Sep 27

How Charging of the Battery Works in the Chevy Volt

 

Those who follow this site closely should have a good understanding of the relationship between the generator and the battery in the Chevy Volt. Unfortunately Edmunds did not, stating that the engine does not recharge the battery, and created a bit of an Internet frenzy over, well, nothing, they were just wrong.

The battery is recharged by the engine, but only as little as possible.  The point is to avoid petroleum use.

Here’s how it works.

For the first 40 miles, the fully charged battery (80% state of charge) powers the electric motor. Regenerative braking can help recharge the battery to a certain extent.

When the vehicle drives past 40 miles, the battery reaches a 30% or so state of charge. So called “the customer depletion point”, preventing the battery from going below that sustains the batteries longevity. Lithium-ion cells don’t survive as long when they are deep discharged, and GM has the goal of 10 years/150,000 miles.

At the customer depletion point the combustion engine fires up and operates at one of several optimized fixed RPMs. The engine turns the generator, producing electricity.

The electricity, at around 50 kw, serves primarily to propel the car. As the driver drives, there may be times when more electricity is made than the motor needs. Guess where that goes? The battery of course. GM doesn’t want to waste energy or unnecessarily use petroleum. As well the regenerative brakes opportunistically may put charge back into the battery.

The generator does not fully recharge the battery. It doesn’t make any sense to, for then you would be using petroleum to travel. The goal is to use the electric grid, so the car will carry on at approximately that 30% state of charge until the driver can get to an outlet and then fully recharge. Without recharging at an outlet, the car could drive indefinitely using gas and refills, but doing so would defeat the whole point of petroleum displacement.  It may be useful on the occasion when a long continuous drive is necessary though.

There may be times when generated electricity so far surpasses the needs of the car (i.e. a long downhill), that the battery level might get high enough to let the ICE cut off, but this probably wont be often.  If it does occur, then as the drive continues and the 30% level is reached again the ICE will turn on again continuing the cycle.

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 9:27 am and is filed under Battery, Charging, Engineering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 122


  1. 1
    statik

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:40 am)

    Good information, thanks. Nice to see they have a system worked out for rerouting of excess energy. I was under the impression that there was a small consistant/trickle charge given to the battery when the ICE was running.

    I infer this means there is no charge at all when the ICE is being fully utilized, but a variable amount at all other times. That seems like a fancy bit of software/engineering to direct power the electric motor from the ICE, but also be able to redirect power ‘on the fly’ to the battery.

    I don’t see a reference, but I’m guessing you have been talking to Rob Peterson again?


  2. 2
    Len

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:42 am)

    That’s how I understand it to work, but am interested in details. I am assuming the generator and drive motor are both AC, but not the same frequency. The generator won’t directly drive the motor but rather the electronics that drive the motor and so on… Is the electronics that drive the motor expecting DC like from the battery, in which case the generator output will have to be converted to DC. The details are where the interesting tidbits are.


  3. 3
    mikeinatl.

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:59 am)

    That is an interesting graphic I had not seen before. It looks much simpler than I had imagined.

    Has the size of the production version gas tank been released?

    Anybody want to speculate what the cost and capabilities of batteries will be in 10 years when they need to be replaced? I am sure the cost will be dramatically lower and the range should be much greater, but does anyone have any projections?

    Also, I have heard there is a serious problem with disposal of lithium batteries. Anybody want to weigh in on that?

    And for anyone following the Atlanta gas situation, people are now camping out all night in line waiting for tankers to arrive at stations. There were about 100 cars in line at the one station near me that has gas at 7:00 AM. All potential Volt customers.


  4. 4
    Mark C

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:05 am)

    #3
    mikeinatl.

    And for anyone following the Atlanta gas situation, people are now camping out all night in line waiting for tankers to arrive at stations. There were about 100 cars in line at the one station near me that has gas at 7:00 AM.

    Are they upping the price of gas there???


  5. 5
    Eclectic Dan

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:41 am)

    Lithium Ion batteries are very safe to dispose of. Tesla blogged on the subject of battery disposal/recycling a while back:
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=66


  6. 6
    Freemon Sandlewould

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:46 am)

    ooops


  7. 7
    Freemon Sandlewould

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:52 am)

    The biggest barrier to electric cars in Arizona was the high cost of

    -registration per vehicle
    -insurance per vehicle
    -maintenance per vehicle.

    Having one electric car and one standard gasoline powered car for out of town trips was never a practical option unless you are a rich leftist Hollyweird Star.


  8. 8
    Dave K.

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:58 am)

    With the ICE 1.4L recharge engine being similar to the Cruze engine…why not just buy a Cruze?

    The Cruze is expected to get 40 MPG using the 1.4L conventional engine. Which is good. The advantage of the Volt is in it’s 40 miles up front and the regen braking reclaim for the battery.

    I would suspect the 1.4L will run at 2500 RPM average in the Cruze while the Volt will run at 1/2 that RPM during it’s recharge cycle. The 1.4L in the Volt will be a very happy, quiet, dependable engine.

    no plug =D~ no sale


  9. 9
    Dwayne

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:01 am)

    Great Summary. I would only add that likely the five optimized setpoints for the ICE correspond to 5 different power outputs. For example: when the ICE is running on a level freeway – one setting is used. If running in town perhaps one of the lower setpoints is used. While climbing to a mountain pass perhaps a higher setting is used.


  10. 10
    Ronald Kelley

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:06 am)

    That is a 12 gallon tank with a range of 12×50=600 miles and 40 miles on ele = the 640 mile range could be changed if they opt to make the gas tank smaller for weight savings. Why hasn’t my place in line changed if people are opting out???


  11. 11
    Paul

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:19 am)

    This makes PERFECT engineering sense!!
    I’d like mine in Midnight Blue metallic please…


  12. 12
    Gordon

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:34 am)

    Your Gm-Volt.com website is starting to generate phone calls to the dealership level. I have received 4 calls to date, and they all mentioned this site specifically. Is it okay to use your “How it works” description above in a handout brochure piece I am working on. It is a very simple and concise.


  13. 13
    noel park

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:48 am)

    A bit off topic, but we did finally make it to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to see the Volt yesterday. This after a Friday afternoon oddessy on the LA freeways which doesn’t bear discussing.

    As I had hoped, the Volt looked MUCH better in person that it does in the photos we have seen. The family resemblance to the concept car is quite strong. The stance of the car, a bit lower in the front, and the aggressively low ride heigth, give it a striking presence.

    I remarked to my wife that the front part of the car seemed to show a lot of the genes of the EV1. Only then did we realize the the Petersen Museum’s EV1 was parked next to the Volt. I guess the wind tunnel is what it is.

    There are a few styling cues which I don’t particularly care for. These include the black roof and the black area at the tops of the doors, which many bloggers have mentioned. The white area around the center console and on the doors had been toned down to a sort of light gray in the car we saw, which is progress IMHO, but I still don’t care for it. Come on black. Worse yet, the same color was carried over into sort of accent panels in the seats. Same comment.

    These are small things, but the do make the car look a bit fussier that I would prefer. Hopefully, they will evolve away before the car finally appears, or maybe there will be options, as some have suggested. Although I think that we are going to have to take what we can get for the first couple of years. If worst comes to worst, we can just change the paint on the black areas to match the body. This is SoCal, so you have to personalize your car, what?

    The Volt had 18″ wheels. They were PLENTY big. I think that the 17s would be fine too.

    Overall, a very positive experience. I think that the styling absolutely works. It will NOT be mistaken for a Malibu, or even a Cruze, again IMHO. My wife pronounced that she would be happy to have it as her next car, which was really the object of the exercise. She even said that she had no problem with the 4 seat configuration. BTW, it is a functioning hatchback, although how the seats would fold flat with the floor is an open question.

    I gave the GM people there a big pep talk about GM-Volt.com, Dr. Dennis, the waiting list, et al, for whatever that may be worth.

    The styling issue is history for me. The car will make a strong statement, and is much more attractive than a “P-word”.

    I can only devoutly hope that GM has some sort of secret plan up its sleeve which will allow it to survive long enough to get these brilliant cars into our hands, and for E-Flex technology to ride to the rescue of the corporation.

    LJGTVWOTR!! NPNS!


  14. 14
    mmcc

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:54 am)

    #12 Gordon
    Question – If you feel comfortable answering it – Has GM started any preliminary talks on technician training that you know of?


  15. 15
    Michael

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:54 am)

    #12 Gordon – for a personal question to Lyle requesting permission for something, I believe you are better off emailing him at chevyvolt AT gmail DOT com.


  16. 16
    Jim I

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:58 am)

    Thanks, Lyle.

    Maybe this will put a lot of the “Why won’t it charge the battery?” type questions to rest…..

    25 months and 4 days to go…………..

    NPNS!!!


  17. 17
    mikeinatl.

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    #4 Mark C

    The Atlanta gas prices seem stable at $3.95 to $4.10 in stations I have seen. Perhaps that is because our governor has instituted a restriction on “gouging”. Right now for most folks price is not the issue.

    Back to Volt…does anyone know the size of the Volt gas tank? I heard it was smaller than the original 12 gallons that the Concept Volt had.


  18. 18
    Koz

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (12:33 pm)

    #12 Gordon

    Wow, this has to be satisfying for Lyle but sad that GM can’t produce some high quality print literature for dealers to use. Any talk at your dealership of starting your own wait list and deposits?


  19. 19
    Koz

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (12:38 pm)

    #13 Noel Park

    Great comments! Thank you for the update. Did you notice how deep the trunk area was? In one of the videos of the production model it looked much shallower than I was expecting. It look like trunk deck was midway up the rear seats. Did it look like the rear seats were roomy enough for large adults?


  20. 20
    Glen

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (12:54 pm)

    Raser has a video of their extended range plug-in series hybrid electric drive system. Pretty much the same idea as the Volt.

    http://www.rasertech.com/media/movies/html/news_articles_PHEV_truck.html


  21. 21
    fred

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (1:13 pm)

    # 7 That’s how I intend to do it two vehicles!
    I’m keeping my 11 year old tacoma for long trips and going to use the volt for work commuting. I’m just a worker not a hollyweirdo. Can’t wait to bring our soldiers home so they don’t have to fight for oil.


  22. 22
    noel park

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (1:16 pm)

    #19 Koz:

    Thanks for your kind words.

    The trunk area didn’t strike me as being particularly shallow. Now that you mention it though, wouldn’t the sort of “T” on the back of the battery cross behind the rear seats? So maybe it is a bit shallower than it might otherwise be. Having said that, I didn’t get any sense that it was much different than other hatchbacks I have seen in this respect.

    They had a “P-word” there with one of the add-on battery packs in the trunk. I would say that the Volt’s trunk was just about equal to the “P-word” (I’m trying to break myself of invoking the Prius all the time) trunk before the add on batteries were put in.

    I did specifically ask one of the GM folks if the rear seats folded down to make a flat load area. She was very vague on this. The backs of the rear seats are curved, much like the fronts, so it is hard to see how this would work. Maybe this relates to the “T” of the battery as well.

    The rear sets actually looked pretty inviting, being very nice looking individual buckets, as opposed to a conventional bench. I would say that the leg room looked about typical for a car this size. Tolerable, but nothing to write home about. When you think about it, this car is roughly the size of a Cobalt, right? So, when you add a what, 400lb battery pack, you are right to be concerned. The packaging issues become very difficult, I would imagine.

    The roof line is high enough in the rear that I think that the headroom will also be OK. They let a few VIPs actually sit in the car. I tried to get them to let my wife sit in it. I told them that she was as much of a VIP as anybody, as she can write a check to buy one today. No go. I guess they looked at the crowd around the car and saw her as the thin end of the wedge.


  23. 23
    DonC

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    #22 noel

    Thanks for the great updates and for taking the time to brave the Friday afternoon freeways. Ugh!

    On the basis of a sample of one potential purchaser the styling seems to have worked!

    With respect to size, did the Volt strike you as being the size of a Civic or a Prius or a Cobalt or something else?


  24. 24
    dennis

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (2:06 pm)

    So what about the families where the Volt will be their only vehicle.
    This family takes the car on a road trip with no access to a outlet for say 3 -7 days.

    Are they going to be left with a battery at 30% charge?
    There are concerns if they can’t get to an outlet and do a lot fo short trips the battery will deplete to 0 charge


  25. 25
    Mark C

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (2:09 pm)

    #22 Noel

    Yes thanks for the updates at the Alt Car Expo!

    If you noticed, was the Volt area commanding the most attention during the time you were there, compaired to the other exibitors?


  26. 26
    dennis

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (2:17 pm)

    Or people that live in apartments away for college. Where they have access to an outlet, but just not everyday.

    There may be weeks where it doesn’t get to plug in. Is the volt going to get in a state where the charge drops down to 0?


  27. 27
    George K

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (2:50 pm)

    #24 dennis
    “There are concerns if they can’t get to an outlet and do a lot fo short trips the battery will deplete to 0 charge”

    At the customer depletion point the combustion engine fires up and operates at one of several optimized fixed RPMs. The engine turns the generator, producing electricity.

    The (I can’t say it) battery depletion point, ie about 30% state of charge, will be maintained by the 1.4 L. gas engine running off the aprox 8 gal. tank. So, once you drain the battery driving the first 40 miles, the gas engine kicks in providing another 360 miles at 50 mpg. And the battery stays at 30% soc, until you plug in again.


  28. 28
    Jake

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:03 pm)

    Lithium batteries have a very low self-discharge rate. Even if you brought the battery down to the 30% cutoff and left it, the car would have to sit literally for months or years before the battery would be fully discharged. For all intents and purposes, “0″ charge doesn’t exist if your battery is working properly.


  29. 29
    JEC

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:06 pm)

    What is the nominal drain rate on the battery? This will let you know how long you want to let your Volt sit idle in the garage.

    Also, the Volt will maintain the 30 SOC, but what are the ramifications if it is at 25%, 20%, 10%, 5%, 0%? Will this degrade the battey, and how much?

    Maybe if you go on vacation, you need to have the neighbor water your flowers and warm up the Volt (Just be sure they are trustworthy!)


  30. 30
    noel park

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:07 pm)

    #23 DonC:

    I would say all of the above. I haven’t compared the actual dimensions, which I guess would be available if one wanted to do the work, but visually it looks about the same as those 3, or maybe just a tad bigger. Also the roof line looks to be a bit higher in the back than the Prius, for example, which tells me that the headroom will be better.

    #25 Mark C:

    Oh yeah, the Volt was clearly the star of the show, by at least an order of magnitude IMHO. And you know that I’m not prejudiced! I was hoping to see an Aptera, but no such luck. Also nothing from Mitsu, Nissan, Chrysler, or anybody else. Oh well, no guts no glory.

    The next best thing was an outfit from Flagstaff, AZ which will sell you a brand new Chevy Colorado converted to electric power. Freeway legal, 80 mph top speed, 60 mile range, $29,995. I was pretty tempted to tell you the truth, but I’m saving up for the Volt and can’t possibly do both.

    #26 Dennis:

    If you can’t plug in, the “range extender” just kicks in and maintains the battery at 30% SOC. You just have to drive around with the engine running until you can plug in again. That’s the beauty of it. As long as you keep gas in the tank you can keep on driving, just like a conventional car. You just lose the cost and environmental benefits of using electricity instead of gas until you can plug in again.


  31. 31
    Grizzly

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:11 pm)

    “There may be times when generated electricity so far surpasses the needs of the car (i.e. a long downhill), that the battery level might get high enough to let the ICE cut off, but this probably wont be often. ”

    *** *** ***

    This is one aspect I’ve always wondered about. At just what SOC will the ICE cut off and allow you to run on battery alone? Just as Noel mentioned in a previous thread, I’ve driven through some pretty hilly areas in my state, particularly the west end where by descending some hills has you wondering about the regen. captured. So exactly when does the ICE cut off, at 50% SOC 60, 70%? Obviously cutting the ICE off saves fuel, but you don’t want to do it too early because it’ll have to come right back on. Furthermore, after descending some hills you may have to climb again, and the captured regen will be helpful in supplying power. But if you level out for long periods after the last descent you’ve got more stored than you’ll need. I’m betting these are things the Volt team are still wrestling with.


  32. 32
    noel park

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:13 pm)

    #29 JEC:

    Trustworthy? LOL.

    When I was in college my buddy’s family went on an extended vacation. His dad asked me to come by a couple of times and warm up his Porsche. Big mistake!! But please don’t tell anybody, OK? It’s just our secret.

    Tough little car, I’m bound to say.


  33. 33
    George K

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:13 pm)

    “There may be times when generated electricity so far surpasses the needs of the car (i.e. a long downhill), that the battery level might get high enough to let the ICE cut off, but this probably wont be often.”

    I was hoping the engine would turn off when stopped at a light. But, on the other hand, then the engineers would have to come up with ways to keep the engine and pollution stuff warmed up.

    The Prius solves this by turning on the engine and using it’s heat, something that seems counter intuitive if you’re trying to save mpg. Additionally, when you turn off the engine and let the pollution stuff cool, you pay a penalty in pollution levels by later restarting a cold engine.

    But, by the Volt design, the mpg penalty is mostly mitigated, as the engine isn’t just running to create heat, it is also charging the battery!

    So, I’m back on board with NOT turning the engine on and off at traffic lights, etc.. I’m also hoping that the engine compartment will be well insulated from the cabin to keep the noise level to a minimum.

    Noel Park,
    Thanks for the update on the interior. Can’t wait to see it in person!

    =D~~~


  34. 34
    Grizzly

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:35 pm)

    Noel Park #32

    “His dad asked me to come by a couple of times and warm up his Porsche. Big mistake!!”

    *** *** ***

    You probably heard about the two college students who answered an ad posted on campus to paint a porch. They arrived at the house and the owner told them he had to leave and that it was around back and just “get ‘er done”.

    When the owner came back he paid the students. As they were leaving they said “sir, by the way it’s a Ferrari not a Porsche!

    Sorry couldn’t resist ;)


  35. 35
    Jackson

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:43 pm)

    I’ve heard both 6 and 7 gallons given as the “new” size of the Volt’s gas tank, which had earlier been given as 12 gallons.

    If you’re going to go off and leave the Volt in a garage, leave the battery fully charged. Or better yet, give one of us a call :-) .


  36. 36
    Cautious Fan

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:54 pm)

    The picture shows only 1 charging port on the driver side. That’s news to me. I knew there would be one there, but I hadn’t heard yet that it won’t be on the passenger side as well.


  37. 37
    mien green

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:56 pm)

    #30 noel park:
    “I was pretty tempted to tell you the truth, but I’m saving up for the Volt and can’t possibly do both.”

    As a successful graduate of the 12 step program, I can assure you that you can both save up for the Volt AND tell the truth about it.


  38. 38
    Van

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (3:56 pm)

    A few points, the picture at the top appears to be outdated, saddle tanks are gone, replaced apparently with an 8 gallon tank, and the distance behind the rear wheels is shorter.

    “The electricity, at around 50 kw, serves primarily to propel the car.”

    This appears to be Edmund’s like. The energy to propel the car varies with speed, grade, and acceleration. Might be as high as 50, but normally will be less than 22 Kw, and if a person got 32 miles with 8 KWH, driving 32 miles per hour, the draw would average 8 Kw. :)


  39. 39
    fred

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (4:54 pm)

    Darn, I installed an outlet on the other wall of the garage. Guess I’ll just have to plug an extension cord in and throw it over the rafters and let it hang down from above for charging. 22 cents a kilowatt here, last bill. What’s that going to be? about $65.00 a month to keep it charged?


  40. 40
    Grizzly

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (5:21 pm)

    Fred #39

    Either that, or you’ll have to back into the garage. :)


  41. 41
    statik

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (6:17 pm)

    Seeing how I posted some Volt/EV-1 pics from Santa Monica, and Noel has been giving us some first hand details, I thought I’d link this item from autoblog:

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/09/27/altcar-2008-chris-paine-talks-who-killed-sequel-coming-in-2/

    Basically it’s just Chris Paine (of “Who Killed the Electric Car? fame), shooting the breeze, talking about the sequel and that he has been inside GM and went to the Volt debut in Iceland (?? what ?? why ??)

    “The Revenge of the Electric Car” is the apparently only the working title of the sequel…could change. Has some pictures too of him standing around the Volt/EV-1 behind the ropes. All indications is he is pretty cozy with GM, he seems to be wherever GM is…I’d guess the Volt is a pretty big part of the sequel …along with the Tesla.


  42. 42
    nasaman

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (6:28 pm)

    39 fred…….. You say, “Darn, I installed an outlet on the other wall of the garage. Guess I’ll just have to plug an extension cord in and throw it over the rafters and let it hang down from above for charging……”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    …..or design electromagnetic couplers (1 for the car, 1 for your garage floor) that connect to your extension cord and to the Volt’s 2nd charge port dangling in front of the left front wheel in the picture at the top so you can just drive up real close to the coupler for a “charge”?!?* :)

    *Hey, WTF is that dangling in front of the left front wheel in the above picture????


  43. 43
    tom

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (6:28 pm)

    I’d rather have a little more battery, but not have an ICE, no gas tank, no exhaust system, just pure electric. This version would save several thousand in initial cost, and several thousand in maintenances over the years (no oil changes etc.).

    I think for me 50 miles would be enough safety range. 35 miles is round trip to work and a few miles for errands. The other car would need the ICE for longer trips.

    In 10 years when the batteries are better than now, I think this will really catch on. By then ranges hopefully would approach 100 miles on a charge, and that would cover 98% of folks normal daily drives


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (6:34 pm)

    Lyle… you may create your own “frenzy” by stating the Volt’s battery is “fully charged”…. as we’ve known for a long time the Volt is designed to only charge to battery to 80%.

    An interesting question is whether the Volt’s systems will allow regen braking to charge it to more than 80%… for an extreme example…. drive the Volt up to the top of a mountain (like Mount Washington), plug it in to charge it to the max charge of 80%, and then drive it down…..


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (6:54 pm)

    Most likely, the 80-30 range is not set in stone, but gives a comfortable emergency discharge/recharge cushion to the batteries for extreme circumsntances (regen breaking on long hills, gas engine conks out and you’re five miles from the repair shop, etc.). Even a Prius can run for a short distance off battery if the engine fails, just not very well.

    And I still don’t think that anyone who wants a pure EV really has much interest in the Volt, as that’s not what it is. Maybe it will eventually lead to it, but right now, unfortunately, if you want a pure EV you are limited to custom shops, golf carts, and highly limited outputs like Tesla. The Volt is an EV/gas mix, it’s not built to be anything else and the amount of customizing required to make it one would not be cost effective for GM to offer as an option.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (7:15 pm)

    45 Grant
    “The Volt is an EV/gas mix, it’s not built to be anything else and the amount of customizing required to make it one would not be cost effective for GM to offer as an option.”
    ——————————

    Why not just remove the ICE and all associated mechanicals. That should remove 500+ lbs. Then maybe you get 45 mpc?

    The price would drop and maintenance would be minimal. If this would be sufficient for some people, why not provide the option?

    Seems like a possibility….right?


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (7:25 pm)

    #46 JEC,
    That’s what I keep saying! They need to roll out their 2010/2011volt, but they should have a 2011/2012 version that is all electric.
    With the next generation battery and without the ICE/Exhaust/Tank ETC., it only makes sense they could put out the same car with 50 mile range and less expensive.

    They have to remember their audience are folks highly motivated to not use oil for all the reasons we already know. They could sell millions of these cars. I mean how many families have 2 or more cars. This car would be the car used every day for trips under 50 miles. The other car can be used to visit grandma out of state etc.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (7:27 pm)

    JEC #46 Tom #43

    GM has stated that they will provide an pure BEV Volt. Even though it probably will be supplied only to Californians to satisfy the new CARB regs, they will be making them.


  49. 49
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    Sep 27th, 2008 (7:35 pm)

    There is also the fact that the software controlling the power systems would have to be completely re-written, as it is all based on the EV/gas system as a unified whole. If you ‘just pulled out the engine’ you have to find a way to compensate in the program, or the computer will have a error fit when it sends signals to do things and expects a response that never comes. Most likely, the error state would disable the car.

    I am not saying it is impossible, it isn’t. It’s just that the Volt is NOT that kind of car. For that, you will have to wait and see what becomes available, as the low-volume that such a thing would be will not be a commonly available option. You may, as Grizzly said, have to go to CA to get one and ship it back yourself.

    You must also keep in mind that cars are not just transport, for many they are SECURITY. People want (and need) something they can flee in needs be, especially nowadays. Do you want to have a 50-mile EV when a hurricane is incoming, or a Volt that will keep going after the battery is depleted, and will keep going till you can find a working outlet again (which could be weeks)? I’d never buy a pure EV if I could help it, and I want to get away from a pure-gas car for the same reasons.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (7:52 pm)

    Questions for the GM Engineers from the 78% users group (< 40 mpd):

    1) What routine maintenance needs to be done on a lightly used ICE?

    2) Will the ICE need to be run for some amount of time for every 100 hours of battery-only mode?

    3) Will the owner need to add a gas stabilizing compound to the fuel tank?

    4) Will the exhaust system fail early due to moisture build up?


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:04 pm)

    Noel Park

    Thank you for taking the time to travel to see the Volt and reporting your observations.

    We appreciate it!


  52. 52
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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:08 pm)

    49 Grant

    “If you ‘just pulled out the engine’ you have to find a way to compensate in the program, or the computer will have a error fit when it sends signals to do things and expects a response that never comes. Most likely, the error state would disable the car.”
    ——–

    Here would be the code (ANSI-C of course) modification to make the car run in only battery mode:

    /* Original code comment out #define */
    #include win.h
    #include volt_battery.h
    #include volt_ice.h
    // #define ICE_INSTALLED TRUE

    /* New code added */
    #define ICE_INSTALLED FALSE
    .
    .
    .
    if (MOTOR_INSTALLED == TRUE)
    run_ICE_mode_application();
    else
    run_battery_mode_application();

    Well, ok maybe not this easy, but it really should be a simple process to just never enter into ICE mode. Maybe a nice goto, to make all the programmers go crazy would be a nice touch?


  53. 53
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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:12 pm)

    Good point Jeff M, now clarified.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:15 pm)

    50 Kevin

    For $40,000+ I want a stainless steel exhaust….

    I am still curious on how they will manage to keep the backyard mechanic from killing himself with 350 Vdc? If you somehow managed to access this voltage, say with your screw driver, you could literally vaporized the metal due to the short circuit capacity of a battery.

    I have personally witnessed a similiar event across a few hundred uF capacitior at 800 volts DC. It is not a pretty sight ( you better have your safety glasses in place)

    This is a video with no where near the ampacity of a 16Kw 350V battery
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En2N8C1a2iQ


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    Arch

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:17 pm)

    Kevin

    WOW that sounds like a bunch of loaded questions. What do you do for your lawn mower over the winter? Now with my motorhome I start the generator a couple times a year to clear the moisture out of the windings. I park my motorhome most times at the end of Oct.
    I will roll it out again in April or May. I have never put anything in the gas tank in the last 12 years. I will admit that sometimes that first run in the spring I have a problem with a little knock. But then again I am running a 455 Olds with a 9.5 compression ratio. I bet they get it right!

    Take Care
    Arch


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:43 pm)

    Grant #49

    You are correct. Not only would the code have problems but so would the firmware/bios detecting all the disconnects that are not part of the controller bus on POST. Hack sawing the ICE out of this vehicle is not going to be as easy as some believe.


  57. 57
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    Sep 27th, 2008 (8:48 pm)

    #56 Grizzly

    Just disable POST. who needs self test anyway.

    Just kidding… lol


  58. 58
    JEC

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:09 pm)

    Ok. Here is a video of the Volt battery discharging.

    It is REALLY cool!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGcCG2YZdq0&feature=related


  59. 59
    Exp_EngTech

     

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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:18 pm)

    All of us who closely follow the Volt know it will be chocked full of microprocessors and control system wizardry to get the most out of everything. I’m sure the driver display(s) will have lots of information.

    But some information is best kept simple.

    GM (if you’re reading this), PLEASE seriously consider putting a “Hobbs Meter” (engine hour meter) in the Volt’s engine compartment so the total run time on the ICE can be recorded and monitored when servicing is performed.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:31 pm)

    Exp_EngTech #59

    This has been discussed many times on this site, and the consensus seems to be that it would just about have to have one. There would be no other way to warranty the ICE, determine oil chg. intervals etc. etc w/o some gauge of engine hours.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:32 pm)

    #22 Noel
    Many thanks for that very informative details.
    May be you will have to go and have a look again to answer some of other enquiries likely to follow :-)


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:45 pm)

    From what it looks like the generator and motor are in the same housing, basically it is the size of a transmission. I am sure they did this to make it so it could be assembled on the same line as the cruze. Very good idea. When the EV-1 was made it was a custom job and could not be mass produced, on a regular line. This is good for us to keep the price down.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:51 pm)

    #48 Grizzly

    “JEC #46 Tom #43:GM has stated that they will provide an pure BEV Volt. Even though it probably will be supplied only to Californians to satisfy the new CARB regs, they will be making them.”
    —————-

    They did? I don’t know how I missed it. Can you hit me up with a link?


  64. 64
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    Sep 27th, 2008 (9:57 pm)

    #60 Grizzly wrote….

    “This has been discussed many times on this site, and the consensus seems to be that it would just about have to have one. There would be no other way to warranty the ICE, determine oil chg. intervals etc. etc w/o some gauge of engine hours.”

    Sorry, I must have missed those threads.

    My point is that I don’t think the elapsed run time data from the ICE running should ONLY be kept in a memory chip that requires the Volt display systems to be powered up to view. Nor should it be “hidden’ so that only a GM tech with a special “service tool” has access to it.

    Well built garden tractors have “Hobbs Meters”.

    I think the Volt should have one.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:30 pm)

    Exp_EngTech #64

    I agree, and you have a point. We know that all auto manufacturers want you to bring your car to the dealership for regular warranty maintenance, but they can’t mandate it. For instance, if you change your own oil, they can’t void your warranty because you didn’t bring the car to the dealership to have it done, it just has to be done by someone. Without access to ICE work hours in the Volt, no do-it-yourselfer would know when to change the oil, or the O2 sensor etc.

    With the digital systems built into the Volt, I don’t know whether or not you have to power up, but I can tell you that in my 2000 Grand AM, you can’t view the digital odometer without the key being on. Honestly, I think the chances that it’ll have an analogue W.O. meter are slim. One reason is that the PCM will need to read this digital meter to make a host of calculations.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:31 pm)

    Statik #63

    Statik, it was actually a topic on this very blog. Let me see if I can find it.


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (10:56 pm)

    Statik,

    It was way back in April and it’s a little more tentative than I remember, but they are considering it for CARB purposes.

    http://tinyurl.com/4gz9us


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    Sep 27th, 2008 (11:20 pm)

    If GM hides the oil filter( like they tried on some models to force you back to the dealer) then I’ll stay hidden untill the iMiev goes on sale. I’ve been using Mobil 1 oil and going 10,000 to 15,000 between oil changes and my engines still look and run like new after 200,000 miles. I don’t expect to ever change my volt’s oil during my lifetime.(unless the filter is hidden, then I won’t have one)


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (12:13 am)

    Chrysler’s method of charging is far superior than the GM Volt method. Even the new plug-in Prius is mo betta than this. Come on Chevy, put your engineering hat on. LMAO


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (12:33 am)

    Mobil 1 baby, it is like liquid gold.
    If its good enough for the Vette then its good enough for the Volt.
    Exxon-Mobil ROCKS !


  71. 71
    Herm

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (12:34 am)

    for $40k I want a 110vac/240vac inverter tied to the generator/battery that can power my house in an emergency.. lets say 15kVA to be conservative. That would not stress the generator or battery at all. Note the inverter is needed because I doubt the generator will be AC or work at 60Hz if it is.

    I suspect you cant keep people from comitting suicide, but the Volt with have lots of signs everywhere telling you not to mess with it. TV sets are also lethal. There is some money in that $40k to deal with lawsuits, probably.

    >>>>>>>>>.
    JEC Says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 8:15 pm
    50 Kevin
    For $40,000+ I want a stainless steel exhaust….
    I am still curious on how they will manage to keep the backyard mechanic from killing himself with 350 Vdc?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>


  72. 72
    Lee Ioccoca

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (12:38 am)

    Why such a HUGE engine (1.4L) ?
    The Chrysler electrics only use a 1.0 liter and get better results.
    What’s up with that ? I think GM over-engineered on this one.


  73. 73
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    Sep 28th, 2008 (12:41 am)

    And, of course the ICE will put more charge in the battery when your in stop and go traffic or sitting at a red light if your past the depletion point instead of just wasting gas.


  74. 74
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    Sep 28th, 2008 (12:54 am)

    7. Freemon

    Hey, Freemon. Are you using reverse psychology? I thought McCain would be an okay president but after what you said I’m voting Obama! Does AZ really have some sort of electric car penalty since an electric car has the same maintenance needs as a refrigerator? Does AZ penalize refrigerators? :-)

    46. JEC and 47. tom

    JEC and tom, if you want an analog to how a Volt might be as a pure electric check out AC Propulsions website and their specs on their Scion conversion.

    Hey, Lyle, how about a primer on DC to AC inverter tech? I notice people are asking questions about how DC battery power, becomes AC for the electric motor and by the way what IS the generator outputting? I take it it’s DC but does the generator have it’s own inverter bypassing the battery inverter to supply AC to the electric motor?

    On regen, I have a Honda Civic hybrid and let me tell you it could use a WAY bigger battery to recapture the energy of 2500lbs of kinetic energy! The battery is so small regen recharges the battery surprisingly quickly, then stops. The battery can’t take any more charge! It will be interesting to see what happens with energy management in the SF bay area. Will I use up most of the 40 mile range reaching the summit of hwy 17 on the way to Santa Cruz but recover it downhill without the ICE engine ever turning on? Does this mean I can go 60 miles all electric because of regen? I really want to see what happens on the rolling up and down of hwy 280 on a round trip San Jose/SF drive. It’s over 120 miles round trip but with regen will the Volt stay in the electric only mode? I hope so!

    Are any of you in the San Francisco bay area? What are your thoughts on all electric range vis-a-vis 17 and 280?

    I hope the regen program is as good as the Honda. I can get BETTER mileage by using some gas to speed up going downhill then coasting on regen pumping more amps back into the battery! I hope this is true with the Volt.


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (4:23 am)

    Lee Ioccoca Says: #72

    Why such a HUGE engine (1.4L) ?
    The Chrysler electrics only use a 1.0 liter and get better results.

    *** *** ***

    A lesson in paper vs reality, ether vs sweat equity. Everyone has a suggestion and everyone has a plan, and it’s easy to armchair QB anything. The reality is in DELIVERING.

    LJGTVWOTR!


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (5:01 am)

    Nice update but I’m still going to wait for the actual details of the design and how the different modes will operate. I’m guessing I will have to wait not only for when the Volt is released but after a few software updates are made. Here is what I’m really interested in:

    1) Are there two separate electrical paths to the motor (one directly to the motor and the other with the battery in the connection)?

    2) How everything is converted and conditioned. AC to DC to AC, etc? The actual schematics would be helpful. :)

    3) How are different modes going to be handled. Is there a long distance mode (mostly on highway), hill mode (both up and down), bypass mode for emergency use of the 30 percent of electrical storage, ICE only mode, heavy foot mode (would keep the ICE revving higher and trying to keep a larger percentage in the battery for longer and more powerful bursts of energy, a grandmother mode for the very light footed of us, ECO man mode for the people who are willing to sacrifice performance to be as clean as possible, etc.

    I’m guessing most of the modes will be added later after massive amounts of customer feedback and after the engineers have more time to sit down with the actual hardware and tweak it. They are going to be rushed just to get it running acceptably. They can update it later. Imagine getting software updates and your Volt gets better and better. Bug fixes, etc. The PC meets the automobile. Let’s just hope we don’t get the equivalent of the blue screen of death! Not good at 80 mph! ;)


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (6:26 am)

    #74 KentT Says: “Hey, Lyle, how about a primer on DC to AC inverter tech? I notice people are asking questions about how DC battery power, becomes AC for the electric motor… ”
    ————————————————————————————–
    The best primer I’ve found is here:
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=45

    The term “AC electric motor” is actually misleading because the motor takes in pulses of DC voltage. A better term is “induction electric motor”. The motor controller (a.k.a. inverter) has very complicated low-level software (Firmware) algorithms that control the timing of these DC pulses to increase or decrease speed, reverse motor direction, or reverse the flow of electricity for regenerative braking, all with maximum efficiency.

    Note that “DC electric motors” (a.k.a. brushless motors) work essentially the same way. They take in pulses of DC voltage from a software based controller. The main difference is that brushless motors have magnets in the rotor, while induction motors have magnetic windings in the rotor. Brushless motors harder to scale up to higher power applications, since the magnets are expensive and heavy.

    Note that all current hybrids use brushless motors, however the Toyota Prius calls it a “Permanent Magnet AC motor”. This further demonstrates that the terms “AC” and “DC” are meaningless here.


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (6:48 am)

    #76 Texas Says:
    1) Are there two separate electrical paths to the motor (one directly to the motor and the other with the battery in the connection)?

    2) How everything is converted and conditioned. AC to DC to AC, etc? The actual schematics would be helpful. ”
    ————————————————————————————–
    I believe GM told us last summer that the generator, battery, and motor controller would all be wired in parallel on a common DC bus. Specifically:

    1) The generator (a.k.a. alternator) outputs ripple DC onto the common bus. Here’s an explanation for how generators work:
    http://www.asashop.org/autoinc/april2005/collision.htm

    2) The battery is also connected to the common DC bus. Current can flow in either direction:
    a) from the DC bus into the battery.
    b) from the battery onto the DC bus.

    3) The electric motor controller (a.k.a. inverter) is also connected to the common DC bus. Current can flow in either direction:
    a) from the DC bus into the motor controller.
    b) from the motor controller onto the DC bus (regenerative braking).

    So, not only can the generator bypass the battery to power the motor, you also can have both the generator and the battery outputting power in parallel to the motor (for acceleration and steep hills).


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    Estero

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:13 am)

    The battery charging process is much like what many of us have come to understand over the past several months. Yet, it is very different than that provided for the concept Volt.

    The primary reason for the change appears to be the limitations of the lithium-ion battery. It is never depleted below approx. 30% SOC for “battery longevity” reasons and is never charged above approx. 80% SOC for the same reasons. Reading between the lines, there are apparent limitations as to the number of charge/depletion cycles the lithium-ion battery can sustain over the life of the battery pack even within the usable and supposedly safe 50% SOC range.

    I can only draw one conclusion. While the lithium-ion battery is the only game in town at the moment, it is not a long term solution. A new/different battery technology will be need to overcome the many limitations of the lithium-ion battery if E-REV vehicles are ever to become more than just commuter vehicles.


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:25 am)

    #79 Estero,

    You imply that a “perfect” battery would discharge completely so that the battery would be empty when the engine turns on. This would not work.

    The E-REV design uses an under-sized 75hp gas engine for efficiency. Peak power (150hp) still requires the battery, even after the gas engine turns on. So you need some charge in the battery for acceleration and steep hills. 30% seems about right for this.

    Similarly, it’s better not to charge the battery up to 100%. Otherwise there would be no room to store energy from regenerative braking right after a charge.

    What we need is cheaper, smaller, lighter batteries, not batteries that can charge and discharge completely.


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:27 am)

    #77 Dave G Regarding motor types
    =========================

    Thank you for the explanation. Nice.


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:28 am)

    nasaman Says: @42

    …..or design electromagnetic couplers (1 for the car, 1 for your garage floor) that connect to your extension cord and to the Volt’s 2nd charge port dangling in front of the left front wheel in the picture at the top so you can just drive up real close to the coupler for a “charge”?!?*

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

    You must be joking about an electromagnetic coupler. The Volt will draw way too much current for the transfer of power through inductance at such a distance. Plus the fact this coupler would suffer a power loss Or, is there something I don’t understand?


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:32 am)

    #79 Estero said “While the lithium-ion battery is the only game in town at the moment, it is not a long term solution. A new/different battery technology will be need to overcome the many limitations of the lithium-ion battery if E-REV vehicles are ever to become more than just commuter vehicles.”
    ===================================

    It would be great to have a better battery, whether it is one based on a different chemistry or one that is perfected incrementally. More charge-discharge cycles would be an improvement, although the issue here may be more the cost of replacement, as all the parts of the car have a lifetime.

    Maybe the most critical improvement would be a battery that held the same charge (energy) in a smaller space and with less weight. That’s really the fundamental advantage that remains with gasoline.


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    PHEVadvocate

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:33 am)

    As people loose their “range anxiety” I expect we will go this way:

    http://www.evnut.com/rav_longranger.htm

    I would rather have more battery in the car, than haul around a gas engine all the time.

    I would “E-Flex” the car by making a different type of trailer. That way if you wanted to use hydrogen fuel cells you could haul around a trailer as big as the car. ;)


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:41 am)

    #72 Lee Ioccoca Says: “Why such a HUGE engine (1.4L) ?”
    ————————————————————————————-
    I thought the same thing at first, but it turns out that this is actually a little small for an Atkinson Cycle engine. For example, the 2009 Prius uses a 1.8L Atkinson Cycle engine. So it’s not the size but the cam tuning that matters.


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    Sep 28th, 2008 (8:13 am)

    #84 PHEVadvocate Says: “As people loose their “range anxiety” I expect we will go this way: (link to gas engine trailer)”
    ————————————————————————————–
    I doubt this will catch on in a mass market way. Most people just want a regular type of car that will do everything.

    Besides which, 40 miles of all-electric range covers the vast majority of driving for 80% of the population. For example, using a typical yearly driving pattern of:
    • 30 days at 8 miles per day
    • 50 days at 16 miles per day
    • 240 days at 30 miles per day
    • 30 days at 60 miles per day
    • 3 days at 450 miles per day
    the Volt uses only 36 gallons of gas to go 11,390 miles.

    If you increase the all-electric range of the Volt to 100 miles, it would take 21 gallons of gas to go the same 11,390 miles. So for a typical driver, the cost and hassle of more batteries and a gas engine trailer would not be worth it to save 15 gallons of gas a year…

    I think what’s happening with some PHEV advocates here is a sort of reverse range anxiety – where the possibility of the gas engine turning on at all is just evil. But when you look at the actual numbers, it’s trivial. Specifically, If all passenger vehicles were E-REVs with 40 miles AER, it would eliminate 80% of our gasoline usage, but gasoline only accounts for 44% of all U.S. oil consumption, so total oil consumption would only be reduced by 1/3. If we really want to reduce oil consumption, we also have to concentrate on alternatives to things like:
    • Diesel for 18-wheel trucks (17% of oil consumption)
    • Fuel oil for heating homes (15% of oil consumption)
    • Jet fuel (5% of oil consumption)

    Since replacing diesel and jet fuel will require bio-fuels anyway, it seems obvious that this can be used to power ICEs in E-REVs as well.


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    MDDave

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (8:41 am)

    Tom said: They have to remember their audience are folks highly motivated to not use oil for all the reasons we already know.

    No; that is completely wrong. The audience that GM is targetting is the general public. The Volt is designd for the purposes and driving parameters that people currently expect from their ICE cars. That’s what makes the Volt a revolutionary technology–it’s embraced by the masses.

    What you seem to want is for the Volt to be a small commuter car with limited range that serves a niche audience. People that buy it would have to plan their driving around the capabilities of the car and/or have a second car with an ICE for longer trips. That may work for you, but I can guarantee you that it won’t work for the vast majority of the driving public. Plus, we already saw that with the EV1 and look how that turned out.


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    swimdad623

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (8:46 am)

    #72 Lee Ioccoca Says”

    Why such a HUGE engine (1.4L) ?

    I don’t have the inside story on this, but there are a number of good engineering-based reasons for this:

    1) The optimal efficiency for a modern flex-fuel internal combusion engine comes at about 1800 RPM, which is fairly down on the power range. By using a smaller engine, Chrysler would need to run theirs at a higher RPM, which reduces efficiency.
    2) The GM ICE is flex-fuel, and can run on ethanol. I didn’t see if the Chrysler ICE was flex-fuel. Flex-fuel operation potentially reduces the overall power, requiring a larger engine.
    3) Running the ICE at lower RPMs also reduces the noise levels. The GM engineers did say in a blog that they wanted the ICE transition to be so quiet that nobody would notice it. Compare this to the transition on the Mini Cooper-based Mini-QED serial hybrid, which uses a 250cc ICE at 7000RPM. You can hear the engine scream when the ICE transition take place on this car.
    4) By running a large engine at low RPMs, the engine computer has the option of cranking up the RPMs when a lot of power is needed. A blog entry a few weeks ago speculated if the Volt had enough ICE capacity to climb Pikes’ Peak. With the bigger engine, it’s unlikely that the Volt would have a problem with this.
    5) GM wanted an ICE that they could maintain easily in their dealer network. The 1.4L used in the Volt will be the same engine used in the upcoming Cruize, so it’s a standard product, all of the dealers will know the engine, and will have the parts in stock.

    In the end, I’ll bet that the last one was the big push. Most of the other EV manufactuers are limiting their distribution areas (you’re NOT going to see a Tesla dealership in Minnesota). GM is looking to go nationwide with the Volt, and the use of standard parts helps this.

    Despite this, I can suggest one change to GM on the ICE decision. I’m curious as to why they used a standard ICE, versus an Atkinson Cycle engine (as used on the Prius and Ford Escape). The Atkinson cycle engine only has a few parts differences compared to the standard engine, but it has higher efficiency in return for limited torque. The Volt engine doesn’t need the torque, so the Atkinson cycle would get a few more MPGs out of the ICE when running in ICE-mode.

    Well, we’ll suggest that for Volt 2.0!


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    Dave G

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (9:08 am)

    #88 swimdad623 Says: “I’m curious as to why they used a standard ICE, versus an Atkinson Cycle engine (as used on the Prius and Ford Escape). The Atkinson cycle engine only has a few parts differences compared to the standard engine, but it has higher efficiency in return for limited torque. The Volt engine doesn’t need the torque, so the Atkinson cycle would get a few more MPGs out of the ICE when running in ICE-mode.”
    ————————————————————————————–
    The Volt does use an Atkinson cycle engine.

    GM has stated that the 1.4L engine will deliver around 75 max horsepower. That has got to be Atkinson cycle. There is no other explanation for only 75hp from a 1.4L engine.

    I think the term “standard ICE” encompases all cam tunings (Otto, Atkinson, Miller). Non-standard ICE would be things like:
    • a small gas turbine
    • HCCI
    • rotary
    • etc.


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    statik

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (9:20 am)

    #83 RB
    It would be great to have a better battery, whether it is one based on a different chemistry or one that is perfected incrementally. More charge-discharge cycles would be an improvement, although the issue here may be more the cost of replacement, as all the parts of the car have a lifetime.

    Maybe the most critical improvement would be a battery that held the same charge (energy) in a smaller space and with less weight. That’s really the fundamental advantage that remains with gasoline.
    ——————–

    Yeah, I think I want to wait on these:

    “Mitsubishi’s MMR25 is an all-electric race car powered by a revolutionary drivetrain the future has not yet imagined. This forward-looking, high output powertrain is comprised of four lightweight, high-efficiency, in-wheel electric motors whose output is boosted with the help of eight supplemental motors. The batteries are next generation units, which are more powerful, fully recyclable and can run up to 1,000 miles on a single charge. Specially developed uniform composite Nano fibers give the Lithium batteries their long life and reduced weight. These powerful, yet compact battery packs are located in the center and on each side of the vehicle and are positioned low to the ground for enhanced stability and a lower center of gravity.”

    http://jalopnik.com/5055670/mitsubishis-la-design-challenge-entry-reveals-mmr25-rally-racer-of-the-future

    2025? I think not. 2050…maybe.


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    Dave G

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (9:26 am)

    #87 MDDave,

    Yes, well said. Completely eliminating oil use is not what most people are after.

    Besides, less than 1/2 of our oil consumption is from passenger vehicles. Specifically, U.S. oil consumption breaks down roughly as follows:
    • 44% gasoline (mostly for passenger vehicles)
    • 17 diesel (mostly for 18-wheel trucks)
    • 5% jet fuel
    • 15% home heating oil
    • 19% other (petro-chemicals, fertilizer, plastics, etc.)

    Note that transportation (first 3 bullets) adds up to 2/3 of consumption, but heavy duty and long distance transporation using diesel and jet fuel can’t be converted to electricity.


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    Estero

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (9:27 am)

    #80 Dave G

    Sorry, I didn’t say a “perfect” battery would discharge completely so that the battery would be empty when the engine turns on.

    Let me try one more time to make my point more clear.

    The current lithium-ion battery technology has forced GM to establish operating limits in order to guarantee the battery pack for 10 years and/or 150,000 miles. Some of those limits are known: 1) charging to approx. 80% SOC, 2) depletion to approx. 30% SOC and 3) total lifetime charge/depletion cycles. But there are others limits as well that have been discussed far less in this forum; temperature range, vibration, etc.

    What I am saying is a new/different battery technology is needed to move beyond those limitations.

    I agree with you! We need smaller, lighter and cheaper batteries but disagree with what follows. We do need batteries that can be charged closer to 100% SOC and depleted closer to 0% SOC than the current lithium-ion battery technology. Make no mistake about it; others are working on the SOC limits and eventually someone, somewhere will find a bettery battery formula.


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    Estero

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (9:36 am)

    GM made a point when the concept Volt was first introduced to distinguish it from other hybrids by saying the Volt is a serial hybrid while the others are parallel hybrids. I find that interesting considering this thread on “How Charging of the Battery Works in the Chevy Volt”.

    Sorry, but the Volt now sounds very much like a parallel hybrid, not a serial hybrid! The 1st 40 miles is battery power. After that it is ICE power.

    Now, let me duck before you start throwing darts, tomatos, insults, etc.


  94. 94
    Dave G

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (10:18 am)

    #92 Estero,

    OK, so let’s say a battery comes along that will last forever regardless how much you discharge it. Let’s also say the car turns on the gas engine at 10% charge instead of 30%.

    You get to the bottom of a mountain range. You start going up the mountain, but quickly lose power when the 10% battery runs out.

    Or let’s say you run out of gas and need to get to the nearest gas station that’s 20 miles away, but you only have 8 miles of range with the 10% charge left on the battery.

    My point in post #80 is that 30% probably makes more sense regardless of battery longevity.


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    Dave G

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (10:24 am)

    #93 Estero Says: “Sorry, but the Volt now sounds very much like a parallel hybrid, not a serial hybrid! The 1st 40 miles is battery power. After that it is ICE power.”
    ————————————————————————————-
    I don’t understand your point here. A plug-in parallel hybrid doesn’t have any all-electric range. As soon as you accelerate or go faster than 60MPH, the gas engine comes on.

    The Volt’s charging scheme is optimized to use as little gas as possible. If the gas engine charged the battery, you would be using gas when you didn’t have to. It’s better to use the gas engine just to power the electric motor as much as possible.

    This was all explained in August 2007:
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/08/29/latest-chevy-volt-battery-pack-and-generator-details-and-clarifications/
    You posted on that thread. Why are you surprised now?


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    Xzlon

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (5:58 pm)

    This was a great article on the Engine/Battery charge relationship, written in simple and understandable language. Now does anyone know enough about the “M” position of the shift lever to do a like article addressing the M position?

    Norm


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (6:13 pm)

    #42 nasaman
    That is the 120VAC HV charger assembly
    Also the photo isnt showing the 6 cables that are routed from the PIM to the transaxle assembly (although if you zoom in you can make it out clearly)
    A full size version can be downloaded off the GM media site here:
    http://gm.wieck.com/forms/gm/X11AR_CH001.jpg?download=049113
    HTH
    WOT


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (6:28 pm)

    #93 estro
    By the SAE definition the Volt IS NOT a hybrid as it does NOT have more than one means of propulsive power
    It’s actually an EV with a gas powered “range-extending” feature
    A good read can on these terms and the Volt can be found here:
    http://media.gm.com/volt/eflex/docs/paper.pdf\
    HTH
    WopOnTour


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    Grizzly

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (7:15 pm)

    swimdad623 # 88

    “The Volt engine doesn’t need the torque, so the Atkinson cycle would get a few more MPGs out of the ICE when running in ICE-mode.”

    *** *** ***

    The engine does need torque. Turning a 56kw motor puts quite a load on the ICE and it needs maximum ft/lbs at modest rpm to be able to supply the power needed. Aside from not being as smooth, the 1.0L turbo was only able to deliver the power to handle duty at +1100 rpm which resulted in a lower brake specific fuel efficiency.


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    tom

     

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    Sep 28th, 2008 (8:59 pm)

    • 44% gasoline (mostly for passenger vehicles)
    => replace with electricity from Wind, Nuclear, more efficient lighting
    • 17 diesel (mostly for 18-wheel trucks)
    => replace with natural gas
    • 5% jet fuel
    => eventually replace with synthetics or new derivatives, but we have 50 years for this
    • 15% home heating oil
    => replace with electricity
    • 19% other (petro-chemicals, fertilizer, plastics, etc.)
    => will need to find substitutes

    We are going to need a lot more electricity from wind farms and Nuclear to replace what we generate with natural gas.

    But we have to really move a lot faster then obama/mcclain are even talking.

    We need to spend that 700 billion on creating cheap clean energy for the next several centuries. We need to spend that money in this country because our trade deficit is destroying our dollar.

    We need to stop talking about how nice it is because if we don’t our economy may implode for real.

    We need to get these electric cars out there as fast as possible to eat at the oil that goes to fuel cars.

    So in addition to the Volt they are talking about they need to come out with a BEV version that was a little cheaper (no ICE, gas tank, exhaust etc.) and perhaps a little more battery.

    There is an important segment of people (me) who really want to stop using oil, but need a slightly more affordable option. Most all families will still have a second car for the longer trips, but an affordable BEV that can be used for 50 miles a day of driving and get the car out to the masses. Then 3-5 years after that when folks are replacing a second car, hopefully extended range vehicles will be more affordable and BEV options will have more range.

    Of course saving on gas is a large part of what will make these cars more affordable, but that may save $10,000 over the life of the car, but the car still has to cost much less than $40,000.


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    Estero

     

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    Sep 29th, 2008 (6:07 am)

    #98 WopOnTour

    Of course the Volt has more than one means of propulsion. They may both be electric, but each is independent of the other, except for the occasional small amount of excess electricity being directed to the battery pack for storage.

    Propulsion #1 — Electricity stored in the battery pack is used for propulsion during the 1st approx. 40 miles.

    Propulsion #2 — The ICE generates electricity for ‘primary’ propulsion beyond the approx. 1st 40 miles. Once the ICE comes on, it never shuts down.

    If the Volt had retained its original concept of 1) the ICE generating electricity for storage in the battery pack and 2) all propulsion of the vehicle is derived from the battery pack, then of course I would agree with you. But, that’s not the Volt battery storage/propulsion system described at the start of this thread.

    One last thing. The article associated with the link you provided states the SAE does NOT have a definition of E-REV. GM has proposed one, but it had not yet been accepted as of the date of that article.


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    Joshua Bretz

     

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    Sep 29th, 2008 (7:28 am)

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    randy

     

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    Sep 29th, 2008 (11:11 am)

    TO poster #21 fred
    Says he will use his TACOMA for long trips and his volt for work(short trips)
    WHy? 15 20<MPG in the tacoma
    40-50 MPG with the volt after the first 40 electric.Makes no sense.
    I had a tacoma Lousy MPG all the time


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 29th, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    #101 Estero
    You confuse the term “propulsion” system with energy sources
    The Volt has only ONE propulsion system and that’s an electric motor, and as such IS NOT a hybrid by SAE definition.

    I’m fully aware there is no definition of an EREV as of yet

    …and you are 100% incorrect about the ICE staying running. You are merely propagating an erroneous article from AN or Edmunds that has since been debunked and retracted.

    If you can read and understand the paper I linked you to, you have all the information you need on the EREV drive cycles and ICE operation.

    WOT


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    jim

     

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    Oct 1st, 2008 (12:01 pm)

    Here we go again. Needlessly complicating what could be such a simple concept.

    There is no point to having all these complicated multi-speed ICE controls.

    The ICE should come on at a preset point, charge the batteries to 100% and turn off. Running it at intermediate speeds just decreases it’s overall efficiency.

    I’ve been saying this for decades.

    Design the ICE to run at ONE speed (ie, the most efficient speed can then be used). Have it charge the battery pack in the most efficient rate (ie, as fast as it can). And then shut it off.

    With the one-speed ICE, the battery pack is as close to fully charged at any given time in case there is a problem and the ICE fails to start. Chevy’s design will leave you stranded pretty quick if their ICE fails.

    With the one-speed ICE, the ICE can be reduced in size (and therefore use considerably less fossil fuel). I wouldn’t be surprised if the ICE could be reduced to a 0.5 liter design (~30 cu in).

    Properly designed, a 0.5 liter ICE could produce roughly 60 HP which equates to nearly 44 Kilowatts of power (not accounting for any system losses). But even if we toss out 25% for losses, etc., we still have 33 KILOWATTS of power to charge the batteries with.

    Not to mention the much simpler controls required to run an ICE at one ideal speed. Simpler = More Reliable. Bad for Mr. Goodwrench. Good for the Customer.

    Also, much higher “MPG” … like on the order of 200, maybe; since th engine is now 1/3 the size.

    And, with the smaller ICE, less space required for it and it’s auxiliary systems (cooling, exhaust, etc.).

    And, now the ICE might be small enough to locate in the rear of the vehicle (like under the seat maybe) to help balance out this ridiculously front-end-heavy arrangement). I suspect the tire dealers are already watering at the mouth in anticipation of the constant replacements (much like the front tire problems that Chrysler / Dodge Caravan owners face).

    And what’s up with the Boeing 767 cockpit dashboard! Tell the d*** kids to leave their movies and stereo crap at home or in their backpacks. The driver’s job is to get him/herself and the fellow passengers from point A to point B safely. Everything else is just a distraction. You want to save lives? Line the car with a cell-phone deadner requiring one to stop the car and get out to use their cell phone! There! No more texting (which would have saved four teenage girls here in NY a few months back), or “multi-tasking idiot-style” (morons with laptop on passenger seat, cell phone in ear and radar on high alert whilst speeding down the highway at 75 MPH).


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    Pat Trulove

     

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    Oct 1st, 2008 (11:11 pm)

    I hope this isn’t redundant. I don’t have time to read every post. I have two questions. #1. I live in an apartment and access to a plug is not an option unless I run an extension cord out the window. #2 could the internal combustion engine be powered by natural gas? That way you would use NO foreign oil.


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    Richard Price

     

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    Oct 2nd, 2008 (1:16 am)

    I think GM has duped us all. I hope it’s not true, but I read on some blog today that they are using the gas engine to drive the car mechanically and not to simply charge the batteries (although some charging will take place). If this is true, then we still don’t have an electric car–it’s just another form of a hybrid and a lot less exciting.


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    Matthew B

     

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    Oct 2nd, 2008 (11:54 am)

    “Here we go again. Needlessly complicating what could be such a simple concept.

    There is no point to having all these complicated multi-speed ICE controls.

    The ICE should come on at a preset point, charge the batteries to 100% and turn off. Running it at intermediate speeds just decreases it’s overall efficiency. ”

    There are several downsides to that mode of operation.

    - The pollution will be more. The first few minutes of operation produce most of the CO and HC before the catalytic converter warms. By cycling the car over and over, it will put out a burst of pollution. A conventional hybrid doesn’t have this problem because they don’t let the engine cool enough.

    - The battery will receive more wear. It’s getting run up and down over and over again. One long trip could do more wear than months worth of 40 mile cycles.

    - It might not be more efficient. if the engine is over 50% power, it’s still pretty efficient. Yes, running right at the sweet spot load produces more electricity per gallon of fuel, but putting it in a battery and removing it again isn’t perfectly efficient either. When the car is going down the freeway at fixed speed, the most efficient would be for the gasoline engine to match the load and produce no more or no less. What kills fuel efficiency is light load and idling. The engine could be cut when stopped or going down hill, just like any hybrid.


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    Matthew B

     

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    Oct 2nd, 2008 (12:00 pm)

    “I am still curious on how they will manage to keep the backyard mechanic from killing himself with 350 Vdc? ”

    No different that the current hybrids. All of the current hybrids have contactors in the pack, so until the car is on, there is no power other than 12V anywhere outside the pack.

    Of course there is no such thing as foolproof if you have a sufficiently great fool. You can’t protect against everything.

    “If you somehow managed to access this voltage, say with your screw driver, you could literally vaporized the metal due to the short circuit capacity of a battery.

    I have personally witnessed a similiar event across a few hundred uF capacitior at 800 volts DC. It is not a pretty sight ( you better have your safety glasses in place)”

    Vaporize? It’s a small explosion! I’ve worked on motor drives of comparable capacity, and when the let go, it’s like a 12 gauge shotgun going off!


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    Matthew B

     

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    Oct 2nd, 2008 (12:12 pm)

    “The term “AC electric motor” is actually misleading because the motor takes in pulses of DC voltage. A better term is “induction electric motor”. The motor controller (a.k.a. inverter) has very complicated low-level software (Firmware) algorithms that control the timing of these DC pulses to increase or decrease speed, reverse motor direction, or reverse the flow of electricity for regenerative braking, all with maximum efficiency.”

    An induction motor is an AC machine, the inverter produces an AC output. If you scope from terminal to terminal, the pulses have both polarities, and if you look at the current that’s smoothed by the motor inductance, it’s a pretty good sine wave.

    “Note that all current hybrids use brushless motors, however the Toyota Prius calls it a “Permanent Magnet AC motor”. This further demonstrates that the terms “AC” and “DC” are meaningless here.”

    It is an AC motor with a permanent magnet rotor. Why is that complicating things?


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    Oct 2nd, 2008 (4:09 pm)

    [...] Re: Volt won’t recharge while driving This explains it precisely: GM-VOLT : Chevy Volt Electric Car Site Blog Archive How Charging of the Battery Works in the Chevy V… [...]


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    Greg A

     

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    Oct 21st, 2008 (6:37 am)

    #105 Jim says:
    “The ICE should come on at a preset point, charge the batteries to 100% and turn off. Running it at intermediate speeds just decreases it’s overall efficiency. ”

    If the ICE charges the battery to 100%, then when you get home and plug in your car then there’s nothing to charge.

    So by that logic, you might as well not plug your car in ever. Right? Or am I misunderstanding? The idea, rather, is to try not to use the ICE so that your mileage mainly uses your overnight electric charging… that’s how you get the huge savings to your bill and the environment.

    ps.
    It sounds like a trial the local government did here a few years back with rain water tanks. They subsidised the installation of rain water tanks in a drought-prone area, so that collection of water from roofs could help satisfy the local water needs. 2 years later they surveyed the house owners and all indicated the tank was great, and was 100% full. It turned out they never actually used their water tanks, they considered it a backup if there was a problem with the town water.


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    Rory

     

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    Dec 18th, 2008 (2:30 pm)

    Why can the Tesla get 300 mi/charge with no engine and the volt can only get 40? They are a start-up and don’t have anywhere near the resources as GM. And didn’t the EV-1 get 100mi/charge over 13 years ago. What has GM been doing for the past decade?????

    Also, aren’t hybrids inefficient? Wouldn’t the car cost more in the short and long run to have a gas engine and generator kick in when the battery is at 50%? I’ve heard the explanations about range and refueling, but it feels like I’m being peed on while GM is telling me it’s raining.

    I’ll say this one more time – make an all electric vehicle that goes at highway speeds and gets 200+ miles per charge and people will buy them and charging stations will be built.

    GM sounds like a heroin addict when it comes to gasoline.


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    Rory

     

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    Dec 18th, 2008 (2:38 pm)

    If you put gasoline into the volt, it is a plug-in hybrid. How you use the gasoline doesn’t matter.

    I have solar panels on my house and sell electricity back to the grid. I want a car that is a true electric plug-in only.

    Don’t pee on me and tell me it’s raining.


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    ros mcintosh

     

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    Dec 21st, 2008 (12:31 pm)

    It would enormously help sales of the Volt if the amount of electric recharge could be easily measured (so it can be charged and paid for in apt. buildings, condos, motels, restaurants, garages, etc.).
    Ideally, the car or the adaptor that is being plugged in the electric outlet should show the amount of recharge.
    I live in a condo where the request of a homeowner to have an electric outlet to recharge her car was recently refused.
    Ros


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    FalconEV

     

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    Jan 1st, 2009 (10:04 am)

    If u live in a condo/apt. An ecar is hard to charge. For those people, an E-bike where u take the battery pack inside to charge is the answer.
    I carry a camping generator in my E-car for backup charging
    I use my e-car for all trips within 40 miles at up to 50 mph, 90% of the time. So don’t tell me it has to go 80mph for 200 miles, and carry 2000 lbs of stuff. Use a gasoline car / pickup for that.
    Most of you are driving an SUV around town now anyway, w one person.
    To measure the amount of charge in watts, use a watt meter.
    Oh, and BTW, I use my ebike and Escooter for the other 9% of the time !


  117. 117
    BobDobbs

     

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    Jan 13th, 2009 (2:45 pm)

    2005 In Bob Lutz’s words, the aerodynamics might have been better if they put it in the wind tunnel backwards. Just remember your tax paying dollars helped pay those engineers for being complete failures. A person who baught a GM made vehicle complained how opening the trunk dumps snow in it. GM is a Michigan company which sees snow all the time.

    In 2007 they lost $37 Billion and the president collects $16 Million. They should have fired the entire executive staff and do exactly the opposite of what they have done in the past. My favorite description of GM is take a dump in a box mark it up ridiculously and throw a GM tag on it.

    They may have made the 60mpg Geo Metro.. but if you ever got into an accident you were just screwed. They have 3 pistons not even the same size. In which costs more to make/stock three different pistons. Sad truth, to them building crappy products its called job security for technicians.

    I wanted to use the GM engine for a prototype I was building and was directed to a branch in India dealing with venture company’s wanting to use their engines. According to George Bush in his last Press Conference he said he’s done amazing work to build great relations with China and India.. Of course he has, outsourcing millions of jobs to them and China owning 25% of our debt which makes them feel better knowing America can’t live without China. Capitalism at its finest has bent you over with no consideration to give you some lube.


  118. 118
    Ian Pendergrast

     

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    May 7th, 2009 (8:39 pm)

    A few simple questions about the charging and if it is idiot proof for the time poor and not so technicaly savvy:
    1) Does the car remind you when you get home to plug in? (Has smart GPS to enable this)
    2) Can you set a number of locations as home for charging reminder (ie home , work, car park etc)
    3) Does the car remind you, or prevent you from driving whilst plugged in? I get an interesting mental picture of that one when you run out of cable length – LOL

    Just a thought as I think my wife would remember to put the car on charge after she runs out of gas!!

    Ian


  119. 119
    jeffhre

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    Jun 25th, 2009 (12:06 am)

    Or married?


  120. 120
    Chevy Volt: 230MPG City - Page 5 - Ultimatecarpage.com forums

     

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    Chevy Volt: 230MPG City - Page 5 - Ultimatecarpage.com forums
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    Aug 14th, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    [...] Originally Posted by wstander According to the article in Wikipedia, the batteries discharge only to 30% and even on plug-in recharge, only charge up to 85%… That article also quotes a GM engineer as stating that the Volt will have a 640+ mile range on combined EV and gasoline-generator power….(!?) Try this: How Charging of the Battery Works in the Chevy Volt | GM-VOLT : Chevy Volt Electric Car Site [...]


  121. 121
    Ann Lawn

     

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    Sep 14th, 2009 (10:51 pm)

    Saw this during my Monday night web searches. Amazing what stuff you can find doing a search for mower repair.
    Kind of caught me off guard.

    Thanks for posting.


  122. 122
    mike

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    Sep 17th, 2009 (2:16 pm)

    Sounds nice but slightly impractical. wouldn’t help for road trips or for people like me who live in an apartment where there is no outlet for charging the vehicle. A solar panel would be a good option for solving this issue.