Chevrolet Volt Concept
The 2007 Chevrolet Volt concept sedan, powered by the E-flex System — GM's next-generation electric propulsion system — could nearly eliminate trips to the gas station. The Chevrolet Volt is a battery-powered, four-passenger electric vehicle that uses a gas engine to create additional electricity to extend its range. The Volt draws from GM's previous experience in starting the modern electric vehicle market when it launched the EV1 in 1996, according to GM Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz.
The Volt can be fully charged by plugging it into a 110-volt outlet for approximately six hours a day. When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the Volt can deliver more than 60 city kilometers of pure electric vehicle range. When the battery is depleted, a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine spins at a constant speed, or revolutions per minute (rpm), to create electricity and replenish the battery. This increases the fuel economy and range.
In the event a driver forgets to charge the vehicle or goes on a vacation far away, the Volt would still get 4.7 l/100 km by using the engine to convert gasoline into electricity and extending its range up to 1030 km, more than double that of today's conventional vehicles. In addition, the Chevrolet Volt is designed to run on E85, a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
A technological breakthrough required to make this concept a reality is a large lithium-ion battery. This type of electric car, which the technical community calls an "EV range-extender," would require a battery pack that weighs nearly 400 pounds (181 kg). Some experts predict that such a battery - or a similar battery - could be production-ready by 2010 to 2012.
The Chevrolet Volt is just the first variant of the E-flex System. The Volt uses a large battery and a small, 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine to produce enough electricity to go up to 1030 km and provide triple-digit fuel economy.