GM Has Been Lying About The Volt
GM has been quite outspoken about its upcoming model, the Chevy Volt, going so far as to correct people who call it a hybrid and asking them to call it a range extended electric car. The difference between the two is that a hybrid must have 2 or more drive systems directly connected to the power-train, for example an electric motor and a gasoline motor as is used in the Prius. Cars like the Fisker Karma are technically electric cars even though they have a small gasoline engine onboard, the gasoline engine is not connected to the power-train and is only used as an “onboard generator” to recharge the batteries on the go.
GM has been outspoken about the Chevy Volt being a range extended electric vehicle;
“The Chevrolet Volt is not a hybrid. It is a one-of-a-kind, all-electrically driven vehicle designed and engineered to operate in all climates. Powered by GM’s revolutionary Voltec propulsion system, it consists of a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provide pure electric range between 25 and 50 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. A 1.4L gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to an additional 310 miles on a full tank of fuel by operating the vehicle’s electric drive system until the car can be plugged in and recharged or refueled. This distinguishes the Volt from electric-only vehicles, which cannot be operated when recharging is not immediately available – such as during a power interruption or on a long-distance trip.” -General Motors-
It came to light last week that GM has been speaking in “truthiness”. The Volt will have a direct link between the gasoline engine and the front wheels, in fact the front wheels will be powered by the internal combustion engine at speeds above 70 mph. This means that the Volt is actually a hybrid and not an electric vehicle.
GM has been quick to respond and released a statement, the following is an extract;
“The Voltec electric drive cannot operate without power from the electric motors. If the traction motor is disabled, the range-extending internal combustion engine cannot drive the vehicle by itself.” -General Motors-
This is a statement designed to mislead, a hybrid doesn’t need to be capable of being powered independently by both power delivery systems. In fact, most hybrids use the electric motor as a minor boost to the internal combustion engine.
The Inside Line summed it up very well with this statement;
“As in the Prius, the Volt’s drivetrain includes a planetary gear set that acts as a transmission. The intricacies of planetary gears are many, but in rough terms each element (electric engines and internal combustion engine) of the Prius or Volt drivetrains are hooked up to different elements of the gear set. In the Volt, its Ecotec engine is clutched to the outer ring gear and as the car’s speed reaches the edge of efficiency for the electric motor, that ring is set from its normally rigid mounting in the 4ET50’s case and allowed to spin. That has the Ecotec driving the front wheels.”
It is clear that GM has been deliberately deceptive here, would this be enough to change your mind about buying a Volt?