US cars ready to be electrified?

Are US consumers ready to convert to plug-in electric automobiles?

General Motor sure hoped so because it doesn’t want another billion-dollar electric vehicle project to go down the drain as what happened with their EV1 commuter car in mid 1990s, according to this New York Times article.

GM is gearing up the 2010 launch of its plug-in electric vehicle Chevy Volt and showcased the full production version of the car at the company’s 100th year anniversary event in its Detroit headquarters.

The difference from the EV1 and the Volt? The use of efficient, long lasting and stable lithium-ion battery, according to the company. GM officials said (and I am quoting this from Business Week’s article) that “the car’s battery will drain 2.520 kilowatt hours worth of electricity, which is about the same as a hot water heater and less than a refrigerator. It should cost 80¢ a day.”

The electric Chevy Volt can be fully charged within four hours in a house outlet, and can accelerate from zero to 60 miles/hour within 90 seconds, GM said. The engine is engineered to run purely off the electric motor for up to 40 miles on a single charge and after that, a four-cylinder gasoline engine kicks in to charge the battery.

Many web reports about the car indicated industry skepticism especially when it comes to the reliability of lithium ion battery for auto use. The cost of the car is also in question although reports said it will be more than $30,000.

Industry sources are also expecting other major car makers to launch their electric car version by 2010. The more electric cars on the street the cheaper it will get. Hopefully, the chemical industry will do its part to make lithium-ion batteries safer, cheaper and more efficient soon!

One Response to US cars ready to be electrified?

  1. Pradeep 18 September, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    General Motor sure hoped so because it doesn’t want another billion-dollar electric vehicle project to go down the drain as what happened with their EV1 commuter car in mid 1990s…
    One sure hopes for the best,especially in the current pickle of a situation GM is in..With 3-4 $/gal gasoline, I think the Volt has a better chance now than its predecessor.

    It is very interesting to see some of the major oil companies getting into lithium-ion battery technology as well.

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