E-Flex, according to General Motor’s Chairman, Rick Wagoner, is a car that has a 100% electric drivetrain, and gets its electricity from a variety of sources – including an on-board internal combustion driven electric generator. Today, January 7th, 2007, General Motors unveiled the serial hybrid car, or the electric car that uses diverse sources for its electricity.
|The Lithium Ion Battery is almost ready
The launch of an affordable flexfuel electric car will be a watershed moment in the history of the world. This car will transform two of the largest industries on earth – transportation and energy. It is one of the biggest steps yet in the dawning green revolution.
General Motor’s E-flex concept car was unveiled at the Detroit International Auto Show 2006 and is called the Chevy “Volt.” Here’s the quote from General Motor’s press announcement “GM’s most electrifying advanced technology vehicle introduction, literally, is the Chevrolet Volt concept, a battery-powered, extended-range electric passenger vehicle that uses a gas engine to create additional electricity, making pit stops practically passé. The technology behind the Volt concept, GM’s E-flex System, allows electricity to be produced from gasoline, ethanol, bio-diesel or hydrogen, helping to provide a global solution to diversifying transportation energy sources.”
The car looks beautiful. It is a mid-sized sport/luxury car with high sides and big, twenty-inch-diameter wheels. The large wheels no doubt take advantage of the extraordinary torque of electric motors. It has a wide wheelbase and probably handles extremely well.
As announced today, the GM Volt, with an onboard electric generator that runs on ordinary gasoline (or flexfuels), has a range of 600 miles. It has a battery pack that charges via the generator and/or the motor (regenerative braking), and can be plugged in at home. On a full charge, using batteries only, the car has a range of 40 miles. For most people, this would be an independent vehicle that might almost never need gasoline.
Using a battery pack weighing 500 pounds with an energy density of 100 watt-hours per kilogram, a mid-sized car has a range – batteries only – of about 40 miles. What is brilliant about the GM car is that its lithium ion battery pack, which certainly doesn’t have to weigh more than 500 pounds, is not a significant drag on the car.
We’re still looking for more specs. How much does this car weigh? And when will other automakers announce their flex-fueled electric cars – what we used to call serial hybrids? And who will get these revolutionary, next-generation, far, far cleaner cars onto the road by the millions?