Friday, October 29, 2010
At long last, the Chevrolet Volt is just about ready to hit the streets. This reaction to this car is going to be very interesting, as it is the only electric vehicle out there that doesn't have so-called 'range anxiety' due to the gas engine that is always there as a backup after one travels over 65 km or so and the battery is depleted.
There have been a few articles out recently about the car that are quite silly, alleging that GM has lied about the car's fuel efficiency. The thing about this car is that its fuel efficiency ranges from pretty good to infinity, depending on how you drive it. If you only drive it to work and back then the amount of gas you will use is a grand total of 0 litres, and anything divided by zero is infinity. On the other hand, if you drive it some 500 km a day for some reason then fuel efficiency is going to be similar to a regular car.
What's most interesting about this car is that it represents a kind of middle stage between fuel-powered cars and fully electric ones, as future versions of the Volt will improve on range and efficiency, while all-electric cars will improve on their range at the same time. Eventually the range of the latter cars will be so great that range anxiety will be a thing of the past (much in the same way that battery anxiety for a laptop is almost nonexistent if you have a nextbook that lasts for seven to ten hours as many do), and the Volt will no longer be needed. In the meantime though (perhaps a decade?) it is highly recommended. Toyota is also following GM's example on a smaller scale with a Prius that will come out in 2012 that begins with an all-electric motor, for just 20 km. Since 20 km is quite a short distance in comparison (the 65 km for the Volt will apparently cover the commute of 75% of Americans) this electric motor in the Prius will be more about reducing fuel consumption every day it is used, not providing a fully electric ride the majority of the time.
Checking YouTube for reviews of the Volt I found two that I like in particular. This one:
and this one.