March 02, 2007

A Shocking Innovation


So, Chevrolet has created a new concept car, The Volt, which can run solely on electricity, provided your commute is no longer than 40 miles round trip. If your trip is longer than 40 miles, the engine can switch to running on gasoline/E85/biodiesel for the remainder of the drive. And if your trip is very long, while the engine is running on gasoline, your battery is being recharged and once recharged, will kick over and once again run the vehicle emission-free. At night, you can plug your vehicle into a standard 110-volt outlet to re"fuel".

Ok, so my gut reaction after reading this is, electricity probably costs more than gasoline. Well, Chevy approximates that a relative "gallon's worth of electricity" costs only $0.60. Wow, very impressive, even for living in Illinois under the price uncertainty of our current monopolistic electrical company.

Two questions that go unanswered, however, are, "how much is the car?" and "how fast can i accelerate and top out at" when running on electricity? But, if the answer to the former is even close to the current prices for hybrids, we may have a future winner in our sights.

6 comments:

matt j said...

The car has a very large electric motor that is rated at the same power as a typical engine. So you have the same power as a typical acceleration with a gasoline engine. But, the volt doesnt have a transmission, and it has vastly downsized engine. The acceleration may be better than a conventional vehicle, because you dont have the interuption due to shifting.

Sabai said...

ah, very cool. how 'bout the last remaining question? cost? do you think we might be anywhere close to the reasonable ballpark. 'cause other than that, i'm not seeing much downside? does the creation of electricity pollute?

matt j said...

Small engine, no transmission, but large electric motor, Lithium ion battery pack. Probably a little more costly than your typical car.

The power plant is producing the energy that goes into the batteries when you plug it in at night. And yes the power plant pollutes, but they can be a lot cleaner than a car (emissions per unit of energy). Plus they can use wind and solar power. I think we talked about this before. After your 40 miles of pure electric driving, the small engine will turn on and pollute.

brent said...

Let's hope those batteries aren't made by Sony... ;)

Jeff said...

I like this direction. Depending on cost, this may be a new level in hybrids....

Steve said...

If the cost isn't prohibitive, this sounds pretty good to me, given my current 25 mile commute. And like Matt said, if we can continue to utilize cleaner energy for electricity production, it could help the environment as well.