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
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
quote: 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.