Saturday, April 5, 2008

GM's Chevy Volt Plug-in Concept: How It Works

A little old, but still an interesting read

The Volt, a new Chevrolet concept car, is a different kind of hybrid. In a stand­ard “parallel” hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, a gasoline engine provides most of the drive to the wheels, assisted by a battery-powered electric motor. The Volt, which introduces GM’s E-Flex “series” hybrid technology, is propelled only by its electric motor. There is a gasoline engine onboard, but its sole job is to turn a generator that produces electricity. Here are the details.

1. Gasoline Engine
The three-cylinder, 1.0-liter turbocharged internal-combustion engine turns on as needed to power the electric generator. In other E-Flex cars, diesel engines or hydrogen fuel cells could be used.

2. Generator
The 53-kw generator, powered by the engine, can recharge the battery in about 30 minutes and, under certain driving conditions, send current directly to the motor.

3. Electric Motor
The 120-kw electric motor produces 160 hp. The car’s top speed is 120 mph. 4. Charge Ports
Ports on each side of the car allow a driver to recharge the batteries from a 110-volt outlet in about 6.5 hours.

5. Battery Pack
A 16-kwh li-ion battery pack provides enough power for up to 40 miles of driving before the generator is required.

6. Fuel Tanks
Two tanks hold a combined total of 12 gal. of gasoline or E85 (a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).

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