Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle

US Car manufacturer General Motors released Chevrolet Volt several years ago. It is an electric car but can also run on gas. Today, this plug-in hybrid car is considered as one of the most fuel efficient vehicles that help car owners save money and emit less CO2 gases into the air. Instead of turning a key, a driver pushes the blue power button of the car to start it. Similar to the hybrid Toyota Prius, this Chevy Volt can generate electricity when the driver hit the brake at a traffic light. This Chevy Volt has got lithium-ion battery pack to store energy. According to its official website, when the battery is fully charged, it can run to up to 38 miles. The range can be extended to 380 miles with the help of internal combustion engine that uses gasoline. This Chevy Volt car is manufactured in Michigan. Engineers who design the compact car realize that gasoline is still needed to extend its range.

Another electric vehicle that is attracting people's attention is the Tesla Model S Performance. The manufacturer of this expensive luxury sedan is  based in Palo Alto, California. Even though it is relatively a new car manufacturer, having been founded in 2003, its Roadster, Model S and Model X enter the market when people are looking for vehicles that are environmentally friendly and free from fossil fuel. If the electricity for charging the cars is generated from renewable energy, these cars will definitely be considered as the most preferred transport vehicles.
Unfortunately, around half of the electrical energy supply in the USA is still generated from coal that creates more pollution to the atmosphere. Americans are trying to reduce their dependency on fossil fuel that is mostly imported from the Middle East. Department of Energy of the USA is giving incentives and grants to research institutes and energy companies to develop biofuel and/or build power plants that use renewable energy. The most promising projects are the Concentrated Solar Power Plants in Mojave Desert. One of them is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) built and run by an Israeli company BrightSource.
Even though electric vehicles do not directly emit CO2 gases, the source of energy that is used to recharge the battery may still come from fossil fuels. In addition, after ten to fifteen years of operation, the batteries cannot be used anymore. These spent batteries contain toxic materials that are harmful to the environment. They have to be recycled.