The design for GM’s plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt, is “essentially finished”, GM says. The company will have production-ready prototypes within 10 days and 50 total prototypes by the end of the year.
The Volt is designed to run on an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Drivers will simply recharge the car from a standard home wall outlet. The Volt should be able to travel 40 miles on a fully-charged battery, and a small gas engine will recharge the batteries on longer trips. When the battery is discharged, the car is expected to get about 50 miles per gallon, and, overall, the technology is expected to produce efficiency of 150 miles per gallon.
However a host of issues remain with respect to the battery, including how the Volt will:
- handle its weight
- dissipate its heat
- mechanically transfer its power to the wheels
Also, it’s imperative that the battery has long life, as it could cost $10,000 to replace.
Meeting the 2010 deadline is vital (and still very much in question) for GM, who has staked much of its battered reputation on the success of the Volt. Not only are liquidity worries plaguing the automaker, but Toyota will be launching a similar car the same year, while Nissan vows to release an all-electric, no emissions automobile in 2010.
General Motors (GM) Volt: Late, Overpriced, Money-Losing, and Dreamy…But Beloved (GM)
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Nissan (NSANY) To General Motors (GM): Our Electric Car Will Make Money And Have No Emissions (NSANY, GM, TM)
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