Batteries to the Future
March 11, 2007: The Ledger—New Battery Takes Off
Summary: 155 miles on a gallon of gasoline? That’s the goal of A123 Systems’ battery designed for plug-in hybrids.
"Now, GM is planning two plug-in hybrid vehicles. Like the Toyota Prius and other available hybrids, the GM models will supplement their electric motors with power from internal combustion engines. What’s different is that most of the power for daily commuting will come from battery packs that can be recharged from ordinary household sockets. The new models are expected to have a range of at least 40 miles without using their gas engines. While that is less than the range of the all-electric EV1, the hybrid nature of the new models will give them far greater total range.
GM says that the extra cost for the battery packs mean that plug-in hybrids will sell for thousands of dollars more than comparable, non-electric vehicles. But the average driver, going 40 miles a day, would also save $450 a year if gasoline were $2 a gallon. Because the median daily travel of the average American car is 33 miles (well within the new model’s electric range), the cars would achieve 155 miles to the gallon, and many drivers would fill up with gasoline only every few months."
So 155 mpg is only for those with a commute under 33 miles a day. Still, many Prius owners would surely love to achieve "just" 100 mpg. If GM and its suppliers can pull it off, the plug-in hybrid may be the company’s first (er, second) pioneer in alternative powertrains.
The EV1 retains first place, despite the article’s disrespect for it as a useful vehicle. So people had to plan their day around charging it. Isn’t that one of the least onerous tasks to plan one’s day around?