) tread geometry.

This begs the question of why race cars use wider tires then, if it doesn't give them more friction. The simple reason is the larger contact patch contains more rubber to heat up, which reduces the chance of melting the tire....liquid rubber has a very low coefficient of friction.

RE: Price
By kkwst2 on 6/6/2007 11:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're as misconceived as the rest. Tire friction is more complex than you make it out to be. It has as much to do with how much the tire deforms both locally (the rubber compound) and globally (sidewall deformation, etc.) as it does with the coefficient of friction. Wider tires can be more efficient because they cause less tire and sidewall deformation as the tire turns.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/7/2007 1:10:31 AM , Rating: 1
> "It has as much to do with how much the tire deforms..."

That's encompassed in tire geometry, which I mentioned above. The primary point is that contact patch size does not affect friction. Double the amout of rubber touching the ground, and you halve the contact force per unit area-- frictional resistance remains unchanged.

RE: Price
By emboss on 6/7/2007 3:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
momentum that is lost when decelerating or turning

Half right - in a car, angular momentum loss during turning is negligible (assuming no loss of traction, where you would have far greater efficiency concerns :) ) as the acceleration is almost exactly along the axis of rotation of the wheel.

Additionally, as another poster pointed out, regenerative braking means that the energy put in to spin the wheel up will be recovered to some degree.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/7/2007 10:46:19 AM , Rating: 2
> "Half right - in a car, angular momentum loss during turning is negligible "

Incorrect. If this were true, a car, once moving, could turn in a circle forever without the engine running.

To turn a vehicle one must angle the wheels obviously. That requires a force, and that force generates frictional losses. The more angular momentum in the wheel, the larger the force required, and the greater the frictional losses.

> " regenerative braking means that the energy put in to spin the wheel up will be recovered to some degree"

Very true. Of course, there are still losses, which means smaller wheels are still more efficient than larger ones.

RE: Price
By emboss on 6/7/2007 12:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
If this were true, a car, once moving, could turn in a circle forever without the engine running.

Assuming no other sources of friction, and an infitesimally small wheelbase compared to the radius of the turn, this is correct - the car would keep going forever. For the same reason that if you start a frictionless top spinning (vertically) at the equator, it won't slow down (or precess or anything).

In a real car, of course, you don't have an infitesimal wheelbase, so experience some energy loss through the turn (as the axis of rotation isn't perfectly lined up with the direction of acceleration). I never claimed that there was no energy loss, only that it is negligible, which it is. Even NASCAR engineers wouldn't care about it, and driving in circles is what they specialise in :)

Similarly for the energy required to enter into and exit from a turn - nonzero, but negligible.

The friction in CV joints or diffs is a much more significant factor, and the lower rotational speed when using larger wheels drops this by more than the (still negligible) increase in energy losses when accelerating and turning.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/7/2007 12:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
> "Assuming no other sources of friction."

But that's just the point. Those sources always exist. In fact, without that friction, cars would get infinite mileage, on the highway at least. And the friction of braking (which converts the angular momentum in the wheels to heat) is, in city driving, the most significant loss of all. Larger, more massive wheels increase that momentum, and increase the loss.

> "I never claimed that there was no energy loss, only that it is negligible..."

Ask anyone whose upsized their wheels from 15" to 17" how much mileage they lose. In city driving, it can be up to 10%.

> "Even NASCAR engineers wouldn't care about it..."

NASCAR engineers don't tend to care much about mileage. In any case, at 200+ mph, the friction from wind resistance predominates. This isn't the case for cars driven in the city at speeds averaging 50mph or less.

Furthermore, as I've already stated, a larger wheel provides a large contact patch, which is a benefit for sports cars.

> "The friction in CV joints or diffs is a much more significant factor..."

If this were true, high-efficiency vehicles would all carry 20" or larger tires. This isn't the case...without fail, such vehicles have small tires.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/7/2007 12:51:51 PM , Rating: 1
Here's a link I found you to an automobile forum, which has several people discussing their real-world loss in MPG from going to larger tires. One chap who went from 15" to 18" wheels reports a 20% drop in mileage.

RE: Price
By emboss on 6/8/2007 12:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
Masher, could you please read in context, rather than making an argument over single sentences taken out of context? It'd save a lot of typing all around.

> "Assuming no other sources of friction."

But that's just the point.

Lets have a look at the context shall we?
Me: "In a car, angular momentum loss during turning is negligible."
You: "If this were true, a car, once moving, could turn in a circle forever without the engine running."
Me: "Assuming no other sources of friction, and an infitesimally small wheelbase compared to the radius of the turn, this is correct."

We're talking about energy loss during turning due to the inertia of the wheels. Not air resistance, not road-tyre friction, not the driver applying the brakes, not any other source of friction. Just energy loss during turning due to the inertia of the wheels. Focussing on the "assuming no other sources of friction" is just being disingenuous.

Here's a link I found you to an automobile forum, which has several people discussing their real-world loss in MPG from going to larger tires.

If you stick 18" wheels on a car designed for 15" wheels, I'd be surprised if you didn't lose efficiency in city driving. But this loss would be due to a less optimal gearing ratio (the gears would be wider spaced) and other associated factors (such as ECU tuning for particular drive system ratios), not due to the increased inertia of the wheels. If the gearing ratios were adjusted (like they would be if the car was designed for 18" wheels) there would be a (very minor) increase in fuel efficiency.

A larger wheel provides a large contact patch

Not unless you change something other than the radius or width. Drifting off-topic here, but the contact patch size for a given tyre is approximately constant with regard to width and radius ("approximately" as you do get a small bit of force from the deformation of the tyre - all other things being equal, a smaller tyre provides more support from deformation and hence a smaller contact patch, by maybe a percent or two). Of course, a *wider* wheel will change the contact patch *shape*, but simply increasing the radius will not do much.

I know you're a mathematically inclined person masher, so just do the maths. The inertia of a wheel simply isn't large enough to have a significant effect against drive system friction. See my rough estimate for increasing the size by 20% (equivalent to going from 15" to 18") - an increase in effective linear mass by 30 kg, and that would be an *overestimate*. Probably much closer to 15 kg to 20 kg, so in the order of 1% for a typical car.

Heck, you can even do what I did and measure it for your own car (that is what happens when you get a group of physicists stuck indoors on a Saturday evening ...). In my case (1995 Mitsubishi Galant, manual), I can't remember the exact numbers as it was done 10 years ago, but the drive system friction was an order of magnitude larger than the inertial "friction" for any realistic acceleration.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By emboss on 6/19/2007 7:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt anyone is still reading this (this is what happens when you go for a holiday), but what the hell ...

Lets assume a wheel mass of 12kg, uniformly distributed around the inner edge of tire itself (outer edge of the rim).

OK, no problem. I chose 20 kg at a radius of 0.40 m (tyre radius 0.45 m) in my original example.

This gives is a moment of inertia I of 3kg(m^2) per wheel

You don't state what radius you're using here, but it's trivial to calculate a radius of 0.5 m (12 * 0.5^2 = 3).

A car at 70mph has its wheels rotating at around 43. rads/sec.

Factor of two-ish error here: 70 mph = 31.3 m/s, 0.5 m radius tyre = p circumference, so 31.3 / p rps = 19.9 p rads/sec (actually a little less as you said the mass was on the inner edge of the tyre, but never mind).

Kinetic Energy of all four wheels is therefore 1/2I..^2 = 1.12E5 Joules.

Correcting for the factor of twoish (squared) gives 2.35E4 J.

Comparing that to the KE of the entire vehicle, lets assume a mass of 1800 kg (at the same speed of course).


1/2mv^2 gives us a KE of 1.054E6 Joules

A factor of 1.2 here, not sure where that came from :) Should be 8.81E5 J.

roughly 10% of the KE of our moving vehicle is tied up in the wheels itself.

With the corrections, it comes out to 2.6%. Or looking at it another way, it's like your car was 48 kg heavier. Unless you're really going all-out for efficiency, you're not going to gain a lot by shrinking the wheels. You'd be better off cutting back on the takaways :)

I shouldn't be too harsh though - in going through your numbers I noticed I typo'd the inertia definition and stuffed up the equivalent linear mass by a bit :) (should be 35 kg at the end, not 30 kg).

You misunderstood my remarks. The "other sources of friction" in this case are not a static quantity. Some are quite heavily impacted by the mass of the wheels. Larger wheels increase those sources, and make the vehicle less efficient.

Name one source, in the context of the original statement (ie: is caused by the angular momentum loss from the wheels and is not due to transient effects when entering into the turn). You can name a second if you can, but I'd be very surprised if you could. Now, assuming a wheelbase of 2.5m (the average, give or take a bit) and a 0.5 g turn (you can pick the speeds and hence the turning radius), calculate the energy loss per 360 degree loop. By my rough calculation, you're looking at (at most) a fraction of a percent loss per 360 degree loop. Tyre "walking" during the turn probably wastes more than this.

RE: Price
By gtguy256 on 6/6/2007 2:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not only do larger wheels mean more centrifugal force a 20" rim a tire simply weighs more than a 16 or 17.

RE: Price
By Oregonian2 on 6/6/2007 6:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect that the design engineers at General Motors may have some knowledge about this stuff.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 6/6/2007 1:30:55 PM , Rating: 1
I'm highly, highly suspect of the magical "economies of scale" coming to the rescue in this case.

Average total costs can fall as firms ramp up the quantity supplied, assuming they've got the capital necessary to make it happen, and as they get more experience costs can fall there as well. Thats assuming all else is constant. It shall not be constant.

Off the top of my head, isn't lithium carbonate used in the aluminum smelting industry? Isn't China / East Asia / any capitalist country experiencing rapid growth? What, are they going to use pig iron or are they going to use steel and aluminum? How far can global production of lithium be pushed in a short period of time once millions of consumers start demanding big heaps of lithium-ion battery packs for their cars and start replacing them every so often?

Quick stats from Google:
Per capita lithium consumption- USA 24lb / 1000, China 4lb / 1000 (tons of room to grow)
Consumption from developing countries like Poland and Russa expected to see 50 - 70% annual increases in demand
2/3 of global production from Chile (not a stable region) and Australia
China has large reserves and could be a huge supplier (just what we need)
Year over year 2006 prices were 40% higher than in 2005. Further price hikes of 25% or so a year expected.
And finally, leading producers report operations are at near maximum capacity in the short term.

What's all that mean? Probably not cheap batteries. Not cheap lithium-ion batteries anyway. There's probably all kinds of other component costs to these advanced battery packs and the electronics that manage them and it's a safe assumption that unless China starts adopting French economic policies to slow raw material demand growth then expectations of significantly improving battery costs seem extremely optimistic, at least to me.

RE: Price
By FITCamaro on 6/6/2007 4:07:32 PM , Rating: 1
I keep cars longer than 150,000 miles. My current car is a year and a half old and has 33,000 miles.

And even if your "larger wheels are more efficient" statement was true, low profile tires cost an lot of money to replace and don't last as long. Low profile tires belong on sports cars, not family sedans or SUVs (regardless of what rap artists lead you to believe in their videos showing Crown Vics on 24" wheels).

RE: Price
By hubajube on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/6/2007 6:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "Low-profile, high-profile, who gives a crap."

Although some may buy them for looks, there are substantial handling differences between a low-profile and a standard tire. The former has a much lower aspect ratio, which means a significantly stiffer ride. Good for a sports car-- bad for a family sedan.

RE: Price
By AdamK47 on 6/6/2007 4:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
Read up on unsprung weight here:

Larger wheels are not always better.

RE: Price
By hubajube on 6/6/2007 5:01:11 PM , Rating: 1
You can make a large wheel lighter.

RE: Price
By Jedi2155 on 6/6/2007 9:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
Actually at the moment, it may cost about 2-3K in pure material costs for Ni-MH battery but they'll charge you about 7-8K to replace it.

As for a Lithium battery....that's the biggest costs of the hi-performance electric vehicles right now.

A large lithium setup would easily hit 10k-20k. I hear the Tesla Roadster's batteries were around 20k in production costs for the vehicle alone.

RE: Price
By IckesTheSane on 6/7/2007 12:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't looked into the prices/costs of batteries for any kind cars, but keep in mind that the Tesla Roadster is designed to go around 200 miles on only battery power, while the Volt is designed to go around 40-60 before the recharging engine kicks in. You could extrapolate and guess that the battery packs for the Volt would be about a quarter the cost as they are for the Tesla, assuming everything else is equal (which is a bad assumption).

RE: Price
By Xenoterranos on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Spivonious on 6/6/2007 10:51:26 AM , Rating: 2
The OP was referring to the fact that if the batteries are charged, the car can go 40 miles without using the gasoline engine. If he could plug it in at his apartment, he would never have to buy gas.

Don't be a jerk.

RE: Price
By Xenoterranos on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Rugar on 6/6/2007 11:51:15 AM , Rating: 4
I think the problem with your vehemence is that it engenders a backlash. When you attack people rather than respond reasonably, you turn yourself into another of those "environmental wackos". More people will pay attention to you if you spread truth than if you scream and wail about FUD.

RE: Price
By IsakSon on 6/6/2007 11:00:59 AM , Rating: 2
Attn: Xenoterranos
Perhaps you need lesson in RTFA.
Or you could do your own homework:
Please see

Where you can read about plugging the Volt into a 110V outlet to recharge the batteries.

RE: Price
By Xenoterranos on 6/6/07, Rating: -1
RE: Price
By Oregonian2 on 6/6/2007 6:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting how people look at things.

I presume one can say gasoline is just optional on the
Volt if one doesn't commute far and runs it 100% off
the wall plug.

RE: Price
By FITCamaro on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Chudilo on 6/6/2007 10:24:21 AM , Rating: 3
All they do is shift pollution from air to land. So instead of smog we get ecological wastelands from the toxic chemicals that these batteries contain from when they're thrown out.

Actually Lithium Ion Batteries are among the most environmentally friendly batteries ever made.

They do not contain any toxic chemicals. As the matter of facts Lithium Ion is used in pharmacology in mood stabilizing drugs for treatment of mental disorders such as bipolar.
They are easily recycled and have no memory effect (do not loose performance for an extended period of time)

I do agree with you that Hybrids are a stepping stone to Fuel Cells. However it is a great way to make current vehicles benefit from the technologies that are created as a result of research that is needed to commercialize Fuel cell vehicles
Fuel cell vehicles will use all the electrical conservation and energy recovery technology that is developed for a hybrid vehicle today. The car companies do need to get immediate benefit from doing research for cars that will not be commercially viable until at least 2010.
Yes it may not make as much sense as one would hope but at the very least you're encouraging the "Evil" car companies to do research towards an energy independent economy. Otherwise the government would have to sponsor the research. And when was the last time that ever produced any usable result.

RE: Price
By theoflow on 6/6/2007 10:59:03 AM , Rating: 2
Good points all around.

Hopefully this project will see the light of day no longer than 3-4 years down the line. If it doesn't GM has much more things to worry about.

I'm actually intrigued by the reversal of primary power in the hybrid. I do feel that they need to rethink the purpose of this vehicle first. It says it is a sports sedan, but I will have to see the layout of the car to make a judgement. I just bought a Civic EX and one thing that immediately turned me away from the Hybrid was that there was no fold down seats. This is an absolute requirement for me to be able to internally hold long cargo like a snowboard/surfboard.

Pricing will obviosuly come into play as well, but 25k would not be unreasonable to me if it can get 100+ mpg (in daily commuting situations), and be basically the same as my Civic now. Yes, I do realize that It would take me some time to recoup the price difference, but it isn't for saving money it is for wasting less.

According to this:

You could plug it into the wall outlet to get your charge for 60 mile commutes, which is perfect for me since I only drive 30 miles tops a day including errands.

HOWEVER, and this is a big one, watching the documentry, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" makes me quite skeptical about how GM will go about this.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 6/6/2007 1:42:25 PM , Rating: 1
a) That documentary has been debunked again, and again, and again

b) The OP did indeed reveal some good things, especially if its true the batteries are easily recyclable.

c) If GM tries to make a car that urges Americans to "waste less" instead of saving money while still having a good car then they'll edge only closer to oblivion. "Waste less" cars exist now, and have existed, and have never approached decent sales numbers compared to mass market cars. If GM doesn't release this car it'll be because they realize this fact and would rather abort it while it's still in the womb rather than dump it on the market and then lose money they can't afford to lose, not because the Oil Boogy Man asks them to.

RE: Price
By Oregonian2 on 6/6/2007 7:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
The saving money part is why the hybrids exist. It's hard to go whole hog changing everything which by necessity starts with low volumes and a lack of infrastructure and still save money with it. Hybrids have less new infrastructure to add (like not needing electric or hydrogen "filling" stations) and limited new technology needed for production of the cars.

The interviews (EETimes) with the head of GM R&D (at DAC, he gave a speech there where auto technology was the focus) was very interesting. Their objective is to get rid of petroleum but have multiple threads of development trying to get there (so not all of their eggs are in one basket). They've two running prototypes of fuel-cell (hydrogen) cars where both were driven on a several hundred mile trip on public roads (so they're working cars, not show-only-cars). 100% fly-by-wire, etc. But even 1000'ish production sorts of levels won't be for something like 5~7 years that I recall. They have to build small (albeit spendy) quantity first to learn how to do things sufficiently well before betting their company on a design. Coming out big with Tesla (or is it Telsa) priced cars wouldn't go well no matter how good the car was.

RE: Price
By theoflow on 6/8/2007 2:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly how was the documenty debunked again, and again, and again?

You hastily assume something which I never have mentioned. I merely stated that with the track record GM has with the EV1, I would be a little hesitant to purchase one. Although the Oil boogy man thing I can see possible it does not affect my judgement, that you accuse me of.

As for wasting less, it is a personal preference that you may need some clarification. I'd like to think of myself as an active and outdoor-sy type. I prefer to waste less in my daily life when it comes to alot of resources.

For example, I have the resources to purchase a BMW 3 series or equivalent. The luxury sport sedan market is a very appealing market for me, but on a everyday basis I have no need for it. So my decision was to buy a new Civic to commute to work on the weekdays and buy an used Honda S2000 for my sporting nature when I need to. Over time I will waste less fuel (and some money). It is a personal preference hoepfully you will understand now.

As for auto companies urging Americans to waste less, have you not noticed who is the number one automaker? Toyota
So lets do some logic here...

What is their best selling vehicle? The Camry.
What was that commercial I just saw? The Camry Hybrid.

RE: Price
By masher2 on 6/6/2007 7:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
> "[Lithium Batteries] do not contain any toxic chemicals. As the matter of facts Lithium Ion is used in pharmacology..."

No. Lithium salts are indeed used in pharmacology, but even these are toxic in high doses. And lithium salts are not used in batteries-- other chemicals are, some of which are indeed hazardous. Lithium hexafluorophosphate, for instance, which is quite toxic. Li-Ion batteries also use a variety of organic solvents, some of which are toxic, either directly or from subsidiary products created during their manufacture.

RE: Price
By jskirwin on 6/7/2007 10:18:06 AM , Rating: 2
I think the giant wheels look cool - like driving a giant Hot Wheels.

RE: Price
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 6/11/2007 8:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
With battery power, it is still the same old maxim:

Low Price, High Speed, Long Range: Choose any TWO.

They seem to be going for high speed and long range here. So that should answer your question.

By Treckin on 6/6/2007 7:33:05 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that everyone here missed the answer to the large vs small wheels question...
We should be asking whether or not it picks up bitches...

Really though, for all of you calculation, fella, the simplest answer is most often true. The wheels affect the final drive ratio of the motor train. Think of them as you last gear in your transmission before your gasoline hits the road. The arguments concerning surface area are asinine. AS WAS THE PIECE ABOUT SPOKE RESISTANCE!!! a 5000lb car cares little about the wind on its spokes at 60 mph. At three hundred miles per hour across the salt flats, better get some solid plate rims.
Essentially, you can create EXACTLY the same efficiency altering the spider gear diameter in ones rear end if you change your tire size to 100 inches. The only thing that may change in that extreme case in the acceleration if you have 1200 lb rims. This really didnt need all of the PHDs to be pulled out (or GED's, as is most likely the case here...)

By blwest on 6/6/2007 11:59:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think I just got a little dumber by reading those comments. Let me sum this up simply:

"Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, objects in motion tend to stay in motion."

Lets brush up on our Newtonian physics before posting, shall we? Maybe just classical mechanics.

By Egglick on 6/7/2007 12:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who notices how pathetically small the windows are on this car?? Unless you're perfectly upright in your chair (but not too tall), it's doubtful that you'll see anything other than the doors or the dashboard. Visibility has to be alot like looking through the slit on a bunker.

Maybe they could just seal off the entire car, and have people look through a submarine periscope??

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