Chevy Volt: An All-Electric Gasoline Hybrid?

There have been news leaks left and right, hints and suppositions and even some wildly incorrect theories, but GM has finally let the news out.

Today at the North American International Auto Show, the General Motors Company is releasing the concept Chevy Volt. The car is technically a hybrid, but it’s also much more than that. While it contains both an electric and gasoline engine, the car is never actually propelled by gasoline. The car is powered entirely by an electric engine that gets it’s energy from lithium ion batteries. Those batteries can be charged in two ways. Every night, of course, you can just plug the car into your wall at home. The car will then run about 40 miles purely on electric power. Then, after those first 40 miles of highly aerodynamic electric acceleration and regenerative breaking, the car will need to kick on its gasoline generator to recharge the battery. Once the battery is at full strength again, the gas generator will turn off.

Additionally, GM’s engineers have designed the car to be entirely modular. Thus, the gas generator can be replaced by an ethanol generator, a bio-diesel generator, or even a hydrogen fuel cell generator.

This new power train, which GM is calling the e-flex system, thus has a shelf life far beyond that of the internal combustion engine, and may continue to be a staple of automobile manufacturing for decades.

Tags: Detroit | GMO