The Chevrolet Volt is a technical marvel, as it has dual power trains and can run on electric and gas-powered propulsion. However, the main drawback is the limited Chevy Volt range on electric power only, which General Motors thinks it might have solved soon.
Chevy Volt range aside, plug-in hybrids show promise
As far as “green” technology goes, plug-in hybrids have the most promise in bridging the gap between electric cars and gas-burning dinosaurs. There are only a few models available, but the basic premise is that an electric motor powers the wheels, which operates via a battery pack or, when depleted, a gas motor that acts as a generator.
At the moment, there are only a few. There is the upcoming Plug-In Prius, but currently there it’s down to the gorgeous but incredibly expensive Fisker Karma and the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is definitely the cheaper of the two, as it costs less than $35,000 after the $7,500 tax credit, compared to $100,000 for the Karma.
Unlike the Karma, it’s easy to get one since it’s a Chevrolet, the auto loan payments are lower and one doesn’t have to suffer the shame of driving the same car as Justin Bieber. It’s starting to catch on, as Volt sales, according to Fox News, are picking up lately.
The current Chevy Volt range, according to AutoGuide, is a not too respectable 35 miles, much less than full electric cars, but GM thinks they can triple that.
New battery tech
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson recently disclosed at an employee meeting that an investment the company made last year in a battery development company might yield some stunning results in regard to the Volt.
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The company in question is called Envia. GM invested about $7 million into the company in 2011, according to CBS, and Envia is reported to have developed a new lithium-ion battery that can store a lot more energy than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries and a result, can give an electric vehicle a range of at least 100 miles. Akerson said there was a “better than 50-50 chance” that a 200-mile electric range could be attainable.
A game changer
Akerson referred to the possibility as a “game changer.” It certainly would be if the Chevy Volt range was boosted from 35 miles on all-electric power to 200. Even attaining 100 miles of electric range would be, as that means a person could make their daily commute with real confidence of never having to use any gasoline, except when it came time to go on a road trip.
Currently, the reigning king is the Tesla Model S, which can get up to 300 with the top-of-the-range models, but at a cost of roughly $100,000 per. Electric cars that non-rich people might be able to buy, like the magic Nissan Leaf, have a range closer to 70 miles.