GM Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid
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".
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.