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Sunday, January 7, 2007

The Electric Car Part II

Hopefully GM can make up for past sins with a succesful reintroduction of the EV.

With the company floundering near bankruptcy and losing ground to Toyota, GM's future depends on going beyond E85 flexfuel vehicles and taking the lead on electric vehicles, or another leading edge alternative fuel. I guess the Chevy Volt concept car (pictured above) has a 40 mile range when running on purely electric, pretty sad considering the EV1 had a range of 40 to 50 miles per charge and is further proof that the good ol'boys in Detroit just don't "get it." The documentary showed that the lithium ion battery required to charge these cars for long ranges exists and has existed for years. Without a better battery, the Volt would run off of E85 fuel in order to run the car after the battery is drained. This means that unlike the EV1, the Volt would not be a zero emission vehicle.

While it is the best thing for the environment and society, a zero emission vehicle might not be the best product for the marketplace. Having the option to drive the car off of petroleum gasoline or E85 makes this a more attractive vehicle for the consumer who would be worried about the limited range of the electric charge. I'm looking for Toyota and Honda to introduce plug-in versions of their hybrids in the near future that get close to 3 times the range of the GM car, 100 to 120 miles per change. Combined with the gasoline reserve we could see these babies getting several hundred miles per gallon of gasoline/E85.

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