Chevy Volt

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid car manufactured by General Motors. In Europe it is known as the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera and in Australia and New Zealand as the Holden Volt. Sales of the Chevy Volt began in the U.S. at the end of 2010, whereas Europe had the chance to first see this car in February 2012. This front-engine, front wheel drive was sold, as of August 2012, in more than 26,000 units worldwide, with America being the number one consumer.

The Chevy Volt works as a pure battery electric vehicle until the battery capacity is almost depleted, from which point the internal combustion engine starts powering an electric generator that in turn increases the car’s range. Just like its sister, the Opel Ampera, this car too has regenerative braking, which contributes to fuel economy and contributes to the generation of electricity for additional tools and board lights.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines a hybrid vehicle as a vehicle that has “two or more energy storage systems both of which must provide propulsion power, either together or independently.” Despite this, General Motors avoids using the term “hybrid” when talking about the Chevy Volt, though they have admitted that in some cases the combustion engine offers support at high speed. The company prefers to describe the Volt as being an electric vehicle fitted with a range extending gasoline engine. According to the SAE, the Volt is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, because despite its internal combustion engine and two electric motors, it can also receive off-board energy. The Chevy Volt is a purely electric car for the first 40 to 80 km in charge-depleting mode, but when the battery capacity drops below a pre-established level, the vehicle enters in charge-sustaining mode. This is when the Volt’s control system takes charge and chooses an optimal drive mode.

Compared to older models of hybrids from General Motors, the Volt is now a four-seat instead of a two-seat car, and the battery pack has been reduced to a volume of 100 L from the 300 L a 1990 model had. The top speed has also been increased to reach 100 miles per hour, not 80 like previous models.

Driving a hybrid is still quite expensive and only a few hundred thousand people from across the world afford to buy one each year, but the increased interest in the technology assures us that, as with all things, the electric vehicles will become cheaper in the next years. Right now, a Chevy Volt is being sold at about $ 40,000 in the United States and can reach some € 43,000 in Europe, but it is also one of the most awarded cars on the globe.

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