• Jan 7, 2007
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GM's much-rumored electric vehicle introduction for the North American International Auto Show has indeed been revealed to be the Chevrolet Volt. Built on a new platform referred to as E-flex, the cute coupe spins the front wheels via a 161 HP electric motor and a lithium-ion storage pack with 16 kWh of capacity (a piece of technology that, by GM's own admission, is not yet ready for prime time). An Ecotec-branded turbocharged 71 HP three-banger sits under the hood to spin a 53 kW generator, which provides one method by which to charge the pack; the other consists of a pair of plugs (one on either side) that facilitate charging via a standard 110V connection. Six hours or so of charge time at home is good for 40 miles of range, after which the IE kicks in at a steady 1800 RPM to feed the packs. GM calls it an EV with "range extending capability", but to our eyes, it sure looks like a series hybrid. It also has us asking why a small diesel wasn't employed, as such an engine can provide wonderful efficiency when used at a steady speed and load (as former GM division Electromotive has proven with its locomotives over the past several decades).

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  • 58 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I WILL BE ORDERING ONE OF THESE AS SOON AS THEY ARE AVAILABLE. I HAVE BEEN IN THIS BUSINESS A LONG TIME, 35 YEARS AND THIS IS THE BEST THING OUT IN A LONG TIME. PLUG ME IN!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      ". if GM builds it people will complain about the looks of the center stack,uses fake wood trim and the radio is black in color"

      true,I guess we can't expect them to take on everyone else in regards to design AND technology at the same time, that'd be crazy talk! :). Seriously, though, i wish they'd just take a play out of all the other companies who aren't berated for design woes' playbooks and just spend the money to hire the designers building the beautiful cars :). Look at alfa, their cars are just as reliable, but they're so much sexier, if your cars are sexy, people will fault you less. plain and simple. just like a model with little capacity for any practical conversation.
      • 8 Years Ago
      uh bigger wheels = better fuel economy, duh

      bwahahahaha :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is not a feasible concept. According to other posts I've read, and the NYT article, the batteries that power the Volt aren't even remotely ready for mass-production.

      Nice, but pie-in-the-sky. I'll take a Prius, please.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Casey, this is perfectly feasible... in fact this very concept is fully functional and large li-ion batteries already exist. What will take 2-3 years is bringing down the cost of the batteries, mass-producing them, and ensuring their durability. But they do seem to have a head start with the engineering, architecture, motors, etc.
      Dan
      • 8 Years Ago
      Volt styling is what we need now. Bring it to market with gas or diesel with this concept. Keep working on the electric version. This is the style the American cars need to blow away the imports. Don't wait for the power plant. Turn it loose now. THIS WILL KEEP CHEVROLET #1.
      far jr
      • 8 Years Ago
      "This car does have a series hybrid drive, like locomotives have for a long time, but it only gets 50mpg, so it's not any better than the parallel hybrid system in the Prius. "
      Posted at 1:13PM on Jan 7th 2007 by rwdmtparkingonly

      Locomotives (almost all of them) do NOT have battery packs. They generate electricity "on demand" as needed directly from the generator to the motors. Thus they rev faster when pulling loads on ascending grades and for dynamic braking (higher revs produce more juice) to control speed while descending grades. The Volt does not need fuel if commutes are short. All driving could be done on fossil-fuel-free electric plug-in mode. There are non petroleum means of producing electricity if that is your only concern. Folks in PA have the option to give 100% of the electricity production cost to a wind mill only company! Nice but rates are a bit higher. Plug in to this company in PA and fill the tank with E-85... say goodbye Shell and Citgo!

      b) there are car companies who produce concept alternative fuel cars which actually run, I drove Honda's Fuel Cell concepts four years ago, back when GM's hybrid Sled concept was the only non operable one in the entire alternative fuel convention hall... so many people would like to see GM get on the alternative fuel cars that actually work band wagon where Nissan, Honda, and toyota have been for many many years now
      Posted at 8:19AM on Jan 7th 2007 by ruggels

      Ruggels perhaps you only do research on Honda/ Toyota/ Nissan or you would likely know about the GM alternate fuel vehicles that are operational:

      Zafira van fuel cell (won awards with this one)

      Equinox fuel cell (2008 model avaliable for public lease and military use)

      Hywire fuel cell (drivable in 2002 about the time you drove the Honda?)

      GM Sequel fuel cell

      GM fuel cell pickup trucks (US military)

      Astra diesel electric hybrid

      Lower cost light hybrids in trucks/ VUE/ Aura

      2008 Tahoe/ Yukon dual mode hybrids

      CNG Zafira vans

      EV-1 production vehicle (plus several others utilizing EV-1 components that were never released)

      Engines with cylinder deactivation and E-85 capability

      Oh yeah, and now the Volt.


      Slightly off topic, but in response to the comment on the first page - Toyota does not own Fuji. They own a small share, somewhere around 4 or 7 percent.
      Posted at 3:39AM on Jan 7th 2007 by AK

      You are correct, but I believe that is the premise that an earlier poster was using to say that GM could not build the Volt.
      • 8 Years Ago
      if GM builds it people will complain about the looks of the center stack,uses fake wood trim and the radio is black in color
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is not an engineering achievement, it is a marketing achievement. GM is basically displaying a plug-in hybrid concept, something that already exists in home brew and factory versions of hybrid cars. However, to avoid looking like idiots for introducing something that already exists GM instead refers to it as "a new type of electric vehicle."

      The marketers even have the balls to act like putting an electric and IC engine on the same frame is a new idea, boasting that "GM's E-flex System enables multiple propulsion systems to fit into a common chassis."

      This car does have a series hybrid drive, like locomotives have for a long time, but it only gets 50mpg, so it's not any better than the parallel hybrid system in the Prius.

      Also, the 525 MPG is achieved by only counting the petroleum content of the fuel when the car is running E85; someone in marketing needs a promotion for that spin. In fact, since that person is good at math maybe they could be transferred to engineering so they can do something valuable with their life.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Carol, why did you just repeat your same post again? The car recharges itself from an onboard generator if you are on the road.

      Over on autoblog green, they have news on a version with a turbo diesel motor, so that is definately on GM's drawing board. Fuel consumption with the engine running to recharge the batteries was listed at 100mpg. Not too shabby. Hopefully GM can hurry along the battery development and get this beauty into production. We all know that they cannot afford to sell this car at a loss to begin with as Toyota did with the Prius.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So will this run on kitten farts?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Chevrolet Volt $30,000 USD is a great idea, but what about a cheaper car ($10,000) with an Electric Motor powered by the gas engine without batteries?

      Since diesel-electric locomotive exist since 1925, why does General Electric have not done the same for cars time ago?

      Well, I am not an engineer.
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