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Is Green Technology all just a matter of smoke?
As we love to do around there, poking fun at the media and tearing apart their work as a news reporting mechanism, one of the worst places they seem to fail over and over is in the realm of "Green".
Case in point is with the new yet to be released Chevy Volt. When it was first introduced by Chevrolet, it was promoted as the answer to ending the use of petroleum products. It was also promoted by everyone, that this car's GAS engine would get 150-mpg while PERIODICALLY charging the battery. They ranted that this was the first car to get its energy for the drivetrain ENTIRELY from electrical power. They even claimed a 650 mile range.
Some people have finally gotten their hands on one of these cars and have begun putting it through the tests to see what it is capable of.
When the Chevy Volt was first introduced, it was promoted as being a sub-$30K vehicle for the masses. Then, it went to $35,000. Now it is sitting at $41,000. The Nissan Leaf (what man would drive a car called, "leaf"?) will sell for $32K and not come with a post-sale $7,500 tax credit from Government Motors.
However, some are beginning to wonder if the prices for the Volt will run even higher than that? Possibly upwards of $20,000 extra.
Some are even questioning the efficiency of the gasoline engine. Heck, they are even questioning the efficiency of the whole package.
1) Maximum range may be about 300 miles before refueling.
2) After the initial battery-only drive, depending on the type of driving and environment, engine could remain on till your next plug-in to recharge the battery to 100%. The engine is only designed to keep the battery from discharging. It is not powerful enough to fully charge the battery.
3) Driving in hilly conditions, or under the "mountain" setting will cause the engine to come on sooner to keep the battery at around 45% charge.
4) Engine efficiency may be sub-30mpg if not drving on highway and load carried.
5) Power for the wheels may directly come from the battery, but power is stored in the battery by a gasoline engine that may run continually depending on driving conditions.
6) Home and away charging stations will be expensive making professional installations and approvals mandatory.