|Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid|
|1926 Model T tractor conversion|
I took the above photos at the county fair this summer. The Volt and Model T tractor conversion are both the result of ever present engineering compromises that tend to be exacerbated when designing a multipurpose machine. With the Model T kit you could convert your car into a tractor for planting season. Although the idea of combining two machines into one was appealing, the kit was not very successful because the resulting tractor preformed poorly compared to real tractors.
With the Volt, you get an electric car and a gasoline car all in one. The electric car is inefficient because it has to lug around an inert gasoline engine, fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel injectors, radiator, oil filter, muffler, catalytic converter and other attending air pollution devices for when you run out of charge.
The gasoline hybrid mode for the Volt is inefficient because it has to lug around a large depleted battery and two large electric motors in addition to the gasoline motor and its attendant hardware. This explains its dismal 33 mpg performance for a four-seat gasoline hybrid. The lack of a fifth seat is yet another compromise.
Another example of engineering compromise would be those pocket knives that combine just about anything you can imagine into one handy package. However, none of the tools contained in that knife work nearly as well as a separate tool designed for a specific use. Picture trying to measure something with that knife's ...measuring fish hook remover thingy. This explains why car mechanics and carpenters have thousands of dollars worth of tools at their disposal instead of just one of these babies in their pocket.
Volt owners can also expect higher than average maintenance costs (lower than average reliability) thanks to the complexity of having two drive systems--an internal combustion engine driving an electric motor that in turn drives yet another electric motor.
Powered by electricity without being tethered to electrical outlets, the Volt does everything a great car does ...?
True to America's modern corporate culture, GM attempted to baffle consumers with BS rather than give them a product that earns its market share with superior engineering and performance (like the Prius and Leaf). To this day, journalists are still lumping the Volt in with electric car reviews instead of with other plug-in hybrids. GM's marketing machine had managed to convince the public that the Volt is an electric car. The latest commercials are an attempt to cool the hype because a small consumer backlash was growing ...not to mention Chevy needed a comeback for this Nissan Leaf commercial (look for the Chevy Volt in it). The gullibility of the American public isn't boundless after all.
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