Plugging in the Chevy Volt
The alternative vehicle market is getting more and more plugged into the industry. Their popularity is slowly climbing with consumers, which is fine and dandy with both eco-nuts and politicos.
The Chevy Volt, the next entry to the market, is an electric plug-in with extended capabilities. For this car, GM has employed a battery-motor combo. The Volt is a FlexFuel car, capable of running on the biofuel E85 ethanol.
GM engineered the Volt to recharge in eight hours using a regular 110-volt outlet. With 220-volts, charging time is about three hours. After restoring the battery, you’re ready to go.
The Volt uses two advanced T-shaped lithium-ion batteries, one under the console. The second battery is under the rear seat, allowing for only two rear passengers. GM has tested the Volt and its batteries from the 110 degree heat of Death Valley to the sub-zero Arctic circle, to ensure performance. The batteries are built to maintain their integrity for up to 10 years.
A fully charged Volt will travel about 40 miles. Beyond that, the Volt uses an onboard gas-powered generator to produce electricity, extending travel another 300 miles. The technology used to power the wheels electrically is called “E-Flex.”
With an OnStar mobile app, the Volt can provide information through a person’s smartphone, providing valuable information, including where the driver can go to plug in. The Volt’s advanced computer technology will send a “fully charged” message to smartphone. Other remote options include activating door locks and using remote starting capabilities.
The operating costs, in terms of mpg or cost per mile, are not yet standardized. Dennis Simanaitis believes that we need a new set of standards to measure cost. Distances traveled, and charging times/modes are all key to calculating real costs. Charging costs have been estimated at about $1 a day.