Hybrid systems have been available for several years now, and offer customers a decrease in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions at an incremental price. Hybrids, in some cases, have offered improved other customer benefits such as reduced noise, vibration and harshness or better acceleration and the satisfaction of increased societal benefit. Sometimes the vehicle utility is compromised by the volume dedicated to energy storage systems. Several hybrid architecture arrangements exist in the market, and offer various levels of hybrid feature. But considering acquisition cost and operating expense, most hybrid vehicles have not offered a direct total cost advantage when compared to non-hybrids. GM's new e-Assist system is highly integrated with the engine and transmission functionality, and takes advantage of the highest value fuel economy enablers available with light electrification.
With the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt, the Electrification of the Automobile begins in earnest, by offering a car that runs off of grid energy that has mass market appeal. The Volt offers a vehicle which is driven primarily by electricity under ?real world? driving conditions, while not presenting the driver with inconvenient choices about range and recharge time, or the disconcerting experience of a real possibility of becoming stranded. The Voltec powertrain arrangement enables the Volt to be an Extended Range Electric Vehicle, or E-REV and gives full performance utilizing only electrical energy from the grid for most driving, and a seamless transition to gasoline energy for longer and less frequent trips to maintain full vehicle utility. General Motors and its suppliers has had to the lead developments of fundamental component technologies that were not addressed by earlier, more simple hybridization work.