Archive for January, 2007

The General Takes Charge.

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

As the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, any post about General Motors over at the Green Car Congress website always causes a flurry of interest but this post about an electric Chevrolet “Volt” generated 114+ comments in just 24 hrs which must be a record and perhaps an indication that this announcement really is something big.
Chevy VoltThere is no doubt that the GM spin masters have been going hard to counter the negative feelings that the doco “Who Killed The Electric Car?” has created. If nothing else, GM are the marketing masters. Here in Australia they have us believing that the GM Holden brand is the quintessential Aussie icon. But this Chevy Volt announcement seems to have just enough credibility to excite us EV desporadoes!

Much of the discussion at the blog is about GM’s choice of hybridisation. Series hybrid vehicles (Chevy Volt), in my opinion, must always be less efficient than parallel hybrids (like the Prius). This is because instead of having the petrol motor drive the wheels directly in tandem with the electric motor (when required) it just charges the batteries (inefficiently) and only the electric motor drives the wheels.

Series hybrids aren’t technically sexy but that makes them cheap to build and that’s what’s makes this announcement smell slightly credible. GM have always been about maximising profit margins, this is why they like to sell us big clunky cars! So it would be typical of them to use second best technology (like most of their vehicles) as long as they have the turnover with big margins.

Fingers crossed. :-)