Aug 12

How the Volt’s 230 MPG Designation was Calculated

 

Yesterday was the highest traffic day in the history of GM-Volt.com, with over 60,000 visitors, and I apologize for the slowness of the site.

Why was this? Of course because GM announced that the Volt would get an EPA rating of more than 230 MPG. As exciting and compelling as that number is, it has raised as many questions as answers.

GM has not enunciated in exact detail how that number was arrived at.

But, while at the GM event I had the chance to get the answer from Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director of hybrid powertrain engineering

Can you explain how GM and the EPA arrived at the 230 MPG city estimate for the Volt?

In a conventional car there is two things that cause your efficiency to vary. The speed and intensity of your driving, and the environment; do you need HVAC, lights, etc.

With the Volt, you add two more things that makes your mileage vary, how far you drive, and how many times you plug in during the day.

So on any given day if you have plugged in your EV, range at low intensity driving, like the EPA city cycle is, is 40 miles. If you drive more aggressively your EV distance will be reduced.

Now, after you’ve depleted the battery, in the case of the Volt, the engine will start and the engine will keep the vehicle running for as long as you have fuel in the tank, and the fuel economy you have there matters too.

So in the calculation of the label, for that 230 you take into account the EV distance, the fuel economy after you depleted the charge, and the EPA used a traffic survey that was done in 2001 to create a composite.

They looked an an aggregate sample of the population and how far they drove in a day.

With the data we have and the data we shared with the EPA, from that value, they’ve created what’s called a utility factor.

It was a snapshot in time and based on this dataset we will weight the value on an aggregated probabilistic way what the value of the EV distance is, and we’ll also weight one minus that for the charge sustaining distance.

You go through this calculation that accounts for the fuel use and you come out with a number and the number is 230.

That’s a big number and you ask, will I ever get that number?, and its kind of interesting. In a normal car if you drive it high intensity you can never get the EPA , but in the Volt you always could, it just depends how far you have to drive. If you drive under the EV distance its infinite.

What was the percentage of time or miles in EV mode that was used?

The number was calculated by the EPA using this probabilistic curve and it had the statistics of the population in it.

How about the petroleum equivalence factor (PEF), is that included?
There will be on the label itself an accounting for the gasoline equivalent of KWH used. That’s a separate conversion that will get melded in another way and is not included in the MPG estimate.

So in summary, Nitz explains that the average Volt driver charging his car nightly can expect to burn one gallon of gas for every 230 miles traveled over time based on the behavior of a particular random population that was studied in 2001.

The highway calculation will be lower but the composite average is expected to be greater than 100 MPG.

The EPA has not confirmed this number yet because they haven’t tested the car, but they agreed to the testing method and GM is confident these are the numbers that will eventually become official.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 6:16 am and is filed under Efficiency, Original GM-Volt Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 447


  1. 1
    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:29 am)

    That response means that Mr Nitz is going to talk but not say anything, so please say “yes sir thank you sir” and be nice. He’s no doubt from marketing, as anyone from engineering would be embarased to babble on that way. :)


  2. 2
    Nick Lewis

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:30 am)

    It is interesting that the EPA agreed to exclude the PEF from the MPG calculation. It looks as if the lobbying by GM was successful


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    Herm

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:37 am)

    He was pretty clear in his answers.. now begins the daily duel of fuel mileage calculations at GM-Volt.com :(


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    Charlie H

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:37 am)

    This couldn’t be simpler… so many miles on the battery as an EV plus so many miles per gallon on gas after that.

    But, noooo… In GM’s quest to get a marketing advantage, they are giving the customer a number that is perfectly useless.


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    ClarksonCote

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:38 am)

    I’m a little surprised that the highway estimate gets reduced by so much (100 vs 230)… Is that because it’s assumed that you travel longer distances during highway driving (and hence use more gas as a percentage of drive time), or is the additional drag so much that it reduces your EV range by 50% or so? Seems like the latter can’t be the full story.


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    sgilson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:41 am)

    It takes great skill and work to keep from answering the question straight out, so good work Mr. Nitz. I’m just excited that my employer sounds willing to give me an outlet to charge from during the day time. My daily commute is between 40 and 48 miles each way depending on route, so I’m counting on burning at most 1 gallon of fuel per day when I get my Volt. Now, tax the crap out of gas so the roads don’t fall apart!


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    MarkinWI

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:43 am)

    The site was so jammed yesterday that I could not get onto it during a work break. Fantastic job Lyle. Hopefully this gaudy number will grab the Volt the attention that at least I think it deserves. Hopefully folks will review this site and get educated about the facts. As for the substance of the number, I’ll refrain from commenting because I have not read any of the 300+ posts from yesterday, many of which I’m sure have already said anything that I would say.


  8. 8
    Exp_EngTech

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:45 am)

    I hope a lot of new people got the REAL MESSAGE yesterday on the Volt’s superior technology. It’s a game changer.

    For 80% of the daily driving public (40 miles or less) it achieves AT LEAST 4X the MPG of the Toyota Prius. During that 40 miles of EV only mode, very few parts are turning / wearing. This racks up BIG LONG TERM SAVINGS on mechanical maintenance.

    The Volt is a master stroke of engineering.


  9. 9
    Shock Me

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:51 am)

    And once again no number for HWY mpg charge-sustaining mode number.

    So it must still be somewhere between 30 mpg and Prius on extended trips. If it were more than Prius we would have heard that.

    It’s an important number since a major application for the Volt is the road trip.

    I’d still want one since I would have more opportunities to refuel as the grid power becomes more available and gasoline becomes more dear and hard to find.


  10. 10
    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:51 am)

    Herm — the test of clarity is whether you can repeat the work. Can you reproduce GM’s calculation? Mr Nitz will “weight the value on an aggregated probabilistic way” (that’s so bizarre it is funny), which is some sort of a transformation, a way to map anything into anything if you control the secret formula.


  11. 11
    Jeff

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:56 am)

    I think that the Volt’s MPG will vary so much that an exact number is impossible using this method.


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    carcus1

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:59 am)

    Nitz could tell you what you want to know, but then he’d have to kill you.


  13. 13
    Schmeltz

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:10 am)

    I have to agree with you Charlie. This 230 mpg claim is so complex, I think it is going to end up hurting the Volt as opposed to helping it. I thought it about it this way….GM/EPA is claiming the Volt is able to achieve 230 mpg in very special circumstances, (i.e. driving through downtown Utopia I guess). That is like me saying that I can get 90 mpg in my Jeep, (did I mention I am driving down a mountain to do that?). Just say 40 miles Electric and 40-50 mpg when gas engine is running. I understand those numbers don’t grab the headlines that 230 mpg does, but at least they are straight forward, FACTUAL numbers that people can assimilate.

    But what do we know???


  14. 14
    Jim I

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:14 am)

    Everyone will get a different city MPG based on distance, terrain, and accessories used. It really is that simple.

    For me personally, I expect to use no gasoline for five days per week, and with a single nightly charge. If the Volt’s ICE gets 50 MPG, then I expect to use just over 1 gallon of gasoline during the other two days per week. So my gasoline consumption for the year should be under 60 gallons, which would be a 90% reduction for my driving needs.

    That works for me! :-)

    Now just get them built!!

    Go GM! Go GM Volt Team!

    NPNS


  15. 15
    mitch

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:17 am)

    there is some interesting information here including a small blurb saying the Volt will have an 8 gallon tank.

    Also some info about how the calculation was done

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20090812/AUTO01/908120375/1148/rss25/Jolt+from+Volt++230+mpg+in+city+driving


  16. 16
    xed

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:19 am)

    The idea is simple but the answer to “what’s the mpg” can only be answered in terms of “how far are you going to drive between charging?” because the amount of gasoline used is directly related to how far you go and the first 40 miles is gasoline free.

    “what’s the mpg if I drive 40 miles between charges?” – infinite, there is no gas used

    “what’s the mpg if I drive 90 miles between charges?” – about 90 mpg because in the first 40 no gas was used and in the last 50 about 1 gallon was used so you used 1 gallon to go 90 miles

    “what’s the mpg if I have a full charge and a full tank and I drive until I run out of gas?” – about 54mpg. assume a 10 gallon tank, assume 50mpg after the first 40 electric/no gas miles so you’ll drive 500 gas miles + 40 electric miles. So you’ll go 540 miles on 10 gallons of gas.

    There are other factors but It’s all really based on distance traveled between charges. Your worst case is around 54mpg and your best case is infinite mpg. Real world driving for the average person which involves some trips over 40 miles between charges and some trips where you fill the tank up and just go (long road trip) will supposedly land you around 230mpg.

    What will YOU get for mpg? Analyse your driving habits and figure it out. You’ll probably be happy.


  17. 17
    Me (Ricky Bobby)

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:26 am)

    Lobbying by GM? You mean talking to the owners of the company? We have a ethical question here. The same people that make the numbers work for the same people that own the company….. Its all about perception. Non-car guys and gals who go in and look at the label are not going to invest the time that you and I will. They are going to be confused by that and are going to ask “So if I put a gallon of gas in it then I can go 230 miles?” Then the salesman will have two options. Either he will not be educated on this on car (and most I have talked to are not [salesman]“….What’s a Volt?” [me... rolling eyes]) and he will say what it takes to make a sale “Sure it says right here on this government approved label 230 miles!” Or, he will be educated and have to say ” Well it actually gets ONLY 50 mpg….” Now its a lose-lose, this will be a marketing nightmare. It’s going to look like GM and the EPA are lieing to the public. I really wish that they had a different method of calculating mileage for these types of cars. You and I know that we will rarely use fuel. I hope that people do their homework on this one, or GM may have some angry customers.


  18. 18
    nasaman

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:31 am)

    You are probably right, Nick, that “the lobbying by GM was successful”. But what everyone needs to recall that wasn’t mentioned in GM’s press conference (or release) yesterday is that the EPA is also being guided (and heavily influenced) by the nation’s first national laboratory, the prestigious Argonne National Lab in Chicago. Our well-informed editor, Lyle Dennis, knows this and said the following in his introduction to his Aug 8 topic here on this subject….

    “Mike Duoba from Argonne National Lab devised a method to determine the MPG of an EREV; first the car is driven from a full battery until it reaches charge-sustaining mode, then one more cycle is driven. If we use the highway schedule, the first 40 miles are electric. One more cycle is 11 more miles. If the Volt gets 50 MPG in charge sustaining mode, it will use .22 gallons of gas for that 11 miles. Thus 51 miles/.22 gallons = 231.8 MPG.”

    In response, my post on Aug 8 was “Lyle, I’m ‘throwing my hat in your ring’ for the following reasons: 1) Your facts & assumptions are clearly plausible; 2) I’m guessing you might have reached Mike Duoba or someone else at ANL (or GM) that offered this answer or at least good clues leading you to it; 3) I know you well enough to believe you wouldn’t make a WAG just to ‘seed’ the blog discussions here; and 4) I’ve read thru a presentation by Duoba dealing with the procedures for determining the MPGs of E-REVS across the industry on an ‘equal playing field’ basis ….and your guess doesn’t seem to conflict with anything in his presentation (click the link below…..)

    http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/merit_review_2009/vehicles_and_systems_simulation/vss_05_duoba.pdf


  19. 19
    Billz

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:33 am)

    All you need to know is what the EPA said in a statment to Green Car Advisor about the subject of 230,

    “EPA has not tested a Chevy Volt and therefore cannot confirm the fuel economy values claimed by GM.”

    http://blogs.edmunds.com/greencaradvisor/2009/08/epa-applauds-gm-effort-but-says-it-cannot-confirm-volts-claimed-230-mpg.html


  20. 20
    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:33 am)

    I wonder if the “average commute” mileage changes much each year. Anyone have a link that’s recent?
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  21. 21
    Charlie H

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:35 am)

    If you ask my children, not much. :-)


  22. 22
    lh_newbie

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:36 am)

    I still think the EPA is smoking crack. :) You absolutely must separate MPG from MPC (miles per charge). I’ll say it over and over in hopes that beating a dead horse can be heard.

    MPC calc is easy: continuously loop the EPA city test until the range extender kicks in. Do the same with the EPA highway test. Voila! You have a REAL set of numbers.

    MPG calc is also easy. Bring the car to the EPA city and highway tests when the range extender is activated. Calculate as normal.

    Why is this so complicated? Oh, that’s right, we’re dealing with a government agency. Talk about frustrating!


  23. 23
    Right Lane Cruiser

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:37 am)

    You’ve got exactly the idea I’d prefer as well. I’d like to see the ratings for both city and highway with separate listings for EV and gas usage. EV range in the city followed by FE in the city on the range extender, then the same statistics for the highway.

    Reproducible and not dependent upon distance traveled.


  24. 24
    Brian

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:40 am)

    I think the electrification of the car is forgone conclusion, I also think the Volt is a great Idea and GM was using there heads for a change. But!!! I don’t see the Feds, State and Local governments giving up there cash cows in fuel taxs any time soon. Maybe ealy buyers of the Volt and the likes will see a huge benifits but as the powers to be see revenues drop they will jump in and level the playing field between gas and electric so they don’t lose any tax dollars. We are still a heavily oil based economy if they are not careful they will kill the electric car or not let it mature. For most its hard to justify a 40k car when you can buy a 09 Jetta TDI that gets over 40mpg for 22k. I will buy a Volt simply for the fact that I will no longer be held hostage by the fuel pump. As the segment of electric car buyers grows and the Feds start losing real money it will be interesting to see what there response is.


  25. 25
    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:44 am)

    sgilson,
    Just curious on how many gallons you currently use for the commute (to get a better idea of gas saved). It sounds like your commuter is JUST higher than the (old) 78% group. So you should get close to the 230 mpg in real life. Better, if you can plugin at work!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Manfred

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:50 am)

    The Volt is the perfect car until the grid is ready for EVs but this 230 advertising makes GM look like a snake oil salesman. 40 EV range and 50 (hopefully)MPG is simple and enough so people can make a decision if this is the right car for them. It is for me.


  27. 27
    john1701a

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:50 am)

    However, the 230 MPG estimate points out there’s a big difference between city & highway efficiency.

    The 40-mile estimate has always been only for city.

    Combine that knowledge with the other influencing factor, environment, and you’ve got consumer wondering what the heck they should actually expect.


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    JackFlash

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:52 am)

    Well there is no shortage of angry stupid people, if uninitiated are too lazy to do some research they deserve what they get.


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    old man

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:52 am)

    I must agree with all who say the 230 number is usless as it is presented. I think the EPA needs to use three lines in defining milage for the Volt.

    MILES PER CHARGE———————————————40

    EXTENDED RANGE-MPG—————————————-50

    EXPECTED MPG OVER A YEAR BASED ON COMBINING ALL DRIVERS AND THE AVERAGE MILES DRIVEN————-______________________________230


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    jdenn

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:03 am)

    Agreed,
    Wish they would use the method thrown around on this site… annual gallons used for standard driver.

    I think the number is about 60.


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    old man

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:03 am)

    Should have added the big CYA [your results may vary]


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:08 am)

    what else would they say?.. in any case the manufacturers supply the data to the EPA.. the EPA does not test any cars. The statistical methods used appear to be up to par.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:12 am)

    8 gallon tank would most likely mean a low 30′s mpg hwy — which sounds about right to me.

    Lyle, how about a confirmation on Mr. Shepardson’s 8 gallon gas tank?

    —-

    Also of interest from the referenced article:
    “The gasoline motor will also come on during steep inclines.”

    I personally don’t think it’s a bad idea to have the ICE come on in high load situations, but the purists aren’t going to like this.


  34. 34
    nasaman

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:12 am)

    PS: I’d encourage anyone interested (or who challenges the 231 mpg city figure) to carefully study the Argonne National Laboratory presentation at the link in my post above for the latest/best “inside” details I can find showing how the number was very likely calculated.

    /Incidentally, Bob Lutz commented after the formal press conference that GM actually has some margin in the 230 mpg city number


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    Me (Ricky Bobby)

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:12 am)

    yes, also when you slow down you regen in the city. like a hybrid.


  36. 36
    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:17 am)

    Distance traveled shouldn’t be considered? The other side to that coin is that the mileage would be INFINITE if it’s all done on AER. Sure there’s a cost for electricity, maybe the average rate per KWh should be figured in?
    The bottom line is that plugins need a New way to figure out the MPG and this is how the National Lab has come up with – not GM or Nissan for that matter (367mpg using NO gas).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  37. 37
    alain

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:18 am)

    What do you mean ‘Slowness of the site’ ? Unreachable was what I got. Or error message about some database.


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    Me (Ricky Bobby)

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:18 am)

    I work at a power plant….. we have all kinds of power available at night, when people will be charging….. don’t worry about the grid. The utility co’s will do whats needed to make sure they can sell all the power people need for cars.


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    JackFlash

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:20 am)

    The 230 however they get the figure got lots of press; I had several relatives and friends mention it to me because they know I have an interest in things automotive, not the Volt in particular. When they asked if it really could get that mileage I told them it would probably vary depending on how they drive and what they had running during their trip and if they drove less than 40 miles a day most likely they would never use gas at all. Most all of the responses were positive except one friend who if GM gave him a sack full of diamonds with his Volt would still recoil in disgust. The bottom line is there are always some who will find something to complain about no matter how good a product is.

    The 230 is a good attention getter because the average Joe understands MPG, maybe they could follow it up with a “40 for free” campaign and show a Leaf stranded along the road at the 99 mile marker, that ought to get the point across. The Volt is the most well thought out solution I have seen, GM has a contingency plan for just about any scenario you might encounter in an electric vehicle and when push comes to shove they will win this battle over the Johnny come lately competition.


  40. 40
    Eco

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:21 am)

    Very interesting.

    You have to admit, the world is watching today. Even Conan O’Brien had the Volt in a skit last night.

    One of my favorite quotes of all time is “Don’t worry about anyone stealing your ideas. If they are any $%^ good, you’ll have to cram them down people’s throats.”

    While the figure is totally useless when comparing a Voltec drivetrain to anything else, it’s actually a very educational metric. In order to use it, you have to listen to three sentences and learn how to use it.

    1. In a day, how much gas do you typically use?
    (most people would say a gallon, maybe 2, 3 if you commute a long way in a Hummer)
    2. In a week, how much gas do you have to buy to fill up again?
    (a tankful, anywhere from 13 to 22 gallons)
    3. In a month, how much do you pay for gasoline?
    (four tanks at 50 bucks a pop, is 200 dollars)

    With a Volt you are going to pay 10 dollars total, for the electricity and gasoline that you use to do exactly the same thing.

    What you do with the 190 other dollars, is up to you.
    (yes, you are going to add it to your car payment, I know. At least for now. Eventually you will get to keep it)

    Now, is the Volt just another car?

    GM could have lobbied to have a “miles per tank and charge” metric developed, and still pulled away from the pack…but as evidenced on this site, some people can touch it with their own hands and still not believe it’s real.


  41. 41
    Flaninacupboard

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:22 am)

    It is for you as an intelligent person who understands their own driving habits. That is not the general public. The only way to get the general public to UNDERSTAND the benefit of the 40 mile electric range is to give them the 230mpg number. explain in any other way and you get “oh, it only goes 40 miles?” and “oh, i only actually get 50mpg?”. even if they quoted some figure a little bit better than the prius, people would still not get how fundamentally different this car is. The site crashed cause by this number proves that number generated mass interest from the public. That’s it’s job.

    The salsemen in showrooms could have a chart. Customer tells them how far they drive each day, and the salesman will read out their expected MPG. Easy.

    For those saying extra taxation and more epxensive electricity will follow, you may be right. But with the Volt i have the option to power it at home from solar, something simply impossible with an ICE. That’s my plan.


  42. 42
    old man

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:26 am)

    I agree about the tax money collected off gas/diesel fuels being replaced. I don’t know how the local,state,federal govs will do it without tracking the number of miles driven by all and all the places they drive.

    But I am sure most will not like it no matter what system is used.

    However I am equally sure that we will raise tee total he!! if they let our roads start to crumble.

    I like the current system of the roads being maintained by those of us who use them rather than a gen tax on all.


  43. 43
    Jim I

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:29 am)

    Me too. For most of the morning and early afternoon….


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    Me (Ricky Bobby)

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:29 am)

    I think we can give the site a break…..60,000 visits in one day is awesome. Think of the publicity!!!


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:34 am)

    deleted


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    CDAVIS

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:40 am)

    ______________________________________________________
    That works….I like…except take out item #3.
    ______________________________________________________


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    Kevin R

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:41 am)

    Rachael Maddox had the Volt on her program on MSNBC last night.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#32381062


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:42 am)

    What will YOU get for mpg?
    ____________________

    Since you neglected the influence of CLIMATE entirely, no where near as high as those estimates.

    The effects of winter conditions have much more of an effect than most people realize.


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:42 am)

    Regarding combined mpg — I think the combination is done by weighting city 55% and hwy 45%. With 230 mpg inserted for city, any non-negative number at all (even 0) for hwy will produce a result greater than 125 for the composite mpg. So what GM has said claims nothing special for hwy mpg.


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    Joe

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:43 am)

    I’m sure GM is still fine tuning the ICE and by next year, it will even be better. It makes no sense to release that info now.


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    Jim I

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:46 am)

    We discussed this at length a while back.

    As I recall, the general concensus ended up with was something like this on the sticker:

    Electric Range Miles Per Charge: 40 City/32 Highway
    Gasoline Based Mode MPG: 60 City/50 Highway

    The numbers are, of course, completely made up as we do not have the actual figures, but this kept it clear and understandable. The city MPC and MPG would be higher because of re-gen braking. And this could be used for all vehicles. Some also thought that a notice about average gasoline used per year would be helpful.

    I just think that making a wild claim about MPG on an electric vehicle is just asking to be exploited by the comptetition.

    JMHO


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    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:48 am)

    john1701a,
    I totally agree that things are getting confusing (and intersting). I think we did ok learning “Energy Star” ratings for electronics like AC, so the learning curve for plugins should eventually be understood (fairly).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:48 am)

    8 gallons. Thanks for link Mitch.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:55 am)

    Exactly my thought – the perfect speech for bullshit bingo!

    Just give us the secret formula for the calculation. Anything else is not worth the time reading it.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:56 am)

    Jim I,
    So you’re in the 78%! Cool! I’m retired and really only drive when and where I want to (not really, but close). I’m in a small town which has all the basic services (including a Chevy dealer), but the “city” is 30 miles one way in either of two directions. Given that I drive a Jeep, I’ll be saving a TON of gas – especially when they get those public plugin thingies in the city.
    Be well,
    Tagamet
    PS The cities aren’t so large that either has an escalator. I hear they are fun to ride….

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Herm

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:57 am)

    its not complicated, all the salesman has to say is:

    “the car will use, on average, ONE gallon of gas every 230 miles for the average city dweller.. ASSUMING the car gets plugged in every night.”

    Thats it, just a lousy 26 words..

    On average means that occasionally the average city dweller will get a better mileage than 230 mpg (.. if by any chance the owner charges the car during the day also then even better mileage is likely). This should be printed on a little card, laminated and given to every salesman.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:03 am)

    Kevin R.

    DANG, how I hate telling anybody to watch msnbc [ being one of those right wing nut jobs]. But that was the best news presentation regarding the Volt that I have seen to date.

    So, to all go, to the site and watch but then vow to never again commit such a sin.———SMILE


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:04 am)

    “The Volt is the perfect car until the grid is ready for EVs”

    Manfred, I dont know what its like in your country but in the US most houses already have power plugs installed capable of recharging 5 miles of range into the battery in an hour.. since most people sleep 8 hours that is enough to pump in 40 miles of range into the batteries overnight.. every single night. Our infrastructure is ready.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:06 am)

    Let’s hope that’s true.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:11 am)

    ______________________________________________________
    Lyle,
    Great job on your part getting that 230mpg explanation from GM even though it is an inherently convoluted calculation requiring an explanation that no normal person is capable of understanding.
    ______________________________________________________


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:11 am)

    Ha! I was right.

    Window Sticker:

    City 230 – - Combined 100 – - Highway 60

    ________________________________

    Here’s something no one covered in yesterday’s rants: By 2011 or 2012, there will be EREV’s from several different makers and they will get their ‘pie-in-the-sky’ MPG ratings in the 200′s also.

    By 2016 it’s quite possible that ALL passenger vehicles will be that way. (Except for my 10MPG Vette) ;)


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:11 am)

    nasaman — so putting aside the fancy titles, my understanding of the recommended method, explained in terms for ordinary people like me, is this:
    If you start from a full charge, the mpg of the first 50 miles will be about 230 mpg.

    That is, GM is pumping us with the average mpg for the first 50 miles after a full charge. Of course, the average for the second 50 miles will be an entirely different story, and still a secret.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:14 am)

    I posted several simple values yesterday showing that these numbers make perfect sense and obviously depend on how much is driven relative to recharging. I do not understand the controversy at all. Must be a lot of new people here.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:23 am)

    The customers will know that on a full charge, the Volt should do about 40 miles on electric and from then on, it will get about 50 miles per gallons. Nothing complicated here. I don’t think the consumers will be confused by the EPA ratings, not anymore than today’s EPA ratings. The rating is just a method to compare an apple for an apple. Most consumers will not give a darn on how the 230 miles was calculated. It’s just a criteria used so buyers can make a fair comparison with a certain class of vehicle. On today’s cars, how many consumers know the formula the EPA uses for trucks and cars? So what is all this fuss?


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:25 am)

    I guess a simple question to answer would be “how many miles per gallon will it get when it is running on gas alone?” I’m still impressed with the ability to drive it solely on electricity, but when I drive across the country to see my family, I won’t have the ability to charge it.


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    Exp_EngTech

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:25 am)

    JackFlash wrote:

    “The 230 is a good attention getter because the average Joe understands MPG, maybe they could follow it up with a “40 for free” campaign and show a Leaf stranded along the road at the 99 mile marker, that ought to get the point across.”

    I agree!

    GM should seriously consider launching a ……”First Forty Free” Campaign.

    Perhaps a commercial where the police are arresting a couple bank robbers who made the mistake of using a LEAF as a get away car. The dead / discharged LEAF is on a tow truck hook being pulled away with a message on screen that says…. “Next time, Consider the Volt”.


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:27 am)

    The mpg number GM is giving is the average for the first 50 miles after a full recharge, approximately. We don’t know about the 2nd 50.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:29 am)

    “Your Mileage May Vary” was never so true.

    I’m not completely comfortable with the 230 MPG figure, though I expect my own driving patterns would get an even better number. I understand GM’s position: they need a figure that will clue in the general public that this is a truly remarkable vehicle.

    Any other simple figure isn’t very impressive. The all electric range and battery pack capacity will be beaten by pure electric cars. The MPG in range sustaining mode may well be beaten by the Prius or some other regular hybrid, we don’t know yet. Probably all the straight forward statistics of the Volt will be nice, but not spectacular enough to justify the sticker price. It’s the blend of AER and range extension that is special. That advantage is not going to be immediately obvious to the general public unless you show them how little gas will be consumed in average use. That’s what promoting the 230 MPG figure is about, to get the public thinking about what advantages are of a extended range electric vehicle.

    No, it’s not as straight forward as simply getting 230 MPG under all conditions. It’s complicated with an EREV, but your gas mileage will vary between great and astounding.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:30 am)

    “The gasoline motor will also come on during steep inclines.”

    I dont think any GM person has ever stated that.. but the rest of the article was written very carefully so you have to give it some credence.. most likely the writer got confused with the Pikes Peak arguments on this forum.

    If correct this article pinned down two facts:
    1. 8 gallon tank
    2. the engine works in assist mode similar to conventional hybrids


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    Brian

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:30 am)

    Oregon and nine other states have a plan in place to dump their tax in favor making it manditory to install a GPS in all Oregon cars that would track where and when you drive your cars and be taxed accordinly when you buy gas. There reschearch shows they have lost money in tax revenues because cars get better milaege


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:31 am)

    It’s the perfect car even when the grid is ready and after the destination charging infrastructure is in place. Over time the ICE and gas tank can shrink as inexpensive battery capacities reach 300-400 mile range.


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    eurobikedenver

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:32 am)

    I have a very simple YES or NO question for GM. Any response other than YES or NO will be deemed insufficient. Question:
    If I start out with a fully charged Volt battery and put ONE (1) gallon of gas in it and drive down the highway until it stalls on the shoulder, will I have traveled 230 miles?

    YES or NO?

    This is what the people that don’t study calculus full time want to know.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Good press. Mostly correct, except for the part that the gasoline engine only recharges the battery. Rachael seemed to have as good a handle on it as the mechanic.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:34 am)

    Roll the new Nissan LEAF commercial:

    (against the background of a clear blue sky, a green leaf is gently floating toward the ground in slow motion…)

    [Announcer]
    A lot of car makers are introducing new models this year…

    Some claim to get over 100 miles per gallon…

    Some claim to get over 200 miles per gallon…

    (close up: the leaf gently lands on the pavement)

    We would like to introduce ours that gets ZERO miles per gallon…

    (the tires of the Nissan LEAF swoosh by blowing the leaf away)

    (camera pans a rear to front walkaround of the quietly rolling 2010 LEAF)

    The 2010 Nissan LEAF gets ZERO miles per gallon, because it uses no gasoline at all…

    (quick shot of the high-tech interior, then back to front-quarter shot of happy mom driving her kids to school)

    “Plug-In” to a better way of life.
    “Plug-In” to the Nissan LEAF.

    Available now at your Southern California Nissan Dealer.


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    T. Codispoti

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:40 am)

    Why can’t GM be honest and report numbers that are resonable and accurate instead of using “majic” formulats to publish numbers that no one will believe.
    After all the money we, taxpayers, have given them the owe us that much


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    Mike

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:41 am)

    Can someone get an English teacher to correct this poorly written piece and repost it ! If you are going to post something here at least correct the grammar !


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:41 am)

    “8 gallon tank would most likely mean a low 30’s mpg hwy — which sounds about right to me.”

    GM may have let slipped enough statements thru to finally give away the highway mileage.. this may have setback their marketing campaign.

    GM’s CEO has stated very firmly that the combined mileage is in the three digits, we know EPA calculates combined mileage from 55% city mileage and 45% hwy mileage.. so if the combined mileage is at WORST 100 then it follows that the EPA Hwy mileage will be 59mpg.

    John1701 will be very dissapointed.


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    Ranger

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:42 am)

    Untrue, the EPA does test the vehicles. Go the http://www.fueleconomy.gov and check it out.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:42 am)

    Warning – Sexist comment ahead!

    That entirely depends also upon who is driving during those winter conditions! During the winter (I live in Minnesota) if I get in my wifes car she typically has the heater set to the upper 80′s or even 90 in her car. I’ve tried explaining a million times that being in the car with it that hot is only going to make her feel even colder when she is anywhere else but she ….

    I’m sure I’m the only one that has this issue!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:47 am)

    Can you imagine the marketing grand slam??.. first a city rating of 230mpg, then a hwy rating of 50mpg and finally an after-rebate cost of $25k??

    This site would collapse from all the traffic and celebrations.


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    drew brewski

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:51 am)

    Sooo.. according to GM, if i fill up my gas tank everytime I’m home, my car uses no gas?? It’s the same analogy. My gas tank is automagically full every morning. GM, I really hope the volt does well, but don’t through out BS like this. EPA is calculated by how far you travel on a full tank, divided by how much fuel you use. If you start with a fully charged battery, and a full tank of gas, and drive in a straight line down a highway at 65MPH till you run out of gas, you will get your highway EPA. IT’S NOT THAT HARD!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:53 am)

    Do you think Toyota does not lobby? When the Prius first came out, do you think Toyota just sat there watching how the EPA was going to rate it? Now that it’s GM’s turn to come out with a game changer, every Tom, Dick and Harry has to question the validity, integrity and reliability of it’s EPA rating. Hey, this rating will apply to all of GM’s competitors, so it’s fair, and it’s up to competors to come up with vehicles that can equal or better the Volt.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:54 am)

    Michael

    I caught that mistake also but, my experience in discussing the Volt and how E-REV works with the gen public has been frustrating. Their eyes seem to get a glazed look of “why are you telling me this” or “so it only can go 40 miles”. So even tho it is accurate to say “charge sustaining” we may have to say charging mode.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:56 am)

    “I like the current system of the roads being maintained by those of us who use them rather than a gen tax on all.”

    Who doesn’t use the roads in America? Or more precisely who doesn’t benefit from the road use in America? Whether it be a truck delivering groceries to the local market that someone walks to or the person driving to their job to produce the goods or services that the “non road user” consumes we all benefit from having quality roads.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:56 am)

    Carol, let’s say you drive from home in Virginia Beach to your family in LA starting out with a full charge. The first 40 miles should use no gas at all, after which you’ll likely get about the same hwy mileage as the latest Prius (~ 50mpg) if you never recharge overnite, until you reach LA. After you get to Santa Monica (LA), say your family is happy to let you plug in & you go with them from Santa Monica to 6-Flag’s Magic Mountain one day, Disneyland the next, Knotts Berry Farm the 3rd day, etc, etc.

    For the 1st 51 miles of this hypothetical trip you’ll get ~230 mpg and until you reach LA you’ll get ~50mpg. While you’re in LA you’ll get ~230 (or more) mpg most if not all the time you’re there. Yes, the Volt will “sip gas” for a coast-to-coast trip and use little or none at all for most local travel.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:04 am)

    OK. You get points for that — it was very funny. But actually he said quite a lot, it’s just that the folks from GM aren’t being as clear as they might be. For example, when Lyle asked if the PEF (gasoline equivalency factor) was included in the mpg number he didn’t just say “No”, though that’s what he eventually said by pointing out there would be a separate number “not included in the MPG”. They’d help themselves with some more direct answers.

    Having said that, what we know is:

    1. We start with the Volt going 32 miles as an EV (the 25 kWh per 100 mile number).
    2. Then we go some further distance(s) based on a utility factor derived from real world data
    3. Then we take all the miles and divide by the gas actually used, which gives the 230 MPG number

    This doesn’t seem very complex or difficult to understand. The only real unknown — a black box really — is the utility factor. My question here is whether there is a separate utility factor for the urban drive cycle. This would of course make sense because people aren’t going to be driving 300 miles when you have 23 stops every half hour and you’re moving at an average speed of 20 mph.

    You can’t blame GM for not releasing the utilty factor number because it’s a sum of a lot of individual numbers, though they might release the average number. Again, this entire area is sticky. We know for example that the miles driven under the utility factor will be higher than the median which they use when talking about how 80% of drivers go less than 40 miles a day, but we don’t know whether the methodology uses a separate utility for the urban cycle.

    On the other hand, the 230 mpg number leaves out opportunity charging, meaning charging more than once a day, say at work. If you included this, which will be likely in the real world (look at Lyle’s work charger for his Mini-E), then the number would be higher.

    So I’d conclude that on average the 230 mpg number understates the mpg for urban drive cycles.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:17 am)

    The leaf is supposed to get 350 MPG, using the same fuzzy math calculation GM is using to get the 230.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:36 am)

    nasaman says I’d encourage anyone interested (or who challenges the 231 mpg city figure) to carefully study the Argonne National Laboratory presentation at the link in my post above for the latest/best “inside” details I can find showing how the number was very likely calculated.

    First of all, I don’t doubt the number. Not only do I believe that GM has some leeway, I also think that real world “opportunity charging” (at work etc.) will likely drive the real world numbers higher, if we’re measuring actual gasoline consumption and not electrical equivalency.

    One thing which wasn’t clear was whether the mpg number included an mpg(e) equivalency. It can but Nick says the 230 number doesn’t. One question answered.

    The other question seems to be the utility factor. Do you think there is a separate utility factor for the urban cycle? I’d think there would have to be. If the UF is supposed to represent real world driving, I don’t think very many people are going 100+ miles at an average speed of 20 mph (which is the average speed for the urban cycle).

    Either the UF is very high or the Volt gets super mpg on the urban drive cycle or both.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:44 am)

    PS: At the peril of restating the obvious, keep in mind that the most recent NHTS’s show that the vast majority of all automotive travel is LOCAL (within ~50 miles/day) so even if the Volt’s highway mileage turned out to be much less than the 50mpg GM has repeatedly said it will be. Therefore the amount of gasoline an average Volt owner will use annually will be miniscule by contrast to existing car owners.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:54 am)

    But they know it will be better than the Prius, which was I believe the point of this PR exercise. FWIW it seems to have worked.

    As for the real world, as Tag says, at some point we’ll learn what to expect. Also keep in mind that with “opportunity charging” real world consumption might beat the published numbers by a significant amount.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:02 am)

    kinda like…
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/hybridwatch01.html

    http://www.thedeets.com/2008/01/23/cold-weather-hurts-prius-mileage/

    http://betterworld.wikispaces.com/Prius+Opinions

    As you can see, it varies with any auto..\

    proper responsible driving improves MPG…drive like the Dukes of hazzard, likely not to rating. Drive as EPA tests likely to be close


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:12 am)

    I thought the LEAF was all EV? Whaasssup?
    Shows you how I pay attention to Nissan’s website.


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    Chad

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:14 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:15 am)

    More like: “Your mileage will definitely vary.”


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:17 am)

    Friggin Bob Lutz!

    I don’t know if he had a lot to do with this, but the 230 MPG number was a brilliant stroke of PR. As mentioned, everyone is talking about it. Pick a news channel — CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox, the Weather Channel — every outlet had a story. It was amazing. Friends who never had never expressed any interest the Volt or EVs mentioned it to me.

    So GM did a great job. Does is change the technology? No. Does it mean the car will be reliable? No. But it sure has put a stake in the ground for GM. The communication guys need to be applauded.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:19 am)

    Who said what this thing is going to get in battery dead, charge sustaining mode? We are assuming 50mpg? Seems like a lot of heat loss in this type of hybrid powertrain set-up. I would think they would be extremly happy with 50mpg.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:19 am)

    If you could make gas for $0.25 a gallon in your home from grass clippings and food waste yes that is exactly what they are saying.

    Additionally your calculation would be for highway miles. A number GM has still not released.

    If you drive 230 on a gallon, or 300-400 uninterrupted single-trip miles on a tank in the city you are either totally lost, a taxi, or a criminal.


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    Jake

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:21 am)

    I’ve been visiting this site for over a year, but its pretty disappointing to think that all those thousands of new visitors to this site for the first time were greeting to a totally false title:

    “Chevy Volt Gets 230 MPG City EPA Rating”

    I would have expected an error like that from a mainstream source, but not from what is supposed to be the definitive Volt site. All the mainstream sites even said this was GM’s estimate and not an official EPA rating…


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    Chad

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:22 am)

    yes, regen, plus the highway EPA cycle is more aggressive, and the recorded section is after the city cycle and a highways warm up cycle, thus this thing is coing to be about out of charge by the time it gets to the actual highway cycle.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:23 am)

    … and there’s the small matter of increased air resistance at highway speeds. Motive energy required increases at a greater than linear rate vs. the increase in velocity.


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    Shock Me

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:24 am)

    That’s a question that people who studied algebra would ask.

    People who study calculus would want a maximum and a minimum performance envelope based on ambient temperature, maximum incline traveled incline, projected load on the car’s environmental system at extended highway speeds, ICE max RPMs, and the power drain curve in EV mode as expressed in reduced MPG.


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    Chad

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:25 am)

    This thing is made of laptop batteries, I think they are stretching to get this 40 mile figure, so if it is in fact 40 miles on a charge, do you think that the battery charge ability is going to drop like your laptop battery? My laptop started it’s life lasting 2 hours, now after 1 year it’s down to 1 and a half hours. I imagine this car will act much the same way?


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    Larry

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:27 am)

    Agree 100%. How far you can go on a gallon of gas is the MPG. Everything else is hyped up marketing mumbo jumbo.

    Bottom line, the MPG of the Volt is likely the same as a Prius, around 50MPG.


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    Chad

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:28 am)

    The engine they picked for this thing is a IRON block 4 cyl, WTF? Why put all this technology into this car and put some old school engine into it. GM does everything totally ass-backwards, cut some corners, and totally redesign other aspects.


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    dagwood55

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:31 am)

    In fact, you do know know if it will “sip gas” or guzzle it. GM has been extremely evasive about the fuel economy in charge-sustaining mode. Rough calculations, based on Frank Weber’s or Andrew Farah’s gas tank size and range suggestions range from 43 to 26mpg.


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    FME III

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:31 am)

    I think Lyle gave us the best distillation, certainly one that makes sense to the average reader who is not able to follw the technical details of how the test works:

    “The average Volt driver charging his car nightly would can expect to burn one gallon of gas for every 230 miles traveled over time based on the behavior of a particular random population that was studied in 2001.”


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    Koz

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:32 am)

    I agree with your first paragraph wholeheartedly but the second paragraph is illconceived IMO. The LEAF is not the competition. The Prius, Audi A4, Lexus IS, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, etc, etc. IS THE COMPETITION. Talking down BEV’s is a big mistake. Part of that conversation disparages the Volt too. People who want a BEV and accept the range will buy one regardless because they know their needs and wants better than GM or you.


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    Jim in PA

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:34 am)

    You’re mixing apples and oranges. You are confusig the methodology with the numbers. Of course the EPA hasn’t tested the car yet; GM just started test vehicle production. So of course they don’t stand by the 230 mpg number.

    The EPA has, however, confirmed that they developed this calculation methodology with GM, and they are NOT shying away from the calculation method used to get to 230mpg. They just haven’t confirmed the precise numbers yet.

    So even if the Volt doesn’t perform as expected, don’t expect the mpg to drop to some ridiculously low number. It will still be up around 230 mpg.


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    FME III

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:44 am)

    Not quite, Tag — he said his commute ONE WAY is between 40 and 48. Unless he can recharge at work, he won’t hit the “go 230 miles for each gallon of gas used over a period of time” standard.

    Anyway, it’s clear from most of the comments thus far that people are not properly understanding (EPA-dictated) methodology that GM used.


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    tedm

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:44 am)

    Do you folks in the USA get electricity for free now? That’s news to me.

    What about the carbon content of the electricity grid? You’re replacing gas with electricity that may have come from a coal powered station. That is going to emit even more CO2 than if this car ran on gas alone due to the losses in conversion involved.

    Crazy!


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    joey

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:44 am)

    You just need two mileage figures. One would be the distance you
    can travel spending the equivalent on electrcity that it cost’s to buy a
    gallon of gas. The higher the price of gas, the better your mileage
    figures are on pure electric. The other figure would be using the
    generator only. This figure would be constant regardless of gas prices.


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    SRSCHRIER

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:49 am)

    I asked Frank Lauckner, Volt Chief Engineer, during yesterday’s GM web chat if it would be possible to drive a Volt at 65 mph from Detroit to Chicago on one tank of gas, a distance of around 300 miles. The answer was yes.

    GM has not officially announced the highway MPG of the range extender but guesstimates are 40-50 MPG. When the Volt uses its onboard gasoline powered range extender electric generator, drives of unlimited miles are possible without having to “plug in” as long as there’s gas in the tank. When sufficient time is available to “plug in” the Volt then provides the driver with the benefit of about 40 miles without using any gas at all.


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    Eliezer

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:49 am)

    Nissan has just announced that the Leaf gets approx 367 MPG:

    http://wot.motortrend.com/6571574/green/my-mpg-is-bigger-than-yours-nissan-says-leaf-will-get-367-mpg/index.html

    They presumably used the same EPA preliminary electric draw calculation that GM used to get 230 MPG for the Volt, but Nissan’s number is even more irrelevant because the Leaf is a BEV, and as such does not use any gas!

    The main problem is that MPG in an ICE car is not the same as MPG in an E-REV or BEV. I really think the solution for this issue is to call the fuel economy calculation for E-REVs (and possibly BEVs) something other than MPG. How about calling it EMPG (electric miles per gallon) or MPEG (miles per electric gallon) or REMPG (range extended miles per gallon)?

    Heres what I think should be displayed on the sticker of each EREV sold in the U.S. :

    1) All Electric Range (40 Miles for the Volt)
    2) ICE MPG (30-50 MPG for the Volt)
    3) Electric MPG (230 EMPG city, 100+ EMPG combined for the Volt)

    That way, consumers can compare the ICE MPG to a normal ICE car and compare the EMPG to a BEV… and they’ll realize that the Volt is the best of both worlds.


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    Dave K.

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:50 am)

    drew.. I had a long complicated reply typed out. But decided to go another route regarding your statement.

    You say: “EPA is calculated by how far you travel on a full tank, divided by how much fuel you use.”

    Okay, how do we rate mpg on a 100 mile EV which has no gas tank at all? It would be zero. Because we use no gallons at all. You don’t go anywhere with the tank full. There is none. What about the same car with a bigger, 230 mile range battery? MPG still equals zero. Because there is no tank to drain.

    This is why a battery/gallon equivalent rating must be used. I don’t like it either. It’s just how it is.

    =D~


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    texas

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:58 am)

    Lyle, can you do me a favor and ask the guys at GM to take out one of the Volts and crank it up to a steady 70 mph until the battery is fully depleted (30%) and the car is running using only the ICE. Then run for about 30 minutes – 1 hours at that speed and get a good calculation of the mpg.

    My prediction (as detailed in the forums) is the Volt will get around 30 mpg or a bit less. Would love to get an early answer on this for grins. We will know for sure in a year or so but…

    It all stems from the idea that the series hybrid design, although great for city driving, is less efficient than a standard mechanical drivetrain when out on the highway at a good speed. I still love the Voltec concept and feel the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages in this case.

    Thanks a bunch and keep up the excellent work.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:59 am)

    No, the Volt will not act the same way as your laptop.

    The Volt’s battery pack is constructed using large-format prismatic Li-Ion cells of a Lithium and Manganese chemistry, NOT from any kind of “laptop batteries” which are generally Lithium-Cobalt based cylindrical cells.

    Apples and oranges. Time marches forward and technology improves. Maybe you’re thinking of Tesla’s battery pack?


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    Shock Me

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    That’s my guess as well. About the same as a Prius on the highway but way better in the city.


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    Trust Nobody

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    From Lyle’s interview, it is obvious that the explanation is BS. This is a company destined for failure and they ballyhooed/cooked this number to please their boss, Hussein Obama. Also the EPA standard is completely crap. If you dig furthur, you will understand the reason why Detroit three focus on E85 10y ago. That is because the crooked EPA standard give Detroit three CAFE credit. Here is how it works:
    1). Assume F150 has a mileage of 17 mpg using standard fuel.
    2). When using E85, the fuel economy is probably 13.7 mpg. It is definitely less because E85 has less energy.
    3). When calculating CAFE, EPA gave this E85 capable F150 a fuel economy of 23 mpg (or sth like that).
    4). Since every auto company must meet twenty something CAFE, and the fleet fuel economy from Detroit three is much worse than Japanese, this artificially crooked fuel economy makes it possible for Detroit three to make gas guzzlers and still achieve the CAFE standard.
    5). It only cost a few hundred (<$500) to change the fuel tank to make your car E85 capable.
    6). Since Japanese easily meet CAFE, no need for them to waste in order to do E85. They don’t want to waste money.
    7). Before 2004-2005, fuel economy is not important to the public, that is why Detroit never bother to advertise it.
    8). CAFE standard is crooked crap. Detroit Loser three focused on E85 in order to make more gas guzzlers.

    I will only support Japanese companies who make cars in the USA. I will never buy clunkers from Detroit! BTW, even some employee from Waren Tech Center have Japanese cars in their home.

    musik199@gmail.com


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    zipdrive

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    No, it is not a “secret.” It has been widely reported that the Volt will get about 50 MPG in extended-range mode after the battery depletion point has been reached.

    As always , your mileage may vary. This is a reasonable working figure, however.


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    texas

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:05 pm)

    Yes, I’m guessing 30 mpg or a bit less (details in the forum section). Just too many components linked together and all have efficiency losses. I’m waiting for that number! Unfortunately, If myself and others are correct, we won’t hear about it. We will have to wait for the Volt to be tested by owners.

    I hope, if the 30 mpg number at say 70 mph or so is correct that GM will not think this is a total failure and cancel the program. This number is OK because the Volt is meant mostly for less than 40 miles per day (or 80 miles for two charges per day) or less. The long haul should be more of an unusual situation than the everyday commute to work. Again, I would love to see the actual data.


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:15 pm)

    I call DOE/EPA/GM shenanigans.

    They should just stick with 100% electric drive gets > 100 MPGe, no matter how you calculate it, in all electric mode in average daily use. Your mileage will vary in extended/mixed/blended modes and with different driver behaviors.

    Page 7 explicitly shows the problem. Full BEVs, which use 100% electric drive, and other configurations with 100% electric drive are subjected to completely different standards (J1711 versus J1634), which may allow a vehicle that uses more energy over one complete vehicle cycle, to be label reported as more efficient than another vehicle that uses less energy over one complete vehicle cycle, which is an absurd result (examples are the Volt and Leaf (using same method) claims versus Tesla and Mini-e (100% electric drive with no ICE use, so most efficient) energy use realities).

    What consumers could use is a single at vehicle complete cycle efficiency standard, one each for city and highway behavior, that considers at vehicle actual energy used (say, in BTU/kWh/Joules) and reports it at multiple, regular % of total (one) vehicle cycle range intervals.

    That would be actually useful to consumers (and encourage them to speed less), as opposed to the gibberish that’s currently proposed.

    The pdf actually details much of the dynamics in this. Indeed, the only terrible part of the pdf are the ridiculous MPGe results (thanks to a lack of different trip miles context) that come from application of the inconsistent (J1711 versus J1634) standards.

    Page 23 hits the nail on the head for anything between a full gasser and a full BEV. Your efficiency may degrade with increased trip distance (it certainly will if you speed).

    EVery auto magize should study this, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/merit_review_2009/vehicles_and_systems_simulation/vss_05_duoba.pdf,
    at great length and understand well why we are starting to get gibberish results for the Volt and Leaf (using the same method), compared to the straightforward results of the Telsa Roadster and the Mini-e.

    The key is AT VEHICLE ACTUAL ENERGY USE per MILE(S), which may vary greatly depending on total trip miles and user behavior. Report some of that variation. Move away from that and you get garbage.


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    Trust Nobody

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:15 pm)

    Delete this post, too much secret revealed!


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    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:18 pm)

    FMEIII
    You’re right about the one way commute. That puts him above the 78% of “average” drivers (by a LOT). Given that he CAN charge at work, that’s offset, so he’s still going to save (a LOT).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    Mike-O
    Good education during a teachable moment (and a nice shot at Tesla)(g).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Carcus1

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    Ok, joking aside.

    GM’s avoidance of revealing mpg once the battery is depleted of grid charge is a very important point. This number will give us a good idea of weather series hybrid technology is viable without the plug.

    Is it possible to downsize the battery for a more affordable (non plug in) series hybrid??

    If the mpg ends up being in the low 30′s for a volt sized car, this will be a serious indication that the answer is no, you cannot downsize the battery . . . no-plug series hybrids do not compete with no-plug series/parallel (i.e. prius) or parallel (i.e. insight) hybrids.

    GM’s tactics of masking the volt’s performance with fuzzy “we can’t tell you how many times we plugged it in/ how far we drove it” and “we won’t let anyone drive the car in RE mode” can’t last much longer.

    We shall (soon?) see.


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    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    DonC
    To infinity and beyond!!! (lol).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Richard

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    I understand that people are concerned about the high mileage that the volt gets. 230 miles MPG is extraordinary for any vehicle and the speculation into these numbers being elevated due to various reasons, such as “GM’s lobbying”. If it so, then so be it. GM is trying hard to compete in this market and by putting forth the claim of 230MPG before any other manufacturer is gutsy. Yes the number will possibly be less than what GM is claiming but it will still be better than any car currently on the road today. As well driven economically, no fossil fuels would be used in daily commutes.
    As this is all marketing, 230MPG is now tied to the volt, whether the mileage is accurate or not. It maybe less as I mentioned earlier, but the high mileage will still be on your mind and so will the thought of buying a volt over the GM competitors models. GM is taking steps to keep the volt as the first EV model in your mind when you think of purchasing one.
    So all this news, blogging and chatting in forums about the high MPG that the volt can get is good for GM even with them not handing out their formula on how they achieved that number. I enjoy reading all the speculation and theories that people are proposing on the 230MPG for the volt. I’m looking forward to when the EPA gets to test the volt and make the official claim of the volt true MPG.

    Any guesses as to which manufacturer will be next to make a public marketing mileage claim for their EV? :-)


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    old man

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    ronr64

    BUT, when I was working I drove between 40 and 50 thousand miles a year. I was certainly benifiting more from good roads than the average person driving less than 40 miles a day. And as a fair result I paid more in gas tax.


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    gieso

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:25 pm)

    All I can do is compare to my pactual driving now with the predicted Volt driving using the info I have.

    In my case, I have a 20 mile commute to/from work daily. I drive to an adjacent city 65 miles away on average once a week.

    This yields 100 miles pure EV for the daily commute and 130 miles on the highway with about 30 of that EV.

    This means to me that I will need about 100 miles on the highway in charge sustaining mode.

    This sounds like I am on the order of 2 gallons a week.

    While this does not line up with 230, it is a lot better than my current Volvo at 25MPG actual average that takes on the order of 10 gallons for the same week.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:25 pm)

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    Jim in PA

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:29 pm)

    Your proposed sticker numbers have one major hole in it;

    You want mpg (a measure of gas engine efficiency) yet you don’t ask for an analagous efficiency value for the electric drive train. I would propose presenting an ICE mpg efficiency value AND an electric mode kw/mile efficiency value. Just like mpg, the electrical drive train efficiency will vary based on system design, aerodynamics, and vehicle weight, and will be a measure of energy required to power the vehicle.

    I would recommend the following sticker values for every vehicle sold in the US:
    1.) ICE mpg
    2.) All electric range (miles)
    3.) All electric efficiency (kw/mile)
    4.) Estimated annual energy cost (assuming $3/gal and $0.08/KWH)

    Just my opinion.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    Doing my normal driving routine [not trips] I will far exceed 230 mpg. At the end of a year, will I average 230 mpg? Probably not. More like 165-175 mpg. AND I WILL BE VERY PLEASED!!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    Yes, the 230 MPG could easily be real. Now, for those of you who want to know what your own VOLT mileage may be, use this formula:

    MPG = 50 X M / (M-40)

    The “50″ is the supposed fuel economy of the Volt in range-extending mode. This is, of course an estimate.

    The “40″ is the range in electric only mode, ie. the first 40 miles after you charge up.

    The “M” is the trip you plan to take. So if you average, say, 60 miles a day, then:

    MPG = 50 X 60 = 3000

    60 – 40 = 20

    So 3000 divided by 20 = 150

    You would average 150 MPG in the Volt, day in day out, assuming you charge up only once a day (usually at night of course).

    Note, however, that if you travel to work 30 miles one way, and are able to charge up at work, you will not use any gas on your commute, since the Volt goes 40 miles gas-free after each charge.

    And if you travel LESS than 40 miles a day, as 75% of Americans do, you will use no gas at all if you charge up once a day. Your mileage will be virtually infinite.
    And each charge up will cost only about 50 cents or so, depending on where you live.

    The beauty of the Volt is that you do not have to worry about running out of battery power. The range extender automatically kicks in to get you another 300+ miles if you decide to go on a long trip after work or some such scenario.

    Or, if for some reason you can’t charge up when you get home (like during a power outage) you’re still good to go with the Volt because of the range-extending feature.

    In other words, your lifestyle need not change one bit with the Volt. Just drive as usual – anywhere, any time. (Except you don’t have to buy gas nearly as much!).


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    Neutron Flux

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    You have to remember that Uncle Sam has a huge interest in the success of the new GM, don’t they own most of it! Who is coming up with the formulas for MPG – EPA who owns the EPA – Uncle Sam. I agree with post from yesterday they should combine BEV & CE tests for those portions of test in which they apply to come up with composite not some numbers pulled out of the toilet with some fancy jargon. I understand how they back up their calculation but it is unfair to EC & BEV’s & sounds skewed toward EREV. Like I said yesterday GM needs 10 KWH to go 40 miles all electric based on EPA cycle but have been telling us 8 would be used all along so I don’t see 40 miles all electric as a true statement unless they change the charge depletion cycle to use 10 KWH.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:37 pm)

    Add,

    A plug in hybrid’s battery will likely have to be replaced at least once (if not twice) during the car’s life.

    A plug in prius battery will be about 1/3 the size of a volt battery.

    With no way to downsize the battery, the plug in volt will cost SUBSTANTIALLY more than the plug in prius to maintain due to replacing (and initially purchasing) a battery 3 times the size and 3 times the cost.


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:41 pm)

    I agree and think that gm would be much wiser to say that the average over the first 50 miles of travel after each charge will be about 230 mpg, because most of the energy will come from the stored electricity. They can go on to repeat that most people travel less than 50 miles each day, in which case the average will be higher, though for those who travel longer distances between charges it will be lower.

    Giving the mpg results that way would still be impressive, would be understandable and truthful, and customers could try the Volt out and see it to be so. If gm continues to describe what happens in terms of secret probability distributions, they are going to wear this 230 number around their necks like an albatross (like the Ancient Mariner).


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:42 pm)

    nasaman noted that most travel is local, less than 50 miles

    I agree and think that gm would be much wiser to say that the average over the first 50 miles of travel after each charge will be about 230 mpg, because most of the energy will come from the stored electricity. They can go on to repeat that most people travel less than 50 miles each day, in which case the average will be higher, though for those who travel longer distances between charges it will be lower.

    Giving the mpg results that way would still be impressive, would be understandable and truthful, and customers could try the Volt out and see it to be so. If gm continues to describe what happens in terms of secret probability distributions, they are going to wear this 230 number around their necks like an albatross (like the Ancient Mariner).


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    LazP

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:45 pm)

    There is understandably a lot of confusion about mileage with the Volt.
    Definition will matter. The only thing is conventional here is how mileage is defined for just the ICE, which of course is if one drives a regualr car. The definition of city vs. high way driving is confusing.Whether highway of city the greatest influence on mileage is the amount driven after charging. The more your recharge or less your drive between recharges the higher the gasoline mileage will be, i.e less gas will be used. The more charge and less gas the better of you will be. This should be the approach to this car. I included a small table as example for this in the less thread LazP undre #34


  139. 139
    Bob

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    it is too bad this information is available to everybody in the general public. It is really complicated if your IQ is 50 or less. Those with a normal IQ should be able to understand it. If you drove 40 miles per day to work (5 days) and back and plugged in every night you would use no gasoline, zero, for a distance of 200 miles. If you drove 40 miles for 7 days that is 280 miles with no gasoline. If you drove farther than this the engine would kick on to charge the batteries while driving. The calculations that arrived at 230 MPG were made with a city/highway formula supplied by the EPA to GM. There should therefore be little difference when the EPA runs their testing. Just like the Prius, this vehicle is not meant to travel across the country non stop. Hybrids shine in city travel mode, they are not cost effective on the highway, because of initial cost and maintenance cost with that kind of driving. The Volt is different than a hybrid in that it also plugs in to recharge at night requiring much less gasoline use.
    It is sad that soooo many cannot understand this! But many writing here are just writing the usual vitriol against American Industry and American car companies in particular. This is why America is in recession/depression. Keep buying imports and ask yourself where will your next job be? You wont have one! Buy American only. American owned, American made.


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    Richard

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    Wonder what their secret formula is?


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    Jim I

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:49 pm)

    I like “UP” better than the “DOWN” escalators….. And those new fangled flush type toilets are mighty handy as well!!!!

    :-)

    Has anyone else noticed that the waitlist counter has gone over 49,200 in the last two days? We should hit 50K pretty quickly now…

    AFWIW, I like to think I am in the top 10% of forward thinking, early adopter, completely geeky people!


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    LazP

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:49 pm)

    Well said Bob.


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    old man

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:50 pm)

    I would like for Nissan to calculate the miles per charge on my Buick. I admit it has no plug or Lith type battery. A lot like the Leaf lacks a gas tank and an ICE.

    Result
    I run out of gas and need to be get some gas or hire a tow truck. Starting with a full tank this would happen in say 350 miles on the interstate.

    Leaf runs out of electricity and that 367 mpg starts looking a lot more like it is 0 mpg.


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (12:52 pm)

    Herm says that the EPA Hwy is at least 59 mpg.
    ———————————————————————–

    Combining 55% city (at 230) with 45% hwy gives, even if hwy mileage is zero,
    combined mpg = 0.55* 230 + 0.45 * 0 = about 126 mpg. So the statement that the combined will be at least 100 really does not tell us anything.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    You’re welcome to a full refund, if not satisfied.


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    zipdrive

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    The engine for the Volt will be a very high-tech 1.4 liter ALUMINUM block engine.

    http://www.foundrymag.com/news/news/82491/gm_to_build_new_engine_plant_in_michigan

    Incidentally, a turbo-charged variant of this same engine has been chosen by Fisker Automotive for its new Karma – an extended range high-performance electric drive sedan, which will cost at least $80,000.


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    Jim in PA

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    Well, we’re not crazy when you do the math. Powering an electric car winds up being about about 20% the cost of powering the average ICE car on a per mile basis. This stems mostly from the fact that a single large power station obvioulsy has a much lower $/KW cost than millions of small ICEs on the road. So no, electricity isn’t free. But mass generation of electrical power is cheaper on a KWH unit basis than burning gasoline. If you still think gas engines are more efficient, then I welcome you to cut your house off from your local power utility and start powering your home from a gasoline generator. You will very quickly get my point.

    Furthermore, electric cars produce less CO2 than gas cars even if ALL the electricity is produced by coal. Again, this goes back just to the overall efficiency of a single large power plant. And I’m being charitable here, since only half the electricity in the US is generated by coal, with the rest being nuclear, natural gas, wind, hydro, and solar.

    So are we crazy? I really don’t think so.


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    Tall Pete

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    Chad wrote :

    “this value is outragous, and this car will never achieve this.”
    ————————————————————————————————-
    Outrageous is a very strong word. I would have said ‘astounding’ myself and it is probably more accurate.

    Having said that, astounding doesn’t mean wrong or deceitful. If the methodology used by GM is according to best practices generally accepted in the industry to evaluate fuel economy of a car, then the number is valid and a good comparison to other cars.

    As for the ‘car will never achieve this’ comment, you’re right. But it’s irrelevant. NO car ever achieve the fuel economy numbers given by its manufacturer. If the bias is the same as for all other cars, then the figure is right and acceptable.

    GM has no interest in fabricating a number they can’t defend. I believe that in the end, the official EPA number will be 230 or very close to that.


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    Richard

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    I agree the volt is meant for local and some extended driving not cross country. If you need something for long range, then get a hybrid. You still save money and get good MPG. The cost effectiveness of the volt is to drive it within it’s electrical range, 40 miles. (Local and commuting driving) A very simple concept.
    GM will no doubt come up with an EV that will be able to achieve longer ranges in the future when their R&D advances, until then keep the volt where it is intended, the local and commuter driver.


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    I agree with Herm that the salesman will not have a hard job. He can say that if someone charges every night that 230 mpt will be about what they get if they go less than 50 miles per day, on the average, as most people do. He can even strengthen the pitch by saying that because most people don’t even go 50, and so their mpg will be even higher.


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    Jeff

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:05 pm)

    Someone needs to write the Governor (oops…their elected federal official…President/Congressman or woman…or whoever has influence over the EPA) like the small town of Rock Ridge did in Blazing Saddles…

    Revised script
    Gov: Holy underwear! Innocent non-technical car buyers being misinformed ! We’ve got to protect our phony-baloney jobs gentlemen. This is the bill that will convert the EPA MPG rating for PHEV/EREVs into the William J. Le Petomane memorial EPA MPG/MPC rating for PHEV/EREVs.

    The Gov’s yes men except the last guy at the table: hurumph, hurumph, hurumph!

    Hedley Lamar (giving the guy the evil eye): You did not give the Governor a “hurumph”! Well…give him one.

    The last guy at the table: hurumph!


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    GuyMan

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:07 pm)

    Really simple answer for you then… NO. It’s not 230, then – Period.

    And unlike Larry’s comments, the MPG is NOT like a Prius, given your conditions, fully charged, 1 gallon of gas, you would go about 80-90 miles (depending on temp, HWY MPG which we don’t know, etc). So by your math – we’re getting 80-90 MPG.. A Prius gets 51, with a tailwind..

    Bottom line, it’s a more complex system, with two independent energy sources, and a myriad of sinks (AC, heat, lights, or not, etc). Trying to distill that all down to a single number is a well know mistake (hence we have separate city vs HWY #’s). “The single number fallacy”.. It’s like debating the “# angels on a pin”, it’s a bit of a meaningless number, but then again, so is the 90 I quoted above – it’s complicated, so it depends!

    So I struggle with the 230 myself, it’s a bit of a stretch with lots of “ifs” associated with it – but it does grab PR – it will encourage more EREVs and BEVs, and got folks to trade an SUV in – then fine… So it is Marketing mumbo-jumbo, but it was set by the EPA, so its used consistently for all EREV/BEVs, and given you charging every night, you WILL get 2x the mileage of a Prius (assuming your not driving an average >5hrs day). Bottom line, I want a plug in Prius too, to drive prices down, spur battery development and volume, etc.. Toyota will not give me one.. I figure the 230 may help change that..

    I understand and can live with the complexity (I still want to know the HWY #; however, and I personally fear it’s 43-45, not the often quoted 50).

    Life is to short to debate this, given charging every night, and for most of your <40 driving, it will get GREAT mileage.. On those 600 mile trips, it will just get good mileage. You see that as a problem?

    GFA


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:12 pm)

    Thanks Tag. I hear this misconception so often, it makes my ears ache. Do people think GM’s engineers have never used a laptop, or something?


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    Jarhead Marine

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:14 pm)

    …very high-tech…

    You are so freggin hilarious. Get a clue doofas. ;-)

    BTW, the Fisker motor is totally different.


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    Terryk

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:14 pm)

    This 230 isn’t really an MPG statement but more of a gas usage statement at fixed distances assuming you can recharge as needed. It’s not really of any use in the real world.

    I mean, based on the logic you will get infinite MPG if you never run the engine.

    I am and remain a huge Volt supporter and cheerleader. But there is no way I am going to use that number to convince anyone to buy it.


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    Jarhead Marine

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:18 pm)

    The Prius will still be a much more cost effective platform. The Volt owner will never be able to recoup the $15,000 price difference not matter how many MPG its owner (yes, the same people creating the MPG number OWN the company) makes up.


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    Rodney

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:22 pm)

    Boy there will be hell to pay when Volt owners quickly realize that they are getting nowhere near 230 miles per gallon. Can you say “Class Action” ? ;-)


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    Rodney

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:24 pm)

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of the posters on this blog have Below Normal IQ.


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    coffeetime

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:27 pm)

    I will eat my hat if the Volt gets more than 40MPG in extended-range, non-city (freeway) mode.


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    Jeff

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:30 pm)

    GM should seriously consider launching a ……”First Forty Free” Campaign.
    ———————————————-
    I’ll add more F’s
    ”First Forty Free From Fuel” Campaign

    If it was a Ford hybrid…
    ”Fusion’s First Forty Free From Fuel” Campaign


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    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:34 pm)

    GM engineers are only allowed to use slide rules and chalkboards. It was a condition of the rescue $ (g).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Richard

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:35 pm)

    Again the 230MPG is not official, just a calculation of numbers that GM and the EPA agreed upon to try and calculate the mileage. Trying to get MPG on a vehicle that it’s primary mode is electrical is not the best method for proving the volts range. A new measurement needs to be used and proven in order to be effective in stating an EV true range. More than likely the use of MPG for the volt is because the measurement is common to all vehicles currently being driven by consumers. When a new measurement for an EV’s range is brought forth, a comparison to MPG would be needed. Though that would be like comparing apple to oranges, not all that accurate, but they are fruit and round. :-)


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    Mel G

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:35 pm)

    The batteries in several current Hybrids cost in excess of $3000.00. Wonder what a Volt replacement will cost?


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:37 pm)

    Jim I,
    Escalators go up AND down? Doesn’t that just spin the person around? Flush toilets, you’re funny. I’ll believe that when cars run on electricity.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  165. 165
    Jeff

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:41 pm)

    “…making it manditory to install a GPS…”
    —————
    waste of resources and money…just use the odometer. If someone drives in another city, county, or state…so what…the average is good enough. The GPS idea is also an invasion of privacy…it just gives the ACLU another reason to exist. What’s next…a GPS on every person to track usage of clean air and water.


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    dorp7

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:43 pm)

    Well said.


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    GXT

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:43 pm)

    No, I actually don’t think they did lobby. Toyota has had a history of intentionally not trying to influence the US government for fear of a protectionist backlash. When the Prius first came out the EPA CONTINUED TO USE THEIR USUAL METHODOLOGY. It was only years later when the Prius numbers turned out to be even more inaccruate than the non-hybrid numbers that the EPA revised their methodology. And even then, I don’t recall hearing that Toyota fought the change.

    Remember the flack Toyota took for using the legally mandated EPA numbers that were ~20MPG off? Now imagine what happens when Joe Blow gets ~40MPG in his long highway trip in the Volt with the AC. What do you think the blowback will be when his MPG is off by ~200MPG?

    More to the point, there is no doubt that this 230MPG number will not apply to MOST people (both good and bad). Therefore it is not particularly useful.


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    Terryk

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:44 pm)

    Well, neither the Pruis or the Volt is cost affective. If you own a car today free and clear, buying a new one is a loss regardless of the price (except maybe something in the $8k range from Hyundai.) You will never recoup the cost. It’s cheaper to totally rebuild your existing car.

    Given that, what is the difference if you order the Volt or a hybrid option? It’s just more of a loss but it’s all a loss.


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    Peter M

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:44 pm)

    Good questions,

    Problem is I never leave with a fully charged battery and 1 gallon of gas in my car. Why ask a question that has a very rare occurence. It like asking “What if everyone in America drove from New York to L.A., what would happen?” Interesting question, but not relevant. Times are changing, and our thinking needs to change to. This is the first step in changing the way we think about transportation. In 20 years, no one will care about MPG (hopefully).


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    Terryk

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:46 pm)

    I suspect they won’t waive it around in quite those terms.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:49 pm)

    Old man your method is great. The EPA also uses electric propulsion efficiency numbers. The 230 is for “city driving only.” Maybe the label should show expected gallons per year and kWh per year also.
    __________________________________
    jdenn,
    “Wish they would use the method thrown around on this site… annual gallons used for standard driver.

    I think the number is about 60.”
    ___________________________
    From the chart created by DaveG it’s about 40 gallons per year for about 12,000 miles.


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    DonC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (1:55 pm)

    Even at EOL there will be enough juice in the battery to turn over the engine. The pack just won’t suddenly stop working.

    My guess is that if you can get to 10 years you’ll get to 15-20 years, albeit with a very reduced range. But isn’t the beauty of the EREV design? You’d still be able to use the car, just not so much of the “E” part of EREV.

    But yes repairs to the pack will be expensive. But services over 150K usually run several thousand dollars. It’s hard to account for service that many years out.


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    Texas,

    You are so far off it isn’t funny.

    As an engineer I can tell you that operating an ICE, optimally tuned for a specific rpm and operated there, will produce astounding BSFC figures. In normal operation, at all varying rpms, that can never be achieved. But for the recharging operation scenario of a constant or near constant rpm band, using a small 1.4 liter DOHC, VVT fuel injected ICE, with perhaps an Atkinson cycle, I am very sanguine as to the results.

    I would not be at all unconvinced that a 60-75 mpg figure could ROUTINELY be achieved. Your estimate of under 30 mpg is ridiculously low.


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    mitch

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:02 pm)

    impossible to get a dinitive answer with that parameter..because with my driving I can get 230+ so long as I charge it every night. My commute round trip (new job) assuming no charge at work is 72km (45 miles). the EPA method for ANY car is not. put in 1 gallon and drive until empty. It would be the most direct apples to apples coomparison. alternatively I believe using hypermiling techniques AND the correct road geography, that one gallon could be stretched to close to 200.

    even the Prius / insight / fusion …is not tested that way..so your question rightfully should be directed to the 3rd party testing agency and say by your rating..if I put 1 gallon in this auto (any auto) how far can I go…because the rating (as it stands) would be NO for ANY auto


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    Chris in Denver

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:03 pm)

    Except I doubt changing electricity from the grid into chemical engergy in the battery is 100% efficient. It’s probably less than 50% efficient, maybe even 30%. I bet taking that into consideration ruins your calculations.


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    Larry

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:04 pm)

    Once again, GM will unfortunately be a day late and a dollar short as they say. Nissan has “scooped” them in MPG, 1st to market, and all important price.


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    Larry

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:05 pm)

    One good result of the new EPA formula: Manufacturers will have a strong incentive to increase their AER above 40 miles to increase the EPA mileage rating to 500MPH or more :)


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    234,000 mpg

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:05 pm)

    I am Chevy Swindler, I drink 1ml gas (0.000266 gal) and I get home (by walking), which is 10 miles, so my mpg is 37600 miles per gallon.

    Kudos to Government Motors and the Clunker Hussein.


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    Todd

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:10 pm)

    Chad, maybe this number is outragous maybe for you, but not for tha majority of the working population which is what the EPA calculations are based on.

    My office is exactly 15 miles from my house. If I charge each evening and drive the car just for work, which is my intent then in less than 10 days I will have surpassed the 230MPG because chances are I won’t use a drop of gasonline. As was stated my MPG will almost be infinite.

    Based on GM’s figures of $0.03 per mile (Dallas electric is slightly higher than the $0.11 per KWH but we’ll use it anyway) – that puts me at about $9.00 every two weeks. Take my Avalanche at 14MPG I will spend about $51.43 every two weeks with gasoline at $2.45 per gallon.

    Now I realize that the number seems outragous but it would be equally outragous to come up with some other method of measuring the mileage. What I would like to see is a defining statement from GM – something like “For the majority of drivers they can expect to meet or exceed the 230 MPG number”. Then explain that the EPA’s testing method is based on the majority of drivers and therefore some drivers will exeperiance higher and some will experiance lower fuel mileage results. If the car really does pass the EPA’s test and is above 100 MPG then that’ll be impressive because the ICE is running a lot more.


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    LazP

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:13 pm)

    Some of the confusion could be cleared up easily if we adopted the concept of GMPG instead of MPG meaning gasoline mile per gallon since the whole point of the Volt is switch the cost from gasoline to electricity. This usage would at least clarify the definition.


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    Chris in Denver

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:13 pm)

    You must have your head screwed on wrong if you think you’re going to save money. You can buy a Prius for 25k+ or the Volt for 40k+. So where are you going to save $15,000? And hell, i bet the GM stealerships are still going to want to change the oil on the Volt every 3000 miles.


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    jeffhre

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:14 pm)

    They are all competition, however disparaging hybrids and BEV’s is counterproductive


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    Brian

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:16 pm)

    I’m not sure thats true, you convert the ICE to electrical energy and then to the wheels. I think as seen from some where on this web sight thats about a 80% conversion (not including the ICE). I doubt its that good on a convetional car considering all the parasitic loads from the transmission and differential. I think the Volt has been adverised at 50 mpg in ICE mode. All though i never have heard at what mph that was given for hmmm you could be right!!


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    Chris in Denver

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:17 pm)

    Even if it’s unofficial, it’s not very ethical to use misleading numbers.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:23 pm)

    Perhaps that;s why GM is talking up 230, early out of the gate perhaps. Time will tell.

    I like the idea of Flaninacupboard @ reply to comment 17, where salespeople have a chart or cheat sheet showing mpg based on the number miles you drive during a day.

    Then instead of your mileage will vary, it will be – your mileage will vary daily!


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    Shock Me

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:24 pm)

    Yes I will be terribly upset when I routinely use no gasoline at all. Perhaps the class-action suit may come from the retail gas establishments?


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:25 pm)

    (*zing!*) Ouch! Take THAT, slide rules! ;-)

    In all fairness to GM’s engineers (and slide rules)… NASA’s engineers, with little more than their slide rules, lots of creativity, and a few hundred pairs of huge brass balls… were able to put man on the moon four decades ago!!


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:27 pm)

    Though it’d be a nice bonus, not everyone’s goal is to save money.


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    ccombs

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:28 pm)

    Finally, a correct perspective. 230 mpg, although not pulled out of thin air, is mainly important for marketing. There are too many engineers on this site who, like myself, prefer a more nuanced measure of efficiency. We are being unreasonable. The general public does not seem to understand/ want such a measure. Quoting these high MPG numbers is the only way to convey how good the Volt is and get people excited. Claiming 40 miles AER, though more important than 230 mpg city, never crashed this site. GM will give the kWhr/100 miles, etc, for those who want more accurate efficiency measures.

    Environmentalists will complain that MPGe is not used for electric power. However most people don’t care much about how much petroleum equivalent was used to give them electricity and the real number will vary tremendously from region to region. They care how many of actual gallons of gas they need. We already know the Volt will have less emissions/ etc and that is all most people need know. Besides the EPA will state the Volt’s MPGe for those who care.


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    Tagamet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:32 pm)

    And most of the brass remained on the ground.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    zipdrive

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:32 pm)

    You’ve got it exactly backwards GTX.

    The 230 figure WILL apply to most people. That’s where the got the figure in the first place – by analyzing long term driving patterns of MOST Americans.

    It is therefore a perfectly useful figure for city mileage.


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    JackJ

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:32 pm)

    Agreed… More specifically GM does not present an even remotely honest number when they claim 230 mpg. Whoever calculated this 230 mpg at GM is obviously not counting the energy used in the form of electricity and the cost of the electricity (used to charge the battery).


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    Shock Me

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:32 pm)

    That seems unlikely. Perhaps you meant You Tube?


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    kdawg

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:43 pm)

    I find it funny everyone is so upset with the 230 number. What is the Tesla’s MPG? Is it an infinity symbol? How come no-one cries foul on the pure BEV’s? (i’m being fecisious)


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:43 pm)

    >> “First Forty Free” Campaign

    Well, strictly speaking, that’s not true either. Unless of course, GM wants to pick up the tab for part of all Volt owners’ electric bills.

    Maybe “First Forty (nearly) Free” instead?


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:43 pm)

    DonC,

    “So I’d conclude that on average the 230 mpg number understates the mpg for urban drive cycles ” is your quote.

    I heartedly concur.

    As to why the EPA, not GM, chose such a scheme is due to the strategy of the EREV. Not all miles are equal. Preferentially, the EREV tries to consume clean, flexibly and efficiently generated grid electric miles FIRST before any gasoline or E85, is consumed. And when that gasoline/E85 is being used, only the absolute minimum is ever selected to be utilized. EPA’s calculations just had to reflect that EREV architectural strategy, manifested in the EREV operation in charge-depletion mode.

    The important point though is that auto mileage, fossil consumption, real or increasingly phony CO2 concerns, are in view of a solution and becoming an irrelevant consideration, in the choice or selection of a vehicle.

    Not that I ever would, but if I wish to commute in a category 8, Perterbilt, so be it. It simply won’t matter any more. I look forward to that day that I can have my cake and eat it too. In the long course of human evolution control of increasing amounts of ever cheaper Energy is the norm,and no not the relatively temporary (35 years!) of this energy pricing crisis.

    Despite the wailing and gnashing of the teeth of the new Puritans, and their fervor to stamp out anybody not in fearful obedience to their Nature Worship dogma, under the guidance of their ersatz Druid high priests. Gore was a southern preacher man student taught to peddle Fire & Brimstone, before dropping out of college once again.

    He knew that Nature Worship was the oldest religion, and would be adopted again, if clothed in modern, pseudo-scientific, mumbo-jumbo dress. He just supplied the gullible, self-appointed intellectuals, some real Olde Tyme Religion to swallow and they did.


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    Jorge

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    OK I’ll bite. Widely reported by Who? With all the losses you have in the generator, Electronics and Electric motor, plus the extra weight that the car is hauling around, do you really think that in charge sustaining mode this will be one of the most fuel efficient cars on the road?


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    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    CG, where’d you see this?


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    BobS

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:51 pm)

    I can think of one group of drivers that will take serious issue with the 230 mpg city rating: cab drivers. A cab driver will more than likely get 40-50 mpg in a Volt.


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    Me Here

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:52 pm)

    no chance, this was speculation on a 10 gal tank, and using the 300-40 range. If you care to point to another source that would be great, but I could get 26 out of GM non hybrid SUV highway …


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:55 pm)

    Now that the politicians are in control of GM, the once proud corporation does not need to present an even remotely honest number, and therefore makes a claim of 230 mpg. Whoever calculated a mileage of 230 mpg at GM is obviously not counting the amount of electricity consumed (or the resulting expense). This is simple, drain the batteries down, and then measure the mileage when you are only burning gasoline.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:59 pm)

    I have owned a Prius for 6 years and I can tell you that long-distance cruising on the interstate does not use the battery at all – pure ICE. Still an efficient ICE but no better than a lot of other small ICE vehicles. The hybrid advantage is purely in city driving.


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    Me Here

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (2:59 pm)

    GXT really?

    http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=toyota+lobbying

    “Toyota has had a history of intentionally not trying to influence the US government for fear of a protectionist backlash.”


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:00 pm)

    I’m with Carol. The question is, is 50 mpg the real number?


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:03 pm)

    The 230 mpg will apply to most people, IF most people calculate mileage over the first 50 miles after a charge. If they calculate mileage over 50 miles it will be a big change, because most people now calculate their mpg on long trips. That is, they fill up, drive 300 miles, fill up again, and then calculate. No one at present calculates mpg after 50 mpg, and it won’t be easy as there may be no filling station after 50 (as compared to 45 or 55) and it will require more precise measurement of gas consumption than we are used to having.

    And, unfortunately, everyone calculating the mpg the “normal” way is going to get a much lower value than 230. I hope they don’t feel cheated, but I suspect they will. This problem is one that GM has now created for itself, and it will take more than evasive PR lingo to get out of it.


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    Peter M

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:03 pm)

    “EPA is calculated by how far you travel on a full tank, divided by how much fuel you use” – Wrong, google how the EPA calculates mileage.


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    Richard

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:06 pm)

    OK say for instance your measurement was used, GMPG, that only states the fuel used by the internal combustion engine, what about the electrical side. Two separate measurements of range may need to be used. One for the fuel used, MPG or GMPG as stated in the above and for electrical useage. For the fuel engine, that is already established, the amount the fuel tank holds with the amount of fuel burned in the engine gives you your range. The same can be calculated for the electrical side, the charge held by the batteries (70% worth as the gas moter kicks in at around 30% charge), the power used by the electrical motor. Yes having two measurements may confuse some but you cannot really get a accurate measurement trying to combine the EV range with the gas engine range as ‘gallons’ is not an electrical measurement. I’m not saying I have the solution. I’m just pointing out a misrepresentation of measurement. I cannot see the GM R&D personnel being this naive. This is all a marketing ploy to raise the interest in the Volt and using a measurement, MPG, that the consumer is familiar with. Being a triple digit, that number will sit in people minds for a while, whether accurate or not.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:07 pm)

    Well it sure created some good ink for the Volt. Front page of our local paper yesterday. Followed by a pretty extensive and informative article. It’s hard to beat that.

    Any ink is good ink. It’s all good.

    LJGTVWOTR!! NPNS!


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    Peter M

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:08 pm)

    You are missing the point. Cost is not the only reason to purchase a vehicle. Using your analogy, nobody would every pay for leather interior because you wouldn’t be able to recoup the the cost. There are other reasons for buying an efficient car.


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    Lyle Rove

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:09 pm)

    The Grid is already up to the task. It’s the automakers like GM who have been draggin their heels.


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:09 pm)

    Tag — also slide rules can be used when cash conservation has turned off the electricity, and blackboards too if they are near a window :)


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    Lyle Rove

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:10 pm)

    Time to upgrade your computer. Dump that Windoze stuff.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:13 pm)

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Rodney ;-)


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:16 pm)

    Chris, – $7,500 at tax time … = $32,500.


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    zipdrive

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:16 pm)

    OK listen up all you naysayers who seem to think GM is lying or something.

    Do you really think GM would come out with this figure of 230 MPG city, for all the world to analyze, if it weren’t true and real?

    This would be a public relations disaster for GM and they would lose all credibility with the Volt. Chevy has bet the farm on this vehicle and they are not about to blow it by lying to the public. If anything they are UNDERSTATING the MPG.

    I think GM has done such a good job with this car that it is simply unbelievable to many people.

    Believe this 230 figure!

    And believe this – GM is about to change the world of motoring forever.


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    Herm

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:17 pm)

    darn math!


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    V=IR

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:18 pm)

    In what city do you propose doing this 230 mi highway test?


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:18 pm)

    Jake—
    I agree with you on the headline. If it had said “anticipates” instead of “gets” it would have been much better. At the same time, the text in the post, written by Lyle, was pretty clear that it was gm’s claim, not the epa.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:20 pm)

    Nasaman,

    Thanks for the reference to Argonne National Labs and Mike Duoba’s work. It is clear that EPA has tasked him with chairing a standards group for producing the EREV mileage determination standard, (SAE J1711) and also a subsequent BEV,(J1634?) standard. I heartedly refer any critics to this reference.

    Two points should be made clear from the somewhat dated presentation.

    One) All the principal emissions organizations in North America, were represented on the standards team, as well as all the major auto makers, including GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda.

    Two) The effort is by now concluded . Balloting to accept the proposed standard was planned for 3Q 2009. That is April M y and June 2009, by the Federal calendar. It is now nearly half way through the subsequent 4Q 2009, so the results of the balloting are known, and probably the reason that GM felt confident in making its announcement, now.

    Having worked on ANSI and ISO standards groups, the mode is collegial. There can be disagreements in the course of the standards development, but by the time the draft standard is put up for a final vote, collegiality and watered down commonality have triumphed; and seldom is the balloting ever not successful.


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    tedm

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:21 pm)

    Exactly. The losses in generating electricity are huge. The average thermal efficiency of turning coal into electricity is around 35% – that is 65% is wasted. Losses in electrical transmission and distribution are near 10% depending on where you are. Storing electrical power in batteries looses more too. End to end you can lose 80-90% of the input energy.

    By crazy I meant that electric cars only start to make sense once you have decarbonized the electrical grid.


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    Me Here

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:22 pm)

    “Get a clue doofas”

    Doesn’t sound much like, oops I was wrong …

    ‘Karma power plant similar to the Volt engine’
    http://www.autonews.com/article/20090806/ANA08/908069956/1018


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    RB

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:23 pm)

    Rodney says “the vast majority of the posters on this blog have Below Normal IQ.”
    ————————————

    We make up for it with our awesome beauty, female and male, not to mention our athletic ability. (smile)


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    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:30 pm)

    No scoop. They’re different in every way except for one – 100% electric drive at all times.

    Leaf has longer EV only range and is more efficient, Volt has longer before needing to top off range and can top off one of its energy carriers faster. They both use 100% electric drive.

    Would you like apple electric drive or orange with a marishino cherry electric drive?


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    Herm

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    charging a lithium battery is nearly 100% efficient.. but there are some losses in the charger, lets say about 5%.

    BTW, charging a NiMh or Nicad battery is about 80% efficient.


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    Me Here

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    xed, GM has said the range is 300 miles, I take that to be 300+40, but certainly nothing approaching 500 miles.

    The reason the gas tank is small, is that it provides ‘enough’ range, and more fuel adds weight, and adds to the issue of stale fuel.


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    Craig

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    The 230mpg assumption doesn’t factor in the cost of electricity to fully charge the batteries. Assuming that I would consume 12kwh of the 16kwh battery capacity for the first 40 miles the cost would be as follows:

    Hawaii electric rate .30kwh, Hawaii gasoline price 3.20 gallon

    .30 x 12 = $3.60 electricity consumed for first 40 miles

    40 / 3.6 = 11.11 cents per mile

    3.20 / .1111 = 28.80 gasoline equivalent mpg for first 40 miles

    It is unlikely that the mileage with the gasoline engine running will be much higher than 40mpg so the 230mpg is nothing more than marketing hype. In Hawaii the Volt in not a financially viable option as it would cost substantially more to operate than a traditional gasoline only vehicle. Even in those states with low cost electricity (.10kwh) one would only realize a gasoline equivalent of 50 – 60mpg while paying a vehicle premium of $15,000 – $20,000 over a conventional vehicle. Of course this doesn’t factor in any tax rebate but the cost of the tax rebate is nothing but funny money that has to be paid for by all taxpayers.


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    Mark A

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    That’s true but no cab driver should be seriously thinking of buying a Volt.


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    Shock man,
    ,
    Its obvious you never spent a moment in Engineering school.

    Want to wager a small amount, like say your yearly salary, that operating an ICE tuned for optimal BSFC at its optimal efficiency point will easily better the mileage of a even larger ICE, operated at all varying RPM including some highly inefficient ones?

    Can I assume you will agree?

    (What a complete doofus! I have a Bridge to Brooklyn that I am sure you’d like to buy, too !)


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    Jeff

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    Hmmm…a little math…

    230miles/0gallons = error on my calculator…and the same for any other number of miles.

    advanced math…
    lim 230/x, x->0 (as x approaches zero) equals infinity

    In words, MPG makes no sense for a pure EV. Maybe Nissan will be able to “one up” GM. The 1st car company with a mass produced car that does not have an EPA MPG rating at all…since it uses no gas.


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    dagwood55

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:42 pm)

    It certainly wouldn’t apply to me, therefore it’s a perfectly useless number for me.

    It won’t apply to anyone who regularly goes 60 miles without charging, so it’s useless for them.

    This number isn’t any kind of useful “rate,” it’s a “value” for a given set of values of the variables possible in a regular commute.

    It’s completely bogus.


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    Steven

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:42 pm)

    Funny picture of the Nissan Leaf poking fun at the Volt’s 230 MPG claim:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/08/11/nissan-pokes-fun-at-the-volt-claims-367-mpg-equivalent-for-leaf/


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    Jay Hamburger

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:42 pm)

    The new plug-in Toyota Prius will be rate at 520 MPG. Take that you Volt wimps.


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    Roger That

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:44 pm)

    It’s all BAAAAD. Sheep.


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    Roger That

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:48 pm)

    Don’t forget to mention the Obscenely Huge carbon footprint of the Volt, easily the most polluting EV in history.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:49 pm)

    Inspecting the membership on the J1711 standards development group, I see that EPA, Canada and even California’s CARB is represented as well as GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda among others.

    Knowing standards development, I always represented my firm’s viewpoint, as did others, if my firm had a position. But by the time a draft standard has been promulgated and the Final vote is pending, collegiality and watered down commonality has overcome all.

    So you can say that Toyota dreamed up this standard just as much as GM or the CARBite green Loons did… And you would be correct.


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    Richard

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:50 pm)

    I like apples.


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:51 pm)

    At the mall today, a newly opened local grocery store was broiling corn outside. They had a gasoline generator using a 10% ethanol gasoline blend set up to make electricity to turn the rotating cooking drum while a big propane fuel cell provided a cooking flame for heat.

    What a sweet flex-fuel fuel cell electric hybrid, I thought.

    Why they didn’t use an electric heating element for cooking or why they didn’t use a propane instead of ethanol/gasoline generator to make the electricity to turn the drum, like RV campers do, I don’t know – maybe the relative price of fuel or some difference in efficiency for minimum electricity generation? Or maybe they just used the most common equipment and fuels available at the moment and if they had planned it more thoughtfuly in advance they would have done it totally differently and more efficiently. Kind of like us with personal transportation today. Like they might have put a cheap external electrical outlet on their brand new building for the cost minimizing and simplicity win. Doh!

    I give them less than a year before they do the more expensive retrofit to put the external outlet on the building that should have been there from the start.

    BTW, they have a huge solar system on their roof that makes their electric meter spin backwards, fast.

    Math quiz:

    What percent did their using corn ethanol in the generator to make electricity to turn the cooking drum raise the price of the corn ears they were cooking?

    How much additional money per corn ear would they have saved, if any, if they went to an all electric, if any needed, thermal solar cooker, rather than use a propane tank, ethanol/gasoline fuel and liquid fueled generator as they did?

    Using last century’s logic, they should have cooked the corn in burning gasoline while turning the barrel using a V8 gasoline engine, of course.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (3:59 pm)

    The distance traveled can be considered by the prospective buyers.

    GM could even build little calculators customized for figuring out your effective mileage and/or “fuel” cost.

    But “mpg” is a rate and this calculation does not lead to a rate that is of any use to the customer.


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    MarkH

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:02 pm)

    Cab drivers might argue the rating, but they might also be the first in line to demand a Volt for the following reasons:

    1. They will want the green halo. Even if the Volt only gets double the milage for the first couple of fares, anything rated in the 200′s will be perceived as being far more of a green choice than the Prius.
    If one cab company moves to market itself as 4 times as green as its competitors, the competitors must follow suit. Any attempt to argue that the rating is inaccurate would risk marketing suicide.

    2. Gas shortages are harder on cab companies than just about any other business. If the Volt only saves one gallon a day, interest will be there.

    3. Cabs on airport shuttle runs sit in more or less the same spot three or four hours per day. If a quick charger was in place by the taxi stalls, they might end the day with milage better than any pure ICE vehicle will ever achieve.

    4. A city council looking to a make a green statement that costs them little or nothing, like San Francisco or New York, might limit cab licences to E-REVs with that high rating.


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    Loboc

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:03 pm)

    The Volt and other electric or electric/name-other-fuel/hybrids need a sticker like a refrigerator.

    Here’s your annual cost to drive this puppy. $x
    Here’s your annual cost to drive puppy_made_by_someone_else. $y

    Can you live with x or y and the features of these puppies?

    Buy the one that makes you smile :)


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    zipdrive

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:10 pm)

    A full charge up for the Volt will be about 50 cents. This is, of course, an approximate average for the USA.

    Too bad if you live in an expensive state.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    Yeah, and don’t forget wit, sophistication, and charm, LOL.


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    nasaman

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    You’re absolutely right, Larry! Isn’t it breathtaking when the EPA actually gets it right!?!?!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    It IS complicated because the EREV is designed to preferentially favor some kind of mileage above others. The standard must reflect this.

    Think of it this way, The 4th quintile of drivers averages driving 40 miles per day. But it varies somewhat. Sometimes 35 miles, sometimes 42 miles per day depending on diversions for running errands, etc. Other days it might be 39 or 50. So the 35 is all electric, the 42 is 40 electric plus two miles gasoline, the 39 is all electric, and the 50 mile day is 40 electric and 10 gasoline.

    But the FIRST 40 miles on any day are electric grid miles. If after a some arbitrary time, you added up the electric grid miles and the ICE miles,say when when the lowest of either accumulated to 40, you would have cumulatively a lot more miles on electric grid, than off gasoline miles.

    On average, you would find about 230 mpge as the long term average, and the EPA had Argonne National Lab chair and draft a standard that everyone GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, EPA, NHTSA, CARB and Canada Emissions etc, agreed to be reasonable, in light of that reality.

    Simple? NO! But Realistic? Yes… Probably.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:14 pm)

    PS: Plus a lot of buzz at work. I’ve been talking about the Volt for 2 years, but the press and TV coverage yesterday got my co-workers talking about it 100 times more than all of my preaching, LOL.


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    Roger That

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:14 pm)

    Somebody needs to go back to Engineering School. Please step away from your computer.


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    Roger That

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    The Volt’s battery replacement costs will be astronomical. So much so, that it will be better to just salvage the junk chassis.


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    No, it’s mostly because internal combustion engines run at around 25% efficiency, real world, while electric motros are almost totally efficient.


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    zipdrive

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    520 will never happen. The Prius is not in the same league as the Chevy Volt. Prius is a hybrid, and you MUST put gas into it or or won’t run.

    The gas you put into a Volt is there SOLELY as a backup to run the range-extender.

    The Volt uses no gas at all until the range-extender comes on after 40 miles of driving.


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    Roger That

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    You smell like Sheep.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:18 pm)

    Try the off peak rate calculations. Look / lobby for new EV rates in your home state.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:19 pm)

    No …. But Cap & Tax would legalize a meter to record your every breath. And a tax on your CO2 expirations. I await the recourse to the Supreme Court when the Supremes are directed to reduce their CO2 output by 10%. IOW, they have to choose what 2.4 hours per day that they must cease to breathe!…


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    Dick Long

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:21 pm)

    Take one gallon of the Best Gasoline money can buy and see if you can make it down the road, say, 230 miles give-or-take. Okay, I know that hurts, so lets make it easy for all you Volt dunderheads. Try going just 100 MILES with that gallon. Yea, I thought so….you math morons.


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    Straightlord

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    thats amazing! that means the Tesla roaster will get an infinite mpg!
    uhh no

    EPA

    40 Miles Electric
    50 gasoline Highway
    50 gasoline city

    there, that wont throw people off and out right lie to them
    (:


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    Dick Long

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    Wiseup old geezer. Nissan so punks the Volt it makes your head spin and causes you to spit out phalsehoods.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    Yes, it’s important that a man realizes his limitations. It’s all relative. If I was posting on a Mensa blog, I’d have to admit to a vastly lower IQ than normal on that site. But… I can live with that :)


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    Me Here

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:26 pm)

    just like the old Prius numbers, which were City-60 Hwy-51 Combined-55? My sister gets about 44 and that reads 2mpg high.

    Lawsuit?


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:26 pm)

    Flaninacupboard,

    And why would you pollute the environment with your Solar installation? In addition to the Thermal Pollution from an installation only 12% efficient, 1/3 that of an evil ICE, you are adding to the cumulative Albedo Reduction by every solar site ever built. Since that is 10,000 times as Globally Warming as CO2, how can you be so utterly… IRRESPONSIBLE!


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:30 pm)

    Correction, it should read:

    First Forty Fossil Free!… in the campaign


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    IQ130

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:30 pm)

    I think the Chevy Volt is a great car but if you do not include the petroleum equivalence factor (PEF) for the electricity that is used, this MPG number is just misleading. If you include the PEF 50MPG is more realistic the way electricity is produced nowadays, 0.6KG CO2/KWH. Every electric car would have a MPG number that is infinite if you exclude the PEF. I think to give this misleading information is very bad for the reputation of GM and for such a great car as the Chevy Volt, consumers are not stupid. In order to get a much higher number than 50MPG the production of electricity should be done much cleaner.


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:37 pm)

    Eurobike denver,

    No it isn’t at all the question any reasonable person wants to know. And neither do you.

    What the average guy wants to know is what is his average miles per gallon of gasoline in a month. That is on average 230 mpg!


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    mitch

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:40 pm)

    you want ketchup or mustard with that fedora?

    The engine is essentially the same 4 banger getting 45+ inthe cobalt XFE with variable rpm’s and high drag. running it at the sweetest rpm will KILL the 40 you are guessing as max.


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    CDAVIS

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:41 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Folllow up to my #22 comment:
    “Lyle,
    Great job on your part getting that 230mpg explanation from GM even though it is an inherently convoluted calculation requiring an explanation that no normal person is capable of understanding.”
    ———

    My comment was NOT knocking how Lyle explained the 230mpg #. My comment meant to point out that the 230mpg calculation is in itself an inherently convoluted thing to explain irrespective of how one goes about trying to explain it.

    Normally the “actual” mileage someone gets from his car is somewhere between the city and hwy stated EPA mpg irrespective of what the average daily distance the car is driven. That is not true with the 230mpg EPA number. The average daily distance one drives the Volt will HUGELY impact the “actual” mpg number. A person that drives their volt 95% of the time @ 35miles/day will get a much different “actual” mpg number than someone that drives their volt 95% of the time @ 150 miles/day. Using the 230mpg number will result in many individuals experiencing either much higher or much lower “actual” mpg than the stated 230mpg. The headline news will be inverviewing that guy complaining how he purchased the Volt with the expectation of getting ~230mpg but in “real life” only getting 75mpg. The press will not balance out their story with the examples of those driving their volts under 40miles/day and getting 500+mpg.

    I do agree that the 230mpg is a press grabber on the front end but it will bit GM on the back end.
    ___________________________________________________


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    Craig

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:46 pm)

    According to the Energy Information Administration as of April 2009 the average national price per kwh for electricity is 11.59 cents. Assuming that you consume 75% (12kwh) of the Volt’s battery capacity you will use $1.39 of electricity for the first 40 miles. With a current national gasoline price of $2.65 per gallon your equivalent mpg for the first 40 miles would not exceed 75mpg and the estimate mpg using the gasoline engine is approximately 40 mpg. This is a far cry from the 230mpg hyped by the media. Again, this still doesn’t factor in the economic impact of the extra $15k – $20K premium that one must pay over a similar gasoline only vehicle.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:46 pm)

    The Combined mileage that you so fervantly wish to know, mathematically cannot be less than 129 miles per gallon by the EPA J1711 standard.

    If you want to measure what distance driving with a a single gallon of gas in charge depleting mode, will get you in a Volt. Its somewhere between 60 and 75 miles. But you seldom do that, so what do you care? If you routinely drive 119 miles per day or more, than a Volt is not for you, and you are wasting your time here.

    Go elsewhere and purchase a pair of roller skates.


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    mitch

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:47 pm)

    Buy a Prius at $25000.00, or a good 10 speed for $250.00

    Where you gonna save $24,750.00.

    how about if you want car to car..cobalt XFE for 13000, where you gonna save 12000?

    Old useless big bag of bull$4it argument….


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    Larry Jenson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:49 pm)

    If you drive less than 40 miles between plugins, then all this talk about gas mileage is moot because you wont be using any gas. The gas is like a backup tank for the unplanned or planned trip beyond commuting.


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    LRGVProVolt

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:52 pm)

    As probably been said already, the mpg using gasoline is
    50 MPG! So that second 50 miles will use one gallon. Whats so difficult about that. Since EPA has the responsibility to set the MPG of all vehicles that use gasoline, they had to arrive at some methodology. GM and EPA are not pulling the wool over any ones eyes with this information. It is clearly based on statistics covering real driver habits and if read correctly give the average consumer enough information to determine what to expect his gasoline consumption will be.

    For those of us who will be driving long distances, this rating of course will not apply; the announced figure of 50 MPG in extended mode can give anyone all that is needed to plan a longer trip than an average drivers 51 mile treak into work and back home.


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    GuyMan

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    And when might I be able to buy this mythical plug-in Prius? – I’m only aware of fleet testing planned in late 2010 – I’m NOT aware of any Toyota intent to actually SELL such an animal….

    I would be all over that, but they seem completely stuck on HSD, with just a rear-guard “fleet testing” action to keep the plug-ins/BEVs at bay.. I’m even considering the A123 conversion of a G3 Prius, but that adds $10K to the car, and now we’re getting back into Volt $$ (around $32K), plus any warranty concerns.. I’d much rather spend the extra $10K on some solar panels.

    So yea, I think Toyota can DEFINITELY play the same game, and will likely get just as great numbers, I just don’t see them willing to go down the plug in path, yet – (but I’m hoping the Volt numbers, its existance, and positive press push them in that direction).. All the Volt 230 ink, has got to be annoying folks in Toyota City.

    GFA


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    LRGVProVolt

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    Yes!


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    mitch

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:54 pm)

    EV??

    When did they drop the ICE??


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    Bob G

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (4:56 pm)

    “Utopia?”

    I decided to make a spreadsheet and run the numbers for myself. I’d get 103 equivalent MPG with my current driving patterns (including commuting, errands, weekend visits, long vacations, etc.). I have a long commute 2 days per week (unlike the other 78% of drivers), but if my employer would allow me to recharge at work, my equivalent gas mileage would increase to 234 MPG. So, I think a 230 MPG claim can be reasonably justified.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that the average driver will run a spreadsheet. More likely, s/he will go on a long trip, divide miles by gallons, and complain to GM that s/he is not getting 230 MPG as advertised. That is why I think it is a much better idea for GM to stick with the simple claim of, “40 miles AER with 50 MPG after that.”


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    stas peterson

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:00 pm)

    No the EPA has a draft standard for BEVs, J 634 that tells you your mileage.

    I don’t know if it has a towing provision to pay tow truck charges; or the gasoline/diesel that they consume going to or towing your BEV to a charging port….

    Is your mileage obtained while under tow, considered mileage under your definition too? Just asking… If I had a 300 mile range BEV, with a trailer like a Class 8 semi to to haul my batteries around, it would be at a disadvantage compared to your BEV equipped with a single AAA Lithium Ion Energy Bunny cell and a few meters of range. So there has to be some standard of reasonableness there in BEVs too.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:03 pm)

    Please!!!!!! GM is just using the formula that EPA has devised to meet the letter of the law; they by law must rate each and every car that uses gasoline. As for this new type of technology, that MPG figure can range from infinity, if you don’t use the ICE extender (kudos to the owner who can just plug in over night or along his way on a long trip) or +50 MPG on extremely long trips. That figure will never drop below 50 because there will always be the 40 AER at least once (if you can’t stop along the way to charge up – I , personally, will be stopping as frequently as possible to stretch my legs, get a bit to eat, stop along the way to look at the sights, etc., etc.)


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:04 pm)

    RB,
    I like the way you think about spending OUR money. It should all go to getting those wheels on the road!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Hunh

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:04 pm)

    I think this link proves GXT’s point. There is only one article on the page that refers to Toyota lobbying the US Government and it only mentions Toyota as a customer of a small lobbying firm.


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    stas peterson

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:09 pm)

    Jake,

    GM generated the figures by measuring a VOLT using the J1711 EPA’s own draft standard. When or if they submit formal paperwork to EPA, then EPA will accept it or perhaps test the Volt themselves. By an dalrge the EPA accepts furnsihed figures but on an exception basis they audit to keep everyone honest.

    The answer that they obtain will be 230 mpge on average or thereabouts. More likely slightly better. It should also be more reproducible than most mealy mouthed EPA stickers where they add “your mileage will vary…”


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    Jeff

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:12 pm)

    The EPA appears to be distancing itself from GM’s 230 MPG EPA rating claim…

    http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1042/questions-surround-chevy-volt-fuel-economy-claim/;_ylc=X3oDMTFvbW5kZDc4BF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLXRvZGF5BHNsawNjaGV2eS12b2x0LWVjb25vbXktcXVlc3Rpb25z

    The EPA, in fact, won’t back up GM’s number. Instead, the agency released a statement reading, “EPA has not tested a Chevy Volt and therefore cannot confirm the fuel economy values claimed by GM,” though they added, “EPA does applaud GM’s commitment to designing and building the car of the future.”


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    GuyMan

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:16 pm)

    Um.. As per #24 above – it will go about 90 miles.. – 90 is nothing to sneeze at.. How may cars will travel 90 miles on 1 gal of “the Best Gasoline money can buy” – Thought so…

    So your point is? Oh.. that 90 < 230.. All that higher math, I get it now..

    As per #24, it’s way to complicated a system to attempt to distill this down to a single numbers (The fallacy of single metrics), there are too many variables/degrees of freedom in the system to attempt to distill its “goodness” down to one number

    Finally, you do know the difference between a city MPG rating and a Highway number.. Again, I’ll be impressed if the Volt gets a highway number of 50MPG, my guess is more in the 43-45 – which is mildly disappointing to me, but hey… The volt will be the 1st mass produced electric drive car, that I can buy (mass produced is a key word there).. I absolutely welcome any and all PEHV competitors (as it will just drive prices down faster, and get more PHEV’s into the market faster!)

    BTW – Is that your real name? :-0


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    Liviu

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:20 pm)

    I see here that almost everybody is talking only about how much we will spend, prices and so on. I would be interested to know how much can I drive between 2 mandatory stops if I have a full tank of gas and a fully charged battery. If it is not a long distance, a lot of people will not choose this car, unless they have a second car (but how many have 2 cars?). You cannot go on a trip if you have to exit the highway every 60-100 miles to refuel/recharge. And some people even go to work farther!
    I think this also must be taken into consideration for a complete pricing/spending compare with other cars.


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    MarkH

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:20 pm)

    This all assumes one is buying grid supplied electricity. Hawaii has the highest rate of residential PV installations in the country, precisely because of its high grid rate. Any one with solar panels on their roof is going to be considering the Volt, assuming they have any bank credit left after the solar panel installation.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:21 pm)

    I wonder if any urban Chinese drivers would like to try to get 230 mpg?
    _______________________________
    ( http://www.popeater.com/article/wto-win-could-open-chinas-door-to-us/614768 )WTO win could open China’s door to US companies

    Posted Wed, 12 Aug 2009 21:51:06 GMT

    WTO win could open China’s door to US companies.
    By BRADLEY S. KLAPPER
    ,
    AP
    posted: ONE MINUTE AGO
    comments: 0

    GENEVA -The World Trade Organization backed the United States Wednesday in a major trade battle with China, issuing a ruling that could ease tight controls and open markets for U.S. makers of everything from DVDs to books and music downloads.
    The decision came down decisively against Beijing’s policy of forcing American media producers to route their business through state-owned companies.


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:21 pm)

    Do you only drive uphill in M.C. Escher paintings?


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    DaveP

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:23 pm)

    About a year ago, 3 of us ran(t) ;) the numbers 3 different ways and concluded that 50mpg was easily possible (assuming the 40 mile electric range is accurate :)
    The numbers are related because it all boils down to energy consumed per mile.

    Quite simply, the problem with the efficiency of conventional drivetrains is that the engines themselves are running with drastically reduced efficiency as they are compromised to run at varying rpm. The voltec electric drivetrain allows for that problem to be solved pretty easily with efficiency to spare, if you like.

    http://gm-volt.com/2008/08/22/chevy-volt-still-expected-to-get-50-mpg-in-ice-mode-after-battery-depleted/#comment-60908

    I daresay someday the powerplant will be a super efficient, super clean and super cheap 2 cylinder 2 stroke diesel engine running at 500rpm. Just a tiny version of what is in diesel-electric locomotives. :)


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    MarkH

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    The Volt wait list is up about 300 names in one day. i don’t think its climbed that fast in quite awhile.


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    stas peterson

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:26 pm)

    tedm,

    By the time the Volts are becoming a significant portion of the fleet most electricity will not be generated by Coal in the US. Unless of course Clueless messes it up and tosses another spanner in the plans. Virtually none is generated with Oil. If you live in California there is no elctricty generated by coal in the entire state. But lots of electricity is imported to the oh so clean Californians just like their cars, clothes and computers, that they are too fastidious to actually make.

    Where I live, in Arizona we get lots of clean juice from nuclear and the damns on the Colorado, Verde and Salt rivers.


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    zipdrive

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:27 pm)

    Some good points GuyMan.

    I think people make the mistake of thinking the Prius and the Volt are comparable vehicles. They aren’t even in the same category.

    The Prius is a hybrid, which means it can run on either of two propulsion systems, or both combined in parallel. But it is basically a gas engine car. It uses electric motors as an ASSIST to the gas engine. On any trip, near or far, it uses gas. It rarely runs on electric alone, and only at slow speeds if at all.

    The Volt is an electric vehicle.

    It runs 100% of the time on its electric motor. There is no connection between its gas powered range-extender and the wheels. In fact, there is not even a transmission in the Volt (in the usual sense of the term). The range extender sits quietly under the hood waiting for duty as an electricity generator, to get you an additional 300+ miles if needed after the first 40 miles have depleted the batteries.

    This is the genius behind the Volt. There will never be any worries about running out of battery power. Drive as usual, anywhere, anytime. Just plug it in when you get home.

    In order for the Prius to ever compete head to head with the Volt it would need a complete redesign from the ground up, and would require all new engineering. Toyota isn’t likely to do this in the near future because they are heavily invested in the Priuse’s hybrid technology.

    The Volt is a HUGE technology leap into the future of motoring and it is simply unbelievable to many people.

    It will require a massive paradigm shift before people truly understand the implications of this new technology.

    But it will happen. And the sooner we get off foreign oil the better!


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    Bob G

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:28 pm)

    Why doubt? Why bet? The numbers are out there. Do a Google search. The “long tailpipe” argument comes up about once a day, but it’s still just as wrong.


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    Bob G

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:33 pm)

    We’ll see about that when those Leafs with dead batteries are being “scooped” up from the side of the road by tow trucks.


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    coffeetime

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:34 pm)

    I have no doubt what you say is true, but that is in a conventional drivetrain. I am unconvinced – and I’ll hold up on ordering my hat with ketchup or mustard until the reviewers get their hands on one :-) – that a ICE -> generator -> electric motor -> drive wheels carrying 400 lbs. (two adult passengers) of dead battery weight around is more efficient than the ICE -> drive wheels (and no dead weight) found in a conventional car. As I’ve stated before, if that were the case, then every carmaker should stop building conventional ICE-> drivetrain cars right now, and go with a similar Volt setup sans expensive batteries, using only a small battery to act as a load leveling buffer.

    I hold a patent for a solar heating system, and a BIG waste happens every time you convert energy from one type to another (for example, extracting heat from a black solar panel using an anti-freeze like liquid to running that liquid through a heat exchanger, where you get heated air in exchange for heated liquid). In the case of the Volt, you’re taking the mechanical energy of the ICE, converting it (via the generator) to electrical energy, and then converting it back again to mechanical energy in the drive motor. There is no debate here – you lose efficiency with each step.

    Mind you, I still think that the Volt’s use of an ICE to act as a range-extender is pure genius, and I also think that the Volt’s main selling feature will be the battery-only driving experience.

    It kind of reminds me of my Intel-powered Macintosh computer in a way. I can run Microsoft Windows and most if not all Windows software in “virtualization” mode (using a 3rd party program such as Parallels), which gives me about 90% of the native speed that Windows would return if it had booted up the Mac in Apple’s Boot Camp mode. I’ll take that 10% performance hit, because the utility of not having to reboot each time I choose to run Windows along with the ability to copy and paste (and share files) between the Mac and Windows environments is worth much more to me.

    That’s how I see the Volt. The battery mode is the raison d’être for owning it; as long as the range-extending mode is adequate, the market will probably not think twice about it.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    In order for the Prius to ever compete head to head with the Volt it would need a complete redesign from the ground up, and would require all new engineering.
    ___________________________

    Look closer at the third generation. It was redesigned.

    Now define what you actually mean by the term “compete”.

    How does that translate to production & sales volume?


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    Good point. I didn’t even think to look.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:39 pm)

    Sounds like a town hall meeting on health care reforem, LOL.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    I sorta doubt it, hehehe.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:43 pm)

    All the usual suspects. Except STATIC.

    Hmmmmm.

    Maybe he is involved in GMs marketing ploy somehow.

    Almost sounds like his work. (That is to say, brilliant.)

    LJGVWOTR


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    Steven

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:45 pm)

    If you will use no gas, why get a Volt? Wouldn’t a BEV be more appropriate?


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    Dan Petit

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:46 pm)

    I would not be very quick to conclude that if the tank was rated at 8 gallons, that all 8 gallons would be utilized to determine range, as, the last two gallons are often there to keep the fuel pump cooled. A good question would be to ask if the ER range was limited to when the “fuel low light” comes on. That would be helpful to know.

    One of my customers regularly drove here Nissan Murano to within a few miles of absolute empty, because the
    “Distance to Empty” digital readout on the center console was indeed accurate.

    At 60,455 miles, she burned out her in-tank electric fuel pump, because she always wanted to only “buy what I needed, and be efficient” by putting in only $5 to $10 of gas in at a time. (Cost out of warranty: $639.)


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    stas peterson

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:46 pm)

    Jeff,

    Please consult your friendly EPA J1634 BEV “mileage ” standard. Just as NOT all hybrids are the same, all BEVs are not either, nor as the EPA recognizes, that ALL miles are the same to an EREV or PHEV.

    EPA needs a guideline to predict whether a BEV offered for sale is a realistic vehicle too and its “fuel” economy. A BEV with a 15 mile range is NOT. One with a 40 mile range is very marginal; and one with 240 mile range probably is entirely satisfactory.

    Just as EPA’s J1711 standard predicts that the long term average City mileage for a Volt EREV is 230 mpge, II’m sur ehtat J1634 will predict a city economy for BEVs too and it won’t be infinity.

    Incidently, the J1711 docks an EREV for the efficiency of its recharging, and helps drop the Volt from from 40 to 32 mile AER. I would expect a smilar treatment on BEVs too.


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    Joe

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:46 pm)

    With GM announcing those figures to the press, (230) it doesn’t take much reasoning to figure out that, in fact, this could turn to negativity.

    GM, if you read these posts, please listen to my advice. LET THE “EPA” ANOUNCE THE NEXT RATING !! Your competitors can pull this stuff and get away with it, but you can’t !!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (5:58 pm)

    tedm,

    I don’ tknow in what world you inhabit but modern thermal power stations routinely operate at around 42% efficiency. IGCC plants can approach 60% thermal efficiency. By comparison ,an ICE is a some low 20% efficient and a diesel may reach 30% thermal efficiency.

    As Isaid before the grid is being progressively de-Carbonized as if that mattered a whit. Its much cleaner than the auto fleet and gets cleaner every day. Reductions in toxic emisssions is what really counts as well as thermal effeiciency too.


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:00 pm)

    .not to mention insight, ingenuity and gracefulness. :)


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    Rolf B

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:03 pm)

    Quote: “With the data we have and the data we shared with the EPA, from that value, they’ve created what’s called a utility factor.
    It was a snapshot in time and based on this dataset we will weight the value on an aggregated probabilistic way what the value of the EV distance is, and we’ll also weight one minus that for the charge sustaining distance.
    You go through this calculation that accounts for the fuel use and you come out with a number and the number is 230.”

    Please – read the quote above. Does it really make any sense? Not for me. I want to see an EQUATION ! With real numbers in there. Anything different is a joke and not a good one. You better do it soon because the media and bloggers will take you apart and lose the little credit you got. Haven’t you learned anything over the last 8 months? Don’t let your marketing group kill an otherwise good product.


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:04 pm)

    Rodney said “Boy there will be hell to pay when Volt owners quickly realize that they are getting nowhere near 230 miles per gallon.”
    —————————–

    Unfortunately I think you are right. Most people who figure out their gas mileage will do it the traditional way. That is, they will figure it out when they fill up their tank. They will divide the number of miles traveled on that tank by the number of gallons used to refill the tank. And most of the time they will be doing it during a trip of some sort, which means the mpg is going to be a lot lower than 230, and they will feel deceived and angry.

    I hope not, but if it happens, gm brought it on themselves by the tricky way the 230 is computed.


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    DaveP

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:05 pm)

    Agreed. Running an atkinson cycle will scorch those mpg figures.

    As I said above, the bottom line is if you believe the 40 mile electric range you can believe the 50mpg. The two are related since the energy consumed by the electric drive is 8kWh per 40 miles. The question merely becomes can you design a generator with a high enough BSFC to provide 10kWh on a gallon of gas? Yes. It can be done, today.
    (A Volkswagen TDI can create 10kWh (at the shaft) on ~2000g of (diesel) gas. Prius engine will do it in ~2250g of gas(oline). A gallon is roughly ~2650g of gas(oline). Should be no problem to do 50mpg or better).


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:09 pm)

    Yes, technically every other passenger vehicle is potential competition but 100 mile BEV are not what they should be shooting at because it is unproductive as you say and it is fruitless. For those people that want a BEV and are accepting of the range, it doesn’t matter what GM says. Those people will buy the BEV if it is available and their arguments to try to turn people is going to end up turning people still considering ICE or hybrids away from the Volt. They should be touting the versatility, efficiency, and quality of ride of the Volt. This includes the “it’s not a BEV it has unlimited gas range” argument.

    I just don’t want to hear the FUD. I didn’t like it in Frank Weber’s post here and don’t like it in the other places I’ve seen it from GM. There are enough options coming available in the 2011 timeframe that much more of this and GM will loose me as a customer for good. The Volt is a last chance for them and loosing their BS corporate ways of the past is part of the deal for me.


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    RB

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:12 pm)

    Joe — you are giving gm some good advice. They are very exposed on this one.


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:19 pm)

    I think this as good of a place as any

    I suggest you read the presentation Nasaman links to in several places.

    The Issue here is not whether or not EPA can design a test for the Volt, but how it can create a test to adquately measure the performance of a wide range of cars.

    For example, the Two-Mode Plug-In Vue will not operate similar to the Volt, it will blend electric energy into driving until the battery is depleted. How can we adequate measure this?

    I have no Issue with claiming 230 MPG provided that the Miles per kWh for the same testing cycle are also present (My best guess is ~ 5.5 Miles/kWh)

    This should allow a consumer to calculate thier cost for driving a wide vareity of automobile options

    IE, 1/230 x Price of Gas + 1/5.5 x Price of kWh = Price per Mile for the Volt

    and Maybe the Vue Plug-in Hybrid is 75 MPG and 20 miles per kWh

    so 1/75 x Price of Gas + 1/20 x Price of kWh= Prece per Mile for Vue

    So my cost per mile for the Volt is 0.028 dollars/mile and the Vue Plug-in is 0.044 dollars/mile -on the same test-.

    Otherwise to compare these two cars based on 40 miles Electric Range and 50 mpg (Volt) versus 10 miles Electric Range, maybe further with blend, and 30 MPG afterwards… I have to create my own personal schedule and run the numbers for each car.

    EPA guidelines were developed so people could compare similar cars -without- having to create thier own personal testing methods.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:19 pm)

    You are right. So many people don’t know today’s cars. A) “Assist” is a Honda Civic Hybrid or Insight term. Those 2 can never drive on battery only. B) The new Prius has actually a selector switch on the dash. When switched to electric the car runs only on battery. However, for how long I have not figured out yet. Next year Toyota will add a bigger battery and a Plug-in connector. That should put the Prius on par with the Volt. BTW: I wouldn’t mind a Volt without gas engine and a slightly bigger battery. Would be my perfect commute car.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:19 pm)

    Tery K,

    You are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    An average driver who commutes the average distance per day will, over a suitable span of a few weeks or a month average around 230 mpge in a Volt. That realistic and useful number is what the EPA is going out of its way to calculate. That is reasonable number,likely much closer to Reality than any present EPA sticker number.

    It comes about because the FIRST Forty miles, any day is all electric and only the balance per day is gasoline propelled. When you add up a month’s worth of driving you will find a lot more electric miles driven than gasoline miles driven and the average will converge on or about 230 mpge. Other PHEVs can be measured by the same standard, and WILL be.

    And no GM didn’t give the EPA anything other than its single vote on the J1711 standards committee. The average driver miles per day was developed and commonly used at UC Davis and the EIA more than a decade ago.


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    Newman

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:23 pm)

    This whole exercise seems utterly ridiculous, an advertising gimmick only, which I believe will backfire (no pun intended).

    A car only uses gas when it’s running on gas for goodness sake.
    It would be nice to see some basic common sense.

    How about any 25-year-old gas-guzzler that’s travelled over 300,000 miles without using one single watt of electricity.
    Or a Stanley steamer that could run for over 1 million miles per gallon of gas.

    You don’t measure your home clothes dryer in hours per gallon; because it’s electric! Same for Electric cars.

    The simplest system for people to understand during transition for these types of vehicle would be an Energy Star rating for all new cars and/or an Emission Star rating – the more stars the better etc.

    At the very least for any BEV or EREV Average real cost per mile or “average” running $ cost per week/month/year would be a more honest/realistic and useful gauge.

    The Volt is a dual energy vehicle and should be rated in Wh/mile for the electric component and Mpg on gas – Simple.

    I agree these 230mpg figures are an attention grabber, but when “real world” figures come out at perhaps 40-50mpg when the car is actually running on gas, credibility will be lost and these 230mpg fudged figures are simply going to look dishonest/deceptive. But then I guess advertising isn’t actually about telling it straight is it.


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    DaveP

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:24 pm)

    coffeetime,

    Converting HEAT is terribly inefficient. Converting other types of energy isn’t necessarily so bad. Increasing the efficiency of the thermal conversion in the engine is going to be the most important thing you can do for increasing overall efficiency. That’s what the electric drivetrain lets you do. A CVT should let you do it, too, but in practice it just hasn’t delivered so well. Probably because the car companies haven’t really changed the engine to match. However for an example, the prius does change its engine to atkinson cycle, though. It’s electric drive is basically an electric controlled planetary CVT and they’re getting that system up to 50mpg.


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    Eliezer

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:28 pm)

    I agree. I think the formula for picking the annual BCS football Champion makes more sense than this.


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    Van

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:31 pm)

    Overall the Volt gets 4 miles per kWh, so overall, its 8 kwH AER is 32 miles. But that is a blend of city mileage and highway mileage. Now if the Volt has a 40 mile AER both in the city and the highway, but gets overall 4 miles per kWh, it seem to me the 8 kWh SOC window has been expanded to 10 kWh.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:31 pm)

    I suggest you read that presentation carefully and think wider than just the Volt automobile.

    Think of the Two-Mode Buick Vue Plug-in

    Or the Variety of Conversion Plug-ins

    Or the Prius plug-in. Or the variety of other Electric/Hybrid type automobiles.

    Its just so happens that since GM decided to provide the average range based on EPA/Driving data that they have the perfect plug-in to match the tests performed using such data as the baseline.

    But, as I read Nasaman’s presentation, the Prius Plug-in will be run through the same testing methodology and the same distances as the Volt Plug-in and be given a number than we can compare to the Volt Plug-in. IE a Prius Plug-in may acchieve 100 miles per gallon on this schedule and I as a cosumer can understand that following normal driving schedules, I will use less than half the gas with a Volt in comparison to a Prius Plug-in.

    Thats the real key here. 230 MPG is achieved on a test that will be applied to Volt’s main compeditors (Other PHEVs, but I think the same test when applied to an ICE car should return the ICE’s 2008 EPA City figure) and Average Joe won’t need to do alot of number crunching to understand how different EV ranges and methods will affect his end fuel bill.

    I add I would like the Miles/kWh for the same test as well. This will truely allow comparison between automobiles that make varying usages of Electricity and Gasoline.


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    Shock Me

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:32 pm)

    Range with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas will be between 340-440 miles


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:33 pm)

    We start with the Volt going 32 miles as an EV (the 25 kWh per 100 mile number).

    That’s not accurate.

    The 25 kWh per 100 mile number is for Wall to Wheels. That tells us that there’s a 20% loss of power from the wall to the battery. We’re still talking about 8 KWH from the battery for 40 miles.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:44 pm)

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:46 pm)

    GM top scientist doe not believe this, so what do you expect? They have no credibility and oh, yeah, there is already reports that they can’t deliver this ballyhoo on time and battery scientists at Warren Tech Center are depressed, especially the gentleman who revealed that customers have to buy a 2nd battery.

    Check here: http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/08/11/report-gm-admits-volt-concerns-to-u-s-treasury/

    Now it the technical analysis:
    Any production vehicle should meet certain qualification before production to avoid mass recall and liability lawsuit. Since Volt can go either EV or powered indirectly by ICE. So GM should test a bunch of cars in two extremes: Purely EV or gas-powered by gasoline for 100,000 miles. The first extreme CAN’T be tested thoroughly before 11/2010, here is why: Assume you charge the battery in 6h (fast charge not favored as it shortens battery life) and immediately drive 40 miles, 3 times a day, then one day you can only drive 120 miles. From now to 11/2010, the total mileage is 54,000 miles. ( 3 * 4* 15 * 30 =54,000 miles)

    Folks: read this carefully, there is NO way GM Volt team can test this car for 100,000 miles using the EV mode, if they produce this car by then, they will NOT have good confidence that this battery will last 100,000 miles using EV mode (Tree huggers in California will try this). Because “simulated” driving in a battery test chamber can’t represent the actual driving, so GM will produce a product highly prone to defect and subject to mass recall later on, or they will HAVE to delay this. And that is why someone from GM doubt the viability of this project from day one!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:48 pm)

    “78% of drivers would get about 230 miles per gallon in their daily driving, how many miles a day do you anticipate driving. You could expect to get x mileage each day you plugged in and drove that distance, according to my chart.”

    That wasn’t so hard was it? Anyone that can hold a job could be taught to do it.


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    Roger Ramjet

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:53 pm)

    R U Mad. The EPA has NEVER EVER got anything right. You have truly lost your way.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:54 pm)

    He got it scientifically just like the EPA. He made it up! Using (of course) a representative survey of daily driving in the US completed in 2001.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:56 pm)

    ummmm

    look at the past threads..the volts warraty on the battery is 10 years..so I imagie the cost for the battery for the first ohh 120 months to be um..like..ZERO!?!?!

    look at the nissan lease vs volt buy thread… way long flogged dead horse here folks..nothing to see..move along


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    evnow

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:56 pm)

    Still looking for a decent explanation of 230 mpg that doesn’t confuse or mislead a non-technical person.

    “Over the year, an average American drives 15,000 miles. If she charges the car everyday, we expect her to be able to drive those 15,000 mile using just 65 gallons of gas – for an average of 230 miles per gallon” ?

    Hope GM finds a good way to convey this – instead of hyping the number than can easily mislead an avg person.


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    Jack Hole

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:57 pm)

    Obviously you don’t know anything about the firmware that turn on the ICE. Indeed in many instances it WILL come on without being in range-extender mode. Your credibility (if you had any to begin with) has been lost. So many clueless people on this site. Geeesh.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (6:58 pm)

    “In the case of the Volt, you’re taking the mechanical energy of the ICE, converting it (via the generator) to electrical energy, and then converting it back again to mechanical energy in the drive motor. There is no debate here – you lose efficiency with each step.”

    Yes, but keep in mind a standard Mechanical Drivetrain includes Gearbox/Transmission Losses as well.

    A normal automatic transmission will lose anywhere from 10% to 20% of the energy comming out of the engine. Manual transmission are a little better, but still consume near to (and greater than) 10%

    I think of it like this. Engine (VOLT) –> Generator will be essentially the same as Engine (ICE) –> Transmission. Tesla gets figures of 92% and greater in Steady State for Battery –> Wheels. If GM gets similar numbers of Generator –> Wheels, all the engine (VOLT) needs to be is 8-10% more efficient to acchieve the same as the engine (ICE) in Engine –> Wheels. The engine will supposedly power a similar car at highway speeds at ~45 mpg. I bet we are looking at 40+ and would not be surprized at 50+. The only real question is exactly where GM set the maximum efficieny point of the component.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:01 pm)

    I too am in the HVAC field an understand the inefficiencies you talk about, but then you also know the best efficinecy is in a steady state, with no stops / starts.

    Lets do lunch when we find out..over 40 you eat teh fedora..under I’ll eat teh touque (Canadian eh?)

    lol


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:03 pm)

    And let me add to this that since not all ICE, Hybrid, Plug-ins, or Electrics work the same way it becomes impossible for the average consumer to compare a wide variety of cars to each other.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:14 pm)

    “Either the UF is very high or the Volt gets super mpg on the urban drive cycle or both.”

    UF is very high. Not really a shock.

    Remember when GM stated they chose the 40 mile because like 78% of people drive less than this as a daily commute?

    The same (or very similar) numbers GM used to get to 40 miles was used to derive the Utilily Factor by exampling average driving habits of people in 2001.

    GM is essentially in perfect position for this new test, and I expect if the same test is applied to other Plug-In Hybrids, the Volt will demolish them in MPG calculations.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    Jarhead Marine, something must have ruined your outlook on life. You have terrible opinion of others and their motives.

    You are no representative of the Marines.

    I suggest you get help of some sort.


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    LRGVProVolt

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:27 pm)

    EPA is required by law to supply every automobile manufacture with estimated MPG to be posted on the sale sticker of every gasoline burning vehicle which the Volt although electric driven is! Therefore, they had to devise a formula to represent the figure for this unique technology. GM will be selling the Volt in very short time but can not do so unless EPA suppies them with this information.

    If we want to fault anyone here it should be EPA. IMHO, no one can be faulted yet! The formula is proposed at this time and not official yet. It does get us excited in the current economic condition.

    Taken on face value, the method EPA has used to relate the to power methods definitely has caught the interest of everyone posting her and on many blogs. This, I am pleased with. Its about time that the consumers of this country hear about the Volt. All to many people have given me a quizzical look when I mention it. As for Nissan Leaf, how an BEV gets MPG is beyond me. The two types of vehicles should not be compared on this basis except for addressing the problem of an exhausted battery. IMHO, Voltec technology is far more advanced than BEV. Eventually, battery technology will increase the AER to a point where the extender ICE will no longer be needed. Until that time comes, the Volt is a huge game changer. I often travel around 150 miles, one way, and would gladly make the trip in a Volt. The Volt is not just for city/urban travel; it is not just a town car! I agree that it is not a car that most would want for cross country trips but it will go a lot further than just 40 miles AER and still be an efficient vehicle for trips outside the city.


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    coffeetime

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (7:43 pm)

    I seem to recall a snowmobile that was going to employ a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but I haven’t seen much else take hold in the vehicle arena. If running an engine at a constant speed and using other methods – be it a CVT or an electric generator – gave you a material increase in efficiency with no “side effects” (for example, is running an engine at the same RPM really all that good for it over the long haul?)

    But I’ll return to my central argument and add one more – First, if it is such a great idea, why haven’t the car manufacturers all embraced it? It’s not as if it is dependent on new battery technology, since you’d only need a small battery for load buffering. And second, if we’re talking about Prius-like mileage for running a Volt in extended-range mode, why would GM be so secretive about it? They certainly want the 230 MPG number out there in the public’s face, and if these pre-production Volts are coming of the assembly lines, I’d think that the technicals are pretty much locked in by now. I also seem to recall a comment from someone working on the Volt that, while he couldn’t disclose the actual number, it was “way over 30 MPG.” Hmm. That might be 37, 38, 39? If not, why not say it was “way over 40 MPG?

    But like I said, we will all know when we know. It’s fun to speculate, though!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:04 pm)

    you inverted one of your calculations

    3.6/40 $3.60 per 40 miles = $0.09 per mile

    I’m not sure the third calculation is even relevant but using your formula I come up with 35.55 MPG

    Based on your fuel price if you ran the Volt on gas only:
    3.2/50 $3.20 per 50 miles = $0.06 per mile

    This summer in my state electricity was $0.13 per kWh

    or 1.56/40 or $0.03 per mile

    Gas is currently $2.50 per gallon here
    2.5/50 = $2.50 per 50 miles = $0.05 per mile

    So for me the charging all night gets me the miles of $2.00 worth of gas for $1.56 a savings of $0.44

    All of this assumes we have a car that gets 50 MPG and that we are charging 12 kWh to get 40 miles of range. None of these numbers have been confirmed.

    But it sounds like any high mileage ICE would work for you. Do you drive a lot of miles when you live on an island?


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:08 pm)

    No. Because there are times when I would exceed a BEV’s AER. Like when I visit my family


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    Shock Me

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:12 pm)

    I’m guessing that was directed at someone else because I only want the MPG in charge sustaining mode confirmed.


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    texas

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:14 pm)

    I guess we will see. We will then understand why we don’t have such Volt-like drivetrains on the market today. Just strip out the expensive batteries and you would have a super efficient system. No? Why not do that? Reason: it’s less efficient. Sorry but that’s reality. Also, for electric bikes, why not do away with that inefficient and dirty chain (you say) and attach a small generator to the pedals? Reason: it’s less efficient.

    Yes, reality bites.


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    JEC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    This site is getting to big. I have not the time nor patience to read all these posts.

    Hmmmm…..


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    Mr. Pickles

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    the new Prius goes 2 miles a slow speeds in electric only mode.


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    texas

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:17 pm)

    “I daresay someday the powerplant will be a super efficient, super clean and super cheap 2 cylinder 2 stroke diesel engine running at 500rpm. Just a tiny version of what is in diesel-electric locomotives. ”

    Exactly. We already have such systems. If they were more efficient they would already be in our cars. It’s not like mechanical engineers have missed the boat. The systems are just less efficient (see detailed explanation in the forums).


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    texas

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:19 pm)

    “Somebody needs to go back to Engineering School. Please step away from your computer.”

    Sadly, it is you, Roger, that will be sitting there scratching your head as to why the mechanical system gets better gas mileage. Not me.


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    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:23 pm)

    I bet there will be 5-6 gasoline/electricity comsumption (MPG?) benchmarks for electric cars, E-REVs and hybrids in a few years like you see with computer parts on review websites like http://www.anandtech.com. I’m sure we’ll see head to head matchups of a GM car vs. a Toyota (or whatever) like they do with Intel vs. AMD.

    GM and the rest of the auto industry will be in an INTENSE competition to top each other for the next 30 years like AMD and Intel have. Some really nice cars will probably come out of this competition. That’s good for us car buyers. I hope GM is gearing up for this new global competition. It’s like a full sprint all the time in the IT industry. GM better get used to the same thing.

    GM has a pretty good head start in the next generation vehicles. They better take advantage of it. Strategies and tactics are important. Everything matters. PR, marketing, the company’s image …. all that stuff. Hopefully, in 2011, the Volt is going to make GM look really good like Apple is these days.


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    texas

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:28 pm)

    Carcus1, You got it.

    “GM’s avoidance of revealing mpg once the battery is depleted of grid charge is a very important point. This number will give us a good idea of weather series hybrid technology is viable without the plug.”

    My point is if the gen / motor system is so efficient, why not drop the battery (or use a tiny, high-power ultra cap) and go with that? Reason: It’s less efficient than a mechanical system.

    Once again, I’m for the series hybrid Voltec system. It has serious advantages, just not highway driving efficiency after depletion.


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    texas

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    coffeetime says it all right here. Why does this not make sense to the posters here? It’s very logical.

    “coffeetime Reply:
    August 12th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I have no doubt what you say is true, but that is in a conventional drivetrain. I am unconvinced – and I’ll hold up on ordering my hat with ketchup or mustard until the reviewers get their hands on one – that a ICE -> generator -> electric motor -> drive wheels carrying 400 lbs. (two adult passengers) of dead battery weight around is more efficient than the ICE -> drive wheels (and no dead weight) found in a conventional car. As I’ve stated before, if that were the case, then every carmaker should stop building conventional ICE-> drivetrain cars right now, and go with a similar Volt setup sans expensive batteries, using only a small battery to act as a load leveling buffer.”


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    Edwin Mang

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:38 pm)

    Well well if the goverment is not going to help get this going the power company’s are loosing usage and want more to keep the plants running and I know of 250,000 that can afford and will buy if there is some tax break so there will not be just a break even the first year .
    $40,000 is out side my current budget but I have high hope that I will get gen two or three .

    but then if wishes were horses we would all ride except me I can not stay on a horse to long my back hurts to much .

    God Bless
    Tiger


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    carcus1

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:47 pm)

    Ummmmmm,

    do you think that warranty comes for free?


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    PattoFromAus

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (8:50 pm)

    Ok… All I want to know is, once the volt is in charge sustaining mode with the ICE on, roughly how far can I drive on the highway from 1 gallon of gas. (In Aus we work in L/km but I can convert)

    So, if I drive a 250km trip – 50km pure electric (as a guess) then I am left to travel 200km in charge sustaining mode. How much petrol will I need to travel that distance with the ICE running. Once I know that, then I can calculate myself what my MPG would be both city and highway.

    Any idea?


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    Dan Petit

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:00 pm)

    JEC at 8:15pm,

    One of the things about success is increasing bigness.
    But maybe Lyle’s programmers can get us our post times in bigger “green” numbers, so we can scroll quickly up and down to see who we can talk to.

    I really like the improvements to the voting. Somehow there seems to be a better statistical standard-interval in the numerical-distributions of votes that are more in line with commentaries, and not as apparently skewed as it seemed to have been in the past.

    On the Volt MPG formulations, it would not surprise me to see even
    ********************
    FAR BETTER
    ********************
    numbers even higher than the 230. This is because of all the new WAYS that GM can now quickly apply NEW SOFTWARE changes for all the existing equipment to
    ****************************
    IMMEDIATELY ADAPT
    ****************************
    to take complete advantage of any ADDITIONAL breakthrough which may come along in the next 14 short months for VOLTec.

    I used to make slight alterations to some calling code that I had designed for my small company back in the mid 1980′s (which was used for the old 3.5″ microdisk-distribution and quick updating of 14 e-books of 256 auto parts failure educational abstracts, called, “The Auto Parts Datasystem”).
    Although I do not write lengthy subroutines at all, I can generally make sense of the lines of code if there are comment lines ahead of subroutines in the source code.

    The things that really have me breathless regarding the Volt is that there are hundreds of incredible software improvement opportunities that are now available to all levels of GM engineering that E-REV makes available. These sorts of opportunities are not at all available with the excessively wide power curve demands of ICE/Transmission propulsion.

    While skepticism worldwide (and, competing OEM’s have an extremely strong NEED to appear skeptical), all other OEM’s ought not to be only merely QUITE WORRIED about VOLTec, but,
    ****************************
    HONESTLY PETRIFIED
    ****************************
    if they are not now on a dedicated course to build models of E-REV as is GM.


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    Rooster

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:07 pm)

    Do the calculation yourself. If the Volt has a 40 mile EV range, and the gets 50 MPG in charge sustaining mode, then the equation fo r the MPG equilvalent (MPGe) for any distance travel is:

    MPGe = Distance Traveled / ((Distance Traveled – 40) / 50)

    For Example, if you drive 60 miles, the MPGe is:

    MPGe = 60 / ((60 – 40) / 50) = 60 / (20 / 50) = 60 / 0.4 = 150


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    Rooster

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:12 pm)

    If you want to get 230 MPGe in the Volt, then you need to drive exactly 51.11 miles:

    MPGe = 230 = 51.11 / ((51.11 – 40) / 50)


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    S-PHEV

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:21 pm)

    Compare Tesla Roadster sport Electric Vehicle with a very low weight and very low drag, gets, City 29kW-hour per 100miles (24-34kWh); HWY 32kW-hour per 100miles (27-37kWh). Based on EPA energy consumption information for real Electric Vehicles.
    GM claims the Chevy Volt will be rated as 25kW-hour per 100 miles in the City.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/18503065/GM-claims-Volts-230-mpg-based-on-25kWh-per-100mile-Marketing-Propaganda


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    koz

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:23 pm)

    Coffeetime, it seems you are recalling somewhat selectively. GM personnel was asked if the Volt would achieve 30mpg in charge sustaining mode and the answer was as you remeber.

    Can you point me in the direction of an inexpensive battery that will provide 100kw of power for short bursts, @2kwh of energy for speedy hill climbing, and will do so for 10 years. The Prius doesn’t get 50mpg solely or even primarily because it’s wheels are mechanically driven. The primary improvements are from regen braking, aerodynamics, and modified atkinson cycle. All of which the Volt is or can utilize. The larger battery also gives GM the opportunity to choose to utilize the ICE more efficiently.

    The questions are:
    How low did they make the CdA?
    What thermodynamic cycle are they using and how efficiently are they utilizing it?


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    Dave K.

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:27 pm)

    I believe the “real number” ICE mpg for the Volt is 56. The information we have right now states that the new Volt-like Cruze car is expected to attain high 30′s in mpg. This is with the 1.4L gasoline engine powering the wheels at all times.

    If we take the Cruze and place it on a flat surface. Then operate the 1.4L gasoline engine at a steady 2200 rpm (Volt car rpm). What mpg will result?

    The answer: A heck of a lot more than 40 mpg. Easily 50 mpg.

    ___________________________

    The Volt “real number” using battery power depends on the drivers cost per charge. This being as low as 150mpg/c (highest cost U.S. State at noon?) and as high as 5000mpg/c (windmill ~ solar ~ hydro ~ opportunity).

    ___________________________

    Here’s another way to look at it. Base the mpg on cents per mile rather than on the gallons burned. Use $3.83 as a constant for cost of a (would be) gallon of gasoline.

    Here are a few established CITY ratings:

    2007 Silverado 18mpg = 3.83/18 or 21 cents per mile

    2007 Accord 21mpg = 3.83/21 or 18 cents per mile

    2007 Cobalt 23mpg= 3.83/23 or 16 cents per mile

    1996 Geo Metro 33mpg= 3.83/33 or 11 cents per mile

    2007 Yamaha 600 motorcycle 50mpg= 3.83/50 or 7 cents per mile

    2011 Volt 60 miles (with re gen) cost $1 recharge = 3.83 x 60 = 230mpg

    230 mpg= 3.83/230= 2 cents per mile

    I apologize to those who are sick of seeing equations.

    =D~


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    Eat This Pie

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:32 pm)

    If I ever get a Chevy Volt, it will be getting about 1,000 MPG because I almost never drive over 40 miles in a day. More days than not, the car would be driven about 8 miles total a day. Some days, it is about 34 miles total.

    I put on less than 10,000 miles a year onto the Highlander, as a family, so I don’t think that’s too far fetched to squeeze 1000 MPG out of a Volt.

    If, instead of the Volt, I had a BEV with 100 mile range I would never use a drop of gasoline or E85 Ethanol for my commuting, shopping, or entertainment or fun. Infinity MPG.

    Either way, sign me up!


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:47 pm)

    Coffeetime

    A few points

    Cost is always a concern. If initial increased cost is not offset in a reasonable time, the efficieny gains are typically not deamed worthwhile. In your snowmobile example, not many would pay several hundred more for a snowmobile that is 10% more efficient. Same holds true for car areas.

    But something that is not really widely covered is that to buffer the engine in the way a serial hybrid does, you need an electric power source of sufficient power, for the Volt, in Charge Sustaining mode, this would be ~60kW. In PHEV mode, this would be ~120 kW. If the battery is not up to that power output, then the whole system does not work. It is easier to make a reliable/durable battery have that type of power output if the battery has a large capacity. This is primary reason I think there is not the 20 mile AER Volt. Consider the Buick Vue Plug-in that has a top power output for the hefty Lithium Ion pack… its what? 10 kWh? But that battery is not capable of fully accerating the Vue or providing Steady State power output at highway speeds.

    Quite simply, to create the 150 hp Serial Hybrid car, requires Lithium Ion battery sizes of 8kWh (no AER mode) to around 12 kWh (AER capable). GM sizing the battery pack high to provide overhead so at year 10, the battery pack is still capable of supplying the power for 150 hp in AE mode.

    This costs like crazy. Volt is estimated at 40,000+ and thats with generous government loans. Sales would be dismal without the proposed 7,500 dollar tax credit (consider this another gift to GM). Doesn’t seem like a risk many car makers would be all over without dramatic government support.

    I think GM is not being secretive so much as trying to keep information close until they have the adequate numbers to prevent them from being mis-used.

    For example, lets for the sake of argument say that 50 mpg is the Serial Hybrid CSM number. Many newspaper/journalists would decry the Volt as the 40,000 dollar Prius, completely ignoring the fact that for most drivers, the Volt will use more like 230 mpg.

    Now that the “offical” EPA methodolgy for rating PHEV and Hybrids has been announced, GM can effectively say, Hey, on EPA testing the Volt gets 230 mpg, 200 wh (plug)/mile. Prius gets 50 mpg, 0 wh (plug)/mile. If you have to drive long distances you get 50 mpg, same as the Prius.


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    jdsv

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:48 pm)

    I really shouldn’t feed the troll, but bad science (or bad/non-existent maths in the name of science) gets under my skin something awful.

    So, Texas, I’m not [out loud] going to assume you’re wrong. Would you be terribly gracious and provide us with some of your numbers to prove your 30mpg case? OR, being generous, prove why it’s not possible to achieve 45+mpg with this system? There are many engineers on here, myself included, that suspect you may be shooting from the hip (or perhaps a tad bit lower) on this and here’s your fair chance to show everyone how brilliant you are.

    NPNS. =D~~~


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:53 pm)

    Let me add from the presentation, it would appear ANL is suggesting the SAE J1711 cycle be used for all Hybrids; mild, strong, plug-in, and E-REV.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:56 pm)

    Jim in PA
    So your #4 would be like the “current” Energy Star rating with one of those slidey scale thingies. Right?
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:57 pm)

    Yeah, increasing AER OR Charge Sustating MPG will result in better and better MPG figures. Increasing AER will increase the MPG but will also increase the wh (plug)/mile. Using better engine technology will increase the MPG and leave the wh (plug)/mile the same showing the cost savings of better MPG. Leaving the AER the same, but increasing the electric component’s efficient (decreasing battery size) will leave MPG the same and decrease wh (plug)/mile.

    Each type of efficieny technology will be rewards in the sticker.


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    Irzan Sabba

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (9:58 pm)

    It is top secret from GM because the number is probably as low as 30-40, as suggested by Ford Motor Company a few month ago!


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:01 pm)

    EVO,
    The pdf file has been posted 3 of the last 5 days. Isn’t it the formula used to come up with the 230 mpg? If not, what WAS used? And no one has been able to explain (well enough to penetrate my thick skull) how the LEAF gets an mpg (367) when it uses no “g”.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:05 pm)

    Read the ANL proposals and do a google search.

    ANL has in the past, I don’t know the final proposal, proposed this rating system for PHEV and Hybrids

    #1
    Typical Driving Pattern Miles/Gasoline Used on Driving Pattern
    #2
    kWh at Plug (IE charged to you)/Typical Driving Pattern Miles
    #3
    Miles per Gallon HWY, No Electric Assist

    In this sytem, a driver can compare different operting PHEV and Hybrids cars on an average cycle, and understand what a long trip milage would be…

    Remember, the EPA system is not ment to say what you will spend on fuel, but provide a basis for you to compare similar cars.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:07 pm)

    gieso,
    Congrats! Now if we can just get the Production Volt’s numbers up and the price down (both of which I think will happen before the “official” production release) we’ll be all set!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:11 pm)

    I wonder what the Volt would get without the generator. Given the areo emphasis, it may well exceed the LEAF (but then loses it’s biggest strength). Shrug.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    jdsv

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:12 pm)

    Texas, please listen – there is non-magical science and engineering involved here and you’re making yourself look silly. You are a valued contributor to this site, so stop before you say something truly asinine.

    To put it simply (forgive me all for the unquantified explanations ahead): saying mechanical > electrical is truly, utterly ignorant. There is a reason folks don’t put rotary engines in tractors, flywheels on motorcycles, or hydraulic drives on automobiles. Have these been researched and attempted? YES. Did they work? YES. Did they do a better job? NO. The system must fit the task, and electrical fits dynamic human propulsion.

    I know what you’re saying : there are efficiency losses when transferring from a FULL ICE system through a battery to electric motors. Yes, of course there are. But take out the battery and you get a _different system_. The battery provides a buffer to allow the mechanical system to run at maximum efficiency all the time. That introduces a dramatic increase in efficiency, both thermodynamically and in energy demand/consumption. Plugging in your 5% electrical losses and system weight, ignoring axle-drive inefficiencies and braking regeneration and you STILL end up on top. The hold-up? It costs more. Plants are tooled for this, supply chains aren’t in place for all-electric accessories (which, by the way, are more efficient than PTO & air systems), and manufacturers will still sell cars without this hassle.

    Until now.

    NPNS!!! =D~~~


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:13 pm)

    AND MODESTY!!!!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:17 pm)

    Jarhead,
    We don’t KNOW how much the Volt will cost. That won’t be announced until a few months before it’s release. It may well be less than the figure being thrown around now by GM. Under-promise, over-deliver.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:19 pm)

    Shock Me,
    If not the gas stations, then the sheiks.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:23 pm)

    Zenn will be next. Right after EEStor gets back to them. (g).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!**********NPNS!


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:27 pm)

    Amen. Though I hope there are few changes that NEED to happen in the next 14 months!
    Be well,
    Tagamet
    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:28 pm)

    http://www.che.ncsu.edu/ILEET/phevs/plug-in_2008/2A-2_PHEV%20Testing.pdf

    See Slide 18 for an earlier equation.

    If we assume Volt’s MPG out of AER is 50 miles per gallon, 230 would be reached with a Utility Factor of around ~0.70 which equates to a AER of 50 miles… but on what cycle?

    Conversly, 40 AER Utility factor of 0.63 requires the outside AER mpg to be 62 mpg. Potentially a believable number of the city cycle…. but its not mentioned which cycle will be used.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:31 pm)

    Eat this Pie,
    Put up some solar panels or a wind turbine and you’d be literally, home FREE (though you’d need 2 Volts to carry a Highlander load of people).
    Be well,
    Tagamet
    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  371. 371
    Dave K.

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:35 pm)

    Rodney,

    People who feather foot hybrids routinely achieve 20% – 40% more mpg than is advertised on the EPA sticker. The drivers behind them don’t like it, but people do it all the time. Same with the Volt.

    Mathematics state that the 230 mpg city rating is based on a 40-60 city miles battery range (depending on the price of a gallon of electric gasoline equivalent). This demonstrates that there is no winnable law suit happening here.

    I think most people will be very happy with 2 cents cost per city mile driven. This being 3 times better than a 600cc motorcycle. Or half the cost of a small scooter.

    yes we can?

    =D~


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    steel

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:40 pm)

    I would reserve judgement on that.

    It takes considerable power to push even a Prius at highway speeds. Peak for the US06 testing cycle is above 60kw for most cars.

    Higher power batteries cost more and are less reliable than the same capacity lower power batteries.

    I think the reason why PHEV Prius has been estimated at prices so high is that Toyota understands the cost of providing those batteries…. so PHEV Prius may be on equal footing with the Volt… including a hefty surplus over a standard Prius


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    texas

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (10:41 pm)

    Yes, of course I’m shooting a bit from the hip (often called making assumptions) because we don’t have all the specifications but just go to the forum section and I have it all there. There’s a lively discussion going on, as you can imagine.

    Feel free to sign up and give it your best shot. The more engineers giving their opinions the better. Don’t be afraid, I won’t rip you too much. ;)


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    texas

     

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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:02 pm)

    “jdsv Reply:

    Texas, please listen – there is non-magical science and engineering involved here and you’re making yourself look silly. You are a valued contributor to this site, so stop before you say something truly asinine.”

    lol. Don’t worry, things have been a bit low lately and I don’t mind spicing things up and risking putting my foot in my mouth.

    I do understand that the ICE can be ran in a very efficient mode but will this work well in practice? Will this happen for Volt V1.0? Maybe a few software and hardware generations later they can make up for the efficiency losses. I hope so but I stand by my prediction that the Volt will get less than 30 mpg when traveling at 70 mph for long distances. Again, I have my arguments posted in the forum section.

    I also disagree with your assessment that the reason we don’t have ICE/generator/motor drivetrains is due to this or that (yeah, what you posted). I feel we don’t have them because they have proved to be less efficient. Simple, eh?

    It has not stopped diesel-electric locomotives from using such a system. It works great and has loads of advantages. For cars? Not so much. Will the addition of a large battery make it so? Yes, I think it does. That’s why I still love the Voltec idea. I just don’t think the Volt will break that 30 mpg figure detailed above. If I turn out to be right will you write a retraction? If I’m wrong (after I personally test it) I will.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:06 pm)

    Great effort Steel and I agree the EPA is trying to create a methodology that generates MPG numbers that are comparable to ICE only as well as a wide variety of EVs. The problem is that all electric operation cost is drastically different from ER operation cost. There is no single MPG number that can be accurate for all driver or even the majority of drivers. Each individual driver will have to apply their driving schedule in order to get an accurate picture of what their gas usage and electrical charge usage will be. Unless they happen to fall in the narrow band around the average driving schedule the EPA’s methodolgy equates too, there is no way around applying ones individual driving pattern.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:14 pm)

    There are 4 variables at play here and we can’t fairy dust 2 of them away.


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:31 pm)

    He makes very logical and accurate statements about a portion of the picture. Why does the rest of the picture keep gtiing ignored? If GM fumbles their way into no ICE efficiency improvements over the Prius, they will still be within 10% of Prius’ mileage. What do you presume the generator to PEM to traction motor to wheel efficiency will be?


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    Aug 12th, 2009 (11:54 pm)

    Finally, some correct perspectives on this thread. 230 mpg, although not pulled out of thin air, is mainly important for marketing. There are too many engineers on this site who, like myself, prefer a more nuanced measure of efficiency. We are being unreasonable wanting to force everyone else to use that measure. The general public does not seem to understand/ want nuance. Quoting these high MPG numbers is the only way to convey how good the Volt is and get people excited. Claiming 40 miles AER, though more important than 230 mpg city, never crashed this site. GM will give the kWhr/100 miles, etc, for those who want more accurate efficiency measures.

    Environmentalists will complain that MPGe is not used for electric power. However most people don’t care much about how much petroleum equivalent was used to give them electricity and the real number will vary tremendously from region to region. They care how many of actual gallons of gas they need. We already know the Volt will have less emissions/ etc and that is all most people need know. Besides the EPA will state the Volt’s MPGe for those who care.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:00 am)

    From the article: So in the calculation of the label … the EPA used a traffic survey that was done in 2001 to create a composite. They looked an an aggregate sample of the population and how far they drove in a day. With the data we have and the data we shared with the EPA, from that value, they’ve created what’s called a utility factor… You go through this calculation that accounts for the fuel use and you come out with a number and the number is 230.
    ——————————–
    This type of calulation seems a lot better than the method from Mike Duoba (Argonne National Lab), since it takes into account actual aggregate driving patterns.

    So the next obvious question is: What is this aggregate sample / utility factor calculation? Does anyone have details on this?

    From what I understand, the EPA will use this calculation for all plug-ins, not just GM cars, so it would be nice to know what it is. I believe the EPA will test plug-ins to find 3 figures:
    1) # of miles electric assist (Volt = 40)
    2) MPG during electric assist (Volt = ∞)
    3) MPG after electric assist (Volt = 50)

    Once the EPA has tested these 3 numbers, they plug it into their formula to calculate the MPG figure.

    If we knew the EPA formula, then we could get a good idea of the EPA fuel efficiency of other plug-ins. For example, the Hymotion Prius PHEV kit gives figures 1) and 2) above, and figure 3 is just the normal Prius 50 MPG. So if we knew the EPA formula, we could calculate the EPA MPG for that as well.

    Also note that the higher the MPG numbers go, the more meaningless they become. A better number would be Gallons Per Year. For example, if you drive 12,000 miles per year:
    MPG ……. Gallons Per Year
    460 ……… 26
    230 ……… 52
    100 ……… 120
    50 ……….. 240
    30 ……….. 400
    20 ……….. 600

    So going from 230 MPG to 460 MPG would only save would only save 26 gallons per year, while changing from 20 MPG to 50 MPG would save 360 gallons of gas per year.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:01 am)

    Arghh… the 2007 Silverado gets 14-15 MPG city depending on trim.
    The automatic Cobalt gets 21 MPG (I picked the auto as that is what you must have used for the Accord).

    Other than that, talking about $/mile is a silly thing to do when you are comparing a $1,000 1996 Geo to a $40,000 Volt. The price premium for the Volt is about $0.33/mile assuming 10 years @12,000/year.

    Regarding the fixed RPM, what exactly do you think automakers are attempting when gearing their cars for the highway? If the Cruze runs at 2200RPM on the higway what advantage will the Volt’s ICE have when running at 2200RPM? How much difference do you really think that speed up from 0-60 factors in on a several hundred mile trip?


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:06 am)

    wow, weird things are happening to my posts…


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:15 am)

    While I disagree with Chad’s assertion, I think there are many others like him that simply won’t believe a high number like 230 MPG. And since this is just an EPA calculation based on some tests, and not an actual MPG they measure directly, then many people will debate this figure.

    Also, as EVNow asked rhetorically a couple of days ago:
    “If I charge the battery full and have 1 gallon of gas in the tank will it go 230 miles ?”

    So I believe a much better way to rate this would be Gallons Per Year. This number would be much less confusing.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:22 am)

    Can we use some numbers?

    For the time being, lets assume
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/
    is roughly valid for the Volt. I think the Volt should be able to better these numbers, but thats just a guess.

    So at a constant 50mph, our Mock Volt requires 210 Wh/mile out of the generator. (EPA Highway pre 2008 based, 48 mph average speed)

    A gallon of regular US Gasoline contains around 32 kWh, varies depending on Ethanol mixtures etc.

    At an ICE + Generator Efficieny of 100%, thats 152 mies per gallon.

    Your figure of 30 mpg, implys an efficieny of 19.7%
    A figure of 50 mpg implys an efficieny of 33%

    Atkinson cycle engines have peak efficienyes above 40%, allowing the generator–> electrical conversion to be only ~82% efficient. Plausible.

    Remember, by using the Tesla’s Wh/mile consumed I have elminated all the other drive train componets which should be relatively similar between the two autos.

    Now US06 cycle has the same average speed, but pushes the kWh up and down, and I doubt it would allow the Volt’s Engine to remain at peak efficieny point.

    In Short, I have no doubt that someone could go out and drive to achieve 30 mpg with the Volt. But looking at the data availble to me, I think its plausible that the Volt could record 50 mpg in charge sustaining mode in Highway cycle. It wouldn’t surprize me if GM doesn’t go whole hog with high efficieny generator and atkinsons cycle engine.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:28 am)

    Yes, well said.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:36 am)

    I’m mixed….

    I think there should be more numbers.

    Projected Efficiency: City/Hwy
    Extended Use: City/Hwy

    In other words, the projected efficiency would give the equivalent of MPG usage expected in normal average American driving.

    While the extended use would reflect the vehicle least efficient mode (ie: driving with a depleted battery).


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:40 am)

    hi GTX,

    The Cruze will need to run more than 2200 rpm to maintain freeway speed. My guess is more like 2800 rpm. This is after a hard acceleration up to speed. Both, acceleration and high rpm, detract from mpg. The Volt 1.4L does not work as hard as the 1.4L Cruze engine. The Volt 1.4L engine is spinning a generator. Compared to the Cruze 1.4L which is working to spin the large rubber wheels.

    The first line of post #2.12 states: “I believe the “real number” ICE mpg for the Volt is 56″. This is In response to the prior question: “is 50 mpg the real number?”.

    We are estimated mpg for an EV. There are no actual liquid gallons of gasoline being burned. There are electric equivalent gallons. So we must turn to cost for electric equivalent as part of the measure. Which leads us to cost per mile. This may be measured in dollars, pennies, yen, euro, or sea shells.

    The Volt will return a city mile for a cost of 2 cents. 10 times better than a truck. 8 times better than a sedan. And 2 times better than a small moped scooter.

    What’s silly about this?

    =D~


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (1:00 am)

    OK.

    First, let me say this: I believe the MPG after the ICE turns on is not that important for most people, since they usually don’t drive over 40 miles a day.

    But to answer the question: I think the MPG with the range extender running could be up around 50 MPG. Here’s why.

    1) Yes, there are some power losses with the generator and electric motor, but these will probably be fairly low. Remember that larger electric motors are generally more efficient than smaller ones, even at the same RPM and power output. This is exactly the opposite of gas engines, so this takes some getting used to. With this in mind, I believe the generator and electric motor will only introduce around 20% power loss.

    2) The vast majority of the electric power will bypass the battery, as shown in figure 2 here:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/davegish/ebay_pictures/Volt_Electrical_Block_Diagram.jpg
    Only hard acceleration or fast uphill driving requires extra power from the battery. So the electrical->chemical->electrical power losses will be very minimal for normal driving.

    3) I believe the Volt 1.4L ICE will be Atkinson cycle, otherwise you would have a lot more than 75hp for a 1.4L engine. For example, the 2010 Prius uses and Atkinson cycle 1.8L engine that only yields 98 hp.
    http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/specs.html

    4) Since the battery and electric motor yield 150 hp, the Volt’s ICE can be smaller than the Prius, which increases efficiency.

    5) As others have mentioned here, the ICE will run at one of several fixed RPMs. The cam, intake, exhaust, etc., can all be tuned to these specific RPMs to maximize efficiency.

    So my guess is that the efficiency gains of 4) and 5) will mostly offset the efficiency losses of 1). But as you say, we are all guessing right now, so my guess is no better than anyone else’s. It all depends on how GM executes on this…


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (1:19 am)

    To begin with, GM’s avoidance of revealing the MPG in range extender mode is probably for 2 reasons:

    1) They don’t know yet. They are still tuning the software, and that will probably continue until next summer, so don’t expect final numbers until then.

    2) The MPG in range extender mode is not really that important for typical drivers, since they usually drive less than 40 miles per day.

    As for dropping the battery, that won’t really work. The whole point is that the EREV can use a much smaller ICE, since there’s a big powerful battery to back it up. Take away the battery, and you will need a larger, more powerful ICE. In other words, if you want to drop the battery, or make it much smaller, then you would be better off with a Prius type system. In order to make the EREV design viable, it needs to have a fairly good sized battery.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (1:45 am)

    Huge blowback for this 230MPG figure is coming…

    But why?

    This figure takes into account only one distance: 51.11 miles. If you add just one (1) mile to that driving distance, your MPG rating goes from 230MPG to 215MPG. That’s a 15 mile per gallon difference driving just one extra mile. Now add ten (10) miles. Your fuel economy goes from 230MPG to 145MPG, a whopping 85 mile per gallon difference, driving just 10 more miles than the EPA cycle.

    Average people are going to see this (probably after their local news does a report on it) and realize that this number isn’t exactly meaningful, except for the people that drive exactly 51.11 miles to and from work.

    This is nothing new to people who understand the concept of EREVs (since the less you drive, the better your fuel economy), and I’m not trying to throw dirt at the Volt (after all, I would like to think I’m the Volts biggest fan). But for consumers that are looking at EPA window stickers, 230MPG is a meaningless number.

    To make it relevant and meaningful, lets stick to constants (or at least as constant as we can get, just like with regular gas cars) when it comes to EPA figures for vehicles that can drive without gas. There are going to be quite a few numbers, but it’s necessary for relevancy. Here’s what we need:

    Miles per kilowatt-hour city
    Miles per kilowatt-hour highway
    Miles per kilowatt-hour average
    Watt-hour size of battery pack (accessible power)
    Watt-hours per gallon (how much energy can be stored in the battery per gallon of gasoline burned)

    Every bit of data can be extrapolated by consumers from those 5 simple figures if the EPA would just list them. And then the fine print can include a small chart with various miles per gallon that the vehicle can be expected to reach with a full charge, so people can get a decent understanding of fuel efficiency (to compare to other gas cars). Lets say we use these figures on the Volt sticker:

    50 miles: 250MPG
    100 miles: 83MPG
    300 miles: 58MPG

    Meaningful data is needed. 230MPG is not meaningful when it’s put into perspective.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (2:11 am)

    Sadly, the reason we don’t have something like diesel electric locomotive drivetrains (and it has taken so long for the voltec drive) is simple. Cost cost and cost. Lots and lots of it, in fact. :)

    Check out the thread from a couple days ago where Maximum Bob basically said all those ancillary systems that had to be converted to electric (power steering, brakes boost, etc. etc. etc.) added over $10k to the cost. Add that to the cost of the batteries and you have a very expensive system indeed. That has nothing to do with the efficiency of the system.
    http://gm-volt.com/2009/08/04/why-the-volt-will-cost-40000/
    I mean, look at the volt. It’s akin to a forty thousand dollar cobalt which used to cost $16k. Historically, car companies wouldn’t have considered that to be a winning combination. :)

    In any case, if you think the car will only get about 30mpg on the highway then what you’re basically saying is that you don’t agree with the 40 mile AER, since the drive losses are exactly the same from the output of the power supply on down to the road. If you figure the drive losses are such that they can only get 30mpg from a reasonable ~200 BSFC generator, then you are actually saying that the 8kWh from the battery will only give you 24 miles AER. The two numbers are proportionally related.

    Now, I can’t actually tell you what the actual AER or charge sustaining mileage is, of course, but since they both use the same drive system, I can tell you they absolutely must be related.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (6:17 am)

    The general public does not know exactly GM is using for an engine. Just minor details of it.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (7:05 am)

    Well I calculate my mileage after I fill my tank and check the trip counter on the odometer. I would do the same thing with a Volt:

    Reset trip counter at fill up
    Drive Recharge
    Drive Recharge
    Drive Recharge
    Drive Recharge
    Drive Recharge
    Drive Recharge + Overnight Road Trip
    Fill gas tank
    Divide miles driven by gallons
    Recharge


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (7:13 am)

    Ooooh and they are magic and spray candy!


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (7:18 am)

    When deciding to spend 40k there will be several factors to take into account. Unfortunately, more than MPG, being tall factors in more. I have to spend 2 hours a day in this metal box. Am I going to feel cramped? Will my head be resting uncomfortably against the ceiling? If it fails this first test, it could do my laundry, wash itself and change it’s own flat tires, but I’d never buy it. Another factor (time seems will tell) is my commute. 120 miles round trip each work day. Most all of it is highway. Average speed roughly 60mph. Will I be forced to bring my own extension cord to work and leech from them to save money on gas? What number will I be seeing for mpg?

    I know electric motors are all torque all the time, however, I’ve not been in a wreck (being the driver of the vehicle) my entire life (knock on wood 14 years and counting). I attribute this to always being in a vehicle that (when push comes to shove) has enough power when I punch it to get me out of a bad situation. So how about it, does this new puppy have the giddy-up and go needed to stay safe in a bad situation?


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (10:01 am)

    Correction to my own post: I asked Frank Weber during Tuesday’s GM web chat (not Frank Lauckner) if it would be possible to drive a Volt at 65 mph from Detroit to Chicago on one tank of gas, a distance of around 300 miles. The answer was yes.

    GM has not officially announced the highway MPG of the range extender but guesstimates are 40-50 MPG. When the Volt uses its onboard gasoline powered range extender electric generator, drives of unlimited miles are possible without having to “plug in” as long as there’s gas in the tank. When sufficient time is available to “plug in” the Volt then provides the driver with the benefit of about 40 miles without using any gas at all.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (10:34 am)

    Late Reply, but if anyone reading this thread I want to emphasize again

    EPA Guidelines are not ment to tell you how much you will spend on a car, but to allow you to compare similar cars to each other.

    People have complaigned that EPA ratings were not right for decades, but it was not until we had a group of cars that scored unreasonablely high -in comparison- to other cars that the EPA testing was revised.

    Your right in that I wouldn’t be able to use J1711 to calculate my costs for running the Volt.

    But it does give me the idea that, under most normal conditions, a Plug-In Vue will cost me 50% more in Fuel/Operating costs over a Volt.

    Sure there are the extreme cases, I drive 100 miles a day 5 days a week (Vue costs 66% more) or I drive only to church on Sundays 2 miles away (costs are the same). But for the mean and two standard deviations out (WAG but pretty reasonable), Vue will cost between 45%-55% more to operate…. thats pretty useful.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:03 am)

    I’ve read your posts and have no problem with GM promoting the heck out of this figure. I also don’t have much issue with this number as an EPA city cycle number. It seems pretty accurate to me for the median drivers. The problem is that if you look at the driving studies the distribution is very broad and the EPA numbers for ICE cars, even though pre-2008 was off a little, were reasonable for determining what ones gas usage will be. For EREVs I just don’t see anyway around providing the 4 number (City AER, Hwy AER, Cty MPG, Hwy MPG) for most consumers to be able to reasonably predict their running costs. I don’t find fault or issue with GM not providing these at this time but they should be made available closer to release and they should be be readily available to customers. This is where dealers can add “real” value to the sales process. They can help the consumers understand what to expect from the Volt.

    Instead of planning to implement this way, Frank Weber posted on ChevroletVolt.com that they have no intention to do so (at least on the car’s sticker). This is a huge mistake IMO.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:07 am)

    I agree. Lyle’s summary is very clear and I think the general public will understand that. The key point is that the 230 mpg is an AVERAGE over at least a week. Not something you can do by putting one gallon of gas in the car and seeing how far you get.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:08 am)

    1. Yes, I think so. I never questioned that, just the differences between the two standards and the arbitrary assignment of same drivetrain (100% electric drive) vehicles to different standards. If not, peanut butter and feathers is my guess.

    2. Perhaps ask SAE/DOE since they apparently currently have no EV efficiency standard proposal in place (expired in 2003, no draft due ’til December 2009?) (that kinda makes you wonder how EPA was able to report the 2008 Tesla Roadster CAFE rating)?

    There’s been a whole lot of game playing going on with efficiency standards since CARB stepped on its own feet on EVs in the early 2000s and so far CARB, SAE, DOE, EPA and NHTSA all smell kinda bad when you look at the loopy and all over the map results of their various (some say nefarious) efficiency measures. How about some basic agreements on reporting variations due to speed (major factor at high speeds), trip length, % of single cycle vehicle range, climate, accessory loads, terrain and driver behavior? Better a matrix than a single number, so that consumers have realistic expectations.

    I’ll let this go until SAE/DOE come out with the draft (due December 2009) for J1634. Maybe that will re-level the playing field and gets ‘em all closer to the ultimate CAFE ratings.

    What’s the Volt CAFE rating? Until I hear different, I’ll assume it’s around 230 MPG.

    We can compare that to the Tesla Roadster official 2008 CAFE rating of 244.0 MPG. Please ask the EPA “to explain (well enough to penetrate [your] thick skull) how the [Tesla Roadster] gets an mpg when it uses no ‘g’”.

    With those results, we can assume that the Leaf CAFE rating will also be at least in the mid 200s.

    For once, the CAFE ratings may be a better consumer guide to efficiency than the vehicle window stickers. That depends on the final J1634 and J1711 standards and how much useful variation information (especially at different trip lengths (miles, % of range, whatver) for PHEVs and EREVs) EPA has the window stickers display.

    As it stands now, the 2009 mini-E 100% electric drive window sticker shows 102 mpge city, 94 mpge highway , while the Tesla Roadster electric drive EPA reported 2008 CAFE rating is 244.0 MPG, very weird results when compared, as they have similar at vehicle full cycle energy use / mile under reasonable, typical daily driving conditions.

    http://www.hybridcars.com/fuel-economy-numbers/confusion-over-mpg-ratings-electric-cars-25946.html

    http://blogs.edmunds.com/greencaradvisor/2008/07/corporate-average-fuel-economy-figure-for-tesla-motors-2440-miles-per-gallon.html


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:15 am)

    Maybe generator mode instead of the more technical charge sustaining?


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:19 am)

    When I was younger 4F had different connotations, anyway “First Forty Fossil Free!” sounds better/more appropriate.

    As to the comments regarding the Leaf, I don’t consider myself a righty or lefty, I like to think I take a more centrist, pragmatic approach to this and most issues. The bottom line for me speaking from an American viewpoint is I want GM to succeed, because it is in the best interest of this country for GM to succeed. I know a lot of people on this blog are not from the states and have an opinion that any electric vehicle that succeeds is a good thing; I concur, it hastens the movement to the inevitable electrification of transportation. That being said, aside from Tesla, GM has had more to do with this current movement than any other manufacturer. GM has provided the most practical application of the technology so far in regards to creating a usable electric vehicle to replace the current family car under the umbrella of current state of the art battery tech. Nissan raced to rain on GM’s parade with their claim of superior mileage, they understand this is a competition for business, so does GM. Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have all said that EREV is the wrong direction and cast their die with BEV, so be it, may the best company win, but excuse me if I unapologetically cheer for the home team, consequently I will not brow beat you for the same behavior.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:21 am)

    The “combined” rating on the Volt isn’t important.

    CITY 230 MPE HIGHWAY 56 MPG

    Nuf ‘ said

    =D~


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:27 am)

    Rolf B.

    The Prius has always had the “switch.” It was disabled in the US to allow the ICE to warm up the catalytic converter to meet emissions standards. In Europe the gen II Prius was able to go short distances all electric using the “switch” from what I have read – john1701a can tell you if I have any of the details wrong.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:30 am)

    I have a 2007 Avalanche and I have measured real world 21 mpg on the highway using active fuel management and very light touch on the throttle. Cruise control (constant speed) is NOT the most efficient use for an ICE. I drive in VOLTEC mode and allow the truck to slow going up the hills and speed up coming down.

    I really believe that 50 mpg is real for the Volt on the highway.


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    Aug 13th, 2009 (11:50 am)

    I feel that the quoting of a number as 230MPG is intentionally misleading and the press is mis-associating this number with overall efficiency. Pick a driving pattern and get 20MPG to infinity MPG by not counting the miles driven on electricity.

    One future that works– city boundaries which allow only electric Zip cars, you know the cars you rent/own/time share by the hour. With swaped parking spaces these cars would be total electric. Each Zip car now has a saved parking space, next is to add a charger. Clean cities since the power is generfated away from people hopefully by nuclear plants.


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    CS Guy

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:29 pm)

    “GM’s avoidance of revealing MPG…” Ridiculous. I can’t remember a car company being so open about the specs and the numbers of a vehicle that even won’t hit the showroom for another 15 months!

    My thanks to GM actually for being as talkative as they have been. Seriously, what other car has been this exposed to the “critics” before even rolling off a production line?

    /GM could just keep us in the dark until a few weeks before their vehicle is in showrooms – as all the other auto makers have been doing.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:35 pm)

    Go Ag’s


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:40 pm)

    If you want to help get off overseas oil, reduce emissions and enjoy cutting edge tech, leaving that $7500 credit on the table makes no economic sense.

    Unless you intend to save 100% of your earnings to be put to some greater use by your heirs and assigns after you pass on, why get up to go to work each morning?


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    Carcus1

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:42 pm)

    Now that I’m an unwilling investor in Government Motors, I expect full disclosure on how they’re spending every dime.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:50 pm)

    Perspective: With a population of just over 300 million the average US driver will be expected over the long term to get about 230 miles per gallon of gasoline purchased.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:53 pm)

    Doesn’t a cab usually need room for more than 3 passengers? I personally rode in one once, but there were 3 of us to split the outrageous fee (g).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    Noel,
    Amen on the good ink and word of mouth. They were even talking about it down at the General Store today over checkers. Most folk here think I’m a bit off anyway, so they understand my talking “science fiction” stuff.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


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    Tagamet

     

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    Aug 13th, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    Irzn,
    That link doesn’t support your claims here. It doesn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know and GM would be foolish to guarantee that they will make money or pay money back by a given date. Also they can’t know what they don’t know. Maybe EEStor will leapfrog them (duck, here comes another squadron of Pigs).
    Your link is to a post on a reputable site reporting another post from a site I’ve never heard of. Your “if” doesn’t justify your “then” in the last paragraph (either).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just G