This video shows how the Chevy Volt’s system charges, operates, and how the range extender kicks in to sustain the battery’s life for a few hundred more miles
Pictures courtesy of Autobloggreen.com
Featuring snazzily dressed Chevy executives. But I must say, they are right on the money with this design. Chevy did away with the sharp corners and the awkward plastic moldings around the windows; and they are obviously targeting the Toyota Prius market as a gas saving, compact family sedan. They could have gone the other way with this, as an edgy electric sports car, but it would have been a bit ego heavy, and not broadly appealing. Another major carmaker, Honda, is following this strategy as their upcoming 2010 hybrid is even more of a knockoff of the successful Prius. The Chevy Volt is tentatively scheduled to release in 2011
I found this video using the new Electric Car Locator Map feature.
This is a great video of a guy explaining a few tweaks he made to an old Toyota RAV-4 EV to allow it to charge from his rooftop solar system. The RAV-4 EV was produced between 1997-2001 before Toyota terminated production, but unlike its 90’s counterpart, the GM EV1, RAV-4 EV’s were not all crushed and people like this fellow still happily own them today. Near the end of the video he gives a nice lecture on the GM Volt concept being inferior to electric vehicles on the road in the 90’s. My sentiments exactly. RAV-4 EV range: 120 miles, Volt concept ev range: 40 miles. That’s not regular technological evolution. And to give you a concept of the demand for these old ev’s, records have shown these used electric SUV’s selling for around $70,000 (2001 model).
To be honest with you, I, and I’m sure a lot of other Americans, had never heard of Vauxhall (not Vauhxall or Vauxhaul, like many articles mistake) before they came out with the Flextreme (not Flexstream or Flexstreme…this car’s name is a disaster). But the GM owned Vauxhall could be a key player in the future of the electric car industry. GM is making the bold and longsighted claim that it will build 220,000 Flextremes a year in Great Britain by 2015. And our friends across the pond seem pretty excited. Production should begin around 2012 with around 20,000 built the first year.
The Flextreme is, simply put, a Chevy Volt with a different body. Much like the Volt, the Flextreme will travel around 40 miles on a charge, but the British car will use a small, turbo-diesel motor that will kick in to act as a generator much like the Volt’s gasoline generator. Not exactly cutting edge technology, but if GM actually pulls through for us, this car could be a great electric daily-driver for the majority of us who do not commute. The Flextreme will be released in the the American market at around $40,000, but this is all very early to be making too many predictions. Here is Vauxhall’s official Flextreme page for more info. Vauxhall also seems to be banking on the Segway People Mover finally becoming mainstream, as they have a special Segway unloader in the back of the concept. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that’s not making it to the production model, and they better change the name too.
The Chevy Volt is starting to look more and more like a GM pipe dream every day. For instance, this little bit of anecdotal evidence:
NHTSA, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, proposed earlier this year that U.S. automakers must achieve a 25% increase in fuel economy from the 2011 to 2015 model years. When the NHTSA asked GM why they left out the Chevy Volt in their submitted plans, GM basically responded by saying the Volt was a low-volume application and would not really be widely produced in that time frame. GM spokesman Greg Martin was quoted,“We’ve been very cautious in terms of the volume, just because of the innovation and the technology associated with that vehicle. There’s a note of caution that, yes the technology is breakthrough, it is a game-changer, but as with any new game-changing technology, there needs to be a reasonable expectation set in terms of volume.”
Game-changer… Right. If privately owned companies like Tesla are coming out with cars that travel 220 miles on a charge, than I would hardly refer to 40 miles on a charge before a gas generator has to kick in to recharge the battery as game changing. GM has access to vast amounts of resources and this is the best they can come up with? And they continue to beat this FlexFuel ethanol horse to death, which will never take off. We might as well run our cars on fresh produce and livestock, rather than still relatively cheap, useless in any other application, oil. Anyways, I’m sidetracked and I’ll have to write another post on the Volt later when they give me a good reason to. But for now, I don’t have much hope for this still very much a concept vehicle. Hope they prove me wrong.