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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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.

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