A lightning bolt Chevy Volt

by Cristina Foung

My favorite green product of the week: the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle

What is it?
The Chevy Volt is being called an “extended-range electric vehicle.” And while the wheels are turned directly by electricity, there is a small gasoline engine which will kick in to generate said electricity. In any case, now that that’s clear, the Chevy Volt has a lithium-ion battery, a range of 40 miles without kicking on the gasoline engine (although some say it’s probably closer to 32 miles), a range of maybe 360 miles with the ICE going, and a top speed of 120 MPH.

Why is it better?
Well, it’s no Tesla Roadster (which I was fortunate to take a little spin in two weekends ago), but it’s a pretty nice looking car. Its 4-door sedan body is definitely more practical for most folks looking for a cleaner vehicle that can get them (and their stuff) from point A to point B.

As far as efficiency goes, some estimates say the Volt will get about 100 MPG. When it comes to saving the world (think global warming and polar bears), the Volt is a step in the right direction for sure. Of course, there’s some debate over whether or not the Volt should be considered a plug-in hybrid or an electric vehicle, but in either case, it’s a technology worth exploring. And given that the Volt has a production date of 2010, that should give utilities some time to figure out how to deal with more vehicles plugging into the grid.

Where can you find it?

Come 2010, keep your fingers crossed that you’ll find the Chevy Volt at your local Chevrolet for somewhere between $30 and $48k. In the meantime, feel free to sign yourself up on the unofficial wait list.

Besides her green products column on Cleantech Blog, Cristina is a passionate advocate for green living at the Green Home Huddle at Huddler.com, which focuses on electric cars, energy efficient appliances, and other green products.

4 replies
  1. theoden707
    theoden707 says:

    Electric rather than gas solves the issue of reducing green house gases and our dependency on fossil fuels, but no one is discussing the impact the disposal of Lithium Ion Batteries has on the environment. These things are concentrated poison, and in 25 – 30 years or sooner there will be hundreds of millions of these batteries in landfills. This is actually extremely dangerous, but the car industry is in trouble, so just as before, they are not looking ahead. People think that are doing so much driving Prius and other hybrids, but in 10 years when the battery needs to be replaced they will be dropping a load of poison into the ground that will ruin crop development and drinking water, not to mention the long term consequences.

  2. onofthguys
    onofthguys says:

    I believe that you are mistaken for 2 reasons, although being such a new technology, it remains to be seen what exactly will happen.1. The batteries will be fully recyclable into new batteries. As they get bigger and more powerful, more lithium will be required.2. When I installed the solar panels on my roof I investigated adding battery back-up to provide emergency power. I decided against it because it would have added $10,000 to the cost of the system.Batteries don't simply fail as they get older, they begin to lose capacity. A car battery that holds 15 kWh of energy when new may hold only 12 kWh after, say, 10 years of service. I would love to get my hands on such a battery when the car owner decided it was time to replace it. I would even pay a couple thousand $$ for it. It would be far smaller, more powerful and cheaper than the lead acid batteries I can buy today. I also believe the power utilities would buy all the 'used' car batteries they could get their hands on for the same reason.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] GM Gives a Sneak Peak at the Chevy VoltAn “extended range electric vehicle”, the Volt’s lithium-ion battery provides a top range of 40 miles before a small gas engine kicks in to extend its range to an estimated 360 miles. Top speed is 120 miles per hour. You can’t get one yet – hopefully by 2010 – but you can let GM know you’re waiting and interested. […]

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