Ammonia powered engines

Motor Trend has an article on using ammonia for fuel.  It’s a good article, it points out pluses and minuses of using ammonia as a fuel source.

One thing it doesn’t mention is that a pair of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers NCOs had a pickup truck fueled by ammonia driving around the Washington, D.C. area back in the mid 1960s.

Taking a quick look at the Volt

Chevy is looking at an electric sedan that uses a gasoline motor to charge the car’s battery.

This is very different than existing hybrids and all electric cars like the Tesla roadster.

Current hybrids have two complete drivetrains, electric and gas powered.  The electric motor is only good for low speeds and has to be supplimented by the gas engine to drive at highway speeds.

The Volt has a single drivetrain.  The electric motor is the only one connected to it.  The gas engine is only used to charge the battery. The battery in the Volt is also smaller than that of the Tesla Roadster.  The Tesla range is limited by the ability to charge it.  Tesla claims a 200+ mile range, but it has to be plugged in to recharge.

The battery in the Volt is only designed for a 40 mile range.  After that, the gas engine is used to recharge the battery, even on the go.  Chevy claims that on a full tank (6-7 galleons of gas), the Volt has a 400 mile range.  Even at $4.00 a galleon, seven galleons will cost $28.   I’ve seen gas at $3.50 a galleon, so that cost drops to $24.5.  That’s a cost of $0.06 to $0.07 a mile.  Compare this to a four banger getting 30 miles to the galleon highway.  13.3 galleons to go 400 miles.  At $4 a galleon, that’s $53.20 in gas or $0.13 a mile.

Now the Volt won’t have the performance of a Tesla Roadster, but it won’t have its $100,000 price tag either. Chevy is looking at a  price between $30 to $40 thousand.   The Volt will be able to venture beyond it’s power cord was well, much like current hybrids.

It will be at least another year before the Volt hits the street.  So there probably will be some changes from the current planned release.