Apr 26

GM Considering a Pure Electric Chevy Volt Without a Range Extender

 

Scott from PetroZero reports that he had an email conversation with GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz the other day. This is also being reported over at Autobloggreen .

Scott asked him the popular question, "Since the ICE gets 50 mpg when charging the battery, why not skip the battery and get a 50 mpg car."

In response, Lutz told him that GM is actually considering building a pure-EV Volt without the ICE and necessary associated controls and hardware and greater range. This could be a way for GM to meet California’s ZEV requirement.

From my discussions with Bob Lutz, this was actually his original idea for the Volt, a pure-EV, and they called it the iCar. It was VP Jon Lauckner who revised the design to be an E-REV, to eliminate the range anxiety problem.

Scott also reports Lutz told him he’d personally be getting into one of those lithium-ion Volt prototypes for a test drive in 9 days.

Source (Petrozero )

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at 8:25 am and is filed under Test drive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 113


  1. 1
    Kevin R

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:36 am)

    Wouldn’t it be a coup d’ tat if GM actually has the finished volt steel/composite bodies finished? Could this be the unveiling of the redesigned Volt? Can’t wait to find out!


  2. 2
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:40 am)

    That is what I love about the E-REV concept – it is so easy to shift to a simple HEV or BEV, whichever a consumer would prefer. I still believe the E-REV is what most people would want, as they prefer to use cheap electricity instead of gasoline most days, but want the flexibility of gassing up for long trips.


  3. 3
    mmcc

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:45 am)

    Great news! BTW, Uncle Sugar, I won’t be spending my tax rebate next week; it’s going into my Volt savings account!


  4. 4
    NZDavid

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:45 am)

    I thought it was to soon to finish the final design and have a version ready. The Mule sounds right to me. Also fits with the timeline already announced for journos to drive mules in July.


  5. 5
    Dave B

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:50 am)

    I’m not the type to say TOLD YA, but Ha! Glad to hear that a BEV may be in the works and that consumers may have a CHOICE. This is KEY to OIL ANXIETY which is a much bigger deal to Americans now adays than this so-called Range-anxiety.

    And for the record, I’d buy a Pure BEV Volt in a heartbeat if it would cost $30-35K. Isn’t that reasonable? Thoughts on this without the range extender???


  6. 6
    swimdad623

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:00 am)

    I could see the possibility of a pure EV Volt as a fleet or institutional car. The current volt provides 40 miles of range on 50% of a 16KWH battery – 5 miles/kwh. Using the entire battery (with a 10% reserve) would give the BEV a 72-mile range, which would be viable in a campus or short-range environment.

    I’m probably the ideal BEV customer – 6 miles R/T to the train station on weekdays and about 20 miles R/T on weekend errands. However, I wouldn’t buy the volt without a range extender. With the ICE, the Volt mecomes my main vehicle and I can go anywhere. Without it, I’m tied to a 30-mile radius around my house, and I would never buy a car that did that.


  7. 7
    Paul

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:02 am)

    Pure EV?
    Would love it.
    However, where I live and the distances I need to go, I’d need a true solid 200 miles out of it and that’s with hills, and A/C, Heater requirements. Living out near Death Valley, A/C isn’t just comfort for me, it’s life support.
    I have faith.
    In due time…


  8. 8
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:13 am)

    Paul #7
    I do not live near Death Valley but I think the same for me as you do. More than often I have to travel 300+ miles a day whan my work calls me far away from home.


  9. 9
    Ken

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:19 am)

    I think it would need to priced much LESS than the Volt for consumers to buy into it.


  10. 10
    ziv

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:36 am)

    Excellent! More choices will fit the needs of more purchasers, which means the GM will gain economies of scale and will have happier customers! A BEV Volt definitely wouldn’t work for me, once every week or two I need 200-300 mile range, but there are a lot of people out there like SwimDad that it would work for and that is the beauty of an open market, eventually successful businesses cater to just about everyone.
    I can’t wait for spy photographs of the new Volt, hopefully later this year.


  11. 11
    Van

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:43 am)

    Just as the concept car has been produced, it is certainly possible a “prototype” (revised concept) has been produced and fitted with the Volt power train components. I will be on pins and needles then next couple of weeks. :)


  12. 12
    charley497

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:45 am)

    I saw a 40 mile pure electric FORD on Jay leno last night. He is driving it back and forth to work. It looked like a small suv with bad aero. I’m sorry about the lack of details but it was a short bit. I think it also was a range extended ev just likethe Volt. So if Ford already has these running well enough to Give Jay one to test what the heck is holding GM up?


  13. 13
    kent beuchert

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:58 am)

    If the EEStor devices pan out, Lutz will be more than “considering” a battery-only EV.


  14. 14
    charley497

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:04 am)

    OK,
    Here is the link to the Jay Leno Ford electric story. I hope the link works.

    http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=16591


  15. 15
    Van

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:05 am)

    I see over on Green Car Congress, that A123 is about to have their “L5″ Hymotion conversion to PHEV kit for the 2004-2008 Prius certified.

    The 2004-8 Prius can only do about 30 MPH in EV mode, something of a limitation. But the next generation, able to do 60+ MPH in EV mode will be ideal for the Hymotion conversion. Say the Prius costs $27,000 with all the bells and whistles, and the kit costs another $10,000. So , for about $37,000 you can be the first on your block to drive a PHEV and seldom pay the skyrocketing gasoline price.

    Therefore, if GM can move the retail date of the Volt up, before the Toyota dealers start offering the L5 as a dealer installed option on the 2009 Prius, it would be wise.


  16. 16
    Jeff J

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:06 am)

    #7 Paul , I’m in the same boat , In very rare circumstances my wife goes east and I go west for the day , I need two cars that can drive over 300 miles very rarely but the need is still there.

    swimdad623 #6 you can also count on shedding 300 to 500 pounds of engine and exhaust pipping and wiring weight, If GM put in a 2nd battery pack adding 12kw would increase the EV range to around 132 miles given your 10% reserve .I am sure 5 % of the car buying public would find this car very attractive.


  17. 17
    GXT

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:16 am)

    #12 Ford has been customer testing actual li-ion powered plug-in escape hybrids since late last year. I was suprised this didn’t get more notice here. I’m not sure of all the details, but ford is claiming 120 MPG equivalent and 30 miles electric range.

    Wouldn’t it have been funny if the US had talked up their moon program for years only to find out the Russians had quietly set up a base before the US had even launched?


  18. 18
    GXT

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:23 am)

    15 Van:

    Why do people keep screwing around with the price of the Prius??? It is $21,100 NOW, let alone 2 years from now.

    Also, because of the design of the Prius it doesn’t need the battery reserves that the Volt does (the Volt apparently tried to maintain 50% charge…. the Prius could completely deplete the battery). Therefore the battery in the Prius could be ~1/2 the size of the battery required for the Volt (and therefore much less expensive).


  19. 19
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:43 am)

    To me, the truly ingenious thing about the Volt is its range extender. I feel this way largely because it makes the Volt what we at NASA call a “redundant” design, which means—

    1) the battery can be fully discharged, OR

    2) the ICE can fail or run out of gas, and

    ….in BOTH cases the car can get to a service station (rather than be stranded on a dangerous roadside or an inside lane of a freeway).

    In fact, I spoke at length about the importance of this HUGE safety advantage with Andrew Farah (the Volt Chief Engineer) at Volt Nation last month. This feature alone is worth its modest added cost, and I would have NO interest in a Volt (or any other electric vehicle) that did NOT include the redundancy of a range extender!


  20. 20
    ghost

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:47 am)

    But the question wasn’t answered…

    Why not a 50mpg car?
    Why not several 50mpg cars?

    I am looking forward to a Volt of course, but the response of a pure electric Volt seems like a deflection to the 50mpg car question.


  21. 21
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:50 am)

    nasaman,

    I would add to that the flexibility of the range extender to be gasoline, diesel, ethanol, CNG, hydrogen, compressed air, etc. – the battery pack doesn’t care.


  22. 22
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:59 am)

    ghost…

    Without a battery the Volt’s overall efficiency drops dramatically, since a battery is needed to make both deceleration charging and regenerative braking possible, AND because the efficiency of an ICE is MUCH less when it must operate over the much wider rpm range needed without the rpm/power “smoothing” effect of a battery. My guess is the Volt’s mileage would drop to less than 40mpg without the battery, despite the weight savings.


  23. 23
    Dave B

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:16 am)

    ghost…

    Most of us want to quit using oil. Period.


  24. 24
    Mark

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:22 am)

    I’d rather buy the pure EV version of the Volt without the gas tank…


  25. 25
    Van

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:27 am)

    Hi GXT, I am sorry if I seemed to be “screwing around with the price of the Prius.” Off the web I got the MSRP for the 4 dr hatchback of $22,475, and the price of the most expensive option package (NW #6) which includes the follow:

    NW Package #6 Cost $4,550.
    Includes backup camera, Smart Key system, JBL Premium AM/FM stereo, 6-disc in-dash CD player, MP3 capability, auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth, phone controls on steering wheel, nine speakers, Vehicle Skid Control, security alarm, electrochromatic rearview mirror, Homelink, HID headlamps, front foglamps, DVD navigation system, leather seats and leather steering wheel.

    And so I posted what I believed was the truth, a Prius with all the bells and whistles costs about $27,000.

    Tell me where did I go wrong???


  26. 26
    Alexander

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:31 am)

    I wouldn’t buy a pure EV.


  27. 27
    John

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:33 am)

    If I assume the battery adds nothing to the equation during cruise control freeway driving , less than 40 MPG will be a true disappointment to me . Is that the one scenario where a serial configuration would not be the first choice ?


  28. 28
    Van

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:34 am)

    H GXT, also the Volt does not maintain 50% SOC, it cycles between 80% and 30%, using 8 KWH out of the total of 16 KWH. The Prius does not completely deplete its approximate 1.3 KWH battery.

    The 2009 Prius is expected to have a 2.6 KWH battery which will provide about 7 miles of EV mode range. With the addition of 5 KWH from the Hymotion kit, the EV range is expected to be about 20 miles.


  29. 29
    Brad

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (11:44 am)

    This is an awesome idea. Keep moving forward GM. We need this car now!


  30. 30
    Jim I

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (12:22 pm)

    Van:

    You did not “screw” with the price of a Prius. For some reason, they only ever want to quote a base price, even though I would assume that many of them are sold with many of the available options.

    ghost:

    An ICE/generator only based car will not work very well without the battery pack. It needs it for regenerative braking, and to even out the power demands for short term high load demands, like passing another car. This has been stated several times. Is there some reason you don’t believe it?

    For a pure BEV to work for my driving habits, it would have to be able to get a 200 mile range, with enough power to run many of the other electrical loads, or I would not be interested. The original E-REV design is what first attracted me to the Volt, and keeps me interested!


  31. 31
    greg

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (12:25 pm)

    I am a electrical engineer and follow this site from time to time and quite excited about the volt.

    GM needs to define this car to set it apart. If they have a ICE its possible people will confuse it with a Prius and I was just talking about this to my parents and they were confused too about the difference.

    And to be honest GM does not want this car associated with the Prius because Prius people tend to be labeled as a cult typically image snobs who have large estates that use huge amounts of electricity and gas.

    In fact I was over at a friends who had a Prius and noticed he used regular light bulbs in his home not compact florescent.

    To have a PURE EV option is a excellent idea.

    It will save on cost for one, cut down on weight. Second for city dwellers who seldom go out side the city it will cut down on maintenance on the ICE.

    So I think GM really needs two versions of the car. If they do have two versions this car will be unstoppable.

    A pure EV will be excellent and must be done! Give the people the choice and you will move in on more market share.

    Greg


  32. 32
    George K

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (12:29 pm)

    I don’t think today’s battery technology is far enough along for a pure EV using the current Volt size. How much further could you go w/o the engine etc. weight side of the equasion? Perhaps 50 miles plus. You still have to provide 10 years/150,000miles on the battery.

    Perhaps… however, GM is aware of some major breakthroughs in the pipe, too late to make it into Volt 1… EEStor, Dr. Yi Cul’s silicon nanowire?


  33. 33
    Dave B

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (12:44 pm)

    Mark @ 24

    “I’d rather buy the pure EV version of the Volt without the gas tank…”

    Ditto.


  34. 34
    OhmExcited

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (12:55 pm)

    If batteries get to the point where it can easily propel the car 500 miles without recharging, then we may not have range anxiety or care about the time to charge it up. At this point, I’m not willing to pay for that size of a battery or deal with the space and weight limitations associated with that.

    Not all cars are all things to all people, though. As a second car for city use a pure EV might be attractive.


  35. 35
    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (12:58 pm)

    What a great idea. There have been so many people clamoring for a pure EV Volt, and others who were going to try and hack saw the ICE out of it, soon they’ll have a choice. With it’s modular design, e-flex is proving itself.

    I’d only buy the RE version as the limited range version just wouldn’t work for me.

    GM is really turning itself around by producing the cars that people WANT, and choice is a big part of that.


  36. 36
    Eric E

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (1:29 pm)

    I see an all electric Volt as a very limited production car. It will only appeal to urban commuters with a second vehicle until quick charging becomes a reality. Although the demand would likely be greater today than it was for the EV1, it will still have a very limited market. It makes more sense as a fleet vehicle for now, where the cars will be used on a predictable route.
    Quick charging will make the EV a reality. If GM wants to build an EV, they should also be prepared to provide quick charge station technology to those who want to invest in the infrastructure. They could design and test the technology then license it.
    Here is a video of a 14kw 10minute charge on an EV with Altairnano Batteries:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcbx57Azisw&feature=related

    This is the future of EVs.


  37. 37
    koz

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (1:30 pm)

    If they there is a 130 mile BEV version, I would be tempted to get one and an E-REV for our second car. The BEV would work for all of my local driving and on the rare occasions we drive long distances the EREV would do. Problem is, I don’t think an 130 mile BEV would be any less than the E-REV and I don’t know if I’ld save much gas with the BEV over the E-REV with my driving. Decisions, decisions…perhaps they will let us use 80% of the battery on occasion (or we’ll use a hack). Then I could get 2 E-REV’s and lose very few e-miles to the BEV.

    Bottom line, it’s better to have these choices than not have them.

    My guess is tossing the genset and all of the peripheral equipment saves $5,000-$7,000 off the selling price.


  38. 38
    omegaman66

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (1:43 pm)

    Great post… great to hear. Many people want the volt as is. Many could use the volt without the added cost of the ICE because it already has adequate range for their use. Others want the battery gone (save a smaller 1kwh battery for regenerative breaking and charging will at stop lights and such) because the reduction in initial cost is a must for them to own one. Volt 1.0 can not be expected to be a fit for everyone. It is certainly a Jack of all trades if not better.

    Sure wish GM would have at least addressed the question before mentioning the BEV car.


  39. 39
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (1:53 pm)

    37 koz…..

    In the near term, a BEV version of the Volt with a 130 mile range (>3 times the E-REV Volt’s battery-only range) would add AT LEAST as much to the battery cost as deleting the ICE/generator would save. So for the present, a 130 mile BEV Volt would be comparable in cost to a 40 mile E-REV Volt, and it would make lots more sense for most individual (non-fleet) users to buy the E-REV version.

    (Of course, if assembly automation, competition, etc dramatically reduce battery cost in the future, a BEV version of the Volt might become viable.)


  40. 40
    Young

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (1:53 pm)

    I will buy the pure EV version. I drove EV1 and currently own RAV4-EV for 6 years. I prefer pure EV.


  41. 41
    Rahsiid Amul

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (1:54 pm)

    JeffJ #16. If 132 miles is accurate, I’m very interested. My round trip commute is 101 miles and rarely varies. If it varies, add another 10 miles to my 101. That’s it.


  42. 42
    Rahsiid Amul

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:04 pm)

    #13 kent beuchert says, ” If the EEStor devices pan out, Lutz will be more than “considering” a battery-only EV.”

    Although the jury is still out on EEStor, I agree with you and will go on step further. If EEStor pans out, everyone will be considering BEV only.


  43. 43
    Rahsiid Amul

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:10 pm)

    As we learn more about the BEV, decisions can be made. I don’t need a gas car is the BEV can go 130 miles. The E-REV can go to my wife. This is truly the best of both worlds. But what is the cost? The bottom line cost matters to a lot of people, and again, it has to be prices for the masses.


  44. 44
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:36 pm)

    The iCar is intriguing. It will might be just what I need.

    When making an ICE vehicle purchase, often I can choose between engine options. Having Volt engine/motor/battery options seems “Flex”-ible.

    I rarely take long trips. If the iCar costs a lot less than the e-rev Volt, I’ll buy the iCar and use the savings to rent the occaisional long trip vehicle.


  45. 45
    John

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:51 pm)

    Exciting to see this much confidence in the batteries they have now or anticipate having . I bet there is one fantastic all electric version in the works .


  46. 46
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:52 pm)

    43 Rahsiid Amul (& others)….

    If the Volt’s battery were increased enough to give it 130 miles range (i.e., >3:1) the increased battery cost would more than offset the cost savings of the ICE/gen set —while adding back comparable weight. So for the vast majority of buyers today (except perhaps for fleet users where the daily route is planned in advance) that wouldn’t make sense, so GM has made excellent tradeoffs for the 1st version of the Volt.


  47. 47
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:55 pm)

    …oh, and I live in California. So, I could help GM meet the California’s ZEV requirement.

    With a BEV Volt (iCar?), I wouldn’t need to haul around more hardware than I need. That would be ridiculous. It would be like buying a truck or SUV to take the kids to school or go to the grocery store. Who is boorish enough to do that?


  48. 48
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (2:58 pm)

    Also, another major advantage of the E-REV vs BEV approach is SAFETY due to high-level redundancy, which allows either of these scenarios:

    1) the battery can be fully DISCHARGED, OR

    2) the ICE can fail or RUN OUT OF GAS, and

    ….in BOTH cases the car can get to a service station (rather than be stranded on a dangerous roadside or an inside lane of a freeway).


  49. 49
    Rahsiid Amul

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (3:08 pm)

    Thank you, Nasaman. How is your grand daughter?


  50. 50
    Jason

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (3:11 pm)

    I’m intrigued by the BEV Volt option. Does anyone know how much charge the Volt would regain after a 20 minute break plugged into a standard 110v outlet? How about when plugged into a 220v?


  51. 51
    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (3:12 pm)

    If the BEV Volt is released with a 130 mile range, I don’t see how it could possibly cost less than the E-REV model. Even if the 8Kw/h buffer is fully used on the existing batt. we’re talking about 80-90 mi range max. This means that a BEV version with 130 mi range is going to have a bigger and more expensive battery, probably on the order of 26-30Kw/h. If it’s not going to be cycled deep, it will be even larger and more expensive than that.

    Since there is no mention of the range, I’ve got to believe that if they use the existing batt and cycle it a little deeper, using say 12Kw/h, this would deliver about a 60 mi range. I don’t doubt there’ll be takers with this range, but it won’t sell like the E-rev model.


  52. 52
    Al

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (3:27 pm)

    48
    We currently have no high level redundancy in our cars… We have AAA, good maintenance and a gas gauge. Just pullover.
    I LOVE the idea of a BEV Volt, whatever it is called. I personally don’t need a $50,000 vehicle of any type. Maybe they will do motors in the wheels like these guys: http://www.flytheroad.com/ (Ooohh, outruns a Boxster) They also have a Hybrid (ala Prius system) and a BEV version. Give us a choice, one size usually does not fit everyone.
    By the way, the Electric motor and controller are single points of failure that are catastrophic (not too redundant huh).


  53. 53
    omegaman66

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (3:35 pm)

    A 130 mile range from battery volt at current prices be very very expensive. I don’t think the cost saving would amount to more than a token amount. The volt as is without the range extenter is not enough range for some to be a commuter car. It is enough for me though.

    “”" Although the jury is still out on EEStor, I agree with you and will go on step further. If EEStor pans out, everyone will be considering BEV only.”"”

    What will make the volt viable to the vast majority of people as a bev would be something along the lines of EEStores ultracaps to turn out to be relatively inexpensive AND more powerful with the ability to do away with the 50% useable charge restriction.

    Double the kwh’s of the volt with an ultracap will esentially bring the volt up to a 200 mile range car (50X2X2)= 200 miles. That is 50 miles initial range of the volt during its first year X 2, because of doubling the kwh (same weigth) X 2, because of the ability to lose the 50% use restriction of the li-ion batteries.

    And this is exactly why I think GM and all automakers need to move to the volts eflex drive train as soon as possible. With the Volt it is as simple as GM replacing the li-ion batteries with ultracaps. With Toyota to go all bev they would need to redesign the cars they make.

    Essentially not be hamstrung by the hev current design they would have to start from the ground up like GM has done with the Volt. Better and cheaper batteries or ultacap from EEStore or MIT are likely to come out.

    GM could be positioned to take advantage of the technology immediately if all or most lines were convereted to the eflex system. Then the only reason someone would buy anything but a GM vehicle would be because GM vehicles are already sold out.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (3:38 pm)

    nasaman #46,

    Also, I don’t think they could fit the larger battery ( > 3:1) on same E-Flex frame, even using xtra space from gas engine. Maybe we’d be back to a 2 seater like the EV-1? or Tesla, of course!


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (4:03 pm)

    52 Al….

    You’re right when you say, “We currently have no high level redundancy in our cars… We have AAA, good maintenance and a gas gauge. Just pullover.”

    HOWEVER, GM SHOULD TRY HARD TO IMPROVE THE VOLT’S RELIABILITY WHEREVER IT’S COST EFFECTIVE TO DO SO!!!

    Regarding the Volt’s drive motor/controller, both will have inherently low failure rates –and in fact, using electric motors driving the Volt’s rear wheels as you seem to suggest would have the advantage of AWD as well as redundancy. GM should TRY to maximize the Volt’s overall reliability by conducting FMEAs (Failure mode & effects analyses) to eliminate SPFs (single point failures) where it’s cost effective to do so —its E-REV architecture gives them a great start!

    Of course, not everything can be made redundant (but failure-prone components can be used, such as run-flat/high-mileage tires, at only a modest cost increase.) And BTW, while AAA is on the way (it takes 15min to an hour in my experience), you can be killed or injured by a careless passing driver!

    So ….starting with a “clean sheet of paper”, as I said to several GM engineers working on the Volt at Volt Nation last month, should be an opportunity to incorporate reliability-improving design elements that the automotive industry has overlooked for too long.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (4:18 pm)

    I agree that a 130M range would cost as much or more than the E-REV version, thus my musings earlier. Just to add to some of the later comments. Nasaman is accurate that it will roughly take 3:1 “useable” energy. That is, if it is indeed 8KWh used for current Volt AER, the an additional 16KWh is needed. They have mentioned 150,000 miles from the battery. Based on A123 specs, you could double the battery size and cycle 90% – 15% SOC to still get 150,000+ miles if driven enough daily. Calendar life is a little less clear to know if 10 years would still be expected, but it would only be an issue if you were driving 100+ miles/day (large cycles). Either way, I think it would work out to minimum 150,000+ miles or 10 years of life. I hope nobody would complain about this. Doubling the battery and removing generator/ICE components would be close to a wash in overall weight, perhaps adding a few pounds. I don’t know about volume though. Alas, as already noted, it would cost at best similar to E-REV Volt.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (4:21 pm)

    I find it kind of strange how a number of you are talking about using hypothetical technologies. I don’t really think that to be relevant to the Volt. Until the new technologies and introduced to the auto market, I don’t think that they should really be mentioned at all, to be honest. Because I can imagine a Volt, or an Escalade for that matter, that runs on water and gets 100 mpg. But that’s not real. But more to the point I can imagine a Volt that has a smaller all-electric range, costs and weighs less, that would fit a significant portion of my driving needs. And personally, I think a Volt that has a 20-mile AER with a flex-fuel range-extender would work very well for a lot people, and at less cost. Or alternatively, a Volt with a 60-mile AER that would work for people with a longer commute and deeper pockets. But when it comes down to it, I think that a flex-fuel e-rev is the way to go. Some people would do very well with a Volt-EV with a range of maybe 120 miles, but that would cost about the same as the 40-mile range-extended Volt, and I don’t see the real value of the tradeoff.

    Last semester I did a study for one of my college classes on the benefits of PHEV and E-REV technology and identified that the real tradeoff between combustion and electric drive technology lies in the choice between high fuel costs and low capital costs (combustion) or low fuel costs and high capital costs (electricity). I think it is only in special cases where high capital costs are the better option rather than a specified combination of the two. I think GM has done an excellent job in their design of the Volt. And, further, I think that a future subcompact E-flex will be the best place to put BEV design. A Volt-mini EV, if you will. But for the compact Volt, I love the 40-mile AER with flex-fuel range-extender.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (4:25 pm)

    A pure electric Volt is a step in the wrong direction. The BEV Volt will cost more, weight more and in the end, provide less range.

    If you want to put the Volt on a diet, the best place to start is with the battery. Change the EREV formula by making a “plug free” Volt with an 8 Kwh battery instead, that would be continually charged by the ICE/Gen. By doing so, this would save weight, cost and provide an unlimited 50 MPG fuel economy…

    Maybe then, McLovin can afford this diet Volt version.

    Disclaimer: The above opinion is predicated upon the notion that EEstor technology is implausible (which, may not be the case).


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (4:27 pm)

    Another point on this topic: According to the DOE, in what they’ve learned in the research on PHEVs and E-REVs, the ideal situation for the maximum utilization of battery capacity and plug-in vehicle cost effectiveness is the application of the plug-in vehicle fleet in V2G applications for grid management. In that case the situation will change to where the more battery capacity you have and more time you plug in will bring more revenue to the owner. But until our utilities and vehicles link up in an equal partnership, we’re left to eat the cost of our batteries.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (5:02 pm)

    #57 Steven B
    “But when it comes down to it, I think that a flex-fuel e-rev is the way to go. Some people would do very well with a Volt-EV with a range of maybe 120 miles, but that would cost about the same as the 40-mile range-extended Volt, and I don’t see the real value of the tradeoff.”

    If so, then how do you see “real” value to an E-REV of any type. The value in different BEV ranges, I believe, is in the ability to match the range to the driver. Anyone commuting 40-130 miles but not “needing” more would certainly see value to an increase range BEV Volt at the same cost as the E-REV vesion. Every mile of extra range is paid for with stored electricity instead of gas. I do agree with your reduced range E-REV as a good option for a lot of people. The biggest problem with all of this discussion is that for the first generation, they can’t practically offer many different options and the one they chose first is the sweet spot.

    #55 Nasaman
    “And BTW, while AAA is on the way (it takes 15min to an hour in my experience), you can be killed or injured by a careless passing driver!”

    Unless your trying to air natural selection by standing in a dangerous spot, I think you are safer on the side of the road rather than driving on it (except for major metro areas where gunplay is a concern :) ). BUT, I do like the idea of power source redundancy if GM allows it. They must let us go below 30% when needed (wanted). This redundancy is a “smile” factor for me. I am notorious for running low on gas (don’t like to go to the gas station until I have to). Value for not having to call the wife to bring the gas can? Priceless!!!

    By the way redundancy may not exist in the other direction. According to Bob Lutz’s comments, the generator power will ONLY go through the battery. I thought it was to go straight to the motor. If not a battery failure will immobolize the Volt, even if it has plenty of gas and a functioning genset. Running through the battery seems less efficient and less reliable but it may save some money in power electronics.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (5:18 pm)

    #58, McLovin McFly: “If you want to put the Volt on a diet, the best place to start is with the battery. Change the EREV formula by making a “plug free” Volt with an 8 Kwh battery instead, that would be continually charged by the ICE/Gen.”

    People want to be able to PLUG IN their cars to charge overnight while they sleep, and have at least 40 miles WITHOUT a single drop of gas in their car. Pulling the plug from the Volt, means a lot of people will suddenly pull their finances away from the Volt and towards other cars. No plug = no sale.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (5:33 pm)

    I wouldn’t say never to a 60 mile range all electric car. Check out this article about gas prices. They are not going down anytime soon in fact probablly never. I’m sure that once gas prices are high enough people would rather have a 60 mile range car then have to ride their bike or take public transportation(if that is availalbe).

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352681,00.html


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (5:34 pm)

    #60, Koz: The trade-off in terms of initial cost that needs to be recognized is the cost of the equivalent of about 10 miles more AER is equal to the purchase price of a genset that will increase long-distance operational range by 600 (in the first Volt concept) or 300 miles (in the announced design update) with a recharge time (fill-up) of about 3-5 minutes (plus detour time to a refueling station and wait/payment time). That’s compared in terms of time, also, of what 15-30 minutes?

    If I only need a care for limited range special use, then I would love to have a BEV with just a little more range than I need to drive with. But currently, I plan on my Volt as my primary vehicle, and while most of driving will be between 10-45 miles, sometimes I’ll want to go to Austin and that’ll push my needed range from 100 miles to 150, so an affordable 120-mile range Volt-EV won’t work for me. Though it work perferctly for both of my parents and my brother, as well as many other people I know. But an E-REV Volt would work great for all of us.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (5:41 pm)

    KOZ #60

    “According to Bob Lutz’s comments, the generator power will ONLY go through the battery.”

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

    This is interesting because early on in the E-REV design GM had stated that genset. would work on a bus system. I never understood how a bus system would work in the Volt, and actually would be more complicated.

    In fact, until recently in GM cars the generator fed the battery only and not the electrical system. The electrical system fed directly off the battery’s 12V. While this might have provided electrical stability to the to the system, it was impossible to run the vehicle with a bad battery, even after a jump start.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (5:46 pm)

    60 Koz….

    You said, “…..a battery failure will immobolize the Volt, even if it has plenty of gas and a functioning genset.”

    True…. but based on my discussions at Volt Nation with GM engineering, I’m certain GM will follow the normal high-rel battery design practice of by-passing all cells (with power diodes) to avoid open cell failures & of providing enough redundant cells to allow for failed or shorted cells. These practices, plus redundant wiring, connectors, etc make battery failures in spacecraft (or the Volt) non-credible.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (6:35 pm)

    There will be a near term market for BEV vehicles, and if GM can provide these vehicles at a competitive price, why not?

    There will be a larger market for the Volt in an E-REV configuration, IMHO.

    Also, from my discussions with the GM engineers at VoltNation, cold weather operation may pose some challenges for the batteries. Therefore, the BEV may be destined for more temperate climates such as Florida and California (which also has ZEV mandates).

    It is my understanding that the Volt will have a common coolant system for the ICE, power electronics, and batteries. On very cold days, it may be necessary for the ICE to come on initially, even with fully charged batteries, in order to get the system up to operating temperature.

    Hope we also get some pictures and/or videos of Bob zipping along in the prototypes. Going along with the GM team in this development process sure is a fun ride!


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (6:42 pm)

    65 nasaman

    Yes, but….
    While I want a Volt asap, one of the disadvantages of the high-speed (rushed?) development is that the failure modes of the Volt will be largely unknown when the first 10,000 go out the door. All it will take are some strange battery failures (car will not go, no one knows why) to give the Volt a terrible reputation. So maybe having the first 10K in a restricted geographical area is good — at least it helps contain the damage. It will be a new kind of battery, in a new kind of vehicle (not a spacecraft :) and unexpected things are going to happen. What an adventure!


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    Ted in Fort Myers

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (6:45 pm)

    I love the BEV design idea. I’ll take one BEV and one e-REV. GM I’m waiting to hear about my mule. 239 410-8826


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    Brad

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (7:13 pm)

    Check this video out about changing a pickup to all electric.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDux3QloLNc


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:06 pm)

    Replies to a few of the above comments:

    - Calculations assuming 90% drain of the battery:
    You would never utilize a total 90% SOC from the batteries, as that would lead to a much-decreased lifetime (as battery cells approach either full charged or fully discharged, there are less ions to apply the work to, and a larger probability of damaging the battery). I think it is logical to assume that the 50% drain as advertised by GM is likely the most you should take out of a battery without causing lifetime/warranty issues. To put this in perspective, you really don’t want to have many warranty returns… A friend who works for Johnson Controls has told me as a rule of thumb for the auto industry, a part return runs you 10x the original cost for your company to produce the given part (this R-O-T includes labor, downtime on vehicles, shipping, etc.). Now, a battery may not follow this R-O-T because it is not a conventional automotive component, but increasing the usable SOC limits would likely cost more than engineering another battery pack into the car to start with.

    - In-hub wheel motors:
    From a vehicle dynamics point of view, adding excess unsprung weight is a sin. This leads to diminished ride control and handling. Personally, I don’t see many advantages of putting the motor in the wheel, rather than running a half-shaft from a motor mounted on the vehicle body.

    - Generator – Battery – Motor configuration:
    The generator is likely hooked up primarily to the battery, although it would be a good idea to have power electronics directing electricity from the generator straight to the electric motor when possible. This would decrease losses associated with routing that same electricity through the battery and then to the motor (see the Second Law of Thermodynamics :) . This way, the motor could run at a constant highly-efficient load, and provide power to the wheels when available, then use the battery as a buffer to ease out the transients so it doesn’t have to match the load demanded by the electric motor. This idea is technical in nature though, and the current popular explanation (no pun intended) of the generator charging the battery is much easier to understand, especially for those who don’t really care about the underpinnings, but rather the final result.

    - Prius batteries general comment:
    From my understanding, the conventional Prius battery SOC is very tightly controlled to remain as close to a specified value as possible. It is also kept between 40-60% SOC almost exclusively. Finally, end-of-life tests for the original Prius showed that even with this tight SOC restriction, after 160,000 miles, batteries from two test fleet vehicles had lost ~2/3 of their capacity (but the well-engineered controls strategy of the Prius allowed the vehicles to continue normal operation).
    See page 12:
    http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/avta/pdfs/hev/end_of_life_test_1.pdf

    - Ultracaps:
    Although this technology has great power density, an increase in energy density is likely necessary for them to compete with batteries for the role of primary energy storage. Although the following isn’t the most scientific or credible source, it reflects information that I have seen from other sources. According to this plot, current ultracaps store an order of magnitude less energy per mass than batteries, and mass is a major concern in the auto industry.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragone_chart


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:12 pm)

    ***note in the 4th comment of my above post, these Prius batteries are Ni-MH and not Li-ion… these two electrochemistries behave differently, and they would also be used under greatly different controls strategies, so would be meaningless to extrapolate lifetime values from this report to the Volt…


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:35 pm)

    #70 Dave
    The MT article about the Volt showed a GM graph where the SOC for the Volt battery fell from 100% leaving home to about 30%. Then the ICE started and ran until the battery was recharged to about 40%, and went off. Such cycling continued until the vehicle reached home and was reconnected to the grid. Presumably the battery capacity under 30% is available if the car sees a high load (one in excess of ICE/generator output) for a sustained duration. So that’s close to what you are saying, probably overall the same line of thought.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:47 pm)

    There have been many questions regarding why GM doesn’t use the NiMh battery like they used in the EV1. Here is a great article on why the NiMh battery is controlled by Chevron.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070330151429AAjAZok


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    OhmExcited

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    Regarding EESTOR and ultracapacitors in general, there are a couple areas of concern.

    1. Capacitors have a tendency to drain over time when not in use. This would give drain anxiety.

    2. Even if you could theoretically charge the battery quickly, you are still limited by the laws of physics. Your garage outlet does not have enough amps to charge it quickly. A service station plugged into the main grid could, but this would be extremely challenging to manage quick charging of many cars at the same time.

    The night time generating capacity of the US grid is an untapped, strategic national asset. It makes all the sense in the world to take advantage of that and not charge or have to recharge vehicles during the day. When batteries alone can take our cars 500 miles we may not care if no backup generator exists. But until then a smaller, cheaper battery along with an onboard power plant range extender is the wisest decision. This equation could never be solved in the past because small batteries were not robust enough to handle that level of cycling. A123 cracked the code, and our world will change for it.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (8:59 pm)

    IIRC from the vids. someone at Volt Nation asked about battery rundown and performance degradation referencing the like in the Prius. Whoever answered the question (can’t remember if it was Farah or Posawatz) said there would be no performance loss when the batt. runs low.

    This tells me that even in the most severe driving conditions ie lead footing the Volt continuously w/o regen braking over an extended period that the Volt might have to dip that low (below 30%) if full performance is to be maintained. After all the ICE/genset is only putting out a max of 53kw and we’ve got a motor that’s capable
    of 120kw when pushed and averages about 45.


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    Vinayababu

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:14 pm)

    And for a change here are some more insights in to the details of Volt evolution
    http://www.electriccarprogress.com/


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    Hercule

     

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    Apr 26th, 2008 (9:33 pm)

    # 18 Gxt,

    If you go to Jimcolemantoyota.com (my local toyota dealer), they have six Priuses in stock, from 26,614 to 27,884. Fitzgerald Toyota (a little further away), has a few more Priuses in stock, and does have a couple listed as cheap as 23,135. I don’t see any local dealer that has a 2008 prius for 21,100, and there are very few at 23,000. Almost all of the priuses you can actually buy (in my area) run from 25-28,000. And most of these dealers are the “no hassle” types which means they won’t negotiate at all. So 27,000 for a Prius is quite a reasonable price to expect to pay right now.


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    Apr 26th, 2008 (10:26 pm)

    Dave99,
    Not all battery chemistries are created equal. A123 can handle large discharge cycles pretty well. I don’t know about designed discharge to 90% though. That is a little too much, but 85% looks plausible for a 33KWh pack. http://www.a123systems.com/#/applications/phev/pchart2/
    http://www.a123systems.com/#/applications/phev/pchart3/

    Nassaman,
    I’m sure and expect the battery packs to have fault tolerance features features as you describe, but there will still be some single points of failure too. These should be very reliable components and connections though, and after good real world testing the packs should be very reliable.

    Steven B,
    -I must have misread your post. I thought you were saying that you didn’t see the value for anyone. I agree that most people will prefer the E-REV over the BEV Volt.
    -I think if you account for all of the costs associated with the genset you’ll come up significantly more than 10 miles worth of battery: 1.0L turbo charged 3-cyl engine, 53KW generator, fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel lines, ICE exhaust with emmissions reduction components, cooling capacity, generator to battery high power cabling, etc.


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (12:10 am)

    With all the requests for changes to the Volt made over the last 16 hours, I have no idea how GM can please anyone!

    If they want or have to produce a pure EV, I have no problem with that, but I do not think it should be called a Volt. Call it the EV-2 or make it a Saturn and call it the “Io”.

    To muddy up the waters, when the specs of the Volt using an E-REV design are this far along just makes no sense. The general public is confused enough without now saying “This Volt will only have a range of 100 miles, and only uses a battery pack, but this Volt will go 40 miles on battery and then an IC engine will keep it going for another 250 miles, and this Volt uses ultracaps instead of batteries, etc, etc, etc”. If they want to produce three different types of cars, give them three different names!

    And in another thread someone mentioned that a BEV is suitable for people that can plan their driving responsibly. Right. How many times has the wife called and said “On your way home, stop at the drug store and pick up the medicine for little Jimmy, and by the way, we need milk.” And your respone to her wil be “Sorry honey, I only have enough battery power in the car to just drive straight home.” I can only imagine the happy look on her face when you walk in the front door………….

    :)


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (2:50 am)

    All these request are not for changes to the volt 1.0. Just different FUTURE versions/option paks and different cars altogether. I personally am wanting a pickup truck that can pull a boat. BEV is not an option for that vehicle unless it can recharge quickly at a gas station equiped with special charging equipment.

    My wife’s car could be a small suv that is a BEV.

    Everybody’s situation is different. That is why the Volt isn’t the END of the the line for this technology just the beginning. And the sooner GM produces multiple cars/trucks with the volt style powertrains the better.


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (3:47 am)

    I didn’t have time to read all the responses, so I apologize if this has already been stated -

    Remember the starting point of the BEV version of the Volt was to meet a California zero emissions requirement. The great news is that a BEV Volt could leverage the production volumes, reputation, dealer network, etc of the E-REV Volt, and GM could put its resources into more and better E-Flex vehicles instead of spending a lot of engineering time on an effort for only (possibly) a few thousand vehicles.

    So now we have visibility of four ways for E-Flex vehicles to get their electricity – gasoline/E-85 engines in North America, diesel engines in Europe, hydrogen fuel cells in China, and grid-only in California.

    This is exactly the way PHEVs are supposed to work – the electrification of transportation and eventually all of civilization is the architecture, and individual pieces get better as the years pass.


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (4:52 am)

    BEV sounds good,
    I hope they just bolt a block of concrete in to the space normally occupied by the ice on the Volt..
    It will save a lot of redesign time.


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (5:27 am)

    A little chhering news for us all.
    I hope the Aril stats are out soon.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080426/ap_on_bi_ge/autos_downsizing


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (5:28 am)

    A little cheering news for us all. I hope the April stats are out soon.

    news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080426/ap_on_bi_ge/autos_downsizing


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (6:02 am)

    If the Volt will cost $35k or more, I want it with an unlimited range. Now, if the Volt were a lot cheaper,$20k or less I would not mind a range of 50 mile range. It would be use just to do chores around town.


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    Apr 27th, 2008 (6:36 am)

    GM needs to put some kind of electronics in the Volt so that one can measure the cost of a charge. This would be used when visiting a relative, friend or whoever it may be and who is agreeable to allow you to charge your Volt battery from their electrical account. I know for one, I would not allow a friend to charge their battery of my account without any compensation.


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    Estero

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (6:42 am)

    I’m really excited about an E-Rev Volt but am not ready for a BEV version even if it has a 120 mile range. It is just too limiting. The Volt will be my ONLY car and need the capability for weekly round trips of 300+ miles.

    I will be ready for a BEV when it has the capability of 500-600 miles between charges and it can be recharged in 10-15 minutes.


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    Jim I

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (7:22 am)

    omegaman66 #79:

    “All these request are not for changes to the volt 1.0. Just different FUTURE versions/option paks and different cars altogether.”

    I hope you are right, but If you really read these posts, most of these people would have the Gen-1 Volt changed to their personal specifications, as though the car would be a failure if it is anything different……..

    I would just like to see Gen-1 hit the road!


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    Jeff

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (8:04 am)

    It makes you wonder…Toyota is cautious about battery technology, but GM is hinting at even more use of it for a vehicle.

    Is this just a reply to Toyota’s “attack on the Volt”?


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    Sentinel

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (9:04 am)

    For me personally; I would have no use for the Volt without the range extender ICE. Although I do fit into the demographic of those 70%+ Americans who drive less than 40 miles a day on adverage. I still need the ability to go anywhere I want, any time I want. Life happens, thihgs come up, plans change. I need a car that I can just get in and GO if I need to.

    An EV only Volt is premature IMHO, the battery tech isn’t there yet. If it had a 300 mile EV range and a 5 to 10 min quick charge ability that would be one thing, but it just isn’t so yet.


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    Al

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (9:15 am)

    Most other manufacturers are coming out with BEV systems that have a wide assortment of ranges. Mr. Lutz has offered that GM is now too looking at a BEV, A lot of the posts here are paranoid that in doing so, the current Volt development may change or be delayed. That is ridiculous! Remember GM has already completed a BEV. It is called the EV1. A few little adjustments, new batteries, and viola` an EV2 is born. I don’t want an BEV not specifically designed to be a BEV. The Volt is just too big and heavy to be anything but what it is.
    So, the question is about an Icar, or EV2 as I see it, not about eliminating the Volt E-REV design. GM could stand to loose a few SUVs and behemoth fuel wasters. I believe a BEV and an E-REV together could do wonders for GM’s CAFE averages.


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    jkh2000

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (11:08 am)

    Isn’t it funny how GM destroyed all the electric cars a few years back and now found rear view mirrors to see how to pull their head out of their ass and try and bring it back. There may be high hopes this time that they will tell big oil to stick it and do something for the environment.


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    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (11:24 am)

    Al #89

    I agree on offering both (BEV E-REV). Personally only E-Rev would work for me, but that’s my choice and I understand that using basically the same car to save costs just how many people would be interested nationwide in the BEV. Currently I don’t think the numbers are there for a completely different vehicle, and remember that the Ev-1 was basically the same weight as the Volt, both are around 3000lbs.


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    JBFALASKA

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (12:48 pm)

    As a retired US Air Force veteran, I hope this car comes to market sooner than later.
    CHEVY VOLT: American-made, American FUELED.

    As a military member, our deployments all clearly aimed at protecting the Oil Baron’s shipping lanes in the Middle-East. China, Japan, the World more precisely received our American military cost to us shipped oil. Oil to us after factoring all costs, including the need to fight Wars and secure Oil shipping lanes is $10 PER GALLON. To the subsidized Chinese, Japanese, and others,… Well anyone can figure it out. We’re being beaten badly and Automobile technology is the reason America and the American way of life is in decline. I hate to say this, but our Free market politicians are just as bad at keeping us dependent.

    Let’s get this car built, subsidize our industry instead of foreign interests and bring America back to life.


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    Joe

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (12:50 pm)

    GM got rid of the EV1 because it was too expensive and very limited. Why produce a product if only the rich can afford it? It was a wise business decision to discontinue building the EV1. The timing was not right but this mistake gives a reason for some people to bash GM.


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    Grizzly

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (1:30 pm)

    Joe #93

    I hate to keep bringing up the EV-1 because this is a site about the Volt , but I agree. Additionally, GM did nothing WRT the EV-1 that Toyota, Ford, Honda etc. didn’t with their EV’s. They all leased them. They all recalled them, they all crushed them. They all stopped producing them. Before someone tries to correct me, Toyota did in fact sell 300+ of their Rav-4 EVs and many are still on the road, but that is the sole exception, and wasn’t w/o a lot of wrangling.

    You are correct about the GM bashing. It’s almost as if it’s en vogue
    as an EV evangelist to bash GM. Sort of like being a Cowboy fan and bashing the Redskins or vice versa, or being a Mac person and bashing the PC , or being in a Harley Davidson gang and drinking Budweiser and nothing else. Hip if you will.


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    NorthernPiker

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (2:08 pm)

    A BEV version of the Volt should be considered but not enough to jeopardize the Volt schedule. A BEV version of the Volt can only be considered up to certain all-electric range (AER). Then any suitable space freed up by removal of the engine, generator and gas tank will be filled by battery packs. A quick and dirty BEV design has some appeal but it may only fill a market niche not worth pursuing if the AER is limited to 100 miles, or so. Also, as the AER increases, the PHEV batteries become increasingly over-designed for BEV usage.

    The electrical requirements of the battery pack for a BEV will differ from that of a PHEV (or a HEV). It will be designed to maximize the energy storage per pound (and somewhat per cubic foot). However, the power per pound and cycle life requirements can be relaxed as compared to a PHEV battery pack since a BEV battery pack is larger, i.e., has more pounds, and each charge/discharge cycle equates to more miles. In addition, 100% depth of discharge (DOD) will occur less often in a BEV battery pack than in a PHEV battery pack since the optimal AER for a PHEV is one that generally depletes the pack during one’s typical daily driving, e.g., one’s round trip commute.

    Battery manufacturers can somewhat tune their chemistry to trade off between specific storage (kWh / lb.), specific power (kW / lb.) and cycle life while staying within cost and safety constraints. However, as the AER is increased it becomes increasingly unlikely that the chemistry of PHEV batteries would be used in a BEV application since the slackening of the stringent power and cycle life requirements will open the door to other safe battery chemistries. For example, a safe variant of laptop batteries with a long cycle life may be suitable for a BEV. Now that large format batteries are showing a huge market potential, announcements of Li-ion battery “breakthroughs” – nanowire anodes, etc. – will become endemic.


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    Eric Marshall

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (2:28 pm)

    The PC (Personal Computer) industry went through a similar conundrum about 30 years ago ie. technology changing so fast that products are obsolete by the time they hit the market.

    The answer; make things modular. Provide the basic electric drive train with motor and batteries that can provide power and range for the local commute. The range extender is modular, optional, and upgradeable:

    1. NO range extender.
    2. ICE range extender.
    3. Fuel Cell range extender.

    Publish the specs for the hardware and software interface to encourage third party manufacturers.

    Who knows, you may start a whole new PC (Personal Car) industry!!!


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    NorthernPiker

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (3:54 pm)

    Eric,

    The Volt as an open platform is a great idea. Right now it a proprietary GM platform and you can only get the packages that GM offers. Of course, you will need system integrators. How about independent dealers who will warranty their work?

    Let’s see. I’ll have a 1/4 kWh ultracapacitor for a performance kick and better regenerative braking and a 220 V AC adapter kit for rapid recharges at home.


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    Al

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (5:17 pm)

    Wow, reading EV-1 specs are like reading the Volt’s. Even the Battery pack is roughly the same shape/location. If GM can only do as well as the EV-1 – and I know they can do that – the BEV should have a BIG weight reduction by going from NiMH or even Lead Acid to Lithium Ion. I don’t know why they are saddled with a 3000 lb car every time they make one. What is wrong with a 2 seat, quickly accelerating, minimal storage sport/commuter car? Maybe call it ElectroVette. Then I can have two Vettes in the garage!!
    Also at the end of the EV-1 Series they had a BiG Quick charger. 20% SoC up to 80% SoC in 10-15 minutes! Awesome.
    http://www.ev1.pair.com/charge_across_america/charge_html/faqs.html


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    voltme

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (6:01 pm)

    To all those who are speculating that the BEV will be more expensive than the E-REV, I’ve posted Lutz exact quote to me. He emphatically indicates that the BEV should be less expensive and have more range (presumably when compared to the E-REV’s battery-only range).


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    voltme

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (6:02 pm)

    btw, voltme = petrozero


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    StevePA

     

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    Apr 27th, 2008 (7:13 pm)

    What is that vehicle in the photo? Ugh.


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    Eric Marshall

     

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    Apr 28th, 2008 (12:56 am)

    NorthernPiker,

    Yes, the open platform, IBM spawned the PC industry with the published electrical bus, form factor specs and OS which eventually became the ‘ISA’ bus and MSDOS, then blew it by introducing the closed PS/2 bus and OS/2 in an effort to get back control. Apple used a closed architecture resulting in more reliability but more expense and longer development. A group of leading manufacturers eventually got together and implemented the standards that we all benefit from today … and then there’s Microsoft.

    GM has the potential to establish an open car architecture that takes advantage of what IBM, Apple, and Microsoft did for personal computers. GM could provide a certification process for System Integrators that maintains warranties and dealer relationships. Actually, the process GM is going through right now for Li-ion batteries is encouraging, just needs to be extended and ongoing…


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    Canuck

     

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    Apr 28th, 2008 (2:03 pm)

    I think this version without ICE – call it Volt Mini – makes perfect sense. It would compete with the Th1nk car.

    Without ICE they remove both weight and cost. In fact, they would go further. They could remove other features that are not essential for a limited range car. They could even give up some performance with smaller electric motors – again reduce weight and costs.

    Thus you would end up with a smaller/cheaper electric version without range extension. However, due to weight reductions it would likely get another 5-10 miles using the existing 16 kWh pack. So it may go up to 50 miles.

    As for SOC, I would start visual (big red letters) and audio (annoying alarm) warnings near the min 40% SOC. Below this minimum SOC limit I would have the car enter a minimum power mode where max speed is reduced, all the alarams intensify and allow operation until 20% SOC. That way you have a chance to find some place to stop and plugin. So in emergency you may get yet another 10 miles or so.

    In any case, the standard 50 miles range would be perfect for all sorts of local trips. I would buy such a car even though I may not drive it to work. It would still be perfect for the many local trips we make. If I can avoid gasoline for local trips it would still be worth it.

    So even Volt Mini is not a general purpose car that can go anywhere (limited range) I think there is still a very big market for it. After all, I often see questions on the oil site about cars that travel less than 5K for entire year. And what about that study about most people doing short trips.

    Who knows. If gas becomes expensive enough I may end up driving Volt Mini to train/bus station and using public transport for longer tips.


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    Nixon

     

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    Apr 28th, 2008 (2:38 pm)

    There needs to be a scale for people where they can rank their own personal range anxiety. There are people who have built BEV home conversions driving around today with absolutely no range anxiety with less than 20 miles of range. Other folks want 500 miles.

    Here’s where I’m at on a 0-10 scale of anxiety:

    Less than 40 miles == are you crazy? AAA on speed dial. Anxiety is at 10.
    40-125 miles == I’ll always be thinking about my range everywhere I go. Anxiety is at 7.
    125-200 miles == As long as I plug it in religiously I’m fine. Anxiety is 3.
    200-500 miles == I’ll plug it in when it is convenient to me, but no big road trips. Anxiety is at 2.
    500-2000 miles == even big road trip are possible with a little planning. Anxiety is at 1.
    2000+ miles == what the heck is this “fill up” thing you guys used to talk about? “dial” a phone? What’s to dial, it’s got buttons? 8-track tape? Gee, you’re funny grandpa!


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    noel park

     

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    Apr 28th, 2008 (2:49 pm)

    DO IT! I’LL TAKE ONE OF EACH!

    We only need one car for longer trips. If I cannot schedule around that, I give up. Especially if doing away with all of the range extender stuff will allow more battery capacity and electric range.


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    Lars Hastrup - DENMARK

     

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    Apr 29th, 2008 (11:23 am)

    Would love a pure EV as cartax would be zero(VAT 25%) here in Denmark until 2013 – otherwise 25% VAT and on top of that 180% cartax !!


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    noel park

     

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    Apr 29th, 2008 (7:15 pm)

    The more i think about this the better I like it.


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    Dave G

     

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    Apr 30th, 2008 (11:01 pm)

    I would never buy an EV without an ICE range extender.


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    Shawn Marshall

     

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    May 1st, 2008 (8:21 am)

    An ICE could be a trunk mounted or trailer mounted option along with more batteries. To help the feeble hearted with the idea of a trailer for long trips, the trailer could be restricted in freedom of movement so that you essentially have a six wheeled vehicle. You could even rent the trailer when needed for long trips or use it for back-up home power. Just add an inverter. Until the battery packs get a lot cheaper, the trailer option is a good bet. If GM doesn’t do it, guess who will? That’s why markets work – you cannot repress innovation.


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (3:28 am)

    The Volt motor is built-in to the “trans-axle” looking thing, with also the generator and the half-shafts going to the front wheels.. if you remove the ICE you are still left with a substantial piece of equipment, granted the generator, ICE, radiator and gas tank would be gone.. lots of weight savings, no idea on cost savings.

    If the Volt used in-wheel motors then removing the ICE would leave a huge empty compartment.. a large battery pack could be placed there to replace the weight of the ICE. Disadvantage is cost, you would need TWO motors and two power controllers (vs. one of each for the standard Volt).. Unsprung weight is no big deal, in-wheel motors can come very close in weight to standard equipment.

    GM would benefit from mass production of 60kw in-wheel motors and motor controllers (they would build 2 each for each Volt), they can also be used in other cars with very little (to none) redesign.. and dont forget they can also be used to make electric 4wd vehicles with no efficiency penalties. You would also increase redundancy and reliabilty by having extra motors/controllers.

    For long range travel just attach a small trailer with a generator (you could easily make one), maybe buy one or just rent it for the weekend.. obviously it could also serve to provide backup power. I already have a 12kVA generator, a small $200 trailer would carry it. Diesel generators are also available.

    The present battery with no ICE would be perfect for me…


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    Wayne P. Bishop

     

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    Apr 27th, 2009 (10:21 am)

    I have an idea / invention that would make an All Electric vehicle’s propulsion system so efficient that it would be able to get the 200+ mile range that everyone has been looking for without any larger battery then is presently in the Volt.
    If anyone has any suggestions as to who or where I can present this concept please let me ( wbishop321@comcast.net ) know so that it may be evaluated and if they find it to be as exciting an idea as I believe it to be then we can move forward quickly with prototyping, testing and implementing to make the True All Electric Vehicle finally a reality.