Obligatory hat tip to NEI Notes reader Scott for pointing us to this Seattle Times story about GM's plans for its plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Chevy Volt.
Scheduled to launch in 2010, the Volt will run up to 40 miles on a single charge. That 40 mile threshold is key, as, according to GM, 78% of U.S. commuters drive 40 miles or less daily.
How would a fleet of electric cars impact the pump and the grid? (Here's where it gets really interesting.)
Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), a prominent Boston consultancy, estimates that if the entire U.S. vehicle fleet suddenly became electric, gas consumption would drop 70 percent, and electric-power consumption would jump about 17 percent.What electricity source could respond to that demand? General Motors vice chairman and head of product development, Robert Lutz, has an answer,
"It's not that big a hit for the electric-power industry," said CERA consultant Patricia DiOrio.
The only real option is nuclear energy.