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GM Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

GM's Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) has sent a mild shock through the audience at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

In late November 2006, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz had announced at the L. A. Auto Show that General Motors was working on a plug-in hybrid vehicle for its Saturn Green Line of Vue vehicles and following announcements would happen in Detroit.

Whether or not GM has shifted gears at this moment in time is unclear, but the Chevrolet Volt concept offers a long awaited break from the gas-guzzling sub-10 mpg Hummer and other not so green vehicles that has given GM the label among treehuggers as the "environmental anti-Christ".


Chevy Volt PHEV Concept


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The GM Volt uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack that plugs into a simple 110 v outlet and the car can run on battery-only mode for the first 35 - 40 miles. If a driver averages only this far in a day, then no gasoline will be consumed. On the other hand, if the driver were to average 60 miles per day, he or she would do so at the rate of 150 mpg. This is just the gas-sipper that may who have been dismayed at high gasoline prices have been waiting for.

The Chevy Volt features GM's new E-flex electric propulsion system, which features a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that supplies power to the lithium-ion battery pack. The battery pack in turn, supplies power directly to the electric motor, which turn the tires. The GM Chevy Volt has a top speed of 120 mph and a range of 640 miles.

Conventional hybrid vehicles use both internal combustion engine (ICE) and battery to supply power for the wheels. In the E-flex electric propulsion system, the batteries solely power the wheels and either a household plug or the ICE will power the battery.

Some suggest that the Chevy Volt is GM's attempt to resurrect itself from the "Who Killed the Electric Car?" fiasco. The Chevy Volt also won't hit the showrooms anytime soon - some suggest 2009 or 2010 - as the price of the lithium-ion batteries has to become more economical before GM rolls the car out. Currently, GM does not believe consumers would pay $20,000 extra for the batteries, but with added research and development, GM is looking for the batteries to come in at the $4,000 - $5,000 range.

No matter what, though, GM is looking for the Volt to give the company a jolt when it comes to U. S. auto sales as the competition for gas-saving, low emission vehicles has never been so fierce.