Thursday, March 31, 2011

the Opel Ampera in Europe around

A key aspect to General Motor's survival is what is now being called its Voltec platform - cars which are built on the same platform underpinning the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car scheduled to be introduced before the end of 2010. Besides the Chevrolet Volt, GM has been showcasing the Cadillac Converj concept, a luxury coupe version of the Volt as well as the Opel Ampera, a European counterpart to the Volt. Together, these three cars will play a prime role in distinguishing the direction General Motors will be going for the next decade or longer.

Each of the three models will be "powered" by an electric lithium-ion battery, a rechargeable powerplant with an all-electric range of forty miles. Beyond that, a small gas engine will kick in and, in the case of the Chevrolet Volt, that engine will be the same 1.4L I4 motor as the one that will move the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze, a gasoline model. GM hasn't said which engines will be in the Ampera or the Converj, but the 1.4L may provide just enough power to move those two models as well.
OK - so you heard all the up sides to plug-in hybrids but what are the downsides (apart from mainly not being available yet)? Well here are some that I see:

* They have a lot of unproven technology as they have never really been tried in mass production yet so it could take a while to iron out the kinks.
* Some people could have a problem trying to find a place to charge them - which could mean they take the "lazy" option of mostly using the engine all the time.
* Obviously another one is the price! - at the moment they look a lot more expensive than even the usual hybrids which are already more expensive than a regular car. The Prius had a problem with price for a long time.
* And finally Are they too little, too late - to save the environment, because that's what they're all about aren't they?

So in summary: It looks like out of all the options for Electric Cars for me - the Plug-in Hybrid seems like the best one - especially compared with the All-Electric Cars around at the moment. But we'll also have to wait a year or two first. Right now though I have to get my hands on some of those electric scooters and electric bicycles around at the moment!

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