Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid Test-Drive
The plug-in series hybrid Chevy Volt was introduced 14 months ago at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. That might seem a long time to some, but it's fairly short in car development world, especially when a company is trying to incorporate new technologies.
So we're happy to learn that a new milestone has been reached for the Volt. A "mule" car - a 2007 Malibu - rolled out with a full E-Flex drivetrain, meaning that it was powered by electric motors and a li-ion battery pack, with a small 1.0-liter gasoline generator that kicks in only when the battery is running low. It's basically the prototype of the insides that the Volt will have.
General Motors vice-chairman Bob Lutz drove about 20 miles and went up to 75-80 miles per hour (120-130 kilometers per hour) without the gas generator kicking in. He described the ride as "electrifying" and "thrilling", and was particularly impressed at the lack of engine noise and great acceleration (electric motors generate lots of torque from very low RPM).
Chevy Volt: Next Steps in Development
GM currently has about 3-4 mules with E-Flex drivetrains, but it wants to increase that number and have full prototypes, inside and outside, on the road by the end of the year.
By the spring and summer of 2009, the integration vehicles incorporating all the production intent systems will be up and running. By that time, GM expects to have several hundred vehicles running at test facilities and on the road. These vehicles will be used for crash testing and so engineers can complete all the software development and calibration, as well as validate battery durability.
Bob Lutz Drives an Electric Scooter
Here's some trivia: Bob Lutz just bought a Vectrix electric scooter.
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More on Bob Lutz's Volt Test-Drive
Bob Lutz discusses driving the Mali-Volt
Bob Lutz Test Drives the First Chevy Volt Early Prototype and Says "it Was Electrifying"