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Thursday, December 06, 2007
Chevrolet Volt Electric Vehicle
Image: © theirEarth News Media

General Motors Gets Some Electricity

General Motor's Chevrolet division had a working model of their concept car the Chevrolet Volt at the EVS 23 (Electric Vehicle) show in California this week. The car had a production fully finished look to it and was actually driven away when the show finished up on Tuesday evening.

The Chevrolet Volt is an Electric/Gasoline (petrol) plug-in hybrid that is capable of travelling the first 64km (40 miles) on electric battery charge and then switches over to a petrol (gasoline) or Ethanol fuelled 1L three-cylinder turbo charged engine that generates additional electricity to drive the electric propulsion system. The Chevrolet Volt has an E-Flex battery system using lithium-ion battery technology. The battery is fully charged within six hours if plugged-in at night.

General Motors Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz, said at the Los Angeles Auto Show, that "more than half of all Americans live within 20 miles of where they work (40 miles round trip). If they plug-in each night (the Chevrolet Volt) they may never burn a drop of gas on their daily commute".

GM has awarded two major battery supply contracts for multiple cell configuration battery packs. One to LG Chem, a Korean battery manufacturer, and the other to Continental Automotive Systems for battery pack supply. Continental will work with their lithium battery supplier A123 Systems of Watertown, Mass. U.S.A., for their GM supply contract.

What would be an interesting engineering development of the Chevrolet Volt would be for GM to also offer hydrogen fuel cell power generation to the car, as an option in place of the 1L turbo engine, which would make it a 100% zero emissions vehicle.

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