At lot has changed with the Chevrolet
Volt since it was first
shown in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show in early 2007.
Gone is the swoopy bodywork (which was deemed elegant, yet not
aerodynamic enough), support for E85 fuel (the Volt now requires
premium), and the gas tank was cut in size from
12 gallons to less than 8 gallons.
One thing that remained constant
through this constant state of change with the Volt program over the
past three years has been the electric driving range of the vehicle.
General Motors has always stuck to a 40-mile range for the vehicle on
battery power alone. Now, however, GM has revised the battery range
to "25 to 50 miles" according
to the Associated Press.
GM spokesman Rob Peterson says that the
revised range figures come as a result of extended testing including operating the Volt in extreme
temperatures. Other factors that will come into play include
whether the driver is traveling on flat or hilly roads, whether the
HVAC is operating, or if the driver has a lead foot.
By stating this change now, GM may
avoid complaints from customers in the future who don't achieve the
previously stated 40-mile battery range. On the flip side, Volt
owners who drive on absolutely perfect/level roads, don't run the AC,
and drive miserly can at least be delighted at the potential for 50
miles of battery-only travel.
The additional driving range provided by the gasoline
engine/generator remains the same at 300 miles.
GM expects to build 10,000
Volts by the end of 2011 at a cost of $41,000
each (before a $7,500 tax credit). The company hopes to boost
production to 30,000 the following year.
The Volt will be joined at a later date
by the Volt
MPV5 which offers a crossover body style and seating for 5. GM
stated that that the vehicle would have an electric driving range of
32 miles at its announcement – there's no word on what the revised figure will be once it reaches production.
quote: Peterson also says the 25 mile range is “pretty darn close” to the worst case scenario. This would be extreme cold temperatures, with the cabin heating system at full blast driven by a very aggressive driver going mostly uphill.
quote: But they made a marketing mistake by insisting on premium fuel. That shatters the "green" image they sought to create
quote: When a similar vehicle comes from Toyota or Nissan and as scale of production drops the price significantly, I'm in.
quote: I'm not sure I get this one, how does requiring premium fuel mean 'less environmentally friendly' than regular fuel? More expensive, yes, but less environmentally friendly?
quote: 2. They *KNOW* that they are a good 5 years behind GM in terms of developing an electric vehicle.
quote: Also, it's from ObamaMotors, with all the baggage that brings along. Too bad. When a similar vehicle comes from Toyota or Nissan and as scale of production drops the price significantly, I'm in.
quote: The Volt is roughly $10,000 more (after gov rebates)
quote: or just in time for the battery to die (electric vehicles batteries are generally being designed with a 10-year typical lifetime in mind).
quote: However until they can get the cost of batteries down (and ideally the energy density up) this sort of vehicle is going to remain a real niche product.