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Yesterday we excerpted of the major news stories on the launch. Now the high-power weeklies and the top car sites weigh in. This is a email: we’re running the text of some of these Why? Because they’re so

These authors have hard to gauge the importance of many see as a major turning We hope you’ll enjoy their full vision. combined them so we don’t your in-box with stories on GM (we hope to get back to of other news too).

So is the second-to-last Volt story for at a day or two! Contents:

TIME Is America Ready to Drive and The Chevy Volt: GM’s Bet on the Electric Car

FORBES The Automobile Gears

BUSINESS WEEK GM Up the Electric Chevy Volt

CAR CONGRESS GM Formally Unveils the Version of the Volt

HYBRIDCARS.COM Volt Unveiled, As GM Turns 100

EV GM’s Fortune Tied to of Electric Car

EV WORLD: GM Panel: in the 21st Century [with links]

WIRED The Volt A Prius. It’s Better

TWO FORWARD General Motor’s Century

AUTOBLOG GREEN GM Bob Lutz talks about the future, $7,500 tax incentives

MAGAZINE has two Sept.16 stories on cars — not clear if will be in the next print

Is America Ready to Drive [full story; we note two by Byan Walsh­time/­business/­article/­0,8599,1841378,00.html

Lindland, a senior auto for the research firm Global is a fan of both electric cars and plug-in Volt. This is not a Jetson future, says This is ours.

But that is still a ways off. said that when she met GM executives not long ago to talk the Volt, she reminded them of one question: The plug-in makers’ is that drivers will their cars in the garage at where it shouldn’t be too hard to an electrical outlet. But I live in an and park my car on the street, says area resident Lindland.

So am I going to plug in my car?

just one of countless questions needs an answer before cars can truly take place on American roads. electric cars have at one built-in advantage: The electrical already exists. Other alternatives, like hydrogen cells, would require the of an expensive new infrastructure to deliver the gas to stations around the country. But to plug-ins a truly viable — one that could petroleum — we will to make changes to the way we supply and use both small and large. is everywhere and it is extremely low cost, Mark Duvall, program for electric transport at the Electric Research Institute.

But we have to into account the ways drivers will want to use

The first changes would to be in pricing and delivery. Most of the utility system is extraordinarily — using 19th-century to run 21st-century applications. In real-time, rarely know how much any given customer is using, or Even though electric use relatively little power the average car recharging draws as much juice as a widescreen TV they could still overwhelm the electrical system.

If suddenly became popular, the grid had a chance to get smarter, it lead to a real power You can imagine what would if five drivers on the block got at 5 p.m. and all decided to recharge cars at the same time, Charles Griffith, auto director at the Ecology Center in Calif. [actually Ann Arbor, MI]

One way to with the additional demand by electric cars would be to build more power That would be expensive, and, if the additional plants coal or natural gas, bad for change. A better solution: tap the enormous extra capacity of the during off-peak times, between midnight and dawn. to a study by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, off-peak capacity support the conversion of 73% of the current fleet — enough to cut for oil in half — without the of a single extra plant, the cars all charge late at

We have a great amount of resources, says Luke vehicle analyst for the Natural Defense Council. We can minimize on the grid.

To do that, however, we to persuade plug-in owners to at the right time — by electricity cheaply late at when demand is low. If a plug-in battery costs 2 after midnight, and many that during the day, will likely wait plugging in. (If that pricing sounds familiar, it should be it’s how long distance works.) But to make that work, utilities will to install smart meters in homes capable of monitoring cars are charging, and then to the juice accordingly; smart are already being tested out by in California and Texas. These would also help even out the peaks and valleys come with providing The hope is that we’ll be to actively regulate our grid to efficiency, says Brian president of the D.C.-based Electric Transportation Association.

There is potential.

A shift to plug-in could also help the of renewable power, all the more since a proliferation of electric would alter the national of carbon emissions — the sector would take on the that once belonged transport. While a power fueled by solar or wind be clean, one of its key drawbacks is that it also be intermittent — if the sun shaded or the wind failed to we wouldn’t have power. if solar or wind produced power than the grid use, that excess might simply be lost.

But if of electric cars were into the grid, they act as mini-batteries, storing renewable as it’s generated — and even channeling electricity into grid during or windless days, a system vehicle-to-grid. If you have control renewable power resources and you can start to synchronize the two, John Clark, CEO of V2Green, a start-up that is looking to the grid and plug-in vehicles, and has already begun field with utilities in Austin, To utilities, electric cars can batteries on wheels.

But plug-ins catch on if the home is the only drivers can recharge. By making stations as ubiquitous as gas stations are utilities can speed the end of the gasoline-powered Which raises yet more How will utilities charge for recharging on the road? Who will and run public charging stations?

All of factors have to be integrated — most car owners switch to electric if plug-ins are any convenient to operate and refuel the average gas guzzler. We want to sure the environment for the vehicle is as as possible for the customer, says Beth Stanek, director of and energy for General Motors.

Such infrastructure changes are far off — official plug-ins yet to hit the street — but a few companies are gearing up. A start-up called Technologies [actually Coulomb] in Calif. is developing public points that would drivers to plug in and pay for the power use. Another model is Shai Agassi’s Better a company that wants to a vast infrastructure of public and battery swap stations. imagines a subscription model to how mobile phones work.

would lease the batteries power their electric and be charged based on how much drove. If they needed to farther than the range of the drivers would pull into a Better Place and swap the depleted battery for a one in a few minutes. Agassi already has from Israel and Denmark to developing the model, and Nissan is to make the cars.

We started and a tsunami has come, says referring to the growth of his project to rising oil prices.

But even infrastructure improvements, the shift to cars is likely to take even decades. According to Madian, a director at the research LECG, even assuming growth, we can’t expect than 68 million plug-in by 2036, which would for less than 17% of the total fleet at that time. that the U.S. car fleet is to have grown to over 400 vehicles by then, we may still end up more oil in the future than we do in a business as usual scenario. all the more reason for the government to get of the curve and begin piecing the electric infrastructure — meters, public charging more renewable power that will speed the of plug-ins.

A car affects the world than anything else a will purchase in his or her lifetime, Felix Kramer, founder of the Cars Initiative, a plug-in group in Palo Alto, Plug-ins can turn the car from a for environmental destruction to something frees us from oil — but if we make it happen.

The Chevy GM’s Huge Bet on the Electric Car By Walsh — With by Coco Masters, Yuki Oda and Toyama / Tokyo [full­time/­business/­article/­0,8599,1841374,00.html

I can see the future of the automobile I just can’t quite it. I’m riding around Motors’ secure proving in Milford, Mich. in what the outside looks like an Chevrolet Malibu. But inside it be more different. The test car powered by a gasoline-fueled internal engine, like nearly automobile since the first T rolled off Henry Ford’s line in 1908.

Nor is it a hybrid Toyota’s fuel-efficient Prius a gas engine assisted by an electric This Malibu is electric, by a 400-lb. lithium-ion battery beneath the floorboard — an source that is not only but entirely emission-free.

Actually, we’re driving is not a Malibu at all but a a stunt double for what become the Chevrolet Volt, a new electric car that could a struggling GM and, not incidentally, the way we drive — just as as they can make it work in Developing this car is not something for the says Alex Cattelan, the assistant chief vehicle from behind the wheel. But so much fun.

To understand why the could be so important to two once institutions that have hit times — General and the United States — all you to do is visit your nearest gas where a gallon of unleaded now an average of $3.64. We’re around $700 billion a to import oil, with of that money being to countries that don’t us very much. When we all that imported oil, we nearly 2 million tons of dioxide into the atmosphere year, heating up the planet.

twin trends can’t and the solution is to move away oil as quickly and as devastatingly as possible, to former CIA director turned warrior James Woolsey.

GM is the only major automaker to electrics as the way to make that in recent months every international automaker has announced to produce plug-in hybrids, cars that can be recharged a wall socket, like the But it is GM — which has seen vanish as Americans stampede from SUVs and other gas — that is pursuing the ambitious program. The company not have a happy history electrics, having produced the EV1 in the 1990s only to discontinue it in But this time GM has staked its on the Volt, promising to have it in by the end of 2010 — far quicker the pace of development for a standard let alone one whose battery not technically exist yet.

is not a choice, says Rebecca an auto analyst for the research Global Insight. This is for their survival. And in a warming perhaps ours too.

the hood, Bob Lutz is not your green. The former Marine — who owns a pair of military jets he likes to fly probably has a carbon footprint the size of Michigan. But it is the gravelly GM’s vice chairman for product development, who is the driving behind the Volt.

Lutz in the auto industry for decades, to run the battery company Exide and returned to GM in 2001 full of His dream was to develop an all-electric car would be powered by lithium-ion similar to the kind now used in phones and laptops. Most hybrids use nickel-metal-hydride batteries less expensive, but also powerful.

In 2003 a Silicon start-up named Tesla announced it would produce a lithium-ion-powered sports car, and helped galvanize Lutz. If guy in California can do it, to me it shows that is certifiable technology, he says.

GM as a shared that confidence and at the Detroit Auto Show an early concept-car version of the To the surprise of even Lutz, it was the hit of the Other hybrids may offer efficiency, but the Volt would go steps further.

A traditional like the Prius has two means of one electric motor run by a battery and one run by gasoline. The battery can’t you very far — maybe 7 or 8 — which is why the gas engine in so often. But as you drive, the battery pick up extra juice, courtesy of what’s known as braking — collecting the generated every time you hit the converting it to electricity and storing it in the

The result: less gas used on trip.

The Volt will on its electric motor, powered by its new and will go up to 40 miles without a drop of gas. For the nearly 80% of who drive less than 40 a day, that would they could effectively gasoline from their After 40 miles, the Volt’s gas switches on, but unlike the Prius’, it make the car move an inch. it generates electricity and feeds it to the much the way an emergency generator in a keeps the lights on during a

This allows you to go an additional hundred miles before you either a fill-up or a charge-up. [past electrics] people had to the way they lived, says Farah, the Volt’s chief I want a vehicle that ask them to change at all.

GM knew that the hardest of building the Volt would be the still young lithium-ion to create the right battery for the In a normal development process, GM work with batterymakers to and test the power packs, begin making the car itself. But aren’t normal times at GM, a that lost $15.5 in the second quarter of 2008 that surrendered the aura of leadership to Toyota; that itself squeezed between fuel-economy standards and a fleet is still shifting from and SUVs.

So the order went out to the batteries and the car simultaneously, with the aim of Volts for sale in the tens of according to Lutz, by the end of 2010.

On 16, 2008, GM’s 100th the company further committed to its deadline by unveiling the final design of the Volt: a sleek and body that still more like a family than a car of the future. Now it will be up to the in the company’s advanced battery lab to good on the 2010 pledge.

unit, led by engineer Denise is currently putting various modules through their cycling them through and testing them in warm and conditions, with the aim of ensuring the can run safely for at least 150,000 of driving. The technology has had its problems in applications — recall the batteries that caught on in Sony laptops in 2006. But so GM says, theirs are performing an assessment confirmed by outside

The test packs I’m have gone through the of about 22,000 miles of and the peppy Gray — who to be lithium-ion-powered herself — they’re still going

Even if the technology is ready by the end of critics doubt that will be able to produce the at scale by then — or enough to make the Volt affordable. (Lutz says shooting for $40,000 or less, would still be a stiff for what is, high tech a family car.) Menahem the founder of Total Battery believes that it should GM four to five years to and test new lithium-ion packs. like to be wrong, he says. But difficult to see how they can succeed.

GM’s bete noire, to agree. Six months after GM the Volt concept in 2007, announced it was already test-driving hybrids — cars adhere to the two-engine model of all but allow the battery to plug the grid and pick up an extra while parked. Toyota has as quiet about its plug-in as GM has been loud about the but it does seem that the company takes a more view of lithium technology.

Our is of a smaller battery with a initial cost [for the says Tasatami Takimoto, executive vice president for tech.

No matter when the hits the showrooms, it seems to appear in large numbers away. In a July filing the National Highway Traffic Administration, GM said the Volt and plug-ins would be low-volume until 2015 and that the shouldn’t take the technology account when devising new rules. To Lutz, any initial of the Volt matters less GM’s ability to improve and the car’s system across its fleet.

This is generation-one and it’s been developed fast, he says. Generation two is in the hopper, and generation three is worked on.

GM — and the rest of the industry — can’t go those generations fast More than hydrogen cells (perpetually 10 to 15 years and cellulosic ethanol (ditto), cars represent a promising solution to America’s oil addiction. The to support electric cars today — it’s the electric grid, and we can all tap into it in our Electricity is far cheaper than the oil — plug-ins generally run on the of 75 cents a gallon. Even America’s current electrical which is more than 50% switching to plug-ins will greenhouse gases, and as the grid cleaner and cleaner, those will only increase.

A study by the Electric Power Institute and the Natural Resources Council estimated that by widespread adoption of plug-ins reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 450 metric tons annually equivalent to removing 82.5 passenger cars from the

Nor would plug-ins overwhelm the grid. Because utilities to keep excess capacity to meet rare peak-power — a bit like a hotel 20 extra empty rooms for a that happens once a — there’s plenty of to power plug-ins, provided charge at off-peak times. A by the Pacific National Northwest found that the grid power 73% of the nation’s car fleet adding a single new plant, most of the charging was done at

The Volt may not be the only way to kick the oil but the sheer excitement the unfinished car has — more than people have joined an waiting list — that GM has taken the lead in the for tomorrow’s car. The real may be whether the company, still revenue in a depressed market, can until the Volt arrives. has no doubt. This is the last we would ever cut, he

Even as we face the Grim we would still be spending on the Volt. Let’s hope so. it comes to the Volt, what’s for General Motors could again be good for America.

The Automobile Shifts Gears 16, 2008 by Mark P. Mills, who the Creative Disruption column to Clayton Christensen’s business and with Peter Huber, writing about PHEVs in [ful story]­claytonchristensen/­2008/­09/­16/­generalmotors-toyota-daimler_leadership_clayton_in_mm_0916claytonchristensen_inl.html

The of the automobile is being fought on the two of politics and raw capitalism. No surprise, that cars are at the epicenter of not oil demand and manufacturing might, but technology deployment. Both aspirants (cars seem to out the inner dweeb in the candidates) tech-centric future-car plans.

Not coincidentally, the world’s two largest have started a Kabuki over who will lead the secular shift in automotive from whence 21st market dominance will Regardless of who wins either the transformation of the car, over alters energy markets in ways.

Both Obama and propose to accelerate the idea of a hybrid, a vehicle directly from the digital silicon So do automakers. In mid-August, General announced it had essentially finished the of its Volt, a radical new hybrid car unveiled just a year ago in with planned production in

Not to be outdone, Toyota quickly contemporaneous with the Democratic an acceleration of its own similar plan and schedule. Nissan, Ford, Chrysler and Mercedes all have too.

What’s the big deal? we already have hybrids? but these new hybrids will a plug that connects to a socket, giving consumers a of using (mostly domestic) to replace all (mostly foreign) on most trips.

This feature has immense consequences.

The is the physical and economic link makes it possible, for the first to connect two nearly independent of our energy economy—the oil and the non-oil By doing that, the plug-in has the potential to radically alter the equation that currently gasoline.

Consider: 95% of all American energy is supplied by oil. the energy for everything else—offices, homes and data centers—is 85% without oil, and most of it is as kilowatt-hours. (Only a vanishingly 2% of is generated by oil.) Once you automobiles to the electric grid, you a trillion-barrel-of-oil-equivalent energy infrastructure entirely fueled by domestic coal, uranium, natural gas and dams.

Look at this way. Today, most energy technologies that are solar, tides, waves, coal, nuclear fission perhaps one day, fusion—are only for making electricity. Yet wind does no more for than gasoline does for

Conventional hybrids such as Prius have moved a cult niche to a mainstream with a cumulative million sold—the demand for this car has tracked oil prices. Nevertheless, hybrids are still locked the oil economy, with a drive directly connected to a gasoline

Plug-in hybrids turn upside down—reversing the roles of and electricity. Conventional hybrids use the gasoline engine for propulsion, on the electric drive and batteries occasionally to (impressively) improve efficiency. Plug-in hybrids use electric motors and batteries for relegating gasoline to occasional use to the battery range.

The gasoline serves as an on-board personal utility for when you forget to in to the local grid, or for ensuring a range to match that of any car you’d buy today.

The Volt’s generator is mechanically independent of the swapped in the future for ethanol, or fuel cell generators. of the plug-in hybrid as the biggest electric appliance ever. enough kilowatt-hours for 40 miles in a (the Volt’s planned and you capture daily driving for people. So the average commuter stay in kilowatt-only mode day.

A pint of gasoline is by each grid kilowatt-hour—whether from one pound of coal, seconds of a wind turbine’s blades or 20 square meters of cells.

What does it for energy markets? Ultimately, the under-the-hood electronic architecture of the hybrid will become as as automatic transmissions and anti-lock Once the majority of domestic become plug-in hybrids, we displace most urban use, or nearly one-half of U.S. oil imports.

To make technology practical, automakers had to for ultra-powerful but compact electronics critically, useful batteries. large quantities of electricity has been the domain of 150-year-old chemistry. Lead, while is a nonstarter; your small computer battery would to a stop in 30 minutes using as would your Volt if its battery pack were

Driving for 30 minutes at commuting yields a useless dozen

Lithium battery chemistry, in 1991, changes this with a four-fold gain in stored per pound. Lithium was a key market enabler for notebook and cell phones. Now automotive-class price, performance and safety is from dozens of venture-funded and established battery players.

going to be busy though. If 10% of the automotive production switches to we’ll need to at least the world’s current lithium output. And then we’ll substantially more electricity to them up. On average, each will add electric demand to a couple of home refrigerators.

challenges, however, are more our control than what in oil markets. GM is already working several dozen utilities to the transition to smart, electric Many more utilities and will follow.

History is with examples of products before their time, Ford’s Edsel to the Osborne PC ahead of Apple, and Apple’s own flop with the Newton iPhone’s ancestor). Add to the dud list 1996 EV1 electric-only car. The and technology finally appear for car unshackled from oil dependence.

the next president will policies and take credit for this inevitable transformation. But will belong to a global of digital entrepreneurs, and engineers at the of GM and Toyota, who compete to finally the auto industry out of its 19th roots.

Written by Mark P. a physicist and a co-founding partner in Power Capital, an energy venture fund. Mills is the co-author of The Bottomless Well: The of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Never Run Out of Energy (Basic 2005.) Mills may hold in companies discussed in this and may provide technology assessment for firms that have in the companies. He can be contacted at inquiries@. .

WEEK GM Charges Up the Electric Volt: GM introduces the Chevy a sleek electric car capable of 40 mpg on a charge by David Welch, Detroit bureau chief 17, 2008 [abridged]­lifestyle/­content/­sep2008/­bw20080916_356100.htm

critics have called the Volt, the electric car General (GM) plans to sell in vaporware. Other skeptics doubted the company could get the lithium-ion batteries ready for by then. But in a play to show GM will get beyond its current struggles and challenge Toyota in the technology game, Chairman and CEO G. Wagoner Jr. showed the production of the car at a 100th anniversary event for the at its Detroit headquarters.

The Volt is of what GM is today—cutting-edge design and he said.

Design Change: Lutz said, the car will be using similar underpinnings of future family of compact In that sense, the Volt be a cousin of the Chevrolet Cruze (, 7/10/08), which on sale in Europe in March and the a year later. That GM to share some parts a family of compacts that sell hundreds of thousands of a year worldwide.

The tradeoff is that the Volt the longer hood and sporty of its concept car.

There other reasons the design had to Lutz says. Standing to the Volt, he showed how the production is more aerodynamic than the car was. That will GM engineers get the car to run 40 miles before the engine kicks in to start the battery.

If the carmaker had kept the stout design of the concept, looking at 33 or 34 miles of electric Lutz said. We’re a reliable 40 miles of range. exactly what we predicted.

the Car Be Ready? Inside, the dashboard, console, and controls look they were styled in (AAPL) studios. A glossy, center console resembling a iPod houses all the control And those turn on the stereo of controls by sensing touch.

No to push down on a button.

CAR CONGRESS GM Formally Unveils the Version of the Volt 16 September with over 75 comments story]­2008/­09/­gm-formally-unv.html

General marked its centenary today by the much-anticipated production version of the Volt extended range vehicle. The design of the Chevrolet production car has changed from the concept that was unveiled at the North American International Show in Detroit. (Earlier

Because aerodynamics plays a key in maximizing driving range, GM created a more aerodynamically design for the production vehicle was represented by the concept. While cues from the concept remain in the production Volt, the rounded and flush front tapered corners and grille are enabling air to move easily the car. In the rear, sharp and a carefully designed spoiler the air to flow off and away quickly.

An rake on the windshield and back help reduce turbulence and

The Volt uses electricity to the wheels at all times and speeds. For up to 40 miles (under the EPA city the Volt is powered only by stored in its 16-kWh, lithium-ion GM uses half of the capacity (8 in its operating strategy for the Volt.

the battery’s energy is depleted, a naturally aspirated gasoline/E85-powered range extender kicks in.

The Volt can be plugged either a standard household 120v or use 240v for charging. The vehicle’s charging technology enables the battery to be charged in less three hours on a 240v or about eight hours on a outlet. Charge times are if the battery has not been fully

GM estimates the cost of a daily 8 kWh to be about $0.80 (10 cents per

CAPTION: The Volt’s electric unit delivers the equivalent of 150 hp kW), with 370 Nm (273 of instant torque, and a top speed of 100 per hour.

GM estimates that the will cost about two per mile to drive while battery power compared to 12 per mile using gasoline at $3.60 per gallon. For an average who drives 40 miles per day (or 15,000 per year), this amounts to a savings of $1,500 annually. peak electric rates, GM that an electrically driven in a Chevy Volt will be one-sixth of the cost of a conventional vehicle.

The cost savings are greater when charging off-peak hours, when rates are cheaper.

The Chevrolet is expected to be built at GM’s manufacturing facility, subject to GM negotiating satisfactory government Production is scheduled to begin 2010 for models in the United Pricing has not been announced.

Chevrolet Volt Unveiled, As GM 100 by John Voelker September 16 [abridged]­carmakers/­chevrolet-volt-unveiled-gm-turns-100-25000.html

The Chevrolet is undoubtedly the most popular car in the that doesn’t yet exist. the January 2007 unveiling of the through last week’s photos of the production version, it draws huge traffic and comments to any website.

GM product Bob Lutz called design and the one big differentiator left as every improves quality, offers handling, excellent packaging, and so He talked about bringing into the process at the earliest to help conceive cars, than just asking to skin products that had been engineered. But he acknowledged the Volt design team’s was a little different, requiring all superb aerodynamics to ensure

The actual unveiling seemed anti-climactic. A curtain pulled Bob Lutz slowly drove the car out a turntable, the crowd applauded—and was it.

So now we know what it looks without executives standing in of it. We have 26 months left cars appear at Chevrolet hope—but if there’s one certainty, that you’ll see way, way Volt publicity between now and Stay tuned.

EV WORLD Fortune Tied to Fate of Car: General Motors debuts its next generation car [full story]­article.cfm?storyid=1528

Nowhere nearly as radical a as the original Volt concept or the successful 2004 Toyota the Chevy Volt is, nonetheless, an design. But the secret of the car is what it: electricity. Behind the wheel is Bob Lutz who championed the car.

the melt-down on Wall Street once-powerful banking and investment are toppling like dominoes, out in Michigan another drama is out.

This morning Motors, itself fighting for amidst persistent rumors of bankruptcy, rolled out a small sedan that might be overlooked in any parking lot unless one closely at the Volt badge on the or the camouflaged plug-in port on the fender. Those will be the clues that this car is anything else on the road. GM employees and shareholders fervently this is the car of the future.

As the official photographs below illustrate, the E-Flex range-extended electric is an attractively styled vehicle will surely appeal to car buyers who still find the of the Prius off-putting. While the hot-rod looks of the original concept car first unveiled two years ago have morphed something less dramatic in the of improved aerodynamics, it is what’s the sheet metal that the car extraordinary.

Instead of blending the engine with an electric through a complex transmission as is done in all current production including those from GM, the is propelled entirely by its 111kW electric motor. Supplying the to the motor is a 16kWh lithium ion pack nestled between the seats. Capable of moving the car to top of 100 mph (160km/hr), the energy in the battery is to drive for 40 miles on electric only. To extend the range of the car to hundred addition miles, car is with an internal combustion that recharges the battery and enough extra electricity to the car.

When the car is parked, the can be recharged using common current at either 110 or 240 volts AC. GM estimate that 85 percent of will seldom use the engine/generator the normal work week, will translate into cost savings. At 10 cents a hour, a typical 25 mile commute will cost $1.00 in ‘fuel’ costs a roughly one-quarter of the cost of gasoline car getting 25 mpg.

With the roll-out of the Volt the company now plans to have as as 50 pre-production Volts on the road by end to begin intensive, real-world of the technology. By year’s end, it also announce its selection of supplier(s). In just 14 months now, it hopes to have the production cars rolling off the line and out to dealers. No MSRP has announced, though spectulation the price tag as high as $45,000.

GM has it wants to keep the price of the car presumably in the low $30’s by the time all the — both public rebates) and private (GM funded) are in place.

The Volt, however, the only plug-in car being There are a raft of other in the works from the just Peugeot PROLOGUE to its most competitor, Toyota. In addition the revealed Honda Insight, is slated to go on sale next for under $,19,000 and purportedly 70 mpg fuel economy, will serious competition for both GM and

EV WORLD: GM Panel: Transportation in the Century September 16, 2008 link to hear or download the [abridged]­article.cfm?storyid=1529

As part of its Celebration, which included the unveiling of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car, Motor’s hosted an experts discussion on the future of transportation in the Century. Panel members Dr. Larry Burns, GM’s VP, Development; Dr. Mark Duval, Dr. Don Hillebrand, ANL; John Casesa Shapiro Group, Chris Paine, director Killed the Electric Car?; and Makower, Executive Editor World Media, Inc. as moderator.

The topics and questions a wide range of issues discussions of the technology in the Volt to the economic turmoil on Wall and its potential impact on the industry and

WIRED The Volt Isn’t A It’s Better By Chuck September 17, 2008 [abridged]

The Chevrolet Volt and Toyota look a lot alike, but they are different cars that separate paths toward the electrification of the automobile. And while the is the world’s most-popular hybrid and the child for green(er) motoring, the is more technologically advanced.

it works, of course. GM is confident it and it’s given 700 people many of them veterans of the EV1 electric car GM unceremoniously killed in 2003 — a blank to make sure the Volt is in by the end of 2010. The company reportedly spend $400 to $500 on the project during the next two

We can do anything we want to make happen, Andrew Farah, the chief engineer and a veteran of the tells us. Many industry and battery experts say it’ll be but GM almost certainly will that deadline.

GM is staking its on the Volt working and it’s a lot of money to make sure it work, says Mike of JD Power Associates. I think be able to mass produce by 2010.

The heart of the car is a T-shaped battery comprised of 220 lithium-ion and a 111-kilowatt (150-horsepower) electric good for a top speed of 100 mph. GM the drivetrain will produce similar to that of a V-6 engine. The is to get the battery down to 396 pounds and no than 64-inches long and 33 wide across the top of the T. That’s ahead of the similarly shaped battery that powered the EV1s; it weighed 1,200 and was 92.5-inches long.

The Volt’s will run the length of the cabin, up the space beneath the center and the rear seat.

GM is testing around-the-clock at labs in Michigan and where engineers have as as 40 battery packs on test that measure life-cycle rates, thermal behavior and performance. Extreme cold and battery life are the biggest Denise Gray, director of battery technology, says. The is to build a battery that as well in Nome, Alaska or Arizona as it does in the lab — and is for 150,000 miles.

It’s a hurdle to clear, Gray Maximum Bob Lutz, VP of global for GM and the guy cracking the whip to keep the on schedule, says the batteries are flawlessly and it’s almost that we aren’t seeing any with them. GM is testing from LG Chem/Compact Power and Systems/Continental, and Lutz says the decided who’ll get the contract but announce it until the end of the year.

Motors wants the Volt to in eight hours using a 120-volt wall outlet or hours with a 240. Of that won’t do you any good if miles from home the batteries are winding down. At point, the Volt’s 1.4-liter engine kicks on, powering a generator that will the battery going.

The original called for a 1-liter three-cylinder engine, but GM went with the because it’s lighter and To be honest with you, got enough technology in the Volt, Micky Bly, director of drivetrain engineering. We don’t the added complexity of a turbocharger.

Bly the engine will produce than 100 kilowatts (134 but promises that’s enough to do the And because the engine drives a that will run at a constant the power band can be optimized for fuel efficiency and lowest We can run it in the sweet spot at all times, he

Just how sweet that is remains to be seen, because GM saying what kind of economy or emissions we’ll see the Volt, although 50 mpg has been

The engine will not fully the battery. Instead, it will the battery in what Farah charge sustaining mode at 30 percent of its capacity, providing juice to keep the car going. The like so much of the technology in the was born of the EV1. Engineers the EV1 in the early 1990s needed a way to its battery charged as they up miles on the track.

They a generator from a snowmobile strapped to a trailer towed the car. Farah thought it was a way to improve the EV1’s range, and of the engineers urged GM to incorporate it the car. If it had, what was the EV1 have been the Volt.

TWO FORWARD General Motor’s Century by Joel Makower 17, 2008 [full text]

General Motors turns 100 old today, a milestone for any company. And like any centurion, the moment a chance to look back, GM is on looking at the road ahead where it’s going, how it get there, and whether it will and sputter to a halt before it the cruising speed it once

I’ve been chronicling environmental opportunities and challenges for the few years (and previously that GM is both a client of with which I am affiliated, and a of, of which I am executive Along the way, there’s the company’s push for flex-fuel the move to revive the electric and the company’s need to help a plug-in infrastructure. All are part of the vision to reinvent itself for its century, moving away its legacy of big, gas-guzzling to recapture its long-lost legacy as a and technology innovator, this focusing on electric vehicles and fuels. It’s about as big a as any major company has tried to

Will it work? That’s the of the hour. Forecasting the fate of Big Three auto makers has something of a parlor game in circles, with even the of Ford, GM, and Chrysler pondering the automotive giants can survive current spate of jaw-dropping losses (GM’s losses 2005 alone approach $70

But nearly all agree that companies, should they will look very in ten years than they do

That shift has been the past two days. I’m this from Detroit, I’m moderating a webcast on the future of transportation (viewable In preparation for the event, my five and I spent yesterday at GM’s Proving Grounds, the massive facility located a half-hour the company’s Detroit headquarters.

with its massive 67-acre black lake, is where get their punishing workout development.

At Milford, we saw presentations GM brass, including vice Bob Lutz, and drove prototypes of vehicles, including the Volt, the electric vehicle on which the is, more or less, betting its

The Volt, for the uninitiated, is an electric with a small gas-powered Unlike the Toyota Prius, also sports both and gas-powered motors, the Volt’s doesn’t send power to the Rather, it recharges the battery.

So, if you under 40 miles between charges, it’s a pure vehicle; you use no gas. If you drive that, the motor kicks in to the battery, giving you hundreds miles of driving before If your daily commute is a miles or so each way, you could use no gas at all.

There’s of skepticism whether the Volt is — that is, whether it ever come out, as to being a showpiece the company is to green up its image — as some have charged. But the car is real, and the company is on schedule to it to market — at least the 10,000 or so copies — by the end of (One recent deadline, an 26, 2008 goal of locking in components, was missed by only two The first vehicles will off the line next June, in a year later following and refinement. Unofficially, the company the Volt as its ticket out of the doldrums and its vehicle back to profitability, if it all together.

It’s a high-wire to be sure, and will be one of the more business stories of the next few

GM is hardly the only innovator, of Toyota, Ford, and most of the auto makers are working on green car plays, each strategy taking its own course. exactly as it should be.

To succeed, the generation of vehicles will to move past the monocolture of mechanically propelled vehicles to a range of fueling and propulsion And they’ll need to address beyond just energy and the from urban congestion to to new vehicle ownership models for economies that provide the of individual mobility without requiring each individual to own his or her own

Even if the Volt and its other succeed, GM won’t be out of the woods. It has problems — for example, pension and health care that add $2,000 to the price of vehicle (much of this be handed off to an independent trust starting in 2010). The age of persistently gas prices — with the possibility that a border petty dictator, or pipeline could further constrain and raise prices at the pump makes GM’s current of Hummers, Escalades, minivans, and pick-ups vulnerable to the vagaries of the oil

New, smaller and more competitors are coming onto the with increasingly regularity, the major auto makers a changing competitive environment. possible that the leading makers of 2025 aren’t yet in business.

Given all this, strange and potentially wonderful is on here in Motown, a change in that’s been evolving for the few years but which is now gently It’s a make-or-break moment for GM and its — and, by extension, all industry — to see whether old-line companies’ can adapt to the economy’s changing realities.

GREEN GM Centennial: Bob Lutz about the Volt’s future, tax incentives by Sebastian Blanco 17, 2008 [full text link to 31-minute audio]

Ahh, the blogger round At GM’s Centennial celebration GM chairman sat down with a of bloggers to talk about what else? — the Lutz took questions the car and gave a upbeat assessment of the overall program is now; he even knock wood he said that the battery has not given them any problems guess he’s not superstitious.

One that Lutz said help GM sell more would be government incentives, $7,500 incentive for each who buys one. By the looks of it, the he quite get that amount.

the next few years, here’s will happen with the program: There will be 50 or so powertrains in Chevy Cruze cruising the streets gathering in the next few months. They are building three a week. year, about 100 Volts look like the Volt be out and about and in 2010 there be a pretty huge fleet

Basically, Lutz said, on track for the late-2010 production

We also hear how those photos hit the web — yup, GM was Have a listen to all this a lot

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