Chevy Volt concept car

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reikiman's picture
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Hmm... GM shows Chevy plug-in concept describes a concept car shown by GM. It's a hybrid electric vehicle built in a different configuration than the previous hybrid cars. In this one the motor is used only as a generator to charge the battery pack. The drive motor is an electric drivetrain.

They're claiming a 40 mile range without recharging ... on suburban streets. So that range is not highway range, but at 35 miles/hr or so.

The electric motor runs at 121 kilowatts.

The battery pack charges either from plugging in, or from the gas engine.

GM Introduces E-Flex Electric Vehicle System; Chevrolet Volt the First Application

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Dennis's picture
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GM finally saw the light. I

GM finally saw the light. I hope this is not just hype. I wonder if the documentary "Who killed the electric car?" played any role in influencing the automaker. I hope in the near future, technology will free us from our dependence on oil for most of our energy needs. What kind of world do we want? An electric transport economy would be a great start.

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I agree

Dennis,

I would love to see us using more electricity in our lives but I want it to come from renewable energy sources. I am looking at setting up my house to run from solar panels. I have a whole house backup system that works great but I use a diesel generator to run everything when the batteries require recharging. This is of course only when main power is out. The normal mode of operation is still connected to the power company. But I am getting off topic.

I hope the GM executives saw the movie and decided maybe there is room for electric cars, that would be great.

Chas S.

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Chevy Volt concept car

And it looks nice, not what we are use to seeing from other hybrids.
So I assume this would eliminate the need for charging station everywhere?
Thanks David for the info.
I'm off to the test area to try out all these new buttons.

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GM still in the dark

Its just a concept car. They are still making battery excuses. They should lower the specs of their concept vehicle and come out with a production vehicle.

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Wish they would just get on with it!

I think Dan has a good point. At the rate GM is moving we will be out of oil to run the generator to charge the batteries. :? Even if they built one with half the battery only range and got it to market they would be ahead of the other manufactures. I can't believe they didn't learn something with the EV-1.

Why they just use lead for the first autos to see if it will really work?

Chas S.

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GM still in the dark

DanCar,
Your saying a car that you wouldn't be able to drive in the highway at safe speed, would have a market?

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Wish they would just get on with it!

Chas,
:)
So is it range or speed that's the new excuse?

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Confused

Gman,

Did I miss something, a car that can do 100 MPH and it can't go on the highway.

???
Chas S.

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Wish they would just get on with it!

Not sure I guess I better read the article again. :D

I must be confusing it with another article I read I thought it said 100 MPH and 40 miles on batteries only. With 50 MPG highway which could be increased to 150MPG if you drove the car 60 miles per day and charged the battery overnight between each day of driving.

Chas S.

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If top speed is a problem

If top speed is a problem then increase the power of the generator. Is that what you meant by safe highway speeds?
The specs I'm thinking about are range, top speed, acceleration, and durability. Lets suppose we cut the specs in half? Range 20 miles. Excellent for most commuters. I've heard they are also concerned about cold weather performance. Can they sell to warm weather zones first before they solve that problem?

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Confused

Chas,
No you seldom miss anything. ;)
I made the statement in reply to DanCar's post of

Quote:

They should lower the specs of their concept vehicle and come out with a production vehicle.

That was my impression from this that it would effect the speed if they lowered the specs:

Quote:

Building an affordable car using the technology will require advances in battery technology, the company said. Batteries powerful enough to allow the kind of highway speed and power drivers are accurstomed to also tend to produce a lot of excess heat. Battery companies are researching ways to produce batteries last longer and don't run hot while still being able to store and release ample power.

Now I'm confussed, I'll read the article again tomorrow, it's been a very stressful day.

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Chas, It's great to hear

Chas,

It's great to hear that you are looking into taking the steps needed to power your house off the grid. I unfortunately live in the crowded city and I am limited by HOA rules and governances on what I can install on my condo apartment. Decentralization of electrical generation will be one of the many possible solutions to wean us off those polluting coal and oil fired power generation plants. Solar and wind seems to be two viable solutions to start us off, pending future technological breakthroughs. But, I think there are too many special interests groups out there that do not want this green movement to succeed. Opps, I am getting off topic too.

You read it right, the concept car can do 100mph! (with bursts at 120mph) and travel at a continuous speed of 70mph without the generator running continuously to power the electric motor. This car with an electric drive motor, if mass produced will be the first step in producing an all electric car for the masses. Without all the recent technological break throughs the past decade, the performance claims of this concept electric vehicle would not be possible. The powerful neodynum magnet motor and new class of nanotech Lithium batteries comes to mind. Humm....with those specs like the Tesla EV... price would probably be the same. Too bad, it will be too expensive for an average working class person like me to afford. I bet Jay Leno will be one of their first customers. These are definitely exciting times!! Just imagine what will be available in the next decade or two for us working joes.

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Xebra?

George, what do you think about the Xebra?

I've been hanging out on the Xebra list on yahoo!groups and the people there are immensely happy with it. It is not highway legal (actually... there's a guy there who claims that technically it's highway legal, and not freeway legal, but that's based on his definition of what a highway or freeway is) so you'd be limited to whatever you can do on city streets and country roads. It has enough range to handle most daily driving around, especially if you can do some opportunity charging along the way. And at around $10,000 it's very affordable.

They (Zap) seem to be having quite a large growth in sales on this car. They've signed up a number of dealers around the country, and the traffic on the Xebra list is growing every day with new car owners people popping up regularly.

I've been thinking about getting one but am hesitating. If I didn't have the three-wheel motorcycle in the driveway I'd have already bought one I'm sure.

How it would work for me is that in Silicon Valley we have expressways that go nearly everywhere. The expressways are 50 miles/hr max and the Xebra ought to be fine on them. That's where I'm planning to take the three-wheel motorcycle I have once I get it registered. Not everywhere has these expressways unfortunately.

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I too think it's overspecified

It's a concept car, so very likely the production units can and will be lower spec. Half of everything would be just fine. Let's say 8 kWh battery, 25 kW generator, and 70 kW motor. 8 kWh would take most people to work easily. The car would still be able to do 160 km/h, but maybe not continuously. The generator doesn't need to provide more than the average power needed, and you really have to push it to be able to get over 100 km/h average speed even on autobahn. There are so many road blocks, construction work sites, limited speed sections and queues, so even at night it's nearly impossible. In all other countries, where speed is limited to 110-130 km/h maximum, 25 kW is more than enough.

I do hope GM are sincere about this, everything they have said and done so far tells me they are. The future looks brighter than ever.

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GM thinks they will have the

GM thinks they will have the VOLT out in 2010 to 2012. :-(

I'm confident other car makers will have something people want before GM, such as Toyota, ZAP, XS200, smart car ev, REVA, Think, etc...

Daniel

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what do you think about the Xebra?

reikiman,
Actually it seems rather small, but for just getting around the city it might be ok for just commuting. Do E cars have to have crash test ans all that?
Then there is the issue of a heater, lights etc. AC is probably out of the question, and in the STL you got to have air in the summer or you will melt. Sort of like the Big Easy very humid here.
I like the looks of the Truck, and notice he can haul a E Scoot in the bed is nice.
If you buy one, I'll do you a favor and take the Scoot of your hands. ;)
Guess I could ask Wizard, but he'll probably see this a reply.
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I'm confident other car makers will have something people want

DanCar,
Now that I agree with, we seem to remain behind the curve, or is again the big oil companies still pulling the strings?
I knew that FLASH HYDROGEN GENERATOR that was suppose to be mfg here in the STL would never see the light of day, there was too much big oil money to quash it.
What do you think? }:)
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Xebras

Hello!
Gman,
David is right. We are not only happy with our Xebras but we are darned near rabid about them. Something is happening here. As David has seen the Xebra community is growning to be a very close knit group. We are supporting each other and helping each other though our growing pains. Those pains are almost over. ZAP has added a new product EE that is making the Xebras components nearly bullet proof (exchanging old components with new ones as well as modifiing old components to be more reliable).
As far as a Xebra being able to handle every driving condition, it can't. For some people it will not work. But I know St. Louis and it would work great in Saint Louis.
Xebras owners are all begining to have the same feelings towards ICE vehicles. We drive our ICE vehicles so little now that we get a sick feeling when we are forced by distance or passenger room to drive a ICE. We call them "stinkers".
So many things are going on with the Xebra and micro electric cars right now. This spring could be the start of something.
Over the next couple days I will post a Xebra update as well as an update on new laws that could effect micro electric cars as well as companies that plan to come here soon. I have been very busy with ZAP and the Xebra Yahoo forum finishing up the last three issues with the car. We almost have it licked.

Mark Higley

They are here and they don't even know it.

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Re: Xebras

From what GM has said this is a concept car not likely to ever reach market in this configuration. The base technology however, might. I wonder why they spend all this money creating concepts they don't intend to market. Maybe so they can appear "high tech" in the public eye while continuing to push the same old technology while we wait for whats "right around the corner"? Anyways...electric is comming, people are starting to demand it. Hybrids are a great stepping stone, it helps people get used to the idea. Once they've adjusted to those, they want to know why they can't get a car that runs on electricity all the time. Once an automaker comes out with a practical, good looking, economical electric/plug in long range hybrid they will create a frenzy that everyone else will have to catch up to.

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Re: Xebras

"AC is probably out of the question, and in the STL you got to have air in the summer or you will melt."

Sorry, about airing a pet peeve, but A/C is probably top on the list of unnecessary, energy gobbling "necessities". More coal-burning power plants are built to service summer demand from A/C than anything else.

Somehow, civilization thrived just fine, and most people were healthier, in the days before AC - even in places like New Orleans or Savannah. I have never owned a car with A/C, even when I lived in the DC area. Here in Pittsburgh, I run window fans overnight, then close the house up to keep the cool air in during the day.

As far as the Xebra, isn't it's stock top speed about 35 mph? Between limited performance and e-max like workmanship, it's owners are a dedicated bunch. But frankly, no one should be trying to develop an electric car with the power Americans are used to (or more like brainwashed into thinking they need) today. Back in the 1960's to 1980's numerous small economy cars with only 40-60 HP were quite popular - including the wildly popular VW beetle. Some Honda Civic models got gas mileage as good as Prius with proper driving technique.

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Re: Xebras

`
Well you may have a point about AC, but many older people here die from the heat and there bodies are found laying next to a operating fan.
I remember those cars with the very good Gas mileage, you can still get them in Mexico, but because of the exhaust they can't be registered here. Back then all we thought to do our part to save the world was Paper or Plastic.
Now it's all about our individual Carbon footprint.

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Re: Xebras

Quote:

but A/C is probably top on the list of unnecessary, energy gobbling "necessities". More coal-burning power plants are built to service summer demand from A/C than anything else.

Phoenix was a small town before modern A/C was made popular by I.B.M to cool mainframe computers. The metro area is at least 4 million people now and one of the fastest growing regions of the country. Its definitely a productivity booster out here and thus a necessity.

Recent lows at night have been 89 degrees. You aren't going to cool your house off at night with that.

PJD
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Re: Xebras

Well, without AC, I suspect that Phoenix would have remained just a desert crossroads.

At any rate, with the relatively dry heat out there, can't you use much more energy efficient water-evaporative A/C systems? They may not be able to cool you down to 65F when its 118 outside, but they should work well enough.

But along the same lines as Phoenix AZ and A/C, if it weren't for the car, we would still all be living in pleasant, compact, quiet, main street communities where we could walk to all shopping, be on a first-name basis with the places we buy our goods, (big box monopolies would be largely impractical without the car) ride an electric trolley or interurban to work and to the surrounding towns, or hop on a high-speed train to surrounding cities.

I'm no Luddite, but of all the technologies that have come into widespread use over the past century, the automobile is the one would could have done better without.

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Re: Xebras

My 2 cents worth... (FWIW)

Re PJD - I agree that the ICE needs to be replaced - however, personal transportation for the masses is one of the most important revolutions of the 20th century. I've had to ride in the back of an ambulance on a couple of occasions and I'm sure glad it was able to come and get me - ICE or not. :) You Luddite you! (just kidding!)

Re Chevy Volt and Plug-in Hybrids in general - while plug-in hybrids are a good stepping stone I fear that in the end they will do more harm than good because it will cause the ICE to live longer and will slow down R&D and adoption of fully electric vehicles. I'm sure the car companies love the PHEV - it gives them twice as complex a vehicle to manufacture and maintain. The EV-1 was GMs panic response to California's ZEV laws - as soon as that law was gutted the EV-1 died. The Volt is GMs latest panic over the success of the Prius and the ever climbing price of a gallon of gas - however, I think they will bring this to market because I don't see gas going back down anytime soon.

Re Xebra and NEVs in general - am I right in thinking the Xebra is classed as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle? I think NEVs are great and are good for a niche. However, I worry that their "over sized golf cart" persona tends to put people off. It also tends to sway people's thinking when you talk about any sort of EVs (they start thinking "oh you mean an oversize golf cart" - first impressions, unfortunately, do stick).

Things that I'm watching with interest:
1) If the EEStor ultra-capacitor is more than just hype then we should have an energy storage system that will at last allow BEVs to rival gas at a price point that makes them available to the masses...

2) I hope Zap's ZAP-X comes to market (about the same time as the Volt). It's a 4 wheel drive all electric vehicle with a claimed 155mph top speed and 300 mile range with seating for up to 7 (5 plus 2 seating arrangement). Of course it all sounds too good to be true. But if it comes to market at $60K I might even persuade the wife to let me re-mortgage the house for one... ;)

John H
EV Wannabe
Ann Arbor, MI

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Re: Chevy Volt concept car

The Xebra is classified as a motorcycle because it goes 40 MPH.

Here's the different classes I far as I know:
Electric Bicycle = 20 MPH
Neighborhood Electric Vehicle = 25 MPH
Electric Moped = 30 MPH
Moderate Speed Electric Vehicle = 35 MPH
Motorcycle = 40 MPH

And I read somewhere that Zap is going to develop a $30K car to balance out its $10K Xebra and its $60K ZapX. I can't go just 40 MPH and I don't need to go 155 MPH, so this middle one might be just right.

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Re: Chevy Volt concept car

The Xebra is classified as a motorcycle because it goes 40 MPH.

Actually, it's classified as a motorcycle because it's three wheeled.

It is not classified as an NEV partly because it's a motorcycle (NEV's are specified to be four wheels) and partly because of it's speed (in most of the U.S. NEV's are limited to 25 miles/hr, a few places have bumped that to 35 miles/hr).

For some reason California states an electric three wheel motorcycle must max at 45 miles/hr. That's extremely curious. It only applies to electric three wheel motorcycles.

- David Herron, http://davidherron.com/

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Re: Chevy Volt concept car

Actually, I didn't write the ICE was something we could have done better without I wrote that the personally owned automobile is something we could have done better without.

The ambulance argument is a bit of a red herring. We can have ambulances without everyone owning automobiles, just as we have aviation without everyone owning an airplane. In the horse and buggy days, most people didn't own a horse or buggy either - they walked, biked and rode the trolley.

I regard personal EV's mostly as an interim measure because that too many cities are, for now, stuck with an inefficient sprawled out infrastructure where car use is going to be required for a while. Of course rural area will always require cars, but when I lived in my first car-optional community, I found not needing a car positively liberating.

http://www.carfree.com/

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Re: Chevy Volt concept car

BTW, while in DC on Monday, I noticed a Chevy Volt was on display at Union Station. According to the brochure I was provided, it is now being promoted as a plug-in hybrid.

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Re: Chevy Volt concept car

Actually, it's classified as a motorcycle because it's three wheeled.

I don't think that's correct. The Trike that EVT America sells is classified as a "motor driven cycle" because it goes 30 MPH. Just because it has 3 wheels doesn't make it a motorcycle.

kringle777
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