This is a neat video of a pre-production Volt in action. You actually get a first-hand perspective of what it is like to ride in this range extended plug-in electric vehicle. The car is basically complete, with a working LCD screen in the dash. The passengers note that the car does have a good amount of pep; the 100% torque of the electric engine should provide competitive acceleration. The car is also whisper quiet of course. See and hear for yourself:
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
While outdated behemoth automakers struggle to survive, cleantech businesses are becoming interested in their valuable assets. One example of this trend was in recent news when German solar cell manufacturer, SolarWorld, recently made a bid on Opel, GM’s European subsidiary. No news on how seriously GM considered the offer, but it is still a significant statement. Here is an excerpt of an interview with chairman of SolarWorld, Frank Asbeck, from an German publication. The rough translation makes it an interesting read:
Schulz: Do you see itself as a savior for Opel?
Asbeck: Yes, well. These are ambitions which I have not directly, but I see the need that in our industrial society gradually rebuilt. Just as it is in the field of alternative energy sources has already begun, must also be rebuilt automotive industry. That means we need to build vehicles of the future: electric motors, hybrid drives. That can not only Japanese manufacturers reserved. We must “Extended Range Vehicles” build, so cars with combined drives from conventional and electric drives. That is the future. This is also already in the minds of developers at Opel, but they must be released from the stranglehold of General Motors.
SolarWorld is hoping to provide electric cars that can be charged with garage mounted solar panels and possibly car roof mounted panels.
Source: The Energy Roadmap
:25- “The jury is still out on whether electric cars can ever really be practical”
The EV1 and Toyota Rav-4 EV showed us that electric cars could be completely viable alternatives over 10 years ago, using lead-acid batteries.
:58- “This (Tesla Roadster) is the first, all electric sports car…”
C’mon Lesley, you’re better than that. Forget the Venturi Fetish, Hybrid Technology’s LiV Rush, the Wrightspeed, and the Tzero; the Tesla Roadster was the first electric sports car. Why? Because an intern at CBS Googled it.
2:50-Enter Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of GM
Is it me or could this man talk me out of driving a Ferrari off the lot for 10 grand. He is a terrible spokesman. He just sounds like he would rather be playing with his helicopters, his countless sports cars, and his Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet in German Luftwaffe colors (image right). It sounds like hes doing this because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed by Tesla, not because he believes in the product.
4:13- “GM is already touting the car even though don’t yet have a working prototype.”
Really, not even a working prototype? GM had EV1’s with 160 mile ranges before they canceled the program. What happened?
4:25- “The real trick on the car, is software. The car needs to know where home plate is.” -Lutz
Oh, thats the holdup. The hold up is developing a completely unnecessary amenity that will tell the car how close you are to home. Use GPS, hook it up to the gasoline activation system, done deal. Why are they even working on this? If the charge is low, the gasoline extender should just come on regardless of where you are, for safety’s sake. This is like delaying a trip to Mars because they can’t decide what color to paint the ship.
5:55- “People say, I hope you enjoy the billions you got from the oil companies, you swine” -Lutz
Well, do you?
8:45- Ethanol and hydrogen all had problems, won’t that happen with the electric car?
Ray Lane- “It could.”
Come on man, your selling electric cars. You should have a practiced response to this. New, cheap, clean, and renewable sources of electricity are being built every day. Electric cars can run off electricity that is available everywhere. The infrastructure is already here, as well as the technology; electric cars are the only vehicles that can someday have absolutely no carbon emissions. You cannot compare it to ethanol and hydrogen. Those were fake solutions to begin with. Why? Because the oil companies want to sell ethanol and hydrogen.
10:20- Yeah, but they (silicon valley) have no experience in the car business…-Lutz
Grasping for straws…
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.