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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: GM Electric Concept Car
By Fox5 on 1/7/2007 11:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'd assume this GM concept car is not going to cost $100k like Tesla does. Tesla likely has a better engine and a bigger battery though.
Of course, we can tell the Volt won't be produced as is just by its looks, it's got that futuristic look that only concept cars have.

Seems silly to have a car that uses gas to charge a battery to power an engine. Assuming it even charges fast enough to charge the battery while the engine is being run, that's going to unnecessarily put a lot of wear on the battery, and wouldn't it be more efficient to skip that step and just power the engine directly with gasoline? Like hybrids currently do?

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By drebo on 1/8/2007 1:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Seems silly to have a car that uses gas to charge a battery to power an engine.

Why? This is how trains have worked for a very long time. Electic motors are more efficient and generate far more torque than combustion engines of any kind. It makes perfect sense.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By kkwst2 on 1/8/2007 10:55:11 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It's not silly at all.

Also, combustion engines ar inherently much more efficient at one RPM. Specifically, they are very inefficient at low-RPM, high torque loads. So, although it might seem strange, using an ICE to regenerate a battery has the potential to be much more effient than using an ICE to drive the powertrain directly. In fact, this concept is not new and is used in some industrial vehicles.

RE: GM Electric Concept Car
By aGreenAgent on 1/8/2007 3:36:46 AM , Rating: 3
Also, I think that wasn't to suggest that it would be the sole power source for the battery, but rather, their solution to the issue that there are few places to change their car, and it takes a long time...the gas engine just refills the battery as you drive. Then when that runs out of gas (probably after a looong time - I'd hope), you stop and fill it up.

Makes sense to me.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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