Some fans of electric cars and hybrids, and a few folks in the press, are getting all in a knot about Chevy actually having a "direct link" from the gas engine to the wheels in its Volt "range-assisted" electric car. (Here is just one example
.) Well maybe its just good engineering.
Perhaps you've heard that Chevy is using a planetary gear in its Volt to power a secondary electric motor which drives the wheels, bypassing the battery. The car is thus not a "pure" battery-electric drive, augmented by the engine for charging the battery to extend range. The direct driveline (which is still electric) is activated when torque from the battery-driven electric motor would be insufficient for the driver's throttle input.
On the face of it, the additional "driveline" that augments the battery output makes sense to me. It would allow the Volt to safely keep up with traffic on an Interstate when battery power is lacking—rather than pose a hazard by going into a "limp home" mode better suited to secondary roads.
Let your fellow Automotive Designline readers know how you see it by posting a comment below.