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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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.

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