Print 54 comment(s) - last by Hoser McMoose.. on Jan 9 at 3:47 PM

Courtesy of MSNBC
We can make it bigger, drive longer, not that much faster, we have the technology, kind of.

General Motors announced last week the revival of its electric car.  Their new design, the Volt, will mass market the electric car and use little to no gasoline. 

The Volt draws its power from a next generation battery, the E-flex system, which is recharged by a small onboard engine.  According to GM, when the battery is depleted, a 1L, three-cylinder turbocharged engine spins at a constant speed to create electricity and replenish the battery.  The motor will not provide forward propulsion and is only used to recharge the battery. The car is said to reach 40 miles on one charge and save close to 500 gallons of gasoline a year.

This new development sprouted from the failed EV1 project GM began in 1996 and abandoned in 2003.  They were heavily criticized for abandoning the experimental electrical vehicle program, but with the Volt, GM hopes to improve on their previous ideas of the EV1.

Some improvements on the new model include more passenger space, longer battery life, smaller battery size, and higher cruising speeds.

While most ultra-clean and efficient vehicles on the market today use hybrid gasoline-electric powertrains, the Volt will use E85 fuel which is a blend of 85% Ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Since the project is still in the concept stage, a final production version of the car is not projected for another 3 to 5 years.

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GM Electric Concept Car
By HiTech1 on 1/7/2007 10:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
GM technology is 5 years behind the times. Tesla Motors has a car in production that gets 250 miles on a 8 hour charge with their new Lithium battery technology.

Tesla Motors is another Silicon Valley start up company that will revolutionize the car industry like going from mainframes to pc server's and the internet.

It will take another innovated Hi tech company out of Silicon Valley to create a electric car not the big 3 or other big car corporation

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By jularroyo on 1/7/2007 10:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla will eat GM's lunch. PBS's WIRED Science TV show just interviewd one of Tesla's Co founder on on TV. He was quoted as having slated a sedan type in the 50K price range in the 2008 timeframe and a 30K price range in 2009/10 timeframe. Their current 100k sportscar has a faster 0-60 mph time than everything on the road this side of a Ferrari Enzo.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By Fox5 on 1/7/2007 11:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'd assume this GM concept car is not going to cost $100k like Tesla does. Tesla likely has a better engine and a bigger battery though.
Of course, we can tell the Volt won't be produced as is just by its looks, it's got that futuristic look that only concept cars have.

Seems silly to have a car that uses gas to charge a battery to power an engine. Assuming it even charges fast enough to charge the battery while the engine is being run, that's going to unnecessarily put a lot of wear on the battery, and wouldn't it be more efficient to skip that step and just power the engine directly with gasoline? Like hybrids currently do?

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By drebo on 1/8/2007 1:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Seems silly to have a car that uses gas to charge a battery to power an engine.

Why? This is how trains have worked for a very long time. Electic motors are more efficient and generate far more torque than combustion engines of any kind. It makes perfect sense.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By kkwst2 on 1/8/2007 10:55:11 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It's not silly at all.

Also, combustion engines ar inherently much more efficient at one RPM. Specifically, they are very inefficient at low-RPM, high torque loads. So, although it might seem strange, using an ICE to regenerate a battery has the potential to be much more effient than using an ICE to drive the powertrain directly. In fact, this concept is not new and is used in some industrial vehicles.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By aGreenAgent on 1/8/2007 3:36:46 AM , Rating: 3
Also, I think that wasn't to suggest that it would be the sole power source for the battery, but rather, their solution to the issue that there are few places to change their car, and it takes a long time...the gas engine just refills the battery as you drive. Then when that runs out of gas (probably after a looong time - I'd hope), you stop and fill it up.

Makes sense to me.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By Lord 666 on 1/7/07, Rating: -1
By slashbinslashbash on 1/7/2007 11:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that Tesla car is awesome, but it's a tiny hotshot roadster, not a 4-door people-hauler.

This car sounds like a great compromise. Finally someone's designing a battery-operated car with a small generator to recharge the batteries -- when you consider it, it's really a better idea (and much less complicated) than the hybrids we have nowadays.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By RyanM on 1/7/2007 11:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla themselves have said that in 3 to 5 years, their battery pack will lose 30% of its charging capacity due to wear down.

That technology isn't suitable for GM, who isn't selling high-end luxury performance roadsters to people who can afford to throw them away after 5 years. GM is trying to make mass-marketable cars, something Tesla can't do yet because the technology doesn't exist yet, period.

Don't fault GM for the state of battery technology, that's just stupid.

And the Tesla motors car isn't in production yet. Those 200 orders have yet to be filled. All they've got is a working prototype.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By p3ngwin on 1/8/2007 7:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
don't fault GM for battery tech?

do you know that GM bought controlling shares in the company of the inventor of nickel metal hydride batteries?

GM controlled the company and FORBID by law that any car that wants to use NiMh batteries must run on at least 50% gas or be restricted to using "D cell" sized NiMh batteries.

so GM totally halted the development of battery car technology and then they killed off their own EV1 project once the California state legislation was killed too.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By masher2 on 1/8/2007 11:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
Why do people choose to believe such nonsense? Human nature, I suppose.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By Oregonian2 on 1/8/2007 1:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully not the kind of Lithium batteries that will catch fire (like those relatively tiny laptops) in very colorful ways. Lithium can be nasty stuff. Could have pretty major lawsuit if one did.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By Oregonian2 on 1/8/2007 6:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla has sold 270 cars in the history of the company. That would include their sell-out of 2007 production for their new one. Meaning their total number of cars actually manufactured, talking in auto terms, is "none". At the end of 2007, it'll be up to "none". Unless they can license their design to a "real" auto company, it really doesn't matter what their car does. They can't make any. They've 140 employees. GM lays that many off daily (probably, if not more than that). Or they need to get a LOT of capital really fast to ramp things up. And "lot" is an understatement I think. And wait until the UAW organizes their plants to see where their prices go.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By FITCamaro on 1/8/2007 6:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
Uh yeah and that Tesla car is also $100,000. And that's 250 miles depending on how you drive. It's a sports car. Is anyone going to not keep their foot on the gas? And consider how much in 3-4 years its going to cost to replace all the batteries on that thing. GM is obviously going for cost over longevity. And someone like myself, 40 miles is enough to go to work and back. The only question is can the gas engine recharge the battery fast enough to keep up with demand while the car is cruising. If so, its a great concept. And it keeps the battery weight down.

And no its not going to revolutionize anything. It's a niche market that only the wealthy can afford. Building $100,000 electric super cars doesn't pave the way to anything. And only the major car companies even have a chance at building a successful electric car.

Are you going to buy a car without a warranty? Or with one but you have to ship the car across the country for a week or two just to get it worked on? Electric cars don't just run forever without any problems. They need maintenance like any other car. And no startup is going to have the resources to build a nationwide infrastructure to sell and service an entire line of vehicles. They can design a car and try to sell it to a larger company, thats about it.

By shabby on 1/7/2007 7:22:45 PM , Rating: 3
E85 and mass market are an oxy moron, e85 can only be found in a couple of states. How are you supposed to fill up when you cant find a gas station with e85?

RE: e85?
By Kurz on 1/7/2007 7:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Hence the 3 to 5 years before its avalible.

RE: e85?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:43:02 PM , Rating: 1
LOL. If all the corn crops in the country were converted to ethanol- theres not enough ethanol being produced to get e10 everywhere! If all the corn in the country were converted to ethanol it would not be enough for mass distribution of E85. Don't through that cellulose crap at me either- so far its been a deadend, the deadlines and estimates on its availability are stupid too- it'll be ready when a cheap enough of a microbe can be found along with a catalyst...

RE: e85?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:44:22 PM , Rating: 1
we're barely able to produce E10 everywhere: if all the corn crops were used to make E85, it wouldn't be close to full distribution....

RE: e85?
By jp7189 on 1/8/2007 1:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Patrick Bedard wrote a column in Car and Driver a few months ago that states exactly that.. there isn't enough farmland to produce the ethanol we would need to switch everyone to E85.

RE: e85?
By moonraker3000 on 1/8/2007 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with E85 is that it ONLY has 85,000 btu's of energy, whereas normal Gasoline has around 110,000.

E85 only has about ~75% of the energy that normal gasoline has, which means that E85 is not as effecient as many people make it out to be... this is especially funny for cars that use E85 cause their [the people] cars need to get refueled about 35% more...

lol i'm never going to buy this car now because it uses E85, not only is E85 ineffecient, it's not even available where I live!!! (and trust me i wanted this car... I would llove an electric for around town and stuff)

RE: e85?
By Hoser McMoose on 1/9/2007 3:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol also has a higher octane rating and can work with much higher compression ratios and therefore higher thermal efficiency. Given the way they are using this engine at a fixed RPM rate and that it's a small 1L turbocharged engine, GM *SHOULD* be able to make use of this higher efficiency. Getting such an engine to within 10% of the fuel efficiency of a straight gasoline engine shouldn't be much of a problem.

Of course, that does nothing to solve the issue of E85 fuel being almost non-existent in most parts of the US and abroad. Nor does it solve the issue of ethanol from corn being mainly a scam to subsidize farmers and really being an extremely poor fuel source.

RE: e85?
By moonraker3000 on 1/8/2007 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with E85 is that it ONLY has 85,000 btu's of energy, whereas normal Gasoline has around 110,000.

E85 only has about ~75% of the energy that normal gasoline has, which means that E85 is not as effecient as many people make it out to be... this is especially funny for cars that use E85 cause their [the people] cars need to get refueled about 35% more...

lol i'm never going to buy this car now because it uses E85, not only is E85 ineffecient, it's not even available where I live!!! (and trust me i wanted this car... I would llove an electric for around town and stuff)

RE: e85?
By ubbadabba on 1/7/2007 7:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would assume that it runs also without alcohol in gasoline.

RE: e85?
By S Random on 1/7/2007 9:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
e85 is as above stated 85% ethonol taken from such things as corn, and 15% gassoline. An engine that runs on it is also backward compatible. i believe that the 08 tahoes are going to use this (i believe an option that costs about $1k more then the reg gas).

I hope this works better then hybrids that get 30% less mpg's then advertised, if anyone is looking for a good fuel efficiant vehicle id suggest a VW TDI

RE: e85?
By ThisSpaceForRent on 1/8/2007 8:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
Ethanol sucks as an alternative fuel. There is far less heat energy obtained when it burns, hence the crappy MPG rating of the hybrids that burn it. There is also the problem with being able to supply enough ethanol to meet the countries demands for auto fuel.

RE: e85?
By TheDoc9 on 1/8/2007 5:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
E85 and mass market are an oxy moron, e85 can only be found in a couple of states. How are you supposed to fill up when you cant find a gas station with e85?

Exactly, but since you can only go 40 MILES anyway I would assume that the owner would end up staying next to an E85 pump, thankfully.

40 miles?
By Aquila76 on 1/7/2007 7:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
The car is said to reach 40 miles on one charge

40 mi.? That wouldn't even make it to the mall and back.

RE: 40 miles?
By Slick5150 on 1/7/2007 7:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
It can go 40 miles without turning the gas engine on, once you hit that point the gas engine turns out to keep the battery charged. You're not limited to traveling 40 miles though

RE: 40 miles?
By Kougar on 1/7/2007 8:16:56 PM , Rating: 2
So then basically you burn E85 all the time to keep the battery going. Doesn't exactly sound economical there, especially when comparing to other hybrids that are already on the market/roads.

I must be missing something, as I simply don't see the point of this car. You can just buy a GM car that runs on E85, and will easily do so much more efficiently than a small 3 cylinder engine could hope to achieve.

RE: 40 miles?
By niravsanghani on 1/7/2007 8:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
it actually doesn't burn E85 all the time, only when the battery is depleted. Once the battery is depleted, the engine uses the fuel to recharge the battery.

RE: 40 miles?
By Hypernova on 1/7/2007 9:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
I believe this is one of those plug-in hybrids where you can charge the battery from main's power plug. So if you do short trips frequently the engine can be used very little since it gets charged at home every night.

RE: 40 miles?
By xFlankerx on 1/7/2007 9:00:42 PM , Rating: 2

As far as I understand, the car will run 40mi on pure battery power, and then use the gasoline with a generator to recharge the battery, giving a maximum range of 640Mi (gasoline can power generator for 600mi).

"...better than 50 m.p.g. in fuel economy with regular unleaded or up to 525 m.p.g. with the E85 ethanol blend, GM estimates."

It also says that GM plans to have a working prototype this year, so the battery technology needed may not be that far off.

RE: 40 miles?
By fic2 on 1/8/2007 5:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
up to 525 m.p.g. with the E85 ethanol blend

I love government math - they only count the gasoline (15%) part and get to totally disregard the enthanol and all the energy it took to make the ethanol.

RE: 40 miles?
By HammerZ on 1/8/2007 6:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
I have a hard time believing that the 1L, turbocharged 3-cyclinder engine can provide adequate power to keep this car going at acceptable level for 600 miles, especially on E85. I am not even discounting the inefficiency of the generator and charging system. Even w/o the electrical HW (battery, generator, etc.), a car that can go for 600 miles is unusual. I'll believe it when the car is in production. Until then, this is purely concept.

Who Killed The Electric Car?
By Nehemoth on 1/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By peternelson on 1/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By masher2 on 1/8/2007 11:05:00 AM , Rating: 3
That movie is sheer science fiction, and has been thoroughly debunked on many occasions. Here's one of them, written by the editor of Edmunds and

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By lildog on 1/8/2007 6:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
While the movie did exaggerate a lot it is not 'science fiction'. Within days of the Ca decision to not require Zero emission vehicles GM and Toyota killed their electric vehicles. Both did their best to round up the vehicles and get them crushed. I find it quite interesting that the head of the board that made the decision to quit Zero Emission requirements stated for the record that he believed that hydrogen fuel cells were the way to go without disclosing that he now had a personal interest in promoting hydrogen fuel cells. He had been appointed to the head of a research project before he led the dismantling of the requirement under which the electric car was feasible.
As for the argument that the electric cars are not salable, I would like to note the following items. GM did not have large stocks of electric cars waiting to be sold. My understanding is that they leased every car they wanted to. Toyota also had backlogs of orders. I could not get on the ‘waiting list’ because they did not maintain any official waiting list. But at the dealers near me they sold everyone they could get their hands on. My friend still has his Rav4 EV and loves it. If you want a look at how well they are liked try buying one. I look at E-Bay once in a while and see them going for $40K used.
As for GM not making any money on the EV-1 and the technology just not being available, I would like to remind you that GM purchased the rights to a rotary engine called the Wankel to power the Corvette, and/or Vega. They dropped the plans because the engine would never be able to be mass-produced. It’s a good thing Mazda wasn’t told. We would never have had the RX-7. Mazda was willing to go trough the problems of getting a new technology into production, without a few government billions for research. Did they really want to get an electric car into production or did they just want a billion in research money?

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By sithech on 1/8/2007 10:22:30 PM , Rating: 2
The first item in the 'debunking' is nonsense. I would have gladly bought an EV1 when they were introduced, but the cars were not available to purchase at any price, there was no way to even get on the list to lease them.

So I waited three months on Toyota's list for one of the first Prius' and over a year on the list for a hybrid Highlander.

No reasonable business model says, "Oh, we will pretend produce a miniscule quantity so that we have no economy of scale. Let's make it really really hard for anybody to get one. Let's just rent it and not sell it, and then recall them an crush them so nobody can ask us to maintain them. Then we can say that nobody wanted them and we couldn't make a profit."

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By masher2 on 1/9/2007 9:14:11 AM , Rating: 3
> "The first item in the 'debunking' is nonsense. I would have gladly bought an EV1 when they were introduced..."

It's a simple statement of fact. Many people "expressed interest" in the EV1. But when it came time to committing cold hard cash, very few did. GM never managed to lease all the EV1s it did build, and it lost vast amounts of money on every one that it did. Which explains why GM recalled them with CA's legislative no longer had a business incentive to continue the bleeding.

The facts are very clear. The technology of the time was far too primitive for the EV1, or electric cars in general. It wasn't just GM...nearly every manufacturer researched and attempted to build electric cars. None of them succeeded. The fool that sees a conspiracy in this is the same one who believes in 400mpg carburetors and perpetual motion machines.

Critical point of article...
By TimberJon on 1/8/2007 10:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
There are Two critical points that I see.

1) The Volt is intended to be a 'Mass produced' vehicle. Meaning higher production numbers, and an affordable price tag. (unsure of what affordable is in this respect). Probably just lower technology involved than what Tesla has going for them, as well as other companies. Did the Volt even mention that it uses LiIon?

and 2) If half of the USA's population were to switch to, or modify their I.C.E. vehicle to use E85 (or better hopefully later, like Brazil) and the supply is there.. then that half of our driving population would be using 85% less oil. (+/- 5%)

Fine points & questions: >>Hydrogen is getting there. >>Can the Air-Car with the 4 omnidirectional turbines run on 100% ethanol? >>What about BioDiesel in Honda's supposedly Next generation ultra-low emissions Diesel engine? >>Does anyone own one of the vehicles with the Variable-displacement? and how is it fuel-wise?

Also what was not stated, and perhaps some other source can point out the detail.. >>How many gallons of E85 does this Volt hold in its cell? At 1L it should not use it up very fast, especially at a set RPM. >>How long will the gas engine run once it kicks in? And will the braking system utilize a recharge system as well?

RE: Critical point of article...
By masher2 on 1/8/2007 10:45:29 AM , Rating: 3
> "If half of the USA's population were to switch to, or modify their I.C.E. vehicle to use E85 (or better hopefully later, like Brazil) and the supply is there.. then that half of our driving population would be using 85% less oil. (+/- 5%)"

No, we wouldn't see nearly that large a reduction, because the US population uses oil for far more than gasoline. Furthermore, ethanol production itself uses huge amounts of oil directly. To produce enough ethanol for half the nation to use E85 would require vast amounts of additional corn to be grown, which entails additional fertilizer (made from oil), farm diesel, etc.

There'd still be a net reduction in US oil consumption, of course...on the order of 10% or so. But a far cry from the 43% the figures would seem to suggest.

RE: Critical point of article...
By djc208 on 1/8/2007 10:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you! I always love how everyone thinks that if we were to suddenly switch all cars off gasoline it would be the end of our oil woes. It would ease the pressure but we're not an oil economy just because our cars use it. So do all the planes, ships, and trains. We use it in plastics, as lubricants (even in the electric cars), and as base stocks for lots of different chemicals and compounds we use every day. Getting rid of gasoline in cars would ease our oil problems but it's not like we'd suddenly stop using oil.

Bright side
By Runiteshark on 1/8/2007 2:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
If you wreck it in a rollover, you can still drive it and nobody will be able to tell you wrecked!

Seriously though, the thing looks ugly. Like it accidently got something dropped on the roof to make it ultrasleek and ultra ugly.

Oh well, I guess I'm not one of those hip kids who want their cars to look like they were rendered at low-poly count.

RE: Bright side
By ajfink on 1/8/2007 2:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno, I really like the look of it. I hope GM can bring this thing to market, and do it well. Over the past few years their cars have become increasingly competitive with Asian cars again, and next year looks to be even better. I think this further brightens their future. I hope very hard that this isn't just publicity.

RE: Bright side
By masher2 on 1/8/2007 9:02:20 AM , Rating: 2
> "Seriously though, the thing looks ugly...."

Have you never seen a concept car before? This looks like all the rest of them-- outrageous styling features...none of which will never make it into production.

Just the next step
By djc208 on 1/8/2007 8:17:12 AM , Rating: 2
This is called a "series" hybrid, as opposed to the currently available hybrids which are "parallel" (gas and electric work together to power the wheels).
It's actually a very good way to extend the run a hybrid. You can use a small, very efficient engine to generate electricity since that's all it does. Since the engine only runs at one speed it can be tuned to make max power and minimum emissions at just that speed, unlike a normal or parallel hybrid where the engine must operate anywhere from idle to red line.
Plus when the tech is ready you just swap out the gas engine for a fuel cell, no massive vehicle redesign required.

RE: Just the next step
By myurr on 1/8/2007 9:59:49 AM , Rating: 2
Oh thank the maker, finally someone has managed to 'get' how this concept works. It doesn't do 40 miles on the battery and then switch to gas. Basically what this concept allows you to do is drive a huge big heavy car, fast, with a 1 litre engine. As soon as the battery is being drained (say below 90% capacity), on comes the small petrol engine to keep it topped up. Cruising at 55 miles per hour doesn't require the same amount of engine power as a 5 second 0-60 time. It is this disparity that the concept is exploiting.

In time expect the petrol engine to be replaced with a fuel cell or small gas turbine running on hydrogen.

RE: Just the next step
By AxemanFU on 1/8/2007 11:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
The concept is remarkably simple, and similar to what modern diesel electric trains do. The diesel runs a massive generator that powers high torque electric motors that power the train engine. We have the same thing here in a car, scaled down. Like mentioned, the best part is that the power source for the charger can be changed out over time. If they are thinking ahead, they will produce a modular design that allows the power pack or battery assembly to be easily replaced or upgraded.

You can use many things for a power pack for the generator/alternator/magneto that charges the battery: An turbine, a rotary engine, a small piston engine, a fuel cell.

You can use many fuels: gas, ethanol, any natural gas, ethanol/gas mixes, hydrogen, diesel, whatever the engine type will allow.

The weakness is still the battery many times can it be cyclically recharged? How much ability to hold charge does it lose over time? Etc.

Trust me, once you have a sufficiently powerful electric drive, you will never miss a gas engine. Smooth, quiet, fast, with a LOT of torque at all speeds. I'm not so sure how well it can accomodate towing loads if it is adapted to trucks, though. More load will increase the drain on the battery system.

Check out Diesels too
By jak3676 on 1/8/2007 12:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see a US company trying to do something to cut oil consumption, but based on some GM history I don't have high hopes. I expect Honda and Toyota will have new prodution cars running long before GM gets out of the concept stage.

I'm waiting to see some more news on the current diesel technologies too. I prefer the current generation of diesels to hybrids. Biodiesel also looks better as an alternative when compared to Ethanol.

When I look at the near future of hybrids and new diesels - It looks like diesel will hold an advantage for a while.

The biggest problem with biodiesel is its lack of market penetration when compared to ethanol. Ethanol takes a good amount of energy to produce from corn (cellose based ethanol is more efficient, but not popular in the US). Biodiesel can be produced very efficiently.

RE: Check out Diesels too
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
Why not make a diesel-hybrid that has an option of running on biodiesel? Add bluetec, and you have the cleanest car on the market (as electrics have offsite pollution- and much of the world's electricity is based off of coal)

By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
E85 is the new flash-term. Its benefits are lacking, its availability scarce, and future fleeting. They simply get emissions breaks if they add the capability (and are allowed to add more gas-guzzling models) This car's performance is lacking. 40 miles on a charge? I know the average american's commute to work is something around 33, but people do more than work. I guess the problem is battery technology- as car manufacturers shouldn't have to do everything themselves. Why don't they just make a car with minimal weight- aluminum frame, way less insulation- it'll be far more efficient, and safer too- aluminum doesn't rust, and its been proven that the more road-noise the driver hears, the more attentive to the road they are, and the less accidents (and you thought they didn't fill pot-holes because they were lazy...) If you look at the mileage cars in the 80's got with conventional technology, there has been far from a linear improvement, yet an exponential increase in weight- which is one of the leading inefficiency factors.

By rushnrockt on 1/8/2007 12:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree on E85 being just a gimmick, but as far as the rest goes, you need some more facts to help you out.

Yes, 40 miles on one charge and it has an internal combustion engine to recharge it, hence being called a hybrid. So no, its not limited to just that 40 miles, I thought that was quite clearly stated.

Yes, it is a known fact that with all the advances in engine technology and gas mileage improvement, the cars have been gaining weight the past 20 years. They also became FAR FAR more safe. All the reinforcement to provide head-on, side and roll over protection as well as airbags add considerable weight. Aluminum is still not as cheap as steel and just saying that it should be used doesn't mean that people will be able to afford it.

Please provide a source for the noise=attentive. Might be true for short trips, definitely a suspect for a long drive where the annoyance is bound to interfere with attentiveness.

Embrace the idea
By ambrosealum on 1/8/2007 12:58:21 AM , Rating: 3
I embrace GM attempting to bring on an electric technology. Sure others are ahead, but they are in countries where they only answer to their Board of Directors, not the lobbiest and politicians involved with the oil industry. Until we stop using so much oil, these cutthroat little countries who have oil will continue to finance world turmoil to keep prices high. When visiting Morocco, Africa seeing the poverty, despair, and hopelessness. But blocks away an oil sheik has 100 Mansion. Enough of that. I feel that we need to find a way in America with our ingenuity to find a better energy source. If GM feels that we will buy it, they will produce it and continue to improve the technology.

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