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: e85?
By moonraker3000 on 1/8/2007 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with E85 is that it ONLY has 85,000 btu's of energy, whereas normal Gasoline has around 110,000.

E85 only has about ~75% of the energy that normal gasoline has, which means that E85 is not as effecient as many people make it out to be... this is especially funny for cars that use E85 cause their [the people] cars need to get refueled about 35% more...

lol i'm never going to buy this car now because it uses E85, not only is E85 ineffecient, it's not even available where I live!!! (and trust me i wanted this car... I would llove an electric for around town and stuff)

RE: e85?
By Hoser McMoose on 1/9/2007 3:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol also has a higher octane rating and can work with much higher compression ratios and therefore higher thermal efficiency. Given the way they are using this engine at a fixed RPM rate and that it's a small 1L turbocharged engine, GM *SHOULD* be able to make use of this higher efficiency. Getting such an engine to within 10% of the fuel efficiency of a straight gasoline engine shouldn't be much of a problem.

Of course, that does nothing to solve the issue of E85 fuel being almost non-existent in most parts of the US and abroad. Nor does it solve the issue of ethanol from corn being mainly a scam to subsidize farmers and really being an extremely poor fuel source.

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