Converj: The 'Cadillac' of Electric Cars
By EV World
General Motors served up some 17 new vehicle models at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, but le Pièce de résistance was the Cadillac Converj concept car.
Designed around GM's Voltec Propulsion System, which will power the Chevrolet Volt later this year, the Converj would have an electric-first* driving range of up to 40 miles, after which its gasoline-powered generator spins up and provides electric energy to drive the car "several hundred miles" in hybrid mode.
Designed at the Simon Cox studio in Coventry, England, it took designers and fabricators just seven months to bring the 2+2 luxury coupe to life. According to co-designer Brian Smith, the car's Voltec electric drive dictated the sweeping, cab-forward design. The 220 lithium-ion cells that make up the car's battery pack are housed inside the center console between the passenger seats, similar to the Volt. Using 240-Volt household current, the 16 kWh battery will charge will cost its owners about 80 cents at 10 cents per kilowatt hour. If charged at night using discounted grid power, the 8 kWh could cost at little as 24 cents at 3 cents/kWh.
Nick Zielinski, the chief engineer on the Volt, explained to EV World that the Voltec Propulsion System has been tuned in the Converj to improve launch acceleration and mid-range speeds in keeping with Cadillac owner expectations. The concept car is equipped with 21-inch wheels in front, 22-inch wheels in the rear. Full-roof solar panels "help offset power drain" from the vehicle's accessories," according to GM's press release. More carmakers are incorporating roof-mounted solar panels as a way to improve their vehicle's fuel efficiency. By using solar-generated electric power to run cooling fans, Fisker estimates it can reduce cabin temperatures in its Karma sedan by 25 degrees on a warm, summer day. The means less power drain on its battery pack to help cool down the cabin, which translates into an additional one mile per gallon in fuel savings.
While the Converj is largely a styling exercise to demonstrate applications of the Voltec drive beyond the Chevy Volt, General Motors executives stressed that should public interest warrant, they could commit to production of the vehicle.
This exclusive EV World photo slide show captures some of the media excitement accompanying the Converj reveal in Detroit this week.
|Vehicle type:||2-door, front-wheel-drive 2+2 coupe|
|Category:||extended-range electric vehicle|
|Chassis:||independent McPherson struts, front magnetic ride, compound crank twist axle rear, four-wheel disc brakes, full regenerative brakes to maximize energy capture, electric power-assist steering|
|Top speed (mph / km/h):||100 / 161|
|EV range, city and highway (miles):||Up to 40, based on EPA cycle|