GM Tries EVs Again with Chevrolet Volt
Recently, General Motors (GM) has faced criticism for shutting down production of its EV-1 electric vehicle. Yesterday at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, it unveiled the EV-1's successor, an electric-motor-driven concept car called the Chevrolet Volt. It's the first example of a new "E-Flex" vehicle platform that the company is moving toward production.
The concept car runs off electricity from the grid, stored on board in a battery, for the first 40 miles of a drive. For longer trips, a small gasoline-powered generator kicks on to recharge the battery pack, allowing a total range of 640 miles. In between trips, the battery can be recharged in six and a half hours at an ordinary wall outlet. For longer trips, the generator can provide power at the equivalent of 50 miles per gallon.
GM representatives say their reason for including the gasoline generator is to overcome one of the biggest limitations of the earlier electric vehicle: the short range. The original EV-1 had a range of only about 90 miles, and it required an eight-hour recharge at a dedicated 220-volt electrical outlet. The Volt uses lithium-ion batteries that take up one-third of the space of the EV-1's original lead-acid battery pack, while providing the same total energy storage.
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