12 January 2007

Chevy Volt

You might have seen Chevy's latest concept that was just unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show: the Volt. It is a new and interesting take on the hybrid car. Hybrids today use an electric motor primarily around town and kick in the gas when extra power is needed. The Volt has an electric motor strong enough to be used in all driving situations and the gas engine never directly propels the car. Rather, it is used to recharge the battery when it is depleted. In other words, if you are like eighty percent of all Americans who drive forty miles or less each day, you will never stop for a tank of gas. And if you do commute more than forty miles, or forget to plug it in overnight, you will get much better mileage: up to 150 mpg. In addition, when you do have to stop to fill 'er up, you will have the option of gasoline, E85 or biodiesel.
There are a few flaws, starting with price. If the car were to come off the line today, it would cost several hundred thousand dollars, primarily due to the exceptional battery. But this is a technology that GM sees going in to production in ten years. By that time, with further technological advancements and mass production of the units, the price will be much more reasonable. Also, I would like to see the electric-only range edged closer to eighty or a hundred miles. Forty might get me to and from work, but what about catching a movie Friday night? If GM can double the battery capacity, reliance on the pump would be largely forgotten.
But all in all, I applaud GM for this innovative take on the hybrid car. You can read more in this article from cnn.com. Also, please consider a Vote for Volt to show GM you support alternative fuel technologies.

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