While pictures of it might have leaked out last week (and whether that was an accident or not was the subject of my Sept. 9, 2008 post), officials at General Motors officially unveiled their new Chevrolet Volt… touted in this press release as “a vehicle that delivers up to 40 miles of gasoline- and emissions-free electric driving, with the extended-range capability of hundreds of additional miles.”:
“Revealing the production version of the Chevy Volt is a great way to open our second century,” said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO. “The Volt is symbolic of GM’s strong commitment to the future … just the kind of technology innovation that our industry needs to respond to today’s and tomorrow’s energy and environmental challenges.”
The Chevrolet Volt is leading a new era of electrification of the automobile by creating a new class of vehicle known as the Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, or E-REV.
The Volt uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 40 miles, the Volt is powered only by electricity stored in its 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. When the battery’s energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the Volt’s electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional miles, until the vehicle’s battery can be charged. Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Volt eliminates “range anxiety,” giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.
GM officials say the Volt will cost about 2 cents per mile to run.