GM Volt versus Prius

From what I've read about the Volt so far it seems it wont stand a chance against the Prius. $40 grand US versus $20 grand for a start. 2ndly, the
nuisance of plug-in daily charge versus none at all for the Prius. 3rdly, the rather silly idea of carrying a 1 litre engine purely to use as a generator rather than as a secondary method of propulsion. I think it's a matter of too little, too late for GM. Toyota will be on their way to a 4th gen Prius by the time the Volt is available.
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Lu R wrote:

while I do agree the price is too high, the principal is sound, the drivetrain would be a lot simpler than the hybrid motor/engine in the prius, no gears or diff needed, the 1litre engine would only kick in when needed, as a daily driver to work and home the engine would hardly kick in if at all, and when you do want to take it for a weekend run the engine will give you a far better range than a pure electric car like the Tesla would.
besides, isn't the 3rd gen of the prius going to have plugin charging??
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You mean Gen 4? Im not sure on the plugin concept..one more thign toahve to remember to do/arrange as I see it each nite..
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But that aspect is easily handled. See this month's issue of Smart Computing and the article about magnetic induction battery charging. Just drive into the garage and have an induction system "sense" the car and then charge the battery -- no plugs required. Could be done in parking lots and garages too, of course.
TKM
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I see a mess of red tape as to how those recharges are paid for when out of town..hybrids do away with dealing with it.

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Lu R wrote:

plus I wonder how much charge current a system like could deliver, it works fine for my battery driven toothbrush,
actually take that back, the General Motors EV1 used a inductive paddle to charge it, you still had to plug it in, for an inductive system to work properly it would have to have some method of getting the transmitting and receiving coils close together, just getting someone to park the car in the right place....... ;)
better to have some sort of automatic eject system for the plug, so if someone does start the car and forgets to disconnect the plug is popped out.
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Only easy on a conceptual level. This type of system, although a cool idea, would be hugely inefficient. That is not to say that it couldn't be made to work somehow, but it is definitely not a slam-dunk, especially for a large scale implementation. It works OK when the coils are very close together and if a relatively low amount of power is needed (like an electric toothbrush, which spends 23 hours and 55 minutes a day sitting in the charger).
This is the kind of thing Tesla wanted to do (wireless power transmission)--and 100 years later, it still hasn't happened. There are good reasons for that, and they're not political. Even so, Tesla's work led to the invention of radio, so it's all good.
- Doug
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I once read in a Popular Science/Mechanic magazine about electrical generation transmission via guided microwave it sounded as if it would be electrically inefficient unless it was for a very short distance. .
Another futurist concept that keeps coming up is a satellite that generated power from solar arrays and then transmitted that power (via a laser) back to earth.
What if there was a strong permanet magnetic field along a road going down hill and there was a vehicle which could travel down this road with a large coil of wire connected to a battery and motor. If that vehicle wash pushed downhill along that road the force of gravity pushed the vehicle's coils through the magnetic fields at increasing faster rate as the vehicle travelled downhill. The change in the magnet field would generate an electric current in the coils that could either power the motor (making it go even faster) or recharge the batteries in the vehicle. You could also do the reverse. Put magnets on the vehicle and the coils on the side of the road as it goes down hill. As the magnet fields on the vehicle travel downhill it generates electrical currents in the coils along the road.
Sounds like a neat roller coaster idea... :-)
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One major cost consideration of the Volt is the static battery's lifespan and the replacement cost of that battery. Last I heard GM' is struggling to get the battery pack to last 6 to 8 years. Reports I've read suggest that the 2008 Toyota Prius static battery appears to be designed to last much longer - over 15 years or about 200,000 miles. So while the Volt is a simpler design - its lithium battery will unfortunately probably increase the Volt's total ownership cost.
If the electric motor is very capable it should not need any supplementary method of propulsion and tuning the 1 liter gas engine to be just a generator would make sense - albeit I wonder why GM didn't design the Volt with a more effiicent diesel generator instead? That is another possible path for higher energy efficiency might be for a Prius to use a diesel engine instead of a gasoline engine.
Electric cars and plug are a viable second car alternative if the driver has a driveway and/or a garage where recharging can occur. Many do not. The Toyota hybrid solution is more universal in that sense.
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In article

If you look carefully at the Prius design, you'll come to realize that a diesel engine would bring nothing to the table.
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wrote:

I read that the Volkswagon Polo Blue Motion gets about 62 mpg using only a 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine in "ultraurban" mode. The Polo Blue Motion is a 4 door family sedan (about the same size as a 4 door VW Jetta) . The downsize to this VW "ultraurban" mode is that acceleration is reduced to 17 second timing for a 0-60mph acceleration (which is about twice as long as a the acceleration of a most new cars in the USA). . Still if one is driving in stop and go urban traffic this would be an acceptable trade-off. The 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Honda Insight both have a economy setting that sound really similar to the Volkswagon Polo Blue Motion's "ultraurban" mode.
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In article

Which is fine as far as that goes, but if you look carefully at the Prius design, you'll come to realize that a diesel engine would bring nothing to the table with respect to being the ICE part of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive.
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