For a long time, the market of electric vehicles was divided into two segments: Tesla and all the rest. All because the sedan Tesla Model S offers mileage 350 miles and is worth about $ 100,000. All other make electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and the Fiat 500e, which can travel about 100 miles and cost about $ 30,000. Neither one nor the other cars were not some breakthrough on the market, not least due to the fact that most consumers are not confident that these electric cars offer a compelling combination of price, quality and features.
Of course, all waiting for the new electric cars at a lower price and with more distinct characteristics.
The long-awaited Savior was the Tesla Model 3, the electric car, which will have a range of 300 kilometers and cost 40 thousand dollars. Elon Musk has promised that this model will be released in the next few years.
But Chevrolet may be ahead of Tesla.
This week General Motors announced Chevrolet Bolt, machine, specially designed to cut Model 3 – perhaps even before the car Mask will do.
Bolt, presented at the Detroit motor show, is a concept, but a preliminary look at the electric car presents CEO Mary Barra speaks of a 300-kilometer range of the mileage on the base price around $ 30,000. Although GM is not to say that when the electric car will appear on the market, The Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press hint at 2017.
Around the same time on the market will leave the Tesla Model 3.
How Chevrolet is going to knock off the cost of a car with a 300-kilometer run on one charge? Perhaps the answer can be found in the concept of the Bolt, which is made from lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and may be “woven mesh”. (Hammocks seat or something like that). Easy car will require less energy to actuate, thereby increasing the range. Vented rear fenders and integrated rear spoiler will contribute to the aerodynamics, which will also increase the mileage. Besides, this is just a cute little car.
However, you need more than just a clever design that more than two-fold increase mileage and bypass Tesla. GM does not extend about the characteristics of their batteries in the end, it’s just a concept but it is safe to say that ambitious 300-kilometre mileage clearly rests on the work of the past. This work dates back to the mid 90-ies, when GM introduced the EV1 electric. This car could go from 120 to 160 kilometers on lead-acid batteries. GM switched to lithium-ion, launching the Chevrolet Volt in 2011. The first version of the plug-in hybrid could only travel 60 miles on a single electricity. Two years later this number increased to 65. In the last generation, presented in Detroit, it had grown to 80. Last year, Chevrolet has launched Spark EV, a small electric car that could drive 130 miles on a single charge. GM makes their own batteries, and its engineers are constantly working to improve technology.
To see the progress in these technologies over the last years, you need to look at the Volt, says pam Fletcher, chief engineer of electric vehicles in GM. When this plug-in hybrid went on sale in 2010, his batteries were given 16,1 kilowatt-hours. Today this number has increased to 17.1. The next generation of batteries will offer 18,4 kW and is 6 pounds lighter.
These increase the energy density occur due to the development of chemistry, continuous improvement and the method of trial and error, which is used by scientists GM. Small changes in the design of electrolyzer, materials and chemistry, along with mass production, can significantly reduce the cost, says Jeremy Michalek, Professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon. He also notes that make accurate calculations in such cases is very difficult because of the many influencing factors, which vary from place to place. However, the market of electric vehicles can significantly extend thanks to enthusiasts and people with money.
As GM learns more about reliability, durability and performance of the battery cells, they can compress and to do it cheaper. They can push them to the limit of capacity, not risking an explosion.
Perhaps that General Motors will release an electric car, providing a balance of range and accessibility for consumers. Wll see.