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Preview: Cars Of The Future, Coming Sooner Than You Think Page 3

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2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

  • What is it? GM's highly publicized four-door, four-seat compact extended-range electric car
  • The basics: 120-kW electric motor driving front wheels, 16-kWh battery pack, 53-kW generator run by 1.4-liter Ecotec four
  • Driving Impressions: Driving Detroit's Electric Future: 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • On sale: November or December 2010
  • Price: $40,000-plus (estimated; eligible for $7,500 Federal tax credit)

General Motors had one of the world's most advanced electric-vehicle programs in the 1990s, which produced several hundred EV1 two-seat electric cars. Changing California regulations and the 40- to 70-mile range of their lead-acid batteries led GM to kill the program, which departed CEO Rick Wagoner later said was the decision he regretted most from his tenure.

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is GM's penance, and the company protected the program and its timetable even through bankruptcy earlier this year. It has been unusually transparent during the car's development process, publicizing cold-weather tests, offering rides in engineering mules, and regularly putting executives and engineers in front of reporters.

The Volt promises 40 miles of electric range--which is more than the daily distance covered by two-thirds of U.S. drivers--and overnight recharging on either 110-Volt or 220-Volt power. And it'll do another 300 miles, using the gasoline engine to power its electric motor, once the battery is depleted.

Important to note: The Volt is not a traditional hybrid, in the mold of the 2010 Toyota Prius, which powers its wheels with a mix of torque from the engine and electric motors. Instead, the Volt turns its front wheels solely with its electric motor, and the engine only runs a large generator to provide power to that motor--just like a freight locomotive.

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Comments (2)
  1. The Tesla Roadster is a nice car. I wish I could only afford one. As for more cars of the future I am seeing smaller cars due to the gas prices.
     
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  2. So why is it that these auto reviews never seem to mention the fact that since 1999 you could drive an American made, fully electric, car at 75 mph? These reviewers need to get their head out of the sand and do some research before they write such stuff! Visit their site http://www.myersmotors.com/ for the history and details. The single seater is called the NmG (for "No more Gas!"). I have been following this particular auto since the days it was launched back in California (as the "Sparrow"). I used to drive by their lot on Auburn Blvd in Sacramento everyday. I am patiently waiting for them to launch their 2-seater version (Called the DUO for "Doesn't Use Oil".) which is about to happen. The future, as mentioned in this article, has been here since 1999!
     
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