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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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e85?
By shabby on 1/7/2007 7:22:45 PM , Rating: 3
E85 and mass market are an oxy moron, e85 can only be found in a couple of states. How are you supposed to fill up when you cant find a gas station with e85?




RE: e85?
By Kurz on 1/7/2007 7:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Hence the 3 to 5 years before its avalible.


RE: e85?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:43:02 PM , Rating: 1
LOL. If all the corn crops in the country were converted to ethanol- theres not enough ethanol being produced to get e10 everywhere! If all the corn in the country were converted to ethanol it would not be enough for mass distribution of E85. Don't through that cellulose crap at me either- so far its been a deadend, the deadlines and estimates on its availability are stupid too- it'll be ready when a cheap enough of a microbe can be found along with a catalyst...


RE: e85?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:44:22 PM , Rating: 1
we're barely able to produce E10 everywhere: if all the corn crops were used to make E85, it wouldn't be close to full distribution....


RE: e85?
By jp7189 on 1/8/2007 1:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Patrick Bedard wrote a column in Car and Driver a few months ago that states exactly that.. there isn't enough farmland to produce the ethanol we would need to switch everyone to E85.


RE: e85?
By moonraker3000 on 1/8/2007 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with E85 is that it ONLY has 85,000 btu's of energy, whereas normal Gasoline has around 110,000.

E85 only has about ~75% of the energy that normal gasoline has, which means that E85 is not as effecient as many people make it out to be... this is especially funny for cars that use E85 cause their [the people] cars need to get refueled about 35% more...

lol i'm never going to buy this car now because it uses E85, not only is E85 ineffecient, it's not even available where I live!!! (and trust me i wanted this car... I would llove an electric for around town and stuff)


RE: e85?
By Hoser McMoose on 1/9/2007 3:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol also has a higher octane rating and can work with much higher compression ratios and therefore higher thermal efficiency. Given the way they are using this engine at a fixed RPM rate and that it's a small 1L turbocharged engine, GM *SHOULD* be able to make use of this higher efficiency. Getting such an engine to within 10% of the fuel efficiency of a straight gasoline engine shouldn't be much of a problem.

Of course, that does nothing to solve the issue of E85 fuel being almost non-existent in most parts of the US and abroad. Nor does it solve the issue of ethanol from corn being mainly a scam to subsidize farmers and really being an extremely poor fuel source.


RE: e85?
By moonraker3000 on 1/8/2007 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with E85 is that it ONLY has 85,000 btu's of energy, whereas normal Gasoline has around 110,000.

E85 only has about ~75% of the energy that normal gasoline has, which means that E85 is not as effecient as many people make it out to be... this is especially funny for cars that use E85 cause their [the people] cars need to get refueled about 35% more...

lol i'm never going to buy this car now because it uses E85, not only is E85 ineffecient, it's not even available where I live!!! (and trust me i wanted this car... I would llove an electric for around town and stuff)


RE: e85?
By ubbadabba on 1/7/2007 7:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would assume that it runs also without alcohol in gasoline.


RE: e85?
By S Random on 1/7/2007 9:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
e85 is as above stated 85% ethonol taken from such things as corn, and 15% gassoline. An engine that runs on it is also backward compatible. i believe that the 08 tahoes are going to use this (i believe an option that costs about $1k more then the reg gas).

I hope this works better then hybrids that get 30% less mpg's then advertised, if anyone is looking for a good fuel efficiant vehicle id suggest a VW TDI


RE: e85?
By ThisSpaceForRent on 1/8/2007 8:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
Ethanol sucks as an alternative fuel. There is far less heat energy obtained when it burns, hence the crappy MPG rating of the hybrids that burn it. There is also the problem with being able to supply enough ethanol to meet the countries demands for auto fuel.


RE: e85?
By TheDoc9 on 1/8/2007 5:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
E85 and mass market are an oxy moron, e85 can only be found in a couple of states. How are you supposed to fill up when you cant find a gas station with e85?



Exactly, but since you can only go 40 MILES anyway I would assume that the owner would end up staying next to an E85 pump, thankfully.


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