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The Volt's gasoline capacity is being cut back

The Chevy Volt plug-in electric car from GM is one of the most desired new cars coming to the market.  Everyone is talking about the car's stylish design and relatively affordable price tag of around $40,000; not bad compared to past electric cars totaling over $100,000 like the Tesla Roadster.  With sales planned to commence in 2010 and with a production model possibly being unveiled later this year, the buzz surrounding the new vehicle is intense.

One fact many people didn't know is that while the Volt is an electric car, relying first on charge, it also sports hybrid capabilities.  It features a 12 gallon gas tank, which will only kick in after the lithium-ion battery charge is depleted.  This could take the car 600 miles, thanks to an impressive 50 MPG projected fuel economy.

However, recent reports have revealed that GM, in a surprising development, has decided to cut down the fuel tank for the Volt.  They won't say what the new capacity will be, with the source only saying, "We're working on that." 

The original goal for the Volt was to equip it to drive 40 miles on a charge, without using any gas.  This goal remains, and appears to be within GM's reach.  Additionally, since 40 miles isn't long enough for road trips or longer business travels, GM planned on adding the gas tank.  The gas does not power a traditional engine, but rather a generator, which provides enough charge to keep going, and actually performs more efficiently than most gas-engines.

GM has revised the target range to 360 miles, which would seem to indicate a fuel tank of 7.2 gallons.  The reasoning behind the cut is research that cars, on average, travel less than 40 miles a day.  While GM wants to provide a comfortable extension to this range, it decided that 600 miles was a bit excessive.  Many older sedans don't get much more than 300 miles on a 12 gallon tank, so the new range seems relatively reasonable.

Jim Hossack, vice president of AutoPacific, an automotive research and consulting firm states, "Most cars today have a range of more than 300 miles and less than 400 miles before refueling.  GM didn't need a longer range because most bladders can't go 600 miles.  By going with a smaller tank it means GM can take weight and price out and make Volt a little lighter and a little cheaper, and that's what you call making an improvement."

While GM's move should help it cut costs and cut down slightly on the weight of the vehicle, it may come as a disappointment for fans of ultra-long treks across the country.  Still, it is dubious that such minor gripes will be able to do anything to quell the PR frenzy surrounding the Volt.

At its price tag, even with possible subsidies, the Volt will likely fall into the luxury car class.  However, with its wild popularity and sleek looks, it seems likely to thrive in this class, or whatever class it may enter as prices drop.

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Somewhat understandable
By Brandon Hill on 7/9/2008 10:26:53 AM , Rating: 5
I can somewhat see GM's point -- but I've got another point to add.

By removing 5 gallons of gasoline, you're removing dead weight that likely wouldn't be used. If most people that would be purchasing a Volt aren't driving more than 40 miles per day (I would fit into this category), and then plug in the vehicle at night to recharge it, the gasoline wouldn't even be touched.

So you could end up going weeks or a month or so not even using any gasoline and you'd be dragging around $50 worth of gas.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By JasonMick on 7/9/2008 10:35:08 AM , Rating: 5
Definitely. That's what I was hinting at with the weight cuts. It may not seem like much, but shedding 5 gallons of gas will shed around 30-40 lb.

Driving year round with an extra 30-40 of weight will effect your fuel economy, be it needing to charge more frequently or needing to fill up your tank more often.

Smart move from GM.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By 67STANG on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Somewhat understandable
By JasonMick on 7/9/2008 11:12:33 AM , Rating: 5
You'd like this article:

Through the 1990s, the average weight of Americans increased by 10 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The extra weight caused airlines to spend $275 million to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel in 2000 just to carry the additional weight of Americans, the federal agency estimated in a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

But in all seriousness, 360 mi +40 miles =400 mi range. That means if you were traveling at 60 mph, a pretty standard highway speed, you could drive for 6+ hours without refueling. To put that in context, that means if you leave at 6 AM, you have to stop at noon. Most people would anyways for lunch. Sure you could road warrior it with the former design and go for 10 hours (6 am till 4 pm) ... but how many people are really going to do that??

And if you don't want to stop for long, it takes about 5 or less minutes to fuel up, so what's the big deal?

Hopefully GM using the space savings wisely, though.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By othercents on 7/9/2008 11:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I would only put one or two gallons of gas into a Volt if I had one and rely on charging it every night. I also don't expect this vehicle to be the one I would use to drive across country. The only choice GM could make is allow for both tank options. Even without filling the tank up you still have the added weight of the metal for a larger tank. GM is working on making the dry weight of the vehicle as light as possible.


RE: Somewhat understandable
By Oregonian2 on 7/9/2008 2:23:51 PM , Rating: 3
GM is working on making the dry weight of the vehicle as light as possible.

Alternatively it gives a bit more room for the batteries (or whatever as they try to design a production version).

RE: Somewhat understandable
By 67STANG on 7/9/2008 12:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
Nice I was downrated for calling Americans chubby I suppose?

In all reality, who drives 60mph on the highway? In California, our highways are 70mph, and unless you do 80-85... you'll get run over. So, at 80mph you can drive at the most, 5 hours (assuming the 360mi isn't already including the 40mi electric range and that economy doesn't fall drastically at a speedier pace).

Not that big of a deal, but take my commute for example. I drive a Honda Accord 170mi per day round trip. I have to fill up every 1.5 days because the tank doesn't hold much fuel. On the weekends I put maybe 30mi putt putting around town.

I am no fan of GM, but I was actually hoping to get one of these specifically for their range. I could fill up twice a week instead of 3 or 4 times and run on electric all weekend around town. Now, the Volt is barely an upgrade in range over my Honda...

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Suomynona on 7/9/2008 12:19:58 PM , Rating: 5
A 170-mile commute is extremely rare. For the vast majority of people, this will be a benefit.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Spuke on 7/9/2008 1:02:32 PM , Rating: 3
That is a fairly rare length of commute even for Californians. My commute is 60 miles so I would be running the gas engine on the way home. At 360 miles, it's not much more than my present car (330-350 miles) but I imagine that 40 miles of that is on electric.

At 7.2 gallons, it would only cost me $33 to fill up versus $55 now. I wouldn't buy it for me but my wife could sure use a car like that. The only problem is the car costs ~$40k and, at that price, my truck would be cheaper to operate even at the present price of gas.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Jedi2155 on 7/10/2008 12:25:19 AM , Rating: 2
A lot more people than you think nowadays. I drive in SoCal for my commute (typically the 5,10,22,57,60,91,210 freeways) and I've noticed that pretty much all of them except for the 57 and more eastern parts of the 91 drive more less around 60-75.

I'm starting to notice a lot more drivers being more conscious of their speed as they've probably heard that speed affects their gas consumption and as result is slowing down. On the other hand....most drivers in the LA area don't really have choice with all the traffic....

I've spent a lot of my time on the road just examining the habits of drivers and I would wager that maybe 20% of the drivers at most consistently drive faster than 75 MPH, while most would just follow the speed of traffic than go significantly faster than it.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By kmmatney on 7/10/2008 2:19:02 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty much why I don't want to live in Califrnia now, even though I grew up there for 25 years. Who wants to commute that far - I have a reasonable 8 mile commute in Colorado, as do many other people who live in other states.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By RU482 on 7/13/2008 2:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
So you want GM to design the car to accommodate the 5% (170mi/day commute) of the market you reside in? This will add cost and decrease electric range for the other 95% of us that have sub 50 mile/day commutes

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Some1ne on 7/9/2008 5:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
Through the 1990s, the average weight of Americans increased by 10 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The extra weight caused airlines to spend $275 million to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel in 2000 just to carry the additional weight of Americans, the federal agency estimated in a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Those numbers are a bit sensationalist (and also they aren't adequately quantified, is it an extra 350 million gallons per year, or an extra 350 million gallons over the entire decade...I'm going to assume it's per year). To frame them in a different light, 350 million gallons of fuel is less than 2 gallons of gas per person in the U.S. (really it's closer to 1, but let's round up to 2 since not every person has their own car). So even at $5 per gallon, the smaller tanks are only saving each Volt owner $10 per year per 10 pounds of weight removed. Assuming each gallon of fuel weighs roughly 10 pounds, and that roughly 5 gallons are being removed, that's a net savings of < $50 per yer.

Personally, I'd rather have close to double the range than an extra $50. If you'd rather have the $50, you could always keep your 12 gallon tank only 7 gallons full.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By mvpx02 on 7/9/2008 3:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
Driving year round with an extra 30-40 of weight will effect your fuel economy, be it needing to charge more frequently or needing to fill up your tank more often.

While its not a terrible move, I think they should keep the larger tank and leave it up to the owner to choose how much to fill it. Living in the midwest, it does not snow enough for me to buy a car specifically for snow handling, but its nice to be able to fill up a large gas tank for the added traction that comes with the added weight. Again, 30-40lbs may not seem like much, but as you suggested, every bit helps.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Jedi2155 on 7/10/2008 12:56:07 AM , Rating: 4
I think the problem here is that most owners wouldn't be bothered to consistently monitor their gas levels to achieve maximum efficiency. They'll just fill it up and leave it at that not really thinking much afterward.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By theapparition on 7/9/2008 11:24:40 AM , Rating: 2
Another take on this is that if indeed people drive for a month or more without touching the gasoline, water condensation and stale gas could also begin to cause problems.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Master Kenobi on 7/9/2008 11:43:17 AM , Rating: 2
Heh, see what Ethanol(E85) or even 15% Ethanol gas does to your tank, and fuel lines if it sits untouched for a month.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Alexvrb on 7/9/2008 10:03:15 PM , Rating: 2
Engines, fuel tanks, and fuel lines in 99.9% of vehicles on the road are ready for ~10% ethanol (which is what most states are using or preparing to use in place of pure gasoline). My 1987 Caprice Classic Brougham with a 305 and a 4bbl q-jet stated in the manual that 10% ethanol was no problem, and I know people who ran it without any issues.

Unless you mean that fuel with alcohol is going to do something bad by sitting that regular gasoline would not? How is it sitting there for a month going to cause any harm? It certainly won't varnish that fast, especially not with enough alcohol in it.

As for not using the gasoline for longer periods of time, there are ways to mitigate possible storage issues. Gas stabilizer will allow for long term storage without any problem. Regarding condensation, its almost a non-issue if you use E85. If you use regular gasoline, use a bottle of "dry gas" or whatever label they want to put on the bottle once in a while. Use the kind that is 99% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol), its a lot more effective at removing water than methyl alcohol (methanol). Presumably you could let the battery run low once in a blue moon to burn some of the fuel off instead of or in addition to using additives to prolong the life of the fuel.

Oh, finally, 10% ethanol *can* produce bad results initially if a gas station doesn't properly clean out their tanks when they make the switch. The water that builds up at the bottom of the storage tanks just sits there when there's only gasoline. But if they don't remove it, the alcohol will mix with the water and you could then get a load of gasoline with an unacceptable amount of water that could cause your engine to run a little shitty until you put better gasoline in it.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By theapparition on 7/10/2008 11:56:59 AM , Rating: 2
While I somewhat agree with most of your points, here are some factors to consider:

1. My main point was: How was GM going to tackle old gas. We all know you can use stabilizer, and there's "gas dry" for water problems, etc. The average consumer knows nothing of these problems. GM must design for "least common denominator" (sad but true), and will have some sort of plan to tackle it. I'm curious what that plan is.

2. 15% ethanol can be very caustic to fuel systems. The OP's point of it sitting for longer periods of time in vehicles that weren't specifically designed for it is valid.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Alexvrb on 7/10/2008 6:59:39 PM , Rating: 2
Just like with any maintenence issue, they tell you what to do and when to do it. ;) Failure to perform required maintenence on any vehicle can void the warranty. They will probably only demand that you do something once in a long while, like once every year. Sounds like a good time to coincide with an oil change or other service. If you can't do it yourself, take it to the dealer or a good shop that can performance the service at the required intervals. Heck, for all we know the engine will pop up with a little "change gasoline" light every year. :D It would only come on for those who don't use any/much fuel.

As for 15% ethanol being caustic to fuel systems, there's a couple of points. For one, we're talking about a 2010 model. He seemed to imply that leaving an ethanol blend in this vehicle would cause harm by sitting for a little while. I assure you the Volt will be ready for a 10, 15 or maybe even higher % of ethanol in the fuel. The turbocharged inline 3 cylinder might even come as an E85-capable motor - as a modern turbocharged engine, it could adjust valve timing and boost levels on the fly depending on the ratio of alcohol to gasoline, allowing it to extract the most energy from any blend.

Second, where are all these stations in the USA pumping 15% ethanol? o.O I see 10% ethanol blends all over. I'm sorry for those being forced to use 15%, more ethanol means less energy (by volume), especially in a regular gas engine. But as far as ir damaging fuel systems goes? I haven't seen any evidence of that outside of very old vehicles with old rotten fuel lines. I'd say 99% of cars should be fine with 10-15%. Lines and seals which come into contact with fuel are (and have been for many years) constructed from materials which are ethanol-safe such as but not limited to: Steel, stainless steel, neoprene, nylon, nitrile, viton, and teflon.

Oh! I did think of one other issue which can occur when switching to ethanol blends. Your fuel tank accumulates filth/water/debris over time (particularly at the bottom), and the ethanol may dissolve some of it and it could get pumped into your fuel lines. The filter will catch it, but it could plug the filter.

So even if you do have a really old vehicle that isn't happy with the 10 or 15% ethanol, you can usually replace what is problematic with compatible materials such as modern hoses and lines. Or scrap the vehicle, or retrofit it with a newer engine. You might have an older carbureted vehicle and the seals in the carb just don't like it, and the replacement seals aren't worth a damn either. In that case, sorry bout your bad luck. :(

If I ever get to talk to the SMP rep again, I'll ask him about the seals in the carb rebuild kits and 15% ethanol. Maybe I can get ahold of Dayco as well, since most stores carry their hoses.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By mles1551 on 7/9/2008 12:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
Are the EPA mpg tests conducted with a full tank?
If so, would GM see an increase in the Volt's mpg rating as a result of lowering the weight carried?

I would think that GM is doing whatever they can to increase the number that will be seen on the window sticker b/c that is what most people will use to judge this car.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Visual on 7/9/2008 12:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
The user can simply not fill their tank to the top if they know they will not be using it, and get the same improved efficiency. There is no need for the manufacturer to take this decision on behalf of the user.

I doubt there are any noticeable material or manufacturing savings from this move, so the price wouldn't be affected.

I would understand lowering the tank capacity if that room was needed for something else - a larger battery pack, or a larger trunk space, or something. But doing it just because they thing most people won't be using it seems unnecessary to me. There is nothing gained from that.

RE: Somewhat understandable
By Jim28 on 7/10/2008 10:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
It is most likely a just in case manuever for more room for the batteries, and their stated reason for making the tank smaller is simply spin.

By Machinegear on 7/9/2008 10:46:16 AM , Rating: 3
One fact many people didn't know is that the Volt is actually a hybrid, not a pure electric car.

That statement is incorrect. The car is a pure electric car. Yes, it does have a gasoline powered generator onboard. But this generator is not necessary to the operation of the vehicle. Take it out, and the car still goes upto 40 miles on a single charge. A hybrid, like the popular Toyota Prius, doesn't go to far without gas in the tank. Hybrids require gasoline to put power to the wheels. The Volt does not.

RE: Hybrid
By pauldovi on 7/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Hybrid
By Natfly on 7/9/2008 12:02:35 PM , Rating: 4
Except that this form of series hybrid allows the ICE to only run at the most efficient rpm band. It also allows the ability to plug in to charge the battery. Getting further away from the inefficiency of ICEs is a good thing.

RE: Hybrid
By randomly on 7/9/2008 12:15:42 PM , Rating: 3
Actually the series hybrid has the advantage of increased efficiency. This is because the combustion engine can be optimized to run at a constant speed and load. The efficiency gains are substantial since you can get the ICE efficiency above 30% under those conditions, up from the mid teens. This is especially advantageous with turbocharged engines, which the Volt uses.

Other advantages are that the engine can be made considerably smaller than a parallel hybrid requires. You can also eliminate the complex transmission and power coupling mechanics required.

Parallel hybrids can theoretically run on electricity, but the battery pack is very small and is really only intended to allow recapturing energy from regenerative braking. The actual range under only electric power is tiny.

Your statement about only 1/3 of the vehicles power is moving the car is totally incorrect. All the power generated by the gas motor can be used to drive the car, there is no requirement to apply any of that power to charging the batteries. Your understanding of the system is apparently incorrect.

The negatives of serial hybrids are the need for a much larger more powerful electric motor and associated electronics, and a battery system capable of delivering much higher power. This makes them more expensive than current parallel hybrids. The biggest bottleneck at the moment is the battery technology.

RE: Hybrid
By pauldovi on 7/9/2008 1:45:59 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, in a series hybrid system you can operate the gasoline motor at higher efficiency. However you neglect to point out that all power generated by the gasoline motor is undergoes additional energy conversions before ever powering your car, you lose more if not all of the efficiency here. Your energy starts out as mechanical energy produced by the gasoline motor. Then it is turned into electrical energy by the electric motor (generator). Now your electrical energy in transfered into chemical energy stored in the battery. Finally the energy is again transfered into electrical energy and powers the car. At each stange there is an energy loss, and thus a reduction in efficiency.

I don't see how the engine can be made any smaller than an engine in a parallel hybrid system? Any simplicity gained by from the lack of a transmissino is recomplicated with the additional electric motor and motor controller required.

Small battery packs are not an inherent property of parallel hybrid powertrains. The batteries are not solely powered by regenerative braking! They can be kept topped off just like in a series hybrid powertrain, except they do not require the additional electric motor to be a generator.

My statement about 1/3 of the car total power being used is accurate. If you intend to have the gasoline motor keep the batteries charged after the initial battery charge has exhausted you need a gasoline motor with equal power of the drive electric motor. This gasoline motor is not connected to the driveline. Furthermore you need another electric motor acting as a generator connected to the gasoline motor, again with equal power output as the gasoline motor. So your car has a total of 3x the power, while only x is being used to propel the car! Series hybrid systems like the Volt do not connect the gasoline motor to the powertrain, like you suggest.

RE: Hybrid
By jRaskell on 7/9/2008 3:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
First, Lithium Ion batteries are very efficient. Depending on the charging circuitry, anywhere from 96-99% efficient, so you lose VERY little efficiency going from electric to chemical back to electric.

Second, the Volt is designed to run directly off the ICE generator as much as possible once it switches to that mode of operation (which actually occurs when the battery drop below 30% charge). It'll only switch back to battery when the driver demands greater acceleration than the ICE generator can provide. The Volt has a 120kw electric drive motor (160hp) and a 53kw generator tied to the ICE. For any cruising or light throttle driving, the motor can easily be powered directly by the generator, with any surplus current being used to recharge the battery. It's only when hard acceleration is required that the motor falls back onto the battery.

So, all that power does NOT go through additional energy conversions to drive the car, and even what power does go through additional energy conversions, does so at a very high efficiency and still maintains a much higher overall efficiency than a standard direct drive ICE is capable of.

RE: Hybrid
By ChronoReverse on 7/9/2008 3:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't Toyota's HSD be the best of both worlds?

It uses a CVT with an Atkinson's Cycle engine in its drive, thus fulfilling the "running in the band" part of the equation. The HSD is capable of routing the gas engine output to either charge the batteries or to power the wheels (parallel hybrid).

The Prius is capable of running fully on electricity, fully on the gas engine or both at the same time depending on the situation and to varying degrees. If it had a better energy storage system (i.e., lithium ion batteries), it pretty much could run as a serial hybrid if that's the best choice for the situation.

RE: Hybrid
By pauldovi on 7/9/2008 4:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
The total peak charge efficiency is no where nere 99%. It may reach the upper 90% in ideal conditions, which means very slow charge, but it doesn't do that in the Volt's application. However, even at an unrealistic 96% charge / discharge efficiency, you are losing almost 8% of the energy. This also does not include the loss of energy from the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy in the generator.

What you are describing is a parallel hybrid system, and the Volt does not have this. The volt is driven soly by the electric motor (160HP) and the ICE is not connected to the powertrain. The ICE is only connected to the generator (71HP) and is completely independent of the powertrain. The car cannot be driven by the ICE and it cannot be driven by the electric motor connected to the ICE.

Any power generated by the ICE must first be converted from mechanical to electrical energy, then from electrical to chemical energy, then from chemical to electrical energy, then from electrical to mechanical energy. Unless of course the Volt is capable of bypassing the battery pack when it is depleted (this is unclear and seems like it is not by details on wikipedia).

RE: Hybrid
By jRaskell on 7/9/2008 5:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing about what I described is a parallel system.

RE: Hybrid
By randomly on 7/9/2008 5:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yes in the series hybrid the ICE drives a generator which drives the electric motor which drives the car.

Yes there are additional steps of energy conversion. However they are highly efficient steps, in the +90% range.

NO the loss in efficiency from the added steps does not use up all the gains made up by the increase in efficiency of the ICE. The increases in ICE engine efficiency are very large.

In fact serial hybrids have long been in use in large cargo ships where they can attain efficiencies as high as 56%.

Don't forget than in the parallel hybrid you have to go through a transmission which is a similar +90% energy conversion stage.

The serial hybrid engine can be made smaller than a parallel hybrid because
1) it does not need to supply the peak power requirements needed by a parallel hybrid system.
2) the increased efficiency gains from running the engine at a constant load/RPM also increases the power density of the engine allowing you to get the same power out of a significantly smaller engine.

Your statement about only 1/3 of the cars power being available to drive the car is incorrect. There is no requirement to recharge the batteries once they are depleted enough to trigger the use of the ICE. All the power of the ICE can be used to drive the car. Batteries can be recharged or not charged at any rate you desire.

The motor being used as a generator, is just that. a generator. It's not another motor available to do work. Electric motors and generators are compact efficient pieces of gear. I wouldn't be surprised if the motor and generator combo in the volt is smaller than the engine in a prius.

If you feel your are so right about your analysis you should contact all those GM engineers and tell them they are wasting their time and hundreds of millions of dollars.

RE: Hybrid
By pauldovi on 7/9/2008 9:35:00 PM , Rating: 1
No ICE can obtain an efficiency of 56%. Have you ever studied the Carnot cycle? The most efficient engine in the world was a large steam power plant that achieved efficiency in the low 40's.

The ICE is not connected to the powertrain in the Volt! How can it drive the car?

If you have a 100HP electric motor that drives the car, a 100HP gasoline motor that powers the generator that charges the batteries, and a 100HP generator to charge the batteries you have 300HP total onboard but only 100HP actually drives the car. This is a huge waist!

A electric motor and a generator are the same thing. That is my point that it isn't another motor available to do work. That is why you are wasting available power on the vehicle.

We all know that every vehicle GM has ever made has been perfect! I guess that is why they lost $35 billion this past year.

RE: Hybrid
By randomly on 7/9/2008 10:11:51 PM , Rating: 3
Yes I'm fully aware of the Carnot cycle limitations on heat engines.

Do a little research on Serial hybrid systems for cargo ships. They are low speed diesel combine cycle systems and efficiencies do reach %56. These are not theoretical systems either but systems currently in use. Not really surprising considering fixed combine cycle power plants have efficiencies up to 60%.

I would never suggest that GM vehicles were even remotely perfect. But GM engineers are not stupid and serial hybrid technology has some significant advantages. This is why many other car companies are pursuing it including BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, etc. Maybe they know something you don't?

Your reasoning that a 100hp gasoline engine driving a 100hp generator driving a 100hp electric motor means you have 300hp worth of power available is goofy. You obviously aren't an engineer. If it upsets you so much just put the generator and the electric motor in a black box and rename it TRANSMISSION and be happy.

RE: Hybrid
By pauldovi on 7/10/2008 11:30:21 AM , Rating: 2
Just because a company does something does not mean it is the best way to go about it. Having an vehicle that is an "electric" vehicle may have implications beyond the mechanical advantages, such as tax advantages and appealing to the "green" side of people.

I never said 300HP was available. But 300HP worth of engines is onboard. Meaning you are paying for 300HP worth of engines, carrying around 300HP worth of engines, but only driving the car's wheels with 100HP. That seems pretty silly to me.

I do not rebuttle personal comments so I will not respond to that.

RE: Hybrid
By Jim28 on 7/10/2008 10:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
You still don't get it.
The drive engine is 120Kw, the ICE/generator combo outputs 53Kw.

Obviously the drive engine can't deliver peak power on the ICE/gen alone but it is more than enough to drive the car BY Itself as peak power is only needed when you put your foot to the floor.
When that happens the motor pulls additional current from the battery pack. The car does not wait for the battery to be completely depleted to start the ICE/gen so that it has a little punch left.
In normal driving the drive engine may need say 40Kw to run the car, the extra 13Kw the ICE/gennie outputs is used to charge the battery and overcome the 10-12% conversion losses.(guessing here but it should be in the ballpark.). See! Energy is conserved, the Thermo gods are happy!
In engineering terms this type of power plant is called a turboelectric drive. (At least on ships and ships don't use batteries.)

RE: Hybrid
By Jim28 on 7/10/2008 10:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
You don't know the math/mechanics of power transfer apparently.

Motor generater sets are above 90% efficient for power transfer and are widely used on ships for this reason and because they are damn near bulletproof.
And like the poster above said, the battery conversion factors are very high.

The difference that you can't see is that the gas engine is tuned and running in it's most efficient band, producing peak HP for a given fuel consumption. This gives you the ability to use a smaller engine with higher power output that can produce enough juice to power the car. It does not require three times the power, it requires at most 1.2 times the power for a good series hybrid design.
Also you don't need a tranny so that weight is saved and is more than enough to cover the generator weight.

RE: Hybrid
By William Gaatjes on 7/13/2008 8:29:33 AM , Rating: 2
I agree totally.

Using series hybrid has only advantages.

to some it up for Paul :

1. No heavy transmission, cuts weight and you can use this saved weight to put more batteries in the car.

No direct powercoupling/distribution stages to combine output power of ICE and electric.

2. i may be wrong but i am guessing that the electric motor is a 3 phase type and the electronics to switch these motors are highly efficiënt too. 3phase motors are widely used because of the high efficiëncy( if i am right > 90%) simple structure and high reliability/ endurance.
There is a big library of information for these electrical motors.

The generator is 3phase as well.

However you first have to normalize the output to the ICE to kw , this normalized output is input for the generator.
some loss for the generator , some loss for the electronics , some loss for the motor and some loss in bearings and so on. Yes nothing is 100% efficiënt.


you get ICE > generator > electronics > motor > drivetrain > wheels.

current cars :

ICE > transmission > drivetrain > wheels.

You would say that there are less conversion steps, but the efficiëncy is so much lower for the ICE that the volt still wins.

I am wondering why they didn't go for motor driven wheels.
You know, where the motor is build inside the wheel it self.
This would give 4 smaller motors and a easier way of getting energy back when braking. It would also save some drivetrain weight cause you don't need that anymore too.

3. As has been sad above the ICE runs constantly at 1 constant rpm value where the efficiëncy is at it's highest.
But there are more advantages. 1 constant rpm means you can
tune the engine also for vibrations, weight, maintenance, reliability/endurance and as mentioned output power.
I am sure there is some electronics after the generator that monitors the ICE to make sure that the load the generator exposes to the ICE does stay within an upper ans a lower limit. The key to make this all work is the electronics to adjust and control the ICE. And the car manufacturers have a lot of experience with that.

RE: Hybrid
By RU482 on 7/13/2008 2:57:59 AM , Rating: 2
If I remember correctly, a reason GM is going with a Series Hybrid in the Volt is so they can drop various generators into the system without major modification of the car. Early on, they touted the ability to have a standard gas generator, a "designed for E-85" generator, a fuel cell generator, or whatever else tickles their fancy.

Flexibility for a global platform

RE: Hybrid
By randomly on 7/9/2008 11:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually you are incorrect.

a pure electric vehicle has no gasoline engine on board. The Tesla is a pure electric vehicle.

The Volt is known as a serial hybrid, or plug-in hybrid.

That is the currently accepted terminology in the field.

Not excited
By lifeblood on 7/9/2008 10:31:07 AM , Rating: 1
Just how much weight and cost can be saved by reducing the size of the gas tank? Only a few pounds and a few dollars I suspect. I could be wrong, but the savings doesn't seem that much. Additionally, the thought that 300 miles is sufficient because thats what older cars get is flawed. Your not competing for sales with older cars, your competing with current hybrids from Toyota and Honda. You need to have a range equivalent to them.

On the personal preference side, I really don't like the current design pictured above. The windows are too small giving insufficient visibility. I like to be able to see where I'm going and whats around me. The above design is definitely a case of form over function. Maybe it helps aerodynamics though.

RE: Not excited
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2008 10:34:04 AM , Rating: 2
The final version will be different than that. I hope they don't change it too much though because I think it looks awesome.

RE: Not excited
By Adonlude on 7/9/2008 12:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
Im going to guess that the lights wont be blue. Police dont like citizens with blue lights on their cars. The blue lights definatly help make that picture look cool though.

RE: Not excited
By Cosworth on 7/9/2008 10:44:37 AM , Rating: 2
Having been in a Volt before, I can say that I had no problem seeing around me. Though it was packed into a large garage of other concepts, so I can't really tell you what it feels like to drive.

RE: Not excited
By Alexstarfire on 7/9/2008 11:40:38 AM , Rating: 2
In a non-production model. Meaning that it's not going to be the same when they release it to the public anyways.

RE: Not excited
By randomly on 7/9/2008 11:53:03 AM , Rating: 3
The pictures look quite similar to the Dodge Magnum, which is one of the worst cars I've ever been in for visibility. Let's hope the design is not like a typical GM car.

The technology is promising, but if they saddle it with the usual Style at the cost of functionality and reliability that GM tends toward it may put such a damper on it's popularity that Toyota or Honda will have enough time to come out with a good version of a serial hybrid and steal the market before GM gets any traction.

I have confidence in the technology, but I'm less sanguine about GM's ability to build a decent car out of it.

RE: Not excited
By Cosworth on 7/9/2008 12:13:24 PM , Rating: 5
I'm hoping the exterior styling stays close to what it is now, but who knows what they have in store. As far as the interior styling, here's a bit for all to see. It was quite nice, actually stitched, and it wasn't all hard rubber and plastic.
Sorry, my camera isn't the best.
And just for the heck of it, two Volts.

RE: Not excited
By randomly on 7/9/2008 12:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
interesting. thanks for the pics.

RE: Not excited
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2008 1:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
That will not be the production interior. I can garuantee you that. That's a typical concept car interior. All futuristic looking.

RE: Not excited
By Cosworth on 7/9/2008 1:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
True, but it's a better glimpse of what it might look somewhat like than anything else that I've seen.

RE: Not excited
By puckalicious on 7/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Not excited
By Cosworth on 7/9/2008 3:24:08 PM , Rating: 4
Notice, I said it was packed in a garage and I was unable to drive it.... And, yes, A Volt. Here's a picture of two sitting in the same warehouse... Or maybe there is only one, that can bend space.

RE: Not excited
By Chernobyl68 on 7/9/2008 6:03:52 PM , Rating: 1
Agree with the windows. I'd like to see how my 6'2" frame is going to fit in that car. Haven't see a hybrid yet I felt comfortable in.

40 Miles a day?
By mrdeez on 7/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: 40 Miles a day?
By KazenoKoe on 7/9/2008 10:45:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'd imagine that the electric engine would turn off whenever the vehicle was stopped, so 40miles should still be roughly 40miles depending on how you're using other power draining devices such as AC.

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By Sulphademus on 7/9/2008 11:12:28 AM , Rating: 1
Probly be alot less after Im done getting in 2x 1500 watt amps to power the 4x 15" subs Im throwing in the trunk.

(No, I wouldnt really do that but you see my point.)

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By Hoser McMoose on 7/10/2008 12:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
Well for comparison the motor is 120kW, so those 3kW worth of amps will have an impact, but possibly less of an impact than one might think.

The Volt should also be better in this regard than a conventional ICE vehicle, because in the Volt the electricity would be coming directly from very efficient batteries while in a conventional gasoline engine the electricity for your amps is coming from gasoline, being burned in the engine and then converted to electricity through your alternator.

Air conditioning is a similar story. Using air conditioning burns gasoline in a ICE car or it takes battery power from the Volt. Either way you're using energy. On the other hand heat is "free" in a ICE car because there is so much excess heat produced as wasted energy from the inefficient engine. On the Volt there will be much less wasted heat, likely not enough to provide adequate heating for winter environments without using extra electricity specifically for that purpose.

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By skiboysteve on 7/9/2008 11:23:20 AM , Rating: 3
no such thing as an electric engine (afaik) i think you mean the electric motor. which draws no current when its not being used.

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By theapparition on 7/9/2008 11:27:24 AM , Rating: 2
Unlike current cars which get best mileage on the highway and worst in the city, an electric car should get relatively the same in the city.

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By Ramshambo on 7/9/2008 11:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it still be pretty much the same? The electric motor would still have to start up and push the car from a dead stop each time. Wouldn't that take more energy then scooting along on the highway?

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By MozeeToby on 7/9/2008 12:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
Starting from a stop does take more energy but like other hybrids the Volt is able to recharge the batteries during braking converting some of that energy back into electricity.

Unlike other hybrids, the Volt has a much larger battery which allows more energy to be stored as well as a higher power motor which should more energy to be recovered, especially during hard braking.

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By jRaskell on 7/9/2008 1:04:34 PM , Rating: 3
The size of the battery has zero impact on the gains available from regenerative braking. The limitations aren't in the total power capacity of the battery, but in it's relatively slow recharging capabilities. Batteries are only able to get around 10-15% of the available potential energy out of regenerative braking because they can't store the charge as fast as it's being generated.

We either need a completely new battery design capable of rapid charging (highly unlikely), or a capacitor based system that by it's very nature has a very high charge rate. The current downside to capacitors though is they have a relatively low total power capacity compared to batteries. Some form of hybrid capacitor/battery system would be the best of both worlds though.

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By MozeeToby on 7/9/2008 2:29:08 PM , Rating: 2
I would assuming that for the larger battery GM would be using several battery packs in parralel with each other, rather than having one huge battery. Double the capacity of a Prius by adding an identical battery pack and you could also double the charge rate and the energy recovered from breaking (as long as you could charge both batteries at once).

RE: 40 Miles a day?
By mvpx02 on 7/9/2008 3:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
or a FlyWheel could be used in the place of the capacitor you mentioned, that'd be nice ^_^

By clovell on 7/9/2008 11:46:10 AM , Rating: 2
So GM has upped the price to ~$40k now, eh? Forgive me my cynicism here (I'm as excited about this car as anyone), but if this keeps up, the Volt won't make it to the showroom with a tag under $50,000 or so.

RE: $40K?
By excelsium on 7/9/2008 12:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
What's most peoples car budget these days? $10-20k?

RE: $40K?
By DFranch on 7/9/2008 12:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
I might seriously think about it at 30k, but at 40k it seems more cost effective to get a regular car. Maybe if I drove like 20000+ miles a year, but at around 15000 miles I don't think I will ever recoup the initial investment.

RE: $40K?
By Spuke on 7/9/2008 2:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
20k miles a year driving a 1/2 ton pickup truck won't make it cost effective either.

Truck costs not including maint or insurance:
Payment $350/month with $5k down payment at 7.5%
Gas $320/month

Volt costs not including maint or insurance:
Payment $765/month with $5k down payment at 7.5%
Gas $132/month

RE: $40K?
By jRaskell on 7/9/2008 1:09:05 PM , Rating: 2
Considering GM hasn't even unofficially announced a sticker price for the Volt, they haven't upped anything. Any numbers you may have read about so far have been nothing more than speculation on the media's part.

RE: $40K?
By Spuke on 7/9/2008 2:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
Any numbers you may have read about so far have been nothing more than speculation on the media's part.
No, actually Bob Lutz said in an interview that the car won't be $30k but could be as much as $40k but he wasn't sure.

RE: $40K?
By jRaskell on 7/9/2008 4:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
Interviews are interviews. They can be informative, but are in no way binding. Nothing against Bob Lutz, but if we look back over the last few years, we'll see a number of statements he's made that, through no fault of his own, ultimately didn't hold true. That's the nature of an ever changing market.

You're right that it is more than speculation on the media's part though, so I was incorrect about that, but I still wouldn't constitute statements made in an interview as even unofficial announcements.

RE: $40K?
By Spuke on 7/9/2008 5:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
but I still wouldn't constitute statements made in an interview as even unofficial announcements.
Considering that he is in a prominent position with the company that's building this car AND is more than privy to what's going on with it, I would take his statements as official. If he says they can't do it for $30k, it ain't gonna get done. Now whether or not the price is $40k remains to be seen and in HIS statement he says he doesn't know how much exactly it will be. But it won't be $30k.

Now, if he is dead nuts wrong and the car is introduced at $30k, guess what? You STILL won't be able to get it for $30k. Why? 10,000 units a year AND all the eco wannabes, the eco I-feel-guilty, and just plain those with enough money to muscle others around will line up around the block to get one.

If people were willing to pay upwards of $10k over for a car (Solstice/Sky) that's just a weekend toy that was going to be produced in quantities of 30,000 units/year, just imagine what people will be willing to pay for a practical sedan that's on the forefront of the "green" fad.

RE: $40K?
By clovell on 7/9/2008 6:48:54 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, okay. I was more or less lamenting the relentless march on what we'll just agree to call 'price estimates' from $25k up to where we are now.

Gas tank size decrease is confusing
By Creig on 7/9/2008 10:47:29 AM , Rating: 1
Dropping the gas tank size from 12 gallons to 7.2 gallons isn't saving any appreciable weight OR volume. The new tank size is 4.8 gallons smaller than the original. 4.8 gallons of gasoline only weighs 29.3 lbs and takes up a whole 0.64 cubic feet of space.

To me, those figures seem a small price to pay for going 600 miles per tank rather than 360, especially for those people who regularly go for long hauls and would prefer not having to stop to fuel up in order to get there. As someone who used to make two 400 mile jaunts per week, I know which size tank I would prefer.

RE: Gas tank size decrease is confusing
By Parhel on 7/9/2008 12:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. Who buys a car expecting to get 600 miles on a single tank of gas? My Grand Prix gets 320. Besides, the Volt is a sports car . . . every added pound counts. And if you require 600 miles between fill-ups, you are likely looking for a different type of vehicle anyways.

RE: Gas tank size decrease is confusing
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2008 12:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
Um...its a hatchback. Where did you get the idea that its going to be a sports car?

RE: Gas tank size decrease is confusing
By Parhel on 7/9/2008 1:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get the idea that its going to be a sports car?

I think the Volt is supposed to have a 0 to 60 time of between 5 and 6 seconds. Not drag racing speeds, but solidly in sports car territoy.

RE: Gas tank size decrease is confusing
By Spuke on 7/9/2008 2:25:59 PM , Rating: 2
GM said that Bob misspoke and the actual 0-60 target will be 8.5 to 9 seconds. Who knows what it will actually be.

RE: Gas tank size decrease is confusing
By Parhel on 7/9/2008 4:19:54 PM , Rating: 2
GM said that Bob misspoke and the actual 0-60 target will be 8.5 to 9 seconds.

Hmmm . . . you're right. I wasn't aware of that. I thought the 5 - 6 second figure was valid. At least it looks like a sports car. :)

By Spuke on 7/9/2008 7:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have the 5-6 second time. It would make the car competitive with the BMW 328i but would get MUCH better gas mileage.

By Hoser McMoose on 7/10/2008 12:42:34 AM , Rating: 2
Looking at the weight, the power of the car and comparing it to other pure electric drivetrains, I think the 8.5 to 9 second figure is some serious sandbagging. I don't think it'll hit 5 seconds, but I'd be surprised if the final numbers are over 7 seconds for 0-60mph times.

Electric motors have much better power bands than gasoline engines and should accelerate a vehicle much better. Rough guesstimate, it should offer acceleration at least close to what the Honda Accord V6 (about 6 seconds flat 0-60mph) and Toyota Camry V6 (about 6.5 seconds 0-60mph) offer.

Of course we'll need to wait for final numbers.

By freaqie on 7/9/2008 10:24:11 AM , Rating: 2
7.2 L. that should be 7.2 gallons right.

anyway i think that 360 should be more than enough.
í'd liked 400+ but i can live with 360.
one needs to stretch their legs every 2 hours or so anyway.

RE: error?
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2008 10:32:47 AM , Rating: 2
Either way the fuel economy is the same. Heck it might be a little better since less fuel equals lower weight. It always helps the battery last longer when the tank is full.

Also one thing to think about with this car is because you can drive it without using any gas, is that regardless of the size of the fuel tank, you probably don't want to keep the tank full for average driving. Because gasoline only lasts so long. So a good idea would be to keep around 2 gallons in the tank since 100 miles should get you to a gas station. Only fill the tank when you want to take a longer trip.

Cheaper oh come on?
By rumptis on 7/9/2008 10:34:02 AM , Rating: 4
Change the tank size will not really affect the price, I suppose it might cost them 15 bucks less or something but nothing that's going to really make any kind of difference.

As for lighter its really the same story, gas tanks don't weight that much but the car will be lighter cause you won't be able put as much fuel in it.

Probably what happened is they needed more room for the batteries or something else.

RE: Cheaper oh come on?
By 67STANG on 7/9/08, Rating: 0
keep it as an option
By Screwballl on 7/9/2008 11:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
I hope they keep the 12gal tank as an option for the travelers. When I do my traveling, I tend to stop every 250-300 miles for a quick restroom break and stretch, which on most SUVs I have traveled in has been the extent of their gas tank. Would be nice to be able to not worry about gas except every 600-650 miles...
Also having some sort of solar pad on top would help lessen the amount of gas needed by extending the 40 miles to possibly 45 or 50, like what they're doing with the Prius... and maybe an emergency mode that cuts out all extraneous power (radio, AC, heater, interior lights) and the car runs entirely on the solar (or reserve battery power) at 25-35mph to get you to a gas station. Better to have a backup option than to have to walk 20 miles or call a tow truck to go 20 miles to the next gas station...

RE: keep it as an option
By bobsmith1492 on 7/9/2008 11:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
From comments in the last Volt post and/or the Prius post regarding solar cells, they wouldn't help nearly as much as you seem to think - in fact they would be all but unnoticeable except for price. :(

By aftlizard on 7/9/2008 11:01:26 AM , Rating: 2
The other day I made a well reasoned post on why the Volt would be economical based off of now faulty data! For some reason I thought it was 150mpg, sheesh was I way off. Kick me please.

By whirabomber on 7/9/2008 12:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
When someone offers a hybrid car in that range, then it will end some financial woes. For $40,000 the Volt won't be fiscally comparable to a equivalent straight gas guzzling $30,000 for at least 2-3 years. For comparison, if the fusion uses the escape hybrid's power plant and gets the expected 38/30mpg you would only save 1/2.5ish gallons of gas every 4 business days if you drive the Volt. So using rough estimates you'd only save about $20-30 per month and pay $10k more for a volt over a hybrid fusion. And the hybrid fusion is projected to be out in 2009.

Dailytech - wrong, wrong, wrong
By theBike45 on 7/9/2008 1:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
Frist off - this change from the original dual tank to single tank configuration was decided upon and known 4 MONTHS AGO, people! Why are you claiming this is news? Is it because other out of touch news media posted this on the web? What this implies is that dailytech is publishing informatio that it cannot verify. This conclusion is made concrete by the text, which obviously doesn't know the MAIN REASON for the change - the text talks about periperal
things like cost, etc, which had nothing to do with the decision. If you are talking form total ignorance, how about keeping quiet and not filling everyone's heads with lies? In case you may have misunderstood, the purpose of the media is to educate, not make the public even dumber,
as you seem intent upon doing. The real eason the gas tanks were reduced (and additional engioneering of the fuel system carried out) was to AVOID gasoline going bad from being left in the fuel tank for too long a period of time.
There are tons of drivers out there (78% of commuters alone) who won't need 40 miles of driving range and are likely to take years to empty a tank of gasoline. Making the gas reservoir smaller is but one, of several, steps to try to prevent this from happening. And now you know the real story and can dismiss al of the text in this article as typical internet poppycock.

Huge Undertaking
By psece on 7/9/2008 5:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
GM is cutting out weight anywhere it can with this car. So while 30 pounds and the small amount of space that it takes up doesn't seem like much, a car is made up of thousands of such parts. If GM is applying weight and space reduction to every component it can, that will directly influence efficiency.

All the engineers I have talked to said that the Volt drivetrain is essentially set in stone. All they are doing is software and validation. What they are working on is the things that no one thinks about as taking power: Climate controls, windshield wipers, windows, lights, etc. I cannot even imagine the numbers of people they have focused on problems that were already solved on normal ICE automobiles.

This is a commuter car first and a extended range car second. While people are complaining about the price, there will be plenty of people willing to pay the price.

By nofumble62 on 7/10/2008 2:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
in case of battery fire in your garage at night.

By kilkennycat on 7/10/2008 10:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
.. GM is obviously joking, or else more likely in the end-stages of dementia...

A commuter-car for the very wealthy to show how "green" they are. While they are not reclining in their jacuzzis or swimming-pools or enjoying the air-conditioning in their 6,000+ sq-ft houses.

If the Volt is to be GM's savior, they are already dead. Wait for the hype to drive the stock-price up, then short-sell....

Isn't it odd
By tarpon on 7/20/2008 8:57:21 AM , Rating: 2
That with all the technical understanding it is likely to take to own one of these electrical oddities, the driver cannot figure out that hauling around a few extra gallons of fuel is weight you might not need, unless of course, you need it?

Weird explanation for a weird sort of car. Do you think anyone will actually buy one, and why? I figure this was a publicity stunt that blew up in someone's face. Typical of show cars and experiments.

With a range of 40 miles on batteries, that means it's mostly useless for most people, isn't the real problem there is no known battery technology capable of powering cars? Seems so to me. I saw a video short where GM was saying they were to use NiMH batteries as the others weren't ready for use. That's it. NiMH flashlight batteries ... Like their Tahoe uses. Batteries are the tough problem, motors are well understood and capable of powering cars easily.

After 20 years work, lean burn direct injection looks like it's finally here, a much better choice for most people.

By RabidDog on 7/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: ummm...
By Sunrise089 on 7/9/2008 11:02:30 AM , Rating: 1
1) Few hybrids are affordable in a net-savings sense - people buy them for image and other intangible reasons.

2) All Hybrids have batteries that will go bad eventually.

3) The Volt does have two advantages that make it unique - it can get much better than the equivalent of 50mpg on its first 40 miles of travel, and those 40 miles of energy can be produced cleaner at a large powerplant than in a small portable engine.

RE: ummm...
By Parhel on 7/9/2008 12:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
Few hybrids are affordable in a net-savings sense

That's not necessarily true. At today's gas prices, the premium on many hybrid models will pay for itself, resulting in net-savings, in just a few years. Here's an article to that effect that was posted on this board a few weeks ago:

people buy them for image and other intangible reasons

Of course some people do, but I doubt it's more than a small percentage. All of the people I know who own hybrids bought them to save money on gas, and I will definitely buy one for my next car because I'm very uncomfortable with where gas prices are going.

All Hybrids have batteries that will go bad eventually.

I could just as easily say that all cars have engines that will go bad eventually. I haven't heard any reliable studies that show that hybrid batteries, in general, will have to be replaced within a vehicle's lifetime.

RE: ummm...
By randomly on 7/9/2008 11:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
The old batteries are not an environmental disaster. They would be recycled. Regardless of whether it is the environmentally safe and correct thing to do but because the batteries have a very high value of materials in them. They will be recycled because there is a lot of money to be made doing that. Besides these are LiFEPO4 batteries and do not contain heavy metals like previous hybrid batteries.

RE: ummm...
By Alexstarfire on 7/9/2008 11:45:02 AM , Rating: 3
You morons need to start realizing that power plants emit fewer pollution particles per energy unit than cars. It's not that much more than common sense to figure it out. Bigger stationary object that has tons of space to put pollution control in, or a small tiny car where space, weight, etc play a big factor in what goes towards pollution control. And yes, I'm talking about the worst for of power plants too, coal. Other forms are far more greener for the environment.

RE: ummm...
By MozeeToby on 7/9/2008 11:54:06 AM , Rating: 3
Do you have any idea how innefficient car engines are? An average car engine is ~20% efficient. An old power plant is around 50% with newer, combined cycle plants getting up to 85% efficiency. You could get your electricity from a coal power plant and still produce less polution and waste than a normal car, even with transmission and charging losses.

RE: ummm...
By randomly on 7/9/2008 12:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
The newest combined cycle plants only get up to about 59-60%, not 85%.

Besides, put a few Kw of solar panels on the roof of your house and you've brought your car emissions down to zero.

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