Detroit Auto Show Preview: Who Killed the What Now? GM to Unveil Electric Car

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

One of our favorite Simpsons was when Mr. Burns got the one billion dollar bill and him, Smithers and Homer flee to Cuba. They hook up with Castro who wants to have a look at the filthy lucre. Mr. Burns isn't sure, but Homer tells him, "C'mon Mr. Burns — you can trust Castro." So, Burnsey hands Fidel the bill and the great Cuban revolutionary immediately puts it in his pocket. Mr. Burns asks for it back, to which Castro responds, "What bill?" And now the General is pulling the same thing. What Saturn EV-1? We don't know what Ed Begley Jr. is so upset about? Ladies and germs, may we present to you the Chevy Volt concept car. Totally electric, yet complete with a turbo-charged one-banger to produce juice for the batteries after they go dry. This gives the Volt a range of 640 miles. Not quite up to the awesome technology of Audi's 800-mile twin-turbo diesel A8, but hey - greenish celebs will take it. Seats five, too.

GM to unveil Volt electric concept car [AP]

DIY Electron-Heads in Marin [Internal]

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This should sell well... or so I thought until I RTFA.

fine print:

"The Volt has a battery-powered electric motor that can run the car for up to 40 city miles on a single charge....the gasoline engine can get about 50 miles per gallon when producing electricity to run the car. GM officials stressed that development of the battery pack is critical to the concept vehicle reaching showrooms, and the technology likely won't be available until 2010 or 2012."

Plug-in Prius's travel 30 miles with LiIon batteries alone. That's existing battery technology. Oh, and the Prius gets that 30 miles while still having a full-sized engine, not a worthless 1-banger. And exactly how well is that 1-banger going to move the vehicle once I surpass my 40 mile range and my electric motor is no longer moving the car? 0-60 in... tomorrow? Would I have to avoid hills?

Here's an idea GM: build this, make it plug-in and 40 mile range, but put a real engine in there so when I surpass my 40 mile range I'm not stuck with worthless acceleration. How about the Aveo's engine? It's a tiny 1.6L, and with 103hp it should be sufficient.

"The car can be fully recharged by plugging it in to a 110-volt outlet for about six hours..."

At least it'll plug into any 120-volt AC outlet, no stupid paddles this time.