American car makers are finally starting to come around when it comes to leveraging alternative energy sources. At the forefront of this paradigm shift sits GM and they are banking on the E-Flex Propulsion System to make it happen.
The beauty of this electric based system is that fuel comes in 4 different varieties: electric, E85, biodiesel or worst case scenario regular gas. The real issue at hand here is not creating the power to propel a car, it is storing the power. Anyone who has owned an iPod or similar device utilizing Lithium Ion batteries can attest to fact the battery life degrades after every charge. This single issue is what is holding most car manufacturers from going from paper to production.
Here are some details directly from Chevy's site on what makes the E-Flex Propulsion System the engine of the future:
- Electric drive system
- Range extender: 53 kW direct engine-mounted generator and 3-cylinder 1.0L Turbocharged, intercooled internal combustion engine
- Dual (left- and right-side) charge ports
- Onboard battery pack
- 12-gallon fuel saddle tank
Concept Volt uses an E-Flex Propulsion System to run gasoline-free. A 16 kW hour lithium ion battery connects to a 53 kW direct engine-mounted generator. This powers the electric Traction System which in turn drives the wheels.
There are two charge ports: one on each side between the front door and front wheel. To recharge, simply plug Volt into a 110-volt, 15-amp outlet — the same kind you have in your home. It takes about six to six-and-a-half hours to fully recharge. Then you can drive up to 40-miles on pure electricity.
Charging As You Go
If your battery needs to be charged while driving, the generator will automatically work with the 1.0L Turbocharged gas engine to begin recharging the battery pack when depleted. It all happens seamlessly while you're concentrating on getting to your destination.
If you don't have the time to leave Concept Volt plugged in to fully recharge or don't have access to an outlet, the vehicle can also begin to charge itself while in PARK with the engine running. The range-extending engine and generator will do all the work.
An onboard 3-cylinder 1.0L Turbocharged, intercooled internal combustion engine allows you to keep driving when your electric battery needs to be recharged. This range extender can be configured to run on gasoline, E85 or biodiesel. The model shown will use gasoline or E85 interchangeably and can hold up to 12 gallons of fuel.
- 120-kW electric motor is equivalent to a 160-hp engine
- Instantaneous torque in electric mode means acceleration faster than traditional torque curve in certain gasoline-powered engines
- 0–60 in 8 to 8.5 seconds
- Battery life is about 10 years