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: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By peternelson on 1/8/2007 3:50:54 AM , Rating: 0
Seen that movie it's great.

Shows how GM deliberately CRUSHED perfectly working EV1 cars.

Tesla is much more attractive than GM's new offering, particularly as they will launch cheaper more mainstream vehicles in future.

You know, I don't want a gas engine in my electric car.

In the UK we pay something like 5x the price of gas that the US enjoys, and more than france etc. That is putting a downward pressure on all our economy because all goods are transported. On the other hand, electric vehicles don't have to pay road tax here. Therefore I'd say the UK would be a perfect market to launch electric vehicles as they would tolerate higher prices because of the fuel savings an electric car will make.

Most people can live with a fairly short commute certainly covered by Tesla. If I want to drive to the other end of the country I could rent a gas guzzling hire car for the weekend.

This GM offering will be behind the pack once they bring it to market but better late than never.

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By masher2 on 1/8/2007 11:05:00 AM , Rating: 3
That movie is sheer science fiction, and has been thoroughly debunked on many occasions. Here's one of them, written by the editor of Edmunds and

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By lildog on 1/8/2007 6:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
While the movie did exaggerate a lot it is not 'science fiction'. Within days of the Ca decision to not require Zero emission vehicles GM and Toyota killed their electric vehicles. Both did their best to round up the vehicles and get them crushed. I find it quite interesting that the head of the board that made the decision to quit Zero Emission requirements stated for the record that he believed that hydrogen fuel cells were the way to go without disclosing that he now had a personal interest in promoting hydrogen fuel cells. He had been appointed to the head of a research project before he led the dismantling of the requirement under which the electric car was feasible.
As for the argument that the electric cars are not salable, I would like to note the following items. GM did not have large stocks of electric cars waiting to be sold. My understanding is that they leased every car they wanted to. Toyota also had backlogs of orders. I could not get on the ‘waiting list’ because they did not maintain any official waiting list. But at the dealers near me they sold everyone they could get their hands on. My friend still has his Rav4 EV and loves it. If you want a look at how well they are liked try buying one. I look at E-Bay once in a while and see them going for $40K used.
As for GM not making any money on the EV-1 and the technology just not being available, I would like to remind you that GM purchased the rights to a rotary engine called the Wankel to power the Corvette, and/or Vega. They dropped the plans because the engine would never be able to be mass-produced. It’s a good thing Mazda wasn’t told. We would never have had the RX-7. Mazda was willing to go trough the problems of getting a new technology into production, without a few government billions for research. Did they really want to get an electric car into production or did they just want a billion in research money?

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By sithech on 1/8/2007 10:22:30 PM , Rating: 2
The first item in the 'debunking' is nonsense. I would have gladly bought an EV1 when they were introduced, but the cars were not available to purchase at any price, there was no way to even get on the list to lease them.

So I waited three months on Toyota's list for one of the first Prius' and over a year on the list for a hybrid Highlander.

No reasonable business model says, "Oh, we will pretend produce a miniscule quantity so that we have no economy of scale. Let's make it really really hard for anybody to get one. Let's just rent it and not sell it, and then recall them an crush them so nobody can ask us to maintain them. Then we can say that nobody wanted them and we couldn't make a profit."

RE: Who Killed The Electric Car?
By masher2 on 1/9/2007 9:14:11 AM , Rating: 3
> "The first item in the 'debunking' is nonsense. I would have gladly bought an EV1 when they were introduced..."

It's a simple statement of fact. Many people "expressed interest" in the EV1. But when it came time to committing cold hard cash, very few did. GM never managed to lease all the EV1s it did build, and it lost vast amounts of money on every one that it did. Which explains why GM recalled them with CA's legislative no longer had a business incentive to continue the bleeding.

The facts are very clear. The technology of the time was far too primitive for the EV1, or electric cars in general. It wasn't just GM...nearly every manufacturer researched and attempted to build electric cars. None of them succeeded. The fool that sees a conspiracy in this is the same one who believes in 400mpg carburetors and perpetual motion machines.

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