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Why no ice/gen only cars?

5917 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Tom
If the volt is predicted to get 50 mpg when operating in it's range extender mode, why don't we have more vehicles made like that without the battery aspect? Locomotives have been doing it for a long time. This is OLD technology, but was never implemented into cars. Why don't we have cars that are purely electric drive with an ice/gen combo to power the whole thing. Weight and cost would be reduced with no battery to muck around with. I wondered about this several years ago. Most hybrids use the engine as part of the drivetrain and a motor to suplement it, correct?
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Great question! The answer: If you had the Volt's ICE in your car without the help from the battery the performance would be horrible. People don't realize it but you only need about 20 hp to keep an aerodynamic car moving at a good speed on the highway. You need the burst of energy from the battery (much higher than 55 kW) to give you the good performance. They didn't do it before because battery technology was too expensive.

I have a little secret for you. Don't repeat it too loudly because the other posters will run me out of town. Using the Volt's ICE and hooking it up to a standard transmission to the Volt's wheels would give you better mileage on the highway then going from the ICE to the gen-set to the electric motor (assuming no battery - weigh of both cars are identical). Other posters will yell and scream but it's true! "How can you say that Texas, have you gone crazy?" No. It's just that the efficiency losses are greater for the ICE - Generator - electric motor - drive linkages - wheels than ICE - standard transmission - drive linkages - wheels. Crazy stuff. Huh? I didn’t even bring up the fact that the generator and motor are heavier than the standard transmission. Ouch!
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