Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ford Edge Follows

Earlier this month, the announcement of the GM Volt eclipsed another important announcement at the Detroit show. Ford is now getting the word out that the Ford Edge crossover platform gives the company "the ultimate in flexibility in researching advanced propulsion technology" and thus could easily use a small gasoline or downsized diesel engine in lieu of the fuel cell.

Although the styling may not as exciting as the Volt, the announcement of the Edge Crossover platform is a significant development.

Ford to unveil plug-in fuel cell hybrid
By Ken Thomas, Associated Press
January 22, 2007

WASHINGTON - Ford Motor Co. is joining the list of automakers working on a plug-in hybrid -- with a twist. It combines the convenience of plugging in your car with a zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell.

Ford is to display today what it calls the world's first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability. Called the Flexible Series Hybrid Edge, it represents the latest offering from automakers hoping to stake a claim to the next generation of highly efficient, alternative automobiles.

Gerhard Schmidt, Ford's vice president of research and advanced engineering, said the vehicle, based on the Ford Edge crossover platform, gives the company "the ultimate in flexibility in researching advanced propulsion technology."We could take the fuel cell power system out and replace it with a downsized diesel, gasoline engine or any other powertrain connected to a small electric generator to make electricity like the fuel cell does now," Schmidt said.

Ford was showing the plug-in fuel cell at the Washington Auto Show, where lawmakers and government officials were viewing a number of advanced vehicle technologies.

Ford's plug-in hybrid Edge operates in "battery only" mode for the first 25 miles, moving at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. When the battery is depleted to 40 percent, it seamlessly shifts to the fuel cell mode, which recharges the battery for 200 more miles of range.

The 336-volt lithium ion battery pack can be fully charged overnight -- in about eight hours -- with either a 110 or 220 volt outlet, and the engine produces gas mileage of about 41 miles per gallon. Drivers who travel less than 50 miles per day would get more than 80 miles per gallon, Ford said."

And the mometum continues.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

GM Volts Ahead

We had heard rumors that GM would show something special at the Detroit Auto Show, and the rumors were true.

Here is part of the story from the Flint Journal

Detroit shocker: GM unveils plug-in hybrid
- and plans to build it

The Flint Journal
Sunday, January 07, 2007
By Todd Seibttseibt

DETROIT - General Motors unveils a shocking concept car today: the Chevrolet VOLT. The VOLT moves GM toward a car driven solely by electrical components - yes, an electric car.

But it's one that plugs in to a normal outlet to recharge and has a small engine on board. And those two features mean no limits on driving range because of battery life.

GM plans to exhibit the VOLT at the Detroit auto show, which opens to the public Saturday at Cobo Center. And the company says it will put the vehicle into production as soon as it can work out some battery issues.

"We're committed to doing this fast," said Jon Lauckner, GM's vice president for global program management.

Unlike GM's 1990s foray into electric cars, the EV-1, the VOLT's 1-liter, three-cylinder, turbocharged engine can recharge the batteries on the fly, allowing cross-country travel.

The VOLT concept, part of an overarching "E-Flex" system, allows GM to develop vehicles that operate on different fuels, from gasoline, diesel, bio-diesel, E85 or E100, right on into the expected hydrogen-based future.

"We are very, very committed to this," said Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman for global product development. "In our judgment, there is no single fuel for drive systems ... in the future." more

Perhaps more importantly, the Volt , as indicated above, is part of a whole new family of vehicle systems called E Flex.

GM Introduces Electric Vehicle System
World Changing
Mike Millikin
January 7, 2007

In an announcement its executives describe as “very important to the future of our company,” GM has introduced a new family of electric vehicle systems—the E-Flex Systems—and is showing the first concept application of E-Flex at the North American International Auto Show: the Chevrolet Volt, a 40-mile all-electric range (AER) plug-in hybrid.


E-Flex vehicles are all electrically-driven, are plug-in capable, feature common drivetrain components, and can generate electricity on board either through a genset or a fuel cell (a series hybrid configuration). Regenerative braking will also contribute to the on-board electricity generation. (“E” stands for electric drive and “Flex” for the different sources of electricity.)

The Chevy Volt. GM chose its Global Compact vehicle architecture (Cobalt-sized) for its first E-Flex application, the Chevrolet Volt.

The Volt uses the same electric motor as used in the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle in its electric powertrain: a 120 kW peak machine that develops 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque.

The Volt will use a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers 136 kW of peak power. Plug-in charging is designed for the home (110V, 15 amps) and will take around 6 to 6.5 hours.

The Volt can support all-electric mode from 0 to its top speed of 100 mph (with bursts to 120 mph). Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes 8 to 8.5 seconds. The basic operating strategy is to run the vehicle in all-electric mode until the state-of-charge (SOC) of the battery reaches 30%—that strategy delivers approximately a 40-mile range. more

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