Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GM Chevrolet Volt Electric Car get 300 Miles a day for $40,000.

GM says new Volt could get 230 mpg in city driving

General Motors said Tuesday its Chevrolet Volt electric car could get 230 mpg in city driving, making it the first American vehicle to achieve triple-digit fuel economy if that figure is confirmed by federal regulators.
But when the four-door family sedan hits showrooms late next year, its efficiency will come with a steep sticker price: $40,000.
Still, the Volt's fuel efficiency would be four times more than the popular Toyota Prius hybrid, the most efficient car now sold in the U.S.

Most automakers are working on similar designs, but GM would offer the first mainstream plug-in with the Volt, which seats four and was introduced at the 2007 Detroit auto show.

Chevrolet Volt electric car.

The Volt is powered by an electric motor and a battery pack with a 40-mile range. After that, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity for a total range of 300 miles. The
battery pack can be recharged from a standard home outlet.

Toyota's Prius—which starts at about $22,000—gets 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway and goes further than 300 miles. Hybrids use a small internal combustion engine combined with a high-powered battery to boost fuel efficiency.

What is the life of these high powered batteries?
The bottom line is that no one really knows how long they last. Manufacturers like Toyota and Honda have warranties that last for 8 years and between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. Replacement battery packs for hybrid cars generally cost about $3,000.

The batteries in hybrid cars are responsible for the better fuel economy that's become central to the technology. They power the electric motor, which typically propels a hybrid car at lower speeds. This puts less pressure on the gasoline engine and stretches out the amount of fuel a vehicle burns in between trips to the gas station.

But the chemical material that makes up all car batteries, whether it's a conventional car or a hybrid, is typically toxic. Currently, there are far fewer hybrid cars on the road than conventional cars; however,
concerns have been raised that if the number of hybrid cars increase, landfills will soon overflow with toxic batteries that are full of corrosive and carcinogenic materials.

Japanese electronics maker Hitachi Ltd. said Thursday it will supply lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles to General Motors Corp. in 2010 and sharply raise production capacity to meet surging demand for gas-electric cars.
Hitachi currently makes 40,000 lithium-ion batteries per month and will lift the capacity to three million units per month that's 36 million a year.

PHEVs and electric cars need more robust lithium batteries than conventional hybrids, because the batteries undergo a more severe duty cycle, charged to the brim then nearly drained.
Even as it pushes ahead on the electric Smart cars, Mercedes says it isn't sure rechargeable batteries cut pollution or energy use. "You have to produce the energy" for recharging, and that might come from inefficient, higher-polluting sources.
So are you going to buy a GM Chevrolet Volt electric car  for $40,000 that only will go 300 miles a day, which you might have to buy a $3000 replacement battery and not save the environment?

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Hybrid vehicle battery challenges- Jon Lauckner, GM

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