You Need to Meet the Chevy Volt
A True Hybrid For Us All—The Chevy Volt
There are many hybrid cars on the road today, and you may even own one yourself. Virtually all of them use a combination of internal combustion engine to power the wheels, with an electric motor that takes over at slower speeds.
The batteries will power one of these hybrids for probably no more than a couple of miles, and are made more for city driving than driving out on the highway. Driving slowly in a city environment maximizes fuel economy, because the electric motor will kick in at slower speeds when you start and stop. And as we all know, starting and stopping an internal combustion engine is where much of your gas mileage is lost. Once underway, the internal combustion motor will take over, and extremely good gas mileage will be the result.
This is essentially how all modern hybrids work, keeping the internal combustion engine from working at its most gas guzzling times, during starting out, stopping and idling.
The Chevy Volt does things quite a bit differently. It is made to be an electric car first, and a gasoline powered car second.
A Volt runs on it batteries until the power is used up, then switches to the internal combustion engine. The engine itself does not actually power the car, but instead turns a generator to power the electric motors that power the wheels. This is called a petrol/electric drive train, and was originally developed for use in German heavy tanks of World War 2. Think Tiger tank here.
The batteries in a Volt will power the car for between 20 and 50 miles before the engine kicks in as the batteries become depleted. Although Chevrolet originally rated the car to do at least 30 miles on battery power alone, real world driving causes a huge fluctuation in mileage numbers.
Remember that all of the accessories are powered electrically, so on a snowy night in the Midwest with the wipers going, the heater and the headlights on and the rear defroster working, mileage will be much less than advertised. However, in a sunny climate during the day on dry roads, the batteries may last up to 40 or 50 miles before the internal combustion engine needs to run.
What all this means is that, the Chevy Volt is a true hybrid. If you only go less than about 30 miles per day, the gasoline engine will never come on. You can recharge the batteries at any wall socket, and be on your way electrically within hours.
The engine makes longer journeys a breeze. You’ll never have to worry about getting stranded without power, because as long as you keep the gas tank full, the Volt will perform like any other car. Once a totally electric car runs out of juice, you have no option except to recharge the batteries. On a Volt, there is no such worry.
That feature alone makes the Chevy Volt an incredibly versatile automobile. It is ground breaking, it is revolutionary, and maybe the best thing about it is that, it is a true hybrid for us all.