The Chevy Volt Revolution
Bob Lutz GM's 72-year-old Vice Chairman sits on the cutting edge of new hybrid technology. It is in fact Mr. Lutz and his belief in hybrid technology that has led Chevrolet to create some interesti...
Bob Lutz GM's 72-year-old Vice Chairman sits on the cutting edge of new hybrid technology. It is in fact Mr. Lutz and his belief in hybrid technology that has led Chevrolet to create some interesting new hybrid models due out soon including the Silverado, Tahoe, Malibu and Equinox. Under Mr. Lutz's guidance, Chevrolet even produced a fleet of transit buses powered by their Allison Electric Drive Transmission system for King County, Washington. A fleet is expected to save King County over 750,000 gallons of gasoline a year over the non hybrids it replaced according to hybrid-car.org.
Perhaps more important than any of the strides forward to date will be the 2010 launch of a brand new hybrid on its very own platform. We are of course talking about the 2010 Chevy Volt, part sports car, part green machine, all fun.
Officially unveiled at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 7, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan, the new Volt represents one of the first hybrid coupes to market. It was designed to meet the needs of most everyday commuters by providing electric power for up to 40 miles based off of its battery charge. In between the hybrid power and the internal combustion engines, the Volt is said to be able to travel 640 miles on a full charge. Perhaps most importantly, the Volt has been designed with the everyday user in mind.
With a price point around $30-40k, the Volt can fit the budgets of most middle class families looking to break the mold. Plus, based on a secret source, Bloomberg revealed in August '07 that first year production will yield 60,000 Volts. That number is nearly triple the amount of Prius that were made available to consumer post launch. A move that led to waiting lists, purchases over sticker price and a variety of other hype on Toyota's behalf.
One of the other reasons the Volt represents a large step forward for American automakers is the unique E-Flex system. This new platform from Chevy will ultimately allow for deployment across a variety of Chevy hybrids in the future and lies at the core of its success. The design combines a small electric motor with a lithium ion battery for the electric component while the gas engines is based on a small 1 liter engine to do the work at higher speeds. The combined package creates an engine with a peak output of 160 horsepower. Despite this low hp rating, electric engines accelerate far faster than combustion engines as displayed with the Tesla Roadster which goes from 0-60 in under four seconds according to their site.
In addition to a new platform, new technology and a reasonable price, the Chevy Volt and other cars that rely heavily on electronic propulsion require less maintenance:
• Filters need less changing due to decreased need for air filtration
• Brakes need less changing due to friction breaking
• Less moving parts equals lower probability of engines malfunctions
• Reduced oil changes/engine maintenance to reliance of electric technology
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Morgan Kelps is an accomplished marketer with a unique view of technology, marketing and social media.