Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"230 miles per gallon" unless you use gas engine

The GM Volt will charge up much like a laptop. Just plug the electric-motor battery pack into a 3-prong outlet and juice it up.

It takes eight hours to fully charge a 16-kilowatt battery pack. A Chevrolet spokesman said the average cost to charge the pack would be 50 cents at night or 80 cents during peak electric hours during the day. In Chicago, ComEd said the cost would average about $1.60.

A fully powered battery pack takes take you about 40 miles. After that, a gas-powered internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity to take you an additional 260 miles.

After that, if you can't recharge the batteries, you'll have to refill the gas tank, which will hold less than 12 gallons.

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And probably not much less than 12 gallons, either. If you assume 300 miles and 10 gallons, the actual mileage wuold be 30 mpg. Why can't GM just come out and tell us that their "mileage" figure is based on how far a typical driver would travel over a certain period of time, and how much gas the Volt would use?

But when determining its overall efficiency, we would have to consider that this latest version of the horseless carriage requires a human to play the part of driving-robot, along with crashes, insurance, and maintenance.

If we really want a truly efficient mode of transport, we will have to demand a third national bank, and tell it to issue credit for nuclear power and maglev on a vast scale instead of saddling us with mind-boggling amounts of bankers' bad bets, as the Fed is doing to us.