General Motors has taken a number of significant steps to make their vehicles greener, and they are doing similar things with their manufacturing plants, as well. This week, the company has made two announcements about using rooftop solar arrays to power its manufacturing facilities.
The Detroit–Hamtramck plant, which produces the Chevy Volt, will be having a 516 kilowatt solar array installed on six acres of land on the south side of the plant as part of a cooperative venture with the local electrical utility company, DTE. Using power from the solar array is expected to save GM $15,000 per year.
The Chevrolet Volt was assessed by experts as “the first mass-produced series hybrid/extended range electric vehicle. G.M. developed it from a concept in a remarkably short period of time and brought it to market on schedule and largely meeting its original performance targets.”
The Volt was also cited for its capacity to drive for 25 to 50 miles running on electric power alone, efficient for long range driving without the need to frequently charge for long hours.
According to the United States Environment Protection Agency, the Chevrolet Volt can go as much as 93 miles per gallon running on electric powerand at 37 mpg on gasoline.
The Volt is also said to generate carbon dioxide emissions of only 52 grams per kilometer.
Chevrolet Marketing’s vice-president Rick Scheidt praised their vehicle’s latest recognition as proof of their efforts for improved environmental vehicle standards.
“The selection of the Volt as the World Green Car is a further proof point of the fuel efficient technologies that are now being offered by the Chevrolet brand around the world,” Mr. Scheidt said. “This award, and the others that have preceded it, validate the efforts of the development team to build a truly remarkable vehicle with the potential to transform transportation around the globe.”
The vehicle toppled twelve other electric car entries from around the world in the competition. It also bested hybrid rivals Nissan Leaf and BMW’s 320d EfficientDynamics Edition in the finals selection.
The Volt has already received recognitions from various automobile magazine publications in the past. Among these are the Green Car Vision Award given by the Green Car Journal in 2009, the 2011 Automobile of the Year award by Automobile Magazine, and best engineered vehicle of 2011 from SAE International’s Automotive Magazine.
The World Green Car award is given to vehicles which employ the latest technological innovations aimed for environmental efficiency. Vehicle models vying for the award must be out in the market starting January 1, 2010 to May 30 of this year. Specifications of vehicle entries are assessed by three experts on green technology, which are handed down to 66 jurors for review.
For the electric vehicle market, it looks like small is the new big, especially when it comes to batteries. According to a new study by Lux Research, the market forecast for energy storage devices for electronic vehicles is bright. Lux sees the sector’s overall growth rising from $13 billion in 2011 to $30 billion by 2016 — a compound annual growth rate of 18 percent.
And what will cause this prodigious (and steady) growth spurt? Well, in spite of the current popularity (in headlines, at least) of plug-ins like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, Lux sees big returns in small vehicles. The bulk of growth, the study says, will be driven by “more humble” vehicles, like e-bikes and micro-hybrids. Read more…
Nine things you should know about electric cars before making a purchase:
1. There are two kinds of electric cars
Plug-in hybrids have a shorter all-electric driving range using a smaller battery pack. After the battery pack is drained, they can either revert to being a normal fuel-fed hybrid, or they can use fuel to run a generator and recharge the batteries on the fly. The Chevy Volt (right) is an example of a plug-in hybrid.
[ Related: Eight Reasons to Trust Electric Car Batteries ]
2. There are lucrative federal and state incentives to buy them
Although the sticker prices for electric cars tend to be higher than similarly-sized and -equipped conventional cars, federal and state governments think they are worth subsidizing and have offered some seriously chunky incentives for you to buy one.
All U.S. taxpayers are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit — but only if you have a one-year tax liability that exceeds that amount. If you don’t have that much tax liability, don’t fret, you can lease the car from the manufacturer and use the entire $7,500 to pay down the lease right off the bat.
As a result, Nissan and Chevy — the two electric vehicle manufacturers first out of the gate with mass-market offerings — both have relatively affordable $350 per month lease deals. The federal tax credit will remain in effect for a given EV (electric vehicle) manufacturer until it sells more than 200,000 EVs. Read more…