After purchasing a Chevy Volt for $48,700 and driving it for about 2,500 miles, Consumer Reports engineers have published a tepid assessment of the vehicle.
“When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” noted David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Testing Center, in statements made to The Detroit News. “The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy. This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”
In an article in its April issue, Consumer Reports said that its engineering team consistently measured the all-electric vehicle range at 23-28 miles, significantly less than the 40 miles the giant automaker had been claiming since the Volt was first announced in January, 2007. The magazine said that the reduced range was “undoubtedly due to the winter’s deep freeze. The car’s electric range is very susceptible to cold weather, primarily because the heater runs on electricity. We also found that an extended highway cruise shortens the electric range.” Consumer Reports engineers added that they were disappointed by the Volt’s “weak” electric heater.
That assessment was similar to Motor Trend’s, which said, “This will probably be a sweater and gloves commuter car for Northern-tier Volt owners.”
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.