A lot of the latest buzz in green technology has been about the announcement of the Chevy Volt
If you've been living under a rock, here's a brief overview: The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid compact car targeted for release in 2010 that features a revolutionary electric propulsion system that goes beyond just battery power. The lithium-ion battery itself will have an estimated range of 40 miles, but there will be a variety of range-extending on-board power sources to recharge the battery once you pass its range. These power sources will include gas and in some cases e85 ethanol(3). The engine is maintained by the small combustion engine instead of assisted by one.
Functionally, this sounds great. The average daily commute for about 78 million Americans is 40 miles or less. The Chevy Volt, with a first generation sticker price of $40,000, could presumably keep those 78 million people from using gas during the work week. Charging the car won't be too much of a pain with the option of plugging it into a standard household 120v outlet, which will take about 8 hours for a full charge, or a 240v outlet, which will only take about 3 hours to charge.
But...if you're going to design a green car and market it as a solution to our environmental woes, maybe you should not design it around a nonrenewable power source. 70 percent of the United States electricity production comes from non renewable fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. Want to really "Wow" me? Figure out how to cleanly dispose of nuclear waste and design a car around nuclear power. That would really be a technological advancement.
Also, if you want to talk about straight up physical design...it's a down right bland looking car (image
). What happened to the intense concept design that was unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit
? The company states that the design required something more aerodynamically efficient, which I understand, but something more could have been done. If Chevy is going to go through the effort of trying to stun me with technological advancements, they should spend a little more time making me want to actually be seen in the car. I know it's shallow, but how many of you out there drive a car solely based on its gas mileage?