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Journeys : Feb March 2012
6548A A sure sign your car is in safe hands. Our RACT Approved Repairer Code of Practice ensures that all repair work and services performed for members of the RACT will be carried out under the supervision of a competent and qualified person. The RACT Approved Repairer Code of Practice also includes the following key points: • Written estimate of costs provided upon request • Warranty covering repair work for 90 days or 5000 km • Parts that are replaced will be available for you to inspect and keep, if desired • Once commenced, repair work will be completed quickly. When your car’s being repaired, it’s hard not to wonder if the job’s being done correctly. With an RACT Approved Repairer you can relax. www.ract.com.au RACT Approved Repairers shown with the Show Your Card & Save logo will provide 10% discount on labour if you present your card prior to quotation. Contact your nearest RACT branch for a complete list of Approved Repairers or visit www.ract.com.au it on the throttle through the corners, transferring weight and drive fore and aft at will via the Quattro AWD system. There are only ten R8 Carbon editions available in a mixture of 5.2L V10 or 4.2L V8 in either hard-top or Spyder variants. An extra $10,000 over the asking price will get you 19” twin-spoke design titanium-look alloys and the full carbon- fibre treatment to the front spoiler, rear diffuser, side blades, door sills and exter ior mirror housings. Whatever is left outside that isn’t carbon gets the black treatment. Also available in exclusive limited colours, starting money for one of these is around $282,000 through to $407,000 plus on roads for the top spec V10 Spyder. A lot of money – but a lot of car. Check the R ACT Community blog at w ww. ract.com.au for TT RS and RS5 LE drives. Holden Volt The number-one issue surrounding electric vehicles (EV ’s) for consumers is range anxiety. Well, GM thinks they might have an answer for that, but it involves an internal combustion petrol engine. No, it isn’t a Hybrid. Intrigued? Read on. Volt uses two electric motors for propulsion and is termed an Extended Range EV. Firstly a low speed (up to approx. 80km/h) electr ic “traction motor” provides the majority of propulsion via a planetar y gear set to the front wheels. The secondary electric motor remains dormant unless speed exceeds 80km/h. Above 80km/h there is a secondary lockup of the planetar y gear-set, allowing highway speeds to a limited maximum of 160km/h. So where does the petrol engine come in? When the battery cell is almost depleted the petrol engine fires up and spins the high-speed electric motor, which becomes a generator providing charge for the battery. The 1.4 litre engine from the Cruze (without the turbo) is tuned to perfor m as a generator motor rather than a normal engine so it has a much lower kW output and lower maximum RPM, which provides increased efficiency. Range on the batter y alone is around 80 kilometres, so that would be more than enough for the average commute. The Volt can be plugged into a standard power point and be charged overnight for around the cost of a cup of coffee. If this is your predominant driving patter n then the petrol engine won’t run apart from a periodic cycle to run some fuel through the system. If you do want to head into the hills, then no need to worry, when your battery charge is exhausted the generator w ill continue to charge the batter y, keeping the electric motors r unning. The battery pack is in a T-shape and runs up the centre tunnel and under the back seats. It has its own thermal management system to keep the batter y within its optimal operating range, which increases batter y perfor mance. Despite some issues with the batter y pack in US crash testing, GM has come up w ith an upgraded unit that better protects and isolates the coolant in the thermal management system from the battery cells. There’s currently a handful of the US versions in Australia undergoing field trials and a localisation program. A team of Holden engineers spent time in the US learning all there is to know about the Volt and they will put that knowledge to good use, making any appropriate changes for Australian conditions. I was lucky enough to have a short drive inside a revamped locomotive shed at the Sydney Technology Park, and despite the space-age interior, basic driv ing characteristics of the Volt were very normal with the exception of the electric engine torque from a standstill. Australian release is set for the last quarter in 2012 and no pricing was available at the official launch. Life on the move February / March 2012 39
Apr May 2012