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Free Liberal: Coordinating towards higher values

Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

Engine Options

RE: "I want my batmobile" by Carl S. Milsted, Jr.


Despite all the furor over GM's concept serial plug-in hybrid VOLT, there's a lot of scepticism about GM's motives.

The VOLT could be produced right now, using lead-acid or Nickel-metal-hydride batteries, if GM were serious. There's no need to wait until 2012, the batteries are here and proven.

The key idea of the serial plug-in hybrid is SIMPLICITY.

The serial plug-in configuration, like a diesel-electric locomotive, has basically one moving part -- the motor rotor -- and great control over torque from a standing stop to high speed. The gas, diesel or other IC engine is just used to make electric for the drive electric motor for occasional long trips, usually, you never fire it up. Most folks would just beef up the battery pack and remove that IC, perhaps that's what oil companies fear most.

Advanced 3-phase brushless PM or induction motors last longer than the life of the vehicle, faultlessly powering on slopes and easily turned into a generator for sucking energy of motion back into the battery pack. Instead of burning brakes on the way down from Big Bear, you are prudently recovering and storing electric energy used on the way up.

Nickel-Metal-Hydride ("NiMH") batteries are proven, powerful and long-lasting, making a modest, 40 mile battery pack weigh less than a modern engine-transmission power train. The idea that nickel has moved up in price or is too expensive ignores the fact that EVERY metal has move up, some far higher than nickel. Moreover, you can RECYCLE the nickel from NiMH, so the higher the cost of nickel, the better for battery
recycling, even though Nickel metal is only a part of the original cost of the battery.

The EV1 had range of up to 110 miles with Panasonic lead-acid, and the 120-mile-range RAV4-EV small SUV is still running fine after five years of up to 80 mph driving, faultlessly using NiMH batteries.

Many GM-watchers believe that GM's excuse of "Waiting for Lithium" means that GM really doesn't intend to produce the VOLT, they are just using it for an answer to their Public Relations disaster for having killed the Electric car.

If GM were serious, it would release the VOLT right now, using a small lead-acid or NiMH battery pack.

NiMH batteries last longer than the life of the vehicle and provide both deep-cycling and very long cycle life, without any help from an IC engine.

So get serious, if GM were, it would produce the volt right now.

But now that the cat is out of the bag, the secret is out, the cork is popped, heck, Toyota or Ford could make a serial hybrid truck, improving the F-series so that it got over 30 mpg and much more power. Like a conceptual diesel-electric locomotive, it would run over the opposition.

For those who think electric motors are not powerful, look at a construction crane, it's all electric, and then, there's large earth-moving equipment. You won't find any gasoline IC locomotives.

And there's the 0-to-sixty in 3.6 seconds t-zero and the 0-to-sixty in 4.0 seconds Tesla sports car.

TM or Ford can do this, its simplicity itself. And what is there to lose? Make the FE-series truck right alongside the F-series, just differing power train.

Doug Korthof
Seal Beach, CA

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