EV1 vs the Volt

The GM EV1 weighed 2920 pounds and reported 164 Wh/mile used. It achieved this incredible efficiency with a very smart design. It had a ground breaking 0.19 coefficient of drag. The Toyota Prius is 0.25 and the Tesla Roadster is 0.35
The NiMh pack was 26kWh and weighed 1170 pounds, and achieved a 160 mile range.
The Chevy Volt lithium ion battery pack is 400 pounds and holds 16 kWh and can only be smaller than the NiMh EV1 pack.
Drop the Chevy Volt battery pack into an EV1 and you lighten it up by 770 pounds, now you have a 2150 pound car.
The Tesla Roadster has a worse coefficient of drag and aerodynamic loss doesnt exceed rolling resistance til about 40 mph, considering the .19 coefficient of drag for the EV1 I would expect that the EV1 to do at least as well. Lightening the car up by 26% should decrease the Wh/mile by around 13% if not more, getting it down to about 143 Wh/mile.
Now you have a Lithium Ion battery EV1 with a 112 mile range.
GM complained that the EV1 was too expensive to make.
The Volt has to have a similar AC motor, controller and management system to the EV1.
By deleting the gas motor, generator, fuel system, exhaust system, you should save around $5000 from the cost of a Volt. ( You also save the new owner tons of maintenance costs… )
So if GM can sell the Volt for $30,000 ( with tax credit ), the new EV1 should be about $25000.
$25000 for an electric car with 112 mile range would be instantly competitive in todays market.

I would love to see someone get their hands on an EV1 shell ( 40 of these exist in the hands of universities and museums, GM crippled them and gave them out after they criminally destroyed the rest ) and a Volt and gut the Volt for its battery and build a new EV1 just to prove a point.


3 responses to “EV1 vs the Volt

  1. “$25000 for an electric car with 112 mile range would be instantly competitive in todays market”

    Heck, $30K for an electric car with 112 mile range would be competitive.

    On the Tesla, note also that aerodynamic drag only accounts for 50% or more of the total power consumption by 80mph or so. In other words, in terms of range, drag coefficient really isn’t the primary thing to look at. From that graph, drivetrain and tires are a much more significant component at any normal driving speed.

    I don’t know the stats for the EV1 on those points (heck, I didn’t know them for the Tesla until you posted the graph 🙂 ).

    Extrapolating from the figures, you ought to be able to match the EV1 battery capacity and still save some 500 lbs in weight.

    I wonder if there’s an apple/oranges thing going on here. You could eliminate aerodynamic drag completely from the Tesla, and at 40mph it’d still have 150Wh/mile power consumption (nearly the total average for the EV1 at 60mph, and 35 Wh/mile more than at the same 40mph).

    Basically, if all of those numbers are right, it seems like either the EV1 designers were phenomenal geniuses, or the Volt designers are complete morons, or both. Even as cynical as I can be, neither seems really all that likely, which makes me think there’s something being left out of the analysis here. Why is it that the Roadster doesn’t even come close to matching the advertised efficiency of the EV1, even if you ignore drag altogether? Even allowing for conspiracy theories about why the EV1 wasn’t continued, it makes me wonder if the EV1 figures aren’t being measured the same way, or (gasp) perhaps weren’t ever accurate in the first place.

    Alternatively, perhaps the EV1 doesn’t meet one or more of various motor vehicle design criteria that are required today and which weren’t before (or were overlooked for the purpose of the design). Crash-worthiness, tires, brakes, etc.

    I think a more interesting experiment would be to rip out the gas engine-related stuff from a Volt, add an all-electric drivetrain with regenerative braking included (and upgraded 26kWh Li-ion battery), and see how _that_ compares to the gas-powered Volt (and Tesla, for that matter).

    In other words, prove to GM how dopey Volt with a gas engine is.

    • highspeedcharging

      A performance car certainly sacrifices some efficiency in the design choices, especially tires.
      I am sure a few more million more dollars of engineering work would have helped Tesla as well.

      I chose to compare the straight up Volt battery into EV1 transplant just to simplify the cost calculation since I dont know what the Volt battery cost is.
      Yeah both an EV1 with a Volt battery and a Volt with the gas junk taken out would be interesting, though I like sticking it to the man with a resurrected EV1.

  2. Call me bitter and vindictive, but I will never buy a GM vehicle just because of what they did to the EV1.

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