Mar 23

Volt Mule Winter Testing Has Been Successful

 

Spring is here, and the 30-odd Chevy Volt mules have passed through their first winter with flying colors I am told.

GM has tested the cars extensively at the Milford Michigan proving grounds, the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan, and Kapuskasing, Ontario. Ten vehicles visited Kapuskasing and a few visited the upper peninsula.

The focus of the testing at the UP was more for chassis control development including stability control and braking. Battery work was not the primary task, as the lab environment is best for subjecting the battery pack to temperature extremes. Indeed those packs have been undergoing arduous temperature exposures for more than a year, with no problems identified.

In Canada, the focus of the testing was the propulsion system. The cars were kept indoors overnight, and then they were evaluated to see how they started and how they ran after a cold soak.

According to Voltec team leader Greg Ciesel, temperatures the mules were exposed to were “very much below zero,” and even at the Milford proving grounds “we got to probably minus 10 or 15 degrees F.”

Voltec spokesman Dave Darovitz said “Cold weather vehicle response depends on multiple factors including temperature, battery SOC, battery preconditioning (if plugged in) and if the vehicle was stored inside. Another factor is FMVSS defrost requirements, which demand more heat then we can supply electrically and cause the gas engine to turn on.”

He confirmed that testing was successful. “The cars performed as we expected under cold weather conditions,” he said “We still have some work ahead of us, but are encouraged with the operating conditions of the mules under very cold conditions.”

Volt lead engineer Andrew Farah gave an example of how a certain problem was discovered and fixed during the cold weather testing.. “We ran into some issues, we found out that we had a problem with one of our powertrain mounts,” he said “Why, because the car was going though some abusive driving…they told me we broke a mount. We did some analysis and we found things we knew about but we hadn’t gone far enough, it was an ‘aha’ moment and we fixed it.”

This entry was posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 6:21 am and is filed under Engineering, Production, Prototypes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 156


  1. 1
    nuclearboy

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:33 am)

    It is great that they are testing these things. My fear is that with GM essentially bankrupt and wtih the limited number of mules that there will be many uncovered “issues” with Version 1 of the Volt. I hope they can be flexible enough to make changes quickly as issues pop up.

    Keep testing and get some prototypes on the road ASAP. We are all rooting for you.


  2. 2
    CDAVIS

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:35 am)

    ______________________________________________________
    Glad to hear winter testing went well!
    ______________________________________________________
    Electric Cars + Nuclear Energy = American Energy Independence!
    ______________________________________________________


  3. 3
    RB

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:35 am)

    Glad to hear that things still are happening.

    GM says “He confirmed that testing was successful. “The cars performed as we expected under cold weather conditions,” he said “We still have some work ahead of us,…”

    I guess that means “everything worked” but “except where it didn’t” I suppose that is normal for testing.


  4. 4
    gsned57

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:00 am)

    Another factor is FMVSS defrost requirements, which demand more heat then we can supply electrically and cause the gas engine to turn on.”

    I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while but I’m not sure what the FMVSS acronym means. I do remember from a while back (year or two) that we were told in extreme cold conditions the engine might need to come on for a while for some reason. I guess FMVSS defrost is that reason?

    So Statik and the rest of our northern friends, if the ICE has to come on during the winter every day to defrost whatever it is defrosting, does the volt still work for you? And Lyle, can we get some clarification of how long and at what temps the ICE will be on for?

    Glad to see the testing is going well and that they are abusing the mules to flush out issues. I know I haven’t owned a car that I haven’t abused.


  5. 5
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:13 am)

    gsned57 #4,

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)


  6. 6
    Inhaling in L.A.

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:17 am)

    The Winter testing is nearly wrapped up. Time to head to Death Valley for a few months then go directly into production. GM can sell 100,000 Volt of model year 2010 (10/09-12/10) no problem.

    Is the rear bumper red stripe optional? It’s probably there for safety, but really looks cheap. I noticed the Ampera bumper is clean.


  7. 7
    Schmeltz

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:21 am)

    This is some good information Lyle. I was wondering how these cars and their batteries were functioning in Winter conditions. I’ve read here in the past that these batteries “prefer”, i.e. operate best when they are a comfortable 70 Deg F. Is there a climate control installed in the battery pack to maintain a temperature when the car is sitting dormant? If so, wouldn’t that eventually deplete the battery itself?–just curious as to how that is going to work.


  8. 8
    Cautious Fan

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:29 am)

    BMW seems to have found a different way of getting more financing.

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13337885&source=hptextfeature


  9. 9
    Dave B

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:30 am)

    Fantastic news…tick tock.


  10. 10
    ziggy

     

    ziggy
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:36 am)

    Well, the most obvious thing to me is how COOL the Volt looks from the rear. That is a great picture.

    The Volt looks sporty and clean, high tech and futuristic.

    GO GM!

    GO VOLT!


  11. 11
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:37 am)

    I wonder why they say things like chasis control and braking was the primary objective? Basically the Volt is a Cruze with a extra 500 pounds…which is certainly a factor, but you would think most of this type of work would be done.

    I realize the battery can be testing in a lab in relation to cold temperatures, but you certainly do not not get the same feel, or real world results for performance and endurance under winter driving conditions.

    With all the recent flap over the Ford Fusion (and a couple other hybrids) really failing their MPG numbers in cold weather, you think there is probably a heck of a lot of interest from management on that same subject.

    Link to Ward’s review only getting 33 MPG out of the Fusion in winter:
    http://wardsautoworld.com/ar/auto_fords_gamechanging_hybrid/

    If you had the opportunity to ask this Dave Darovitz (or other exec) a question Lyle – - – I think “What result does GM think ‘-10 to -15′ weather would have on the electric range, but also very importantly the ’50 MPG’ claim?” would be really interesting answer to have.


  12. 12
    ziv

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:42 am)

    Sounds good, but why were the cars stored indoors? Half of the problem with owning a car in the north is getting up at 8 am and finding that your transmission is frozen solid. Obviously that wouldn’t be a problem with the Volt! But when you get below 0 degrees, weird things happen. One other thought, a Tesla owners blog mentioned that his Tesla used nearly as much electricity to condition the pack, not simply to charge it, but to keep the pack at an optimal temperature. If we live in Montana or Florida, will the pack management system have to use much electricity to keep the pack warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer? I know the pack is insulated, but will this be a kilowatt a week, a kilowatt a day, or more? If we don’t keep the Volt plugged in, will the battery life be shortened appreciably? I know these are niggling questions, but I hope GM takes them on before the press finds them and write articles like the ones I have been seeing about the Ford Fusion Hybrid getting disappointing mileage in colder weather.
    On edit, that was a photoshop picture, right? The shadows, or lack thereof make it likely that it was, and I didn’t think GM had a real Volt look mule yet, which is worriesome. But if that is what the new Volt looks like, not the original prototype, I am pretty happy with the look. That is no Prius, with the lines of a pregnant skateboard and the acceleration of sloth!
    Just build the car!


  13. 13
    Tagamet

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:45 am)

    I guess now they need to post some video of a mule riding around in the snow —- WITH LYLE DRIVING IT. They’d probably need a wide angle lens to get all of his grin in it, but it might convince some people (/COUGH Statik COUGH) that there is SOME progress being made. (g).
    Be well all,
    Tag
    LJGTVWOTR!!**********NPNS**********Foreign Oil Independence Day 2010


  14. 14
    Ron

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:46 am)

    Every vehicle I’ve owned gets worse gas mileage in the winter. That’s just one of the things you learn to expect and live with. No big deal. My diesel truck drops 15-20 percent. Even more when you figure I have to run much less homemade biodiesel percentage to keep from gelling up.

    The real news is that the car can handle the UP, so Omaha should be a walk in the park! I’ve got my down payment money sitting in the bank waiting…


  15. 15
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:47 am)

    Side note: Your photoshop abilities are coming along nicely Lyle, lol.

    Next time, I’d use the blur tool a little, maybe add some shadowing ,and of course add cats…lots of cats!


  16. 16
    ziggy

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:52 am)

    to ziv @12

    Yeh, I thought the picture above was photoshopped too. Shadows aren’t right.

    I just figured this photo is Lyle trying to do the best he can to keep us interested, and he does a fantastic job!

    Thanks Lyle for coming up with new stuff every day. Even weekends!


  17. 17
    BillR

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:59 am)

    Again, this just demonstrates the level of testing and evaluation that must go into these cars to make them reliable in all weather conditions.

    Extremely cold weather is tough on all cars. I expect that this is even more of a challenge for an EV.

    It’s good to see GM is doing this testing, because it means that they intend to sell this car in all climates, not just in California and Arizona (like the EV1).


  18. 18
    nasaman

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (8:02 am)

    Volt lead engineer Andrew Farah was at VoltNation (thanks again, Lyle!) and I was fortunate to have quite a bit of one-on-one time with him there. The topic was reliability —specifically, what Werner von Braun (father of the US space program) learned from his numerous disastrous failures of Germany’s V1 & V2 launch vehicles in WWII. Namely, that the reliability of complex systems must be designed in initially, then tested rigorously to discover any design flaws or oversights ….with both design and testing employing “worst-case” methodology. And in the case of testing, all systems must be exposed to significantly greater stresses (thermal, vibration, acceleration, wear-out, etc) than the predicted worst-case limits.

    Dr. von Braun’s worst-case design/testing philosophy was applied rigorously throughout every phase of the Apollo moon program, from individual nuts & bolts to the 5 clustered rocket engines of the Saturn V booster. After von Braun’s death, however, NASA relaxed this philosophy, which directly resulted in the disasters of Shuttles Challenger and Columbia and the death of 14 people.

    I pleaded with Andrew Farrah at VoltNation to consider that the Volt design is a fresh start for GM —”a clean sheet of paper”— and to design every Volt screw, bracket, bearing, control system, etc to exceed worst-case predictions ….then to test every component & subsystem to well beyond worst-case predicted levels. And in certain cases, to test critical items and subsystems to failure.

    We also discussed W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy (which embodies much of von Braun’s and was responsible for Toyota’s early and long-held reliability lead in the automotive industry). Farrah basically agreed, with perhaps a few reservations regarding cost — as apparently key people also do at GM’s Buick division.

    It’s very gratifying, therefore, to hear that extreme cold, one of the major threats to electronic & electromechanical systems, has apparently not caused significant or unresolvable failures or malfunctions in the Volt design.


  19. 19
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (8:17 am)

    “Another factor is FMVSS defrost requirements, which demand more heat then we can supply electrically and cause the gas engine to turn on.”

    That doesn’t bode well for pure EVs in cold regions.


  20. 20
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (8:42 am)

    I am most encouraged by the Volt’s programatic approach – first Malibu mules, then Cruze mules, next prototype Volt mules. You see it also in their battery development plans, Gen 1, Gen 2 and even Gen 3 development efforts. Soon there will be a Volt Gen 1 design freeze, as they start pursuing Volt Gen 2. By taking small bites, they are rapidly improving this vehicle.


  21. 21
    RB

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (8:51 am)

    #19 Thomdbhomb said ““Another factor is FMVSS defrost requirements, which demand more heat then we can supply electrically and cause the gas engine to turn on.”
    That doesn’t bode well for pure EVs in cold regions.”
    ——————————————————-

    The Volt battery is more or less the same as a gallon of gas when used for the purpose of moving the car. On the other hand, the Volt battery is the equivalent of only about 1/5 of a gallon of gas when it comes to heating things (that is, burning the gas for heat).

    So EVs are at a disadvantage in cold regions for fundamental reasons. There will be some creative solutions involving pre-heating before the trip starts, as well as later improvements with better batteries.

    Another way to think about things is to realize that it may be a strong point of EREV design that some gas comes along that can be used for heating.


  22. 22
    solo

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:04 am)

    Speaking of winter driving…. Is there ever a situation where you would have to jump start a Volt?

    The Toyota Prius starts its engine with one of the in line electric propulsion motors so there is no starter motor.

    I wonder how the engine starts on the volt. Does it use a conventional starter motor or do they reverse current from the battery INTO the generator (Which I assume is bolted in line with the crankshaft). If the car sat a long time and the (big) battery drained, how do you get it fired up. Is there even a conventional 12 volt battery for lights, radio and other electronics? I bet there is but it is small. If there is a conventional 12 volt battery, is it charged with a conventional alternator or some type of transformer by way of the main propulsion battery.

    Hands off to G.M. I bet designing this thing was a real bitch.


  23. 23
    Herm

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:19 am)

    You cant leave a lithium battery sit discharged for any length of time.. it will die forever in a couple of days if you do so.

    The starter depends on what kind of generator, if it is an AC generator then you cant use it as a starter.. no idea on what they are using.


  24. 24
    Hugo

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:28 am)

    Very cool that kind of testing but I have questions!!!

    1. What is the way you heat the car???

    2. The salt (corrosion) on road in winter may affect the system???

    Thank’s to answer

    Hugo Montréal Québec (We have true winter, and spring with hole on road…:-) )


  25. 25
    N Riley

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:28 am)

    I have not taken the time to read this subject yet, but it looks like the above picture is a made up picture. No shadow for the car in the “photo” for one thing. It would be a stretch to think Lyle could get real, actual pictures of the Volt during “winter” testing like pictured above. Would be good, though.


  26. 26
    Tall Pete

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:29 am)

    I live in cold weather (Canada) so I’m pleased to see some testing done in these conditions. I expected no less from GM.

    As for the conventional engine firing up, I had no illusion that we, in cold weather, would have to rely on *some* oil to power the car in a way or another. Batteries are affected by the cold temperature, this is no news for us up north.

    So my expectations as to not use oil at all were very low. Maybe on short distances (my guess is that we will lose around 25% of the AER miles) we’ll be OK. Else, we will fill up every now and then.

    So no disappointment whatsoever. We will still be better off with the Volt…


  27. 27
    N Riley

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Good article, Lyle. It is really good to hear about this cold weather testing going so well. I know our “northern” brethren on this site should be pleased with this news. Real world testing this summer and coming winter with real Volts will be helped along quite a lot with the testing GM is doing now. Way to go Lyle and GM.


  28. 28
    MarkinWI

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:39 am)

    gsend57@#4 – What you are defrosting is your windshield. You need to do this initially (unless parked in a garage), and many times I run the defrost while driving in order to maintain visibility. The side effect is that it also keeps you warm.

    RB@#21′s statement regarding the relative efficiency (or lack thereof) of electricity to provide heat makes intuitive sense to me. Given that, GM’s solution of turning on the ICE makes perfect sense. And so Thomb’s point at @ #19 is also well taken. Getting to a pure EV for cold-weather climates may be cost prohibitive for a while yet.

    Which brings me back to gsend@#4′s question, “does the Volt still work for you?” It’s still better than the alternatives, and for a majority of the year it will work without the ICE needing to defrost. It will have an economic impact on the cost-savings analysis, but I suspect that the smaller GEN II engine will blunt that a bit.


  29. 29
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:39 am)

    Thanks Nasaman #18,

    I experience the same problems in my professional environment. Everyting must tested in extreme conditions to be tested even when we speak about academic debates.

    Regards

    JC NPNS !! LJGTAWONTR !!


  30. 30
    DonC

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:45 am)

    #18 nasaman

    Hopefully GM is following your suggestion about the von Braun\Demming approach. However, the calculus for a space program and car would be altogether different. beasts. GM could build a bullet proof car but it would be so expensive no one would buy it. As in many areas, the 80/20 rule is operational. IOW, given that car failures are rarely catastrophic, it may be much cheaper to fix a few cars than to spend the money necessary to avoid the failures.

    As for Toyota’s great manufacturing techniques, I keep asking why Scion is at the bottom of the reliability heap. Has Toyota forgotten its historical approach? Kidding aside, my point here is that car quality may be closer than imagined, and that what separates the brands in these surveys (sometimes by insignificant margins) are the drivers more than the cars.


  31. 31
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:50 am)

    #6 Inhaling in L.A. Says: The Winter testing is nearly wrapped up. Time to head to Death Valley for a few months then go directly into production.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Starting in Death Valley and traveling Route 190 West to Panamint Springs would be an excellent test of the Pike’s Peak scenario that so many people here have talked about. You start below sea-level, and the highest point on the mountain pass road is 1 mile above sea-level, and in between these two points is 17 miles of constant uphill driving. That works out to an average 6% grade for 17 miles straight. What’s more, most of this 17 miles is fairly straight, although you get some curvy parts near the top.

    From what I’ve seen, this road is the most stressful uphill climb test for cars. There are pull-offs every 1/2 mile or so to let your car rest. I did drive up Pike’s Peak and Mount Washington, but these are curvy dirt/gravel roads, so there’s no way you could drive fast. But on Route 190 West out of Death Valley, you can drive 80 MPH for most of the way, if your car can handle it, and if you don’t get pulled over by the cops.

    By the way, for grade/elevation analysis, I found this nifty tool:
    http://www.heywhatsthat.com/profiler.html
    If you zoom into Death Valley, click points along Route 190 West, and then click “draw profile”, you’ll see what I mean.

    As for Volt production availability, that’s November 2010. Nothing we say here will change that, so might as well get used to it.


  32. 32
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (9:51 am)

    “Clarity Defender,” released by Nano-Films, provides for a protective coating for windshields. The coating helps to protect against rain, snow, frost and bugs by putting a nano-created film on the windshield that acts as a protectant.


  33. 33
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:07 am)

    #11 statik Says: If you had the opportunity to ask this Dave Darovitz (or other exec) a question Lyle … very importantly the ‘50 MPG’ claim?” would be really interesting answer to have.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Right. GM hasn’t said anything about this in the last 12 months or so, and you don’t see this figure anywhere on the Volt web site:
    http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/
    so I’m assuming they were not able to hit the 50MPG target.

    To give an idea of how this will affect things: With a typical driving pattern, assuming you only charge overnight:
    Vehicle ………………………………….. Gallons per year
    Volt w/ 50MPG range extender ………. 37
    Volt w/ 45MPG range extender ………. 41
    Volt w/ 40MPG range extender ………. 46
    Prius …………………………………….. 228
    30 MPG car ……………………………. 380
    20 MPG car ……………………………. 570

    So for most people, the 40 miles of all-electric range will be way more important than the 50 MPG after that. Good thing GM is sticking to that 40 mile AER number.


  34. 34
    texron

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:08 am)

    Bring one down for testing in my backyard when we reach 105 in Texas this summer…


  35. 35
    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:15 am)

    Good update Dr. Dennis, thank you.

    GM would be wise to sell the entire run of Volts Gen 1 in Virginia to minimize weather concerns. If they need more advice, I’m sure they’ll call.

    Remember the guy who said the Corvair had a gas or alcohol heater? Sounds like a good application for ethanol in the Volt and all EVs. You’ll probably have to drink it if it gets too old though.


  36. 36
    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:25 am)

    How about White Lightning for an ethanol/EV car?


  37. 37
    Luke

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:30 am)

    Statik @ 11,

    With all the recent flap over the Ford Fusion (and a couple other hybrids) really failing their MPG numbers in cold weather, you think there is probably a heck of a lot of interest from management on that same subject.

    I drive a Prius regularly, and the problem is not isolated to the Fords. We’ve been able to get the mileage on a 2004 Prius (with 100k miles) down into the low 30s (or was it high 20s?) by taking a lot of short trips in cold weather. I now live in Illinois, so cold weather means overnight lows below -5F (-20C) for a couple of weeks. It still gets vastly better mileage than my ford Ranger(in the same weather), so I my gut feel (backed up by staring at my ScanGage II) is that all cars are affected — though hybrids seem to be affected to a greater degree.

    But, that said, I really like the Prius in cold weather. The way the Prius’s door seals with the roof makes the door less likely to freeze shut in freezing rain (my truck’s door freezes shut easily). Also, the size and shape of the car make it easy to clear snow off of it (I’m 5’4″). Also, the continuously variable transmission and the traction-control / ABS system mean that you really have to work hard to get it to slide when maneuvering it around a parking lot or going through stopsigns.

    I’m thinking about importing an engine block heater for it for next winter. Parking it in the heated one-car garage attached to the house isn’t an option, since it would disrupt my new woodworking habit. :-)


  38. 38
    Steven

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:32 am)

    There’s the infamous “typical driving pattern” again. Still waiting for data to back this up…


  39. 39
    DonC

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:35 am)

    #33 Dave G

    The real world mpg for the gen-set is going to depend on the transmission and gearing. it should only take 10-12 hp to maintain a Volt at a steady 60 mph. The split drive system in the Prius like hybrids really don’t work efficiently at these speeds, but hopefully the Volt drive system will handle them much better.

    Tuning may also affect the range under given conditions so I don’t think a single number is realistic. For example, is a number based on repeated cold starts sensible for a Volt which you’d expect wouldn’t have repeated cold starts?


  40. 40
    unni

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:39 am)

    Great !! lets go summer

    Normally GM cars performs good in winter. Normal problems happens in summer ( ex: my old pontiiac grand AM used to give me some extra sound from the electric systems on summer – same sound when i put the side indicator on – and my summer is only max at 25-30 degree centigrade) . The same mules should for a summer testing because i wonder why they react.

    some imiev news :
    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/23/kiwis-test-drive-the-imiev-w-videos/


  41. 41
    DonC

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:42 am)

    #38 steven says “There’s the infamous “typical driving pattern” again. Still waiting for data to back this up…”

    Here’s just one reference:

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/02/13/autobloggreen-qanda-peter-savagian-talks-about-studying-driver-be/


  42. 42
    N Riley

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:47 am)

    A 95 Honda Accord of mine used to make a certain thumping sound only in cold weather. After five or six winters like this, I found out one summer day that the jack wasn’t as tight as it should have been. Once tightened it did not make the noise the following winter. Strange how temperature causes such things.


  43. 43
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:49 am)

    #21 RB Says: Another way to think about things is to realize that it may be a strong point of EREV design that some gas comes along that can be used for heating.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Right. For areas where it gets really cold, a pure BEV may not be practical at all. One more plus for the EREV column.


  44. 44
    TSquare

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:51 am)

    You gotta just love Google.

    FMVSS = Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards


  45. 45
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:54 am)

    #22 solo Says: Is there even a conventional 12 volt battery for lights, radio and other electronics? I bet there is but it is small. If there is a conventional 12 volt battery, is it charged with a conventional alternator or some type of transformer by way of the main propulsion battery.
    ————————————————————————————–
    The Volt uses a DC-DC converter to produce 12 volts for various accessories. There may also be a small battery or capacitor to even things out, but I don’t think it has a lot of energy storage.

    In other words, 12 volts DC is created from 400 volts DC.


  46. 46
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:09 am)

    One thing concerns me – one of the factors listed and changing the cold start performance the conditioning of the battery (was it plugged in overnight). I’m admitadly not the volt target audience – I’ll probably have a guaranteed 30-40 mile one way commute my whole life. I like urban areas, engineering tends not to be in those areas as it’s generally near manufacturing. Point being, I would totally expect by commute home to be made on the range extender. So in the winter it would be a cold start on a near customer depletion level battery. I’m curious what the details of this comment are – “Cold weather vehicle response depends on multiple factors including temperature, battery SOC, battery preconditioning (if plugged in) and if the vehicle was stored inside”. I imagine we’ll get more information as time goes on…


  47. 47
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:12 am)

    #23 Herm Says: The starter depends on what kind of generator, if it is an AC generator then you cant use it as a starter…
    ————————————————————————————–
    Why is that? I don’t know much about induction generators, but I know the induction motor acts as a generator for regenerative braking. I also seem to remember GM saying that the Volt has 2 electric motors, and the generator was the second one.


  48. 48
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:20 am)

    #36 Shawn Marshall Says: How about White Lightning for an ethanol/EV car?
    ————————————————————————————–
    You can make your own ethanol with this thing:
    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2009/03/19/garbage.fuel.cnn
    Sorry for the leading commercial, but that’s cnn.com.

    Anyway, the Volt runs on E85, so I guess if you mixed 85% home-made ethanol with 15% gasoline in the tank, that would work.


  49. 49
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:25 am)

    #39 DonC Says: The real world mpg for the gen-set is going to depend on the transmission and gearing.
    ————————————————————————————–
    I believe the Volt has no transmission, at least not a mechanical transmission. There are some permanent gears, but no gear shifting.

    There has been some talk about various settings/tunings for the induction motor controller software, and I guess these might act sort of like a software transmission to the driver. But there is no gear shifting in the Volt, I’m pretty sure about that.


  50. 50
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:29 am)

    Hugo #24

    Salt exposure was mentioned here about a year ago when a Japanese car was recalled for associated failure. I believe it was an electrical problem located near the front of the car. Minor, yet enough for a recall notice.

    As far as heating for the Volt. Internally heated seats have been mentioned here. And also talk of a forward/backward running air conditioning/heating blower system. The production final version is unknown.

    Fuel tank size has not been announced. The math says it will be 6 gallons. Tire size HAS been announced at 17″. With the option to go an inch bigger. Electric motor size is 150HP with double the torque of a similar sized gasoline engine. The T shaped battery weighs 400 lbs.

    I expect the lack of a transmission and drive shaft. And the light 1.4L ICE motor, combined with a maximum of 6 gallons of fuel, will make up for most of the on board battery weight gain.


  51. 51
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:29 am)

    Early 50′s vw’s and 60′s corvairs offered gasoline heaters as an option. I’m not an engineer but wonder how efficient one of these heaters would be compared to running the ice for the cabin heat/defrost application.


  52. 52
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:35 am)

    Nissan’s 2010 electric car in U.S. will be price-competitive with Camry, batteries included

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/23/nissans-2010-electric-car-in-u-s-will-be-price-competitive-wit/

    ” pricing of the vehicle will be competitive with the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima. “We’re not going to be charging a premium for this car, batteries included,”"

    This “Roger Rabbit” lookin car is scheduled to be here in July 2010. Next year. Of course this would most likely translate to October.
    Hmm…
    This should work for me, 100Mile range but I’ll need to know more on the 0-60, charge time battery capacity, UltraCap?, Range with AC running and other stuff. I figure with my wife driving it, should get about 70MPC


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:37 am)

    #49 Dave G

    This blog quoted Bob Lutz about some new, amazing transimssion strategy. I’m too lazy to look up the quote. But, I haven’t heard anything else about the transmission.


  54. 54
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:46 am)

    @Dave G 47

    “I know the induction motor acts as a generator for regenerative braking. I also seem to remember GM saying that the Volt has 2 electric motors, and the generator was the second one.

    As far as I can remember, you are correct. There is the AC Induction Drive motor and another AC Induction motor used as the Generator mated to the ICE. This is where I find the design a little strange, especially in an EV. I guess the weight of a PMG vs AC Induction Generator was found to be less acceptable than an AC Induction Genset. Could go on on this subject but it won’t matter.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:59 am)

    RHUs will take care of any heating needs for the BEV in cold climes. (Eat your heart out, CDavis). Several could be placed around the battery pack to keep it toasty warm, couple more under each seat in the cab would finish the job. Good for “several decades.” Only downside – cost. Probably a bit pricey. :D

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


  56. 56
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:10 pm)

    @D. 55

    Yeah, like someone is going to drive around a car that is wrapped in a large blanket lined Plutonium 238 to cover the battery and keep it warm by decaying radioisotopes.
    Chances are, in the spacecraft, it’s located away from any carbon units.

    That may “Theoretically” solve the cold prob. Now how bout the “Hot” problem? Remove the blanket and apply LN2??

    The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.

    I’ll take my Volt with No Generator, No ICE, ShAkEn not StirreD…


  57. 57
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:11 pm)

    #53 ThombDbhomb Says: This blog quoted Bob Lutz about some new, amazing transmission strategy. I’m too lazy to look up the quote. But, I haven’t heard anything else about the transmission.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Throughout 2007 and most of 2008, everyone from GM (including Lutz) said there was no transmission in the Volt. Then Lutz came out with a statement that the Volt had some new type of transmission that nobody has ever thought of before. Then Lutz announced his retirement, and nobody has said anything more.

    We know that electric motors don’t require a transmission, since they have lot’s of torque across a very wide range of RPMs, even at zero RPM. So I’m confident that the Volt doesn’t have a traditional transmission with a clutch and multiple gears, since that would decrease efficiency, and provide no real benefit.

    I also know that variations in the embedded software that controls the induction motor makes a huge difference in how the car behaves. For example, one set of embedded software parameters may make the car run really fast, but may also be much less efficient in doing so.

    So I believe what Lutz was referring to is the drivers ability to modify these embedded software parameters by changing the shift lever, and calling this “a new type of transmission that nobody has ever thought of before”. In other words, a virtual transmission in the embedded software.


  58. 58
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:12 pm)

    #33 Dave G said (in response to me):

    Right. GM hasn’t said anything about this in the last 12 months or so, and you don’t see this figure anywhere on the Volt web site…so I’m assuming they were not able to hit the 50MPG target.

    To give an idea of how this will affect things: With a typical driving pattern, assuming you only charge overnight:
    Vehicle ………………………………….. Gallons per year
    Volt w/ 50MPG range extender ………. 37
    Volt w/ 45MPG range extender ………. 41
    Volt w/ 40MPG range extender ………. 46
    Prius …………………………………….. 228
    30 MPG car ……………………………. 380
    20 MPG car ……………………………. 570

    So for most people, the 40 miles of all-electric range will be way more important than the 50 MPG after that. Good thing GM is sticking to that 40 mile AER number.
    ==========================
    Yeah, I’m really not all that concerned with the MPG in the long run…just a point of interest really. I have said this before, but the Volt could get 10MPG, and it would not affect my decision to buy or not buy.

    I’d be more more interested to know the affect of really cold weather on the electric range, as I am driving in sub freezing weather 4 months of the year.

    The breakdown of range on electric power in cold conditions would also move your chart a lot more significantly than the extended range fuel economy. If it puts up a 20-25 range for me 4 months of the year I’m going to be using a lot more gas….I guess I might care about the MPGs a little more in that scenario, lol.

    (Would also be nice to know if that 40 mile range is the target for the optimal city number, or the blended, ‘average driver’ number… the ‘up to 40 mile range’ in all the commercials makes me lean to optimal city)


  59. 59
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:18 pm)

    #56 CaptJackSparrow Says: The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.
    ————————————————————————————–
    That’s good! I like it.


  60. 60
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    #52 CaptJackSparrow said:

    Nissan’s 2010 electric car in U.S. will be price-competitive with Camry, batteries included

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/23/nissans-2010-electric-car-in-u-s-will-be-price-competitive-wit/

    ” pricing of the vehicle will be competitive with the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima. “We’re not going to be charging a premium for this car, batteries included,””

    This “Roger Rabbit” lookin car is scheduled to be here in July 2010. Next year. Of course this would most likely translate to October.
    Hmm…
    This should work for me, 100Mile range but I’ll need to know more on the 0-60, charge time battery capacity, UltraCap?, Range with AC running and other stuff. I figure with my wife driving it, should get about 70MPC
    ============================

    The car is actually kind of fun, I got to take a preproduction Cube for a little ‘jaunt’ fun shortly after the NAIAS. Not sure about the shag carpeting on the dash, but it is quirky to say the least.

    I have serious doubts about any July 2010 or price competitiveness/no premium (think someone is hearing wrong), but whatever…my dollar bills are here waiting if they can bring it to market.

    /still no standards to buy a EV, lol


  61. 61
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:24 pm)

    #58 statik Says: (Would also be nice to know if that 40 mile range is the target for the optimal city number, or the blended, ‘average driver’ number… the ‘up to 40 mile range’ in all the commercials makes me lean to optimal city)
    ————————————————————————————–
    Under What Conditions is the Chevy Volt’s Quoted 40 Mile Electric Range Modelled?
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/10/22/under-what-conditions-is-the-chevy-volts-quoted-40-mile-electric-range-modelled/
    GM: The 40 mile range is modelled on the EPA city cycle (federal test procedure) – and the 40 miles is our target for battery END OF LIFE. The EPA city cycle includes a range of starts, stops and accelerations.

    (Lyle) So it looks like they mean we should get 40 miles electric in real-world city drives folks, although from my prior GM discussions, they do mean with the A/C off.


  62. 62
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    #61 Dave G

    I think you are correct. GM’s MPC claim assumes without air conditioning on. I suspect the a/c will set the mpc back at least 15%. You much smarter guys could figure it out if all the variables were available. Which they are not. I am just guessing. I expect to suffer lower mpc to use the heater or a/c. That’s just to be expected. Anyone not expecting it are living in wonder land.


  63. 63
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:53 pm)

    #61 Dave G siad:

    GM: The 40 mile range is modelled on the EPA city cycle (federal test procedure) – and the 40 miles is our target for battery END OF LIFE. The EPA city cycle includes a range of starts, stops and accelerations.

    (Lyle) So it looks like they mean we should get 40 miles electric in real-world city drives folks, although from my prior GM discussions, they do mean with the A/C off.
    ======================

    Sorry, I have to do it.

    ….that was from October 22nd, 2007.

    GM had not even received their FIRST battery pack at that point so pretty hard to put wieght behind it (especially considering how much has changed since then), and they were still saying things like, ‘we are going to produce 60-100K the first year’ and where flogging the conept as a reality with a price point under 30K.

    Here is a thread AFTER that quote about them getting their first pack and the 60-100K claim:
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/10/31/massive-breaking-news-gm-receives-first-chevy-volt-lithium-ion-battery-packs-from-lg-chem/

    Side note: Real world isn’t really with the A/C off in my opinion (or more importantly the heater off). Can you even buy cars without these features anymore? (other than no A/C in a base scono-box?).


  64. 64
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (12:55 pm)

    #63 statik (me)

    /I promise to someday use spellchecker…and spell weight correctly in the future…maybe even ‘econo-box’


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:00 pm)

    I’m thinking that the 40 AER will be with no heater/AC, radio OFF, lights OFF, no blinker use, no charging of cell phone, no nothin’.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    @statik 64
    “/I promise to someday use spellchecker…and spell weight correctly in the future…maybe even ‘econo-box’”

    After a few beers, who gives a shlt….
    =op


  67. 67
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    #64 Statik

    Promises. Promises. We have heard them before.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:03 pm)

    @David K (CT) 65
    “I’m thinking that the 40 AER will be with no heater/AC, radio OFF, lights OFF, no blinker use, no charging of cell phone, no nothin’.”

    Don’t forget, no passengers(s), no groceries, no pets, no Gas in the tank…..

    OK, maybe not thae gas in the tank one but you get the jist.

    The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.

    I’ll take my Volt with No Generator, No ICE, ShAkEn not StirreD…


  69. 69
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    #65 David K (CT)

    I don’t think you will have to go that far. I think you will be able to use the “no nothin” since it doesn’t use too much power. At least the latest model doesn’t.

    #66 CaptJackSparrow

    Have another beer. It is gonna be ok. Statik doesn’t even have a spell checker when his wife isn’t at home.


  70. 70
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    N. Riley @ 69…says “I think you will be able to use the “no nothin” since it doesn’t use too much power.”

    LOL!!!

    OK…we can use the NO NOTHIN’.

    Jack @ 68…

    OK, you got me! LOL. I completely forgot about the additional items you listed!


  71. 71
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    #54 Capt Jack, #57 Dave g,

    I don’t know what your sources are for stating that the Volt has an induction motor, but in this one (although dated), a GM engineer states the Volt will have a permanent magnet motor,

    “Drive power for the Volt will come from a 136-kilowatt- (or 160-horsepower-) at-peak permanent-magnet electric motor that produces 320 newton-meters of torque, Zielinsky explains.”

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=gm-resurrects-its-electri

    I would expect the GM will also use a permanent magnet generator as well.

    Also, some interesting observations on the battery pack.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/127285-li-ion-batteries-and-how-cheap-beat-cool-in-the-chevy-volt?source=yahoo


  72. 72
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:25 pm)

    @BillR 71

    The “Generator” is a big fat “Area 51″. We know little to nothing about it. I agree with you though. It should be a PMG. AC Induction is smaller and lighter, and has a wide range of electrical production across the RPM band but it requires external electrical exitation to create the induction fields required for the coils to cross to create electrical energy. A PMG will not require this but will need some big a$$ Neo magnets but it will be much more efficient however have a smaller RPM range. Usually a few hundred RPM’s in the magnatude of 53KW.

    As for the AC Induction Drive motot itself, I can only assume that they went for this because of the size, weight and brake regen advantages. Most of the Electrical OEM mfgrs use this. Most DIYr’s use DC because it’s less expensive but no Brake Regen, at least 90% have no brake regen. At some point a group of GM engineers must have crunched the numbers and came up tih what is to come.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:34 pm)

    @BillR 71

    Thanks for that second link. It looks like BMS Electronics is going to be a more viable solution than those “Exotic Chemistries” of Lithium Ion batteries.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (1:46 pm)

    Good news for the folks up North.

    Now, lets see how it runs here in the Deep South at 100 degrees, 100 percent humidity (when a car’s A/C is a vital part of the life-support system).

    Don’t forget folks, the range-extender runs in several efficient “sweet spot” modes, and it’s likely that the lowest-rpm one will do nicely for supplemental warmth / powering the A/C (with just a little battery supplementation at red lights, and downhill).

    Dare I call it an “AREV” mode? (AREV: stretching out AER with a small generator verses EREV: sustaining a charge state with a more powerful generator when the battery’s useful capacity is depleted. Augmented Range verses Extended Range).

    An AREV dedicated car is as close to a real BEV as we’re likely to see in regions of climatic extremes.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:00 pm)

    18 nasaman,

    But what about Apollo 1?

    Also, -10 to -15 is NOT even close to worst case, let alone significantly greater than worst case… especially when you store the cars indoors overnight. They are babying it. Unless of course they have no real intention of selling it anywhere in Canada but Vancouver.

    4. gsned57, to answer your question, the Volt will have a lot of challenges in Canada. Not only will the range be reduced due to the cold, but heating/defrosting could easily take 10 minutes or more (my experiences are with an engine under load… a lightly loaded ICE like in the Volt could take much longer to warm up). No idea about the battery conditioning. One could end up having the engine running the majority of the time for the majority of the year.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    #53, #57

    As I recall that thread, nasaman suggested that the motor might have switchable sets of windings, which would be most efficient over different speed ranges. That would also imply software/control issues, and should be completely transparent to the driver.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:05 pm)

    @CaptJackSparrow

    That Nissan sounds very interesting. 100 mile range, out before the Volt, and cheaper? Now we are getting somewhere. I’m going to be watching this one closely.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:20 pm)

    Did anybody else see the President on 60 Minutes last night? He said that he was very interested in saving GM and Chrysler, but that they were going to have to present credible “viability plans” to get any more money. He also commented that it is much easier politically to give money to banks and insurance companies than it is to automakers. How sad, but clearly true.

    So my comment here today is:

    “Show me the ‘viability plan’, and then I’ll get excited about this stuff.”


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:22 pm)

    BTW, congratulations to N Riley for taking over 2nd place on the all time “Top Commentators” list. I also note that Dave G is closing fast on 3rd place. Bring it on boys, you’re looking good.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:24 pm)

    #71 BillR Says: I don’t know what your sources are for stating that the Volt has an induction motor, but in this one (although dated), a GM engineer states the Volt will have a permanent magnet motor,
    ————————————————————————————–
    Clarification: Chevy Volt Electric Motor is A/C
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/09/14/clarification-chevy-volt-electric-motor-is-ac/

    In the spring/summer of 2007, GM came out with contradictory info, so they came back to clarify that in fall 2007.

    In addition, I’ve found that the terms “AC” and “DC” are fairly meaningless when it comes to automobile traction electric motors. For AC, a better term is “induction”. For DC, better terms are “brushless” or “permanent magnet”. Both induction and brushless car traction motors use a DC source (battery) and then apply precisely timed pluses of this DC voltage make the motor move forward, backward, accelerate, decelerate, etc.. These pulses are controlled through embedded software, and the resulting current (amperage) waveforms resemble AC sine waves of varying frequencies.

    The real difference is that Induction motors use coils of wire in the rotor, while Brushless motors use permanent magnets in the rotor. Both types of motors use coils of wire in the stator (the outside part that doesn’t move). Both induction and brushless use the same controller (aka inverter) hardware, but the embedded software to control them is very different. To make matters even more complicated, Toyota’s marketing department now labels the Prius motor a “Permanent magnet AC synchronous motor”, which is an oxymoron. So again, the terms AC and DC are fairly meaningless.

    The reality is that a 150 horsepower permanent magnet motor would be way too large, heavy, and difficult to build. Induction motors have much more complicated software, but for high power applications, induction is much smaller, lighter, cheaper, and also more efficient.

    More info here:
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=45


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    I spent a winter in Kapuskasing (Ontario) in 1984 … The coldest I every witnessed was -43C (-49F) and I cross-country skied in -35C (-31F) weather. I’m surprised to hear that they were babying the Volt mule by keeping them indoors overnight. I suspect the mules cannot handled the worst weather that Kapuskasing can offer. :-( I’m no expert – but I gather that low temperatures can be a lot more trouble from electronic components (circuit boards, IC’s etc.) with varying contraction rates than for the actual “nuts and bolts”.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:38 pm)

    #63 statik Says: ….that was from October 22nd, 2007.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Right, but 40 miles AER EPA city is the one thing they haven’t walked away from. I’m also pretty sure they’ve mentioned this in various announcments since then, but I don’t have all the links.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:49 pm)

    #72 CaptJackSparrow Says: A PMG will … be much more efficient however have a smaller RPM range.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Actually, induction becomes more efficient for hgiher power applications, like for a series hybrid.

    See here for details:
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=45

    Here’s a quote:
    With DC brushless, as machine size grows, the magnetic losses increase proportionately and part load efficiency drops. With induction, as machine size grows, losses do not necessarily grow. Thus, induction drives may be the favored approach where high-performance is desired; peak efficiency will be a little less than with DC brushless, but average efficiency may actually be better.


  84. 84
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (2:51 pm)

    #82 Dave G said:

    Right, but 40 miles AER EPA city is the one thing they haven’t walked away from. I’m also pretty sure they’ve mentioned this in various announcments since then, but I don’t have all the links.
    ====================
    I know…and I don’t want to beat you up too much about it, lol.

    However, they have also been pretty vague/ambiguous about it…like in the same way they were about all the thing they did eventually walk away from. (that is what gives me the ‘red flag’ moment)


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (3:44 pm)

    #78 noel park on the President’s comments on 60 minutes on Sunday night.
    ————————————————-

    Yes, I heard those also. His comments did not seem to me to be definitive. Listening for leanings, I thought he was saying that the bailout of GM and Chrysler will continue with further payments, even though that is unpopular.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (3:50 pm)

    #79 noel park said “BTW, congratulations to N Riley for taking over 2nd place on the all time “Top Commentators” list. I also note that Dave G is closing fast on 3rd place. Bring it on boys, you’re looking good.”
    ———————————————————–

    Indeed I also congratulate N Riley, though I note that Dave G has two entries (along with Statik), and if the entries are added they are, I think, 1st and 2nd.

    Blogs become interesting through the posts but also the comments, which add vitality, so we owe all these people our thanks.


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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (3:53 pm)

    @ Dave G 83

    “Actually, induction becomes more efficient for hgiher power applications, like for a series hybrid.”

    You may have misunderstood, or more I may have misled, that I was talking about the Drive motr on that. AC Induction is preferred.

    Now the 400VDC battery does power the AC Induction motor. There’s no doubt about that. Now in your previous post there are major differnces in AC and DC. What you described prvious…
    “These pulses are controlled through embedded software, and the resulting current (amperage) waveforms resemble AC sine waves of varying frequencies. ”
    That’s using a 400VDC PWM (Pulse Width Modulator) and the signal IS a Square wave. Each positive excursion represents the duty cycle of the DC Motor.

    AC Induction motors will run with any voltage in an On-Off cycle but will most like be most efficient using a Sine wave. This requires voltage to be applied.

    Now knowing that Voltage has to be applied for any Induction motor to run or generate EMF, which will require the least EMF to function and generate electricity? PMG or AC Induction?

    PMG. That’s why I say a PMG is more efficient. You only need torque from the ICE to rotate the Neo mags in the generator.


  88. 88
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:01 pm)

    Well this sucks a$$…

    “Nissan will introduce ZEVs in the United States in 2010 and will mass market ZEVs globally two years later.”

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/03/23/nissans-electric-vehicle-more-details-from-san-diego/

    Got my hopes up and everything.
    Gonna send them an email….Punks…..


  89. 89
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:06 pm)

    #79 Noel Park

    “BTW, congratulations to N Riley for taking over 2nd place on the all time “Top Commentators” list. I also note that Dave G is closing fast on 3rd place. Bring it on boys, you’re looking good.”
    ————————————

    Well, thanks. I could not have done it without the help of some of you guys who made comments that forced me to whip out my soap box many times too often. I intend to put the soap box up as much as possible and concentrate on quality issues in the future. There are many more important things to do with my time than to “rant and rave” on this site. You may very well see my ranking slip a good bit from time to time. My “accomplishment” just shows that I have had too much idle time on my hands.

    I do hope that I have contributed a thing or two at times. No one wants to be more informed than I do of the Volt and its future siblings. I look forward to many more months of good times reading and responding to comments that I like and the people I have grown to respect. If I step out-of-line with my comments, anyone is welcome to “put me back into my place”


  90. 90
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    #49 Dave G says “I believe the Volt has no transmission, at least not a mechanical transmission.”

    The Prius has a transmission. The Tesla has a transmission. It’s hard to imagine a car that can be efficient throughout a range of speeds without one. How GM worked this out will be interesting to see. (FWIW I take the fact that Lutz mentioned “a secret transmission” and then everyone went dark — including not posting his remarks as GM had always done before — as a sign that GM thinks it’s quite special. You might interpret it some other way.)

    Statik & Dave G — on the 40 mile range.

    Dave, nice cite on the explicit link between the city cycle and the 40 mile range. But Statik has a good point that this was very early in the game. A lot of early statements were subsequently revised or repudiated.

    it seems problematic for GM to calculate a range using the city cycle when the EPA and everyone else uses the new combined five cycle when calculating range. Can’t see how that would work out well. Seems like the makings of a PR disaster.


  91. 91
    Youda Farmer

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:14 pm)

    Get the Volt on the road GM. Quit dragging this out.
    This ain’t rocket science, dag nabbit.
    The competition is not sitting still, at this pace the race will be over by the time dealers take delivery. The Mercedes, BMW and Nissan EVs are looking mighty fine.

    My guess is that GM is going super slow and deliberate because just one misstep and they are toast. The big dogs will have GM for breakfast.

    My old country dog is smarter than your GM manager.


  92. 92
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    #86 RB

    “Indeed I also congratulate N Riley, though I note that Dave G has two entries (along with Statik), and if the entries are added they are, I think, 1st and 2nd.”
    —————————————

    This just shows you that rankings are not what they seem. It is the quality of the comments. And Statik and Dave G both have my utmost respect for the level and quality of comments made by them. My comments pale in comparison to many who post here. I am just lucky to be able to correspond on a somewhat unequal footing with such people as are represented on this site. My heart felt thanks and wishes for many more months and years of seeing these comments being posted here. I include you, RB, along with DonC, Noel Park and a few others that are among those that I always look for as I read down through each topic’s comments. Thanks, again, to all who post here. Even the Toyota lovers and nay sayers. It takes us all to make it even more interesting than it should be at times.


  93. 93
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:20 pm)

    #86 RB:

    So much the better, if true.

    #88 CaptJackSparrow:

    “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”

    Carlos Ghosn is nobody to fool with or underestimate. He might steal a march on the whole world here.


  94. 94
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:20 pm)

    @N Riley 92
    I can’t wait for the day we all stop writing on this post because we’re out driving our Volt’s on the freeway, roads etc….

    The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.

    I’ll take my Volt with No Generator, No ICE, ShAkEn not StirreD…


  95. 95
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:24 pm)

    #92 N Riley:

    Well I dunno about the Toyota lovers, LOL.


  96. 96
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    #94 CaptJackSparrow:

    Naaaahhh, we’ll be blogging from our Volts! Probably by voice from that gee-whiz dashboard, eh?

    statik:

    Dow up 400? Does that do anything for you? What about the big Canadian oil company merger?

    Light at the end of the tunnel? Oncoming freight train?


  97. 97
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:29 pm)

    #79 noel park said:

    BTW, congratulations to N Riley for taking over 2nd place on the all time “Top Commentators” list. I also note that Dave G is closing fast on 3rd place. Bring it on boys, you’re looking good.
    ====================

    You guys are obviously hopeless losers…don’t you have anything better to do with your time? (RB #85, DonC #90, I know you guys are there too…so you guys are also losers)

    Side note: That list can go away anytime now…it saddens me.


  98. 98
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:40 pm)

    #97 statik

    “You guys are obviously hopeless losers…don’t you have anything better to do with your time? ”
    ————————

    What I said!! LOL. I do like today’s more Volt based comments better than some of other days’ comments. Must be something in the air.

    I really am not badly concerned with how GM does it, but I am concerned that they do it correctly and efficiently. I believe they are doing it the right way. If there is a right way.


  99. 99
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:52 pm)

    As I understand it, the EPA city cycle does use AC. What else did Lyle not know to ask about that GM has disabled? Or, another item to consider is that I suspect that the city cycle doesn’t involve using the stereo because it isn’t normally significant. But it might make a difference for the Volt. Time to modify the 2012 testing procedure!

    Also, if they need to turn off AC to hit 40 miles, that tells you how much they are clearing it by even under pretty much the ideal situation.


  100. 100
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    #96 noel park said:

    statik:

    Dow up 400? Does that do anything for you? What about the big Canadian oil company merger?

    Light at the end of the tunnel? Oncoming freight train?
    =========================

    I was thinking we were going to have a little bounce when I got into a small position on the Canadian banks (and the ill-fated GE purchase,lol)…I was about 2 weeks early on the move, but lucklily it did come and bailed me out, I ended up making a couple bucks…and now I’m out again. Totally missed any gains today though, so my bad I suppose. I’m 100% liquid…again.

    In my opinion, it is a classic bear market rally, with a little touch of stimulus gasoline poured on top. Generally, I make my money on the backs of bad news (go figure), so I am sitting out now.

    I have always found it is easier to see something going wrong/badly and then profit, over trying to see something good and getting better–too much subterfuge in this world from talking heads always trying to be positive (imo)…hard to cut through the BS and seperate fact from fiction, so I generally don’t do it.

    When the recession/depression has finally been declared dead (and it is 6 months in the rear view mirror), I will go long again, diversfy the portfolio, invest in the ETFs in a more reasonable proportion to my guaranteed securites…but not now, no way.

    I really am not looking for the ‘big score’ on the rebound (and I’m not willing to risk anything significant on trying to call a bottom), because I was lucky enough to stay the heck away from all of this, and I really don’t need to post big gains. If that means missing 4,000 points on the DOW or 400 points off the lows on the S&P, thats fine. I’ll take another year with a 6-7% gain and consider myself lucky.

    In my opinion, If you can earn more than double the rate of inflation…your a monster, and you should be happy….regardless if that is 2% or 20%


  101. 101
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (4:59 pm)

    #90 DonC Says: The Prius has a transmission. The Tesla has a transmission. It’s hard to imagine a car that can be efficient throughout a range of speeds without one.
    ————————————————————————————–
    No, the Tesla Roadster has no transmission. In order to do 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, they originally thought they needed a 2-speed transmission, but that turned out to be unworkable at 13,000 RPM, so they scrapped the transmission idea with their v1.5 drive train.

    The EV1 also had no transmission. In fact, I don’t know of any EV that has a transmission.

    If you’re coming from a gas engine power-train background, I guess its hard to believe, but induction electric motors with intelligent controllers really do have high torque across a huge range of RPMs, usually from 0 RPMs up to the red line. So there is no transmission required in an all-electric drivetrain.

    The Prius doesn’t have an all-electric drivetrain. The gas engine is mechanically connected to the wheels, so there you do need a transmission, although its an unusual CVT design.


  102. 102
    Mark Z

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    Back to the cold weather questions.

    Does the VOLT ICE have a heater core, or only an electric heater? If hot water is available, then more electric power could be generated for propulsion and to charge the battery in cold weather.


  103. 103
    noel park

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (5:12 pm)

    #97 statik:

    Sure you don’t mean “hosers”? As in:

    “Take off hoser”

    Doug and Bob McKenzie

    #100 statik:

    “too much subterfuge from talking heads always trying to be positive (imo)”

    Careful, you’re starting to sound like Jon Stewart.


  104. 104
    ccombs

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (5:29 pm)

    Who cares about cold weather tests*- I want to see the Death Valley tests!

    *Apologies to all you folks who live in snowy locales, but all this constant cold-weather battery performance talk just doesn’t apply out here. I want more talk about performance in sweltering heat.


  105. 105
    old man

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (5:32 pm)

    #101 Dave G

    Tesla roadster, 13,000 rpm? If there is no transmision then would the tires not be 1 to 1 regarding rotation? Tires rotating at 13,000 rpm has got to mean it can REALLY haul a$$!!! Just has to be some reduction of rpm to the tires.
    All I have said may be mute if I had any idea as to what a v1.5 drive train met.


  106. 106
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (5:43 pm)

    @old man 105
    “Tires rotating at 13,000 rpm has got to mean it can REALLY haul a$$!!! ”

    I think that’s called the “Tesla Smile”.

    I’d rather have my “Wallet Smile”. Just IMHO.


  107. 107
    john1701a

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (5:55 pm)

    I think “What result does GM think ‘-10 to -15′ weather would have on the electric range, but also very importantly the ‘50 MPG’ claim?” would be really interesting answer to have.
    ______________________

    We’ve been waiting over 2 years for estimates for winter driving. And now that there is actual data available, we are still waiting.

    SMTD


  108. 108
    Dan Petit

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:02 pm)

    Storing the Volt overnight in a garage allows for a more reliable set of temperature baselines so that GM can provide suppliers with valid production specs for conditions, bitter cold makes rubber mounts brittle, and, add instantaneous electro-motove-force, and the failure shows how the new specs for the mount supplier need to be beefed-up.
    Going to the smaller ICE (less than 1 liter) may certainly bring about an easily-attained ICE fuel efficiency above 50 mpg it seems to me.
    The Volt will have something called a “Final Drive”, which is similar in function to the differential in a rear wheel drive vehicle. There are lots of things that can go into it, such as in a CVT, continuously-variable- drive (although that technology is still pricey, it might do great things for regeneration).
    Although most ICE are generally rated at about 80 percent thermally-INefficient, excepting in this case of the coolant first defrosting the windshield, then heating the vehicle, and, finally warming the pack, there may be little need to send the coolant back through the radiator in far-subzero conditions. While the RPM’s might be maxed out also to light up the catalytic converter and get the byproduct of combustion -water- out of the exhaust system to prevent rust, this high RPM running would get the heat up more quickly in the smaller displacement engine. So as thermal efficiency is not practically “thrown away” out of the radiator, thermal efficiency in those cases really is a fairly good usage of gasoline.
    Dan Petit Austin TX


  109. 109
    Neil

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:08 pm)

    Hey Fella’s,

    I got a feeling there are folks here that have a great deal of experience and can enlighten me.

    I’m still on the list for a Volt but…

    1. I’m going to purchase a 2010 Fusion Hybrid for my wife (Ice blue and loaded – I think most are coming fairly loaded). What’s the understanding abou the 3400 tax credit? Ford is saying that if you order by March 30 you get the credit. Others are saying that maybe it will have to be “in service” before April 1. I’ve got a call into my accountant but waiting to hear.

    2. Mine has a VIN but I’m not sure if that means it’s already manufactured or not. What is the experience of the group? Does a VIN infer already produced or ready to be produced?

    3. Am I asking the correct questions?

    Your assistance would be appreciated!

    Neil


  110. 110
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:13 pm)

    Re: Tesla Transmission

    Here is the official press release from Tesla on the subject from January 23rd, 2009:
    =============================

    • As communicated previously, early production units will be equipped with an interim transmission that meets durability requirements but limits acceleration to 5.7 seconds from 0 to 60 mph.
    • Separately, Tesla Motors engineers have designed a permanent solution for mass production that supports the original specification of 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
    • The planned solution has some very positive benefits for our customers. Instead of a complex 2-speed transmission design, Tesla will achieve the original performance goals with a simpler one-speed unit mated to a higher rated Power Electronics Module (PEM.) The existing motor will be modified to have advanced cooling capabilities to handle the additional power. The permanent transmission unit will be engineered to handle the higher torque of the powertrain.
    • The planned solution reduces program risk, provides better efficiency, lower weight, equal or better range, better thermal performance and quicker quarter mile acceleration due to the elimination of the need to shift gears.
    • The planned solution incorporates the latest developments of our powertrain team which has been continually improving on Tesla’s core technology.
    • Early production will proceed at a limited rate and then ramp up to full production when the permanent powertrain solution is production ready later this year.
    • The upgrade from the interim solution to the higher power, permanent solution will be provided to our customers free of charge when available later this year.

    (Source: http://www.teslamotors.com/)
    ————
    I read this as essentially a reduction gear…which seems like standard fair for EVs nowadays.


  111. 111
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:17 pm)

    static

    THANKS!!


  112. 112
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:18 pm)

    #105 old man Says: Tesla roadster, 13,000 rpm? If there is no transmission then would the tires not be 1 to 1 regarding rotation? Tires rotating at 13,000 rpm has got to mean it can REALLY haul a$$!!! Just has to be some reduction of rpm to the tires.
    All I have said may be mute if I had any idea as to what a v1.5 drive train met.

    ————————————————————————————–
    Yes, there are reduction gears in the Tesla Roadster, and in the Volt as well. But these are permanent gears. There is no clutch. There is no switching of gears. That’s what I mean by no transmission.

    The Tesla Roadster version 1.0 drivetrain had a 2-speed transmission. It was thought at the time that there was no possible way that they could do 0-60 in less than 4 seconds without a transmission. Then they had problems designing a transmission that could handle 13,000 RPM, and went through various design iterations, so I guess these would be version 1.1, 1.2, and so on. Finally, they found out out that a modified motor together with modified code in the motor controller could actually do the job, so they just gave up on the transmission idea.

    By the way, Elon Musk felt that doing 0-60 in less than 4 seconds was THE benchmark to meet for a sports car that costs six figures. That was the only reason they ever considered a transmission to begin with.

    In fact, this issue was reported to be one of the reasons for the falling-out between Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard (the guy who founded Tesla). Apparently, Martin (the engineer) thought the idea of having a transmission on an EV was repulsive, since the freedom from switching gears has been the hallmark of EVs. But Elon (the businessman) knew that sub-4 seconds was a hard requirement to compete with other expensive sports cars, and Elon wasn’t concerned about the elegance of a transmission-less design. In the end, it appears Martin won the issue but lost the company.


  113. 113
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:29 pm)

    #112 Dave G

    And thanks to you for the info on the gear reduction. I felt certain that there had to be something but had no idea as to what. Tires at 13,000 rpm could take flight with a wing of about one foot in length.


  114. 114
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:30 pm)

    #109 Neil

    Hey Fella’s,

    I got a feeling there are folks here that have a great deal of experience and can enlighten me.

    I’m still on the list for a Volt but…

    1. I’m going to purchase a 2010 Fusion Hybrid for my wife (Ice blue and loaded – I think most are coming fairly loaded). What’s the understanding abou the 3400 tax credit? Ford is saying that if you order by March 30 you get the credit. Others are saying that maybe it will have to be “in service” before April 1. I’ve got a call into my accountant but waiting to hear.

    2. Mine has a VIN but I’m not sure if that means it’s already manufactured or not. What is the experience of the group? Does a VIN infer already produced or ready to be produced?

    3. Am I asking the correct questions?

    Your assistance would be appreciated!

    Neil
    =======================
    HowDee Neil,

    The Fusion must be PURCHASED or placed in service by march 31st, 2009…so get out there and get possesion, lol.

    If you fail to meet this deadline, you will still get a rebate, however it will only by $1,700…this amount starts April 1st…and runs through September 30th, at which point it goes to $850 through March 31st, 20010…then it is nothing.

    As FYI dealer invoice on these bad boys are $24,988…and you can beat them down off the $27,300 (you just have to find a weak dealer)

    Side note: VIN numbers are generated before production begins


  115. 115
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:32 pm)

    #102 Mark Z Says: Does the VOLT ICE have a heater core, or only an electric heater? If hot water is available, then more electric power could be generated for propulsion and to charge the battery in cold weather.
    ————————————————————————————–
    The Volt has both a heater core and an electric heater. During the first 40-miles, the electric heater is supposed to handle warming the cabin by itself.

    By the wait, the Volt’s gas engine doesn’t really charge the battery.


  116. 116
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:39 pm)

    @Dave G 115
    “By the wait, the Volt’s gas engine doesn’t really charge the battery.”

    Why is that by the way? You would think if the ICE is running when you are at a Stop or at the RR Xing for 6 minutes or so that it would charge tha bat’s for a bit and not just “Sustain” the charge. Does the ICE shut off if you are idle for 5-6 minutes waiting for a train to go buy or if you are creeping at 5mph in LA traffic in I5? What’s the KW rating at the tuned “Several Sweet Spots”?

    The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.

    I’ll take my Volt with No Generator, No ICE, ShAkEn not StirreD…


  117. 117
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:39 pm)

    #110 statik Says: I read this as essentially a reduction gear…which seems like standard fair for EVs nowadays.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Yes, most EVs have a reduction gear, except for those that use in-wheel motors:
    http://www.hipadrive.com/phev.html
    Volvo ReCharge
    Lightning GT
    Ford F150 EV prototype
    Cooper Mini EV


  118. 118
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:53 pm)

    #116 CaptJackSparrow said:

    @Dave G 115
    “By the wait, the Volt’s gas engine doesn’t really charge the battery.”

    Why is that by the way? You would think if the ICE is running when you are at a Stop or at the RR Xing for 6 minutes or so that it would charge tha bat’s for a bit and not just “Sustain” the charge. Does the ICE shut off if you are idle for 5-6 minutes waiting for a train to go buy or if you are creeping at 5mph in LA traffic in I5? What’s the KW rating at the tuned “Several Sweet Spots”?

    The ICEAge is over, Embrace the VoltAge.

    I’ll take my Volt with No Generator, No ICE, ShAkEn not StirreD…
    ==============
    Why doesn’t the ICE charge the battery with the excess power at opportune times? I’m sure there is a company line, but that is a whole other subsystem to design and test…and that costs money and takes more time.

    I seem to remember it initially being considered in the ‘plans’ (depending on who was giving the quote), but I believe reason (and prudent reasoning at that) took over. The benefit of the charge I think was not great enough to be considered a viable part of the vehicle (at least in relation to the price and performance)


  119. 119
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (6:58 pm)

    #116 CaptJackSparrow Says: Does the ICE shut off if you are idle for 5-6 minutes waiting for a train to go buy or if you are creeping at 5mph in LA traffic in I5? What’s the KW rating at the tuned “Several Sweet Spots”?
    ————————————————————————————–
    Nobody knows for sure, but it seems likely that the Volt will shut the ICE off when you are waiting for a train to go buy or if you are creeping at 5mph in LA traffic in I5.

    Yes, the Volt’s ICE does have Several Sweet Spot RPMs, but within each of these RPMs, the power output (kW) can vary dramatically by controlling the fuel mixture. For example, when you stop at a traffic light, the load on the generator output decreases to practically nothing, so the ICE will decrease the fuel mixture very lean to hold that RPM and not speed up. If you then speed up to 20MPH, the load on the generator output increases, which increases the torque on the ICE. In order to maintain that RPM without slowing down, the fuel mixture will be adjusted richer. So in this way, you can have a fairly wide range of power output at the same RPM.


  120. 120
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:20 pm)

    #118 statik Says: Why doesn’t the ICE charge the battery with the excess power at opportune times?
    ————————————————————————————–
    Yes, the Volt’s battery does charge and discharge the battery slightly at various times, but the main point is that the Volt controls the ICE/genset power output dynamically so as to minimize this.

    So the vast majority of electrical power goes directly from the generator to the electric motor. This has two advantages:
    a) charging/discharging increases wear on the battery
    b) electrical->chemical->electrical conversions decrease efficiency

    The exceptions to this are when you are driving fast up a steep hill, or when you accelerate hard. During these times, the battery drains to supply peak horsepower. After these conditions subside, the ICE does recharge the battery to get the SOC back up to 30% (or whatever the CDP is set to).

    Also, when you hit the brakes, regenerative braking charges the battery. The following diagrams try to show all this:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/vzenu6hr/ebay_pictures/Volt_Electrical_Block_Diagram.jpg
    The vast majority of driving occurs in diagrams 1 & 2


  121. 121
    Unni

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:27 pm)

    #119 Dave G :
    wondering why you think that way ?

    The ICE should always operate on maximum efficiency , there is no load change on ICE ever because ICE is only charging the battery.

    The power splitter ( some sold state device ) or the control unit should handle all the variations of power requirement. take charge from battery and ICE on uphill, or charge battery while running after battery depleted etc.


  122. 122
    Me Here

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:28 pm)

    In terms of defrosting windshield, wonder if some form of resistant contact with the glass would be more efficient than noisy blown air.

    Meaning more like you rear window than the front. Seem to recall some GM models that had a ‘gold’ front glass that was heated in such a manner.

    More efficient means less kwh needed to defrost (and maintain clear)


  123. 123
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:32 pm)

    #110 Statik

    Thanks for the “words wisdom” Statik. I’ll see if there was also a build date with that VIN number.

    In doing some more sifting I thought I’d share what else I’ve found. The latest “concensus” is that…

    1. The purchase contract must be dated prior to April 1. This consitutes “purchase”. The car does not need to be “in service” by this date.

    2. You must take posession in 2009 to have it apply to your 2009 taxes.

    Thanks again!


  124. 124
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:39 pm)

    #121 Unni Says: The ICE should always operate on maximum efficiency
    ————————————————————————————–
    No, the car should always operate on maximum efficiency.

    For example, let’s say running the engine at constant power output increases efficiency by 3%, but the additional electrical->chemical->electrical conversions through the battery decrease the efficiency by 5%, so the car as a whole is less efficient.


  125. 125
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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (7:47 pm)

    #123 Neil says
    1. The purchase contract must be dated prior to April 1. This consitutes “purchase”. The car does not need to be “in service” by this date.
    2. You must take posession in 2009 to have it apply to your 2009 taxes.

    ———————————————–
    With the rule as statik quoted, the plan described in 1 and 2 is doubtful, if someone were to press you on it. (Maybe no one will, but if they did…)


  126. 126
    BillR

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (8:24 pm)

    I’m still on record saying the Volt’s traction motor with be a permanent magnet motor. Here is some reading on PMM’s, some with variable frequency drive. The EV1 used an AC synchronous induction motor, and most likely the Volt will use an AC synchronous PM motor.

    http://www.allbusiness.com/defense-aerospace/defense-industry-defense/6229341-1.html

    #119 Dave G,

    Regarding changing ICE power settings at a fixed rpm – this cannot be done to a great degree by changing the mixture. If the mixture deviates too much from stochiometric (~15:1 air/fuel by weight), then you will not achieve ignition.

    You can use a throttle plate to restrict air flow, or you can use variable valve timing. Most likely GM will use VVT to reduce air flow through the engine by closing the intake valves late (some air in cyl is pushed back into intake manifold before intake valves close).


  127. 127
    ziggy

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (8:30 pm)

    To Dave G @119 who says : “but it seems likely that the Volt will shut the ICE off when you are waiting for a train to go buy…”

    —————————————————————————–

    I sure hope it shuts the ICE off, those trains are expensive! :D


  128. 128
    statik

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (10:19 pm)

    #114 Statik said:

    The Fusion must be PURCHASED or placed in service by march 31st, 2009…so get out there and get possesion, lol.

    If you fail to meet this deadline, you will still get a rebate, however it will only by $1,700…this amount starts April 1st…and runs through September 30th, at which point it goes to $850 through March 31st, 20010…then it is nothing.
    —————————
    #123 Neil said::

    In doing some more sifting I thought I’d share what else I’ve found. The latest “concensus” is that…

    1. The purchase contract must be dated prior to April 1. This consitutes “purchase”. The car does not need to be “in service” by this date.
    2. You must take posession in 2009 to have it apply to your 2009 taxes.
    ———————————————–
    #125 RB said:
    With the rule as statik quoted, the plan described in 1 and 2 is doubtful, if someone were to press you on it. (Maybe no one will, but if they did…)
    ===========================
    ===========================
    If you have a finalized purchase contract dated March 31st or early you are ok regardless of any other criteria.

    I had assumed that you had not gone this far with your purchase because you said, “I’m going to purchase a 2010 Fusion Hybrid for my wife (#109)” I was thinking maybe you left a deposit at the dealership…or they did not require one to take your order, in this case you would be in trouble.

    I was/am unsure how you could have a invoice for a car you have not received, but if the dealership is dating the bill of sale as such, then it is all good and you have no worries. (=


  129. 129
    DonC

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:22 pm)

    #101 Dave G says “If you’re coming from a gas engine power-train background, I guess its hard to believe, but induction electric motors with intelligent controllers really do have high torque across a huge range of RPMs, usually from 0 RPMs up to the red line.”

    At this point we should be able to agree that the Tesla has a transmission. You can of course call it a reduction gear but a reduction gear is a transmission. In fact transmissions are called “gear boxes” because the first transmissions were reduction gears. Basically if the car has an axle it has a transmission.

    Moreover, you want a transmission with non-fixed gear ratios in an EV for several reasons. First is that with a fixed gear ratio you need a larger motor and a much more powerful controller. Second is that you have more cooling issues since the motor will be in low rpm high torque situations (e.g., hill climbing). Third is that while motors are efficient over a wide range of RPM that efficiency falls off at very low or very high RPM, especially when the low RPMs are combined with high current (hill climbing again). Fourth you might want to back up.

    A drag racing EV might be well served by a fixed gear transmission. But an all purpose EV would not.

    I’m wondering if GM has some sort of new CVT.


  130. 130
    DonC

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:32 pm)

    Edit to #129 — Wanted to just mention that a CVT wouldn’t seem to make much sense since a CVT is not terribly efficient and the motor, unlike an ICE, is efficient over a wide range of RPMs, obviating the need to continuously changing gears to match speed. I’ve been quite interested in the transmission since Lutz let it slip. It will be interesting to see what GM has come up with!


  131. 131
    rex

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2009 (11:42 pm)

    I’m sorry bu that image of the volt in the snow is complete crap. The image was clearly fabricated. Cheerleading for the Volt and Gm is one thing but fabricating images really undermines the credibility of your website .
    There are no car tracks in the snow. There is no shadow in front of the car, and the sun is not reflectiing correctly off the car. I am a graphics professional. I recognize a fake when I see it. Not that any of this effects your editorial content.


  132. 132
    stopcrazypp

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (12:29 am)

    #129, #130 DonC
    Just read your comments but don’t understand what you are arguing. You argue that an EV needs a transmission (a non-fixed ratio), but then later you say the high range of rpms of efficiency means a CVT is unnecessary.

    I think you are arguing another point that technically any EV uses a “transmission” because in a strict sense of the definition even an axle is a transmission, and thus the reduction gears being used in EVs also are transmission. However it is clear Dave G is saying “transmission” as more of layman’s term where people think of a box with many gear ratios when they hear that word. Even “gear box” is being used that way too. A “reduction gear” is probably the layman’s term to a signify a single ratio.

    I think that it is clear no automaker is currently pursuing a multi-ratio transmission for EVs. There are a couple of reasons. First, it costs more money to make (and design) than a simple reduction gear and the extra complexity and parts means that it fails more easily. Next is that the marginal gains in efficiency that you get from a multi-ratio transmission in an EV (the rpm ranges where the motor is less efficient) is easily canceled by extra losses you get from the mechanism to support switching ratios. The only case where a multi-ratio transmission might be considered for EVs is in the performance case where you want to maximize acceleration while having a high top speed (like Tesla originally planned but scrapped when they could meet their performance targets using other methods).


  133. 133
    DonC

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (1:01 am)

    Interesting find in the local paper. Nissan to bring the EV cube to San Diego in 2010. And this is not a test! LOL

    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/mar/23/1b23car191510-electric-car-nissan-will-be-sold-her/?zIndex=71080

    #132 stopcrazypp

    Yes I was pointing out that a reduction gear was a transmission. But I was also pointing out the advantages of two gears (or I guess the disadvantages of one gear). The CVT comment — and the edit which added because it got cut off — was just idle speculation about what GM might be coming up with. It was neither here nor there.

    I think whether you have a single or multi-ratio transmission depends on the vehicle and the costs. There are cost related reasons why two gears would be better than one, including the costs needed for the extra cooling. When Tesla went from two gears to one it had to upgrade the motor, go with liquid cooling rather than air cooling, and do a major upgrade on the power electronics. No cost savings there! If GM can invent a simple and reliable multi-ratio transmission it can produce a more efficient car while taking costs out.

    But the real reason why I don’t think the Volt will have a simple reduction gear is that I don’t think that Lutz would have said that GM had come up with a “super secret transmission” that no one had “even thought of before” if the Volt was going to have a singe reduction gear.


  134. 134
    Michael Robinson

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (1:21 am)

    I think testing of fuel cell cars has seen better results than
    what this article is talking about in terms of cold weather
    performance.

    The Toyota FCHV suv can start in very cold temperatures approaching 40 below Fahrenheit. Can the Volt do that? I would think that keeping battery cold would make it perform better, but I guess not. As far as cold and hydrogen, it is easier to work with hydrogen in cold weather than it is to work with it in hot weather unless of course you are using an organic hydrogen carrier that might perform better in warmer weather.

    The future is fuel cell cars, not Lithium ION battery based EV’s
    or supercapacitor based EV’s. My money is on the first commercial fuel cell car, not the Volt.


  135. [...] Chevy Volt hits the ski slopes, doesn’t fall down. [GM-Volt] [...]


  136. 136
    ziggy

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (5:28 am)

    Maybe this “super secret transmission” is a CVT which works in reverse when regen braking is in effect, ie. the harder you step on the brake the more the gear ratio changes the make the generator spin faster in relation to the wheels.

    This would have all kinds of implications.


  137. 137
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (6:15 am)

    #134 Michael Robinson Says: The future is fuel cell cars, not Lithium ION battery based EV’s…
    ————————————————————————————–
    Hydrogen is the biggest scam going. It’s the big oil companies that are pushing hydrogen. They know it will never work out, or if it does, hydrogen will be made from natural gas (like it is now). That’s why they call them FOOL SELLs, because they are meant to decieve us. Classic red herring.

    Why a hydrogen economy doesn’t make sense
    http://www.physorg.com/news85074285.html
    In a recent study, fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel explains that a hydrogen economy is a wasteful economy. The large amount of energy required to isolate hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass), package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the energy carrier to the user, plus the energy lost when it is converted to useful electricity with fuel cells, leaves around 25% for practical use — an unacceptable value to run an economy in a sustainable future. Only niche applications like submarines and spacecraft might use hydrogen.


  138. 138
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (6:24 am)

    #136 ziggy Says: Maybe this “super secret transmission” is a CVT which works in reverse when regen braking is in effect, ie. the harder you step on the brake the more the gear ratio changes the make the generator spin faster in relation to the wheels.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Doubtful. Your assumption is that a variable gear ratio would help the power transfer efficiency of regenerative braking. Keep in mind that inductive electric motors have full torque at zero RPM, and this works in both directions.


  139. 139
    Dave G

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (6:31 am)

    #129 DonC Says: At this point we should be able to agree that the Tesla has a transmission. You can of course call it a reduction gear but a reduction gear is a transmission.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Well, I guess we’re into semantics here, but I would say that most people wouldn’t call a reduction gear a transmission. For example, would you say that the Hummer H1 had a transmission in every wheel?


  140. 140
    statik

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (7:17 am)

    #133 DonC said:

    Interesting find in the local paper. Nissan to bring the EV cube to San Diego in 2010. And this is not a test! LOL

    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/mar/23/1b23car191510-electric-car-nissan-will-be-sold-her/?zIndex=71080
    ================
    I mentioned my ‘Cube experience’ briefly earlier…but I can revisit it.

    I actually got to take it for a little zip about town. It is a strange driving experience to say the least. I don’t know if I can see you in one Don, lol. I have a feeling that their ’2010′ delivery is really just code for ‘limited fleet tests,’ but whatever right…at least it is real.

    (Personal issues: I’m not keen on the strange rear window or the traditional right to left opening…looks cool, but I think in real life it would end up just being a pain)


  141. 141
    N Riley

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (8:43 am)

    Lyle,

    Just for future reference. If I were you I would use pictures like the one above with a notation across the bottom of the picture indicating it is a composite of multiple pictures put together by Photoshop or whatever. That would ease the minds of those on this site that think it is “terrible” to do a picture like that mis-representing what is happening. That way you can show what you want to get across to us and make it clear at the same time that it is not a “real” picture.


  142. 142
    teds

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (11:44 am)

    This article is saying the battery is not an issue… then what is? because everything else is off the shelf! Before the Volt the autommakers were crying “the batteries are not there!” Lairs! Did the batteries just teleport out of nowhere in the last 2 years? I don’t think so… Did the EV1 run without a battery? I don’t think so! The automakers make me want to barf with their lies.


  143. 143
    Parri Ford

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (12:49 pm)

    The Detroit Big 3 (Who are fronts for the oil companies), the banks (Who conduit the oil company money) and AIG (who keeps the oil companies protected) were handed money in a sack within a few days with no questions asked, no application and no review process but the alternative energy people, ie: wind, solar and electric cars must pay massive fees, file thousands of pages of paper and wait years to see if they MIGHT get some money. It seems as if there is an intentional program going on to delay alternative energy. Already, multiple solar companies that were waiting for that money have been forced to go out of business by the delay and most of the electric car companies are going to die soon too.


  144. 144
    statik

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (2:08 pm)

    #131 rex said:

    I’m sorry bu that image of the volt in the snow is complete crap. The image was clearly fabricated. Cheerleading for the Volt and Gm is one thing but fabricating images really undermines the credibility of your website .
    There are no car tracks in the snow. There is no shadow in front of the car, and the sun is not reflectiing correctly off the car. I am a graphics professional. I recognize a fake when I see it. Not that any of this effects your editorial content.

    #141 n riley said:

    Just for future reference. If I were you I would use pictures like the one above with a notation across the bottom of the picture indicating it is a composite of multiple pictures put together by Photoshop or whatever.
    ==========================
    I think rex is a little over the top here myself, lol. Lyle isn’t trying to be sneaky here, I found it almost comical how amateurish it was (which was probably Lyle’s intent)…I had a chuckle when I saw it.

    I N Riley is right, that a disclaimer is needed if it really is a professional job, and there could be questions about reality…not the case here though I think.

    Anyone really look at this and believe we have a rough edged, non shadow casting, totally blurred, 10 foot wide, monster Volt trolling the winter roads?

    (note my comment in #15 about it)


  145. 145
    canehdian

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    Good news on the cold battery front. Though I hope conditioning doesn’t take too much power to do.

    Anyone who took the image at the top seriously.. wow. It’s CLEARLY fake, and not meant to be ‘official’ or anything. I think Lyle could make it look better if he wanted to fool people :p

    (Oh, and NO it is not that cold in Canada all the time.. [and not even 'most of the time'!]. Just thought I’d clear that up :p)


  146. 146
    o.jeff

     

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    Mar 24th, 2009 (10:32 pm)

    Lyle,

    Maybe you could try to get another interview with Bob Lutz before he leaves?!?! If the Volt is manufactured and successful, we will all him a serious debt of gratitude for pushing the project forward.


  147. 147
    koz

     

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    Mar 25th, 2009 (2:36 am)

    DonC #133

    “I think whether you have a single or multi-ratio transmission depends on the vehicle and the costs. There are cost related reasons why two gears would be better than one, including the costs needed for the extra cooling. When Tesla went from two gears to one it had to upgrade the motor, go with liquid cooling rather than air cooling, and do a major upgrade on the power electronics. No cost savings there!”

    Tesla was trying to achieve 4s or less 0-60mph and 130mph top speed. This is very different from the Volt’s goals. The motors power capabilities are very different too, bringing the scenarios more in line but not enough to equate the two.

    “If GM can invent a simple and reliable multi-ratio transmission it can produce a more efficient car while taking costs out.”

    How could this be physically possible. There is no way to make a multiple gear mechanical transmission cheaper than a single reduction gear. The only way to possibly achieve something with minimal cost increase and not changing max power characteristics like Tesla did is electrically with windings and/or stator diameter.


  148. 148
    Steve G

     

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    Mar 25th, 2009 (5:01 pm)

    No word of a lie, i would have driven to Kapuskacing to see one of those bad boys…

    i <3 volt


  149. 149
    Michael Robinson

     

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    Mar 26th, 2009 (1:08 am)

    There is this argument coming out that hydrogen is a scam. It
    is not a scam. Methane, natural gas, is a renewable resource.
    There are many non traditional sources of methane which include:
    garbage, manure, etcetera. If efficiency is the only determining
    factor for whether or not a car will be purchased, why haven’t
    EV’s been successful in their 100 year history? There is an
    assumption that there is not enough renewable energy to support
    producing the hydrogen needed for a hydrogen economy, but there
    is. Shell and Exxon/Mobil seem to want to use oil reformation to
    get to hydrogen, but that is not the only way to get hydrogen nor
    is it necessary to go that route. Arguably, the cost of the battery for the mileage it gives makes it a very expensive battery. A hydrogen fuel cell is a better solution than a Lithium ION
    battery for a number of reasons:

    1) Fuel cells don’t need the rare element Lithium.

    2) Fuel cells in theory last as long as you provide them with fuel
    and in practice the lifespan of fuel cells is up to 50k miles with
    inferior and expensive platinum electrodes. Nitrogen doped
    vertical carbon nanotubes make better electrodes than
    platinum does and these electrodes will be significantly
    cheaper.

    3) Fuel cells are more extensively tested than large Lithium ION
    batteries for automotive applications.

    4) Every major automaker has tried to produce fuel cell cars and
    Honda says that there are no longer any barriers to
    commercialization of fuel cell cars that they cannot address.

    5) The Chevy Equinox fuel cell vehicle is an under played success.

    6) Obama says that fuel cells are the future, the real end
    to dependence on foreign oil will be domestically produced
    hydrogen.

    7) Toyota and Honda aren’t focusing on E-REVs and there is a
    reason for that. Toyota and Honda, two successful companies,
    would not stake their future on a scam. Ford isn’t drinking the
    large lithium ION battery kool aid either. Their is a death watch
    on the Volt and the Tesla Whitestar, the battery cost is going to
    kill these cars.

    8) Linde has come out with a new compressor which is not piston
    based that is faster and more efficient cutting refueling times
    down by a factor of 10.

    9) No hydrogen = trouble refining oil into gasoline.

    10) The compressed gas tanks are safe and can be filled relatively
    fast. It isn’t necessary to store hydrogen in gaseous or liquid
    form though. Chemical hydride slurries and organic molecules
    are very real options. Hydranol will be available if all goes well
    by March 2011 in Oregon.

    11) You can’t get a 300 mile range using a traditional chemical
    battery, you have to go to a fuel cell. EV zealots say that a
    hydrogen economy is a wasteful one, but they cannot produce
    a battery that will fit in a reasonably sized car without taking up
    more space than they should and they can’t propel that car for
    300 miles at high speed without stopping to recharge or
    replace the battery.

    12) Toyota tried a chemical battery EV using nickel metal hydride
    technology which has significant cost and safety advantages
    over Lithium ION batteries. Toyota gave up because a pure
    EV is not practical. With today’s technology, a pure chemical
    battery based EV is not practical. Even if Lithium ION were
    a much more promising battery chemistry, there will be
    shortages within 10 years time if demand ratchets up.

    13) Hybrids are a band aid to the carbon emission and oil
    dependency problems that today’s cars have. Any solution
    that fails to take oil out of transportation is a non solution.

    14) The EV1 failed because the batteries were not practical.
    Lithium ION while lighter is: not safe enough, not cheap
    enough, and not energy dense enough to make chemical
    battery based EV’s practical.

    15) EV’s haven’t been successful for a 100 years and if Lithium
    ION batteries are the best bet they won’t be successful for
    100 more years.

    16) Even the Volt will come in a fuel cell version in the future.

    http://www.hydrogendiscoveries.wordpress.com

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/chevy-volt-hydrogen.htm


  150. 150
    Steve G

     

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    Mar 26th, 2009 (2:56 pm)

    @ #149

    The problems with fuel cells
    1) at present is that a single 20kw power output fuel cell costs more then a Volt. If you were complaining about the volt climbing pikes peak, the fuel cell version would crawl up those hills. All the while costing far more

    2) Fuel cell reliability is not on par with batteries. A fuel cell has a lot of difficulties associates with the generally higher operating temperatures, damaging the membranes, and dealing with the damn environment. Yes they work. No they don’t work well. Can it be fixed? Probably. There are people working on it. At present a battery is a better solution. I know this because all of the very brilliant people at GM, Ford, Crysler, and every other auto manufacturing company hasn’t made a production fuel cell car. But they have made a production battery car

    3) Hydrogen storage is problematic. Some hydrogen vehicles have on board methane reformers. That’s fine, but it increases the cost of your fuel cell, because your input gas insn’t hydrogen, it’s merely hydrogen rich. Metal-Hydrides show promise, but at present they are heavy. Heavier then a battery for the same enegy stored. High presure carbon fibre gas tanks also show promise. But it’s still an emerging technology.

    Too much of what is needed to make a practical fuel cell vehical isn’t to a level where we can make a cost effective car. Yes it’s possible, it’s just not practical.

    LJGTVWOTR
    Steve


  151. 151
    Michael Robinson

     

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    Mar 26th, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    If fuel cell cars aren’t practical, why is the Honda FCX Clarity being
    leased to people in Southern California? Why does Toyota have
    a death watch on battery based EV’s? Why is there a prototype fuel cell Volt?

    Hydrogen storage is not problematic. Hydrnol can be stored on
    board a fuel cell vehicle and reformed no problem. There is also
    the option of storing and reforming magnesium hydride slurry
    on board. Storing hydrogen at 10k PSI works and with Linde’s
    new compressor that is an even better option now.

    When GM replaces the platinum in fuel cells with nitrogen doped
    vertical carbon nanotube electrodes, the cost of the fuel cell will
    drop substantially and the reliability will improve. This of course
    isn’t the only option, it’s just a good option.

    Honda and Toyota are the most successful companies in the car
    business when it comes to fuel cell testing. The highlander SUV
    fuel cell vehicle has a range of 500+ miles on a fill of hydrogen
    and it has been driven down the Alcan highway. Toyota says it
    will produce a fuel cell car in 2015, Chrysler is planning to make
    one, and yes Honda is planning to produce the Clarity.

    If fuel cells are not viable, they are, there is the option of modifying
    internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen. Hydrogen injection works. The producers of hydrnol plan on offering a $4k
    conversion kit so conventional cars can burn hydrogen.

    Fuel cells put out more than 20kw of power, try 90-100 or more
    kw of power. How do you know that fuel cell cars have a problem traveling up hills if you’ve never driven one?

    A fuel tank that is 20% larger than the typical gasoline tank can
    be used if one decides to reform magnesium hydride slurry
    on board a fuel cell car. This tank doesn’t need to handle high
    pressures. I suspect there is a similar story for hydrnol.

    Honda says that there are no problems it can’t address when
    it comes to producing fuel cell vehicles.

    Fuel cells are about 10x too expensive, but that is because of
    platinum usage and low volume production. Both of these
    problems are solvable.

    More hydrogen fueling stations are needed for at least the next
    10 years so that prototype fuel cell cars can be driven in a variety
    of environments and over large distances. If in 10 years fuel cell
    cars don’t come down in price and prove reliable enough, only
    then might it make sense to give up on the technology. The Honda
    FCX Clarity is a production prototype. Honda wouldn’t have gone
    to the lengths it did designing the FCX Clarity if it didn’t believe that
    it can produce it. If there were more hydrogen stations, the car
    companies would take solving the problems that block mass production of fuel cell vehicles more seriously. If there were more
    fuel cell cars on the road, demand for hydrogen would drive construction of a hydrogen infrastructure. The producers of hydranol say that $50 billion is about what it would cost to provide
    hydrogen nation wide using their organic hydrogen carrier. That
    is cheap.

    Current fuel cells are good for 50k miles and that will improve
    if the electrodes are nitrogen doped vertical carbon nanotubes
    which are carbon monoxide poisoning resistant. The current
    fuel cell stack is the size of a mid tower ATX computer case,
    roughly. The price may be 10x too high, but the size of fuel
    cells has dropped substantially. Fuel cells are the future.

    http://www.hydrogendiscoveries.wordpress.com

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com


  152. 152
    Steve G

     

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    Mar 26th, 2009 (4:19 pm)

    http://www.bullnet.co.uk/shops/test/hydrogen.htm#cost
    Current commercial fuel cells cost around $3000 per kw.

    So yes, they can make a 90kw fuel cell vehicle. Expect the fuel cell by itself to be $270,000. With high volume it’s expected the cost might drop to half that, so.. what…$135 000. That’s still completely infeasible cost wise. This still isn’t taking account the cost of the hydrogen storage solution. That’s why i was playing with the idea of a small fuel cell. at 20kw fuel cell would cost a much more practical $30,000 if produced in volume.

    I’m not saying it’s not technically possible. I’m saying that, as commercial technology exists now, it’s not practical. Discussing untested research is pointless. Nuclear Fission reactors were supposed to make electricity to cheap to meter. Remember that? How’d that work out? Besides, if we’re gonna do that, I call EEstor. If they can pull it off, they’ll completely invalidate all fuel cell research ever. I think if the EEstor EESU works as claimed, it because practical to have electric planes…

    The problem with storing hydrogen at 10k PSI, is that even though hydrogen itself isn’t as much as a flamability risk as gasoline, and that risk can be mimimized, transporting gases at those kinds of presures is a huge safety risk. That to can be minimized, but the costs it adds to the container start adding up quickly. You start having to do things like, can it withstand a transport truck hitting it with a margin of safety. You also run into huge inefficiencies. The energy required to store gas at 10k PSI is enormous. I can’t remember the exact stats, but it’s something like more then 50% of the energy stored in the hydrogen was required to compress it, or something ridiculous.

    The problem with a reformation system, is that it adds yet another layer of energy conversion in there, reducing the efficiency. Truthfully, we’re closer to running hydrogen internal combustion engines then we are to running fuel cells.

    I do think that eventually down the road that this is where we are heading. However, at the present, a battery based solution is a technically, and practically superior solution that we can, and are implementing now. If this carbon nano-tube electrode technology matures on schedule, then maby we can see it in 10 years.

    -Steve


  153. 153
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    Mar 26th, 2009 (4:29 pm)

    I read your hydrogen facts website, if GM can in fact get a reliable fuel cell vehicle at $30 / kw… then why are they playing around with the Volt?? (note that this is roughly two orders of magnitude cheaper then the cheapest available comercial cells, an incredible claim) It doesn’t make sense to me. Never the less, the state of the art is advancing more rapidly then anyone could hope for, and I think it’s quite possible that a hydrogen economy could be nearing.

    Not that current pre-production cars are costing around a million dollars, which is what i would expect


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    PJKPA

     

    PJKPA
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    Mar 26th, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    Great to watch the Volt being developed. Something no Japanese company would do.
    Toyota and Honda are hugely subsidized by the Japanese government. While we agonize over LENDING money to help our companies the Japanese routinely GIVE money to any Japanese company that asks for it to create jobs in Japan. Toyota didn’t pay for the development of the money losing Prius..the Japanese government did. Ever wonder why after 19 years of making the Prius they only make up about 1% of the total sales of Toyota? Must be nice to have 100% of your home market and to be free to dump products in the big dumb USA. I don’t call this successful .. I call it UNFAIR ADVANTAGED. GM got to be as big as they are by building competitive products. Toyota and Honda got to where they are via the stupid open US market .. paying no US taxes … while enjoying NO competition in their own Japan. The no.2 market in the world Japan is closed to US auto makers while they enjoy a unfair $3,000 per car tax advantage over our own GM and FORD. They build ASSEMBLY plants here and pay NO TAXES.

    While Toyota buys back a whole line of trucks that have frames completely rusting out after just 7 years … Buick secures the No.1 spot in the J.D.Powers long term reliability stats. And with owning 4 Buicks I can say they all are as reliable as anything on the road.


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    Michael Robinson

     

    Michael Robinson
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    Mar 27th, 2009 (12:04 am)

    Fuel cell cars are not 10 years away, they are 3-6 years
    away. Nitrogen doped vertical carbon nanotube technology
    doesn’t need to mature. The biggest problem facing
    fuel cell cars these days is the lack of infrastructure
    to support them, not the status of the cars themselves.

    Only a foolish person transports compressed or liquid
    hydrogen on a truck. Sadly, there are some fools
    who want to do just that. The reality is, hydrnol
    is an organic hydrogen containing compound that is
    meant for shipping and it ships nicely. Another option
    for shipping hydrogen is to contain it in Magnesium
    Hydride Slurry. Yet another option to transport hydrogen
    is to build hydrogen pipelines. Hydrogen pipelines run
    about $500k a mile. Another option is to do distributed
    production of hydrogen on demand. With improving
    technology to produce hydrogen, the distributed model
    for hydrogen production has a lot of potential.

    The development being done on fuel cell cars now
    isn’t aimed at making them safe. It is aimed at improving
    the range and making them: cheaper, more reliable, and
    more powerful. The goal is to go from 100s produced to
    1000s produced to millions of fuel cell vehicles on the
    road being driven.

    We simply aren’t trying hard enough to make fuel cell cars
    work. A little effort would go a long ways. Only cars fueled
    by hydrogen can totally displace fossil fuel use. The gas
    electric volt hybrid cannot free us from foreign oil
    dependency. In fact, no hybrid can solve our problems.
    Sadly, only California and a few other states take fuel cell
    car development seriously.

    Toyota is talking about commercializing fuel cell cars in 2015,
    not 2019 or later. Chrysler intends to commercialize a fuel cell
    car sooner than later also.

    In the meantime, replacing the 10% ethanol requirement with a
    10% hydrogen requirement would make a lot of sense.

    Using hydrogen in an internal combustion engine is not efficient,
    but perhaps cars should be hydrogen combustion ready. It would
    buy some time to get fuel cell cars commercialized.

    Hydrogen via reformation on demand is not as complex as some
    want to believe it is. To reform Magnesium Hydride Slurry, you
    need a pump, some water, and possibly a modest amount of heat.
    Hydrogen containing compounds that are designed to be a hydrogen source are meant to release hydrogen with a modest
    amount of energy input. For many hydrogen carriers, the release
    of hydrogen is an exothermic reaction where the heat can be
    recycled to improve the efficiency. Many of the hydrogen injection
    systems that “boost” gas mileage actually do work. Many don’t,
    but then scammers are never left out when there is a new
    technology.

    No matter what is done, the electrical grid needs to be updated.
    That means: more nuclear power, more wind, more solar, more geothermal, more natural gas, and less dirty coal. The current
    electrical grid is not ready for plug-in vehicles, especially during
    peak power usage hours. One of the major advantage of a fuel
    cell car is that you don’t plug it in which reduces strain on the
    electrical grid (the Volt hydrogen is an exception).

    Put enough solar collectors alone in the world’s deserts, all of
    the hydrogen needs of the entire world can be satisfied easily. There is a lot of desert land in the world. The problem with renewable energy is the intermittent nature of it. Stationary
    fuel cells fueled by hydrogen can address that problem. If
    we start producing more hydrogen now and start using it,
    we won’t be driving hydrogen fueled internal combustion
    vehicles for long.


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    J Johnson

     

    J Johnson
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    Mar 28th, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    Sounds like good results but the photoshop job is VERY bad.