[social_buttons] GM’s plug-in hybrid electric car, the Chevy Volt, will have its lithium-ion batteries road-tested by end of the month. Engineers have already been testing the Volt’s electrical hybrid system, the so-called E-Flex architecture, but only with nickel-metal hydride hybrid batteries in place. The newer, more advanced lithium-ion batteries are seen as the key to to the vehicle, since they store energy more efficiently than other batteries of the same size.
Last week, GM engineers worked to replace the nickel-metal hydride batteries with lithium-ion batteries in three different test-vehicle “mules”. These trial vehicles have allowed engineers to fine tune and improve components of the vehicle system, before putting it all together into something that more closely resembles the final Volt production model. GM hopes to complete road-testing for the Volt by November 2010.
For the last 6 months they’ve been driving their well-guarded secret around underneath the skin of a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu.
GM’s vision is to create a vehicle that can drive on pure electricity for 40 miles before an onboard gasoline generator kicks in to recharge the battery pack. After that, according to GM-Volt.com, the car will get about 50 mpg, which could iron out to a total equivalent of 150 MPG. The Volt will have a range of about 400 miles per tank, down from the original 640 mile estimate due to a smaller, lighter fuel tank going into the production model.
Since most of us don’t drive more than 40 miles per day, the Volt could usher in a new era of plug-in hybrids that save a lot of gas and significantly increase fuel economy. GM is betting on the Volt to help them meet the new CAFE standards, which require an average fleet fuel economy of 35 MPG.
Source: Freep.com (April 4, 08): Volt battery to get test-drives, Lithium-ion power to get trial run
Photo Credit: GM-Volt.com