What makes the Chevy Volt go?

Feb 7, 2011

Kettering professor Mark Thompson explained the technology behind the Chevy Volt to ABC 12 in Flint.

There was already a lot of intrigue about the Chevrolet Volt, General Motors’ much-publicized Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). Now that it has been named the Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year, there is even more interest in the technology behind the Volt.

Dr. Mark Thompson, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Kettering University, recently explained what makes the Chevy Volt unique to a mid-Michigan audience.

McDonald Chevrolet in Millington made two Volts available for test drives and, according to the dealership, received many questions about how exactly the car works.

In an effort to better explain the Volt, WJRT-ABC 12 used Thompson’s expertise to explain to viewers some of the components of the Volt. Among other things, Thompson explained a common question some have had about the car: what happens if the you forget to charge the battery?

“Let’s say you forgot to plug it in at night, and you get up in the morning,” Thompson told ABC 12. “Will that vehicle run? Yes, you’ll start it up and the internal combustion engine will start immediately producing the electricity to drive the electric drive train.”

HEV technology is an area of expertise for Thompson. Along with Dr. Craig Hoff, professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. James Gover, ECE, Thompson helps oversee Kettering’s new HEV Green Mobility Laboratory and program where students and faculty conduct critical research, which Gover has said positions Kettering as potentially, “a leading institution in hybrid electric vehicle research, engineering, testing and education.”