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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By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
E85 is the new flash-term. Its benefits are lacking, its availability scarce, and future fleeting. They simply get emissions breaks if they add the capability (and are allowed to add more gas-guzzling models) This car's performance is lacking. 40 miles on a charge? I know the average american's commute to work is something around 33, but people do more than work. I guess the problem is battery technology- as car manufacturers shouldn't have to do everything themselves. Why don't they just make a car with minimal weight- aluminum frame, way less insulation- it'll be far more efficient, and safer too- aluminum doesn't rust, and its been proven that the more road-noise the driver hears, the more attentive to the road they are, and the less accidents (and you thought they didn't fill pot-holes because they were lazy...) If you look at the mileage cars in the 80's got with conventional technology, there has been far from a linear improvement, yet an exponential increase in weight- which is one of the leading inefficiency factors.

By rushnrockt on 1/8/2007 12:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree on E85 being just a gimmick, but as far as the rest goes, you need some more facts to help you out.

Yes, 40 miles on one charge and it has an internal combustion engine to recharge it, hence being called a hybrid. So no, its not limited to just that 40 miles, I thought that was quite clearly stated.

Yes, it is a known fact that with all the advances in engine technology and gas mileage improvement, the cars have been gaining weight the past 20 years. They also became FAR FAR more safe. All the reinforcement to provide head-on, side and roll over protection as well as airbags add considerable weight. Aluminum is still not as cheap as steel and just saying that it should be used doesn't mean that people will be able to afford it.

Please provide a source for the noise=attentive. Might be true for short trips, definitely a suspect for a long drive where the annoyance is bound to interfere with attentiveness.

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