Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Exclusive: Chevy Volt Is More Hybrid Than Previously Thought

2011 Chevy Volt

For the first 40 miles, the Chevy Volt is all electric. For the next 300 miles, it�"s some blend of EV and hybrid.

When GM first introduced the Chevy Volt concept in 2007, it invented a new term to describe how the car works: extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV). It was a tactic to distance the Volt from conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius, and to rightfully show legislators that the Volt is not just a hybrid with a bigger battery.

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The EV term stuck to the Volt, because the wheels are exclusively powered by the car�"s 150-horsepower electric motor for the first 40 miles, while there is sufficient charge in the 16-kilowatt hour battery pack. That hasn�"t changed. But in an exclusive interview with HybridCars.com, Rob Peterson, General Motors spokesperson, would not rule out the Volt�"s use of its on-board gas engine to power the wheels under some conditions.

�SEfficiency is the Volt�"s mantra,⬝ Peterson said. �SWe will take whatever method we have to get there.⬝ Asked if Volt engineers would use the gas engine to power the wheels�a signature of a parallel hybrid system�if it meant greater efficiency, Peterson replied, �SYou could do it. Absolutely. It�"s a matter of software.⬝ He added, �SYou have some motors, a planetary gear box, there�"s a variety of things we can do in there.⬝

While not revealing details about the Volt�"s technical design, Peterson made it clear that the Chevy Volt employs some degree of hybrid efficiency strategies while the car is in so-called "charge-sustaining" mode.

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Read More... [Source: HybridCars.com]

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