Tesla CEO On Rival Volt's Pointless Feature

Here’s another way to cut back on costs for the Chevy Volt–get rid of unecessary parts. The Volt has a range extender built into it, which means that when the battery craps out, a gas engine kicks in to keep the car running.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk says that’s pointless. It just adds more parts, and more costs from an R&D perspective:

GM-Volt, quoting Musk:An important consideration that people without a technical background don’t understand is that you can either have a high power or a high energy cell chemistry, but not both. Since the battery pack in a plug in hybrid like the Volt has to generate the same *power* as a much larger battery pack in a pure electric vehicle, it has to use a low energy cell chemistry.

That means a 40 mile range extended vehicle pack is not 1/5 the size of a 200 mile pure EV pack, as simple proportionality would suggest. Another factor is that the REV pack is forced to do three to four times more cycles that a pure EV pack and is (obviously) hit with five times the current per cell during acceleration and regen braking, which forces the REV pack to be derated considerably.

The net result is that a 40 mile REV pack is roughly half the size of a 200 mile EV pack. On top of that, you have to add the engine, generator and all the interconnects between engine and battery. It ends up having about the same mass and worse packing efficiency than a pure EV, plus you still have to deal with all the environmental issues of a gasoline engine.

[Via: Jalopnik]

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