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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Check out Diesels too
By jak3676 on 1/8/2007 12:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see a US company trying to do something to cut oil consumption, but based on some GM history I don't have high hopes. I expect Honda and Toyota will have new prodution cars running long before GM gets out of the concept stage.

I'm waiting to see some more news on the current diesel technologies too. I prefer the current generation of diesels to hybrids. Biodiesel also looks better as an alternative when compared to Ethanol.

When I look at the near future of hybrids and new diesels - It looks like diesel will hold an advantage for a while.

The biggest problem with biodiesel is its lack of market penetration when compared to ethanol. Ethanol takes a good amount of energy to produce from corn (cellose based ethanol is more efficient, but not popular in the US). Biodiesel can be produced very efficiently.

RE: Check out Diesels too
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
Why not make a diesel-hybrid that has an option of running on biodiesel? Add bluetec, and you have the cleanest car on the market (as electrics have offsite pollution- and much of the world's electricity is based off of coal)

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