Monday, January 12, 2009
For those of you who don't know, the Chevy Volt is GMs answer to the Prius. A plug-in hybrid car with a twist, the Volt travels up to 40 miles or so on battery power alone. After that, a small gas engine will recharge the battery allowing 300 miles or more of traveling. Once you have a chance to do so, you will fully re-charge the battery by plugging the car in at a standard outlet. Then you can start the cycle over again. This type of car is being called Electric Extended Range Vehicle (E-REV).
The E-REV system allows for people with standard commutes to travel on electric power alone, while still giving people the extended ranges they want for normal driving.
And GM wants to spread the technology around to other vehicles, and the Converj is their first public attempt to do so. They are calling the system Voltec and it consists of a lithium-ion battery, electric drive unit and a range-extending engine-generator.
I still think they could have brought out the prototype Volt, re-badged it as a Cadillac and gotten hundreds of pre-orders the same day. Some people have been turned off by the production Volt looks, but instead, GM decided a 2+2 E-REV looks more like a Cadillac.
The Converj is "a well-appointed grand touring coupe with a bold design, a host of interactive technologies and eco-friendly, renewable materials throughout."
It's powered by a 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack and the electric engine has 120kW, 273 lb.-ft (370 Nm) of instant torque. It has a top speed of 100 mph. The range-extending engine-generator is a four-cylinder. The battery pack is liquid-cooled and contains more than 220 lithium-ion cells. It takes less than 3 hours to re-charge with a 240V outlet, but 8 hours with a 120V outlet.