December 22, 2014

Electric Vehicles Renewable Energy and Storage News

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The Los Angeles Alternative Car Exposition showed us a flash appearance from GM with the EV1 and the Volt amongst many others.  Electric vehicles, EV, hybrids, HEV and plug-in hybrids, HEV were well and alive.

The gist, it’s becoming hard to talk about the Volt without repeating what has already been said over and over.  So would pictures do?

Yes, the EV1 and Volt were there looking at the crowd with another GM hydrogen vehicle set aside and facing away from the crowd.  Message anyone?  In a completely turn about, GM is now reintroducing the past heritage of the EV1, the same vehicle they yanked out that spurred so much controversy.  It’s showing it as the instigator of the Volt now.  Good, let’s move on.  It was interesting to see both cars together, along with some EV1 owners who had very insightful stories.  Do a research on our blog for more information.

Much has been said about the “differences” from the sleek prototype to the final version, but all in all, it’s a nice car.  We actually like the back with its futuristic tail lights.

The interior was very nice and spacious, roomy and comfortable although a little on the dark gray look and feel of modern cars.  We wished it would have either had more colors or something that reflected the truly innovative aspects of this car.  Again, a little more fun inside, please?

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As a side note, the Volt will most likely be a four seater only, and not five according to the people at the show.  The reason is the battery pack will take up enough space to sacrifice one seat.  Is it a problem?  No.

The front is typical of what you would expect from a modern vehicle, big and high.

All in all, we feel it is not a let down, specifically.  It will fill a gap much needed until we have long range electric vehicles, EVs.  Ah, and yes, the Extended Range Electric Vehicle, EREV versus the plug-in hybrid, PHEV debate.  Get over it, it’s a marketing thing.  According to sources, GM doesn’t want people to see it as yet another hybrid.  The reason why they chose not to go with PHEV is that it would be hard to distinguish between the future PHEV Prius and the Volt.

It’s too bad we didn’t make a clear definition from the get go between serial hybrid and parallel hybrid.  GM boldly and intelligently chose to go for a serial PHEV platform, meaning the gas engine won’t power the wheels directly but only a generator that will recharge batteries.  Toyota’s Prius will have a parallel PHEV which means both electric and gas engines power the wheels.  The difference is fundamental and big.  Theoretically, a serial PHEV could run only on electricity at low range, thus negating the need for gas.   You would need gas for any trips over 40 miles.  A parallel system will turn on the gas engine as soon as you hit 40 mph or so.  So technically, a parallel PHEV will consume more gas than a serial system.

Not much on the hydrogen platform.  It seems it’s losing heat, or vapor, or something.  It seems even NASA employees don’t seem to like their hydrogen vehicles.  There were vehicles there but they felt more like proof of concept than a reality.  And at $3 million per hydrogen station, one can only wonder at the feasibility.

This, obviously is only the tip of the iceberg as much rides on the infrastruture of the gas engine and the enormous investments auto makers have made in the past.  GM’s move is bold, too bad they didn’t call it the smarter PHEV, or something like that.  Hey GM, ask us next time!

If hybrid opened the door to an eventual all electric mode car, parallel PHEV is the next step, followed by a serial PHEV.  But ultimately, it will end with EV.

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Plug-in Hybrid