At the 2007 North American international car show, General Motors introduced the latest hybrid technology: the Chevy Volt. Having resigned from clean electric cars years ago, this is the next attempt by GM to remove Toyota from Toyota's hybrid throne.
Volt runs a combination of a lithium-ion battery and a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder petrol. Comfort is the name of the game called Old; the lithium-ion battery can be fully charged with a 110 V connection for 6 hours. This provides the 40 mile motor for the electric motor.
The feature that highlights this car is that the petrol engine never directs the wheels directly. This is different from the current technology. In the Toyota Prius, the car alternates between the electric motor and the petrol engine to rotate the wheels. In the Volcano, when the battery level is low, the petrol engine will charge the battery. Finally, every motif comes from electric motors and batteries.
The result of this technology is a vehicle with a capacity up to 150 miles per gallon. However, if the owner can not charge the Volt in one day, the vehicle would be approximately 60 miles per gallon. The 150 mpg would be based on the following situation: If 60 miles of bicycle runs per day, 40 of these miles will only use the battery. The remaining 20 miles are driven by the gas engine running at 50 mpg. The result is that 60 miles travels only 0.4 gallons of gas, an average of 150 mpg.
If the flexibility is what you are after, then the Volt has a range of engine options. One of the unique features of the Volt is that it contains the GM E-Flex system. The E-Flex system allows flexibility when choosing a motor. Turbocharged three-cylinder petrol or E85 fuel (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). This engine is also a replaceable diesel engine or even a diesel engine that can operate bio diesel. The last option would be a hydrogen fuel cell.
The Volt also brings something new to the table as it is a sporty vehicle. Prius's style is not exactly cutting edge; but the Volt takes a gap. The sleek body and 21-inch wheels certainly spice the hybrid market.
However, the Volt is not something in GM's immediate plans. For the Volt idea, a cost-effective 400 lb lithium ion battery is required. Such lithium-ion batteries are not currently available. Further advances in battery support would be needed for GM to consider making a Volt production car. These are improvements that may take up to one year or even 20 years. GM has stated that they feel that technology is almost there, but such a vehicle probably has a decade.
Hammers for GM to develop a hybrid car that many can appreciate. The Volt could be a decade or maybe even more, but GM shows its commitment to alternative fuel vehicles, focusing on improved appearance and performance.
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