Politicians lie, husbands lie, wives lie, even your local grocer lies about something, sometimes, to get his merchandise sold. If everybody lies, why shouldn’t GM? The fact is, if you haven’t already heard, that GM promised for years that they’ll have an electric car coming with the Chevy Volt.
The principle is simple: a 1.4L internal combustion engine charges the batteries that drive two electric motors, and that’s it.
The drivetrain should have thus been entirely electric, with no mechanical part of the combustion engine touching the wheels. Well, it turns out they lied. There WILL be a mechanical connection between the ICE and the wheels, “sometimes”, at speeds higher than 70 mph, when the battery is depleted (how can it get depleted, I don’t understand).
So all the fuss about the Volt is no big deal after all. It is an electric vehicle, indeed, but it’s not more electric than the Prius is, using a series-parallel drivetrain.
The problem is all about advertising. There would have been no issue with the mechanical linkage if, from the beginning, they would have told the future buyers about its eventual occurrence. In fact, the car is what it is. I wouldn’t mind if they made the wheels spin this way, but lying to the consumer has always been punished by the market, and proof of that is all around.
Actually, there is nothing wrong with the Volt having a shortcut to its wheels, imho. Maybe it’s more efficient that way, I guess, since charging the battery inevitably results in power losses and the 1.4 engine couldn’t cope with charging the battery properly so it can support speeds higher than 70 mph with dignity.
A general fact is that I like the car I saw at the Paris Motor Show a couple of weeks ago. It’s nicely built, looks good both on the outside and the inside, and promises a lot. It even has a higher range than the Nissan Leaf, that despite the fact it’s electric, is still the newborn of the electric car movement. There are lots of promises, true of false, from all of the vehicle manufacturers, and GM is a part of that pack.
I say let’s first see how the Volt behaves and if the direct mechanical connection is a plus, let’s not get ourselves drunk by pipe dreams and face the reality: this is the car. You like the way it rides, you buy it. You don’t, that’s it – buy a pure electric vehicle. They’ll conquer the world sooner or later, so what a big deal is that GM put a rod between the engine and the wheels? Maybe it’s greener this way, and they were wrong in the first place. At this point, I also agree with gas2.
Take a look at the pictures I took in Paris of Opel Ampera and Chevy Volt. I personally like the car. How about you? Waiting for comments…