Right now, the Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt are two of the most talked about alternative cars in the world. Both machines are being designed as relatively mainstream vehicles that could theoretically replace gas-guzzling passenger cars in the driveways of thousands of Americans. Still, the eco-friendly vehicles take decidedly different paths to arrive at the same end goal of reducing gasoline usage. The Tesla Model S is an electric vehicle, period. The Chevy Volt, on the other hand, uses a smaller battery pack paired with a gas-burning engine to provide for a longer range before the gas tank needs to be filled. Which is better? Well, that is certainly up for debate.
When asked why Tesla chose not offer a range-extended EV, company CEO Elon Musk had some interesting things to say. According to Musk, the start-up automaker looked into the option of adding a small engine but decided against it for a variety of reasons, mostly surrounding the battery pack. Why?
An important consideration that people without a technical background don't understand is that you can either have a high power or a high energy cell chemistry, but not both. Since the battery pack in a plug in hybrid like the Volt has to generate the same *power* as a much larger battery pack in a pure electric vehicle, it has to use a low energy cell chemistry... The net result is that a 40 mile REV pack is roughly half the size of a 200 mile EV pack.Click here to read the whole conversation over at GM-Volt.com.