Getting an electric car like the Chevy Volt is a big step in the right direction. Making the switch from gasoline to electricity is a big change. What does it all mean for you?
Yesterday we drove the 2012 Chevy Volt at Roy Foss Motors in Vaughn, Ontario, Canada. This is a car that on paper changes everything when it comes to transportation by car. Now a car that can eliminate the anxiety over rising oil prices and prevent global warming, provides better transportation functionality than any other car we've ever driven.
First of all, driving this car that has two electric motors (one for low speed power and the other for longer range efficiency) as well as a gasoline generator to charge the lithium battery pack, is the same as a conventional car, except you won't be stopping at the gas station more than once a month on average. So, you step into the sporty driving seat. Press the power button. Silence, while the dashboard monitors come on and let you know that you are ready to go with a full charge. Put the shifter in D for drive, just like your normal car (or reverse if their is a wall or another car in front of you). Press the gas peddle. Quiet gliding powerful acceleration. Wow...wait a second, stop sign, brake peddle, just like normal, although the monitor shows you are charging the cars batteries.
Down the street you go in this crisp, solid, almost sporty feeling, electric car. Stopping quietly at traffic lights with a bit of a zen feeling, and around other cars you go at low and higher speeds, quietly and almost gracefully. Hit the highway. Press the accelerator, and off you go, 80, 90, 100, 120...she can really go. Thirty minutes of transportation efficiency and she still goes silently on to wherever you want to go. What a wonderful car to drive.
At some point, if you are going longer distances, more than 50-80 kilometres you'll need to fill up on some premium gas. Even for those long distances drives, you'll spend much less on gas, and you'll be reducing your emissions by 50% or better when compared to the already impressive Toyota Prius Hybrid which reduces emissions by 80% when compared to conventional cars. Way less pollution, way less maintenance, way less cost to operate, all of which adds up to economic and environmental sense, as well as that all to uncommon, common sense.
This is the future and GM with their Chevy Volt is quite far ahead with their technology. All electric is possible with the GM Voltec battery engine system. Looking ahead you'll see other GM models with this amazing drivetrain. Eventually, this same system can also be used for all electric driving as the lithium battery technology advances (and potentially other battery systems) and as these battery systems come down in cost. We've seen the future of car transportation and it is here today (well, almost, put your order in now...sooner the better, as the back log on getting one is about five months currently). On top of that you'll love driving this quite, comfortable, solid feeling, well designed car.
Now, time to get the charging infrastructure in place so that the transportation pillar of the Solar Village works. Stay posted.
Below are some of the technical details on the car as was current on Wikipedia as of this posting. Interesting reading for the techies among us. Best idea is simply to test drive it. Then you'll know what all the fuss is about.
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt has a 16 kW·h / 45 A·h (10.4 kW·h usable) lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged by plugging the car into a 120-240 VAC residential electrical outlet using the provided SAE J1772-compliant charging cord. No external charging station is required. The Volt is propelled by an electric motor with a peak output of 111 kW (149 hp) delivering 273 lb-ft (368 N-m) of torque.
While driving, after the Volt battery has dropped to a predetermined threshold from full charge, a small naturally aspirated 1.4-liter 4-cylinder internal combustion engine (Opel's Family 0) with approximately 80 horsepower, burns premium gasoline to power a 55 kW (74 hp) generator to extend the Volt's range. The vehicle also has a regenerative braking system. The electrical power from the generator is sent primarily to the electric motor, with the excess going to the batteries, depending on the state of charge (SOC) of the battery pack and the power demanded at the wheels.
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