Living Sustainably
in the shadow of climate change

March 2015
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There is no gas pedal in my car!
Filed under: General, Electric Vehilces, Our Chevy Volt
Posted by: Guy @ 3:54 pm

When I take people for a demonstration drive in my Chevy Volt, I have to remind them that I am not hitting the “gas pedal”, I am using the accelerator pedal.  The pedal has no direct connection to the gas engine generator that GM refers to as a “range extender.  The pedal is hooked into the control computer of the vehicle and its only function is to modulate the amount of energy going to the electric motor. It is interesting to note that when you put the accelerator to the floor, my energy gauge shows around 80 kW of power going to the motor. Yes that’s Eighty. Thousand. Watts! That is a truly enormous amount of energy!  And no gasoline involved unless I am running in range extender mode, in which case the four-cylinder gasoline power generator can contribute up to 50 kW to the battery to help maintain a safe battery level. There are times when that engine generator will ramp up to over 4000 RPM, and you really hear it, but most of the time it is barely audible.

3 Responses to “There is no gas pedal in my car!”

  1. Anya Says:
    I would like to purchase an elciertc car, however I’m still skeptical of the cost/benefit. It is not enough to be just environmentally friendly. The business case has to close, and there are many variables. If all cars were like the Volt, what would the effect be to the grid as a system? How will moving to this type of car effect the taxation system that currently is based on fuel taxes? There are so many questions like this? If coal is the fuel to generate the elciertcity, does the carbon footprint merely get transferred to another source so that a car’s’ footprint remains the same? Are we all being fooled by the fact the there is no free lunch with energy costs.Is the Volt built in American by American’s? Does this really matter anymore? Why is this better than mass transit? $41K is a lot of money for a car, even with a rebate! Th
  2. Guy Says:
    Anya, it’s up to you to make an electric vehicle environmentally friendly - by installing a solar power system as we did. Yes, it get pricey, but solar prices are at an all-time low right now. Our 5.2kW solar array makes our Volt carbon neutral for 4 months of the year in Maine (we export power during the summer months).
  3. Guy Says:
    … and YES the Volt is 100% built by Americans in Detroit on the same line that makes Cadillacs, and that does matter to ME! Mass transit has its place in cities - and can be more environment/cost effective, but electric vehicles are here to stay for those of us who can afford them.