Monday, January 08, 2007

Electric Car Mistake Returns

Here we go again.

Struggling auto giant General Motors Corp. on Sunday revived its once-failed idea of a mass-market electric car, unveiling a new "concept" car called the Volt designed to use little or no gasoline.

Introduced at the North American International Auto Show here, the Chevrolet Volt will draw power exclusively from a next-generation battery pack recharged by a small onboard engine -- if the technology is ready in two or three years.

"We have a thoroughly studied concept, but further battery development will define the critical path to start of production," said Jon Lauckner, a GM vice president for product development.

The Volt is designed to run for 40 miles on pure electric power, making it marketable for everyday family use.

For the average American driver who drives 40 miles a day, or 15,000 miles a year, the Volt will require no fuel and lead to an annual savings of 500 gallons of gasoline, GM said.

The lie about no fuel has returned. If the fuel isn't used directly on the vehicle, the electricity certainly has to come from somewhere. The small on-board engine idea isn't that different from the hybrid, though it misses out on using the drive train to make electricity during breaking. As for the 40 mile commute, I'm betting that isn't very common in many metropolitan settings.

Sounds like a half-assed solution to me.

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