The Chevy Volt has piqued my interest. If you haven't heard of it, the Volt is the one-time prototype electric vehicle that GM has given the green light to convert into a production vehicle. The transition from prototype to production has sanded down some of the edginess in the original, but the most important features are still there. This is a 100% electric driven vehicle. It is loaded with a bank of Lithium-ion batteries to store charge, and has a range of about 40 miles on a charge. In addition, the vehicle has a flex-fuel motor that will charge the batteries and drive the electric motor once the initial charge is depleted. GM is saying this gives the vehicle hundreds of additional miles of range.
The Volt has me interested for a couple of reasons. I don't like that money paid for gas mostly gets sent overseas. I don't like being a contributor to the pollution problem. I'm a geek, and the Volt is a fantastic new gadget!
I'd love to have a fuel efficient car that is still a nice vehicle. I've been begging my wife to let me put the $100 deposit down on a Smart, but she isn't budging on that issue since it won't allow me to transport one or more of our kids. The Volt is a 4-seater, so that would be one hurdle out of the way. My drive to work is less than 10 miles. Even with my current 4-cylinder Toyota I'm barely getting better than 20mpg. According to information available on the web, the Volt will fully charge from a standard wall outlet in 8 hours, or from a 220V (dryer) outlet in 3 hours.
That got me to thinking though. What happens if I never run on fuel? If I use the vehicle only for my daily commute, and never exceed the range of the batteries, what happens to the emergency reservoir of petrol in the tank? Will the vehicle eventually recommend that I let it burn off? Is that even a problem?
The Volt will arrive sometime in 2010, and it could be a real shot in the arm for GM. I probably won't be an early adopter on this one, as I'm sure it will take a model year or so to work out the kinks. I am pretty excited for an everyman's electric vehicle though, and I could definitely see buying into one should it prove itself in production.