Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hybrid brilliance

Evidently, as any good EE would tell you, there has been a problem with the Chevy Volt in crash testing; the battery caught fire, which is something you can expect of any battery holding a lot of energy when it gets shorted out.  The trouble, of course, is that there are a lot more batteries in the Volt, holding a lot more energy per pound, than in ordinary cars.

So not only is the Volt a technological boondoggle, its powertrain is a major hazard, too.  And as luck would have it, it's still got a gas tank to incinerate you after the battery ignites.  Maybe it's time to leave the car engineering to...say....carmakers and others who understand engineering tradeoffs, eh?


Scott McCray said...'s GreeEEeeeeen, right? Isn't that supposed to make the other stuff not matter?

Douglas said...

The Nissan Leaf is $7K cheaper than the Chevy Volt, but it's still pretty expensive. Glenn Reynolds recently did a test-drive and review of the Leaf:

Unless some situation occurs where energy from the electricity grid becomes significantly cheaper than energy from the gasoline grid, I don't get it that these cars will catch on unless carmakers have some technological breakthrough to make the cars cheaper.

GotToBTru said...

Did you actually read the article? The vehicle in question caught fire 3 weeks later, in a freak set of circumstances that would not be repeated in real life. Don't misunderstand me, I don't seek to defend any of the design decisions made on the Chevy Volt, but don't ruin your credibility by making claims that aren't supported by the facts.

Joanna said...

Totally and completely off topic:

A friend of mine is a photographer and is giving away a session and a CD of the pictures. Maybe you'd be interested; you're the only person I "know" that lives near her.

On topic:

I read that a Volt can go 35 miles on the battery. That wouldn't even get my husband to work and back.

Unless some situation occurs where energy from the electricity grid becomes significantly cheaper than energy from the gasoline grid...

This is a good point. You still have to pay to charge them with electricity. As they only go about 35 miles, maybe you could go to the grocery store and back and it might be worth the extra money you paid for the car in about 50 years. I miss my Geo Metro. That sucker would go 45 mpg in the city, 50 on the highway.

Bike Bubba said...

Got2BFalse; name something false in my post. Did the Volt catch on fire? Yes. Was it related to the battery? Yes. Is it sitting on a gas tank? Yes.

Is this a foreseeable consequence of powering cars with batteries? Given the long list of complaints about lithium batteries catching fire, absolutely.

Attributable to the government promoting it with subsidies? You betcha. Argument for stopping those subsidies? Got it.