Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 1, 2008
While car enthusiasts spent much of the 1990s eagerly awaiting usable hybrid technology, there’s speculation in the naughts that the hybrid may soon go the way of the Betamax. Or the DVD. (You’ll stop smirking, Blu-ray, when you consider the fate of the VHS.)
The newest big thing, eco-carwise, is the range-extended electric vehicle (REEV). If last month’s Detroit Auto Show is any indication, the REEV just may send the hybrid on a journey to the middle of nowhere.
REEVs are powered by an electric motor that you can plug in at home. Depending on the battery, it’s likely to take between 4 and 8 hours to get a full charge. The vehicle can then go between 20 and 60 miles before a gas, ethanol, diesel or hydrogen generator takes over to recharge the batteries, providing an extended range.
The selling point is that the car is powered 100% by the electric motor.
REEVs were represented at the auto show by many of the major manufacturers except Toyota. Cars included the Saturn Flextreme, Cadillace Provoq, Chevy Volt and the Chrysler ecoVoyager.
The finest-looking example in my opinion is the B-class two-seater Jeep Renegade. The sexy, rugged open-air vehicle boasts a 16 kWh Li-ion chargeable battery pack that pushes the car about 40 miles before its on-board 1.5L three cylinder diesel generator steps up to recharge it. On paper, this concept then goes another hypothetical 200 miles, providing a clean 100 mpg. While not emission-free, the BluTech control system keeps it cleaner than normal diesel.
GM seems the most optimistic vis-à-vis the REEV trend, as they’re set to begin testing their vehicles this June and hoping to offer the Volt REEV toward the end of 2010.
Hopefully for them, REEV won’t have already gone the way of the Betamax.