DIY EV fan less than enthusiastic about Chevy Volt

DIY'er Andrew Angellotti is generally a big fan of electric vehicles. He converted a 1988 Mazda B2200 pickup truck to battery power while still in high school, and if that's not enough to make you feel like you've been snoozing through life, he also created the froboard for controlling brushless DC motors to reduce the effort for other would-be EV creators.

When he says that he finds the Chevy Volt a "beautiful piece of engineering" and expresses his enthusiasm for how well General Motor's engineers married the electrical and gas powered systems, it may seem like he's a fan of the plug-in hybrid. Not quite. What's Andrew's problem with the car? It's not that the Volt can't match the behavior of existing vehicles, it's that too much effort has been expended to see that it does:

They've taken a technology that has been developed specifically to not be a gas-powered car, and tweaked it and twisted it until it's as close they can possibly get to, you guessed it, a gas-powered car. This is not how transportation technology improves. If it were, we'd all be riding really fast horses (hat tip to Henry Ford).

Andrew sees the opportunity for EVs to rewrite the rules on our transportation system and sees the me-too behavior gained through the Volt's gas engine as a reason for the vehicle's high price. He's also disappointed in the short EV range of the Volt, which is not only below that of the original EV1 but actually falls short of the truck Andrew converted using lead-acid batteries from golf carts.

Is the Volt a "conceptually flawed" design that's too complex and expensive, as Andrew suggests, or does the plug-in hit a sweet spot for consumers moving from traditional IC vehicles to EV? With Volt production set to triple, sales figures may answer that question.

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[Source: Spin Garage]

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