Apr 04

Fully Operational 40 Mile Range Chevy Volt Prototype to Hit Road This Month

 

During our Chevy Volt media day, myself and other journalists were given a whirlwind tour of the E-Flex battery lab. Hybrid Director Mickey Bly briefed us on the current mule (test car) status.

First, there have been four mules operational for the past 6 months. We actually got to see one on a lift, with an A123/Conti battery pack sitting on a smaller lift below the vehicle ready to ride up into the T-shaped space within the floorboard.

This mule which has been running constantly for these past 6 months has a fully-operational comprehensive E-Flex powertrain, and all of the Volt-specific components within it, per Bly. Thus far it has been running on a daily basis using small NiMh packs which allow it a 1 to 2 mile pure EV range, but has allowed testing of the electric drive, range extender, and controls. The skin of the car is that of a late model 2005 Malibu.

Mickey told us that the first lithium-ion pack (he wouldn’t say which pack-maker first) will be placed into the first mule this month, and that GM plans a fleet of about a dozen to soon be off and running.

This month marks a strong and decisive landmark or turning point in the development process, for these prototypes, although not in finish, will be for all intents and purposes, Chevy Volts.

The engineers will from these be able to learn the real-world driving characteristics of the battery packs and allow them to prove the models are valid and the car will behave as intended.They will also learn how to optimize the control mechanisms.

Volt executive Frank Weber noted that true Volts both in appearance and form will appear in mid-2009.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008 at 12:30 am and is filed under Battery, Engineering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 110


  1. 1
    BillR

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (5:44 am)

    So to all the naysayers who complained about Bob Lutz not making his Easter deadline, the truth is that mules with NiMH batteries have been in operation for 6 months.

    Now mules with Li-Ion batteries will be on the road this month.

    I’d say that the July date for press rides in the mules should be met.

    The more I review this car, the more I see it as a stretched EV-1 with updates and a range extending engine. Both have electrohydraulic brakes, an electric drive, front wheel drive, battery packs in the center tunnel, low Cd, similar suspensions, front disc brakes, rear drums, and the list goes on.

    My point is that the EV-1 was considered a technological breakthrough, and this means GM is building on their experience, which will result in a better product and the ability to bring it to market sooner.


  2. 2
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (5:53 am)

    GREAT NEWS, LYLE ….FOUR MULES OPERATING FOR 6 MONTHS!!! :)

    Even though the tiny NiMh batteries they’ve had available only allowed brief operation in EV-only mode, they allowed the drive train to be put through all its operating modes. And I understand that Mickey Bly said the first mule has run continuosly since they first fired it up (6 months ago)! Very reassuring, since there’s no reason to expect endurance problems with the electric motor, controller or range extender …..BUT with a fleet of about a dozen mules with full Li-Ion packs up & running soon, there should be plenty of time for extensive endurance/distance testing!

    With this early start, my guess is that GM will have logged in excess of 3 million miles or more on these mules & on full Volt prototypes BEFORE the first production cars roll off the line in Nov 2010! :)


  3. 3
    Estero

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (6:16 am)

    #1 BillR mentioned “rear drums”. Is that what we can expect with the Volt or what that only a reference to the EV-1?


  4. 4
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (6:36 am)

    1 BillR, 3 Estero….

    I can personally guarantee you the Volt will have 4-wheel discs; any car today that even HINTS at being a performance car ABSOLUTELY HAS TO!


  5. 5
    Jim I

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:11 am)

    This is wonderful news!

    nasaman:

    3 million test miles? I guess that would depend upon how many prototype vehicles they would make. If they have 20 hand built test vehicles right now (which they don’t), to get to 3 million miles in the next 31 months, each car would have to drive about 161 miles every day…………

    And as far as the brakes, I would agree that they should be 4 wheel disk, but the original specs for the Volt did list “electro-hydraulic power assisted front disk, rear drum”, so Estero’s question is not completely unreasonable.


  6. 6
    BillR

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:13 am)

    #4 nasaman

    The specs I have for the EV-1 rear brakes indicate 8.9 inch metal-matrix composite drums with electric actuation.

    For the Volt concept, go to Lyle’s home page and click on “Full Specifications” (right hand side of the page). The brakes are listed as: electro-hydraulic power assisted: front disc, rear drum

    If GM decides to upgrade the rear brakes to discs, that may be so, but for the concept vehicle, they seem to be the same as the EV-1. You will be amazed at the similarities between the EV-1 and the concept vehicle.


  7. 7
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:13 am)

    Lyle, you lucky dog. Well done, sir. I wish I was there with you.

    I realize the design is final. Any news on when we can see pictures of the Volt?


  8. 8
    Johnnie Paul

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:43 am)

    Excellent news…! Thank you Lyle.

    Johnnie


  9. 9
    Dave B

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:46 am)

    Seems like progress is being made rather quickly. I’m curious about one thing. The quote that the production Volt will be revealed around mid-2009. Shouldn’t GM shoot for the January 2009 Detroit auto show? It sounds like all the components are there, why not get the press coverage and drive one to the show?

    I know I know, thump me for getting demanding. Great job GM!


  10. 10
    Hous Volt Pharteen

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:54 am)

    Great News…. Let the Revoltlution begin!


  11. 11
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:04 am)

    5 Jim I, 6 BillR….

    You’re both right —and that’s one reason the “Lutz List” includes as it’s 2nd question, “When will the “design freeze” specs for the vehicle be released?”

    Re: drum brakes ….it would be marketing SUICIDE to NOT use 4-wheel discs (I’m sure GM knows this despite what the old specs say)

    Re: 3 million miles on mules/prototypes ….Frank Weber’s buddies in Germany put over 5 million kilometers (~3 million miles) on test mules/prototypes of the fairly-conventional Opel Antara CUV before it was introduced in 2006. I can’t imagine he’d be outdone by them on the radically-different Volt, the car that brought him to Detroit!!!


  12. 12
    Schmeltz

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:17 am)

    I’ve wondered for awhile now if GM had some mules already running, and this confirms it. I say, build an army of mules…whatever it takes to get the product right! Great article. Thanks again Lyle.


  13. 13
    Tim

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:22 am)

    Here is a video of the 1/3 scale model of the final production volt in wind tunnel testing, the Malibu mules and battery packs.

    Chevy Volt Laboratory
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_8uF8QKfeI


  14. 14
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:47 am)

    #12, Schmeltz, I agree. Do whatever it takes to make the product right.


  15. 15
    Arch

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:52 am)

    Testing has been going on a LOT longer than most think.

    Take Care

    Arch


  16. 16
    jabroni

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:58 am)

    Too bad they couldn’t slap a 300 pound NiMH back into one of the mules for testing.

    I am extremely excited but that is tempered ny the 48,000 dollar price tag…..This may be the best car every produced and i will not want to make the payments!!


  17. 17
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (8:59 am)

    Dave B #9

    Don’t be suprised to see it at the Detroit Auto show. I would expect it.

    This is great though. GM has been very open about the technological development, albeit it appears we are a few months behind in actually getting the news. Just what I would do if I were them.

    We have a saying at our place, ” Never promise anything you haven’t already accomplished.” Looks like GM is following that path as well.


  18. 18
    jScott1

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (9:12 am)

    Rear drums is not marketing suicide…maybe that’s all that’s needed with the majority of the braking coming from regeneration and the small front disc brakes. Many small cars today, like the Chevy Aveo, still use rear drum brakes.

    Hasn’t everyone been complaining about the price…adding needless options is going to drive the price up.

    I’m excited to hear that the mules are operational. I would expect GM to reveal the final design during a big event like Detroit auto show or even the Super Bowl.


  19. 19
    OptimisticMF

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (9:13 am)

    Lyle,

    I’m a longtime lurker, but I just wanted to weigh in on this landmark day and say thank you to you and all who contribute with their posts. I’m constantly impressed at the level of professionalism and detail found here.

    Producing this car will be a cornerstone for the revival of American industry. I can’t wait to drive one!


  20. 20
    BillR

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (9:41 am)

    #11 nasaman, #18 jScott1

    I’m not sure that I can find the source, but if I recall correctly, the front brakes on the EV-1 were power-assisted hydraulic, but the rear brakes were electric actuated only (no hydraulic lines to the rear). With the front brakes providing 60 to 80% of your stopping power, combined with the regenerative braking, the rear brakes are probably for hard stops only. Time will tell what GM decided was the best choice.

    #13 Tim

    Thank you for the link to the video. It was excellent!


  21. 21
    Ray

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:02 am)

    Lots of good news out there…. Now…I am willing to pay up to 35 – 37 K for this car…..But hurry… by 2010 or mid 2011 my 07 MAXX will have about 250,000 KMs on it and will need to be replaced.. It would still be a great car but I usually upgrade when they hit around 180.000 KMs. so…. GM I’M hanging on till 2011 but ….. the Volt has be there for me or very shortly after….


  22. 22
    Dean Anderson

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:09 am)

    Conflicting reports
    I tend to belive this site, however today’s (4-4-08)
    Las Vegas Review Journal published a report in their automotive section titled “Chevy Volt saddled with battery delays” and said testing will not begin until July.


  23. 23
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:10 am)

    Tim #13

    Great link to the video. I am a little suprised it is out there with the scaled car included. GM seems really close to the vest on the final design. You can infer a lot from what that video shows.

    I just hope the wheel and tire package is closer to the show car specs. It really needs that aggresive stance to differentiate it from the rest of the true competition.


  24. 24
    noel park

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:25 am)

    Great news! Well done. Cool video. Rear drum brakes are fine with me.


  25. 25
    Tim

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:37 am)

    Did you notice the size diff between the EV-1 pack and the Volt Pack? WOW!

    Anyway, most of the braking will be handled by the regen anyway, so wha’s the big deal with drum rear brakes? I want the Volt to be affordable and the video states that the target is STILL around $30K.

    Anything over $30K and the Volt loses much of it’s mainstream game-changing ability.


  26. 26
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:39 am)

    GM Rocks!

    This multi-threaded design approach is far and away the best way to complete a design as quickly as possible. Just as no battle plan survives first contact with an enemy, no business plan survives first contact with reality. The more you build and test, the more quickly reality is revealed to engineers, designers and manufacturers at all levels. The sooner you know all that you need to know, the sooner you can make decisions on how to proceed, and the sooner you take the next steps, until complete.

    This approach tends to send analytical types right up the wall, because they always believe you can map everything out on paper. Analysis might (but not always) put you in the ballpark, but it will never get you to homeplate. The multi-threaded approach often unnerves managers, because it reveals so many problems so quickly, it gives the appearance of chaos, but in reality, the best managers can navigate through chaos, mitigating it and eventually conquering it. The baseline product rolls out the door, and on that solid platform, you can iterate to a better product in the next generation, knowing its been well fleshed out.


  27. 27
    Jake

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:41 am)

    Awesome news!!!

    #16 jabroni – There is no price tag yet, only rumors. Keep your hopes up. :)


  28. 28
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:47 am)

    Jason #24

    Dead on.

    We have always felt that the sooner you get on with it, the sooner you know what needs tweaking.

    REMEMBER, the 3rd “iteration” always works (at least, around our place). Get the first two out of the way as quickly as possible!

    Nothing tells you more about what needs worked on than reams of data. Generate it fast.


  29. 29
    Wise Golden

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (10:53 am)

    Video of the windunnel testing of 1/3 scale model shows a highly descised final version!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_8uF8QKfeI


  30. 30
    JPhillips

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (11:00 am)

    Damn you think Chevron would of let them used the full sized NiMH batteries they bought to repress. I mean damn man it’s over were moving on to li-ion, you won, the full sized auto ready nimh battery only exsisted in theory thanks to chevron.

    GM is playing with our minds, they know this thing can do 40 miles ev easy, and i’m still hoping for a price tag of $32,500. If there game plan is to promise little and deliver big everything they have been saying recently makes sense.


  31. 31
    kent beuchert

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (11:25 am)

    It looks to me like the basic operation of the E-Flex has been rather thoroughly shaken out. Swapping in the new batteries shouldn’t affect much.

    CEO of ZENN Motors said that they and EEStor will begin converting existing gas cars to all electric in a few months when the new EEStor capacitors come of the assembly line. They would obviously do conversions on similar sized cars, since they have manufacturers already producing the heat pumps, electric motors
    they will need to build their own cars in late 2009. I assume auto magazines will be the first to submit Toyota Corollas/Honda Civics, etc. for conversion and then test the results. We should, therefore, know later this year exactly how those potentially game changing energy cells work. Hopefully GM can get their hands on some or pay to convert one of their test mules and test the capacitors themselves. If they work, in one fell swoop, the Volt goes all-electric and its price drops.


  32. 32
    Jeff J

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:04 pm)

    13 Tim thanks for the link. really liked the ev-1 battery standing next to the VOLT battery pack .


  33. 33
    TOM M

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    I know this is a moot request but I am going to express my opinion anyway.
    I hope Gm will consider the good folks on this site that have signed up for the VOLT and supported this project from the very beginning. It would be a shame if GM leaves us out of the loop when this auto hits the show rooms. I realize what has been said about California, Florida and DC.
    Lyle and many of you have promoted the VOLT and I hope GM realizes our loyalty to this project and lets us have the opportunity to purchase a VOLT even if we have to go to one of those states.


  34. 34
    Ray O.

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:11 pm)

    Good news from GM… Now let’s get the VOLT out there…..Mid 2011 is when I will be looking forward to picking up my VOLT….My 07 MAXX will have around 250,000 KMS on it and will be due for upgrading.. $30 K – 37 K… I won’t have a problem with that if the car is “fully dressed to the nines” if not …I am sure there is going to be a rush of Hybrid,,,,,, electric vehicles to choose from by then..


  35. 35
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:23 pm)

    #13, Tim. Great video. Thank you for providing the link to it.


  36. 36
    Luke

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:38 pm)

    This is great news!!!!

    But I guess I’ll have to take back all of those things I said about this being an open development project… What’s next — is Lyle really a GM employee? GM could learn a few things from Sun Microsystems recent change to an open development model!

    Hopefully we’ll see a lot more information about these cars soon.


  37. 37
    Eletruk

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:42 pm)

    Two things: I wonder if that battery pack is a factory built Prius NiMH pack? The range sounds about right.
    I think drum brakes are about reducing drag. Disc brakes tend to always have some contact with the disc, and therefore greater drag. Drum brakes the pads can completely retract away from the drum for lower rolling resistance. As was mentioned earlier, regenerative braking can reduce the actual load the brakes need to handle.


  38. 38
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:45 pm)

    #13, Tim,

    Thanks for the link to the video. Does the wind tunnel model seem to have a shorter hood, or is it still in proportion to the original vehicle?

    Loved the battery pack shot – new battery tech is one thing, but the range extender is probably the biggest reason for the difference in size. I would like to see what the range extender looks like in situ.


  39. 39
    John

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:48 pm)

    Enjoyed the video . Thought the point about the battery being 1 / 3 the size of the EV – 1 was overdone because I believe it only has 1 / 3 the capacity of the EV – 1 ?


  40. 40
    Jim I

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (12:52 pm)

    nasaman #11:

    Well if Frank Weber need 3 million test miles, I again volunteer to help him make that goal!!!!

    And the links being provided by eveyone here are just teriffic!


  41. 41
    Eco

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (1:26 pm)

    This is excellent news. While EEstor might actually be sitting on the technology that will change the world…no one but EEstor seems to have seen it.

    GM, on the other hand, is opening their shop to the world.

    I congratulate GM on this progress with the Volt, and the approach that the company is taking to bring it to market.


  42. 42
    noel park

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (1:28 pm)

    #31 Luke:

    I hear you – I was a bit taken aback to learn that mules are already running. Even so, I have to agree with MetrologyFirst at #17. This process may not be totally transparent, but it is a whole lot more so than anything I have seen out of GM in the past. If it works out well, maybe they will be even more so in the future.

    A lot of people have expressed concern about it being too open, feeling that they are tipping their hand to the competition. I somewhat share that concern.

    Others have said “Always under promise and over deliver.” To my pleasant surprise, that’s what I see here.

    If you look back at my comments here over the months, I don’t think that you would see me as a cheerleader for GM, but I think that they are striking a pretty good balance here. Especially if you consider that this “open process” is pretty alien to their historic culture.


  43. 43
    John

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    I think this approach evolved on Wall Street . One downside is that we may start seeing Whisper Numbers for range and performance ,and will be disappointed if they are not met .


  44. 44
    BillR

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (1:41 pm)

    Here is another link with more info.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080404/bs_nm/gm_volt_dc_1


  45. 45
    Mike756

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (1:41 pm)

    This is great news; can’t wait to hear more.


  46. 46
    Tom

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (1:44 pm)

    #13 Tim, great video, thanks, some comments:

    First, the car now looks like a Lexus IS300 to me, very good news for someone who hates these newfangled American “muscle cars.”

    Second, of course the EV-1′s battery pack is 3x bigger than the Volt’s, the EV-1 also had three times the range! Not sure why anybody was impressed about that. I could stand next to the Volt’s pack with a AA battery and totally blow these guys’ minds!!

    Third, what in the world was the woman doing out there with a smoke pipe? How are you supposed to get any accurate measurements from that. The smoke is totally automated in other wind tunnels I’ve seen.

    Fourth, it’s no big surprise to me that they’ve had prototypes rolling around for months. Like I’ve always said, there is no revolutionary new technology here, except for maybe the battery chemistry.

    Fifth, interesting that they can drive around and do testing with 1-2 mile batteries. It has been speculated on this board that acceleration is being limited by the discharge rate of the batteries. If you can accelerate in a meaningful way with such a small battery, maybe making the Volt a fast car is just a matter of slapping a bigger motor in there.

    #1, BillR:

    It should be no big surprise that the Volt is similar to the EV-1. I wouldn’t say that means they’ve necessarily learned anything from the project. A lot of this stuff comes down to design features that can’t really be changed. For example, the Volt HAS to be front (or all) wheel drive because 80% of your braking force is from the front, so if you want to do regenerative braking in a meaningful way, you need to put your motor in the front.


  47. 47
    AES

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (2:17 pm)

  48. 48
    noel park

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (2:30 pm)

    Thanks again for all the cool links guys. Great stuff.


  49. 49
    BillR

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (2:37 pm)

    #41 Tom

    Quote “Second, of course the EV-1’s battery pack is 3x bigger than the Volt’s, the EV-1 also had three times the range! Not sure why anybody was impressed about that. I could stand next to the Volt’s pack with a AA battery and totally blow these guys’ minds!!”

    The EV-1 lead-acid battery pack had a rated maximum capacity of 18.7 kwh. It weighed 1310 lbs.

    The Volt’s battery pack is rated at 16 kwh (minimum) and weighs only 400 lbs. That’s pretty impressive to me! The fact that GM is choosing to operate the battery pack between 30% and 80% state of charge is probably to extend its life, so the Volt’s AER is less (not to mention the Volt is a 4 passenger versus 2 passenger vehicle).

    I’m not surprised the Volt is similar to the EV-1. What I am saying is that it is likely that GM started with the EV-1 when they designed the Volt concept, and are now utilizing the knowledge that they gained from making the EV-1. Why re-invent the Wheel? i.e. reuse the electrically actuated rear drum brakes from the EV-1, and other systems as well ( maybe with slight modification).


  50. 50
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (2:38 pm)

    Thanks to all and particularly to Lyle for all the informations.

    Let me add this one : the batteries are also tested in Germany (source today on GMEurope social media newsroom, link : :http://www.gmeurope.info/social_media_newsroom/archives/370-Chevrolet-Volt-Development-Charges-On.html

    Other pieces of information may also be found in the article.
    What a wonderful day.


  51. 51
    Koz

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (2:42 pm)

    From #39 BillR’s link:

    “Meanwhile, GM engineers are counting on braking to capture energy that will deliver some 20 percent of the power needed for the Volt’s 40-mile battery range. Without any braking — in perfectly traffic-free highway driving — the range would be closer to 32 miles, GM engineers said.”

    This is news to me. I’ve heard this speculated but hadn’t heard of it coming from a GM engineer. I thought it was 40 miles on US06 cycle they were shooting for.


  52. 52
    Eric

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (3:04 pm)

    Pumped


  53. 53
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (3:22 pm)

    The 1/3 scale model, despite the camouflage tape, reveals several key changes (improvements, IMO) over the concept Volt….

    1) The top rear of the cabin has exterior “fins” added at both sides of the rear window, much like the Tesla, Lotus & a few other exotic, high-performance cars –could this be for reduced drag? In any case, it’s a styling coup d’etat (in my opinion)!!!

    2) The top & windows are both slightly taller (for head room & safety reasons, I imagine) and the wheels/tires are slightly smaller (probably for cost & availability reasons)

    3) The hood looks somewhat shorter, probably because the much larger windshield is very steeply sloped, which moves its lower cowling further forward, most likely helping to reduce drag

    We’ll have to wait for styling details, but I’m extremely pleased with what I can infer from this You Tube screen capture paused at about 3:23…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_8uF8QKfeI


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    Storm

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (3:55 pm)

    Ask them to sell me a mule when they are done with it! Please. 2015 is too far away.


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    Computer-codger

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:01 pm)

    My recollection from first reading of the official GM Volt web site back in early-2007 was that there would be front disc and rear drum hydraulic brakes. If it is true GM has gone to all electric brakes that is a good thing for the reason I earlier stated in #48 at this link.

    http://gm-volt.com/2008/04/02/volt-will-charge-at-both-110v-and-220v-half-of-range-charge-within-an-hour/#comments

    Let’s hope that GM keeps surprising us with good news like the four mules operational for the past 6 months using NiMh packs.


  56. 56
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:03 pm)

    Koz @46:

    Again, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the range reports. I truely think GM is scrambling the cards a little to keep the competion guessing.

    I fully expect the Volt to get 50 miles a charge, when new, in the US06 cycle. More I would think if you drive it carefully.

    Maybe 30 miles if you want to drive it like a Vette!


  57. 57
    Craig

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:24 pm)

    Regarding # 39 BillR article link:

    Surprising comments by GM engineer regarding 32 miles without breaking and Boniface stating the aerodynamic improvements boosted the electric range by more than “half a mile.”

    Aerodynamic changes result in a 2% increase to electric range? Only through regenerative breaking will the 40 mile target be reached? Neither comment seems accurate based on previous performance statements. I think the reporter got this wrong.

    All in all, I like where we are in the process. And I think the data is getting better, not worse.


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    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:38 pm)

    Craig #51

    It doesn’t seem correct since GM/Lutz have already stated that the 40 AER is more of an end of battery life range. That would mean that it might be closer to 50 when the vehicle is new. Si w/o the 20% that regen provides a new car should get 40 if that assumption is correct.


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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:47 pm)

    53 Grizzly…

    Right! And we all need to keep in mind that “deceleration charging”, though seldom if ever discussed by GM, will also contribute to the Volt’s range …..not on the Bonneville salt flats, but perhaps even MORE than regenerative braking does on hilly, low-traffic highways.


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    Tom

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:51 pm)

    Think of GM’s 40 mile claim as an EPA estimate instead of a legal contractual guarantee. (Duh.)

    Has anybody ever really honestly gotten the EPA estimated mileage out of their car?

    There are a lot of people who are EXTREMELY concerned about exactly what the Volt’s electric range will be and whether or not they will be able to do all their driving under electric power. Why? Okay, let’s say you have to drive 45 miles instead of 40. You burn a tenth of a gallon of gas. It’s not the end of the world.


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    Apr 4th, 2008 (4:53 pm)

    #50 MetrologyFirst:

    Yeah, 0-60 in 6.0 sec or whatever.

    Floorboard the throttle when the light turns green and watch the range meter drop like a rock.


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    doggydogworld

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (5:32 pm)

    “Meanwhile, GM engineers are counting on braking to capture energy that will deliver some 20 percent of the power needed for the Volt’s 40-mile battery range. Without any braking — in perfectly traffic-free highway driving — the range would be closer to 32 miles, GM engineers said.”

    A truly silly statement. I’m quite certain “GM engineers” said nothing of the sort. They may have said range would only be 32 miles with no regen (i.e. 100% friction braking).

    Regen recovers some of the energy you normally lose when braking. But you get the best range by not braking at all.


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    Apr 4th, 2008 (6:37 pm)

    Although I posted the yahoo link, I take no responsibility for its content…

    For #51 Craig

    My guess is that the aerodynamic improvements have increased the Volt’s range by HALF, not half a mile. This would mean if the concept vehicle’s range was 30, it is now 45.

    It has already been mentioned that the drag of the newly styled Volt is 30% less than the concept vehicle.

    #46 Koz

    Given the journalist’s accuracy as noted above, I question what was truely said regarding the 32 mile range. The question may have asked about the Volt’s range at highway speeds of 80 mph for all we know.


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    Just Watching

     

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    Apr 4th, 2008 (7:25 pm)

    If this sells I wonder where we will get al the needed electricity to charge the thing with? The East and West coast suffer power shortages every summer. I hope it will be afforable to the Wal-Mart checker or the people working on the farms. If not there will be a very limited place in the market for them. No one wants a $100,000 golf cart.


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    MLRTYME

     

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    Apr 5th, 2008 (4:30 am)

    64 Just Watching….good point, but keep in mind that even with just the ICE running, you’re still in a vehicle that gets better fuel economy than 75-80% of the vehicles currently on the road (if current engineers are correct at 40+). So, if you can charge somewhere, then GREAT! If not, then run the ICE until you can charge. I see that as a win/win situation. I’m a bit spoiled in AZ with Palo Verde running and with Solara planning that HUGE electric solar field in SW Phoenix, but I can understand your concern.

    As for the wheels/tires…that’s nothing that a call to Centerline or Weld wheels can’t fix. Get an Ultra-light billet wheelset to fill those fenderwell openings a bit nicer? Sure!

    Oh, and Tom…some of us LIKE the older American Muscle car look… :) Sure, my toys may have the COD of a 1978 Peterbuilt, but I still get stopped EVERYTIME I’m at the store, gas station, or wherever, by people who evidently love the look of classic muscle cars as much as I do. Don’t bury my cars yet…I have too much work into ‘em…he-he!


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    Apr 5th, 2008 (5:38 am)

    How do we find out where we are on the preliminay “Buy” list. What number we are ?


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    Apr 5th, 2008 (6:07 am)

    Thanks doggydogworld for that comment. I was about to say the same thing. Regenerative breaking doesn’t give the Volt more range over a drive with no stops. If that were the case then you could just start and stop over an over again to give your volt more range….. NOT the case.

    Regenerative breaking REDUCES the loss you get from throwing all the energy you have built up in the cars movement when you break.

    Best range from a any battery pack would be ranked as follows.
    1. No slowing or stopping and driving at slow in city speeds.
    2. No slowing or stopping driving at highway speeds.
    3. Stop and go driving with regenerative breaking.
    4. Stop and go traffic without regenrative capability.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong.


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    nasaman

     

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    Apr 5th, 2008 (7:15 am)

    67 omegaman66…..

    Your ranking is correct. But we all also need to remember that the Volt, like all well-designed EVs, also recovers kinetic energy by simply DECELERATING —i.e., without even touching the brake pedal. The drive motor’s controller instantly switches the motor to GENERATOR mode when the accelerator pedal is released, allowing it to charge the battery even when the car is just coasting.

    This deceleration charging mode also prevents driver anxiety due to “freewheeling”, just as ICE-powered cars do using “engine braking” (with either manual or automatic transmissions) —but with the added bonus of energy recovery.


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    Apr 5th, 2008 (7:47 am)

    Noel Park: “Floorboard the throttle when the light turns green and watch the range meter drop like a rock.”

    Not so much as one might think. Tesla looses about 10% at full throttle and with A123 batteries the Volt could be less. Of course the significantly smaller battery pack size of the Volt may more than offset the higher power A123 chemistry. Either way it should be close. The real range killers will be hard breaking that uses significant friction breaking and high speads. With EV propulsion and sizable battery packs, one should be able be able “stomp” on the accelerator mostly guilt free.

    67 omegaman66

    2&3 are reversed in general for EPA ratings for cars with meaningful regen, but it could be either way in real world depending on driving conditions. This is why you see better city mpg ratings than highway for many hybrids. I think in reality a lot of people will get better mileage with their highway driving if it is done on busy highways (referring to steady speeds, not stop-and-go). The disturbed air on busy highways reduces drag significantly. Otherwise, I believe traveling at 65 MPH will require more KWh/mile than normal city driving in general but it all will depend on a lot of factors that aren’t yet known.


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    Apr 5th, 2008 (12:33 pm)

    #69 koz:

    Well sorry, but the physics of that escapes me.


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    Apr 5th, 2008 (1:30 pm)

    Noel Park

    The kinetic energy of a mass (the Volt) is only dependant on the msss and the velocity, not how quickly the velocity is acheived. The total energy inputed to arrive at this kinetic energy state is the value of the kinetic energy plus any losses in getting there. Given the same exterior conditions and as long as tires don’t lose traction, the only meaningful difference may come from battery discharge rates. At high discharge rates some batteries exihibit significantly higher internal resistance, but my understanding is that A123′s chemistry performs well at high discharge. I could be wrong, but this is the physics as I understand it.


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    Storm

     

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    Apr 5th, 2008 (7:12 pm)

    Koz,
    F=MA Force is the product of mass times acceleration. Your understanding of physics is deficient. Changes in speed cost energy. At least in an EV, some of the deceleration energy can be returned to the battery.


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    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 5th, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    Koz #69

    “With EV propulsion and sizable battery packs, one should be able be able “stomp” on the accelerator mostly guilt free.”

    *** *** *** ***

    Huh??? I guess you could also say with ICE propulsion and a SIZABLE gas tank you could do the same. ;)


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    Apr 5th, 2008 (11:58 pm)

    #72 Storm

    Please re-read my post. I specifically stated Kinetic Energy is a function of mass and velocity (KE = 1/2 *mv^2) which is correct. What I was saying is that fast acceleration (stomping on the pedal) vs slow acceleration to the same speed REQUIRES exactly same amount of energy (wheel energy). The differences in energy use come from the losses in providing that acceleration not in the rate at which kinetic energy is acheived. With the Volt, those differences in losses will come almost exclusively from differences in the battery’s efficiency at different discharge rates. My understanding is that A123′s chemistry, and LG’s for that matter, can handle high discharge rates (i.e. high power) well.

    #73 Grizzly

    Battery power delivery efficiency has no relation to ICE power delivery efficiency. Battery cells delivery less energy as the discharge rate increases, but there is a certain range in which this curve is pretty flat. Each type of chemistry and cell design has a different curve. What I meant by sizeable battery packs and guilt free acceleration is that the energy penalty (reduced range) from flooring it is reduced as the battery capacity is increased.

    On the otherhand, as your sarcasm alludes increasing the gas tank does nothing to mitigate high power losses that the ICE suffers from. ICE’s are most efficient in a certain RPM range. Flooring it in an ICE cause the RPM’s to fluctuate drastically and less of the power is delivered in the RPM sweet spot than with constant moderate acceleration. Thus, ICE’s suffer from a much larger efficient hit under max acceleration than a well designed BEV.


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    Ted in Fort Myers

     

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    Apr 6th, 2008 (5:24 am)

    I’d ;ike to volunteer to drive a test mule in Florida summers. 239 410-8826. Call me. TED


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    Storm

     

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    Apr 6th, 2008 (6:58 am)

    Koz.
    “What I was saying is that fast acceleration (stomping on the pedal) vs slow acceleration to the same speed REQUIRES exactly same amount of energy (wheel energy).” And that is what is untrue. The energy cost for acceleration increases by the square of the time. Getting to speed in half the time requires 4 times the energy.

    Kinetic energy is a stable condition. Acceleration is dynamic.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (7:25 am)

    #74 Koz

    This will be an interesting comparison, when the data becomes available.

    I agree with your basic premise, however, I do believe the losses associated with the power electronics and the motor drive must be considered, as well as the battery internal losses.

    For the others, I will describe a basic scenario for comparison.

    Two Volts are at a stop light. When the light turns green, the first Volt nails the accelerator and zooms up to 50 mph. After cruising for a short period at 50 mph, he then coasts down to a stop at the next stop light, and gets full advantage of his regenerative braking.

    Volt #2 leaves the stoplight with a mild acceleration until he reaches 50 mph and then immediately lets off. He then coasts down to a stop at the next stop light, and also gets full advantage of his regenerative braking.

    Both vehicles will reclaim the same amount of electrical energy from the regen braking process. Therefore, the real difference is in the acceleration portion of the leg. Which uses more energy? Note that as Koz noted, at 50 mph, each vehicle has the same amount of kinetic energy, so the question becomes “what is the relative efficiency between the two modes of acceleration?”

    We are not talking about an ICE which at full power may consume large quantities of fuel, and typically uses a richer mixture to give you that added power. There are large differences in efficiency for the ICE when operating at full load versus part load. With the Volt, we are now talking about the differences in efficiency of the electrical system.

    For Volt #1, a large current draw is required to provide full power. As Koz notes, this may have an negative effect on the efficiency of the batteries, but it also should reduce the efficiency of the power electronics and the traction motor. The question is, how much difference will there be?

    We probably won’t know that answer for some time, however, it might only be a small penalty, like 10% additional energy consumption, so that zooming around in your Volt, versus driving very conservatively, may only result in a small energy penalty.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (7:41 am)

    #76 Storm

    I think you are confusing power and energy.

    It takes more power to accelerate at a faster rate, however, you apply that amount of power for a shorter period of time to get to a given speed (point of kinetic energy). Energy is power multiplied by time.

    For example, a toaster oven may draw 1000 watts (1 kW). That is its power. If you cook something for 1 hour, you will use 1 kwh (kilowatt-hour). That is energy, and is reflected on your electrical bill.

    You could accomplish the same task by using a 500 watt oven for 2 hours. You reduce your power, but consume the same amount of energy.

    In your example, I think you mean to half your time to a given distance (such as in drag racing) it requires 4 times as much acceleration (power) to halve your time. This follows the relationship

    d = a * t^2

    Distance equals the product of acceleration and time squared. To halve your 1/4 mile drag race time, you need 4 times the acceleration, or 4 times the power.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (8:17 am)

    Storm,
    “Kinetic energy is a stable condition. Acceleration is dynamic.”

    Yes, and?

    BillR,

    I like your example. It more clearly conveys what I was trying to convey. I was lumping the high power (pedal to the metal) additional motor and power electronics losses into the non-meaningful category. I think this will be true for the motor for 0-60 acceleration, but you are probably correct about the power electronics.

    A strict strict interpretation of Noel Park’s initial comment about the range meter dropping like a rock has merit. The range meter will drop at more rapid rate during higher acelerations, but the overall reduction in range due to differing accelerations to the same speed will behave as BillR and I have stated.


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    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Apr 6th, 2008 (9:42 am)

    #64

    There is plenty of electric power to charge up Volts during off peak periods. Peaks in electrical usage occur in the morning when everybody gets up and goes to work and in the evening when everybody comes home from work and turns up the AC or heat and starts cooking dinner. Charging electric cars all night long will “fill up” valleys in the load curve and actually benefit utilities by making usage of their equipment more constant. This ‘should’ even moderate the future increases in electric costs per kW-hr.
    Let’s say you need 15 kW-hrs a night to charge your Volt. Let’s guess you pay 10 cents a kW-hr. Cost to you $1.50. Times 30 = $45.00 a month on your electric bill.
    If America would let the electric industry build nukes the Volt would be a nuclear powered car, instead of coal powered.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (10:10 am)

    Bill et al,
    The energy required to get to 50mph in 5 seconds far exceeds the energy to get there in 40 seconds. If you don’t understand that, you will not get much range on your Volt. You also aren’t getting very good mileage on your ICE.

    This extra energy is not repaid by the fact that you are taking less time to make the trip.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (11:52 am)

    #81 Storm

    Quote “The energy required to get to 50mph in 5 seconds far exceeds the energy to get there in 40 seconds.”

    So, if this is true with the Volt, where does all that additional energy go?

    You might want to do some reading on “conservation of energy” and “The First Law of Thermodynamics”.

    The answer is, it takes the same amount of energy to get to 50 mph whether you do it in 5 seconds or 40 seconds. The difference you are referring to brings into play the efficiency of the propulsion system.

    For the Volt with electrical propulsion, this difference in propulsion efficiency between these two scenarios may be small.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (12:08 pm)

    #81 Storm

    Quote “The energy required to get to 50mph in 5 seconds far exceeds the energy to get there in 40 seconds.”

    Is this your final answer? Are you sure you want this to be the difinitive display of your physics acumen?

    As BillR alluded, energy is conserved always. Power and energy are different things. Energy can power for a period of time, thus KWh. It’s the difference in time to reach speed that is missing in your analysis.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (1:05 pm)

    Regardless of theory, there is no larger pack in a BEV out there than that in the Tesla at about 50kw/h. Again, theory aside this is a real world example that demonstrates that how you drive a BEV determines what kind of range you’ll get. It has been noted that in several independent test drives where the car was driven hard range was dramatically reduced. In some instances by almost half. So your theory has been disproved by empirical evidence.

    BillR # 82
    “So, if this is true with the Volt, where does all that additional energy go?”

    *** *** ****

    The answer is that much of it may be lost in heat in transmission of current and in the motor itself. Although these losses are considerably less than an ICE (one of the reasons an electric motor is more efficient but not perfect) they do add up and will cut range.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    Grizzly,

    I’m sorry to continue to disagree, but I want to point out a real world advantage of the Volt that is meaningful.

    Yes basically all of the energy not transfered into kinetic energy will be lost to heat, but not at the proportionately increased rates that you are proporting. The Tesla blog post http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=60 gives very specific real world data. In particular it says for one driving scenario “165 miles of impatient commuting, aggressive stops and starts, high speeds, and air conditioning on from Saratoga Gap to San Carlos via Hwy 9, Hwy 85 and I-280 (a worst-case scenario)”.

    -The currently published range for Tesla is 220 miles, so for this “worst case” scenario there 25% decrease not 50%.
    -This scenario included high heat, high speads, and hard breaking in addition to aggresive acceleration. I submit that if you could obtain and analyze this empiric data, you will find the majority of the decreased range due to these other circumstances.

    This is not to say that range won’t decrease, but I guarantee that isolating agressive acceleration from the rest of the factors will reveal less than a 12% loss in range. The 10% number I first mentioned for Tesla was not pulled from the air. I read that either on their blog or on Martin Eberhard’s Teslafounders.com blog.


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    Apr 6th, 2008 (5:31 pm)

    Koz #85

    Don’t be sorry, that’s what this site is for. You are correct the efficiency loss is not 50% and I did not state that clearly in my post. Other factors were involved in the data I saw (I wish I had the link).

    My point was that hard acceleration with an EV, while nowhere near as costly as an ICE efficiency wise, is not “guilt free”. While you state a 12% decrease I’d say it could be more on the order of about 20%, AGAIN depending on driving conditions. For the Volt this could decrease the AER from 40 to 32, and not insignificant IMHO.

    The best part is we agree that the efficiency loss delta between and ICE vehicle and an EV covering the gamut of driving conditions is considerable.


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    Storm

     

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    Apr 7th, 2008 (6:44 am)

    Koz et al,
    My apologies. You are correct. Unfortunately there is more at play than pure energy calculations. It may be that the EV wastes less energy as heat than the ICE, but in either case, the losses go up with the increase in power output.


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    doggydogworld

     

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    Apr 7th, 2008 (10:08 am)

    A couple comments. “Flooring it” is not necessarily bad for gasoline ICE efficiency. A wide open throttle minimizes pumping losses. Those crazy 8000 mpg ecomarathoners:

    http://www.mindfully.org/Energy/2006/Andy-Green-TeamGreen13may06.htm

    run at full throttle until they reach a pre-planned speed, then cut off the engine and coast until nearly stopped at which time they repeat the process. Optimal efficiency is usually full throttle at low RPM (e.g. 1/3rd of redline) with slow acceleration. If you’re careful you can get very good efficiency from a manual transmission by gently flooring it in a high gear.

    Most gasoline ICE cars get poor mileage when “flooring it”, however, because:
    1. Wheelspin – i.e. converting gasoline into melted rubber
    2. Automatic tranny downshifting which pushes RPMs well above the efficient zone
    3. Carbs and/or injector logic over-richen the mixture for rapid acceleration
    4. Rapid acceleration often involves heavy braking

    It’s generally true that a well-designed EV does not suffer as much “MPG” loss as a gasoline car during rapid acceleration. An EV drivetrain allowed to run near its physical limits will experience horrible I2R losses, though.

    One must be very careful when saying things like “it takes the same energy to accelerate to 60 mph in 40 seconds as in 5 seconds”. The actual energy required purely for acceleration is the same, but many other factors come into play. For example, both cars experience the same average aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, but the 40-second car experiences them over a much longer distance. If both drivetrains operate with the same efficiency, the 5-second car will actually use LESS energy.

    A related effect comes into play in BillR’s example (#77). He carefully constructed his scenario such that both cars cover the same distance to avoid the above problem. But the first car travels the distance at a higher average speed and thus uses more energy to overcome aerodynamic drag.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (1:26 pm)

    #68 Nasaman,

    I have not heard that the Volt will recover energy via “faux engine drag” when you let off the accelerator pedal. If so, I hope this “feature” can be turned off because it REDUCES range and MPG. Prius engineers programmed faux engine drag into their control logic and do not let drivers turn it off. Prius hypermilers have, by necessity, finely calibrated their right feet to position the pedal exactly at the “zero faux engine drag” point and thus achieve optimum MPG.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (1:47 pm)

    89 doggydogworld…

    If what you say about Prius “faux engine drag” is correct, Toyota made a SERIOUS design mistake. The PRIMARY reason for an EV to incorporate deceleration charging (in addition to regenerative braking) is to improve range —an engine drag effect is of secondary importance.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (7:06 pm)

    There should be no difference between “deceleration”" braking and regen braking. You do not need to apply the brake pedal to affect regen braking, it is the load on the motor from the vehicle’s energy once you lift off the accelerator that brakes it and sends juice back to the battery.

    Unless I’m missing something, was someone trying to distinguish between the two?


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    nasaman

     

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    Apr 7th, 2008 (7:16 pm)

    What led to Doggydogworld’s comment about “faux engine drag” in his post 89 was my post 68 in which I said, “….the Volt, like all well-designed EVs, also recovers kinetic energy by simply DECELERATING —i.e., without even touching the brake pedal. The drive motor’s controller instantly switches the motor to GENERATOR mode when the accelerator pedal is released, allowing it to charge the battery even when the car is just coasting.

    This deceleration charging mode also prevents driver anxiety due to “freewheeling”, just as ICE-powered cars do using “engine braking” (with either manual or automatic transmissions) —but with the added bonus of energy recovery.”

    Regenerative braking & deceleration charging both contribute to improved mileage (range) but they’re different operational modes in an EV.


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    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 7th, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    “Regenerative braking & deceleration charging both contribute to improved mileage (range) but they’re different operational modes in an EV.”

    Unless I’m missing something we’re talking 6 and a half-dozen. Regen braking takes place once you lift off the accelerator and begins to slow the vehicle by reversing the motor. By your definition what then is deceleration charging? A different operational mode?? Please elaborate.


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    Rich Rosenthal

     

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    Apr 7th, 2008 (7:57 pm)

    I live about 1.2 miles north of the AZ proving grounds and would also like to help out with testing the volt. I could check in every couple of days to let the engineers download data. I drive about 44 miles each day mostly on the superstition freeway and offer an idea rush commuter scenario. I am sure the mules are not as comfy as my Camry hybrid but my wife claims that car!
    Please email me for serious testing.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (7:59 pm)

    93 Grizzly…..

    Think of this way……

    Deceleration charging places only a modest load on the drive motor (turned generator) —i.e., it charges the battery, but at a much slower rate than regenerative braking. But when the driver hits the brake pedal, the controller increases the load on the drive motor (turned generator) to reduce the vehicle speed much faster (in proportion to the brake pressure, which also increases the charge rate into the battery in this operating mode over the deceleration mode.

    Think of it as simply semantics, if you prefer, but it’s important to realize that there are actually two different operational modes involved in well-designed EV’s.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (8:14 pm)

    nasaman,

    I now capiche 100%. Thank you. That answers the question about descending huge (and not so huge) highway hills. With full regen the vehicle would be slowed too quickly and you’d need to hit the accel. pedal again…even down hill. But with a more modest application, one could come over these hills at full speed and reap the reward all the way down w/o slowing the car so much that acceleration would be needed mid way down. Outstanding!

    Will the volt have this mode? I know you must have asked this question at V-nation.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (10:34 pm)

    89 doggydogworld & nasaman 90

    I’m a little late to the party, but please allow me to play interpreter for a moment since the discussion appears to be a little lost in translation. Nasaman compared lift-off regen (regenerative breaking incrementally engaged while lifting your foot off of the accelerator) breaking to the feel of ICE “engine breaking”. Doggydogworld was referring to potential Volt lift-off regen as “faux engine drag”, and his concern is that gliding is more efficient than regen breaking. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Gliding should be more efficient than regen breaking, especially with low resistance tires, but this is not guaranteed. It depends on the total system rolling resistance. I remember hearing that GM does plan on using lift-off regen, but hopefully they allow a little more play between acceleration and regen to make gliding easier. It is helpful to have the ability to glide when desired. However, one cannot practical plan an entire drive around optimal acceleration and significant amounts of gliding. I would like to know the names of any Miami residents planning to do this so that I can take out a life insurance policy on them:)

    “One must be very careful when saying things like “it takes the same energy to accelerate to 60 mph in 40 seconds as in 5 seconds”. The actual energy required purely for acceleration is the same, but many other factors come into play. For example, both cars experience the same average aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, but the 40-second car experiences them over a much longer distance. If both drivetrains operate with the same efficiency, the 5-second car will actually use LESS energy.

    A related effect comes into play in BillR’s example (#77). He carefully constructed his scenario such that both cars cover the same distance to avoid the above problem. But the first car travels the distance at a higher average speed and thus uses more energy to overcome aerodynamic drag.”

    Comparing the two methods of driving only makes sense when covering the same distance. This discussion was about the affects on efficiency for moderate acceleration versus max acceleration for driving. It was assumed that driving means going from point A to point B, so there was no “careful crafting” involved. Of course if you acccelerate faster to a velocity and then coast to a stop, you will most likely use less energy than accelerating slower to the same velocity and coasting to a stop. You will have gone less distance. Type driving involves speed limits and getting from A to B and the discussion was how much of a penalty max accelerating were cause.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (10:51 pm)

    Grizzly #96

    I didn’t hear this being asked at Voltnation, but you can always control the amount of lift-off regen by how much you ease up on the accelerator. Like doggydogworld alluded to, if programmed properly there should be a point where you could partially lift off and have neutral acceleration. Hopefully GM engineers do plenty of ergonomic testing to make sure the driver has good control over the regen amount. I haven’t heard if they will have brake pedal regen or not. I hope so, since lift-off regen is limited by safety reasons and it would be a shame to waste the rest of the available energy.

    Grizzly #86

    Too bad we can’t go outside and test our Volts right now. I’ld rather test today and be wrong than wait to test in 3 years and be right. Look up A123 cell characteristics. It looks to me like the max acceleration battery penalty will be about 6%. Given that we are only talking about acceleration and not all power delivery, I expect about the resultant range loss will be about 65% of the max acceleration penalty. Since the battery looks like 6%, and battery loss is about 2/3 of the total motive losses; I predict the total acceleration penalty to be 9%. This would result in .65 x .09 = 5.85% overall range loss for average driving..actual results may vary, subject to….


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (11:04 pm)

    97 Koz…….

    The interchange Doggydogworld & I had above was limited to the two distinct regeneration modes any well-designed EV must have:

    1) Deceleration charging, which is when the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator but is NOT braking, which places only a modest load on the drive motor (now a generator) —i.e., it charges the battery, but at a much slower rate than regenerative braking, and….

    2) Regenerative braking, which is when the driver hits the brake pedal and the controller increases the load on the drive motor (now a generator) to reduce the vehicle speed much faster (in proportion to the brake pressure), which also increases the charge rate into the battery by contrast to the deceleration charging (or “coasting”) mode.

    The point is simply that that there are actually TWO distinct regenerative operational modes involved in well-designed EV’s, not one.


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    Apr 7th, 2008 (11:23 pm)

    The question is ….will the Volt have deceleration charging or will the engineers be too preoccupied with the sound system? Seems to me that priorities need to take precedence.


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    Apr 8th, 2008 (12:21 am)

    The volt will meet all needs and then some. Gm is already starting/ working on a Gen 2 Volt – E Flex Plug in drive systeam.


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    Apr 8th, 2008 (1:07 am)

    I wrote, “Gliding should be more efficient than regen braking, especially with low resistance tires, but this is not guaranteed. It depends on the total system rolling resistance.”

    Ewww… this is not correct. Not sure what I was thinking here. Over the same distance coasting will always be better than using regen, when only considering rolling resistances. This because of regen losses, but if auxialiary loads are sufficiently high then it could be more efficient to maintain speed and use regen-only deceleration saving transit time.

    Nasaman,
    I understand your distinction between lift-off regen and regen braking, but braking and deceleration as well as charging and regeneration are interchangable in my thinking. Perhaps for clarity it is best to use more distinctive terminology. I understand any decelerating force to be a braking force, whether it be induced by drag, regen motor load from lift-off, or regen motor load from brake pressure. How about the terms accelerator lift-off regen and brake pedal regen to distinguish the two modes.

    For some reason Tesla has chosen to use lift-off regen only. I believe it is a variable load that starts at zero at increases to a safe (driver expectable) amount. I was assuming the Volt may use a similar approach to their lift-off regen. I was also hoping that the Volt would incorporate brake pedal regen as well. Perhaps if both modes are utilized then it doesn’t pay to use a varying regen amount for lift off, but I was kind hoping for this functinality. Does anyone know if break pedal regen has been confirmed for the Volt? I thought I read somewhere that Toyota has patents on break pedal regen, but didn’t EV1 use it?

    I believe doggydogworld was concerned that the Volt would have any lift-off regen whatsoever because he wants to be able to coast completely inihibited from any regen load.


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    Apr 9th, 2008 (7:36 am)

    Regarding terminology, perhaps this brief excerpt from a description written by the collaborative designers* of the 2-mode hybrid architecture would be helpful:

    “….when an electric drive motor is operating as a generator its function is to capture and store energy from….

    1) regenerative braking (charging)

    2) deceleration & coasting (charging)”

    These are the two distinct modes of operation for a properly designed EV drive motor in its generating mode. “Deceleration & coasting” is an important mode but is distinct from actual brake-pedal actuation resulting in “regenerative braking”. I suggest we all adopt this terminology, already in use by industry leaders.

    *GM, Daimler-Chrysler & BMW


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    doggydogworld

     

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    Apr 9th, 2008 (11:44 am)

    #90 Nasaman said: “The PRIMARY reason for an EV to incorporate deceleration charging (in addition to regenerative braking) is to improve range”

    Deceleration charging does not improve range. You seem to think there is a free lunch: since cars decelerate ANYWAY when you lift off the accelerator pedal why not use regen to capture some of that deceleration energy? It’s this kind of thinking which leads people to think they can extend range by mounting small windmills on their EV (“all that air is just zooming by at 60mph, let’s convert some of it to electricity and recharge the batteries as we drive”).

    If you want to separate regen into two modes, that’s fine. They are certainly distinct modes from the driver and control logic perspectives. But the physics are the same. On level ground without wind, lifting off causes deceleration due to aero drag, rolling resistance and driveline friction. If you add another force by applying fields to the drive motor such that it generates electricity, you will decelerate more rapidly. It does not matter ONE BIT if this extra force is triggered by control logic responding to lift off of the accelerator pedal or slight pressure on the brake pedal. The effect on range is exactly the same.

    If two identical EVs going side-by-side at 40 mph both lift off at the same moment, Car #1 with “deceleration charging” will slow down and come to a stop before Car #2 without it. If both cars accelerate equally from their respective stopping points back to 40 mph the distance gap will be maintained. If Car #1 then accelerates to 41 mph, will the energy it captured during regen be enough to “catch up” to Car #2? No, because regen is less than 100% efficient. Car #1 experienced losses in the generator, power electronics and battery that Car #2 did not experience. Higher losses = less range.

    In the real world, of course, you don’t coast all the way to a stop because drivers behind you may resort to firearms. And there are situations where even with associated losses regen can improve range, e.g. long descents at highway speeds. But the gain in range is exactly the same for “deceleration charging” as for “regenerative braking”.

    The ONLY reason to invoke deceleration charging when the driver lifts off the pedal is because it makes an EV feel more like an ICE car to the driver. That’s fine by me — the last thing I want is drivers switching from ICE cars to freak out because their shiny new EV doesn’t act the way they expect. But the amount of deceleration charging should be minimal, to avoid associated losses, and drivers who value maximum range over an “ICE car driving experience” should be allowed to disable it.


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    Apr 9th, 2008 (1:17 pm)

    104 doggydogworld….

    You’re right if your saying that deceleration alone won’t increase range —but deceleration CHARGING WILL! That’s one reason EVs operate over typically only 50% of their battery’s SOC range of 0-100%: to allow deceleration CHARGING (think “engine braking” in ICE-powered cars), which captures & restores a substantial portion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy. If you’re thinking otherwise, you’re in disagreement with GM’s, Mercedes’ and BMW’s experts on this —not just me (a life-long physicist, astrophsicist & electrical engineer).

    Extensive EV testing has proven the benefits of BOTH deceleration charging and regenerative braking charging —so if you disagree you’re also arguing with indisputable test data.


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    doggydogworld

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (7:02 pm)

    105 Nasaman, I waited for someone else to step in since we’re talking past each other, but no one did so I’ll take one last stab at it. First, to say deceleration charging increases range we must ask “relative to what”. Does decel charging increase range relative friction braking? Yes. Relative to dropping a boat anchor out of the trunk every time you lift off the accelerator pedal? Absolutely. How about relative to gliding?

    No way in hades.

    Here’s another Car A/B example. Except for a few minor simplifications, these numbers are representative of Chevy Volt performance. Cars A and B both travel at 30 m/s (about 67 mph) toward a “Reduced speed” sign. Car A lifts off at point A and glides, hitting 25 m/s exactly when it reaches the sign. Car B lifts off halfway between point A and the sign, but decelerates more rapidly due to decel charging and also hits 25 m/s exactly as it reaches the sign.

    Aero drag, rolling resistance and driveline drag exert 450 newtons of force on Cars A/B at 30 m/s (i.e. 13.5 kW). At 1500 kg, Car A thus decels at 0.3 m/sec2. At 25 m/s speed the force is down to 360 newtons and decel rate is only 0.24 m/sec2. Total decel time is thus 18.5 seconds and distance covered during decel is 507 meters.

    Car B decelerates twice as fast, 0.60 m/sec2 initially falling to 0.48 m/sec2 at the signpost, because decel charging is set to exerts a decelerating force exactly equal to aero drag, rolling resistance and driveline drag. Decel charging thus bleeds off half the delta KE, or 103,125 J. If we generously assume a round-trip regen efficiency of 80%, that’s 82,500 J of recaptured energy available to drive the wheels. But how much extra energy did it take to push Car B that first 258.5 meters, while Car A was already gliding?

    450 N * 258.5 m = 116,325 J

    Car B thus burned 33,825 J of net energy (116,325 – 82,500) during the 507 meters while Car A burned zero. Since decel charging burns more energy, it REDUCES your range vs. gliding. This is logically consistent, since decel charging involves losses which gliding does not experience, and also matches Prius hypermiler results in which best MPG is achieved by taking great pains to avoid the built-in decel charging.

    If you disagree with this conclusion, I’ll need to see your math.


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    Koz

     

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    Apr 12th, 2008 (9:52 pm)

    doggydogworld

    My powers of interpretation had expired.

    I doubt Nasaman will disagree with the accuracy of your analysis, other than you have negelected auxiliary loads which can be assumed to be equal but gliding will have them acting over a longer period of time. Thus, there will be more auxiliary losses for the glider but these will surely be less than the inefficiency losses of the regen/repower cycle.

    BUT, gliding is not a practical way to drive for most people and even for the gliders it’s not practical in most driving situations. You could use the drag, the discharge characteristics of the battery, and other energy factors to determine the most optimal accerlation and speed and gliding point. This would maximize range but wouldn’t be very good for time. For that matter, you could walk or ride a bike and use less battery energy. How often will you be able to know or even be able to practically execute gliding at the optimal moment. Yes, any amount of gliding is better than none. I would prefer that they design lift-off to allow for gliding to be easily achieved before regen forces are applied, but not to do away with lift-off regen altogether. Lift-off regen will make driving in heavy traffic a lot easier and many drivers will end up with better range if they can more effectively utilize regen this way. Ultimately, I believe it is more important to avoid as much friction breaking across the entire Volt fleet than to try to increase gliding but they aren’t mutually exclusive.

    If they want to allow disabling of lift-off regen for “gliders”, I don’t have a problem with that.


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    Apr 13th, 2008 (2:47 pm)

    “BUT, gliding is not a practical way to drive for most people”

    Koz, good point and this gets us back to the reason for lift-off regen — drivability. It makes an EV drive more like an ICE car and gives people some control over decel rate without having to move their foot over to the brake pedal. I’m all in favor of that as default behavior, I’d just like to be able to turn it off. Second best option is a clear indication (detent or visual display) of the pedal position which produces gliding.

    You’re also right about auxilary loads. A better example is Car B lifts off 507/4 meters after Car A, decels for 507/2 meters and then drives 25 m/s for 507/4 meters. This equalizes the elapsed times, and thus the aux loads, for the two cars. It also better equalizes the aero loads. The numbers change a little but the conclusion stays the same.


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    Aaron

     

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    Jun 25th, 2008 (3:57 pm)

    I’m interested in purchasing a Volt when they reach market. One of my concerns, which I’ve not found anywhere for certain, is whether of not they will be produced with manuel transmissions; i.e. Stick Shift?


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    MK

     

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    Mar 17th, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    Any idea how many miles/gallon we should expect from VOLT after it goes into generator-motor mode?

    If it is good/very good, then I would like to have a generator-motor VOLT with no batteries.