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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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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.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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