Chevrolet Volt – Meet an Electric Car

Chevy Volt cutaway picture (Courtesy GM)

Electrical car and General Motors are in the same sentence again and not because of EV1.

Earlier this year GM has unveiled its new electrical car concept – Chevy Volt (pictured). One of the first features that come to mind is the looks – an important detail in successfully getting the vehicle on the market. I think it was a great idea to use a brand new design so that the vehicle stands apart on the road and the owner is recognized as an environmentally conscious person. Many companies use regular car bodies for their hybrids (Toyota Prius is a notable exception) and they unnecessarily blend in the rest of the crowd without giving the owners the due recognition.

Anyways, let’s look inside the Chevy Volt concept:

The most important feature in my mind is the fact that the car is completely driven by electrical motor which gives GM engineers ability to combine the drivetrain with different sources of backup power – 1.0 liter gasoline engine, diesel, pure ethanol (E100) or biodiesel as well as, potentially, hydrogen fuel cells. This power source flexibility gave the name to the system – “E-Flex”.

The motor (or cells) are only engaged when the battery gets depleted which is a stark contrast with Prius that’s designed to never let them go below half of their charge and runs the engine for too long. One pleasant feature of completely electric propulsion in a car is the smoothness of the ride unattainable with a combustion engine. I like it when my Prius runs on batteries only (below 20MPH and only slight acceleration) – smooth and quiet.
The car is said to be able to drive 40 miles on electric charge only which, by GM’s words should be enough for 70% of U.S. population to get to the work and back. This is where I think GM’s marketing department is going to have an issue to address in their commercials because a fuel-saving car is obviously more attractive to those people with long commute such as myself (100+ miles a day). Volt is definitely going to cost more than a traditional car and so the price difference may be a big factor here. On the other hand, we don’t know what the price of gas is going to look like in 2012 – a soft production start date. Maybe the gas price alone will provide enough motivation.

Here is the specifications as per GM:

Overview

Model:

Chevrolet Volt Concept

Body style / driveline:

4-5-passenger sedan, unitized frame, electric propulsion, front wheel drive

Construction:

body-frame-integral structure with composite exterior panels and roof

EPA vehicle class

compact car (four doors with rear liftgate)

Drive system

Description:

electrically driven system with onboard range extender, plug-in recharge capability

Battery system:

Type:

lithium-ion

Energy:

16 kWh (minimum)

Peak power:

130 to 140 kW

Voltage:

320 to 350

100% recharge time:

110-volt outlet:

6 to 6.5 hours

Electric traction system:

Max. electrical power:

130 to 140 kW

Max. mechanical power:

120 kW

Continuous electrical power:

45 kW

Continuous mechanical power:

40 kW

Generator:

Power:

53 kW peak power

Drive:

direct

Range extender:

Type:

3-cylinder, turbocharged engine

Size:

1L

Fuel:

gas or E85

Nominal speed:

1500 to 1800 rpm

Max speed:

3200 rpm

Fuel tank (gal / L):

12 / 54.5

Charger:

Type:

plug-in

Voltage / amp:

110 / 15

Horsepower (hp / kW):

160 / 120

Torque (lb-ft / Nm):

236 / 320

Electric mode range:

40 miles – full electric vehicle (EV) range

Estimated fuel economy @ constant state of charge:

50 mpg during charge sustaining operation

Daily usage equivalent mpg:

@ 40 miles or less:

not applicable – no fuel used

@ 60 miles:

150 mpg

@ 80 miles:

100 mpg

0 to 60 mph:

8 to 8.5 seconds

Top speed (mph)

120 (limited duration)

Chassis/Suspension

Front:

independent, strut-type

Rear:

semi-independent torsion beam

Steering type:

electric, speed-sensitive, variable assist rack-and-pinion

Turning circle, curb-to-curb
(ft / m):

37 to 38 / 11.2 to 11.5

Brakes

Type:

electro-hydraulic power assisted; front disc, rear drum

Wheels/Tires

Wheel size (in):

21 x 6.5

Tires:

195/55R21, low-rolling resistance

Dimensions
Exterior

Overall length (in / mm):

170 / 4318

Height (in / mm):

52.6 / 1336

Width (in / mm):

70.5 / 1791

Interior

Seating capacity (front / rear):

2 / 2

Headroom (in / mm):

front: 37.3 / 947
rear: 35.9 / 912

Legroom (in / mm):

31.5 / 802

Shoulder room (in / mm):

50.6 / 1285

Hip room (in / mm):

53.1 / 1349



One Response to “Chevrolet Volt – Meet an Electric Car”

  1. morgan chemis Says:

    Frankly, I think the Volt and the energy savings it promises make for a revolutionary automobile. I have made a site dedicated to the volt here:

    Chevy Volt

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