I’m not a stinking unwashed long hair hippy but I do like the idea of paying less to run my car so I’ve been following the Chrysler Volt with a vague interest. Wired just posted a big article on the progress of the Volt’s development, you can read the whole thing here but for the lazy (like me), here are the interesting bits:
The Volt, which General Motors finally unveiled Tuesday, is a series hybrid, also called a range-extended electric vehicle. Like the Prius, it’s got an electric motor and a gasoline engine, but the engine merely charges the battery as it approaches depletion. Electricity alone turns the 17-inch wheels. The Volt is designed to travel 40 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery, meaning most drivers will never burn a drop of gasoline.
General Motors wants the Volt to recharge in eight hours using a standard 120-volt wall outleta or three hours with a 240. Of course, that won’t do you any good if you’re miles from home when the batteries are winding down. At that point, the Volt’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine kicks on, powering a 53-kilowatt generator that will keep the battery going.
GM says the drivetrain will produce acceleration similar to that of a V-6 engine.
So we’re looking at an electric car which can do 4.7l/100, that’s almost half what my 1.8l Civic does and it sure as crap doesn’t accelerate like a V-6 (unless I’m in a bad mood).
Oh, the Volt also looks freakin awesome: