All these recent presentations reveal GM's strategy for the Voltec powertrain: scale. A lot of scale, in order to make components as cheap as possible in the smallest period of time. Especially after a stupid study has said electric cars with extended range are not economically viable, as if any new technology was not considered to be impossible or unworthy to implement. Petrol once was said to be exactly this. And dangerous.
Both Ampera and the Australian Volt will follow on the steps of Chevrolet's, or else, they will be able to run 60 km only on their ion-lithium batteries charge. This range is enough for 78% of North-American drivers not to use a single drop of fuel in their daily needs, as well as Australian and European folks.
If the battery power gets too low, a combustion engine (Family-0, three-cylindre, 1.4-litre, turbocharged) acts like a generator and feeds electricity to the batteries in order to power the 150 bhp, 370 Nm electric engine that moves Volt ahead. With this generator, Volt can run up to 1,030 km and save 1,900 litres of fuel every year. This combustion engine will be able to use petrol or E85.
The sad part is that Volt and its siblings will only be sold in 2010, maybe even later, in the first quarter of 2011. In the meantime, its design may get older, especially if the car continues to appear so often. Opel's design, as usual, looks a lot better than Chevrolet's. Anyway, we already know what to expect: a 4.40 m long, 1.80 m wide and 1.43 m tall notchback with a wheelbase of 2,69 m and 301 l of luggage capacity. Top speed is limited at 161 km/h, to preserve the batteries' charge. For all of them, very likely