Monday, October 25, 2010

The Chevy Volt.

Just a few words about the Chevy Volt. It comes out next
month and it got me wondering, is it really a revolutionary next generation
technology? I think not. Why do I say that? The Chevy Volt is just another
hybrid car but instead of using a gasoline / electric symbiotic system like
the Toyota Prius for example, Chevy's programmed their car to use up all the
battery power first before switching to the gasoline engine. That's nothing
special, they've just decided to program the car to use it's power sources
in series rather than parallel.

Also, take this into account. A Toyota Prius uses it's combination
technology to get as much as 50 miles per gallon efficiency. It has a 12
gallon fuel tank to give it a total of 600 miles of estimated fuel
efficiency. Not solid numbers but best estimates because there's plenty you
can do to lower efficiency such as running the air conditioning for example.

If you take the Chevy Volt now, it claims to only get about 40 miles on a
single charge of it's batteries. Then, the best claims from Chevy are that
the Volt will get an extra 300 miles on gasoline �help� for the generator
powering the car (or is it the gas engine that then powers the wheels after
charge runs out?). Supposing this model has a 10 gallon tank, they usually
don't get too much smaller, that would give the gasoline engine only an
efficiency of 30 miles per gallon. Not revolutionary at all. In fact, much
like any other car out on the road today.

On the contrary, here's the part that is really exciting though. That part
about being able to drive 40 miles on a single charge. I was thinking about
my own life. Currently, I normally only drive as much as 15 to 20 miles a
day. That being the case, I could go months without using up any fuel. Now,
that part is revolutionary! It's funny though, here in Chicago, say you have
to drive to the suburbs every day or from the suburbs to Chicago everyday,
you might just cross that 40 mile mark and use some gas. Not much depending
on where you have to go but you probably will cross that line.

So, will I be thinking about getting one? Not really. I like the idea of
just running on electric power only first and not touching the gasoline
engine but the car other than that is really nothing special in my opinion.
In fact, I'd say, it's just a Chevy Malibu with an electric generator. I do
hope that someday, companies will push this technology further so that we'll
be able to get farther than just 40 miles on a charge and that the batteries
will charge faster. It's nice to have that gasoline backup but contrary to
what Chevy researchers say, I would guess many people will go over that mark
and it's radius is just too small. Just a few small trips a day and the
batteries will get used up, throw in A/C, heating, or whatever else you
desire (amps, subs, etc) and that power will go fast.

So, I'll be waiting for the next real revolution. Perhaps a much wider
radius on batteries, a bit of a smaller fuel tank (it needs to be truly
backup) and a bit bigger size OR smaller price tag would help. Don't price
it high just because the government is going to throw in some rebates. I
believe that's what they have done. It's not worth 40 Grand. That's what I
think, what do you think? Will you be waiting eagerly for the release of
this car next month? Do you care? Let us know!

1 comment:

Daniel Yeo said...

Actually, the Volt can use up gas at high speeds in specific circumstances. Check out Wired:

I think what people are looking for is something that feels more like a car rather than some weird metal bucket on wheels (i.e. Prius.) Give me a car that actually has some soul to it!