Aug 05

GM Says Chevy Volt Battery Will Have a 10-Year 150,000-Mile Warranty

 

Larry Burns is GMs VP of research and development. He was interviewed by Design News and had some interesting things to say about the Volt and related issues.

He noted that the final a battery supplier has yet to be chosen and both A123 and LG Chem are still in the running.

He indicates that GM has "confirmed the capability of our selected cell chemistry in terms of safety, range, recharge time, power density and energy density," and has fully come to understand cell and module integration into the pack, and pack integration into the vehicle from packaging, safety, and performance vantage points.

Although he confirms battery development remains on track, he noted that challenges remain in proving the batteries will last 10 years and 150,000 miles, indicating for the first time publicly that GM plans to warranty that benchmark.

He mentions how high and critical standards must be achieved for cell production so that the 200 to 300 per pack work flawlessly all the time.

Burns also intriguingly stated that electric propulsion could be leveraged across GMs entire portfolio, being placed into all vehicle sizes from commuter cars to full family vehicles. He says that battery energy density will have to improve though before E-Flex cars larger than the Volt could emerge.

Source (Design News )

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 5:59 am and is filed under Battery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 223


  1. 1
    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:02 am)

    The long warranty is excellent news. It will provide a lot of reassurance on what might otherwise be a major holdback on a purchase.

    200 to 300 cells? Why is it a variable?


  2. 2
    Jim I

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:09 am)

    This is truly great news.

    But now they have to get ready for large scale manufacturing of these battery packs. That is the last barrier to getting the Volt out in large numbers, which is what we all want!

    :)


  3. 3
    Change America

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:12 am)

    It has been previously mentioned by anonymous posters that both battery life and consistency among various batteries are highly challenging. Also from this by Larry burns, it is not clear how the batteries from A123 and LG have performed so far after months of running.


  4. 4
    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:25 am)

    #3 Change

    He did say the batteries “confirmed the capability of our selected cell chemistry in terms of safety, range, recharge time, power density and energy density,”

    Now granted that Mr. Burns’ statement is selective. For example he says “cell chemistry” rather than “cells” or “battery” and no doubt his words are carefully chosen. Nonetheless, each one of these words could have been a major issue, so Mr Burns made a strongly positive statement.


  5. 5
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:31 am)

    That kind of warranty is excellent. Now how about the rest of the car?
    I would think the electric motor would be a no brainer, since I understand they don’t break.


  6. 6
    John C. Briggs

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:49 am)

    typo
    150,00 miles
    should be
    150,000 miles


  7. 7
    FME III

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:54 am)

    This is Burn’s exact quote from the Design News interview: “But one of the important challenges remaining is proving ten-year, 150,000-mile life when we’re developing the battery over a three-year timeframe. Obviously, we’ll protect the customer in this regard with our warranty.”

    Excellent news, and more to the point, it speaks to the seriousness with which GM is going about the Volt project vis-a-vis some of the other “me too” companies (Fisker and Malcolm Bricklin’s VIsionary Vehicles” that are promising to deliver serial PHEVs in the same time frame.

    And, what’s with the block-head smiley faces over the posts?


  8. 8
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:56 am)

    At least the $40K will be going towards a good warranty.


  9. 9
    Spin

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:02 am)

    10 years on the battery is a good warranty but why 150,000 miles? If you drive 40 miles every day for 10 years it comes to about 146,000 miles. If you use the range extender to drive another 40 per day, you will reach the mileage limit in about 5 years. The mileage warranty on the battery should be for electric driving only.


  10. 10
    jan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:05 am)

    So if you live in a harsher environment you get the same warranty. Kind of hard to believe, but when you see that those robots on Mars are still running years later, well, I guess the battery tech is more advanced than what we’ve commonly come to know of batteries. And people have posted on this board of excellent results with hand tools using lithium. It seems in a couple of years we’ll be pleased with the batteries as Mr Burns is suggesting. His hope for fuelcells may be less realistic. It has been awhile now, or so it seems, since the, nano-lithium?, battery was in the news, which if possible would seem to make fuelcells a no-go for common transportation.


  11. 11
    nasaman

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:07 am)

    5 Rashiid Amul……. You say, “That kind of warranty is excellent. Now how about the rest of the car? I would think the electric motor would be a no brainer, since I understand they don’t break.”

    Right you are, Rashiid! In fact, I recently bought a river-front home built in 1984 that still has its original Whirlpool 20 cu ft refrigerator (then still made in the USA) ….& still operating flawlessly after running 24/7 for 24 years with nary a service call!!! So if GM can make the Volt & its multitude of successors that reliable, the GM/Chevy “E-Rev olution” will be a huge success!!! :)


  12. 12
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:08 am)

    Hi, I’m a dark cloud…thats what I do. I would not want to disappoint anyone.

    Larry Burns: “But one of the important challenges remaining is proving ten-year, 150,000-mile life when we’re developing the battery over a three-year timeframe. Obviously, we’ll protect the customer in this regard with our warranty, but we still need to prove out the required durability.”

    Couple of things. I doubt it is the “VP of research and development” that decides the OEM warranty, so therefore if he already “knows “GM is going to warranty the battery for 10 years, I would wager it is more than likely GM is planning or ‘seriously thinking’ about charging a monthly payment for this battery.

    GM isn’t in the habit of just giving out 10 year/150 mile warranties. The new hotness at GM is cutting warranties in half. Changing 5 year/100mile warranties into 4 year/50,000.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25889617/

    Guess there won’t be a Saab Volt?

    The best way to look at this is to turn it around and look at it from GM’s point of view. Would any customers have any problems buying the Volt with a standard 5year/100,000 mile warranty? I don’t think so. Would a 5year/100,000 mile warranty in any way diminish the sellability of the prodect? No again.

    So why would GM incur the potential extra cost beyond the standard warranty? Because they are nice guys? Or because they are planning to rent the battery?

    /every cloud with a silver lining is really dark in the middle


  13. 13
    nuclearboy

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:13 am)

    Note to GM: There will be some battery problems. Integrate the battery in such a way that it can be removed and replaced / repaired with a reasonable amount of labor. This will make warranty repair easier and make it easier for those who want the option of having a higher capacity battery installed in a few years when the technology improves.


  14. 14
    nasaman

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:14 am)

    PS: Regarding battery life, we’re routinely getting >20yrs life from spacecraft batteries (with admittedly different chemistry —Nickel-Hydrogen), but Li-Ion should do as well given the extensive cell-level redundancy GM will undoubtedly employ.


  15. 15
    jan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:19 am)

    #12 dark cloud
    My answer to your question is because the battery probably isn’t serviceable like an engine in a car, that’s a big difference to me. The warranty is all important. I think the Federal Gov. is looking for that kind of life expectency too.


  16. 16
    nuclearboy

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:19 am)

    Another note, FYI….
    One of the cable news stations, I think it is MSNBC, is going to have a special in-depth story on GM this Wed night (Aug 6, 08). They are advertising a long term investigative story on GM’s turnaround (Or GMs troubles – however you see it) and they mentioned the Volt just before noting the upcoming special. I assume the special will cover the volt as well as all the other GM issues.

    On a side note, the commentator mentioned the collaboration with Ford on Engines but doubted GM would be sharing E-Flex anytime soon.


  17. 17
    Jeff J

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:33 am)

    Statik forever the optimus !! You may be right , but if GM has data strong evidence that the battery packs last much longer that 150,000 then this warranty would put to bed any fears a customer would have about buying a first generation Volt . Plus if the volt sales go south in the next five years and GM pulls the plug on the line , its pretty much lights out for GM , and that 10/150k warranty is not worth the paper it’s written on .


  18. 18
    Dave B

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:34 am)

    Such an extended warranty, (4 times the amount of standard warranties) would justify an increase in cost of roughly $6,000… I for one would appreciate the piece of mind when we’re talking about actually purchasing the battery as opposed to leasing. Seems fair to me.

    Also, when factoring in the tax credits which both presidential candidates are now touting (granted these are campaign promises) of at least $5,000, we’re getting much closer to the base price of $30,000.

    Statik, do you actually read your posts? “every cloud with a silver lining is really dark in the middle” give us a break today, will you?


  19. 19
    Gsned57

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:42 am)

    #12 Statik, You make a great point most days, but I think today you are really reaching and missing the obvious. My Toyota Prius has a 150,000 mile warranty on the battery. Essentially Toyota set the bar. If GM said we’ll warranty this 10,000$ battery for 4 years or 50,000 miles there is no way I’d buy a volt. Even 100,000 miles I’d be hard pressed. Not to mention the press they’d get comparing GM’s battery warranty to that of the 150K prius. I know the chemistry is completely different, but they don’t need to report that if they have a story of GM not as confident in their battery as Toyota is.

    Even with this mornings err I’ll still be reading your posts and waiting for you to say “Today is the day I’m buying GM stock”. Because that day either GM is going to double or the world is going to end.


  20. 20
    Jason The Saj

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:44 am)

    When I read this, I first thought it was for the whole vehicle.

    I thought wow!!! That’d be killer…. a 10 yr, 150,000 mile warranty. I’d buy that. You give me a $7,000 tax rebate plus the above warranty (about $4K-$5K add-on). And you’ve got a net adjustment of about $10,000 on the Volt.

    I think GM should offer the 10 yr, 150,000 mile drivetrain warranty on the Volt.

    Cause that headline made me drool. I was like “Yessss!!!!”


  21. 21
    omegaman66

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:48 am)

    Statik I don’t know what the final decision will be on the warranty but you have to remember that it could have something to do with the fact that GM might not have to foot the bill for a new battery if the old one fails. Could be the battery manufacture would get the hit. It could also mean that a prorated battery wouldn’t result in to much of a cost hit say 7 or 8 years down the road when the batteries start to fail due to age and wear.

    By then the cost of the batteries will likely be much lower (fingers crossed) and replacement cost at a prorated amount would cut the cost even more. I doubt a battery giving sub 40 mile range at 9 years of life is going to be replace by a brand new battery for free.

    As always the article bring up more questions than they answer. I think I will stop reading before I don’t know anything about the Volt.


  22. 22
    jeremy

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:51 am)

    heck id be happy with a 7 year 125 k mile gaurentee ..


  23. 23
    Kevin

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:56 am)

    Dave B.,
    4 times standard warranty? Isn’t the standard for the previous 07 and 08 models 100,000 mile / 5 yr transferable powertrain warranty for new and used vehicles.

    Nuclearboy,
    It’s actually on CNBC because I see the commercials everyday during Fast Money and Cramer.


  24. 24
    jabroni

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:07 am)

    Too bad that GM will not use the Panasonic EV-95 NiMH battery found in the Toyota RAV4-EV which has ALREADY proven that is will maintain its life for the 10 years, 100,000 + miles….

    Of course, GM sold the rights to NiMH batteries to Texaco/Chevron.


  25. 25
    Dave B

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:09 am)

    Kevin @ 23,

    Most vehicles I have bought have warranties terminate at 35,000. I haven’t purchased a new GM vehicle, ever. My last new American vehicle was a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee and that was nowhere past 35,000 (naturally when the problems started kicking in). So I figure 150,000 / 35,000 = just over 4.2.

    Of course if we’re not talking about miles and just about batteries, we’re not comparing apples to apples.


  26. 26
    Brad G

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:17 am)

    Kevin @ 23,

    Most vehicles I have bought have warranties terminate at 35,000. I haven’t purchased a new GM vehicle, ever. My last new American vehicle was a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee and that was nowhere past 35,000 (naturally when the problems started kicking in). So I figure 150,000 / 35,000 = just over 4.2.
    ====================================
    I read an article in an auto magazine where EV’s will have 1/10th the moving parts of an ICE power vehicle.


  27. 27
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:22 am)

    This is good news. One of my nagging concerns with E-Flex is that you can’t really know a battery will last 10 years in less than 10 years. You can try to find approximations and tests which are suggestive of battery life, but nothing can substitute for the passage of time, and the real world.

    The blocky, smiley-face things signify new support for “gravatars” (see Lyle’s comment in the last post). You can make a little pic come up next to your comments, now.

    (irony on)

    Isn’t technology wonderful?

    (irony off)


  28. 28
    nasaman

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:37 am)

    26 Brad G…. You say, “I read an article in an auto magazine where EV’s will have 1/10th the moving parts of an ICE power vehicle.”

    Of course, the Volt’s ICE/Gen range extender adds back lots of parts. However, a major advantage of the E-REV/Volt architecture is that it has TWO separate propulsion systems! This means that, if GM carefully avoids credible single-point failures, a Volt driver should NEVER be stranded between the fast lane & the concrete barrier on freeways if the range extender runs out of gas or fails for any reason —or if the battery fails or is fully discharged!!! IT’S A REAL SAFETY ADVANTAGE —THEREFORE A HUGE MARKETING ADVANTAGE— FOR THE E-REV CONCEPT!!!

    NO MORE WAITING FOR AN HOUR OR MORE IN A HAZARDOUS LOCATION FOR YOUR WIFE OR AAA TO RESCUE YOU!!! :) :) :)


  29. 29
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:42 am)

    #18 Dave B

    “Statik….give us a break today, will you?”

    I gave you the whole last thread, lol. Two in a row? Can’t be done, lol. Besides, any thread that lets me state my unhappiness with not owning the Volt 100% is a good thread.

    For the record: I will only BUY a Volt. I will not rent or lease under any situation. To me, the Volt represents independance, and I demand that choice.


  30. 30
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:51 am)

    #29 Statik (Me)

    “To me, the Volt represents independance, and I demand that choice.”

    I also demand a dictionary. “Independence”


  31. 31
    Chris

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:58 am)

    Statik,

    Saab is the only group that will have it’s powertrain reduced. GMs powertrain warranty is what sells vehicles for their “non-premium brands” (pontiac, gmc, chev, buick, etc). Those warranties are going nowhere.

    There will be no rental fee for this battery, GM is making a statement by expanding this warranty. By the time people get passed their 3-year/60,000 km (that’s 36,000 miles for you yanks) and their powertrain of 5 years/160,000 KM (100,000 miles, again…. yanks ;) battery costs will hopefully have come down by about half and will cost GM considerably less. Not to mention, I’m sure GM will have a contract structure with the suppliers who will also help carry some of this cost for replacements. They would have to or there would be no contract.

    Chris


  32. 32
    Morgan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:59 am)

    29 Statik:

    Is Independance a 1776 version of Riverdance?


  33. 33
    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:04 am)

    I too, will not consider a VOLT unless I can own it driving off the lot. Unless, of course, it’s to field test a prototype!
    Be well,
    Tag


  34. 34
    Jim I

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:05 am)

    Gsned57: “Even with this mornings err I’ll still be reading your posts and waiting for you to say “Today is the day I’m buying GM stock”. Because that day either GM is going to double or the world is going to end.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you. That is the best laugh I have had in days!!!!

    :)


  35. 35
    N Riley

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:10 am)

    GM has to offer a warranty they feel they can live with and still offer the customer something in return. Most of us have grown up with ICE warranties of 36 months/36,000 miles. Those warranties have only recently been extended to the current offerings. Warranties are used as a sales tool more today than they used to be. It will take several years before the Volt type vehicle’s warranties are proven.

    I am ready for some really good news. If GM offers a 10 year/150,000 mile warranty, that would help some people who are on the fence about buying a Volt. But GM will only do what is best for GM, I am sure.


  36. 36
    Cautious Fan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:14 am)

    Static – I’ll have to politely disagree with you. I think GM is really going to give us this battery in the upfront cost, and with the full Warranty. Why? Average people won’t buy a car where they rent the battery, or where they have to effectively replace the engine after 100,000 miles. We passed that in 1980′s.

    I agree with many other folks that this warranty is a very very big deal. I believe failure to achieve this would’ve led to a market failure. As a consumer, I would not spend 30K on a car that requires and additional 5K in 6 or 7 years. It would kill the cost effectiveness. A few people would buy it (see Tesla), but not the general public. This is very good news.


  37. 37
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:22 am)

    #28 nasaman

    Very good point. I had not thought of the of the two propulsion safety advantage.


  38. 38
    Eco

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:24 am)

    NOW you can justify a 72 month payment plan. duh.

    To justify paying 40K for a sedan that’s not a luxury car, you have get value. When we were told the Volt would cost 40K, I dedided I could not afford one. The payment would be too high for a 5 year note.

    A six year note, with the GUARANTEE for 150,000 miles, and the possibility of repowering the vehicle with another battery for another 150,000, means 40K is a very reasonable investment.


  39. 39
    everything.imp

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:27 am)

    @ jabroni
    “A NiMH battery can have two to three times the capacity of an equivalent size NiCd. However, compared to the lithium-ion battery, the volumetric energy density is lower and self-discharge is higher.”

    It’s a simple google search…use it. I would assume that this means lithium ion batteries will weigh less per k/w than a NiMh battery. When it comes to electric vehicles this is a huge thing. Also, i’m not sure but I think the NiMH has some real problems dealing with the effects of heat and cold.


  40. 40
    Exp_EngTech

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:27 am)

    Concerning the Volt battery and the dashboard instrumentation….

    A suggestion for consideration…

    On the Volt (version 2) dashboard, have a large Delco battery “green eye” indicator.
    Make it look like the HAL 9000 “eye” in “2001: A Space Odyssey” only green in color.

    It would essentially be the “Service Battery” light.
    Green would be “Normal” / Red would be “Service”.

    If the “eye” was red and you plugged the vehicle into the home AC outlet, that creepy 2001 voice would play saying….. “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that”.

    “Daisy, Daisy…..”


  41. 41
    N Riley

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:28 am)

    No one has commented on the picture presented along with Lyle’s comment. What are the two large tanks depicted in the picture? Looks like LPG type tanks. Certainly not gasoline tanks. Also noticed it sports two charging ports, one on each front fender area. This may be an old picture, or maybe not.


  42. 42
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:35 am)

    Admittedly, I am not a battery expert. When Burns said, “…our selected cell chemistry…,” I wondered if the competing batteries use the same cell chemistry. Can someone please answer that?


  43. 43
    brandon

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:35 am)

    Why can’t they build a EV with 300 mile range that looks different. I mean tesla can go 200+ miles while still ataining a huge acceleration rate. GM has more capital to invest in this then tesla.

    I would buy an EV with 300 mile range… That should take me basically as far as i need to do most days. If i am going long range rent a car…


  44. 44
    frankyB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:37 am)

    As some have said, at the end GM will ask the battery vendor to backup any warranty on the battery, so it’s a limited risk.

    PS.: @ Statik, you really are the attention seaker, you should post more often in the forums. But again, less people would read you. At least on the last few posts you didn’t hack the main subject.


  45. 45
    everything.imp

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:44 am)

    @ 43 brandon
    These reasons for this are simple. Tesla’s battery cost many times that of the volt. It’s size and weight is also increased. Which is why the car is prices at 100,000 dollars. They also deplete their batteries to a lower charge rate. The volt as of the latest news charges between 35% and 80 or 85% I believe. This extends the life the battery alot. All Tesla has done is crammed alot of batteries into a light weight sports car and priced it at 100,000USD. You have to look at GM and understand they are going about this with the idea that they are going to change the world. They aren’t wanting to sell a few. They want to convert the automotive industry over to electric drive over the course of the next decade or so.


  46. 46
    Aspherical

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:54 am)

    #41 NRiley

    That is the GM fuel cell powertrain. Those tanks are hydrogen tanks. Not the appropriate picture for this post….


  47. 47
    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:01 am)

    #42 ThombDbhomb points out “When Burns said, ‘…our selected cell chemistry…,’ ”

    Yes, one wonders just what “selected cell chemistry” includes and excludes. Interesting phrase. He has chosen this wording carefully,.


  48. 48
    Aspherical

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:04 am)

    From the interview:

    “Overall, the battery development is on track. But one of the important challenges remaining is proving ten-year, 150,000-mile life when we’re developing the battery over a three-year timeframe. Obviously, we’ll protect the customer in this regard with our warranty, but we still need to prove out the required durability.”

    The 10 year, 150,000 mile warranty is still up in the air. They have commited to nothing yet.


  49. 49
    Firefly

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:06 am)

    10 years / 150,000 mile warranty?

    Another reason for me to buy one.


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    N Riley

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:12 am)

    Aspherical

    Thanks. I thought about it being the fuel cell version, but wasn’t sure. As far a GM committing to a warranty, they have plenty of time to iron out the remaining battery problems and settle on the warranty. Plenty of time — 2+ years!! Sure wish it was available this fall.


  51. 51
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:14 am)

    I’m thinking it’s possible that the real concern of Volt owners 8 years on will be: “How can I get one of those new ‘improved energy density’ batteries, and a firmware chip for 60 AER?”

    Or, maybe they’ll just trade for the 2018 model. :-)


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:15 am)

    If you guys are wondering about what picture I will post, well, I don’t have to. That is the way I really look. Imagine, Lyle used my picture as the image default value.


  53. 53
    brandon

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:15 am)

    There is many new technologies on batteries, not just EEStor that everyone things is not going to happen (but hopefully it does).

    This is called superlattice, it allows more storage and higher voltage: http://www.superlatticepower.com/index.html

    Lithium Iron Phosphate, cheaper to use iron then cobalt. Once lithium iron was more expensive to manufacture, but not with this new technique: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/lithium-iron-phosphate-battery-hybrid-electric-cars.php

    Plus I am sure there are many more.. I am trying to find this article about this battery that uses a new material for its terminals that allow for quick charges as low at 10 minutes.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:18 am)

    That is the correct amount for the warranty. If you only offer 5 years and the pack fails. Thats a 15k? expense.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:25 am)

    I’m not a fan of fuel cells, as most of you know, but this could be major; someone has made a fuel cell without using platinum:

    http://gizmodo.com/5032327/much-cheaper-fuel-cells-on-the-way-with-new-prototype

    When discussing why fuel cells won’t work in the real world, one thing I (and many of you) often cite is the need to make hydrogen either from carbon-containing feedstock (typically natural gas), or through electrolysis (why not use the power to charge a battery).

    This argument typically leads me to suggest that something like practical fusion will have to happen first, in perhaps 50 years time (so that hydrogen’s portability will become more important than the cost of the electricity). As a wild card, I’ve suggested that someone might come up with a way to use sunlight directly to split water. Well, guess what:

    http://gizmodo.com/5031810/new-way-of-storing-solar-energy-discovered

    Now let’s see them solve the so-far intractible problems of storing hydrogen on a vehicle, or distributing it.

    Note that it’s conceivable that you could have your sunlight-to-hydrogen array at home to re-fill a fuel-cell car.

    I am still skeptical that fuel cells are the way to go now, but I’ve downgraded my speculations from 50 years to 20 years (proving that it is possible for a poster on this site to have something of an opinion change).

    Whatever you think of fuel cells, these developments bear watching (any fuel-cell fanboys with more detailed links, please post them).


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:29 am)

    Statik, you idea about GM having a service agreement for the battery was intriguing. But I think it’s sucking some air. You haven’t addressed the excellent point made by omegamann66 in #21, which is that the battery will likely be warranted by the battery manufacturer not GM. I’m not sure exactly how this would work but I’m also sure that GM will get protection in this regard.

    Then there is Gsned57 #19′s point that Toyota currently warrants their battery for 10 yr. 150,000 miles. It’s a different beast but for a consumer I’d think the battery would be a huge deal given this is a new technology. I’m sure GM’s marketing department has figured this out.

    My personal feeling is that the batteries are not going to be a problem. I think that because whenever a manufacturer focuses on a potential weakness it never ends up to be a problem. My guess is that the problems will come up in one or more of the software systems which this car is going to have in abundance.

    To push the point a bit, the batteries in the RAV have gone way beyond EOL. Even now the issues with these batteries have been more with the wiring and gettng the service departments at Toyota dealers to work on them rather than just wanting to replace the whole thing. The dealers are used to simply replacing rather than fixing electrical parts but this approach is problematic with a battery pack since it’s so expensive. I’m sure GM will have the same issues with its Chevy dealer service departments.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:43 am)

    #54 Jackson

    I am watching the same developments concerning fuel cells. Maybe science and technology will coincide to give us a good energy future. We will see.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:46 am)

    #7 FME 111:

    Malcom Bricklin??? LMAO. First I heard about this. What is it, a plug in hybrid Yugo?

    19 Gsned57:

    I agree. The day Toyota announced the extended warranty on the battery is the day the Prius became a viable car for consumers. Before that, everyone was terrified of an unproven battery which would cost several thousand dollars to replace. I have not heard that this has been a significant problem for Toyota.

    GM can do no less, IMHO.

    Having said that, this is very good news. We have the money. We are patiently waiting. There is not a moment to be lost.

    BTW, I wonder what the warranty is on Malom’s battery, ROTFLMAO?


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:48 am)

    #50 NRiley

    “Sure wish it was available this fall.”

    I hear that. I just moved to Denver two months back from the Chicago area where I bought a 4-cylinder car, which was a very reasonable choice at the time. This weekend I was driving in the mountains to about 11,000 feet and my poor engine was struggling due to the incline and loss of power due to the altitude. The entire time I was thinking, “What if I had a Volt now?” Increasing the torque and no loss of power due to the high altitude would be incredible. Add a 10 year, 150,000 mile warranty and it will be very difficult to ignore once I am ready for my next vehicle…


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:48 am)

    N. Riley and Jackson,
    I’m for anything that increases options for transportation! Affordability and ease of use (hopefully) will follow.
    Be well,
    Tag
    (but I hear that hydrogen atoms are really, really, really, small)


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    Kent

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:51 am)

    Statik,

    For the first time, I disagree with you. I really don’t understand why you think GM can expect us to pay $40,000 for a Volt, plus lease payments on the battery. Especially when Toyota is already providing a 10-year, 150K mile warranty on their $22,000 Prius. Talk about instantly losing customer loyalty and market share. I’m a loyal domestic car owner, but I will quickly change colors if these are my options.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:55 am)

    #54 Jackson

    You may not have to distribute it. With a claimed effeciency of 100%, this MIT professor says you can make hydrogen from water and PV panels.

    http://www.forbes.com/energy/2008/07…0731solar.html

    You could conceivably have “hydrogen stations” which manufactured the fuel rather than having is distributed. However, the professor in the accompanying video suggests that the hydrogen be used as a means of storing electricity which could then be used to charge electrical vehicles. In this case you’d have a closed system: SUN + WATER –> HYDROGEN –> HYDROGEN + FUEL CELL = ELECTRICITY + WATER.

    The remaining problem with hydrogen which you haven’t mentioned is that it’s dangerous as all get out. Perhaps nasaman can comment on this.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:58 am)

    Tag

    Those “really, really small hydrogen atoms” are what make the storage problem really, really hard. That could be the last necessary puzzle-piece; and while I’ve seen some interesting research, I don’t know that any is really close to the required “killer app.” Certainly nothing as practical as where Li-Ion appears to be at the moment.

    DonC:

    Oh, the humanity!!!!!!!


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:02 am)

    #60 Kent

    Agreed. GM is going to have a hard enough time competing against the Prius as it is presently configured with the battery and mileage improvements Toyota has promised for the 2009 – 2010 version. Once Toyota adds the plug-in capability and keeps the cost below $30,000 and the “MPG” goes to 100 to 150 (whatever it actually does) it will be extremely hard to compete. Consumers will look at the prices of $40,000 and range extended capability versus less than $30,000 and up to 150 mpg and they will choose the Prius. It all comes down to dollars and cents when it comes to many consumers. They will say the Prius gives them much more than they ever had before in a proven package. It won’t help when Toyota produces 200,000 Priuses for the American market while GM is producing 50,000 Volts.

    Like I have said before: It is going to be some interesting times for the next 4 or 5 years.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:04 am)

    Statik #30 says,

    “To me, the Volt represents independance, and I demand that choice.”

    I also demand a dictionary. “Independence”

    ————
    Statik. A dictionary can be provided right now.
    Go to http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
    and click the big green button. It has a dictionary built right in.
    It puts a red underline under the misspelled word. Then you can right click on the word and it pops up a menu with fairly good guesses at what you meant. The whole thing is free. I use it everyday and can’t see myself ever changing to that other thing.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:05 am)

    Jackson@62,
    Yeah, that’s what I was referring to with the PS. Currently, they are using 5 or 10 thousand PSI in their tanks to get any appreciable mileage.
    Exciting times though,
    Tag


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:06 am)

    Hey, now the VOLT’s looking good again with a 10 year, 150,000 mile warranty for $40,000, plus by the time that warranty runs out there will be newer tech/packs to go into the VOLT.

    Way to set the mark GM!

    GO GM, GO VOLT for 2010.


  68. 68
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:09 am)

    N. Riley@63,
    I wonder if the new Prius will be E85 tolerant…. That’s be a big boost to lowering oil dependency.
    Be well,
    Tag


  69. 69
    DonC

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:10 am)

    An interesting point in the article is that “He says that battery energy density will have to improve though before E-Flex cars larger than the Volt could emerge.”

    From an article yesterday in MIT Tech Review about recent developments at EESTOR by Tyler Hamilton, who is a respected journalist. It’s more and more seeming as if EESTOR may be on to something:

    “A startup reports progress on a battery that stores more energy than lithium-ion ones.”

    By Tyler Hamilton

    A Texas startup says that it has taken a big step toward high-volume production of an ultracapacitor-based energy-storage system that, if claims hold true, would far outperform the best lithium-ion batteries on the market.

    Dick Weir, founder and chief executive of EEStor, a startup based in Cedar Park, TX, says that the company has manufactured materials that have met all certification milestones for crystallization, chemical purity, and particle-size consistency. The results suggest that the materials can be made at a high-enough grade to meet the company’s performance goals, as well as withstand the extreme voltages needed for high energy storage, the company said in a press release last week.

    “These advancements provide the pathway to meeting our present requirements,” Weir says. “This data says we hit the home run.”

    EEStor claims that its system, called an electrical energy storage unit (EESU), will have more than three times the energy density of the top lithium-ion batteries today. The company also says that the solid-state device will be safer and longer lasting, and will have the ability to recharge in less than five minutes.

    Full article at: http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/21171/


  70. 70
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:13 am)

    Like most of the statements from GM, this one too leaves it to the reader to make suggested inferences. For example did he say GM plans to warrant the battery for 10 years or 150,000 miles? Nope He said they are trying to prove the battery will last that long and will protect the customer in that regard. In regard to battery life? That could be for any duration. We are asked to assume he was speaking specifically about the stated life.

    Next, did he say they had internally chosen which supplier would get the production contract? It seems so, for he referred to “the selected chemistry” singular when two chemistries are still in the running as far as we know. Or was he speaking more broadly, lithium chemistry as contrasted with lead? Who knows?


  71. 71
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:21 am)

    #64 Rashiid Amul

    Firefox is so much better than Internet Explorer. The included dictionary is just one of the nice features. Plus, you can add a word to the dictionary when necessary. I use this feature all the time on this site. That is why I didn’t care for the spell checker provided by Lyle on the postings.

    Now, Internet Explorer does have some features I like, too. But, I just prefer Firefox.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:25 am)

    On further thought, I don’t believe a 10 year warranty helps me.
    I drive about 28,000 miles a year. That’s about 500+ miles a week.
    That gives me less than 5.5 years for the 150,000 mile warranty.
    I would like something better than that, but I certainly won’t hold my breath waiting for it.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:26 am)

    I hope its not pro-rated………


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:26 am)

    #67 Tagamet

    Haven’t seen any E85 announcements from Toyota, but the market seems to be going that way in the U.S. Would not surprise me since it only cost “small change” to put in the necessary items to use E85 with any gasoline engine. Toyota is not dumb. They will follow along until some else defines and proves the technology (GM with E85) then adopt it without any pre-announcements. After that the press will swear it was Toyota’s design all along. Funny how that works.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:29 am)

    N. Riley. #70.

    I use Firefox exclusively. Home and at work. I have “trained” the kids to use it as well. I love some of the easy plugins. As well as multiple tabs (IE 7 has multiple tabs as well). It cleans up cache, history, cookies, etc when I exit the browser. The spell check is a fantastic feature.


  76. 76
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:30 am)

    >> This is good news.

    …but no surprise.

    The warranty was quite predicatable, knowing that CARB standards already require it for PZEV certification.


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    Jeff M

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:32 am)

    For those who wanted V2G (vehicle-to-grid)…. this definitely rules it out unless you want to void your battery warrenty…


  78. 78
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:34 am)

    #74 Rashiid Amul

    I use Firefox on Windows and Linux. I encourage everyone to try it. It resides on my Windows PCs along side Internet Explorer with no problems. Internet Explorer doesn’t like it, but it grudgingly allows me to tell it to let Firefox be my browser of choice. I do find some government sites require I.E. to display properly. They have a pretty closed mind-set sometimes.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:36 am)

    #76 Jeff M

    I seem to remember GM saying V2G was something they were discussing for future versions of the Volt type vehicles. So, maybe, maybe not.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:38 am)

    JeffM
    I don’t think V2G was even contemplated until at least VOLT Version 2.0.
    FIRST LET’S GET THE VOLT’S WHEELS ON THE ROAD!!
    Be well,
    Tag


  81. 81
    Jim I

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:40 am)

    Rashiid #71: You may have to go with an extended warranty…..


  82. 82
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:45 am)

    #32 Morgan
    #64 Rashiid Amul

    You guys stopping beating me up about my spelling, lol.

    #44 Franky B:

    “PS.: @ Statik, you really are the attention seaker, you should post more often in the forums. But again, less people would read you. At least on the last few posts you didn’t hack the main subject.”

    Most of them time I honestly forget about them, I do go there from time to time.

    Clearly my posts are meant to gain attention, however you should know I sustain my existence completely from internet stardom…I have yet to eat any solid matter since this site opened.

    #19 Gsned57

    “Even with this mornings err I’ll still be reading your posts and waiting for you to say “Today is the day I’m buying GM stock”. Because that day either GM is going to double or the world is going to end.”

    I’m not saying it until I can guarantee both will happen concurrently.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:46 am)

    JimI@80,
    extended warranty…..
    /rant on
    One of my biggest pet peeves! I’m from a time (long, long ago) when things were manufactured well enough to LAST THROUGH THE WARRANTY.
    ARRRG. /rant off
    Be well,
    Tag


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    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:56 am)

    On a serious note, I see some people are a little hestitate to believe GM could possibly rent/lease/service-contract (whatever they want to call a monthly payment). Ok, some people just flat out think it’s a pipe-dream.

    As always, I’ll throw out a couple quotes/links to back up my position that it is a very real possibility, and we should probably do our best to discourage this option regardless if you agree with my angle or not.

    ““People won’t buy a full car. They will buy a car and rent or lease the battery and the cost of leasing the battery will be the same as, or less than, the cost they’re paying today for petrol.”–Nick Reilly, the President of General Motors Asia Pacific

    http://gm-volt.com/2007/09/05/will-gm-lease-the-chevy-volt-battery-pack/

    “…The report also notes “Lutz has said GM is exploring options that would allow consumers to lease the battery when buying the vehicle in order to bring down the sticker price.””

    http://gm-volt.com/2007/09/12/bob-lutz-discusses-cost-of-producing-the-chevy-volt/

    …and there is about a half dozen more just like it here that say pretty much the same thing. Clearly they are exploring it, hopefully in the end they won’t do it.

    I think we all (at least 90% of us) can agree we want to own the Volt outright, and it really does not harm to voice a opinion on it from time to time.

    (JEC–those links are for you, lol. “How many pairs of shoes does your wife have anyway?”–Joe Friday)


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    Cautious Fan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:56 am)

    #77 Riley

    I still like IE7 because it works with all websites better. I downloaded IE7 Pro which gives me mouse gestures, spell checking, and some other things.

    #68 DonC

    I’d love if EEStor works out but I’m a doubting Thomas. I will believe it when I see it.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:06 pm)

    #9:
    “10 years on the battery is a good warranty but why 150,000 miles? If you drive 40 miles every day for 10 years it comes to about 146,000 miles. If you use the range extender to drive another 40 per day, you will reach the mileage limit in about 5 years. The mileage warranty on the battery should be for electric driving only.”

    Just like if you drive more in a year with a car today, your warranty ends sooner than the “years” value, if you drive more and use the range extender, the battery is still undergoing charge, and still wearing out.
    Basically put, if you drive 4x the amount another person does, your warranty is going to end 4x sooner. It doesnt make sense for yours to end at the exact same time, since you’ve used the same number of EV miles.

    And my first thought was: cool! actual “news”! (though not too big a deal)
    second though: ooh! a new photo of the drivetrain!
    … oh wait.. thats the damn fuel cell one again.


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    Jim D

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:07 pm)

    I wonder why he is called Static…


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    Morgan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:11 pm)

    83 Statik:

    I am actually in the minority here. I am okay with leasing the battery. If it drives the cost of the vehicle down to where I could purchase it outright and the lease terms are reasonable. I am also fine with purchasing the battery with car as long as there was some infrastructure in place vis a vis battery disposal/resale.

    Leasing, in my mind, takes a lot of the pressure of purchasing an “unproven” battery technology off of my financial decisions. I am simply renting instead of paying the early adopter premium and dealing with all the bugs on my own dime.

    I don’t LIKE a monthly payment but I dislike the idea of paying 10,000 dollars or more for a new and likely buggy piece of technology more.

    Given the volume numbers talked about though, and the unlikelihood of any significant volume of Volts being sold in Northern Indiana. I think the two mode hybrid VUE is for me until 2015 or so.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:13 pm)

    #77 Riley. Try IE TAB. It is a plugin for Firefox. It inserts IE into a FireFox tab. When I have a similar problem that you have, I use this.

    You can download it at:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1419


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:15 pm)

    Okay 3rd time I am posting this. The first two disappeared.
    I’ll try quotes around the URL this time.

    ————————
    #77 Riley. Try IE TAB. It is a plugin for Firefox. It inserts IE into a FireFox tab. When I have a similar problem that you have, I use this.

    You can download it at:

    “https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1419″


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    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:15 pm)

    #84 Cautious Fan

    “I’d love if EEStor works out but I’m a doubting Thomas. I will believe it when I see it.”

    Thats the kind of pessimism we need around here.

    Actually it is wise to have that attitude, especially when it comes to really bold claims. Like Zenn and EEStor claiming they will be producing a car together by fall of 2009…of course that was back in March…so tick tock fellas.

    http://media.cleantech.com/2644/zenn-gearing-up-for-eestor-powered-car

    EEStor kind of reminds me of the movie “The Saint.” You remember the one, where the good looking (naturally) US scientist has the “secret formula for cold fusion” and she can not only build it, but she do it in like 5 mins under pressure of death at the end of the film.

    /hopefully its not just fiction…but I won’t count on this kind technology sitting in my driveway, even in the slightest, anytime soon


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    I doubt they will be leasing, if they were the warranty would not be in effect. The fact that they ARE putting out an unusually good warranty seems to indicate that they are serious about using this to revitalize their bottom line. They will NOT be able to sell it, with their current reputation, unless they give more then their competitors to attract new and possibly anti-GM customers.

    I think this is a good sign!


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    THOM

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    Lets see..Talk about battery warranty but have selected a supplier or technology??


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:28 pm)

    #84 Cautious Fan

    “#77 Riley

    I still like IE7 because it works with all websites better. I downloaded IE7 Pro which gives me mouse gestures, spell checking, and some other things.”

    Variety is the spice of life and it is what makes the world go around. That’s why they make different versions of browsers. Not everyone will like the same. Happy browsing with I.E. It’s still a good product. Microsoft let it languish for awhile, but Firefox and the others finally got its attention.


  95. 95
    George K

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:29 pm)

    “challenges remain in proving the batteries will last 10 years and 150,000 miles, indicating for the first time publicly that GM plans to warranty that benchmark.”

    Toyota ran into this in California and possibly some other states which have adopted that standard, which requires an AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology- Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) ( the current generation 3 Prius) emission standard to have a 10 year / 150,000 mile warranty on the battery. That’s why Prius does it, but only in those states that require it, or they can’t sell the car there. The remaining states have 8 years / 100,000 miles, for the same battery.

    If this is why GM is talking about 10 / 150,000, I would think it would only apply to those few states. As a buyer, perhaps you would feel satisfied that, GM believes enough in the battery to offer that warranty, even if it applies to someone else?


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:29 pm)

    Nothing really to do with the thread, but might have some future indication of the Volt’s interior.

    The new interior of the Chevy Cruze, looks kinda like the ‘spy photos’ from the Volt thread earlier. Gives us probably a indication of the direction of Chevs in the future.

    Cruze interior
    http://thecarfanatic.com/wordpress/2008/08/02/chevrolet-cruze-interior-revealed/

    Earlier Volt interior thread:
    http://gm-volt.com/2008/04/05/chevy-volt-interior-spy-photo/


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:36 pm)

    #83 Statik

    I know how self-conscious you are about spelling errors. Here is one of yours that a spell checker wouldn’t catch; “…I see some people are a little hestitate to believe…”


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:40 pm)

    It would seem that buying a Volt while leasing the battery would be an added complication for insurance companies and the owner of the Volt. I just do not like the idea of leasing the battery. Give us a realistic price that we can afford (some better than others, but isn’t that always the way?) and a decent warranty that provides dependable coverage for a set number of miles or years. Why not just miles and unlimited years?

    I don’t want to buy a Volt and pay a lease fee that would about equal what I was paying each month on fuel costs. Part of the reasons for buying the Volt is to gain reduced costs through fuel cost savings. If you take that away you remove a very good reason to go with the Volt over, say, a Prius. Mark up another point in favor of the Prius.

    Let’s see now. I buy the Volt. I lease the battery. I contract with an insurance company that adds additional charges because they are covering an expensive battery and they add another cost because the battery is leased. Now, each month I pay my monthly note on the Volt, send the lease fee in, and pay the insurance company. Every time I look at he lease fees and the additional fees for the insurance to cover a leased product, I grind my teeth and say, “Never again.”

    Maybe some of you see it different?


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:42 pm)

    Sorry, but I’m growing rather weary of news tidbits regarding the Volt: I am ready to see the car itself . . .


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:50 pm)

    To me, it comes down to $ and technology advances. If I own the battery, will I own an obsolete battery after a few years? Will a lease allow me to upgrade my battery cheaper? What would it cost me to go from a 40 AER to a 60 AER? In that case, would it be cheaper to buy or lease the 40 AER battery? Wait a minute! If almost all my driving is less than 40 miles per day, why trade up for a 60 AER? I’m good with owning.

    I guess leasing allows people to have the latest and greatest (for a premium), if that is what they want. The buyer should have options for buying versus leasing.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:51 pm)

    #94 Statik.

    The Cruze looks like it has a manual transmission. I could consider it.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:51 pm)

    #95 ThombDbhomb

    “I know how self-conscious you are about spelling errors. Here is one of yours that a spell checker wouldn’t catch; “…I see some people are a little hestitate to believe…”

    I know, I am really off my game today.

    You remember the thread about the ‘next gen Prius’? Sure you do. Everyone taking the headlines as truth… and then commenting upon that assumption…well ‘most’ people did. This, despite the picture clearly being a old Prius with some new parts slapped on it.

    http://gm-volt.com/2008/07/31/next-gen-prius-spotted-volt-wannabe/

    Not so much with the facts I guess. Not only was it denied by Toyota over the weekend, but yesturday, yet another ‘mule’ was out spied testing a roof top solar panel.

    The phrase out of the article, “This Prius with yards of black and white tape as a disguise is actually a test mule with the new front-end grafted onto the current body” is especially interesting.

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/toyota-prius-2010.html


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:54 pm)

    # 89 Statik – “EEStor kind of reminds me of the movie “The Saint.” You remember the one, where the good looking (naturally) US scientist has the “secret formula for cold fusion” and she can not only build it, but she do it in like 5 mins under pressure of death at the end of the film.”

    LOL. But you overstate the case. Turn it around, leaving Zenn out of the equation. What motivation would EESTOR have to pump a product? Obviously the answer would be that while they have their C round from Kleiner Perkins they need more $ for production so they want to increase their valuation.

    There isn’t anything unusual about this and it doesn’t strike me as a scam. Whether EESTOR works out or not I think Weir thinks he has something. If he didn’t, and he was really trying to run a scam, he wouldn’t be dealing with Kleiner, he’d be out hunting big angel funding from the golf course set.

    I also note that the academic skeptics are sort of melting away. It’s hard to get someone with credentials to go on the record and say flat out that EESTOR’s approach won’t work. The only guy Hamiltion could get on the record was actually positive. Seems more real than it was a year or six months ago, and, contrary to your suggestion, the delay attributable to the Lockheed Martin deal doesn’t make it less so.

    It’s always easier to debunk than to champion. Debunking seems more savvy and the fact is that most new things don’t work out, so it’s a safer choice. But I’m getting more optimistic about EESTOR. In a little while longer we’ll see.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:55 pm)

    #99 Rashiid

    “#94 Statik. The Cruze looks like it has a manual transmission. I could consider it.”

    Personally, I like it. I like it alot. This is a good effort by GM.
    (yes, feel free to screenshot that comment from me…see I’m not always a prickly rosebush, lol)

    My friend has a Cobalt, and I was not impressed at all with it’s interior…this is a vast improvement in my opinion.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (12:56 pm)

    #98 ThombDbhomb

    Even if you purchase the Volt with the batteries as part of the cost, what is to prevent you from upgrading the batteries when it is offered, except cost, of course. If you leased the battery, you would still have additional cost to upgrade the batteries. Maybe for a smaller up front cost and another X number of years added to the battery lease. No, too many complications for me. Just let me buy it and if I want to ever upgrade it I will weigh the cost against the benefits.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:02 pm)

    #103 N Riley

    We agree.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:04 pm)

    Statik, I for one do not judge you based on your spelling. You provide helpful information on a subject dear to our hearts. Helpful skepticalism
    is always better than gushing optimism. So, keep letting those words fall where they may.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:18 pm)

    N Riley

    Please don’t think I was denigrating Statik for any spelling errors when I mentioned his “hesitate.” He seems to have high standards when it comes to spelling and grammer. I thought he would appreciate knowing that an error slipped past him. I’m sure he will get back to his thorough self soon.

    Statik elevates our discussion by providing substantive inputs and educated guesses.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:25 pm)

    Tag #82: “One of my biggest pet peeves! I’m from a time (long, long ago) when things were manufactured well enough to LAST THROUGH THE WARRANTY.”

    An extended warranty is supposed to kick in AFTER the original warranty expires, so how is that a problem? If Rashiid drives more than 150K miles before the ten years has passed, he would then have the option to extend the warranty for a fixed fee. Or let it lapse and take his chances.

    When I bought my Crossfire, it was a very early release, S/N 2476, and because of that I bought an extended warranty than increased it from 3 years/36K miles to 7 years/70K miles. It was not that expensive, and it gave me peace of mind. I have 5 years and 50K miles with the car, and as yet, I have not had any major problems. But it is nice to know that if the tranny drops out tomorrow, all I owe is a $100 co-pay.

    It is basically a roll of the dice. I was betting the car would have problems. Chrysler was betting it would not…..

    :)


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:28 pm)

    Nasaman, I still fail to see this great redundancy you keep going on about, the definition of propulsion is propelling the car forward, neither the battery nor the ICE do that, the electric motor is what turns the wheels. If that breaks it doesn’t matter that you can get electricity from 2 different sources, you’re still stuck on the side of the road. And I don’t know where you drive, but most of the cars I see on the side of the road are stopped because of flat tires. So your comment of drivers never being stranded doesn’t make any sense to me. As far as I can tell I can get the same redundancy you are so excited about in my current ICE by keeping a full jerry can in the trunk.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:29 pm)

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:30 pm)

    Eestor Bet

    I am SOOO tired of Eestor. This is classic vaporware, and I am willing to put a bet on it in the classic tradition of scientific wagering.

    Case of beer, winner choice of brand (from the North American Continent) if Eestor has a real, independently verifiable, delivered product for sale that has anything close (say 50% better than battery) to their claimed energy density specs by the end of June 2009. Beer to be delivered to winner’s door by man in a clown-suit.

    First person to take this bet for Eestor on this forum will be considered. Let’s have less random re-posts of this hooey-factory that is out there trying to scam money with flimsy weekly press-releases. That and the random zero-energy, bubble-cold-fusion folks.

    IUs there ANYONE teaching science classes in school anymore? Buehler, Buehler?


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:52 pm)

    #106 ThombDbhomb

    The thought did not enter my mind. I make plenty of verbal mistakes myself. Plus, a lot of mistakes best not discussed.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:53 pm)

    Has anybody here had a problem with their car radio or instrument panel in the recent past?

    GM doesn’t fix these devices at the dealership, but instead uses an exchange program. A reconditioned part is obtained by the dealership and installed in the car, while the old part is sent back to be reconditioned.

    I forsee a similar program for the Volt’s battery pack. With 200 to 300 cells, it is likely that there may be a cell failure here or there. The system is probably going to be configured to bypass these bad cells, and one or two cell failures will not constitute a bad battery pack.

    However, if a significant number of these cells fail, you will be able to make a warranty claim on the battery pack. It is likely that GM will remove your battery pack in exchange for a “reconditioned” battery pack with 100% working cells. Your old pack will be sent to a GM center for overhaul.

    This provides the customer with a 10 yr/150,000 mile battery pack warranty, however, it limits GM’s exposure to repair and overhaul, versus the outright purchase of a new battery pack.

    Given the confidence we’ve seen from Bob Lutz regarding the batteries, I personally don’t see the battery pack warranty as a big problem for GM.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:56 pm)

    #98 – You will probably have an obsolete and 5x or more expensive battery than what’s newly available the day you order your Volt, let alone actually purchase it.

    More battery news:
    http://www.uwire.com/Article.aspx?id=1073960


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:57 pm)

    #109 Biodieseljeep

    Boy, I wish I was brave enough to take up your bet. Sounds like it would be fun to see you delivering that beer. Or maybe even the other party. Hope you get some takers. And get some pictures.

    I like the comment: “IUs there ANYONE teaching science classes in school anymore? Buehler, Buehler?”


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (1:57 pm)

    Look, I hate to rain on the parade here but Burns didn’t say 10 year/150K mile warranty. Burns said 10 year/150K LIFE.

    What’s the “life” of an ICE? 200K Miles? 500K Miles? What’s the “life” of a transmission? 150K miles? 250K miles? The “life” of these things is very long. Who warrants any vehicle component for it’s “life?”

    Burns said, “protect the customer.” Sure… from remarkably early failures. Don’t be surprised to find a much shorter warranty on the battery.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:01 pm)

    #111 BillR

    Seems likely you are correct in your opinion.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:17 pm)

    Hey Spin (and everyone else),

    Having sold Honda’s for a living, I can tell you that the 10/150K warranty is not out of the goodness of GM’s heart, it is mandated by the State of California that a hybrid’s battery last 10yrs/100K. Outside of CA the warranty is 8yrs/70K miles.

    Therefore to be able to sell the Volt ANYWHERE in the US the battery MUST last 8yrs/70K miles and this is a NON-PRORATED warranty. Unlike your ICE battery, if a hybrid battery fails the car company must replace it at no charge, not at some prorated price.

    In fairness to GM for some reason they do add 50K miles to the warranty but that is marketing IMO. How many people drive 100K in ten years? And a bigger question is, to address many of the posts, how many people are going to keep their car, let alone a Volt for 10 years? I can’t imagine keeping a Volt longer then 4 years as the pace of improvment would make we want to trade it in for Volt 3.0!!!!


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:18 pm)

    #114 Please consider the following, from the article about Mr Burns:

    “He strongly suggests GM will warrant the Volt’s battery to 150,000 miles or 10 years “


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:19 pm)

    #111 Bill R
    How would we know if cells failed? I guess a decrease in performance would tell us. How many cells would have to fail before we noticed a decrease in performance? 5%? 10%? For a 200 cell battery, that means 10 to 20 cells would have to fail. For a 300 cell battery, that means 15 to 30 cells would have to fail.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:27 pm)

    5 Rashiid Amul,
    11 Nasaman,
    You say, “……..I would think the electric motor would be a no brainer, since I understand they don’t break.”

    You’re both absolutely right. I had a Sears refrigerator still operating flawlessly after running 24/7 for 38 years!!!!! It died because the defrost timer failed.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:29 pm)

    You know, this is AWESOME!!

    Finally, solid stuff is coming from GM; they got the engine finalized,
    got the battery finalized (as per selected battery chemistry) though they won’t tell us yet, they have the plant location finalized, and now they have warranty finalized!!

    BTW, driving 15,000 Miles or 24,000 KM every year sounds about right for my driving habit. I’m a family guy with one car for everything (not rich enough for a 2nd car) who usually takes a road trip once a year. This will be perfect for an average joe like me =)
    GO VOLT!!!


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:46 pm)

    Could the Chevy Volt be morphing into the new concept version of the Opel Flextreme?

    http://www.autoindia.com/AutoShow/AutoShowVeh.aspx?VehId=426


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:53 pm)

    #118 Thom

    Here is a quote from one of Lyle’s previous interviews with Continental,

    “The controls that were developing do a few things. They’re primary function is all the hardware and software that monitors and controls the state of the battery. So it controls the state of charge, and the state of health of the battery and it will also help with the cell balance. So it will look at all the different cells, it takes very precise measurements on every single cell and then there are a series of calculations and then based on that it will do adjustments to make sure that all of the cells are balanced properly.”

    Here is the link:

    http://gm-volt.com/2008/03/12/interview-darryn-nowicki-electric-vehicle-director-continental-automotive-part-i/

    If you do more research on the battery packaging (Lyle’s previous posts, perhaps back a year or so), you may find more info. I believe the system must monitor and control the battery pack. Obviously, if they are performing “precise measurements on every single cell”, then they will know which ones are defective and won’t take a charge.

    To me, this comes down to a manufacturing quality issue. If the cells have a 5% failure rate, with 300 cells, 15 will fail. The replacement cells at the first warranty replacement will also subject to the 5% failure rate, so there will be only one failure in the 15 replacements.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:55 pm)

    This is a off topic, but I hope GM’s engineers are doing some research on what systems they might need to add to the Volt so blind people, dogs, and little kids don’t get run over. The government might pass laws about this maybe. GM needs to be brainstorming about potential problems with the Volt right NOW while they are designing it. I came across this system by Lotus today that looks pretty good.

    http://www.grouplotus.com/mediacentre_pressreleases/image/406.pdf

    http://www.grouplotus.com/engineering/downloads/videos.html

    It pretty much dynamically simulates the sounds of your typical IC engine car. It is computer controlled so the external engine sounds only happen at appropriate times instead of all the time …. such as at low speeds in parking lots, etc. I hope they make it so the volume level is always appropriate too. I don’t want to have MORE noise on the streets when I am a pedestrian than we have now. The world has enough “noise pollution” as it is.

    I would also like to have the option of (adjustable volume) noise OR no noise INSIDE the cabin while I am driving. Lotus says that with their system, drivers and passengers won’t hear a thing while they are driving. It’s probably a good idea to have “optional interior engine noise” for people who might think it’s too weird to drive without some “engine feedback noise”. People could just change modes on a dash touch screen or whatever.

    It’ll probably take 10 years for everyone to get used to electric cars that are so quiet. In 2020 or so, I bet people who’ve been driving electric cars for a few years will think it’s weird to drive an IC engine car because of that loud, annoying engine noise. :)


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (2:58 pm)

    “battery energy density will have to improve though before E-Flex cars larger than the Volt could emerge.”

    Why not a 25-30 mile E-Flex Malibu and Aura, etc., using the Volt 40 mile Battery. Ok, they’ll need a little bigger ice.

    Really! GM must replicate E-Flex ASAP, and not wait for new battery technology! Remember the expression, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way!”


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:12 pm)

    Thom 106

    “Statik elevates our discussion by providing substantive inputs and educated guesses.”

    Which makes up for his use of what must be the Canadian spellings of “its” and “it’s”!


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:17 pm)

    Hmmm… with a 10 year warranty, I’d almost hope that my battery dies about 9 years into ownership, so I get a new battery for another 10 years of use. Realistically, the cost of batteries at that time will be so low that it will be a non-issue when it comes to replacement part costs.

    And I’ve mentioned this in a previous post: The battery is rated to put out enough juice for 40 miles, and only 50% of the charge capacity is used. As the battery gets older, there could be a self-calibration feature that over time uses 55%, 60%, and eventually 100% of the capacity to get the 40 miles. That way, the battery could have the same distance rating after 10 years.

    Okay, I’ve done my part of being an armchair quarterback, er, uh, engineer. :-)


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:17 pm)

    13. Nuclearboy

    I agree. I want the E-Flex powertrain to be flexible in all sorts of ways. I’d like the batteries on the Volt to be fairly easy to work on so mechanics could take out the original battery and put in a newer, higher capacity one.

    It would be great if they designed the Volt so it could use ANY kind of battery chemistry too. Maybe they can make it so some future exotic silicon nanowire lithium ion battery will work just as well as the original Volt battery … only it would get maybe 100+ miles of all electric range (hopefully). People might want to trade in their original battery for a new one. I have noticed that my rechargeable nickle metal hydride portable batteries don’t work on some devices like this old tape player I had. You have to use the damn throwaway alkaline batteries.

    Bottom line, I’d like to see the systems for the Volt be “future-proofed” so that you can use “new and improved batteries” as they come along. If the “new and improved batteries” available in 2014 have compatibility problems with the control systems and software, maybe GM will have the Volt designed so it is FLEXIBLE with firmware and all that. When you get the “new and improved batteries” in 2014 or whenever, your GM dealer’s mechanic would know that he needs to update the Volt with new firmware and other software for the control system, etc.

    This could be VERY important down the road. GM better make sure they design the Volt with UPGRADEABILITY in mind … batteries, control systems … all that kind of stuff.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:20 pm)

    Jack Says:@108

    “Nasaman, I still fail to see this great redundancy you keep going on about, the definition of propulsion is propelling the car forward, neither the battery nor the ICE do that, the electric motor is what turns the wheels”

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

    The electric motor is probably the less likely item to go bad in the powertrain. So with this in mind, what is the most likely scenario that could keep you from getting off the highway to a safe place? That would be running out gas with a discharge battery. What Nasaman means, I think, is that if you run out of fuel even when the battery is at it lowest charge point (30%), the computer will see that as an emergency and will allow you to get to a safe place using the 30% battery reserve. Nasaman explained this well on a previous post.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:25 pm)

    I think I have seen three chemistries mentioned, two from LG and one from A123.
    One of the LG chemistries was suitable for a 20 mile volt I seem to remember.
    There may be several uncertainties with the reliability of the batteries but one was “the tabs” mention by both Bob and the knowledgeable contributor on A123 RC batteries…yes…that one…
    Anyway, I have a novel idea..or is that novell….anyway,… why could’nt we build smaller batteries and strap them together with copper bar like we did in the old days!

    Have a happy day!


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    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:39 pm)

    #105 N Riley
    #106 ThombDbhomb

    Kind words. Both of your ‘cheques’ are in the mail.

    #125 Fahrvergnugen Fanboy

    “Thom 106: Statik elevates our discussion by providing substantive inputs and educated guesses”
    –Which makes up for his use of what must be the Canadian spellings of “its” and “it’s”!

    Thats it! No ‘check’ for you!


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:42 pm)

    16. Nuclearboy

    Actually, the “Saving GM” program is on CNBC … the financial news network.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/25921075

    They talk a lot about energy issues and the auto industry. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lyle on CNBC before long since he was on Fox Business about a month ago. Maybe Erin Burnett will interview him. She’s a cool news babe. Joe Scarborough calls her an international superstar. :)

    I sometimes watch “Kudlow & Co.” on CNBC. He’s always talking about “drill, drill, drill” and other energy issues lately. I bet he’ll be saying “plug it in, plug it in” in 2011 when the Volt comes out. Kudlow doesn’t quite realize it yet, but the IC engine is going to go extinct in the next 10-20 years. Smart people that can afford a bigger car payment than they’re used to will be making the switch to cars like the Volt in just a few years. For now, he’s a big cheerleader for “Big Oil”.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:45 pm)

    #116 KentT

    Thanks. Yes, CA requires a 10/150K warranty for a partial zero emission car.

    #109 biodieseiljeep

    I could bite. But you seem to think there is a zero chance so why not better odds? Three to one? The specs are more than fair but the date and the product is kind of dicey. The production line is for components and we don’t really know what the “product” might be.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:49 pm)

    “#125 Fahrvergnugen Fanboy—Which makes up for his use of what must be the Canadian spellings of “its” and “it’s”!”

    I have to comment on it further. Holy Cow! Good eyes, teach!

    You know, I saw the mistake in #89, I figured no one would be the wiser, so I let it go (and I also missed the edit). Then I went and did it in #102 as well, but the other way that time…and I confess I totally missed that one.

    For the record kids, if you are going to abbreviate “it is”, you use an apostrophe. Otherwise, you don’t.

    /do as I say not as I do, lol


  137. 137
    Plug Free Volt

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:56 pm)

    I tend to do that a lot… alot… a-lot…


  138. 138
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (3:57 pm)

    #131 GM Volt Fan

    Wow, a fellow CNBC watcher! Now I know there is at least two of us. I agree Kudlow can be a little slow on the uptake adopting ‘new technologies,’ lol.

    If I had a choice, Erin Burnett would be my choice of a interviewer as well. I would have said Maria Bartiromo a few years ago…but the ‘stock hottie’ mantle has officially been passed.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/original/erin_burnett_070907.jpg


  139. 139
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    117,

    “He strongly suggests GM will warrant the Volt’s battery to 150,000 miles or 10 years “

    Do I look stupid? I read that. I also read exactly what Burns said. Strip away the spin and he said nothing about the warranty; he talked about the LIFE. If he said something else that bears on the warranty, the interviewer did not reveal it.


  140. 140
    brandon

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:07 pm)

    WTF? I didnt know exxonmobil was in the battery business?

    Researchers at Tonen Chemical, an affiliate of ExxonMobil Chemical based in Tokyo, Japan, have developed a new separator that plays an active role in keeping batteries from overheating. The material could make it possible to slow the reactions, allowing the battery to cool off rather than bursting into flame, says Peter Roth, program manager for advanced technology development at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM. Sandia is now testing the safety features of the new separator.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/18762/?a=f


  141. 141
    canehdian

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:11 pm)

    “Has anybody here had a problem with their car radio or instrument panel in the recent past?

    GM doesn’t fix these devices at the dealership, but instead uses an exchange program. A reconditioned part is obtained by the dealership and installed in the car, while the old part is sent back to be reconditioned.”

    Yeah, the backlight of the LCD just died one day. Took it in, figured they’d just replace the backlight. Picked it up later.. surprised to see a shiny new (looking) stereo module!
    I suspect this is what they’ll do for the batteries as well. Didn’t they say they were making them simply enough for the dealer to remove and replace?
    That way they just pop one off, pop on a refurbished battery, and you’re on your way while the old battery is sent off to be refurbished for whoever comes in next.

    P.S. it’s = it is/has(has is more slang, though), its = possessive.
    It’s amazing that it’s taking GM this long to release the production images that it’s had in its computers for months now.

    Did I use enough “it”s? ;)


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:12 pm)

    “WTF? I didnt know exxonmobil was in the battery business?”

    Of course.. they wish to control all battery patents so that you are forced to use their oil.
    Since there’s so many variants of lithium batteries, they’re probably developing their own as a backup for when people stop using their oil.
    That way they can still get money from the masses.


  143. 143
    TED in Fort Myers

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:13 pm)

    Life is as good as a warranty to me. Just make the thing work. AND get me one soon. Go GM Go VOLT. TED


  144. 144
    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:25 pm)

    Statik,
    Face it, we all noticed both errors – most of us chose to let it go by (life’s too short)(lol) After all, who would ever contest your accuracy?
    Be well, (and more careful)
    Tag (heehee)


  145. 145
    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:25 pm)

    Larry Burns said “We have confirmed the capability of our selected cell chemistry in terms of safety, range, recharge time, power density and energy density”

    I take this as a very positive statement. Granted, it is hedged in important ways. Nonetheless, if testing had not confirmed capability in any one of the 5 items in the list, the Volt project would be in trouble. We have known all along that the battery was the unproven component. We had hope but no basis for expectation on any of the items on the list. It is really good news that is being reported to us.

    Beyond that, if GM at this point wanted to kill the project, reporting one or two of these battery tests as negative would have been a good way to do it. Who could have argued? But they didn’t do that. I take that as a definite positive at this particular moment.

    That is, all of us, including Statik, has permission to smile for 5 minutes before returning to our normal dour analytical deconstructionist outlook :)


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    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:29 pm)

    At 5pm today the WSJ reports “General Motors Corp.’s board of directors remains behind Chief Executive Rick Wagoner following the company’s surprise $15.5 billion loss in the second quarter, the company said Tuesday.”

    Good news for the Volt, in my opinion.


  147. 147
    nasaman

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:30 pm)

    108 Jack…. You raise legitimate questions when you say, “Nasaman, I still fail to see this great redundancy you keep going on about, the definition of propulsion is propelling the car forward, neither the battery nor the ICE do that, the electric motor is what turns the wheels. If that breaks it doesn’t matter that you can get electricity from 2 different sources, you’re still stuck on the side of the road. And I don’t know where you drive, but most of the cars I see on the side of the road are stopped because of flat tires…..”

    First, let me explain that I’ve chaired hundreds of design reviews of space hardware/software, with similar design goals. It’s important to understand that “credible failures” are failures of components (like tires, as you suggest) that have a relatively high failure rate (higher than some established numerical limit). Without going into the math, an example of “non-credible” failures is modern electric motors using permanent internal lubrication, which can easily last 100 years in continuous operation —so properly-designed motors are normally “non-credible failures”. The same applies to permanently-lubricated bearings, which is why modern cars never experience worn-out or seized wheel bearings.

    As regards tires, you’re absolutely right that flats of ordinary tires are credible failures; however, “run-flat” tires, which are also lower run-resistance tires, can also make tire failures non-credible, as can advanced puncture-sealing tire technologies.

    In other words, eliminating credible single-point failures is the task GM faces and it is certainly an achievable goal. In fact, it’s a matter I’ve spoken with the Volt Chief Engineer in some detail about — I’m therefore certain GM will at least greatly improve the Volt’s reliability by contrast to today’s cars. And if they eliminate ALL or MOST credible single-point failures, as I believe they will, either the battery OR the range extender will serve as independent, redundant propulsion energy sources that will virtually eliminate breakdowns on the highway.


  148. 148
    The Grump

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    How long is it until any of us normal (not rich or famous) people can actually buy a Volt ? How many days, hours, and minutes, and seconds ?

    What this site needs is a Volt countdown clock. It could be adjusted by Lyle whenever Bob pushes back the Volt’s release date.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Statik needs his own “GM Bankruptcy Countdown Clock”. It would be interesting to see which clock reaches “zero” first.
    ————————————————————————————–
    BTW, EEStor doesn’t need a countdown clock. EEStor’s Ultracaps will forever be “right around the corner”.


  149. 149
    Black Gold

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:43 pm)

    Oil is now down to $118 (from a high of $147 last month). That means that gas should drop about 12 cents a gallon within a week ! If this keeps up all those giant SUVs on the lot are gonna start moving.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:45 pm)

    Sounds like they’re feeling good about battery life. I’m happy to hear that.

    #11 nasaman:
    My mom has a good old USA made Frigidaire freezer in the basement that has been running just fine for over FORTY years and is still working.

    However, (through no fault of its own) we should replace it. Modern, large, upright freezers consume around 700-750 kWh of energy per year…. Mom’s old one consumes about 9 MEGAWATT hours/year!!! (Yes, even in Seattle where power is cheap, a new freezer will pay for itself in about 6 months).

    Be sure to check your old fridges/freezers, folks if you want to maybe save some money!


  151. 151
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:49 pm)

    Everyone needs to start making plans to purchase a new Volt now. That means second home mortgage, sell the first born, get a second job…etc. Whatever it takes. Show your support for the Volt with a purchase. You do not have to be rich to buy a Volt. Get an 84-month loan if you have to. No excuses. Just buy the darn thing. You still got a few more months, so start saving your pennies now. Be an American, buy a Volt.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:52 pm)

    Jim I,
    My thought about warranties is that there should be no NEED for an extended warranty, because things used to go wrong under the original period, or they wouldn’t go wrong at all (like nasaman’s fridge and my tv – I hear they are coming out with color tv soon).
    Be well,
    Tag
    PS That Flextreme looks pretty good to me.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    Dave P,
    But do you really save money (or the planet) if you replace an efficient appliance every 3 years?
    Tag


  154. 154
    Volt Size

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (5:03 pm)

    Battery Density has to improve for cars bigger than the Volt. Just how small is this car ? I need the dimensions not a picture.


  155. 155
    The Grump

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (5:05 pm)

    Do we have to pick on the language skills of our friends in the Great White North? C’mon, you’re in sunny California, scantily clad women parading around for your enjoyment almost every month of the entire warm and sunny California year, you have it good. You cannot imagine the frozen nightmare that is Canada.

    Polar bears in your garbage cans, summers that last only minutes, winters that last 11 months, 40 degrees below zero at night, no sunlight 6 months out of the year, you can only tell men from women when they are indoors (think clothing layers), and half the signs are in French, not English (as God intended). During the brief summers, clouds of blood sucking flying insects fill the sky – they can drain all the blood from a large animal in only minutes.

    And you’re giving Statik grief about “ITS” ? You’re lucky he’s still alive. Give the poor guy a break – he LIVES in Canada.

    (Waiting on Statik to tell me how many things I got completely and totally wrong). LOL


  156. 156
    Len

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (5:07 pm)

    It will be rebadged as a Saturn. I think it looks better than a Prius.

    http://www.saturn.com/saturn/vehicles/greenline/futurevehicles/index.jsp


  157. 157
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (5:15 pm)

    The power control module will probably be the creditable single-point failure with the greatest concern. They will probably improve this module to a very low failure rate at some point, but I doubt it will be the first or second generation EREVs. This is just a guess based on my somewhat limited experience with high power electronic components.


  158. 158
    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (5:51 pm)

    #154 Koz says “The power control module will probably be the creditable single-point failure with the greatest concern. ”

    Yes, agree.


  159. 159
    Cancer On Wheels

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:01 pm)

    The Volt needs to go through extensive government testing before it is allowed on the road by the general public. Cell phones have been proven to cause cancer and the Volt can be thought of as a GIANT cell phone. Humans are not made to be exposed to these kinds of elctromagnetc battery radiation.
    - Dr. Studley Doright


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:04 pm)

    Grump – I can answer it for you, since statik hasn’t yet.
    Most of that is right..
    IF you in the far far far far far far north.
    In southern ontario, next to none of that is true, except for the clouds of mosquitoes… hate those buggers.
    In fact, our weather is often milder than NY or MI in the winters and hotter in the summer.


  161. 161
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:13 pm)

    #141 Tag:

    “Statik, Face it, we all noticed both errors – most of us chose to let it go by (life’s too short)(lol) After all, who would ever contest your accuracy? Be well, (and more careful)
    Tag (heehee)”

    +1
    tres drole

    Although, I have to take two points away for not having a avatar yet. You are sooooo July.


  162. 162
    Koz

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:16 pm)

    Cautious Fan #36

    “I agree with many other folks that this warranty is a very very big deal. I believe failure to achieve this would’ve led to a market failure. As a consumer, I would not spend 30K on a car that requires and additional 5K in 6 or 7 years. It would kill the cost effectiveness. ”

    This is matter of perspective. People are willing to shell out $1500/yr and more on gas and rising. Why would nobody be willing to pay $225 for electricity + $5000 for battery every five years and falling? Yes, I know these amounts can vary and initial costs vary, but my point is that the EV is a vastly different animal from the ICe and the battery should be seen as a consumable. At the end of the day, it isn’t how long the battery lasts it’s what your running costs are. If a 5 year warranty (or even 3 year warranty) and expected life of 50,000 electric means at least $3000 less in upfront cost, I’ld take it. But that is me and based on my driving needs, I’m sure others would prefer longer warrantees. Ultimately, for me it’s $/mile lifetime from the battery that matters.

    By the way, everyone should factor in that the battery will have significant value at the end of life. A while back there was mention of possibly partnering with utilities to offer the battery on lease. I’m all for it, if the $ works. Normally, it doesn’t pay to lease under most circumstances but this could present a very enticing leasing arrangement.


  163. 163
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:16 pm)

    #152 The Grump

    “You cannot imagine the frozen nightmare that is Canada….Polar bears in your garbage cans, summers that last only minutes, winters that last 11 months, 40 degrees below zero at night, no sunlight 6 months out of the year, you can only tell men from women when they are indoors (think clothing layers), and half the signs are in French, not English (as God intended). During the brief summers, clouds of blood sucking flying insects fill the sky – they can drain all the blood from a large animal in only minutes.”

    And you’re giving Statik grief about “ITS” ? You’re lucky he’s still alive. Give the poor guy a break – he LIVES in Canada.

    (Waiting on Statik to tell me how many things I got completely and totally wrong). LOL

    ——————-

    /seems about right…good posting

    http://images.despair.com/banners/mugs/pessimistsbanner.jpg


  164. 164
    Koz

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:19 pm)

    Me #154,

    “…creditable…”

    Ugghhh…swear I didn’t type it like that. Must be a hole in my racket.


  165. 165
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:21 pm)

    This thread’s tone reminds me of the old days when we were all friendly and informative.


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    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:23 pm)

    123 GM Volt Fan:

    I will do whatever it takes to disconnect fake noise made by the car.
    I want quiet.


  167. 167
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:24 pm)

    #157 canehdian

    “Most of that is right..IF you in the far far far far far far north.
    In southern ontario, next to none of that is true, except for the clouds of mosquitoes… hate those buggers. In fact, our weather is often milder than NY or MI in the winters and hotter in the summer.”

    —–

    Hey hoser! Keep that info on the downlow would you, it’s supposed to be a secret. Like when we declare a chesterfield only being worth $2 when we cross the border…they have no clue what we are talking about.

    It’s up to us to keep these secrets, like the delights of poutine, back bacon, butter tarts or even what Shreddies are.

    Next thing you know you will have them all using Robertson screwdrivers (which totally own the X heads) and eating out of chip trucks!


  168. 168
    Frank D

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:25 pm)

    to Nasaman- A concern about human exposure to large batteries such as the ones to be used in the Volt and other future electric cars, has been brought up. What are your thoughts about this concern? I think it’s a good question to ask as we go forward, given the findings with cell phones. Can they be isolated with material that would protect?


  169. 169
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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:25 pm)

    #146 Black Gold:

    The local ARCO station just posted $3.99.9 for 87 octane today. The line is out the driveway and down the street. “Wow. gas under $4.00, what a deal.”

    I am reminded again of “Cool Hand Luke” The warden kept telling Luke, “You’ve gotta get your mind right.” The oil companies are doing a great job of “getting our minds right”. “$3.99 gas? Man they’ve got some great deals on pickups down at the Chevy dealer. $6000 rebate on Tahoe hybrid in LA. Better get one while the getting’s good.” LOL

    #152 The Grump Says:

    Sounds about right. Everything I know about Canada I learned from Doug and Bob McKenzie, with a bit of an assist from Tommy Chong!

    Statik:

    When they rag on you about your spelling and punctuation, just tell ‘em:

    “Take off, Hoser.”


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:28 pm)

    #150 Tagamet:

    Well, I certainly don’t have any data, but my guess is replacing applicances every 3 years is bad for everyone not making applicances. :)

    My current refrigerator (came with the house) is probably about 5 years old and it’s, well, generally crappy. It’s pretty efficient but all the door trays and crispers have fallen off or cracked and I’m holding most of the inside together with strapping tape. I’m sort of refusing to buy a new one because no matter how crappy this one is, it IS working fine and I hate to waste a refrigerator, especially when the strapping tape is working out so well. ;)

    But, to put the problem of the Old Freezer into perspective, mom’s uses over 22.5kWh/day. That’s enough electricity to drive your Volt about 112 miles each day.
    Power where she lives is 9.2122 cents/kWh (power where I live is more like 20 cents/kWh) meaning her fridge is costing her about $760/year to operate. If I were trying to power that fridge around here, it would cost me over twice that. At the national average, it would be over a thousand bucks a year.

    That’s a lot of strapping tape! :)

    Actually, I have a little horizontal freezer in my garage (the most efficient type), which I’ve had for about 10 years now and it’s still only using less than15kWh/mo. About 16 bucks a year in my mom’s area. Works like a champ.

    So, it’s not impossible to get something reliable and efficient, but I’ll admit it’s certainly not easy these days. Still, for that kind of money, it’s probably worth the effort to try.

    By the way, if anybody is wondering how I get my electricity usage numbers, I bought a little meter for about 20 bucks:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882715001&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Electronic+Gadgets-_-P3+International-_-82715001
    Not that I’m recommending that vendor, but I’m pretty sure if I mention the name of the meter I’ll wind up in moderation!

    For larger things, like if you want to see how much power your household A/C consumes when it’s on, you can time how long it takes your power company meter “disk” to spin one revolution. There’s a magic number printed on the face of the meter, it’s almost always 7.2. If so, then multiply 7.2/(seconds_per_revolution)*3600 and you have kW.

    Take a reading, then turn on your A/C and take another reading. Mine consumes about 5.5kW while in operation.
    but for most things, the little meter works great. And you can leave it connected for some time and it will tell you how much total energy was consumed and for how long. That’s where I get the kWh numbers for the freezers.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:29 pm)

    #164 Statik:

    !@#$%^, you beat me to it again.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:39 pm)

    #167 DaveP

    I’m not NOT recommending that vendor, either. Actually, I have bought stuff from them before without problems. I just didn’t want to say the name of the meter in that big message.
    I’ll try it here. It’s P3′s Kill-A-Watt meter. It’s great.

    Man, I am so off topic. Um, get a good warranty with your freezer. :)
    Oh, oh, wait, um, you can save a pretty good Volt downpayment with the power you save by replacing an old refrigerator or freezer! How about that? :)

    Many of you might want to put in solar systems to power your Volts. When I put mine in, I saved a huge amount of power by auditing all my power usage and it was cheaper to replace and conserve than to buy panels to power inefficient things.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:42 pm)

    #168 noel park

    “#164 Statik: !@#$%^, you beat me to it again.”

    As I like to say at my Friday night poker game, “I just totally covered you in pwnsauce!”

    “Man they’ve got some great deals on pickups down at the Chevy dealer. $6000 rebate on Tahoe hybrid in LA. Better get one while the getting’s good.” LOL”

    It’s not just a ‘LA thing’ When they increased the ‘Yukahoe’ rebates from $4,000 to $6,000 they included the hybrids as well this time. It is reflected on the GM site


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:51 pm)

    Koz #159

    I 100% agree with you on the cost issue. However, with gas at $4.00 gallon, if you’ve got to spend 5k every few years, the car will not be cost effective. I ran the numbers on a Pious a few months ago and was suprised to find that I’d have to drive the thing for 10 years before it would pay off compared to a Civic, neglecting the time value of money. And that’s just 5K difference at initial purchase. You start throwing in huge maintenance costs and the Volt becomes impractical until gas goes way higher.

    #156

    No one else responded so I’ll take the bait. Cell phones next to your head carry a tiny risk of cancer because of the electromagnetic radiation, not the battery. GM hasn’t purchased any RF spectrum for the Volt so I think it’ll be ok. But if you’re really worried, I’d put armor plating on your roof to protect against the asteroids.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:56 pm)

    #157 canehdian, #170 Statik, et al:

    Well I did learn a bit from Buffy Ste. Marie, Ian tyson, Sylvia Frickert and Joni Mitchell, if you want to go all cultural.

    And a bit more from Gilles Villeneuve, arguably the bravest and most spectacular race car driver of all time, Paul Tracy, who put on a few great shows himself, and so many others. They’re RACERS man. That’s all you have to say.

    My great uncle quit Stanford to be pilot cadet in the RCAF in 1917. Alas the influenza got him before he left for France, but the connection to Canada remains. So I hope that I may be forgiven a little teasing.


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    Aug 5th, 2008 (6:59 pm)

    145, The Grump Says:

    BTW, EEStor doesn’t need a countdown clock. EEStor’s Ultracaps will forever be “right around the corner”.

    ———–
    That was funny and sad at the same time. However true it may be.
    I too feel that it is bogus. But I guess we will all know. The time for them to go public is just right around the corner, as you say.


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    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:06 pm)

    #172 noel park

    “My great uncle quit Stanford to be pilot cadet in the RCAF in 1917. Alas the influenza got him before he left for France, but the connection to Canada remains. so I hope you can forgive a little teasing.”

    I think we can forgive you, of course I can’t speak for ‘canehdian’ directly, but I think I know him pretty well. It is a well known fact that all Canadians know each other personally.

    “Hey Statik, do you know my brother’s friend Dave? He lives in Toronto.”

    Easy answer: “Of course I do. He died when he was picking up his garbage cans last winter…another polar bear attack”

    Side note: Winnie the Pooh would totally own Mickey Mouse heads up.


  178. 178
    RB

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:22 pm)

    #156 on wheels says “Cell phones have been proven to cause cancer..”

    With greatest respect, that statement has often been claimed but never been shown.
    It is generally regarded as incorrect.


  179. 179
    kubel

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    Did GM really indicate they would offer a 10-year 150,000-mile warranty here? I didn’t read that in the source. I think we should stick to the facts. They said the difficulty is in proving it will last 10 years and 150,000 miles. They didn’t say there would be a warranty for that long.

    Manufacturers make cars today to last 15 years and 200,000 miles, but they often only back them up with a 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty. What they plan to make a car last for is different than what they plan to back it up for.


  180. 180
    Ed M

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    If GM offers a 10-year 150,000-mile warranty then we can be sure the batteries are probably good for 20-years and 300,000-miles. From experience warranties are usually very conservative relative to the life of the product. This means that the product will be very good indeed.

    There’s a new movement that wants to halt the building of bridges and roads etc. because we’re running low on cheap gas and therefore they predict that new infrastructure won’t be necessary . What a short sighted bunch. Obviously they haven’t heard of cars like the Volt, etc.With these new vehicles folks will be driving more not less because it will be a lot cheaper to drive than it is at the moment.


  181. 181
    Statik

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (7:54 pm)

    Of interest: Nissan announced today they are IN the electric vehicle business. Apparently they have been working ‘covertly’ on a project. Here is the press clipping…oh yeah, they have a working prototype too.

    “TOKYO (August 6, 2008) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today unveiled all-electric and original hybrid electric prototype vehicles, both powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries. Under the NISSAN GT 2012 business plan, the company has committed to zero-emission vehicle leadership, and has announced plans to introduce an all-electric vehicle in 2010 and mass market globally in 2012.”

    Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries, the EV prototype is part of Nissan’s substantial research and development program on zero emission vehicles. This latest generation vehicle features a front-wheel drive layout and uses a newly developed 80kW motor and inverter. The advanced laminated compact lithium-ion batteries are installed under the floor, without sacrificing either cabin or cargo space.

    The production vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model…they also have a HEV in the pipeline too.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/photos/nissan-next-gen-environmental-vehicles/961103/

    Ok, it ain’t that pretty. Here is another ditty on the “Denki Cube” — “The biggest transformation from production Cube to Denki Cube Concept is one that isn’t visible – the replacement of the standard 1.3-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor.”

    http://www.samar.pl/__/__la/en/__ac/sec,4/new/16726/__Nissan%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9CDenki-Cube%E2%80%9D-Electric-Vehicle-in-London-Auto-Show.html

    Is it me, or is it starting to get really crowded out there now?


  182. 182
    bruce g

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:25 pm)

    Statik,
    Very interesting,
    That denki cube is somehow reminiscent of the early Fords. Model A?
    Also that “laminar battery” phrase was used with the LG 20 mile battery I think. Lower cost, lower short burst power than the A123 or its LG equivalent.
    But, the motor is 80Kw, thats getting up.
    Gurus,..0-60 time?


  183. 183
    Cautious Fan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:29 pm)

    #178 Static

    Yeeehaahh. The more the better. The fact that so many people are jumping in tells us the tech is mature and the economics are sound. This isn’t just one companies PR stunt or another impractical gov’t project. We’ll have some solid competition to drive price down and encourage innovation. I love the the free market.

    Two lanterns. The electrics are coming.


  184. 184
    Cautious Fan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:53 pm)

    It seems like there are some risks with distributing the batteries all over the car. It’s more difficult to contain a failure. When they’re all contained, you can place a metallic shell around them to protect occupants against a potential fire. You can also cool them more easily (necessary when they’re grouped.) Maintenance and installation is easier when they’re grouped.

    After reading through the Nissan info they were saying mass production in 2012, so its (it’s) still out a little For the first time in awhile GM is the trendsetter.


  185. 185
    NV

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:54 pm)

    From ”
    he noted that challenges remain in proving the batteries will last 10 years and 150,000 miles,”

    to

    ” indicating for the first time publicly that GM plans to warranty that benchmark.”

    is a leap of faith.

    If I want to warranty I’d want to check how well it runs a few years / miles after that period. That is how I can calculate the likely failure rate before warrnty is up.


  186. 186
    nasaman

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:56 pm)

    154 Koz, 155 RB…… “The power control module will probably be the creditable single-point failure with the greatest concern…..”

    I agree. The power control electronics should be given considerable attention, including rigorous worst-case circuit analysis during design, plus extensive testing at ambient temperatures at least +/-20C beyond worst-case operating & non-operating temps. GM still has a number of former Hughe’s Space division engineers on staff (GM bought Hughes almost 20 yrs ago) who have years of experience in worst-case design & analysis of high-power circuitry.

    There is no reason for even extremely high-power-handling circuitry to fail even after 20-30yrs of continuous operation. I designed power electronics as part of the ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package) deployed during our last few moon landings (and only needed for 3-6 months or so, as I recall) —this equipment was still operational & sending data when I last checked over 30 years later. Highly-reliable power circuit designs may cost slightly more initially —but as auto makers (especially Toyota) have known for decades, the modest added cost is completely overshadowed by the savings derived as well as the customer satisfaction from long-term operational reliability.

    (BTW, the word is “credible” single-point failures —technical terminology used in the reliability engineering discipline.)


  187. 187
    Long Term Study

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (8:58 pm)

    I think a long term study on the effects of a human sitting directly on top of hundreds of volts needs to be looked at. I know my neighbors live near high-voltage utility lines and they have been acting weird lately. I am worried the Volt might induce strange behavior after long term use.


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    Volt Medicine

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:04 pm)

    I take Lithium to calm me down, and to keep my alter ego in check. Will I be able to harvest the Volt battery after the warranty period expires or will GM require the battery be returned.


  189. 189
    nasaman

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:19 pm)

    156 Cancer On Wheels (And post #184) ….You say, “The Volt needs to go through extensive government testing before it is allowed on the road by the general public. Cell phones have been proven to cause cancer and the Volt can be thought of as a GIANT cell phone. Humans are not made to be exposed to these kinds of elctromagnetc battery radiation. – Dr. Studley Doright”

    Only electromagnetic fields containing high frequencies (such as cell phones, as you say)* are a risk —even extremely high-intensity DC or low frequency fields such as in an MRI machine are completely risk free. The very high efficiency of the battery, cabling, control electronics, electric motor, etc in the Volt demands any electromagnetic fields they produce to be fully contained internally. In additon, the Volt’s audio and radio system would be unuseable due to EMI noise if these fields were not fully contained. In other words, there is NO risk whatsoever. :)

    *This is one reason GM’s “hands-free”, well-shielded cell phone system (part of their OnStar package) avoids any cancer risk that excessive hand-held cell phone useage might possibly entail


  190. 190
    koz

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:28 pm)

    Nasaman #183,

    “(BTW, the word is “credible” single-point failures —technical terminology used in the reliability engineering discipline.)”

    Yeah, I saw that boo-boo (#161). I’m claiming an “actual” single-point failure in my thought to output mechanism.

    With regards to the power electronics, perhaps some overly cautious active cooling will be implemented.


  191. 191
    Rolling Substation

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:43 pm)

    Since the Volt uses A/C motors and gives off harmonic frequencies this “noise” may induce radical behavior modifications after long term exposure. Similar to people that can’t sleep because of the 60Hz hum from the A/C outlets in their homes. The Volt could end up being a Suicide Machine in a worst case scenario.


  192. 192
    Dr. Phil

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:48 pm)

    #185 Volt Medicine:
    Yes, you should be able to harvest the battery. I believe it is made of Pharmaceutical grade Lithium. Just make sure you and your other don’t overdose.


  193. 193
    JEC

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:55 pm)

    #183 Nasaman

    I think in a commercial application the reliability of the power electronics will be fair at best. You are talking about using commercial parts, not military rated parts in the Volt. The ppm failure rate of military rated parts is much lower than its commercial equivalent. Also, when you design low volume, one-of-a-kind products the price of the components is insignificant, when related to the engineering. You would gladly spend big $ on a single part, if you thought it was mission critical. You cannot do this with a high volume commercial product.

    As I am sure you understand, more then most, failure of a component on a spaceship can be catastrophic and cause loss of both money and lives.

    I have worked in both the aerospace and commercial industries, as a test engineer for the past 20+ years. The difference in designs and reliability of a mission critical piece of hardware, and a commercial product (ac drives, which I am most familiar with, and would be very similar to the inverter section of the motor control for the Volt) is extreme.

    AC drives are actually a fairly complex piece of hardware & software. They do fail, and they do fail catastrophically. When you get a shorted IGBT, you better be sure you have your seatbelt on and maybe some ear plugs. You have a battery, with an extremely low impedance, with a very high short circuit current capacity. You can design different methods to limit/protect the circuit, but they don’t always do the job for all scenarios. A commercial ac drive is designed to give the best performance and reliablity that is possible, but these parts do fail, and they fail more than we desire.

    Now throw in the temperature and vibration extremes that you experience in a automobile, and you are looking at a reliability challenge.

    I am concerned about this specific reliability issue for the Volt.


  194. 194
    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (9:56 pm)

    Everyone should buy “Energy Star” appliances if the ones you have are older than 10 years. The energy you save could be pretty big if most of your appliances are Energy Star. The old appliances are energy hogs. Just because it saves you energy doesn’t mean the new appliances don’t work as well as the old appliances. It just means they have modern, miniaturized electronics that don’t waste as much electricity through heat and so forth.

    I’m sure everyone has heard about the money you can save by replacing all your incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs. That heat coming off of incandescent bulbs = wasted electricity. In a few years, LED bulbs will be out that are even better. If everyone switched to LED bulbs, America’s power bill could drop by 30%. No joke. That means a LOT fewer polluting coal plants need to be built in the first place. The electric utilities jack up your rates when they have to build new power plants you know. Ideally, all the electric cars plugging into the grid will have almost ZERO net effect on your electric bill. This could happen if everyone started replacing their energy hog items in their homes with new Energy Star products.

    If you can, replace your water heater with one of the new ones like from GE. GE’s new HYBRID water heater coming out next year should run on HALF as much electricity as current models. People living in older houses with old water heaters ought to highly consider replacing it next year when these new water heaters come out. The government ought to have some incentives to make sure these latest water heaters are going into new homes.

    http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/next-energy-news4.4.08b.html

    http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1502/


  195. 195
    Power Loss

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:05 pm)

    I believe the biggest electricity waste in this country is actually the “transmission” of electricity. If I remember correctly about 30 percent of all electricity generated in this country is lost during transmission to the end-user.
    That is a HUGE amount of energy.


  196. 196
    koz

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:09 pm)

    Cautious Fan #71,

    No argument from me that if you’re considering all cars as equals, the Prius and Volt will lose out to many on reasonable cost analysis. Luckily for the Volt and nearly every other car model, it doesn’t come down to just costs. Costs are everpresent, however. I just want to see fair comparisons, and reasonable analysis. This isn’t easy now mpg as the only efficiency gauge to consider. Once cars have some AER and unknown maintainance costs like the Volt, it will become much more difficult. In your Civic vs Prius comparison, you stated with $4 gas and not accounting for time value of money. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but this sounded like you felt the Prius was given an edge in this analysis and still lost. My thinking is the history of gas prices and current petroleum market dictate that utilizing $4 in the analysis is biased toward the Civic even considering that time value of money wasn’t factored.

    More important is what is being compared. For most comparisons that are made for hybrids, they are done with relation to the least expensive ICE version of the model. This is done eventhough the hybrid often has better performance and more options. The Volt will undoutably be compared most often with the Prius, eventhough there will be many other models that will more similar in appearance, performance, and functionality. Hopefully the potential buyers will keep these comparisons in perspective and determine the releverant comparable models based on their own needs and wants.


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    JEC

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:14 pm)

    192 Power Loss

    So, do you have a solution? Maybe we require people to go pickup there energy at the local energy store. They could bring a few Volt batteries, have them transfer the power using super conductors immersed in liquid hydrogen (so we get nearly zero transmission loss).

    Also, you have to walk to the store and carry your Volt batteries on your back, since we don’t want to waste the energy driving.

    This posting was done in jest….please hold all responses :)


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    Power Loss

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:18 pm)

    194 JEC

    We should have used DC instead of AC distribution. But the invention of the transformer made AC the better choice at that time.


  199. 199
    Power Loss

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    Most power in this country is generated far away from the consumer. This is actually a big mistake. Power should be generated in close proximity of where it will be used whenever possible. Poor planning by municipalities as usual.


  200. 200
    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (10:56 pm)

    Statik,
    Hey, I should only lose 1 point for the avatar. I TRIED (and failed). I just KNOW that you are the sort that credits effort alone (hmmm, strike that) (g).
    Be well,
    Tag


  201. 201
    Big 3 Trouble

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:06 pm)

    GM, Ford and Chrysler want $40 BILLION in cheap loans from Congress !

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080805/COL06/808050401


  202. 202
    maharguitar

     

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    Aug 5th, 2008 (11:58 pm)

    From the article: “Overall, the battery development is on track. But one of the important challenges remaining is proving ten-year, 150,000-mile life when we’re developing the battery over a three-year timeframe. Obviously, we’ll protect the customer in this regard with our warranty, but we still need to prove out the required durability.”

    Granted it is not a sworn promise that it will be a 10y/150,000 warranty but it is a pretty strong hint. What else would “protect the customer in this regard with our warranty” mean?


  203. 203
    Lurtz

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (12:31 am)

    I’m getting a kick out of the IE vs Firefox discussion, as I post this from an Opera browser on a Nintendo Wii.

    And the dangers of magnetism are certainly borne out by all of the bodies of MRI technicians.


  204. 204
    stopcrazypp

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (12:53 am)

    #196 Power Loss:
    Sorry that’s just completely wrong, the number is 7.6% loss on average in the US. Where did you get 30%? No one would ever support electricity if that was the case, and power companies probably won’t bother with as much transmission. 30% is worst than the losses from petroleum refining and distribution, which is 17%. At 7.6% loss, electric transmission still stands as a very efficient way to transport energy thousands of miles.


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    ThomC

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (1:03 am)

    # 198 Big 3 Trouble

    >> GM, Ford and Chrysler want $40 BILLION in cheap loans from Congress !

    So? Consider what the U.S. would get for that loan:
    1) Rivitalization of the US manufactoring sector
    2) Rapid movement out of a petroleum based transportation system to an alternate fuel transportation system
    3) Create a trade surplus as we stop importing $700 billion in foreign oil annually

    And that’s just off the top of my head at 1am.

    Just imagine what the Japanese gov’t is supplying the Japanese automotive keiretsu.

    Good grief, if you consider how much pork Congress paid out last year for virtually no return (an estimated $29b in 2006)… and for $40 billion we actually GET something!

    $40 billion has got the be the bargain of the 21st century.


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    Ric_LV

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (3:37 am)

    This is probably a conspiracy theory, but I was just wondering… What if GM is together with big oil again, and all this Volt business is just something they use for they PR. In the meantime, they make the Volt impractical on PURPOSE in order to force people to think: “Stupid electric cars. What a crap! I will never buy one of these again in my life” And these people will be hard to convince later to buy other smaller companies’ products (like Tesla), because they would think: “Even GM couldn’t make a good EV. There’s no way I’ll risk with some tiny startup company’s product”. And ICE age goes on and on.


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    TED in Fort Myers

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (5:27 am)

    There are too many people doing conversions now to think that GM couldn’t or wouldn’t build the best electric car they could. Especially after the EV-1 mess. Talk about poor planning. No the plan for 10 years 150,000 miles. Excellent. TED


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    omegaman66

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (5:52 am)

    The simple fact that ExxonModil is the company that made safe Li ion batteries practicle should dispell all the stupid conspiracy theories.


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    Brad G

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (6:02 am)

    145, The Grump Says:
    BTW, EEStor doesn’t need a countdown clock. EEStor’s Ultracaps will forever be “right around the corner”.
    ———–

    173 Rashiid says:
    That was funny and sad at the same time. However true it may be.
    I too feel that it is bogus. But I guess we will all know. The time for them to go public is just right around the corner, as you say.
    ============================
    If it looks like a cowchip, smells like a cowchip, and throws like a cowchip…. Then is a cowchip…


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    Len

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (6:30 am)

    ExxonMobil did not make safe Li ion batteries practicle. They are playing catch up. The A123 batteries are safe (and were the first to my knowledge) and if you read the description of the LG Chem they also describe the “separator” which is the tech that suposedly Exxon developed. If you read the descriptions of all the major contenders for auto batteries they all have specially treated cathodes which is the way to get high current for both charge and discharge as well as getting rid of the thermal runaway tendencies. Tesla is not using one of these batteries (yet) and had to invest a lot of effort in the packageing to isolate potential problem cells.


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    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (7:09 am)

    The full frontal assault on OPEC and Big Oil is well underway now. I love it. More and more electrification is coming every few years. The gravy train for Big Oil and OPEC countries is going to start unwinding. They better enjoy those huge profits while they can. They ain’t gonna last. :)

    Nissan looks like they are very serious about electric cars and new hybrid technologies.

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/08/nissan-previews.html#more

    I’m sure Toyota is secretly doing the same things and they’ll spring it on everyone before long. GM better get on the cutting edge of battery and hybrid powertrain technologies … and STAY there. There is going to be a period of 10 years of stunning, new “disruptive change” in the auto industry.

    If GM isn’t careful, their technologies could become obsolete every 4-5 years. I like how GM is building the E-Flex powertrain with the addition of future technologies in mind. GM needs to embrace CONSTANT innovation and change. Continuous improvement. The Japanese call it kaizen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_improvement

    If GM doesn’t provide the improvements to their cars, other car companies surely will. They don’t need to be TOO radical, but not TOO conservative either. Just research and develop the latest technologies and be ready to deploy them quickly if they hear that the competition is planning on doing it. GM needs to be able to move QUICKLY.

    The auto industry will start to resemble the computer industry more. The computer industry is used to “pedal to the metal” innovation. If GM has been kind of slow and flabby, they better get to the gym and get in shape. They’ll need to do some full sprinting to stay a step ahead of their industry rivals in the next 10 years. :)


  212. 212
    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (7:12 am)

    The full frontal assault on OPEC and Big Oil is well underway now. I love it. More and more electrification is coming every few years. The gravy train for Big Oil and OPEC countries is going to start unwinding. They better enjoy those huge profits while they can. They ain’t gonna last. :)

    Nissan looks like they are very serious about electric cars and new hybrid technologies.

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/08/nissan-previews.html#more

    I’m sure Toyota is secretly doing the same things and they’ll spring it on everyone before long. GM better get on the cutting edge of battery and hybrid powertrain technologies … and STAY there. There is going to be a period of 10 years of stunning, new “disruptive change” in the auto industry.

    If GM isn’t careful, their technologies could become obsolete every 4-5 years. I like how GM is building the E-Flex powertrain with the addition of future technologies in mind. GM needs to embrace CONSTANT innovation and change. Continuous improvement. The Japanese call it “kaizen”.

    If GM doesn’t provide the improvements to their cars, other car companies surely will. They don’t need to be TOO radical, but not TOO conservative either. Just research and develop the latest technologies and be ready to deploy them quickly if they hear that the competition is planning on doing it. GM needs to be able to move QUICKLY.

    The auto industry will start to resemble the computer industry more. The computer industry is used to “pedal to the metal” innovation. If GM has been kind of slow and flabby, they better get to the gym and get in shape. They’ll need to do some full sprinting to stay a step ahead of their industry rivals in the next 10 years. :)


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    Darius

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (7:21 am)

    # 196

    Power Loss

    That is not correct. 10% max. power loss. It depends on transmission and distribution network length and voltage level.


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    Rob

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (7:26 am)

    #123 GM Volt Fan

    Silent running vehicles are indeed of concern to blind people. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive aftermarket devices to address the problem. I plugged one into my Prius that makes a “beep-beep” sound when the car’s in reverse. The sound is audible some distance away.


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    Jackson

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (10:26 am)

    #192 (and following discussion):

    Edison’s original plan was to generate DC current close to where it would be used. The problem with doing anything else with DC is that the voltage drops rapidly with distance; without transformers (which only work using AC current), there is no way to raise it back to any uniform standard.

    With transformers, it is possible to boost the voltage to such an extent that power loss is minimized over long distance (and it’s voltage can be regulated down the path, at every point, to your house). AC current also allowed for power companies to take advangage of economies of scale with larger, centralized stations.

    What we need is superconductivity, which would allow DC current to be carried long distances with zero voltage (and power) loss.

    I too long heard the 30% figure for transmission loss (during the first energy crisis). This includes small magnetic inefficiencies which cause transformers to heat up (wasted power) as well as the lines themselves. If it has come down to 10% loss, that is quite an improvement in 20 – 30 years.


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    Jack

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (11:29 am)

    #202 ThomC That’s a pretty optimistic view. A pessimistic view would be that for $40 billion you will keep the America 3 around for another 9 months before they burn through it and file for bankruptcy. The conspiracy view would be that the $40 billion would provide nice golden parachutes for the top execs before they file for bankruptcy.


  217. 217
    Statik

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (11:36 am)

    I vote this as the best thread ever!

    Number of time the word ‘Volt’ is mentioned:155
    Number of times the word ‘Statik’ is mentioned:61

    All threads should have this 5:2 ratio I think.

    #44 frankyB

    “PS.: @ Statik, you really are the attention seaker, you should post more often in the forums. But again, less people would read you.”

    #81 Statike (me)

    “Clearly my posts are meant to gain attention, however you should know I sustain my existence completely from internet stardom…I have yet to eat any solid matter since this site opened.”

    /I’m weighing in at like 400 pounds right now


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    noel park

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (12:32 pm)

    #174 & #178 Statik, #180 Cautious Fan:

    HaHa, a line from one of my favorite Buffy Ste. Marie songs,:

    “He said Mon Dieu, you’ve got cold blood, you must be from Toronto.”

    About a year ago my younger son announced that “My next car will be electric.” I thought that he was over reaching quite a bit at the time, but he is starting to look pretty prescient now.

    There’s some sort of a rite of passage involved when we start to learn wisdom from our children.


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    Phil

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (1:05 pm)

    Jackson:

    The subject of hydrogen storage and problems thereof have recently been addressed with a technology that was first develped back in the 1960′s. Hydrogen has an affinity for bonding to and aluminum/gallium alloy, and thus will increase the ability to store hydrogen in sufficient amount without compressing it. If this method of storage is found to be efficient and production is cost effective,(early indications are that it is) you will see the hydrogen fuel cell in production much sooner than 20 years from now.


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    Hal

     

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    Aug 6th, 2008 (8:45 pm)

    I’m sold. Build it and I’ll buy it.

    The only reason I purchased my 2007 Pontiac G6, (in addtion to the sporty design and Union labor) was the “Bumper to Bumper 100,000 mile warrantee”!

    My mom’s first new car was an 1986 Olds Cutlass Sierra, it it was a mess from day one. Confidence in quality has to be rebuilt.

    P.S. Please upgrade the welding, fit and finish. My G6 is not impressive compared to Toyota/Honda.


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    Lloyd

     

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    Aug 9th, 2008 (7:50 am)

    Even though it’s a hybrid, the fact that it can go only 40 miles on a charge is insane
    in this day and age after all the money an auto giant like GM has spent. In 1918
    people were driving heavy, electric cars with huge, crude storage batteries to go
    (guess how far), Yes, 40 miles on a charge, just like the Volt. I predict the volt will
    be a small flash in th pan for the search for a logical alternative fuel vehicle, and
    that the Volt will shortly be a rare example housed in the Smithsonian Museum.


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    Steve

     

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    Aug 9th, 2008 (9:36 pm)

    I’m getting tired of the “too quiet” comments and the hazard to blind people. Law states the pedestrian has the right of way. The driver is not blind and should be watching for pedestrians. Deaf people drive cars and cross streets. So do people using Cell phones or people with headphones from their ipod stuck in their ears. Car noise level doesn’t enhance their safety. Do we need high power flashing lights on everything to accommodate the deaf?

    Maybe all vehicles should emit a distinctive odor.

    Or people could use a little common sense.

    Let’s not take something that’s supposed to make the environment cleaner and quieter and add noise pollution to it. People will get used to the quiet. Some will even like it.


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    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Aug 13th, 2008 (5:50 am)

    Although impressive, I look forward to the day when we can go 500 miles on a charge and take a few minutes to charge up. At that point, oil for transportation purposes will be made obsolete.