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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Critical point of article...
By TimberJon on 1/8/2007 10:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
There are Two critical points that I see.

1) The Volt is intended to be a 'Mass produced' vehicle. Meaning higher production numbers, and an affordable price tag. (unsure of what affordable is in this respect). Probably just lower technology involved than what Tesla has going for them, as well as other companies. Did the Volt even mention that it uses LiIon?

and 2) If half of the USA's population were to switch to, or modify their I.C.E. vehicle to use E85 (or better hopefully later, like Brazil) and the supply is there.. then that half of our driving population would be using 85% less oil. (+/- 5%)

Fine points & questions: >>Hydrogen is getting there. >>Can the Air-Car with the 4 omnidirectional turbines run on 100% ethanol? >>What about BioDiesel in Honda's supposedly Next generation ultra-low emissions Diesel engine? >>Does anyone own one of the vehicles with the Variable-displacement? and how is it fuel-wise?

Also what was not stated, and perhaps some other source can point out the detail.. >>How many gallons of E85 does this Volt hold in its cell? At 1L it should not use it up very fast, especially at a set RPM. >>How long will the gas engine run once it kicks in? And will the braking system utilize a recharge system as well?

RE: Critical point of article...
By masher2 on 1/8/2007 10:45:29 AM , Rating: 3
> "If half of the USA's population were to switch to, or modify their I.C.E. vehicle to use E85 (or better hopefully later, like Brazil) and the supply is there.. then that half of our driving population would be using 85% less oil. (+/- 5%)"

No, we wouldn't see nearly that large a reduction, because the US population uses oil for far more than gasoline. Furthermore, ethanol production itself uses huge amounts of oil directly. To produce enough ethanol for half the nation to use E85 would require vast amounts of additional corn to be grown, which entails additional fertilizer (made from oil), farm diesel, etc.

There'd still be a net reduction in US oil consumption, of course...on the order of 10% or so. But a far cry from the 43% the figures would seem to suggest.

RE: Critical point of article...
By djc208 on 1/8/2007 10:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you! I always love how everyone thinks that if we were to suddenly switch all cars off gasoline it would be the end of our oil woes. It would ease the pressure but we're not an oil economy just because our cars use it. So do all the planes, ships, and trains. We use it in plastics, as lubricants (even in the electric cars), and as base stocks for lots of different chemicals and compounds we use every day. Getting rid of gasoline in cars would ease our oil problems but it's not like we'd suddenly stop using oil.

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