2007 Chevrolet Volt Concept
A quick post form the NAIAS in Detroit. At 12:45pm today GM will reveal the Chevy Volt Concept vehicle today. The Volt is a plug-in electric car.
From the GM provided media kit:
The concept car, called the Chevrolet Volt, is a battery-powered electric vehicle that uses a gas engine to create additional electricity, thereby extending its range. The Chevy Volt draws from GM’s previous experience in starting the modern electric vehicle market when it launched the EV1 in 1996, according to GM Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz.
“The EV1 ‘died’ because it had limited range, limited room for passengers or luggage, couldn’t climb a hill or run the air conditioning without depleting the battery and no device to get you home when your battery charge ran low,” Lutz said. “The Chevrolet Volt is a new type of electric vehicle. It addresses the range problem and has room for four to five passengers and their stuff. You can climb a hill or turn on the air conditioning and not worry about it.”
The Chevrolet Volt can be fully charged by plugging it into a 110-volt outlet for approximately six hours each day. When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the Volt can deliver 40 city miles of pure electric vehicle range. When the battery is depleted, a 1-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine spins at a constant speed, or revolutions per minute (rpm), to create electricity and replenish the battery. According to Lutz, this increases the fuel economy and range.
“If you lived within 30 miles from work (60 miles round trip) and charged your vehicle every night when you came home or during the day at work, you would get 150 miles per gallon,” Lutz said. “More than half of all Americans live within 20 miles of where they work (40 miles round trip). In that case, you might never burn a drop of gas in the life of the car.”
To further underscore the point, the Chevy Volt is designed to run on E85, a blend of 15 percent gas and 85 percent ethanol. With E85, fuel economy of 150 mpg using gasoline would translate into more than 525 miles per petroleum gallon.
In the event a driver forgets to charge the vehicle or goes on a vacation far from home, the Volt would still get 50 mpg by using the engine to convert gasoline into electricity and extend its range up to 640 miles, more than double that of today’s conventional vehicles.
One technological breakthrough required to make this concept a reality is a large lithium-ion battery. This type of electric car, which the technical community calls an “EV range-extender,” would require a battery pack that weighs nearly 400 pounds. Some experts predict that such a battery – or a similar battery – could be production-ready by 2010 to 2012.
Jon Lauckner, GM vice president of Global Program Management, said the Volt is uniquely built to accommodate a number of advanced technology propulsion solutions that can give GM a competitive advantage (Please see accompanying release on the GM E-flex System).
“Today’s vehicles were designed around mechanical propulsion systems that use petroleum as their primary source of fuel.” Lauckner said. Tomorrow’s vehicles need to be developed around a new propulsion architecture with electricity in mind. The Volt is the first vehicle designed around GM’s E-flex System.
“That’s why we are also showing a variant of the Chevrolet Volt with a hydrogen-powered fuel cell, instead of a gasoline engine EV range-extender,” said Lauckner. “Or, you might have a diesel engine driving the generator to create electricity, using bio-diesel. Finally, a gasoline engine using 100-percent ethanol might be factored into the mix. The point is, all of these alternatives are possible with the E-flex System.”
The Volt concept is built on a modified future architecture, Lauckner said, similar to the one GM uses for current small cars, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR.
According to Larry Burns, GM vice president for research and development and strategic planning, the world’s growing demand for energy and its dependence on oil for transportation is the common theme behind today’s headlines.
“Whether your concern is energy security, global climate change, natural disasters, the high price of gas or the volatile pricing of a barrel of oil and the effect that unpredictability has on Wall Street – all these issues point to a need for energy diversity,” Burns said.
“Today, there are more than 800 million cars and trucks in the world. In 15 years, that will grow to 1.1 billion vehicles. We can’t continue to be 98-percent dependent on oil to meet our transportation needs. Something has to give. We think the Chevy Volt helps bring about the diversity that is needed. If electricity met only 10 percent of the world’s transportation needs, the impact would be huge.”
Look for more updates including details of the GM Style party and some greener releases from other car companies.