Sunday, January 07, 2007

San Jose Mercury News on electric cars

Matt Nauman discusses the presentation of the Chevrolet Volt concept on Jan. 7 in Detroit.

Within the text: Some Volt drivers, if they drive 40 miles a day or less, "may never go to the gas station," said Scott Fosgard, a GM spokesman.

There is a brief mention of the issue with batteries: Still, he noted, "the Achilles' heel of this initiative is its dependence on a breakthrough in battery technology. Many industry observers believe that breakthrough is coming, but nobody can say when."

IPBiz recalls that Thomas Edison was going to solve the "battery problem" long, long ago. It didn't happen. Now, GM proposes an electric car without the needed battery. Where's the beef?

One blog (the air)noted: GM hopes to sport an advanced lithium ion battery pack that can be recharged by a conventional 110 volt within 6 to 6.5 hours and provide up to 40 miles on sole electric power. Afterwards, the 3 cylinder gasoline or ethanol fuel based engine will kick in and provide approximately 600 additional miles before the need to refuel and it will recharge your batteries.

Another blog (planet-geek) stated: It's somewhere between a concept car and production, in that they've hired a line manager for the vehicle, but they're having problems finding a supplier for the 100,000 mile Lithium Ion battery. IPBiz, a big fan of carbon lithium systems, suspects those problems will continue.

Other text from the San Jose article:

It can be plugged into a household outlet, getting a full charge in about six or seven hours. Officials at Tesla Motors, the San Carlos electric-car company, and proponents of plug-in hybrid vehicles say electricity costs much less than gasoline [?].

The Volt isn't a hybrid, Lauckner said, because the gas engine activates only ``when the battery pack is exhausted. People want to say this is a hybrid. It's pure electric drive.''

In the Volt, said engineer Nick Zielinski, the powertrain includes an electric drive motor; a lithium-ion battery pack; a generator; a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder, turbo-charged gas engine; and a home plug-in charger.


One IPBiz reader said:

I wish such writers would calculate the "miles per gallon" (ie, cost per mile for gasoline) versus the "miles per charge" (ie, cost in per mile for electricity). It's easy to say "if you drive 40 miles or less a day, you never need gasoline", but there is that additional cost on your electricity bill.

[And, IPBiz notes, a likely consumption of coal (or petroleum) to make the electricity, unless one lives near nuclear or hydroelectric.]


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