Electric cars still have a long way to go. Storage capacity of the battery will surely decrease with time limiting the range. By the way, is there any study of a carbon foot print of Volt or any hybrid over a period of time considering (a) the power for charging generated at a coal fired plant + transmission losses, and (b) carbon foot print for producing batteries required to be replaced?
Also, small engine means that the car is good enough only for urban commuting. The engine will not produce enough power for the travel and charging simultaneously. This means it will have a maximum theoretical range even with the engine kicking in. Prius is a winner in this scenario.
Replacing the spare with an air pump? Sometimes, a tire gets burst awfully and air pump will not be of much value.
You said "My only criticism of the Volt is that visibility is limited and one can feel a little claustrophobic at first ..." You also said "... it’s an electric car for the masses ..." Do you really think "the masses" have an extra $45k to spend on such a car? Do you understand how the battery range will be cut in half on hot days when the air conditioner is being used? It would certainly be a fun car to have, but only as a second or third car for people who have extra money to spend. So it should be a hit for GM but it's certainly no better for the ecology than a conventional small car with a Diesel engine would be.
I would expect that 80HP coupled with battery storage / electric drive would be plenty. As long as the batteries have some charge, the vehicle should accelerate based on the performance of the electric drive train. I'm sure that the average power requirement is far below the 80 HP for such a small car.
The Volt is equipped with a small gas engine to recharge the battery after the battery is depleted, but what kind of performance can that small 80 HP engine deliver when it is charging the battery AND powering the car. It cannot provide anything near the power to the wheels that even the 108 HP underpowered Aveo gives. Unless it is running on level ground, it will be a very sluggish car after 38 miles on the battery.
George, No, you simply connect the solar array to the grid at your home. Power goes into the grid during Peak times, and you take the power late (off-peak) at ~half the cost. Each morning, your "tank" is full and you make money on the time-of-use transaction. I am driving 40 mile daily commute with a 5.5kW array in Oregon, for a net zero power consumption.
I think GM and Nissan both have a big education issue with the public on now these two remarkable cars can best be used but I'm hopeful that they can both do just that. It is very exciting to see both of these cars out on the road now.
Things are not going to change overnight, but cars like the Prius and the Volt are a starting point. Production vehicles driven by ordinary people beats a lot of dogma or theory about what might be workable. Years ago there was the concept of an all-electric car that towed an optional trailer with a gasoline genset on it for long trips. Volt has 10x the battery capacity of a prius and sounds like a credible electric car. It is good to see GM build something challenging. bjd.