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General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle on Tuesday, allowing outsiders their first full look at the car GM says will go on sale in 2010.

The Volt will be driven by electricity stored in a large T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack running the length of the car. After charging for several hours, the Volt will be able to run for up to about 40 miles without using gasoline. As the battery begins to run down as the car is in use, a small gasoline engine will turn on and generate enough electricity to drive the car about 300 miles.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/11/autos/volt_official_reveal/i...

Fuskie
Who wonders what the comparable MPG would be to the hybrid FuskieMobile™ for a single tank of gas (assuming no recharging)...
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I've seen claims of around 50 MPG while running on gas. So for an 8 gallon gas tank, that would be a range of 440 mileson 8 gallons, or 55 MPG.

On the other hand a 200 mile round trip where you re-charged prior to leaving, and prior to returning, you'd see:

400 miles on (320 / 50) gallons = 62.5 MPG.

For a person who commutes 60 miles a day you have:

60 miles on (20 / 50) gallons = 150 MPG.

Of course you could include the cost of electricity, and calculate \$ per mile and then convert to MPG.

Assumption: the volt requires 400 Wh/mile. (16000 Wh pack / 40 mile range).

For the 440 mile trip:

16KWh * \$0.06 per KWh = \$0.96
8 gallons fuel * 4.00 = \$32.00
Total Cost: \$32.96
Cost per mile: \$32.96 / 440 = \$0.0749 per mile (or equivalent to 53.398 MPG going by cost).

For the 200 mile round trip with recharging before departure each way:

32KWh * \$0.06 per KWh = \$1.92
320 / 50 = 6.4 gallons of fuel.
6.4 gallons * 4 = \$25.60
Total Cost: \$27.52
Cost per mile: \$27.52 / 400 = \$0.0688 per mile (equivalent to 58.139 MPG by cost).

For the 60 mile commute:
16KWh * 0.06 per KWh = \$0.96
0.4 gallons * 4.00 = \$1.60
Total cost: \$2.56
Cost per mile: \$0.04267 per mile (equivalent to 93.75 MPG by cost).

Dave
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That's always been a question for me about plug-in vehicles - I know that they are supposed to consume less energy than gas-powered vehicles, but doesn't it put an additional strain on an already outdated power grid? And if you are served by a power company with older, less efficient electrical plants, is it really better?

Fuskie
Who also didn't see anything on the Volt that indicated full recharge time...
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I know that they are supposed to consume less energy than gas-powered vehicles, but doesn't it put an additional strain on an already outdated power grid? And if you are served by a power company with older, less efficient electrical plants, is it really better?

I have no hard data to back me up, but I suspect the answers are "Not really" and "Yes."
I say "Not really" to straining the grid, because the charger going to your car is still hanging off a standard 15A wall circuit. This is the equivalent of running, *at most*, twelve 100W light bulbs off the same socket. I say "Yes" to is it better, because you've still got economies of scale working in your favor. That coal-fired generator is going to be spinning whether your plug-in is charging or not, and the marginal load added by it is tiny compared to the amount of energy wasted by the gasoline-fired engine that would otherwise be required.
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Fuskie the promise of the plug-in is that you can tune it up to recharge overnight, when rates (and demand) are both lower. Just like how you can now point and click and get your computer to shut itself down at 10pm and boot itself up at 7am, you may one day plug your car in when you get home, but it won't actually start to recharge the battery until after 8pm or whenever your local electric authority sets the end of "Peak" time.

I have read that if market penetration gets to some point or another, we can actually power our cities with our cars, overnight, if need be. There have already been articles saying that in disaster situations a family of X can power their refrigerator for Y-hours or Z-days using just the Family Truckster.

I can't imagine a fleet of power-consuming vehicles giving back to the community like a successful person in his fifties, but that's one of the things they're talking about, now.
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I wonder if someone has come up with a mobile solar recharger. Think about it: You drive to work, park outside, plug in the solar recharger and by the time you are ready to go home, your battery is back to full.

Fuskie
Who thinks that for decliment weather, you should just stay home...
No. of Recommendations: 2
Unfortunately, even if you could get 100% efficiency, the sun at ground level just isn't strong enough to recharge the car completely while you're at work.

The battery pack is a 16KWh pack, but let's assume the battery management software only allows energy to vary between 20% and 80% of capacity. So you're really talking about 9.6KWh. At ground level, the sun provides around 1KW/sq.meter. So even if you had 2 sq.meters of roof space dedicated to 100% solar efficient panels, it would take 4.8 hours to recharge the pack.

At best you'd see 30% efficiency with commodity panels, so the recharge time extends to 16 hours. More likely you'd see something around 15 to 20% efficient, so the recharge time would be on the order of 24-32 hours for a full charge. So assuming you could get 12 hours of sunlight a day, it would take 2 days charge.

Dave
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Well aren't you the party pooper!

Fuskie
Who hopes maybe one day the technology will enable transportation to be self-dependent...
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I wonder if someone has come up with a mobile solar recharger.

Zap imports a couple electric cars and they've added solar panels to "help" provide some additional charging during the day:

http://www.zapworld.com/files/zap-docs/xebra-xero.pdf

Duck
No. of Recommendations: 0
LOL! I love the ZapTruck!

I noticed that while there's a \$500 reservation for a Xebra, I could not find an actual product cost.

Fuskie
Who liked the look of the Alias...
No. of Recommendations: 1
I noticed that while there's a \$500 reservation for a Xebra, I could not find an actual product cost.

That's cause dain't none...

http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-04/ff_...

...well, sorta.
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Well, there's still the Tesla.

Fuskie
Whose Tesla fund is at \$100, with only 999 more savings contributions between him and his roadster...
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I noticed that while there's a \$500 reservation for a Xebra, I could not find an actual product cost.

That's cause dain't none...

http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-04/ff_......

...well, sorta.

Wow, it's scary that a company can get away with such outright fraud for so long and nobody does anything. They aren't even bothering with manipulating books or anything behind the scenes like that.
Kathleen