GM Resurrects Its Electric Car (with Tweaks)

Scientific American is running an article on GM’s new electric car. I’m convinced that the near to medium term future of cars is electric. GM’s introduction goes one step closer to that vision. And I love the name, “Volt”.

Although the Volt concept, which is being introduced today at Detroit’s North American Auto Show, is a kind of hybrid vehicle, the design emphasizes electric battery rather than gasoline engine operation. The new design features no direct mechanical link between the gas-powered engine and the electric drive train.

For someone like me who drives less than 40 miles a day on average, an all electric vehicle is very appealing. It can easily be charged over night in the garage. And in short, commuter type trips, electrics really shine. According to the article:

Most daily commuters in the 40-mile-a-day classification will get the equivalent of 150 mpg

Chevy Volt concept vehicle

Yeah baby, that’s what I want. With my driving style, I might only have to tank up a couple times a year. Electric drive trains also have the advantage of being “energy source neutral”. The electricity can be generated from a variety of sources including fuel cells, solar, small diesels, etc. It makes for a much more flexible platform to build hybrid technologies on. For instance, solar cells have made large gains recently in efficiency. Many cars sit all day in parking lots while their owners are at work. I wonder out much energy could be recovered by adding a solar array to the roof of the vehicle? I could see adding a solar array to the roof of my garage as a charging source as well. I can’t wait to drive one.

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