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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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Orion buses

There are buses (Orion) that use this setup, but they need a battery just like a normal hybrid (e.g. Prius) needs a battery to handle regenerative braking to recover braking energy and to handle acceleration. I think this setup works well for buses because you don't need a massive transmission and you also get the great torque of electric motors. I believe that is why this setup is used on trains too.

In my opinion, the reason one would not use this setup for a car is that you would need a very large electric motor to move the car, as well as a large generator. In a normal HEV design (Prius) you can use smaller electric motors and a smaller ICE. You do not need the massive torque and thus the transmission requirements are not as heavy duty.

When I asked a GM Volt engineer at Volt Nation what they think the advantage of the E-REV design is, she said it was to maximize use of grid power.

My current thoughts on this are that if you are going to have a plug-in with a long range on battery power, the E-REV design is best. If ther is no plug-in ability or a very small range on battery power the Prius-type setup makes the most sense. GM is doing both with the E-Flex and the 2-mode designs.
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