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GM Plugs Its Chevy Volt Hybrid, but Will It Be Road-Ready In Time?

It's the battery, stupid...

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SPEED RACER:

The Chaparral Volt racer is GM West Coast Advanced Design Studio's concept vehicle entry in the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge competition. The concept design was created for the 2025 revival of the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix, which is to address clean, renewable and abundant California resources.....[ More ]

HIGH VOLTAGE:

Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of Global Product Development and an early proponent of the Chevy Volt program, recently drove one of the 25 to 30 Volt engineering "mules" now under intense evaluation at the company's Milford, Mich., proving grounds.....[ More ]

TRANSMISSION TUNNEL:

A General Motors battery engineer positions a prototype E-Flex battery pack for loading into a test vehicle at the GM battery lab. The T-shaped battery pack is buried deep inside the vehicle—in the center "transmission tunnel" and below the rear seat—to improve safety in collisions.....[ More ]

TEMPERATURE TESTING:

General Motors battery lab engineers prepare a prototype battery pack for the Chevy Volt for testing in the thermal chamber. The specialists are working to better understand how temperature changes affect battery performance over time.....[ More ]

POWER SOURCE:

Each lithium-based cell in the Volt's battery pack is enclosed in a flat, laminated aluminum film pouch that is about half the size of a legal notebook pad. Inside, a liquid electrolyte bathes sheetlike positive and negative electrodes, which are separated by a permeable membrane.....[ More ]

BEEFIER BATTERY:

The Volt's T-shaped battery pack, which contains 250 lithium-based cells, is considerably smaller than the similarly configured lead–acid battery pack that powered GM's EV-1 electric vehicle. This side-by-side comparison took place at the GM Technical Center's battery development lab in Warren, Mich.....[ More ]

WHAT A DRAG:

Volt designers and engineers are working to maximize the car's battery-only range by reducing losses that rob the system of power. For example, intense digital simulation and 700 hours of wind tunnel tests have given the Volt the best aerodynamic drag coefficient ever for a GM car—except, that is, for the Volt's forebear, the company's ill-fated EV-1 battery-electric vehicle.....[ More ]

ECLECTIC ELECTRIC:

General Motors engineers built the Chevy Volt on a flat chassis that contains an electric drive unit (front, driver side), an engine generator (front, passenger side) and a 16-kilowatt, lithium-based battery pack that is shaped like a "T".....[ More ]

CHARGING INTO THE FUTURE:

Each night, Chevrolet Volt owners will be expected to recharge their car batteries with cheap, off-peak utility power from an electric socket. GM engineers estimate that fully recharging the 400-pound (180-kilogram) battery pack will take less than three hours using a 220-volt outlet or under eight hours using a typical 110-volt household outlet.....[ More ]

ELECTRIC CAR:

The Chevrolet Volt "extended-range electric vehicle" embodies General Motors's efforts to leapfrog current gas-electric hybrid car technology to something that's even greener. The 2011 Chevy Volt production show car is the latest iteration of the evolving design.....[ More ]

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