General Motors continues to develop its gas-electric plug-in car called the Volt and unveiled a pre-production model at GM’s 100-year anniversary celebration. Thus far GM’s development team has obtained important development milestones and the car is scheduled for production late 2010.
The Volt will use an existing four-cylinder gas engine to help recharge the car’s batteries. At present, the Volt will go only about 40 miles before gasoline is used to recharge the batteries. The Volt has an extended range of several hundred miles made possible by a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly providing electricity to power the Volt’s electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery.
The lithium-ion batteries used to power the electric motor are projected to last about 150,000 miles, and the car is expected to have a brisk 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds. The GM team is working hard to simulate 10 years of using the car’s battery into two years of testing.
GM is also working on variations of the Volt including: an E-Flex propulsion system, the original gasoline-electric Volt concept, a hydrogen-electric Volt, and the Opel Flextreme diesel-electric.
At present, plug-in electric vehicles like the Volt fall short in driving range (about 40 miles in complete electric mode) as compared to a family sized fuel-cell vehicle that has a 300 mile range and no emissions. Cost is the sticking point with fuel-cells and even the Volt is expected to cost about $40,000.
Official press release from GM and preliminary specifications of the Volt are below the jump.
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