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Chevy Volt
GM is already brainstorming on the second generation Volt

The Chevrolet Volt has been the talk of the town for quite some time in automotive circles. First shown as a radical concept over three years ago in Detroit, the vehicle is now just months away from hitting U.S. streets as a fully-fledged regular production vehicle.

Unsurprisingly, even though the Volt won't launch until later this year, GM's top brass is already thinking of ways to improve the vehicle with the second generation model. One of the main points of focus will be on the Volt's internal combustion engine according to Edmunds Inside Line.

The upcoming Volt makes use of a 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine developing just 71 hp. Quite frankly, using this relatively large engine that is only serving to recharge the batteries is overkill. "Right now, the propulsion system is too expensive, even with using an existing engine," said Karl Stracke, GM's VP of global product engineering.

New options on the table for the second generation Volt include a smaller, two-cylinder gasoline that would produce between 20 to 24 horsepower.

Another option would be small rotary engine (with just one rotor). Probably the most recognizable vehicle on the market today with a rotary engine is the Mazda RX-8. That vehicle's rotary engine is extremely compact and weighs just 245 pounds with all accessories attached. A rotary engine for the next generation Volt wouldn't need to be nearly as powerful as the RX-8's 13B-MSP Renesis, so it could be even lighter and more compact.

The only downside to using a rotary engine would be the relatively high fuel consumption, but that should be more than offset by the compact dimensions and weight savings.

A final option would be the use of a diesel engine. "The cost of the engine would be higher for the manufacturer, but the fuel costs would be cheaper for customers," said Stracke.

While cutting costs on the internal combustion engine is important for the second generation Volt -- and part of broader effort to cut costs throughout the project -- cutting costs for the battery pack will have to be even more drastic. The current battery pack in the Volt costs GM around $10,000 each. GM hopes to bring that cost down to roughly $5,000 for the second generation Volt.



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Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By quiksilvr on 5/27/2010 9:07:43 AM , Rating: 2
I understand what they are trying to accomplish, but at the same time, I feel that hybrids already do a pretty good job as it is. Yes the Prius looks disgusting but that doesn't mean it's necessarily bad.

I would much rather get a Jetta TDI instead. 58 miles to the gallon and costs roughly half as much.

It really all depends on launch, but in my opinion, I feel this is a type of car very few people will get into.




RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By cblais19 on 5/27/2010 9:13:51 AM , Rating: 2
Although I agree that diesels are great, I'm not quite sure how you achieved the "half as much" cost, as the Jetta TDI sedan is $22k, which is right where the Prius starts as well.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/27/2010 9:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
I was about to post the same thing in my response below, but I think he was taking about the TDI vs the Volt in that case which would in fact be "roughly half as much"


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By quiksilvr on 5/27/2010 4:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
I meant in comparison to the Volt, sorry I didn't specify.


By NullSubroutine on 5/27/2010 5:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
accidentally voted you down so im just responding to remove it.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Suganami on 5/30/2010 6:38:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well, assuming that you're a conscientious car owner for the life of the vehicle(as far as maintenance and care goes), that Prius might actually end up costing you nearly double the price of a Jetta TDI anyway. Those batteries that have to be replaced don't come cheap, and from what I understand the typical diesel engine is about the most durable thing on the road.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/27/2010 9:14:16 AM , Rating: 5
58 mpg? At least for the U.S. market:

Jetta TDI: 30 mpg / 41 mpg (city/highway)


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By DanNeely on 5/27/2010 9:32:38 AM , Rating: 2
US vs UK gallons and MPG testing processes? The UK gallon is 20% larger than the US one; I don't know what their testing procedures look like.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By therealnickdanger on 5/27/10, Rating: -1
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/27/2010 9:58:29 AM , Rating: 5
It's easy to use "tricks", but we're talking about EPA numbers which is the only way to level the playing field for everyone (at least for the U.S. market).

You have an exact frame of reference for all models instead of some hippy hypermiling a Jetta TDI ;)


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Spivonious on 5/27/2010 10:03:08 AM , Rating: 2
The leader with 97mpg on that site posted this:

quote:
drove 16 mile down a mountain then the blance on a mostly straight hwy using the least amount of pedal pressure for the balance of the trip 38 miles at 102mpg your mileage may vary. Also overrode the auto dsg using 6th gear. Have custom order low rolling resistance tires


25% of the trip is downhill, he was in top gear the whole time, and has custom order tires. Take away the downhill and I guarantee he's back in the 50s. Take away the tires and he's right around the EPA rating.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By rudolphna on 5/27/10, Rating: -1
RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By theapparition on 5/27/2010 12:29:29 PM , Rating: 3
Sure.

BTW, my 800hp+ Z06 gets 35mpg doing 80mph too. My ZR1 only gets near 30mpg.

But I'm not deluded enough to think that's anywhere near average fuel economy. Doubt your Aunt actually gets that too.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By teldar on 5/27/2010 7:19:42 PM , Rating: 1
If you read his comment, he said she drives a lot of highway and averages around 50mpg.
You need to read the lines. The average is primarily highway.

Would it be less if it were half city and half highway?
Yes.
But that's not what she drives.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By PorreKaj on 5/27/2010 12:45:51 PM , Rating: 1
Let FIAT make the Diesel engine, their 1,3JTD engine is packing one hell of a punch in a very compact and leightweight design.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By alanore on 5/27/2010 4:46:05 PM , Rating: 3
FIAT aren't the best for engines (I've blown 3 of them) The 1.3JTD is underpowered for anything punto sized or bigger.

It would probably work in this case to drive the generator, but it would be overkill 75BHP vs 20ish they require.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By GotDiesel on 5/27/2010 1:11:26 PM , Rating: 1
I return almost 50 MPG ( US Gallon ) in my 2001 Jetta TDI with 80% freeway 20% city driving with the air conditioning on driving around the Houston, Texas area..

never believe those EPA figures.. they are a joke..


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Lord 666 on 5/27/2010 1:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
Likewise with our 2006 TDI in NJ. Now only if VW would release an AWD TDI Passat.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By EJ257 on 5/27/2010 1:40:39 PM , Rating: 2
I wish they made a Passat with TDI and AWD. It's not like they don't have a TDI engine hooked up to an AWD system (Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro). VW seem to be about reducing complexities in the lineup lately. No more 4Motion on the Jetta and Passat, only one engine choice.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Solandri on 5/27/2010 2:13:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
never believe those EPA figures.. they are a joke..

The point of the EPA figures is to provide a common frame of reference so you can compare mileage between different cars when deciding which one to buy. It is not for predicting the mileage you will get when driving the car.

In other words, if you get almost 50 mpg in a Jetta EPA rated at 30/41, then you will likely get about 50 mpg in a different car EPA rated at ~30/~40. Another person with a lead foot may get 30 mpg in the same Jetta as you. He will like get about 30 mpg in the different car rated at ~30/~40.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2010 4:03:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Jetta TDI: 30 mpg / 41 mpg (city/highway)


For half the cost of a Volt, and using time tested engineering methods instead of untested and unproven systems, isn't that pretty good?

I would take a Jetta TDI over any Government Motors piece of shit, except for the Corvette of course.


By corduroygt on 5/28/2010 1:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
Come on now, the CTS-V is a fine car too.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Spivonious on 5/27/2010 9:35:33 AM , Rating: 3
The point of the Volt is that it uses ZERO gas for the first 40 miles (assuming optimal conditions, full charge, etc.). My daily commute is about 10 miles each way. This means that I could charge it overnight in the garage, and never use any gas. I think 8 mpg is a bit higher than any TDI car.


By Spivonious on 5/27/2010 9:36:40 AM , Rating: 2
It looks like 8, but it's supposed to be an infinity sign. It looked correct in the editor. :shrug:


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Blight AC on 5/27/2010 10:53:35 AM , Rating: 3
Ahh, but then look at the price differences. Approx. $24k for a TDI, which is a great vehicle, and fun to drive. Then the Volt... which was what, somewhere over $40k?

Trust me, including the cost of energy to charge the vehicle, and calculating the difference between a TDI and a Volts cost per mile, throw in Maintenance and all the other costs, and at the end of the day, if your trying to save money, the TDI is going to do that for you, and by a pretty wide margin over the Volt. Although, the government rebate for energy efficient vehicles, which I believe is around $4k for the Volt, helps. It's still not going to come out ahead.

If your primary concern is the environment, well, those batteries don't just decompose when you are all done with the vehicle. Basically, the best reason to buy the Volt is to continue encouraging car manufacturers to put R&D into alternative motors.

Keep in mind, even though your not using gas for your commute, your still paying to get those miles when charging it overnight, it just shows up on your Electric bill instead of paying at the pump, and currently, since Energy car use isn't high yet, and not having a big impact on the Electric Grid, you can get away with some decent Miles per Dollar cost. However, with increased demand on the Electric Grid, I'm betting we're going to see higher energy costs.

The TDI isn't good for short commutes though, it needs to get warmed up to clean out the filter. So, a TDI isn't going to be the best option for you. In fact, if your looking to simply save money on commuting, buying a 35+ MPG small gas car, like the Fiesta is going to be the absolute, hands down, best way to do it. You'll save money up front, and after 5 years, you'll still be way ahead of the Volt and TDI in savings, and you can buy a new car with updated technology giving you even better Miles per Dollar value.

I just did some Math, with your 10 mile trip, x2 for round trip a day, is 100 miles a week for a typical 5 day work week, or 5200 miles a year. Your gas cost for the year in a TDI at an average of 40 MPG, and $3.20 per gallon Diesel will be $416 per year. If the Volt only costs you $100 per year to run in Electricty, which seems reasonable, you'd be saving $316 per year. Go 10 years in the car, and you'd save $3,160 driving the Volt in energy costs, after 10 years . You'd basically have to drive the Volt at least ($16k price difference/ $316 annual savings = ) 50 years to come out saving money over getting a TDI. ROFL... if you just got a $15k, 35mpg gas powered Fiesta, well... lets just say you'd have to drive the Volt WELL beyond it's reasonable life expectancy to start saving money.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Blight AC on 5/27/2010 11:27:15 AM , Rating: 3
I just saw the Chevy Volt site, they say about $1.50 per day for 40 miles or less. So, looks like it'll be around $78 per year for you. However, even at $50 per year, your still looking at around 43 years to break even.

The more miles you drive per year, the sooner you would reach the break even point, as long as the MPG of the generator, when in use, would still be less MPG than the Diesel.

Also, another thing to keep in mind, you can't just let that gas sit in your tank for years, gas gets old after about a month. You'll have to figure something out to keep the gas in the tank fresh, or just leave it empty, which means you'll be SoL if they batteries die.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Dorkyman on 5/27/2010 12:08:55 PM , Rating: 1
Gas gets old after a month? How about gas gets old after a couple of years.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By notfeelingit on 5/27/2010 1:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
False. Gasoline, if stored properly, can be usable indefinitely. You think all boat owners flush their tanks after winter?


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Blight AC on 5/28/2010 2:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if they don't use E10 in Marine stations then.

The problem is the E10 Fuels that blend in Ethanol. The Ethanol is bad about water absorption and separation. As far as I'm aware, this gas is available at most stations here in the US.

http://www.fuel-testers.com/expiration_of_ethanol_...

Gasoline by itself may be very stable if "properly stored" for years. The Ethanol gasoline, that's widely available now, however, isn't from what I've heard.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Spivonious on 5/27/2010 1:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Gas lasts for a lot longer than a month. I have gas sitting in my garage all Winter and my lawnmower starts right up in the Spring.

You also need to put in the $8000 tax credit. It brings the Volt down to $32k, only $10k more than the VW.

41mpg, $3.20/gal, 5200 miles = $405/year
11.2kWh, $0.10/kWh, 260 charges = $291/year

Difference of $114/year, so break-even happens in 11.4 years.

I definitely agree with you that the Volt makes no sense at its current price. But assuming that these take off, GM can lower production costs. If they can get the price of the car down to $25k or so, it's a no-brainer.


By jahwarrior on 5/27/2010 2:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
If you only save $114 per year by purchasing the volt, The break even point is like over a 100 years! The NPV of $114 savings per year, for 15 years(the useful life of the car)with a 4% discount rate is only $1,268. That means you will pay $10,000 to save $1,268 over 15 years. needless to say its a bad investment!


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2010 3:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
Umm who keeps a car that long? Honestly. I think the average length for car ownership is something like 5 years.

quote:
You also need to put in the $8000 tax credit.


If people had a shred of decency, they wouldn't. Why am I helping to pay for your goddamn Volt again? I could accept a reasonable subsidy, maybe, but 8 grand !?

The Volt is for idiots who want to feel good about themselves, and nothing more. It's not cheaper, it doesn't save the environment, and only the most thickheaded morons are still convinced CO2 is some kind of climate killer.

quote:
But assuming that these take off, GM can lower production costs.


Why lower costs when CEO Obama can just subsidize the piss out of it and bail you out when even THAT doesn't work? What's funny is people buying the Volt are basically PAYING the Government tax money, just a fraction of what they stole from you in the first place to make the damn thing.


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By Lord 666 on 5/27/2010 8:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
I've got my 2006 TDI and plan on keeping 10 years minimum, unless it gets in an accident. Its got 87,000 on it now, much less than I estimated when purchasing. Even joke with my 5 year old that it will be her first car.

Warren Buffett once said, "If something is not worth owning 10 years, then why own for 10 minutes."


RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By lelias2k on 5/27/10, Rating: 0
RE: Volt is a mixed bag for me...
By callmeroy on 5/28/2010 1:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't have a problem with you complaining about folks getting subsidies for SUV purchases because its a fair counter point to someone complaining about a volt being subsidized...

However don't turn into one of those drones "the whole bailout BS started before him"....No kidding...

But the NEW spending was fully on Obama's watch too...

If someone is shot in the arm and bleeding when you arrive on scene...and then you shot him again and kill him.....

Do you tell the police then..."oh don't tell me about killing him, the man was injured well before I did anything to him..."

I mean that's just crazy...


two-stroke engine?
By Gungel on 5/27/2010 10:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't they look at a modern two-stroke diesel engine. It would be much lighter and even more efficient than a four-stroke diesel. It's also a perfect match for an engine that runs on a steady rpm like a generator.




RE: two-stroke engine?
By Motoman on 5/27/2010 10:47:41 AM , Rating: 2
2-strokes got a bad environmental name because of their smelly exhaust.

That can be fixed with proper fuel injection, which is rather tricky because of the way the 2-stroke motor needs to pull it's fuel charge up through the crankcase (carrying oil to lube the crank). But, it has been done, and there are some VERY clean 2-strokes on the market.

The other issue is that 2-strokes make huge amounts of horsepower, but not a lot of torque. Naturally you can tune around that, but torque is generally preferable to HP.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Arribajuan on 5/27/2010 11:18:43 AM , Rating: 2
you will be using the engine to run an electric generator so the torque or horsepower dilemma does not apply, just tune the engine to run the generator and that is it.

I do believe a small two stroke or a rotary are better options due to cost, size and weight savings.

The Volt is geared towards city commuting not to do border to border touring. It thus make sense to think of the gas generator as a back up source for the occasional longer than usual trip.

The diesel might make sense for a volt suburban or something like that (a volturban!) but not for the commuter car.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Motoman on 5/27/2010 11:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
In all reality, turning over an electric generator of any size takes quite a bit of torque.

I am a HUGE 2-stroke guy (have raced motorcycles all my life). I have a 3-cylinder 750cc 2-stroke and a 2-cylinder 1,000 2-stroke in my garage that I race.

I can tell you right now that a 2-stroke is the wrong motor for turning a generator.

On the other side of the topic, I'd be way behind putting more effort into diesels for commuter cars, and would love to see some Wankels back on the roads. Just because they're weird.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By wolrah on 5/27/2010 12:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can tell you right now that a 2-stroke is the wrong motor for turning a generator.


Tell that to EMD and other companies making diesel-electric trains and other heavy rigs. Note that the OP said a two-stroke diesel, not gasoline. The famous Detroit 71 series (if you've ever seen a hot rod with a 6-71 blower, it came off a Detroit 6-71) is one of these, commonly used in its day for bus and other heavy truck applications. They have plenty of torque, the only problem is the standard two-stroke issue that they have a very narrow powerband. For generator applications, that doesn't matter as you just need to build with that in mind.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Motoman on 5/27/2010 12:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
I must admit that I missed the "diesel" adjunct to "two-stroke" above.

Although I do still contend that it does "matter" granted that you can tune/build a motor to run at it's highest torque level to run the generator.

If motor 1 needs to run at 3,000 RPM to be at the appropriate output to run a generator, and motor 2 needs to only run at 1,000 RPM, it would seem that motor 2 is much better suited for the task (and must surely be more fuel efficient too).


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Gungel on 5/27/2010 1:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
A two-stroke diesel engine with turbo is an excellent option to power a generator. High torque at low rpm with a relative small displacement compared to a four-stroke diesel that requires a lager displacement and is much heavier, but on the contrary the four-stroke runs at lower rpm and has a greater torque range. Which is not required if you need the engine to run at a specific rpm.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By theapparition on 5/27/2010 12:31:55 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I am a HUGE 2-stroke guy

I prefer to get more than just 2 strokes.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Solandri on 5/27/2010 2:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The other issue is that 2-strokes make huge amounts of horsepower, but not a lot of torque. Naturally you can tune around that, but torque is generally preferable to HP.

Torque and HP are the same thing. HP = Torque x RPM (times a constant for the lever arm of the crankshaft and a pi factor). "Tuning" an engine design for torque or hp just means fiddling with the timing and combustion chamber so it generates peak torque at a lower or higher RPM.

I suspect the reason 2-strokes tend to be low on torque is because they're generally only used in smaller engines. Smaller engines can rev up to higher RPM, making it look like they generate a lot more HP for the torque. Scale the engine up to the size of a 4-stroke used in a car, and the ratio of HP to torque should be about the same.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By The0ne on 5/27/2010 6:08:37 PM , Rating: 2
With that formula, I think you'd lost many kids and some adults here. Nice going though :)


RE: two-stroke engine?
By overzealot on 5/28/2010 11:49:31 AM , Rating: 2
Torque and HP are not the same thing, though they are linearly dependent.
P.S. you missed a scale conversion, and you don't need the length of the lever-arm if you've already calculated torque.


RE: two-stroke engine?
By nct on 5/27/2010 11:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
Or how about a motorcycle engine? Mine has an inline 3-cylinder that puts out 107hp and 51ft-lb of torque. Given that the Volt engine's only purpose is to charge the batteries, it doesn't seem like it would be hard to find a smaller displacement, lighter engine than what is used now. Seriously, 1.4L for 71hp?!?


RE: two-stroke engine?
By nct on 5/27/2010 11:12:47 AM , Rating: 2
Edit: a 675cc inline 3-cylinder


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2010 4:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
It's GM. You expect it to make sense??


RE: two-stroke engine?
By Kurz on 5/28/2010 1:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
Curious where in the RPM scale does it put out that HP and Torque?

Why don't generators use Motorcycle engines?

They don't use them since they are high reving engines.
They are not designed for constant draw.

Not sure how well the volts engine is tuned.


Diesel cheaper??
By mattclary on 5/27/2010 9:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A final option would be the use of a diesel engine. "The cost of the engine would be higher for the manufacturer, but the fuel costs would be cheaper for customers," said Stracke.


It always seems to me that diesel is more expensive!




RE: Diesel cheaper??
By wuZheng on 5/27/2010 10:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
Per unit (L or gal) perhaps, but overall cost of using diesel in a vehicle is lower for the consumer because of diesel's much higher energy density. Also add in the fact that diesel engines are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts and diesel becomes the much more economical option.


RE: Diesel cheaper??
By Chadder007 on 5/27/2010 10:43:09 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, its a less refined oil product so I'm not sure why they kept jacking up the price on it till its 30 cents or more higher. It used to be the other way around.


RE: Diesel cheaper??
By Blight AC on 5/27/2010 11:12:00 AM , Rating: 2
Right, I did some numbers on a VW TDI Diesel versus it's Gas counterpart. Diesel currently costs around 10% more per Gallon, but gives you around 35% more miles. You definitely save money on energy costs.

However, due to the price premium of a Diesel over a gas engine, you'd have to drive the Diesel about 100k miles to actually save money over the gas counterpart.

If the Volt is going to switch the gas engine for the Diesel and lower the overall cost of the vehicle, though (through cheaper batteries etc), I'd say that'd be a win!

Also Chadder007 , it may have something to do with the recent Ultra Low Sulfur requirements, in the US at least.


RE: Diesel cheaper??
By wolrah on 5/27/2010 12:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not sure why they kept jacking up the price on it till its 30 cents or more higher.


Elastic vs. inelastic demand. Most diesel users in the US are commercial users who can't just cut down on their driving as easily. The average consumer can, so it makes more sense (from the perspective of oil industry profits) to keep gasoline cheaper and make it up on diesel.


RE: Diesel cheaper??
By Solandri on 5/27/2010 3:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah, its a less refined oil product so I'm not sure why they kept jacking up the price on it till its 30 cents or more higher. It used to be the other way around.

Refining crude oil can yield different amounts of end products. For gasoline/diesel, you can vary the fraction you get of each by a fair amount, but there are limits beyond which it becomes more costly. It's easier to break up the heavier portions of crude into lighter refined products (e.g. gasoline) than it is to process the lighter portions of crude into heavier refined products (e.g. diesel). So basically you can get almost as much gasoline as you want from crude, but only a portion of the crude can be converted into diesel economically.

When demand for diesel is low relative to gasoline, this is great. You refine all of the lighter parts into gasoline, convert some of the heavier parts into diesel, and since you need more gasoline you refine some of the heavier parts into more gasoline.

But when demand for diesel is high relative to gasoline, it becomes expensive to extract more diesel from the crude. You convert all of the heavy parts into diesel, some of the lighter parts into gasoline, and then you're forced to cook the lighter parts at considerable expense to convert it into diesel.

So as gasoline demand goes up relative to diesel, gas prices don't change much. But as demand for diesel goes up relative to gasoline, the price for diesel will go up quicker than for gasoline in the first case. Essentially, the "diesel cars are better because diesel is cheaper" argument is self-defeating, and remains true only as long as a significant fraction of the cars on the road use gasoline. Once a significant number of the cars use diesel, supply/demand kicks in hard and diesel becomes more expensive per mile than gasoline. (Biodiesel could be a way around this if it can ever be made cost-effective in large volumes.)


RE: Diesel cheaper??
By tygrus on 5/27/2010 7:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
The Government should organise collection of all the chip/deep-fry vegitable oil and process it to sell as bio-diesel. Processing removes non-combustables, water and breaks up the cross-chained lipids (or something like that). Every delivery truck to fast-food KFC/McD's etc. should take a barrel of oil back to the factory/warehouse to be prossed and re-fuel it's trucks.


Good job GM
By Chiisuchianu on 5/27/2010 10:40:12 AM , Rating: 3
Can't wait till all cars are electric.




RE: Good job GM
By Motoman on 5/27/2010 11:37:04 AM , Rating: 2
...so you're donating the money for all the new nuke plants and the new smartgrid then?


RE: Good job GM
By Lord 666 on 5/27/2010 1:25:59 PM , Rating: 2
No, because eventually the petrol party will end and its time to move on.

I can't wait until self-contained nuclear power plants per home are released. Bury that thing in my backyard and I'll gladly pay $200 a month for unlimited juice service fee.


RE: Good job GM
By EJ257 on 5/27/2010 1:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
If they use our tax dollars to subsidize any new power grid or nuke plant then yes...your essentially donating your money to the cause. We're already in $12 trillion debt, whats another trillion more.


RE: Good job GM
By FoxFour on 5/27/2010 11:41:50 AM , Rating: 2
Because electricity is free and generating and distributing it creates no pollution.

:-/


A rotary!?
By Dorkyman on 5/27/2010 12:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
I almost spit out my Cheerios when I read that a rotary engine design was under consideration. I was under the impression that THAT ship had sailed, decades ago.

Rotaries are light and compact for their power output. Based on their very nature of operation they are fuel inefficient and pollutants are difficult to control.

But my wife's Mazda rotary car many years ago was extremely entertaining. Foot off the gas at high rpms, wait a few seconds for it, then: BAMM!--a great backfire that you could hear for miles around.




RE: A rotary!?
By darkhawk1980 on 5/27/2010 3:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately for your opinion, things have changed in 20 years....I had a new 2004 RX-8 when it came out. Honestly, I haven't found a car as fun to drive as that yet, outside of my current 1988 RX-7 convertible. The RX-8 was slightly more fuel efficient than the 3rd generation RX-7's, and due to the way they changed the intake and exhaust, had reduced emissions while increasing horsepower/torque. BUT, this came at a disadvantage, the Renesis does not turbo charge nearly as well as the older 13B engines do in the RX-7's.

I think GM's real idea behind considering the Rotary (which, for those that didn't know, this is NOT the first time GM has done R&D into it. They were there along with Audi (if memory serves right) and Mazda back in the late 1960's) is that they want something much more reliable with very little to no maintenance. The great thing about rotaries is that they have fewer parts than a normal engine, and require little to no maintenance outside of normal oil changes. The down side is that it is not the type of engine you can start and turn off immediately, they need to be warmed up completely before being turned off, otherwise they will flood the engine with gasoline, and be unable to start it again.

Needless to say, I think it's great that GM considers rotaries. A single Rotor engine can easily make enough HP/torque for a generator, and it will be much lighter.


RE: A rotary!?
By alanore on 5/27/2010 5:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah fuel efficiency is not a strong suite of a rotary.

The Engine in the RX-8 is nice, it does drink fuel and oil too much. My one concern is that Mazda has done a lot of R&D on their engine and it still has some big hang-ups, fuel efficiency, thrust for oil and oil changes, and the biggy worn-out blade. Would GM be able to crack it for the next gen volt?


Cost
By rzrshrp on 5/27/2010 11:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
Whatever it takes to bring the cost down. Even the cheapest hybrids wouldn't save me money over a gas efficient compact. I'd still like to get one but I know that it would be more of an investment for the future instead of saving money right now and I'm not sure if I'm willing to pay more money to encourage future R&D.




Try using a turbine engine
By MasterBlaster7 on 5/27/2010 7:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
It is as efficient as it gets. There is a green supercar that uses batteries and a turbine engine. If I remember, it got 500 miles per gallon. I think they said the next model would get 1000 miles per gallon. Anyways, turbines is where its at.




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