Arriving at you new Chevy Dealer in November 2010 as a 2011 model year, the new Chevy Volt debuts in selected markets across the United States. Propelled by General Motor’s new VOLTEC (previously E-flex) electric automobile platform, the drivetrain in this model differs significantly from GM’s previous attempts. The new Chevy Volt is capable of traveling 25-50 miles (40-80km) solely powered by the electrical energy stored in the onboard battery pack. The 16kWh (10.4kWh usable) Lithium ion battery pack can be fully charged by plugging the car into a 120-240 VAC residential electrical outlet using the provided SAEJ1772 compliant connection. There is not an external charging station on the 2011 Chevy Volt.
On a full charge given normal driving conditions, the Volt has an expected range of 40 miles running solely on electric power. Though this may seem short at first, it is greater than the daily commute for 75% of America’s workforce. After the battery is depleted, a four-cylinder gas engine (premium only) and 55kW generator are utilized to provide electricity and extend the Volt’s range another 310 miles (499km). The power generated is controlled by the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) if the vehicle. This unit distributed the electricity primarily sent to the electric motor, with the excess serving to charge the batteries. When traveling at speeds in excess of 30 mph (48km/h); if the battery is depleted, the internal combustion engine will engage (via the clutch)to assist the traction motor and drive output to improve performance and boost high-speed efficiency up to 15%.
GM is introducing the Volt with a retail price of $41,000 (destination charges included) before any factory incentives, tax deductions, or other subsidies. The Chevy Volt is currently eligible for a $7500 US federal Tax credit and some local benefits. Chevy also offers the Volt through a lease program with a monthly payment of $350 for 36 months with $2500 due at signing. Chevrolet is initially targeting seven regions, and will release the Volt in California, Washington, D.C., Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Austin Texas in November 2010. The Volt will be available throughout the United States and Canada in the following months.
While there are many myths regarding the use of all-electric hybrids, some of them are no longer an issue. The first such myth is that the additional drain would over-tax an already heavily burdened powered grid (especially in places already troubled by blackouts). This is simply not an issue because these vehicles are focused on commuters, and will be charged at night when there is much less demand on the grid. Another concern is the power bill, which many consumers fear will skyrocket. Consensus estimates show that under normal circumstances you would spend approximately $27/month on electricity versus a $97/month savings on gas. While it is true that electricity costs will rise, they are unlikely to outpace the escalating prices of fossil fuels. Emissions are another concern, particularly for areas where coal is the primary source of power. Studies prove that even in predominantly coal burning regions, and electric car releases 35-60% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than a conventional vehicle. Given all this, and an estimated fuel cost of $2370 for 60,000 miles, we can all expect to see a lot more of the Chevy Volt in the near future.