Suddenly electric-car prototypes are everywhere. We’re not talking about the dubious concept cars that have long been a staple of the big international auto shows. These are actual, drivable electric vehicles (EVs) built by major automakers and assigned honest-to-God production dates as early as late next year. Their arrival suggests that this latest, much-hyped electric-car revival might just happen after all. Here’s a look at what’s coming.
The Promise The Volt is an “extended range electric vehicle” that will travel 40 miles on a single charge of a 400-pound lithium-ion battery. After that, a small flex-fuel engine kicks in to power the electric motor.
Status This spring, we drove a Volt “mule” (a Chevy Cruze fitted with the Volt powertrain; go to popsci.com/volt for more) and found it to be powerful and smooth, performing like a silent version of your standard peppy small sedan. Since then, GM has begun building dozens of prototypes.
Will it Happen? Despite bankruptcy, GM is unlikely to give up on the Volt, the most hyped vehicle in years. It insists that Volts will roll out of factories in November 2010.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.