Robert Lutz is the Vice Chairman of Global Product Development with General Motors. Last week, the GM Board approved the Chevrolet Volt program. The Volt is a plug-in series hybrid electric vehicle by General Motors. Bob recently sat down to discuss the Volt, and many other things related to the future of automobiles and GM in general.
From General Motors:
The extended-range electric vehicle is no longer just a rumor. We have put tremendous design and engineering resources in place to make this vehicle a reality.
The Concept Chevy Volt, with its revolutionary E-Flex Propulsion System will be different than any previous electric vehicle because it will use a lithium-ion battery with a variety of range-extending onboard power sources, including gas and, in some vehicles, E85
ethanol to recharge the battery while driving.
When it comes to plugging in, the Volt will be designed to use a common 110–volt household plug. For someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions. For longer trips, Chevy Volt’s range-extending power source kicks in to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack as required. We expect a driving range of an estimated 640 miles.
Can you imagine the day when you no longer have to fill your tank every couple of days just to get to work and back? That day, according to GM, is not so far in the future. Unlike most available hybrids, the Volt will be able to run on electricity alone for up to 40 miles. When you drive further than that, a gas motor will kick in and generate power to keep that electric motor running. The current hybrid cars from both Toyota and Honda use electric motors to supplement the gas engines. Therefore, even a short trip burns gas going uphill, or at high speeds. GM says that approximately 78 percent of all US commuters drive less than 40 miles in an average day. Bob Lutz says that the Volt will be able to cover those miles on electricity alone, if it has been fully charged for six hours using a normal electrical outlet.
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