Sep 01

3000 Miles of Driving the MINI E Pure Electric Car

 

I am one of the 100 people in New York who have leased a MINI E pure electric car. Since I can’t get a Volt yet, I figured this was the next best thing for now. I have just passed 3000 miles in over two months of driving it.

The car is a 2 seat prototype, or electric powertrain-converted standard MINI Cooper. It has a 35 kwh lithium-ion battery pack (28 kwh usable), 205 hp motor, a 100 mile range, top speed in excess of 100 mph, and 8.5 second 0 to 60 time.

When I last wrote here about it I was still waiting for installation of a 240 V home charger and was getting by on a 120 V portable unit which took about 33 hours to charge the car.

I now have the 240 V, 32 amp wall charger in my garage and the UL certified proprietary charging coupler cord (see above).

Having this unit has made a tremendous difference for me. When I arrive home at about 25% state of charge, it only takes about 2-1/2 hours to recharge. I still charge at work on the 120 V unit anyway.

The car continues to perform well. It is fast, crisp and quiet. There are minor fan noises and an occasional odd smell when first turned on, but it is a very capable car, jumps briskly when called upon and handles quite well.  Interior creature comforts are a bit spartan.

I can say I very much enjoy doing most of my daily driving without the use of gasoline. It does get weird sometimes. Still when I pass my usual gas stations I am compelled to think about pulling in to refill, but smile from ear to ear when I realize I don’t have to. Its kind of like waking up from a bad dream.

In practice, I have found with my usual high speed air-conditioned and almost all highway driving style, effective range is from 75 to 85 miles, not quite the 100 that is claimed. There is little doubt though that with lower speed conservative driving 100 miles of range is doable, and indeed there are reports of some MINI E drivers getting more than 100 miles.

I took the car on a 12 mile course that I use to test hybrids with hypermiling techniques. On that course I’ve achieved 82 MPG with the 3rd generation Prius, 62 MPG with the 2010 Honda Insight, and 57 MPG with the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid. With the MINI E, using those same methods, the projected effective range based on my energy use over that distance was an unimpressive 92 miles.

An important observation about range though is that I suspect people will never fully utilize it, even if it was 100 miles. This is because there is clearly a psychological concern about needing some kind of safety buffer for returning home which seems to be at least 10 miles for me. No one wants to get caught out with a dead battery.

In fact, I think this factor will be a significant limit for BEVs in general and something that the Volt will not have. There will never be a worry about squeezing out those last couple of EV miles in the Volt because if you misjudge, the gas engine will just go on.

The MINI E has two annoying quirks. One is a built-in 1 or 2 second delay or lag that occurs when one first steps hard on the accelerator from a stop. The other, which is downright dangerous, is that the car will pop into neutral with a loud bang if the accelerator is suddenly floored while at cruising or highway speed.

I have come to believe that these flaws were purposely built in. They are in effect punishment to the driver who tries to punish the battery. The initial lag is common and even GM put it into the Volt mules that were test driven. It is to prevent screeching the wheels with torque by the overzealous driver (journalist).

BMW has not admitted they cooked-in the neutral pop, but haven’t responded to my emails about it. There are multiple reports about it by other MINI E drivers. After a few experiences with it, due to simple negative reinforcement-type Pavlovian conditioning I (the driver) never floor it anymore. This was the result I think BMW wanted as it is less abusive to the battery.

Production cars will not have such harsh tactics.

A major problem with the pure EV is the 100 mile limit.  I am able to use the car for essentially all of my daily 56 mile commutes.  It becomes a 3500 pound garage ornament, however, when I need to take longer trips.  At least once a month or more I have to go to an airport, a distant concert, beach trip, or some event that goes beyond 100 miles.  People often say, just rent a car for those occasions, but let’s face it, that is extremely inconvenient especially after one has paid a significant amount of money for their car.  This is another area I believe the Volt will strongly outmarket the pure EV competition.

In the end, the MINI E is a rough-around-the-edges but highly capable fun car.  Driving electrically is thrilling and very rewarding.  Being able to charge quickly is important.  Pure EV limitations are significant.

[UPDATE: Some commentators claim the neutral-pop is not found in all mules.  I just received the following email response from BMW spokesperson Nathalie Bauters: In speaking with our engineering team, we would like the opportunity to investigate the problem you have experienced with your MINI E. Would it be possible for you to bring in your car so that we can inspect it? ]

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 at 6:14 am and is filed under BEV, Competitors, Test drive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 308


  1. 1
    Rashiid Amul

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:20 am)

    Awesome, Lyle.

    Range anxiety is very real, IMO.
    I see you feel it. I agree with you that most people will not use the entire range for fear of being stuck.

    This is the main reason why Voltec makes so much sense to me.


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    dc

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:32 am)

    So you essentially found the “real life useful range” to be @ 75% of the published range? That would put the Volt range @ 30 miles per charge which is what most here seem to think is realistic given different driving/weather conditions, use of accessories etc.

    Not bad. Thanks for the writeup.


  3. 3
    Jim I

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:34 am)

    I am really surprised that with the two conditions you have listed, which are both really safety issues, that Mini has not responded to your e-mails.

    There are times that you would really need to be able to “punch it” to get out of the way of other crazy drivers, and I would really hate it to just sit there for two seconds, or have the car pop into neutral!!!

    That just seems kind of scary to me….

    The range issue is exactly what you would expect from a BEV. Limited range is just not good. And that is the beauty of the Volt’s design!

    Lyle – Paint your garage!!!! :-)


  4. 4
    Dan Petit

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:35 am)

    Outstanding and extremely-valuable report Lyle! Confirmation of what many of us have been thinking. Impressive courage of BMW to allow for the world to begin to understand in the most fair way, the advantage and drawbacks of BEV. (Those Germans do all these techno-outrageously-advanced things you know, and cause good advancements that, many of which GM can make economically-feasible very often with GM’s “economies of scale” and very extensive labs worldwide!)

    (Off to work. Very long day scheduled today placing Genisys scan systems. Have a great day everyone!)


  5. 5
    tom gray

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:36 am)

    I see that a 240V/32amp feed can pump out 7.6 kilowatthours per hour. A 100 mile range means an effective battery capacity of probably around 20 kilowatthours. A 25% state of charge means
    a need for 15 kilowatthours worth of juice to recharge the batteries to the allowed state of charge. So 2 1/2 hours sounds about right.
    Notice that the Volt would, at most require 8 kilowatthours, or
    probably a bit more than an hour to recharge if discharged all
    the way down to the allowable discharge level, assuming that the Volt engineers allows that rate of recharge, which I don’t think they do, because of the bad effect on battery life. So, apparently, either the Mini has a battery pack that allows for faster recharge, or BMW doesn’t give a hoot about how long the battery lasts. So which is it?


  6. 6
    Dave K.

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:45 am)

    Lyle… if you set the 240v timer to kick on at 4AM will the drivers compartment of the Mini feel warm from the recharge at 7AM? I believe it will.
    Having lived in a cold climate for much of my life I know that even a slightly warmer inside temperature feels real nice when it’s cold outside.

    =D~


  7. 7
    Carcus1

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:56 am)

    Lyle, Thanks for the 240v update.

    Sounds like you are a “one car household” (a minority group in this country). For those that will have only one car, I agree. A plug in hybrid is a better choice than a BEV.

    / for planning purposes, based on your driving style: the Carcus1 prediction is that the volt will yield you 25 miles of AER and 30 mpg after that.


  8. 8
    Schmeltz

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:02 am)

    Excellent report Lyle. I liked your honesty about the limitations. The things you outline seem to underscore so well the elegant solution that an EREV is to the range limitation issue. My own prediction for the next few years at least is the automakers pursuing the Pure BEV direction will soon see that Range limitations = Sales limitations. Cheap/cheaper batteries will change that equation eventually, but not in the near term. Therefore, for the pragmatists out there, EREVs are the future IMO.

    Also, nice of BMW/Mini allowing you to share your experiences with their car and for being open and forthright.


  9. 9
    nasaman

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:07 am)

    “I am really surprised that with the two conditions you have listed, which are both really safety issues, that Mini has not responded to your e-mails. <<<< Actually, I’m not at all surprised — remember, Lyle’s a journalist & could tell the world BMW’s answer! ;)


  10. 10
    kdawg

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:11 am)

    To eliminate most if not all of my range anxiety, i need a min of 250 ‘real’ miles at 70mph in -10 degree weather. Otherwise, I will not buy a BEV. I only want 1 car, not 2. I dont want to rent cars for trips to places 100miles from me. With 250 miles, i would have a comfortable 100mile range radius for a round trip.


  11. 11
    Rashiid Amul

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:14 am)

    I don’t think the technology is quite there yet.
    If it is, it is not affordable for most people.


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    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:15 am)

    ….But I certainly agree, Jim, that at least the “the car will pop into neutral with a loud bang if the accelerator is suddenly floored while at cruising or highway speed…..is downright dangerous”, as Lyle says! And it brings to mind one more stanza of my infamous old refrain here that all EVs need a “passing gear” effect at cruising speeds! Hey, even BMW’s ‘Vision’ concept car’s press release discusses their means of achieving a surge in speed for passing.


  13. 13
    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:35 am)

    if its a safety issue the last thing BMW will do is answer Lyle’s email. Legal reasons.


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    Joe

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:36 am)

    None the less, an answer would not make me think less of the car. As it is, I think the car is unsafe to drive, and It can cause very serious accidents. Acknowledging this defect would leave them (the auto builder) wide open to a lawsuit if an accident were to occur from this problem. If this car were a GM product, the whole world would know about it through the negative media machine.
    Thanks for the article, Lyle.


  15. 15
    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:39 am)

    if the battery is getting warm during charge then something is wrong, lithium cells usually dont do that.. but the charger in the car will get plenty warm, it probably acts like a 380w heater.


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    frankyB

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:43 am)

    Pure EV = Second car. As much as I loved them, if I can only have 1 car, it will be an E-REV.


  17. 17
    RB

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:45 am)

    Thanks for the excellent review. Seeing the charger on the garage wall reminds me of the discussion yesterday. I am now coming to understand that buying a car with electric drive is more than just buying it, it requires getting these chargers installed. And, it seems, it is not just getting it installed, but getting things certified to the satisfaction of gm or Nissan or Mini or whomever. In effect these companies have to approve me, or approve my garage, or whatever, before they will “let” me buy their car.

    My experience with auto dealerships has been up and down, some very good, some not so much. I don’t think giving an auto dealer the authority to supervise anything installed within or done at my house is a step I am willing to take just yet. There is just no telling what they will screw up in the process.

    I’m sorry that what is really a secondary aspect of getting an electric car is coming to have such a primary focus. It is remarkable in that I have all sorts of other electrical devices, many of them using 240V, all of which I have installed and used without incident, that now charger installation becomes a primary issue. Hype aside, the voltages or currents involved with electric cars are no greater than those are present for many other quite ordinary electrical devices. I think it is a big mistake for gm, Nissan, and the others to make the sale of chargeable vehicles conditional on things done in garages in the way they seem to have planned.

    In the extreme, all the manufacturers will be absolutely safe from lawsuits about electric cars if they create a situation where nobody buys one. That is not what I think of as a good outcome, nor is it a necessary one.


  18. 18
    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:45 am)

    It may be a design defect.. if BMW wants to protect something is not the battery.. they probably are afraid the gears or the shaft on the motor will strip. A bit crude, they could just feather-in the torque smoothly.

    An advantage of a large battery pack is that under normal use it is treated gently, a smaller pack would have to work harder.

    This throttle delay along with the flowering displays seem to be a good educational tool for the drivers right foot… but a fraction of a second is the most delay I will tolerate.


  19. 19
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:49 am)

    You’re right, Rashiid ….the technology is not there yet at most of the world’s automakers. But what seems almost insane to us (or to me, at least) —introducing range-limited EV’s like the Mini-E or Nissan’s LEAF— is really quite prudent. Why? Because it gives automakers who do it a “primer coat of green paint” from a marketing standpoint. More important, it creates a sense of urgency within their drive train engineering and their legal/patent departments to “wade into the huge snakepit of patented GM Voltec designs” without becoming fatally wounded —to either circumvent, license or cross license so they can get fully in the “no range anxiety” game a few years from now.

    In other words, BEVs are merely a foot in the door for many automakers IMO!


  20. 20
    old man

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:50 am)

    The loud bang is what worrys me. I would strongly urge Lyle to make contact with BMW by mail with a tape illustrating the sound. My experience with engineers is they do not design in loud bangs except for fireworks and such.

    You might even consider registered mail.


  21. 21
    Right Lane Cruiser

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:52 am)

    Lyle, I know you love the heavy regen braking when lifting off of the accelerator but that is really hurting the range because it prevents you from coasting. I think you could easily exceed 100mi on your test course if the car wasn’t configured this way. It might be worth another try on that same route (when deserted if you aren’t comfortable doing this) using neutral any time you don’t need to accelerate and you have a slight down slope to help you maintain speed.

    Most of hypermiling is maintaining momentum — this uses less energy and will work regardless of the fuel source.

    Regen is great for when you have to stop, but it isn’t as efficient (due to conversion losses) as avoiding reduction of momentum in the first place.


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    RB

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:54 am)

    old man —> agree, it is not designed for loud bangs, it is a defect.


  23. 23
    Vincent

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:55 am)

    Range anxiety is a fact and I think we need to found solutions for this. I hope that the BEV will have a plug in the trunk that will allow to put a spare battery that we will be able to keep at home and that a tow truck will be able to borrow when our BEV is out of juice.
    That’s why we need standards so that back up attery can be shared, borrought or lease easily.


  24. 24
    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:56 am)

    From the Tesla charts (which seem to fit the Volt well) we see the car will need 300wh/mile at 70mph.. so for 250 mile range then you would need a 75kwh pack, throw in an industry standard 80% SOC and the pack becomes 94kwh.. almost 6 times larger than the Volts pack, 4 times larger than the Nissan Leaf’s pack.

    If KDawg were to sensibly slow down to 55mph then the pack size would drop down to 70kwh.. still a large pack, 3 times larger than a Leaf’s pack.

    At an even more sensible speed of 48mpg, the average speed of the EPA hwy cycle, then the pack size drops down to 63kwh.. this speed consumes 200wh/mile

    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/


  25. 25
    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:03 am)

    Most of GM patents will relate to battery management IMO, can they really patent a generator running in the car?

    Someone should start doing a count of GM’s patents regarding the Volt.


  26. 26
    kdawg

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:05 am)

    I can’t imagine the size of the battery using current technology. If Lyle is getting 75 miles on 35Kwh battery, that would mean it would have to be about a 120Kwh battery! There’s so many things wrong w/that (size, weight, charging time). Currently, pure BEV’s can be a good commuter car, but I need/want more than that.


  27. 27
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:07 am)

    Actually, Lyle has told us he also drives a very nice upscale car (like any successful neurologist might) made by that celebrated German arch rival of BMW’s —I wonder if they’re really comfortable parked alongside each other? :) :) :)


  28. 28
    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:09 am)

    The loud bang is probably the inverter completely shutting down for a fraction of a second, the motor freewheels with no losses and the car coasts for that period of time then the inverter comes on again abruptly. Probably needs a design adjustment or change.

    If its not common to all the Minis then that means Lyle’s needs repairs.


  29. 29
    Todd

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:17 am)

    I think most of us are in agreement that a BEV is not the solution. Once these cars are on the market, it’s only going to take six months of seeing “another dead BEV on the side of the road” in the news to kill the sales to a point that it is not profitable, and that will be the end. Even at 250 miles, that’s not enough for me. I just don’t want the bother of having to add one more thing to consider when traveling. One other thing to consider – say I’m flying out for two weeks. When I get back, what’s the state of my battery in a BEV that’s been at the airport for that period of time, with no charging? How much energy will be lost?


  30. 30
    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:21 am)

    “launch and glide” hypermiling technique is not needed with BEV, it will reduce your range.

    The motor is essentially drawing no power (*1) or “coasting” when the car reaches cruise speed, if you want to slow down then apply regen either by lifting off the go-pedal or applying the brakes. Some BEV use a hand control to apply regen braking.

    To achieve maximun range in a BEV just set your cruise control to a sensible speed and keep your tail to the wind.

    (1) note that at cruise you need some power to fight the air and tire drag, the motor would only truly coast if you were going downhill.


  31. 31
    Eideard

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:23 am)

    EV will work out just fine for my wife.

    We both have vehicles with 200K+ miles on them. Not much nudging needed to think about replacing one or both.

    But, hers hasn’t been driven more than her 24-mile roundtrip commute more than twice in the past 6 years. The last time she needed to roundtrip to Albuquerque = 94 miles, she borrowed my pickup.

    So, we’re waiting and seriously considering an EV for her. BTW, she still only uses 1 gallon/day with her 1983 Volvo.

    Me? I still need a pickup. Waiting for a diesel or gasoline hybrid/plug-in hybrid that lets me cut and haul a cord of wood home.


  32. 32
    fredevad

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:27 am)

    >If KDawg were to sensibly slow down to 55mph …

    I don’t quite understand this comment, There are many roads and highways here in the US that have a 65 or 70 mph speed limit. Although my daily commute is a little less than 40 miles, I make trips of 150 – 220 miles twice a month (more now that my older daughter is in high school) and about 80% of that is interstate highway at a 65 mph speed limit. This is why for a single-car senario, an EREV is the only choice for me until we see quoted ranges of at least 300 miles.

    I see kdawg’s speed/range requirements as completely valid.


  33. 33
    old man

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:40 am)

    Lyle

    I think you are a sly ol Doc.

    I think this post is an open letter to BMW saying “FIX MY DANG CAR”


  34. 34
    Starcast

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:45 am)

    Ok I can see it now the Bev drives by the gas station I’m in side waveing beeping and making fun the fools at the pumps.

    Later the fools at the pumps pass me by laughing and nearly running of the road as I stand kicking the outside of my now dead Bev only 10 miles from home. (OhShit did I forget to plug it in again, or did my 3 way spliter plug fall out )


  35. 35
    Ray

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:48 am)

    Lyle… when can we get your opinions on the Fusion Hybrid ?

    I have one and am interested in your comments..


  36. 36
    Jim I

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:04 am)

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    I hadn’t thought of that!!! You might be completely correct on that one!

    LYLE HAS THE POWER!!!


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    MuddyRoverRob

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:07 am)

    Nice attempt at a bait carcus1!
    It almost worked!

    (I’m not going to predict 60 mpg in CS mode.) (Oops.)


  38. 38
    Jim I

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:08 am)

    OK, if they do not want to respond to e-mails, then I wonder what kind of maintenance program they have in place? Is there a specific dealer he has to go to for service? In any event, what are they going to do if Lyle shows up and says “I need this car fixed. It pops out of gear and makes a loud bang when I try to pass at highway speeds.”

    They are either going to have to fix it, or tell him that is how it works.

    Or am I missing something?


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    terryk

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:10 am)

    Seems more like “charging time” anxiety. If I could pull in somewhere and charge in 5 minutes, not having the range extender wouldn’t bother me and I could live with 100 mile range.

    I think the reason people will have anxiety is wanting to have enough charge to get back home to recharge rather than sit somewhere for 2 1/2 hours. Fix that and the anxiety really drops away.

    Yes, I know that is not practical in the short term,


  40. 40
    Jim I

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:11 am)

    But a “good” reply would also get published, and don’t companies want all the good publicity they can get????


  41. 41
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:11 am)

    Based on my own experience in writing & filing patents, YES, GM can definitely patent a generator running in the car! Remember that patents don’t cover simply an idea or concept, but the very specific means of implementing design concepts.

    As to what the Voltec patents will cover, a GM spokesman has said, “GM has been aggressive in protecting what we believe to be competitive technology of the Voltec platform as it relates to battery, engineering, and powertrain. The Volt’s a game changer. We’re taking all the steps necessary to protect our intellectual property rights.”

    They’ve also noted that not all Voltec patents GM has filed for are finalized yet, and there may be more, but like the car remain a work in progress.


  42. 42
    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:17 am)

    It’s something extra, but I wouldn’t bet getting a charger professionally installed will be condition of sale, it will simply be recommended.

    Honestly, if you even think twice about whether you are qualified to ‘play’ with electrical anything you likely aren’t!

    I think it will go like this;

    - order new Volt, Silver/blue, (for statik!), NAV, Leather, Sat radio, etc
    - Before I leave the dealership stop at parts counter and pickup 220/240v charger ‘kit’
    - Call my dad, tell him I have beer in the fridge and cow on the BBQ can he tie in some wires?
    - Enjoy beer and steak
    - wait impatiently for Volt to arrive

    /I already cleaned the garage, it’s ready to go.


  43. 43
    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:18 am)

    In other words, BEVs are merely a foot in the door for many automakers IMO!

    I agree with your underlying assumption that EREV is a superior design given current technology. My only observation is that technology seems to be moving faster than car companies can make new generations of cars.

    My read on Nissan is quite different than yours. Patents are an issue, no doubt about that, but generally outside pharma they aren’t a complete roadblock — you can find a way around them. I think Ghosn perceives that there is a market, not necessarily huge but significant, for BEVs. In the US and Europe it might be as a second car or third car or commuter car — I have a single neighbor has four vehicles — and in some countries where the commutes are much shorter it could work as a first car.

    In some ways what we’re seeing is an evolutionary process where, in response to new technology, different companies are occupying different product niches just like different critters occupy different ecological niches. Toyota, Honda, and Ford have a big lead in hybrid technology so the benefit of competing in that space is limited. Seeing this, GM staked out the EREV space (though it will have hybrid products). Now Nissan, which is far behind in hybrid technology, is trying to occupy the BEV space.

    This makes sense in that it’s easier to occupy a new niche than to fight for space in a niche which is already occupied. And it’s not such a big problem if the niche isn’t huge. The market for BEVs may turn out to be small in any one country, but if you can sell a single car all over the world it can be a good business (Toyota is proving this with the Prius, which is the only bright spot in their business).


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:20 am)

    Has there been any rumor talk of when BMW Mini will announce a full blown production of the Electric Mini? How many? How Soon? How about Price? Inquiring minds want to know…


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    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:27 am)

    It sounds like your wife may very well be an excellent candidate for a BEV!

    Chevy already MAKES a two mode pickup, BUT they are charging too much for them so sales are slow.

    If GM is really serious about improving their average fuel economy numbers they would make ALL light trucks (the half tons) 2 mode.

    A 2-mode work truck, with AC and cruise at $25k… they couldn’t make enough of them.


  46. 46
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:28 am)

    We discussed this issue my wife and myself and came to the conclusions that we shall replace the Astra station-wagon by a new one because we still need the space (The children have left the home but they always ask for transporting something large and the grandchildren are old enough to come at home and travel with us to the beach or anywhere else … ) but we will replace the Corsa with an Ampera if the Corsa can make it until the Ampera becomes available for the common people. A pure BEV will not do it, our employments imply travelling more than 100 miles a day several times per week.

    Regards,

    JC NPNS


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:29 am)

    Right Lane Cruiser is certainly right that for high speed driving you’ll get more range by freewheeling. He’s probably right about lower speed driving as well. The reason for this is that regen doesn’t capture all the lost energy — it loses a good bit. Hence regen only extends the range when it recaptures energy from slowing or stopping that would be made otherwise.

    Your idea of maintaining a constant speed is fine in some instances but even with minimal traffic, and most commutes have this, it’s not a practical solution because you have to slow down and speed up with some frequency.

    The problem is that GM seems to think that drivers can’t adapt to a different driving experience, so they feel compelled to cut down the range so your EV drives like a car with a combustion engine. This seems like the only brain dead decision they’ve made with the Volt. My vote is that they add a freewheeling option. If Lyle can adapt to the car disengaging the drive train when he floors it anyone should be able to figure out how to freewheel.


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:29 am)

    My opinion too …

    JC NPNS


  49. 49
    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:30 am)

    He has a full review on allcarselectric.com.


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    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:32 am)

    It’s a one year lease with no option to retain the car.

    Protecting the battery is not on the agenda. Actually it’s quite likely the opposite, the WANT to beat up the battery for that year to see what breaks.

    You learn more from failures than successes in the design world.


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:32 am)

    Hi Terryk,

    This why battery swapping tests made by Betterplace are interesting.
    See : http://www.betterplace.com/solution/charging

    regards

    JC


  52. 52
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Lyle has already reviewed the 2010 Fusion hybrid at his other site, “AllCarsElectric”. Use the link below to this really excellent review & be sure to see its important 2nd page.

    http://www.allcarselectric.com/review/1033847_test-drive-and-review-2010-ford-fusion-hybrid


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    Brian

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:35 am)

    You are driving an early prototype, not a production version. I’m sure the final version will have the kinks worked out. Kudos to BMW for allowing the public to even test a fleet of prototypes. It’s too bad GM won’t allow this right now with the Volt.

    Your communte is 56 miles, yet you feel “anxiety” about a 100 mile range? How much buffer do you need? I assume you have another car you can take for longer trips. It sounds to me the like the Mini BEV is fullling its intended role perfectly as a zero gas commuter car.


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:35 am)

    The Mini charger sure looks lame as compared to the prototype Volt charger. The Volt charger looks like someone spread some love. The Mini-E charger looks like it was designed by by a local electrician on location (which in effect was probably the case).

    Another indication that GM is paying attention to all the little details, which should give people confidence that when they buy a Volt they’re getting a quality product.


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    Ray

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:38 am)

    Got it . Thanks… Don’t know how I missed it… as I am here every day..

    probably brain dead that day….


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:40 am)

    I am really surprised that with the two conditions you have listed, which are both really safety issues, that Mini has not responded to your e-mails.

    While BMW may not have responded, AC Propulstion, which licensed the drive train technology to BMW, in effect has. What it has said is: “This isn’t us! Talk to them.”


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    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:45 am)

    Lets face it guys, most people do not want to freewheel/coast down the highway. It’s hard enough to get some people to set the cruise control on the highway!

    Hypermilers efficient or not will always be a fringe group of people (who will always be ‘cursed’ by everyone else for screwing up the traffic patterns).

    If the Volt is going to be the next ‘peoples car’ then it cannot make demands like that on it’s driver.
    Given those conditions most people will buy a ‘normal’ car.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:48 am)

    Old man,
    I think you (finally) exposed the truth of this thread (lol).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


  59. 59
    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:49 am)

    Right on Jean-Charles!


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    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:51 am)

    Always great to hear from you JC! And I’m counting on you to keep us updated on any Ampera news since I’m seriously considering a trip to Europe to buy one, drive around the continent, then have it shipped to the U.S. Why? It would be great fun ….and I LOVE how gorgeous and distinctive the Ampera will look in contrast to most cars here!

    PS: I’m driving a new Opel Antera now (here it’s a Saturn Vue) that I truly enjoy driving; an Ampera would be a perfect “stable mate” for it —the names even sound alike. :)


  61. 61
    Dr.Science #11 on the list

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:54 am)

    Acceleration/deceleration ramp curves are a key element of variable frequency drive systems used on motion control systems. These are software issues that have to incorporate enough inputs to provide smooth changes for braking and accelerating.

    This is the challenge to the designers, my take is the MINI’s operating software is incomplete.


  62. 62
    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:55 am)

    Brian,

    Lyle has said he is seeing more like 75 miles range real world with the mini. Any small detour or side trip could leave him VERY close to the limit of the cars range.


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    Neutron Flux

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:00 am)

    I am surprised they did not make Lyle sign a non disclosure agreement as a pre-condition to the lease, now in hind sight after realizing who they have leased the car to they have decided no news is good news on this front. A prudent company would recall it and adjust it & provide a loaner in the mean time if it were deemed a safety issue. But it is good they are doing a test fleet so they can fine tune the production model & determine what they can get away with & what they will have to eliminate for the production model. just hope no one dies as a result. Proving a 2 second delay caused someone’s death is hard to do if the person who could testify is dead. The neutral thing would be a bit easier to prove. Be Safe Lyle!


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    Loboc

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:00 am)

    Always good to have real-world reports. Great job Lyle!

    (I agree w/Jim I. Paint your dang wall. ) :)


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    nuclearboy

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:02 am)

    Very true…


  66. 66
    two cents per mile

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:09 am)

    I appreciate your reviews of driving the car. I definitely understand the 100-mile ‘range anxiety’, but I honestly don’t think that’s a reason to give up on it. For one, we need people like you, trend setters, to drive electric cars, and need infrastructure, so that the infrastructure will be built. Also, you might want to check out trailers with batteries- I’ve seen some cool prototypes which have wheels that turn. The idea is that you could buy or rent this trailer with extra batteries to tug along on longer trips. Sounds perfect to me- bring more power when you need it. Anyways, if anyone is interested in getting excited about electric cars, or getting a friend excited about electric cars, I recommend checking out the book “Two Cents Per Mile” by Nevres Cefo- it is an informative and accesible introduction to electric vehicles, their history, and their advantages. Check it out at http://www.twocentspermile.com , or read reviews and excerpts of it at http://bit.ly/2centspermile


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:09 am)

    Muddy,
    I already suggested that the CS mode could be 60 mpg (or thereabouts).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


  68. 68
    LauraM

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:15 am)

    It’s not a complete roadblock with pharma either–why do you think we have so many other statins on the market while Lipitor is still under patent? But that doesn’t mean that the patents aren’t valuable, or that they give a major advantage to the first in line.

    Personally, I’m hoping that GM found a way to patent enough of the Volt’s technology to give them a major advantage. Because if not, Toyota will come out with a plug-in prius with a 40 mile AER before GM has the chance to ramp up production.

    I don’t know how many patents are still available in the BEV space. though. There’s GM’s EV1 patents (which I’m assuming have already expired.) And then there’s Tesla. Nissan might be the first major auto manufacturer to ramp up production of BEVs, but they’re hardly the first pioneers in the field.


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:18 am)

    As a note, keep in mind that the maximum charge the Volt will accept is around 3k watts, so the 7.6 kWh charger isn’t relevant. However, because of the battery chemistry you can get a half charge in about 45 minutes. (The charge isn’t linear).

    As for whether the Mini battery pack is special, it’s essentially an AC Propulsion pack, which was the basis for the Tesla packs. These packs are made by wiring tons of laptop batteries together. So they’re about as special as your laptop battery.

    One of the disadvantages of these batteries is that they lose their charge with time, even if not used. Tesla rates their rate at about 5 years, though this is hardly a problem for the Mini because the Es have only been leased for one year. The length of the lease period should give some indication of how concerned BMW needs to be about battery life.


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    LandKurt

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:18 am)

    “The problem is that GM seems to think that drivers can’t adapt to a different driving experience, so they feel compelled to cut down the range so your EV drives like a car with a combustion engine.”

    How did GM cut down the range, DonC? Because they included regen braking when you let off the accelerator instead of freewheeling? Doesn’t freewheeling require a clutch to disengage the motor? As I understand it the Volt won’t have a clutch or transmission so freewheeling would be out. I don’t think it’s worth complicating the drive train to get freewheeling.


  71. 71
    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:19 am)

    A Mercedes? I missed that. Wow. Lyle seems way too young to drive a Mercedes.


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    MuddyRoverRob

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:20 am)

    I said it first today though!

    ;-)

    Have a great day!


  73. 73
    LazP

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:21 am)

    Even in these early stages BEV-s can certainly be a perfect second car for those who can afford it and can use it for a limited range (city driving).But 33 hrs. of charging (wow). Of course the Volt can act both as a BEV and a ICE as needed. Lyle’s comment about range anxiety is key.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:22 am)

    Muddy,
    Uncontested.
    You have a great one too!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


  75. 75
    N Riley

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:22 am)

    Thanks for the update, Lyle. I am happy you are still enjoying the Mini-e although suffering the common “range anxiety” found with such vehicles. I can remember times when I was running dangerously close to empty in my gas tank and didn’t know just how far ahead was the next service station. That sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach is a very good teaching tool. After experiencing it several times I now try to fill-up on the highway around 1/4 tank remaining. I caution my children, especially my daughter, to do the same – even around town.

    But good report. Enjoyed reading it. How about really trying to reduce your speed and whatever to see if you can actually hit that 100 MPC mark. Try it a few times to see if you can repeat it. I know that some of the mileage will have to be very close to home so that as your charge gets really low you can still get back to the charge port. Good luck.


  76. 76
    GM Volt Fan

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:23 am)

    I think cars like the Nissan Leaf and BMW Mini will probably succeed in certain niche markets. I can visualize the Leaf being popular on island countries like Taiwan or in Hawaii. Unless you use the car for delivering stuff, not a whole lot of people are going to be driving over 90-100 miles there.

    Of course, some people that rarely take long trips and have easy access to quick charging 240V plugs at home and work will probably get themselves a Leaf or a BMW Mini.

    In the long run, the BEV is the best kind of EV … IF the range can get up to 300+ miles and they are quick charging and the charging infrastructure is everywhere … even on highways … basically everywhere gas stations are now.

    In 2025-2030, I bet most cars are BEVs. Hopefully, by then the electricity will come from a LOT more renewable, non-polluting sources like solar and wind. Who knows, maybe the scientists will FINALLY get fusion power plants up and running by then. Fusion power doesn’t have the same problems with nuclear waste and nuclear bomb proliferation like fission nuclear reactors do. You’ll never run out of the “fuel” for fusion reactors either. You can get it from seawater if you have to.


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    LazP

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:26 am)

    Very smart comment DonC.


  78. 78
    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:26 am)

    Personally I’ll let my Volt go into CS mode for the highway trips.

    I wonder how big a battery would need to be to cover 600km through the mountains at highway speed running the heater in winter or AC in summer?

    Prohibitively so I bet.


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    N Riley

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:28 am)

    Nasaman

    What do you think the impact of GM patents will be on a company like Fisker. It seems their concept vehicle implements the Voltec design very closely. I am sure there are both difference and similarities in both the Volt and the Karma.


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    Joe

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:30 am)

    An electric equal to a passing gear from a hydraulic mechanical transmission, could be accomplish by using a two speed electric motor. One for cruising and one for passing. Maybe the Volt will have a dual speed electric motor.


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    Keith

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:30 am)

    New Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL vehicles are to be unleashed across Europe and the US in 2010

    Mercedes-Benz is going to introduce its first series-produced fuel cell car to the US and European market next year.

    Around 200 new Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL vehicles are to be unleashed across Europe and the US in 2010, with production of the models commencing later this year.


  82. 82
    N Riley

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:37 am)

    I think you have it exactly right. This niche process makes sense when viewed as you described. I also agree the Nissan BEV is a foot in the door as well as the ER-EV for GM. Both companies will move into the other company’s niche as soon as they see a business case. In my opinion there will be a good market for the Nissan Leaf (although I dislike the name). It would certainly serve me as a commuter and short trip vehicle. I am of the opinion GM will make the first move into the other niche. Nissan has too much invested in the Leaf and Better Place to be seen as moving “away” from a full BEV and into “range anxiety-less” vehicles. They may believe it would hurt their case with Better Place. I don’t really think it would.


  83. 83
    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:38 am)

    Freewheeling doesn’t require a clutch. It’s the default state in that it’s what happens if you don’t use regen. So it’s a software not a hardware issue. My complaint is that GM appears to have programmed regen to make the Volt act like a car with a combustion engine. This is a design/policy decision not an engineering decision, and to me it’s a bad one. Seems like an EV should work like an EV rather than try to emulate something it’s not, especially when that something isn’t what you want.

    My fav would be an analog knob where you could “dial in” the amount of regen you wanted when you took your foot off the pedal. That would be simple to understand, simple to implement, and would please everyone.


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    old man

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:39 am)

    I think the Volt has two modes of operation. One giving regeneritive braking when you let off the pedal and the other more for economy and no regeneritive braking when the pedal is released.

    COULD BE WRONG


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    MuddyRoverRob

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:39 am)

    DonC…

    Have you LOOKED at the new MB’s?

    If they bring in the small diesel in the C-class to Canada it would be a slam dunk as the interm car until the Volt arrives.

    MB is making VERY nice cars these days and the B and entry C class cars are surprisingly affordable.


  86. 86
    stas peterson

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:43 am)

    Nissan is on an economic death watch.

    It will need a Bankruptcy restructuring later this year. Domestic Japanese volume is simply not coming back,, and the world’s automakers continue to bleed, albeit at a reduced rate. Nissan just doesn’t have the blood to give.

    Ghosen’s rescue during the last recession let lots of people forget how precarious and vulnerable Nissan’s Balance Sheet was and i. Even Chrysler handled the last recession well enough., by comparison.

    IMO lots of the Leaf hoop-la is to justify a reason for government aid, more than a real plan to build or sell hundreds of thousands of Leafs.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:46 am)

    I put my manual shift S-10 in neutral all the time, especially going down hills. I’m not a “hypermiler”, and I don’t obnoxiously obstruct traffic, but I do think that it helps the mileage a bit.

    Our 3500 truck has the Allison 5 speed auto. Leave it to me to buy it the year before it became a 6 speed, LOL. It has a retard feature which holds it back going down hills, and will even shift itself into a lower gear to enchance same in certain conditions. I HATE it. It’s the worst of both worlds, because you don’t even get any regen. And there is no way to defeat it, save putting it in neutral. Whereas the owners’ manual says in big black letters that putting the auto trans in neutral going down hills VOIDS THE WARRANTY. Maybe because they think you’ll hit reverse on accident, hehehe. It’s a great truck, except for the gas mileage anyway, but this is a feature I really do not like.

    Stirling Moss said that the brakes are to slow the car and the engine and gearbox are to make it go. Brake linings/pads are way cheaper that worn out hard parts.

    Anyway, I would really want the ability to defeat the regen while coasting down hills. A button, a switch, some way to reprogram, something.


  88. 88
    N Riley

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:46 am)

    Would someone please tell me what was so negative about Herm’s comment as to have several negative votes? I don’t get it. Can’t someone make a sensible argument about range versus pack size without getting “booed”?


  89. 89
    Byron I

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:48 am)

    As soon as we get charging times to less than 15 Min this problem will go away because we can pull into a gas station or electric station :) and away we go. That technology is not that far off.


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    Luke

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:49 am)

    The problem is that GM seems to think that drivers can’t adapt to a different driving experience, so they feel compelled to cut down the range so your EV drives like a car with a combustion engine.

    Many “car guys” seem to feel this way. I’ve seen them pan the driving experience for the Subaru Outback (with the CVT) (http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-2010-subaru-outback/). It seemed like one of their big beefs was that the driving experience didn’t include abrupt RPM changes and jerking that they’re accustomed to with regular automatic transmissions. Here’s what he has to say:

    Rather than expound on what it’s supposed to do, let me tell you what the powertrain really does. It tips in painfully slow off idle, winds in a thrashy tizz up to max horsepower at 5600 rpm and festers there. If there were anything resembling an exhaust note, it might remind you there’s a Boxer under the hood; gone is the traditional Subie burble. Instead, from the minute you start rolling, you’re annoyed by a constant cosmic din of CVT chain noise that the Ford Freestyle’s CVT never had on its worst day, even as an early prototype.

    I can understand not liking a car because it’s “boring”, or doesn’t meet his needs, or looks funny, or is associated with something he doesn’t like, or whatever… But reading between the lines, it seems like the author just doesn’t like change, even if the CVT might be an overall improvement for the car. The only reason I even looked at a beast like the Outback is that it had the CVT (new-ish and interesting technology, plus my wife finds conventional automatic transmissions unsettling after 100k miles in a Prius), and that 29MPG is competitive is within spitting distance hybrid CUVs like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus 450h, and that Buick Plugin Vue thingy (post battery depletion) that we discussed the other week, and for a reasonable price.

    I understand differing requirements and tastes, but I just don’t get why technological improvements like the CVT, or hybrids, are bad when it comes to cars. But this does seem to be a common and strong feeling, especially among people who were raised on overpowered conventional cars. So, while I would prefer for a car to just be what it is, I guess taking this opinion into account is important for marketing….


  91. 91
    Noel Park

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:49 am)

    This is dumb, and makes BMW, AC Propulsion, and everybody else involved look really bad. And people gripe about GM’s QC and responsiveness.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:50 am)

    Are you, and the ones voting positive for you, saying there is no room for suggesting a person could slow down to a reasonable speed to gain more miles per charge? Do we all have to drive at 70 MPH on the highways or be seen as offering negative views of electric motoring? I agree with everything that has been said, more or less, up through this comment. I have not had the time to see what comments are below.


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    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:51 am)

    Neal, an Irvine California company called Quantum Technologies claims they have been developing an E-REV called “Q-Drive” for about 5 years and they co-founded Fisker Automotive to apply it to the Karma. My guess is they’re going to try “dancing around” some Voltec patents and licensing others from GM. They’re not foolish enough to risk infringement lawsuits —GM’s attorneys would crush them! But who knows, Fisker’s Q-Drive might have some patent claims of its own, so GM & Quantum Technologies might even wind up (like Ford & Toyota) and enter cross-licensing agreements?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:54 am)

    I agree. At this point in development a fully electric car like the Leaf is good as a short run commuter car. Nothing more, nothing less. The Volt and its siblings that will someday follow is the technology that offers us all we need to get beyond range anxiety.


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    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:56 am)

    You’re falling into the trap of thinking that most people want to do something just because they’ve had to do it that way. How do we know most people “don’t want to freewheel/coast down the highway”? If you drive a vehicle powered by a combustion engine, the only way you can freewheel is by shifting the car into neutral, which requires effort and in fact is potentially dangerous because you’ve disengaged the engine. So not freewheeling is what you do and what you have come to expect.

    But most people have also ridden bikes. Bikes use freewheeling — when you stop peddling you just coast. And I haven’t seen too many complaints about this. Had we grown up with EVs, where when you take your foot off the pedal you’d freewheel, then we’d think freewheeling was “normal and natural”. (In both cases you’ll slow down, it’s just how fast you slow down.) It’s just what behavior you’re used to, and, as shown by the car and bike example, people can easily adjust to different behaviors.

    My point is that freewheeling is a normal part of the EV driving experience, and it’s more efficient and will give you more range, so why prevent the user from using it?


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    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:01 am)

    PS: Interestingly, the Fisker Karma uses a Chevy 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec VVT DI to power its generator, so they’ve already been to GM for hardware —why not approach them about Intellectual Properties while they’re at it?


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    Jaime

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:01 am)

    With your real world results getting 75% of the full EV range, its logical to assume the Volt will get 30 miles on electric rather than the 40 claimed.

    That will make the charge sustaining mode MPG even more important as the Volt will spend alot more of its time in that mode.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:03 am)

    DonC

    “However, because of the battery chemistry you can get a half charge in about 45 minutes. (The charge isn’t linear).”
    .
    Yes more losses, more heat, more resistance at the end of the charging process make it less efficient if not impossible to expect quick charging to effectively “top it off.”

    With an 8kWh charge in a 16kWh battery aren’t you always at or below the half way point when charging a new battery?


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    N Riley

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:04 am)

    You are suggesting that BEV owners will not be very aware of the range of their vehicles and will remember to plug it in each night. Plus, don’t you think the driver of the BEV will notice the amount of battery remaining and be fore warned about the miles remaining? Sure, you will have some idiots that will ignore the need to recharge and will ignore the warnings from the car that there is only so many miles left in the battery and will still drive off into the sunset expecting to go 100 miles on 10 miles worth of battery. Yes, we do have some people just that stupid, forgetful or whatever they should be called. I don’t see that as being more than a very small number of people who will purchase a vehicle like the Leaf. Most of them will be very aware of the complexities of driving a BEV. Will it have an impact on BEV sales? I don’t know. Depends on just how many times we see it on the news and how it is reported. Most of us will see it and say “look at that silly a$$ who can’t remember to plug in or watch his mileage remaining indicator”. We will laugh about it and say to ourselves “that is not going to be me out there”. But who knows. Time will tell. BEVs are going to be with us for quite some time and most of us who purchase one will learn to adjust our driving needs to the requirements of the vehicle. That or find ourselves on the evening news.


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    Wayne-S

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:09 am)

    Just go buy a small portable Honda generator and plug it in while you drive. They run for hours on 1 gal of gas. Quick & easy range extender.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:11 am)

    Nissan wants to own what may become the biggest market of all, pure BEVs with swap or quick-charge capability. They have a strong partnership with Better Place and are on track to start producing huge volumes of BP compatible cars by the end of next year.

    Nissan is actually the furthest ahead, from my perspective. Think about it… Do you really think Ghosen is just a guy with average smarts? Hardly!


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    CaptJackSparrow

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:13 am)

    I dunno guys, If I want to punch my car, the friggin thing better go. They obviously don’t care about keeping the “Driving experience” the same from ICE to BEV.

    Personally, if the controller can’t handle the amps rushing through then they under spec’d the controller or over spec’d the motor or did something wrong. I know in typical controllers like the Curtis or Zilla or LogiSystems etc…
    They all have a protection where if you have the pedal pushed down before you turn on the car, it stops PWM flow. But to have it do that during driving is to me a design flaw. The controllers mentioned above can handle 1000A and some (not mentioned) can handle up to 600V @ 500A using high voltage IGBT’s .

    I hope they fix this on their next iteratin of design. Like i’d be able to afford anyway…NOT…..lol :-)

    That’s my 2c.

    /Side note: I don’t ever recall AC Propulsion mentioning those cut off events in either the T-Zero or any model they introduced, even the eBox.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:15 am)

    As to this point I have to agree more with Muddy than with DonC and others who suggest “free wheeling”. Maybe if it was something GM wanted to allow, they could allow it only in Eco Mode. When in Power Mode the car would always use regeneration. Eco Mode would use regeneration only when the brake was pressed. When the accelerator pedal was released, free wheeling would “engage”. I find it difficult to use the term “go pedal”. Isn’t there a better word or term to mean the same as gas pedal? Go pedal just doesn’t hit the sweet spot with me.


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    omnimoeish

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:19 am)

    Very interesting that the Mini E can only go about 75 miles on a 28 usable kWh battery and the Nissan LEAF is 24kWh battery and who knows what the actual usable battery capacity that’s available, and that’s the ORIGINAL battery capacity. What will it be after 3-5 years? I have a feeling LEAF owners will be very underwhelmed with the range of their vehicle, especially for those who need lots of creature comforts. I can pretty much guarantee that range problems are going to be rampant.

    Using those same numbers, it’s head scratch worthy how the Volt is going to go even 30 miles on 8kWh even with all of the efficiency improvements GM has devised.


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    old man

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:33 am)

    I think many of the first buyers will run out of power due to not plugging in the car.

    ONE TIME!!!

    And very few will allow it to happen again due to not plugging in.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:33 am)

    The problem is that if you drive 48 mph on a highway where the speed limit is 65 mph, and everyone else is going 70mph, you’re a road hazard.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:33 am)

    Lyle,

    I’d be curious what your overall electricity cost is. Does your utility structure the rates based on time-of-day? I know in my local area the utility (PG&E) has or at least had a off-peak discount from midnight to seven AM. If that is the case, is there any inconvenience of recharging at specific times to save money? Does your charger allow you to set the time of recharging, or does it start when you plug it in?

    Thanks, Noah


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:37 am)

    Charging times of less than 15 minutes, a well-developed network for doing so, plus BEVs with a 150 mile range between fast charges, and the Volt will be obsolete.

    Unfortunately, (or fortunately for GM), I’m pretty sure that would take 30 years mimimum. Even if the technological breakthroughs happened tomorrow.


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    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:44 am)

    N Riley,

    I didn’t vote negative but I understand why some did.

    For a EREV or BEV to make any difference at all there need to be LOTS of them.
    If people are forced to drive slow to ‘get’ the car to do what they need it to do then they will vote with their wallets and buy something else that CAN.

    I’m sorry but 48 mph is sensible? That sort of talk creates nothing but negative reactions from most people. It’s also dangerous to everyone on the road because that slow car forces traffic to squeeze by the bottleneck.

    I’m to the point where I don’t find the speed limit overly slow, but usually set the cruise at 5 over. It’s pretty much my only ‘bad boy’ thing… That means 115 kph or roughly 75 mph. The old Malibu burns roughly 8 litres per hundred km at that speed.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:47 am)

    Until the range issue becomes a non-issue those people are buying Corolla’s. That’s the truth.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:56 am)

    Good morning Noel!

    A 3500 (heavy duty one ton) truck is designed to be holding back a big load going down the hill… you do NOT want a big load getting out of control that’s why there are those lanes on long downhills as emergency ‘exits’. I’ve been there.. it’s a BAD place.
    I’ll take all the braking I can get on a long downhill!

    Heavy duty trucks are definately a place where 2-mode could save fuel when unloaded though.


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    Starcast

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:56 am)

    “You are suggesting that BEV owners will not be very aware of the range of their vehicles and will remember to plug it in each night.”

    No I am just talking about myself. I am fully able to run out of gas regularly. I like to push range to the limit and never fillup before the low fuel light comes on. No big deal lots of gas stations and most of the time I can just coast in and noone knows the difference. Sometimes I have to walk.(They say it’s good for me)
    I have ran out of gas in a boat a few times one time when I was Bear hunting in Canada. My friend was very upset I told him “to chill and catch some fish well we wait, this happens to me all the time (he knew this but was still cussing) someone will be by soon to tow us in.” Someone did and we got a good laugh because the camp we were at included unlimited gas free for the boat.

    The point is this happens all the time so FOR ME the Volt will be a lot better then a BEV. Because when I screw up and I WILL SCREW UP, I can just coast into a gas station or walk and get some gas. But with a BEV I need a tow truck.


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    Mitch

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (11:59 am)

    ok..so GM is realeasing 10,000 in the first year, and that is “lame” according to some..

    but MB is “unleashing” 200 (that’s it?!?!) in 2 countries..andthat is exciting?

    I sincerely hope you are not one of those that is lambasting Gm for releasing “ONLY” 50 times that number…


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:01 pm)

    Even if a BEV got 50MPC “REAL”, that would work perfectly fine for me. The wife unit will need at least 75MPC “REAL” for her heavy foot, 15miles one way and has a charge port there.


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    N Riley

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    I agree. It just seems like a waste of valuable resources for Fisker and GM to fight it out in court. Fisker will not be a big threat to GM and GM might gain some technology, as would Fisker, if they were to go into a joint technology sharing agreement. I do know the Fisker Karma is one beautiful car. Just too pricey for my budget. That car couldl be a real competitor for the Chevrolet Corvette, I bet.


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    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    OK, lets play that game.

    You are saying that the driver should manually shift the car in and out of gear to potentially save a little gas.

    I say setting the cruise lets the car run at a steady state which is more efficent than manually adjusting all the time. I don’t see any reason why the cruise control on a Volt couldn’t be smart enough to run at least as efficently as an untrained lay-hypermiler, particularly if the cruise has ‘hooks’ into the Volts NAV system so it ‘knows’ what the road has ahead.

    You think you can ‘retrain’ the masses, I think that is unlikely to happen.

    GM can’t risk that much on the possiblity that people will ‘get it’… most will not, but they ‘might’ use the cruise.


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    newbie

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    Lyle, please tell GM to design a 6 GAL. AUTOMATIC PORTABLE (ICE) GENERATOR that turns on automatically when BEV juice is depleted…. this product will battle the RANGE ANXIETY for BEV supporters… this idea is Bold blockbuster Lyle! i tell you!…


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:07 pm)

    You could certainly be correct about the Leaf and government aid. The financial side of the equation is an area I don’t know much about Nissan. I know from past reports and the current downturn that Nissan can’t be in the best financial position. But which auto company is, really?


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    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:08 pm)

    I agree that BEVs will have to have at least 150mi ranges, Laura. But I think most people won’t like taking more than about 5 minutes to “charge up”, and that the necessary charging rates to achieve that will present very fundamental problems —for at least the minimum 30 years you mention.

    Furthermore, I’m convinced GM, BMW & many, many others will be hard at work getting the cost out of the generator (already a well-established art) —and I think they’ll be very successful doing so. So another major consideration will be what a future 150 mile battery costs vs a Voltec battery about ~1/4th that size, and how that cost will compare to the cost of future low-cost generators. I believe a Voltec drivetrain will be able to compete in terms of cost alone for a very, very long time. It’s therefore not at all clear to me that the Voltec architecture will be obsolete in the foreseeable future.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:10 pm)

    I agree Nissan wants to do exactly what you described. And if they can stay financially strong enough I can see where they could succeed in island nations and small countries or areas where cities are close and they can develop their battery swapping stations. I don’t see that as workable for the U.S., Canada and many other parts of the world. But, who knows.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:10 pm)

    I need some help understanding something.
    I am the dumbest one here when it comes to this stuff.

    In Lyle’s article above, he states that his
    120 V portable unit charger took about 33 hours to charge the car.

    But his 240 V, 32 amp wall charger takes about 2-1/2 hours to recharge.

    I was thinking the 240v would take half the time of the 120v and charge in approximately 15-16 hours.
    Why is it only 2.5 hours?

    Thanks.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:16 pm)

    Muddy:

    I understand all that, but I’d just like to have the option to use it when I want and not when I don’t.

    As to the 2 mode, I could get really intersted if they offered it with an 8 foot bed. We could probably even get by with the 1500, which is all they offer so far. 6000 # towing capacity is marginal for us, but we could probably squeak by with it. At present, it’s only a crewcab with a 6 foot bed, which will not cary all of our junk.

    I only got the 3500 because I got such a great deal on a leftover previous year’s model. I used to laugh at “duallys” as “Cowboy Cadillacs” and total overkill for most applications. It sure does tow like a dream though. The dual wheels seem to stabilize it somehow.


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    Bob G

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:16 pm)

    If I had a 56 mile commute, I would want an advertised range of at least 200 miles before I’d even consider a BEV.

    * Subtracting 25% for the marketing B.S. exaggeration factor (as in Lyle’s experience) leaves 150 miles.

    * Keeping 25% in reserve (which is sporty, considering that I am not comfortable below a quarter tank in my ICE car, even with gas stations on every corner!) leaves 112.5 miles.

    * Dividing the remainder in half (for a round trip) leaves 56.25 miles.

    Even if my employer offered it, I wouldn’t *depend* on the ability to charge at work, because if anything went wrong, I’d be stranded.

    But with an EREV, I wouldn’t need to keep the 25% reserve, nor would I need to worry about something preventing me from charging at work. For all-electric operation, I’d only need an advertised AER of 70 miles.

    Someday when BEVs have long ranges and can be charged in 5 minutes at fueling stations everywhere, the huge advantage of the EREV will diminish. Meanwhile, I want a Volt.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:19 pm)

    10-88


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    LandKurt

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    “Freewheeling doesn’t require a clutch.”

    But elswhere DonC wrote:

    “If you drive a vehicle powered by a combustion engine, the only way you can freewheel is by shifting the car into neutral”

    I’d say shifting into neutral is the equivalent of using a clutch in a manual transmission. In either case you disengage the engine while coasting so you have less friction loss from the engine itself. I know that while driving my manual transmission car there is a noticeable difference between coasting with the engine engaged spinning at 3000 RPM and pressing in the clutch and “freewheeling” with the engine idling.

    I suppose the crucial point will be how much drag does the Volt’s electric motor create while coasting if it’s fed no power and asked for no regen braking. It could be that an electric motor and no transmission create a lot less drag than a gas engine with all its moving parts. Disengaging the electric motor may be unnecessary for hypermileing. DonC, maybe you’re the one trying to impose old school gasoline engine driving techniques on an electric car.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    It doesn’t seem like anyone else has posted this, so, in case anyone’s interested, Ford’s sales rose 17.2 percent in August year over year. They were the largest beneficiary of the government’s cash-for-clunker’s program.

    Chrysler’s down 15% year over year, although they were up 5% over July’s sales. They blame an inventory shortage for their year-over-year performance due to their lengthy shutdown and they plan to increase production by 50,000 vehicles. They’re offering major incentives to make up for the end of the cash for clunkers program.

    Volkswagen saw an 11% increase, and Daimler saw a 10% decrease year over year.

    GM and Toyota’s figures are due out later today.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125182031722476443.html

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Clunkers-boosts-Ford-sales-apf-4058866656.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/business/02auto.html?hp


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    I did not mean to imply that I agreed with going 48 mph on the open highway. I don’t. I hate bottle necks just as much as anyone. It just seemed like Herm made a reasonable analysis of battery pack size requirements to get beyond short commutes and he was “jumped on” somewhat unfairly. At least that was the way I view the situation. But, hey, everyone knows I can be wrong and wrong headed too. I do notice now that the negative votes are gone. Thanks for that, guys.

    Got to go to lunch.


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    Noel Park

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    It’s not gonna work. The Honda won’t put out enough kWh to make a significant difference in the range. I suggested the same thing 2 years ago, but I’ve now come to believe that I was wrong.

    To get enough generator capacity to actually stay up with the battery drain, you would have to tow the thing on a trailer. The extra weight would negate most of the gain.. Not worth the trouble, IMHO.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:28 pm)

    I’ve always used ‘loud pedal’ and that doesn’t seem to work too well with the Volt.

    I think the software in the Volt will do some of the coasting etc, it’ll just do it automaticly without the drivers knowing (or likely caring).

    All the driver/owner cares about is decent handling, good performance and being cheap to run.


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    Bob G

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    Moving the car requires far more power than the little Honda generator can produce. The laws of physics prevent us from getting something for nothing. Otherwise, cars would only have 5 hp engines (like the Honda generator) instead of 150 hp engines.


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    Jaime

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    Interesting, I wonder if we are seeing the first real world results to answer the question of will consumers buy cars from a bankrupt company? Remember that GM said all along before they filed that people would not. Perhaps they were right and Ford benifited from GM and Chryslers misfortune?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:34 pm)

    Right to the core of it!

    That’s our Captain!


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    carcus1

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:34 pm)

    The point being:

    If you run the numbers on Lyle’s 56 mile daily commute, at 25 AER and 30 mpg, and NO “opportunity charge” at work. . . . then the Volt is getting very close to burning the same amount of gas as a regular Prius Hybrid.

    Many on this site seem to think that the Volt’s actual real world efficiency numbers don’t matter. I say they do.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:35 pm)

    ttest


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:36 pm)

    Err, it’s called the Volt.

    It’s generator is built in though so you don’t have to store it when you are not using it.


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    Jim M

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:42 pm)

    Lyle

    Take your Mini E in to the dealer and tell them to fix it that popping into Neutral when you floor it. Mine never does that. Other Mini E drivers have reported it and it was quickly fixed. There are lots of Mini E blogs, some mention this.

    By the way, they put in the accelerator delay to make it easier to park without hitting things. This according to a Mini E engineer at one of the social events in NYC.

    My Mini E has gone over 5 miles after the gauge hits Zero, without slowing down, and without going into the negative part of the gauge. You have more range than you think.


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    MuddyRoverRob

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    You are an IT guy so I’ll give it to you in those terms.

    The 110v @ 8 or 12 amps charging is like a modem.
    The 220v @ 32 amp charging is broadband!

    Short version, double the voltage and ~3 times the amps means a LOT more power transfered over a shorter time.

    There is a whole profession to support this sort of thing, I made the mistake the other day of asking an electrical question of my wife… (electrical engineer) I was STILL getting updates to her explanation this morning! :-)

    Much like us IT guys answering a question about Active Directory… (yes I had a long painful explanation coming in return for one of mine…)


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    Red Hat Gnome

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:58 pm)

    BMW firstly needs to respond now to the popping out of drive.

    Completely unacceptable and a crushing blow to any car review and should be out of service now!

    I can not imagine ANY vehicle achieving a “recommended buy” when at any time when a quick burst is needed for defensive driving or lets face it, some fun with the car you drop hard earned cash on monthly to be so dangerous. That right there would mandate a recall immediately and I would not let it out of the dealership until properly repaired.

    Shame on you BMW. I have had several of your vehicles and I’m shocked at this!

    Secondly, the delay needs to be handled with a torque management system.
    Who in their right mind would accept any delay, let alone a huge life threatening 1 or two second delay. Give it posi traction and for gods sake chirp the tires. Can you even pull away from a stop sign without worrying to clear an intersection without a careful acceleration calculation each and every time.

    This is an accident waiting to happen….
    Can you say “unsafe at any speed”

    This vehicle no matter who’s logo on it would never get a second look from me.

    Thanks for the info Lyle. As usual your very appreciated!


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    LandKurt

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:58 pm)

    I don’t see hydrogen fuel cell vehicals as anything but a dead end. In the end they’re just an EV with a inefficient storage system and missing infrastructure.

    My vision of a petroleum free future would be EREV cars driving mostly on battery, with extended trips on alcohol or bio-diesel. Improved battery technology would extend the AER a good deal. But even with a 300 mile range I would still want some sort of liquid fuel range extender for fast fuel ups on long trips.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (12:59 pm)

    I understand what you are saying for sure.

    In my world marginally in the towing window means it’s not safe.

    I HAVE been saying for a while now that GM should build 2-mode ‘work trucks’. It seems reasonable to me that they could build a 2-mode ‘heavy half’ towing rig that would be safe to 8000lbs or so.

    There is a reason the big trucks run on dual wheels! They are much more stable with heavy loads. Bad on ice though so it’s a trade-off.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    Don’t let experience with gasoline condition you into limiting what new things might be possible for EVs.

    There are destinations that most people drive to and leave their cars parked for extended periods; stores, movie theaters, places of employment, public parking lots. What if you could charge the full time you were parked, at a more easily provided rate? This seems much more likely to happen in the near term.

    By the time 5 minute recharging becomes available (if ever), people will have become so used to the new paradigm of “plug-n’-park” that the “electricity station” may face an uphill battle for acceptance (they will need to charge significantly more than the cost of electricity for providing this convenience).


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    Murray

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:05 pm)

    WTF-cell ?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:09 pm)

    Arrr.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    I think newbie is talking about a GM – designed generator wagon someone could hook onto a LEAF, Mini-E or Whatever. It might seem at first blush like making money in a gold rush by selling picks and shovels.

    Given the differing electrical requirements of a coming zoo of BEVs, and the limitations on what charge is accepted by different models (and their likely inability to tow anything), I don’t think this would be a good model for GM to pursue. This aside from the fact that they’d be shooting themselves in the Voltec foot with every sale.

    … I wouldn’t put it past Honda, though …


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:14 pm)

    OK.

    Of course you are quoting worst case AER and CS mode mileage figures. That’s OK too.

    However in the absence of hard facts I’ll simply say I think your quoted mileage rates are much lower than the reality will be.

    Have a great day!


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    CDAVIS

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:19 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Good MINI E update Lyle…Thanks…it gives us Voltec Heads a vicarious opportunity to experience the range anxiety dynamics of BEV.

    Everyone will have their own tipping point as to what makes more sense, BEV or EREV.

    For me, I favor EREV until I can buy a BEV w/ ~250+ mile AER & 30min or less 80%+ SOC (commonly available) fast charge stations. It’s just a matter of time until advancement in batteries and Quick Charge make the ICE-ER in EREVS obsolete.
    ______________________________________________________


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:20 pm)

    My wife’s weekday commute will still handily fit into that range.
    =no-gas

    The evening trips would have put us into CS mode anyway at least a couple times a week.


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    Darius

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:27 pm)

    Before I got into GM-VOLT Was realy thinking that reg braking is coming together with conventional brakes when you are pushing pedal and regen. braking works in serrial manner depending on intensity of braking. It appears that all manufacturers followed easest path. That why I was so curious concerning in-wheel motors. In that case it would be enough reg. braking in all circumstances.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:29 pm)

    Yeah, Starcast, I see your point. I agree the Volt will be the better vehicle for the vast majority of drivers. But, in your case, it won’t really matter whether you have a BEV or a Volt because it seems likely you will run out of “fuel” for whichever one you are driving. LOL. I know how your friend felt. I traveled to one of our company’s remote locations (about 55 miles away from headquarters) with one of my co-workers who was furnishing the company vehicle. Right off the bat he said he was low of fuel but he thought we would make it. I tried to convince him to go ahead and fill-up, but no, the butt-hole would not. When we ran out of gas in a lonely stretch of road about 3 miles either way to a filling station, I told him to get out and walk to get us gas. I stayed with the vehicle. You better bet the next time we started off together and he was low of gas I pulled rank on him and forced him to fill-up. He was of the same mentality as you indicated you were by saying what you did about running out of gas all the time. I agree, there are plenty of others who will push the limit the same way and a BEV will probably not be the best vehicle for them. But what do you say to them when they run out of gas with a Volt? You just smile and say, “You are an idiot, aren’t you?”. It can be funny sometimes. Good luck with your “adventure in driving”.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:33 pm)

    If it can be done in 30 years it will surprise the stuffing out of me. Well, not with current battery technology. But we all know that battery technology is not a still target. In a few years, who knows how may, I suppose it could happen. It would be great if it did. I should not ever say never.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:37 pm)

    Kudos to Lyle for this personally-funded research
    (undertaken with utter selflessness, no doubt ;-) ).

    I look forward to seeing what happens to range when the cold weather comes …


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    DaveP

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    Lyle: thanks for the update. I think your experience with the Minie-E will be pretty indicative of what the upcoming “crop” of 100 Mile electrics are going to do. Except for that neutral thing. That’s just wrong.

    Anyway, I can’t seem to shake my feeling that the pure EV sales are not going to be terrific. Oh, sure there’s a bunch of people who really do want a pure EV and will buy one but I can’t help thinking that the people who aren’t quite so electricentric :) could have already bought a Natural Gas Honda Civic for much of the benefit. That car is cheap (little over $20k) to own and operate (I recall the NG costs about half the cost of Gasoline today), has about ~250 mile range and can make a real impact on CO2 and imported oil reduction and in CA you even get the coveted WHITE (unlimited) carpool stickers because it has dramatically cleaner emissions, too. And yet it sells poorly. REALLY poorly.

    And I was mentioning this to a friend and they asked why I didn’t buy one and I said I was waiting for the Volt. :) They asked, “what about BEFORE that was announced?” because the NGV has been available a really, really long time. I really had to think about it.

    It’s kind of a cross between what Lyle was saying about range anxiety but more importantly that comment about a 3500 lb boat anchor… The car is a big enough expense that limitations on it’s usefulness weigh heavily on the decision to buy one. That and I’m electricentric. :)

    So, I suspect for the pure electrics that range anxiety plus a limited use model is going to spell very limited sales when compared to EREVs. It’ll be interesting to find out what happens.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:40 pm)

    There wouldn’t be any active “training”. The question is what should happen when they take their foot off the pedal. My argument is that they’ll get used to any of several different behaviors, whether that is what we might call the “excessive regen” used by the Mini-E or no regen or “freewheeling”. Given this, why not give them the most efficient and cost effective option.

    An EV is naturally like a bike. Its natural state, what would happen by default, would be that an EV would freewheel. GM isn’t using the default, they’re purposefully having the software initiate regen when it’s not needed in order to have the Volt mimic the handling of a car with a combustion engine.

    Given that this is less efficient, cuts the range, and drives up the cost of operation over what you’d see if they just left things alone, the better solution would seem to leave the default in place — IOW let the car freewheel. If the driver wants to stop they will just press the brake pedal to invoke the regen (though in truth they probably won’t know what regen is, they’ll just think of it as breaking).

    If you’ve ever driven a manual transmission you have the same issue. With a manual transmission, when you take your foot off the gas pedal you slow down less when you’re in fourth gear than when you’re in first gear. Is this hopelessly confusing? Has it completely flummoxed the average driver? Have people not figured this out?

    The simple question is this: If GM thinks people can get used to more regen when they take their foot off the gas pedal — there is an optional regen setting that does that — why do they think drivers can’t get used to less regen?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:54 pm)

    I’m obviously not able to explain this very well because you keep thinking that you have to actually do something to freewheel in an EV. In a car powered by a combustion engine you do have to do somehting — you have to disengage the engine by shifting into neutral. Otherwise the motion of the car gets converted into the energy needed to move the engine parts.

    An EV is completely different. When you take your foot off the “gas” pedal the motor stops turning but the wheels just continue turning. They don’t affect the motor in any way. So you don’t have to shift or do anything — the wheels just keep spinning and the vehicle is only slowed by aero drag and frictional losses.

    As to how difficult it would be to adjust to this behavior, you have obviously coasted in neutral with the engine idling. It would be exactly like that, except you wouldn’t need to engage the motor — it would already be “engaged”.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:56 pm)

    I actually understand this.
    So it is not just voltage, but amperage as well.
    Thanks MuddyRoverRob.

    I know the feeling about the wife.
    Mine is a physical therapist. God help me if I ask a simple question.
    I get the 2 million word dissertation on the subject. ;)


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (1:58 pm)

    All I can say to that is it all depends on whether people in general ‘like’ the feeling of the car or not.

    I’d have no problem with there being an option to change these settings in the car’s computer someplace, I just think only a very few people will ever even consider changing it and most of them won’t.

    I still think ties to the NAV system could make all this invisible.
    The car KNOWS it’s on the highway doing 100 kph and there is a slight downhill in 1.6 km so it’ll use less maybe no, power there…


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    Efficent or not many CVT transmission cars sound and feel ‘wrong’.
    It’s hard to quantify, but it’s not good.


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:02 pm)

    You (and others?) are taking those numbers out of context.
    Last August Ford sales tanked to some of their worst numbers of the year down -26%(-10% in cars -32% truck) so any improvement over last August, while being good news, hardly means they were “the largest beneficiary of the government’s cash-for-clunker’s program.” Sorry you are wrong.

    To analyse what C4C meant to each manufacturer you merely need to visit the DoT website and look at the breakdown for the 690,114 qualifying sales.
    http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot13309.htm
    Ford finished 3rd in total C4C marketshare with 14.4% behind Toyota (19.4%) and General Motors (17.6%)


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:06 pm)

    Lyle, thanks for this update, please let us know what happens to your range in the winter months when you need to defog your windshield or melt and wipe falling snow off the windshield.

    NPNS!


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:09 pm)

    That’s a good question!

    Without sharing personal information of course it WOULD be interesting to see what the to-the-wallet cost of driving an electric really is.

    Short version of the question, how much did your electric bill jump?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:09 pm)

    Sorry, but some of my comment got mangled. It should have read: “In a few years, who knows, I suppose it could happen:” Or something like that. Utterly useless and senseless now, I suppose. You see what happens when your mind falls out of gear with your fingers. Or maybe I just “ran out of gas” and tried to “coast my way through”.


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    Biodieseljeep

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:14 pm)

    Lyle:

    I want to personally offer to paint your garage. Will work for electric car-ride + beer.

    I drive from CT to Newark NJ (the biodiesel factory is there) every few days and I’d guess you live in Weschester somewhere… and would be my pleasure to meet up.

    -Paul


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:15 pm)

    Hmmmm, OK.. sorry newbie I was a bit brisk on my answer.

    There are plenty of tow-behind generator bodged together solutions out there. For some ‘hardcore’ people they might just be the right answer (assuming the EV has the motor power to pull the trailer)

    But the Volt is aimed at the mainstream consumer.

    Most people would see the need to ‘hookup a trailer’ to go on the highway as a good reason to move along.

    It has to be close to invisible in use or people will stick with a conventional car.


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:15 pm)

    Lyle
    Sounds like your car are having some issues synchronizing its motor controller output frequency/duty cycle/amplitude with driver input (accelerator position) and existing motor speed and angular position as sensed from the internal resolver assemblies.
    If OTHER Mini’s are NOT experiencing the same issue, IMO the motor resolver input signal has issues (bad resolver, signal path etc) or something internal to the motor controller itself.(weak IGBT, popped capacitor etc etc)

    However in this case USUALLY there will be some sort of DTCs setting, and as such some sort of warning lamp or message (you’ve not indicated that)

    But if ALL mini’s ARE experiencing something similar then obviously is could be software related and an update reflash all that’s required.
    I suggest you contact your E-mini servicing dealer to find out which
    HTH
    WOT


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:20 pm)

    Not to look like a troll, but I’m sort of a dreamer/optimist, the Tesla Model S is looking like it might get 300 miles per charge.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-7226-Electric-Car-Examiner~y2009m8d28-Tesla-Motors-300-Miles-for-the-Model-S

    They’re also stating that their next automobile after the Model S is coming in under 30,000 (pre-government rebate).

    http://www.carthrottle.com/sub-30000-tesla-coming-in-2016/

    So maybe the BEV will be the “solution” sooner than later?

    P.S. I know how everyone feels about Elon Musk announcements/predictions, I’m just introducing these recent tidbits of information as a “reality check” as to how fast the progression of battery technology can potentially affect the auto market.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:21 pm)

    An excellent illustration of the general lack of logic in our race!

    I have similar struggles.

    I want a Volt and believe in what it represents, and then a new Camaro SS drives by with the V8 ‘burbling’ and I start to drool…


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:21 pm)

    Darn I missed seeing all the negative votes!

    KDawg I did not intend to criticize your request, and I am glad that you went to the trouble of mentioning 70mph and the AC when you asked for a 250 mile range.. many dont bother specifying that. As an example the Tesla Roadster has a range of over 400 miles today, but at a speed of 18mph :) So, yes it is possible.

    I think we all want long range and cheap.. lets assume that the current cost of batteries is the upper limit and the maximun we would pay for a BEV is $32k (Leaf).. that gives us a range of 75 miles and that is not acceptable.

    Would it be acceptable if gas was $5, or $7 or perhaps $12 a gallon?. At what point does range anxiety give way to pocket issues?

    How about if gas is rationed to 5 gallons a week and you can only fill up on odd-even days? .. it has happened before.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:21 pm)

    Interesting concept with the “analog dial”, DonC. A variable dial like that would be required to satisfy all the variable levels of regeneration different folks with different strokes would want. Programming that into the system should be possible even if difficult. At this time GM is the only one that can answer that question. But like I said earlier, it could be automatic if the driver could chose between an Eco and Power mode. Anyway, enough said because it looks like GM has their mind set as to what gen 1 will accomplish. Maybe not tackling too much at first is best. They have a “full plate” of issues already.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:22 pm)

    That is what I am hoping.


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    RB

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:27 pm)

    Read the Nissan web page for the Leaf, where conditions are spelled out. It seems gm is headed in the same direction.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:27 pm)

    I don’t know a thing about this vehicle, but if the CVT whined like stated, I would not want to own it. I do not want to hear a constant whine. It is bad enough to hear wheel noise on the highway or wind noise.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:32 pm)

    I think where your explaination is getting confusing is that you say the motor stops when in reality the power is cut but the rotor in the motor keeps spinning.

    It HAS to since there is a steel driveshaft connecting it to the spinning wheel.
    I’m not an EV expert, but basic mechanics are at play here. There will be some amount of drag with this extra rotational mass, but I cannot say how much.

    For the motor to stop there would have to be some sort of disconnect, this sort of device is often called a ‘clutch’.

    Hence LandKurt’s question.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:35 pm)

    The spec for the POT, or potentiometer, (a variable resistor), might be too wide as far as value is concerned if it has a POT.
    If only one out of very many is doing that lag, then there might be a “dead spot” in the pot, and/or a cable adjustment issue. If all of them are doing the same thing, then, if that is the design, then they all might need a cable adjustment if the resistance-value (on a DVOM) does not immediately begin to change when the accelerator pedal is begun to be pushed.
    Same exact thing with a TPS reading on an ICE, with a hand-held scan tool in the form of percent TPS.
    (Was off for lunch, now back to work).


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    I would expect BMW is testing for that design flaw even as we speak. I would be surprised if the ignored Lyle’s email. I would hope they would at the very least respond with an email saying “thank you for your input and we are studying the problem”. If not soon, then I would be concerned about BMW;s commitment to the test fleet. Lyle, you may want to not do the part of stomping the accelerator while going highway speeds unless absolutely forced to do so. Careful is the watch word after a possible problem is identified. Try to repeat the problem only during a clear stretch of highway, if you want to repeat it.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:37 pm)

    GM is imitating the behavior of a car with an automatic transmission, it slows down when you lift off the gas.. this is the correct way to setup the Volt. In any case last I heard it had not been decided yet, and they may even offer the driver the option to change it.

    If you dont want regen, keep your foot on the gas.. again you gain NOTHING in an electric by freewheeling. Use regen if you want to slow down in a hurry.

    “Pulse and Glide” gives you more economy in an ICE car due to the inherent way an ice works.. higher efficiency at wide open throttle.. this has nothing to do with an electric motor.. pulse and glide will not work in an electric car.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:40 pm)

    As a longtime former manual-shift driver, I would frequently shift into neutral to go downhill (especially at $3+ a gallon gas), so I’ve gotten used to the ‘free-wheeling feeling’ (I used to call it “shifting into G (for Gravity).” I can see how it might unnerve some people, though (I never did this with a passenger on board).

    If there were an option to freewheel I might use it, but I’d still give the ‘some-regeneration’ mode a try.

    Keep in mind, the engineers are probably trying to evoke proper use of regeneration with intuitive driver’s response, as opposed to explaining in great detail that long slow deceleration is preferable to waiting until you’re at the red light to slam on the brakes (which would mostly fall on deaf ears).


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    DANO

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:40 pm)

    I read your gm-volt site every day and enjoy it. Wanted to comment on the cost of running your prototype which I believe is $.066 per mile for electricity if I uses your numbers. My 05 Malibu cost me $.10 per mile for gas. So with current prices I would save $.034 per mile – over 100,000 mile that is a savings of $3,400. In a few years I will be able to buy a Malibu that gets 37 miles per gallon (eco-boost and dual clutch 6 speed X mission) The savings for the new malibu over 100,000 miles would be $500 over 100,000 miles.

    All of this doesn’t make sense with gas at $2.65 / gallon


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:41 pm)

    DonC is right, the natural state of a electric motor with no power is freewheeling.. no clutch needed.

    Try an experiment, turn off the power to a fan and push the propeller around.. did you notice any drag?.. no, its freewheeling.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:41 pm)

    It might also have a rumble seat, though I very much doubt it. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but I would be surprised if GM provided a solution in the manner you described. A surge of power straight from the battery to the electric motor to bring it up towards its top rpm would probably be their solution. If you were already at top rpm, then you would not get any surge forward in speed. Just like in an ICE vehicle at the top of its rpm range. If it is doing all it can do, it can’t do anymore. Without throwing a rod or chain or whatever it wants to throw.


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    Herm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    People are that way.. many will miss the loud exhaust noise when they drive an electric.. its what they are used to.

    That is why GM is making the Volt to seem as conventional as possible.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:45 pm)

    We geeks got to stick together!

    Another way to look at power;
    Voltage is the width of the river, Amperage how fast the current is.


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    N Riley

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:45 pm)

    We are assuming the worst for BMW and/or AC Propulsion without giving them the benefit of a doubt. Did Lyle say how long it had been since he notified BMW of the problem(s)? Maybe they have not responded as fast as they should, but maybe they should have at least acknowledged the receipt of the email. If they did not. We are just shooting at gold fish in the lily pond here.


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    Storm

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:49 pm)

    Why do you keep talking about calling a towtruck when you run low on juice? 1. You have a fair amount of warning that you are getting low. It doesn’t suddenly stop. 2. Electricity is available everywhere. Jeez, use some imagination.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:52 pm)

    I thought it was was a Tesla made pack, made by Tesla under contract to BMW.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:53 pm)

    If the wheels hit the road then it will be interesting to see what it can do. The ‘S’ is a pretty car it can only be good if it does become an actual product.

    On the 300 mile claim… I ain’t holding my breath!

    Mr Musk’s claims have much more credibility than those of say EEStor since he’s actually delivered something.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:54 pm)

    Of course the Mini is simply an experimental car, not a production car.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:56 pm)

    Nice graphic on car sales year over year at wsj.com


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:57 pm)

    But I was the first one to “think 60 MPG was possible” today. Now who’s on first?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:57 pm)

    It still makes sense even one enjoys electric cars and enjoys avoiding gas stations.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (2:59 pm)

    Well said! Ditto from me, too.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    Whatever the interpretation, the fact that gm’s sales were down sharply year over year is bad news. As you noted, gm is selling fewer cars than they did in a reference year that was itself a bad year. Right now gm really needs the cash flow.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    Jean-Charles,

    Is the new Astra like the upcoming Chevrolet Orlando? Or just a station wagon like vehicle?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    I suppose before you purchase that Ampera in Europe you will have already checked to be sure the U.S. Customs Office will let you bring it into the country? Are there many hurdles, if any, for importing a car from Europe to the U.S.? Good luck with it. Then you and Jean-Charles can keep us up to date with Ampera reports.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:06 pm)

    I don’t think that is the same sort of freewheeling. If you look closely at that fan I believe you will see that the motor is still turning with the fan blades because of the solid shaft connecting them. You don’t feel any drag because a small electric motor doesn’t have much drag at a few RPM. I suspect an electric motor has less drag than an ICE at any RPM, but it’s not entirely missing. I would say it isn’t freewheeling if the motor is still turning directly in sync with the wheels (or fan blades), but your definition of freewheeling may differ from mine.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:07 pm)

    Have you ever ridden a snowmobile?

    Same thing, the engine runs up to the set point and stays there, the sled keeps accellerating though. On the sled you are wide eyed trying not to die (they are insanely fast) so the weird factor is over-ridden.

    CVT’s are not new, they have just always had big rubber v-belts at their core and were not very efficent.

    The new ones use a steel chain-belt thing instead. They still use cones to infinitely change ‘gear’ ratios.

    The unchanging engine note is likely what our friends Frank and team are working on with the volts genset since it too will run at set speeds. Quieter will be better!


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:14 pm)

    While Muddy’s scenario is amusing, I think the dealership will offer a list of qualified electricians or electric companies that will do one of two things – if you agree. One, they will come by to check your house for charging your Volt. This will probably be at the dealer’s cost or GM’s or shared (although it will be in the price of the car, but you won’t see it). If your house already meets the requirement, great. Number two, if not, they will give you an estimate to install the necessary wiring, switches, plugs and whatever else is needed. The option will be yours and I suspect part of the sales papers you sign will be a statement releasing the dealership, the electric company and GM of any further duties or responsibilities. Simple, straight forward and OK with me. You will probably save money if you do your own contracting with an electrician to install the necessary electric works prior to signing the sales contract. The dealership and GM will still probably want their electrician to sign-off on the inspection.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:16 pm)

    I should have mentioned that he’s (dad) a semi-retired (that means he still works 50 hours a week, but takes a little more ‘RV time’ now) 40+ years experience master electrician and I can’t imagine anyone more qualified (over qualified?) to hook up a basic 220 run.

    The fact that I get him to work for beer is a bonus! ;-)

    He is definately qualified to install something like the Volts charger.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:17 pm)

    “gas at $2.65 / gallon”

    Dude where do you live? Here in CA it’s $3.05/gal at Arco.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:21 pm)

    Typically it’s a 5K OHM POT that has an “Open” at idle position, but they may have som proprietary thang.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:21 pm)

    Eideard

    Her vehicle must have been used to already have 200K+ miles in 6 years when only driven 24 miles round trip. I am like you, I have to have a pickup, although only a small truck is needed. I, too, would like a good 2-mode small truck that could get over 30 MPG on the highway. But will we ever see it? I don’t know.

    Muddy,

    “A 2-mode work truck, with AC and cruise at $25k… they couldn’t make enough of them.”
    ———————

    You got that right!


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:23 pm)

    lol…
    Aw man, you guys are killin me on his paint the wall thing…
    :-)

    It’s even funnier after afew beers from lunch.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:25 pm)

    Nah! Not Lyle! I would not blame him if I were getting the cold shoulder from BMW. Somehow I don’t see BMW doing that. But as to why they have not responded, I have no answer. If I were Lyle, I would step it up a notch. But, wait, maybe he just did after all. Maybe our Lyle is sly after all.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:26 pm)

    Well, in that case, welcome to the brain dead party.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:30 pm)

    Rashiid, Think of it this way –

    Energy is (Voltage) multiplied by (Current) multiplied by (Time Interval)

    They are increasing both the 1st and the 2nd so as to be able to decrease the 3rd and deliver constant energy.

    Higher voltage means implies greater insulation thickness, and higher current usually means thicker wires, so the charging cable becomes more bulky as well as somewhat more expensive. But considerably higher voltages and currents are common in industrial situations.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:32 pm)

    I think they designed it in. Nothing from AC Propulsion has this issue. I know their t-zero controller does not do this by default.
    No controller even from the DIY’rs have this “feature”.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:33 pm)

    The drool factor with the Camaro is why you need a Tesla :)
    Or a Tesla-like car from gm.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:43 pm)

    Jean-Charles,

    I have seen that video before and it always left me impressed with the methodology and wondering about not only the cost to build such a swap station, but the cost to the driver of the swap. If I understood something I read one time, if you subscribe to the Better Place Battery Swap Plan you can swap out as much as needed (or as much as they will allow you). But if you do not want to “subscribe”, what is the cost. And what if you subscribe, what is that cost. I have not seen any numbers yet. Have you? Your area may get systems like that, but it is not planned for the U.S. Not anytime soon, anyway.


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    Starcast

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:46 pm)

    Life is an adventure thats what makes it fun. My wife refers to me as “Idiot” I love it.
    With a Volt I just get some gas with a BEV I need a tow truck.

    I’m just saying that runing out of fuel is no big deal when it is easy to get more, and this will still hold true with a Volt. I know most people freakout when they get below a 1/4 tank and have never even seen the low fuel light. But think about it if you never run out how do you really know how far you could have gone.

    I like to push the limit in everything, How do you know what your limit is if don’t excied it and fail sometimes? I have never understood dumb statements “You need to know your limits” Wow that sounds like fun, Life is way to short to worry about limits. Yes this way of thinking gets me in some interesting spots. The important thing is how good are you at recovering from it.

    Any one who has never run out of gas or worse yet never even seen the low fuel light. I feel very sorry for you, try it some time its fun, I have meet some great people who have helped me. Even a ride in a Police car once fun stuff. (he just took me to get some gas)

    Life is no fun when everything goes like clock work. Try it make your low fuel light come on before you fill up next time. Try running out of gas and coasting of the e-way and into a gas station without anyone even knowing. Try it and tell me that wasn’t a rush!!! I love it I have been doing it for over 30 years never planed but just by pushing the limits.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    Good 2c worth, Capt Jack. I suspect the problem is a BMW problem. Assuming they did not “design” in some of that and it did not work quite the way they wanted it to. Bet Lyle will have an answer soon.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:49 pm)

    Herm, no worries, i took no offense.

    I think gas would have to be around $10/gallon for me to consider a car like the Mini E, or the Leaf (assuming they cost about 60-70K). If i lived in a warmer state where i could get more range out of my batteries in the winter, then maybe less. However, its not really the money thing. I just dont want to mess w/a car I can only drive in a 40 mile radius max for a round trip (and that’s not even counting having at least some left for reserve, and the range reductions due to cold weather). That basically means I have to buy a second car, or rent one all the time.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:50 pm)

    Actually, according to GM’s own press release, they had very strong sales last august due to “unbeatable incentives.” And, while August sales were down 20% compared to last year, they were up 30% month over month.

    http://www.gm.com/corporate/investor_information/sales_prod/

    However, they lost significant market share to Toyota and Honda for the first time in 2009. Ford did not. To me, that means that in terms of additional sales (what would have happened if there had been no cash for clunkers), Toyota probably did the best. Then Honda. Then Ford. Then GM.


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    Vincent

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:51 pm)

    If your going to use my name at least have a good post….


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:53 pm)

    Those experiments are for closed test tracks. Not a persons life. Simply stupid.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:54 pm)

    You can not really tell from the picture above, but I would bet the charger and/or Mini-e does not allow you to schedule charge start and stop time. The pictured charger looks pretty simple with not much in the way of controls unless everything is touch screen. Somehow I still think it is plug the cord in and charging starts.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:55 pm)

    http://www.opel.com/

    The Astra is sold here with a Saturn sticker.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:57 pm)

    “Or maybe I just “ran out of gas” and tried to “coast my way through”.”

    Good for you my friend, your quick.


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (3:58 pm)

    Would someone hit the fast-forward button and get me to November 2010 please!? Thanks. This year will not end fast enough.


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    It’s nice to know these BEV numbers are not absolutes. It makes sense to have a couple miles in reserve just like a gas car.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:01 pm)

    Not only that, Rashiid, but if I am not wrong on this, it is the amperage that kills you. Not the Voltage. RB can certainly answer this one. I am a computer programmer myself. There is a lot about electricity I do not understand. But I do know enough not to touch naked wires or light bulbs on an outside light on a post after a rain. I did that once when I was about 13 and I have always felt I was lucky it only knocked me on my a$$.


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    Jim I

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:06 pm)

    I thought that is what we were supposed to do!!!!!

    ;-)


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:09 pm)

    I think you are over complicating it.

    The car comes with a 110v 8 or 12 amp charge cord. (240v in Europe) It plugs into the wall at one end and the car on the other.

    Simple.

    The 220v wall charger is an accessory, they may or may not have contractors on a list as a convenience, but it will only be a convenience. You buy the box and go home with it.

    Call your electrician and say you have a 220 charger you need hooked up in your garage, buddy comes out and hooks you up.

    There isn’t going to be any GM coming to your house stuff, The home charger kit will be clearly marked professional installation required. It will be up to you to be smart and actually use a professional.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:10 pm)

    Looks like Ford also led with the most clunker models traded in. Does that mean they also made the most clunkers over the years?

    Also, the DOT web-site points out the sad part of allowing companies other than Ford, GM and Chrysler to participate in the C4C program. Just taxpayer money flying overseas not to return to our economy. I just love “beating a dead horse”.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:14 pm)

    When the Camaro convertible is released a lot of my time will be spent drooling. I might have to purchase me an adult bib.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    Hey, Capt Jack, if they want to do some painting I got some painting they can do. And I will even buy beer (which I don’t do) and put some steaks on the grill (which I like to do). All painting has to be completed each day before the beer is consumed. Otherwise I could not be sure what gets painted or just how good it is painted.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:21 pm)

    Regular gas is $2.32 – $2.49 around Jackson, Mississippi. But we have several refineries and a lot of drilling off our coast and on shore. Something California doesn’t like. It takes a lot of money to import gasoline into a state. Would be better if you produced more than you used. I know California produces a lot of crude oil, but it is declining overall in production. No new drilling?


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:24 pm)

    I was the class clown in school…………….

    Glad I could cheer you up a bit!

    :-)


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    Unless the timer control is within the car itself.

    You are likely right though, it is a prototype.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    No doubt about it, Nissan WILL own the BEV market and GM will be trying desperately to catch up by stealing all the asian technology they can get their greedy little paws on. Go Nissan ! Voltards are losers in the end and you lame morons will realize that Voltec was just an interim technology on the way to Nissan’s future proof technology. You heard it hear first. No charge for this lesson. Enjoy. ;-)


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    On this we agree completely my friend!


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:29 pm)

    I could buy both a loaded Camaro AND a Volt for the price of a Tesla!


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    Scooter

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (4:31 pm)

    Remember this is just a lab rat for BMW engineers. They have more advanced models in Bavaria already. Be afraid you arrogant Volt fanatics. You will soon feel the wrath of the European advanced electric driving machines. There coming soon and the only thing that GM can do about it is GET OUT OF THE WAY.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:04 pm)

    It’s easy.
    Put paint can in middle of room….
    Light the M80 or M1000….
    drop in paint can….
    Run like a mad man to the beer…
    Done, crack open the beer!


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    Dave K.

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:09 pm)

    Credit is being given to BMW for presenting this simple and spartan design in their EV Mini. At $800 per month lease, this 2 seat sub-compact will sticker at $44,000. From what I have read enthusiastic Volt fans have warmly welcomed this new member to the EV family.

    It’s not “get out of the way”. It’s “welcome aboard”.

    =D~


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:12 pm)

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    nuclearboy

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    Exactly.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:29 pm)

    lol…
    Dude, the heart (battery pack) is from Tesla and the Soul (AC Drive) is from AC Propulsion. Both made in the US.

    Send over some of that Bavarian beer your drinkin there maaan. Share!!


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:32 pm)

    LauraM,
    You are right.
    I think that the market share angle is the way to look at it and for this reason, GM did not do to well.


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:35 pm)

    a 10kw generator would keep the battery charged if you drove at 50mph average, a 15kw would do it at 60mph. Any generator would extend your range but you would have to turn it on the moment you started the trip.

    BTW, generators on a trailer definitely work.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:40 pm)

    Thanks Jim, as I suspected.. share your Mini driving experiences with us please.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:43 pm)

    The home refueler is very expensive, and so is the required maintenance on that refueler. NG only makes sense for fleets, where they have available compressed gas at a central location.


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    Koz

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:46 pm)

    The Volt would cost me about ~$0.03/mile based on my average $0.12/KWh rates and what is expected to come from the wall in “real world” driving (4miles/kwh). Gas costs about $2.70/gallon today and reality for me would be about 25mpg average, so that’s $0.108/mile today. If one is to estimate the cost of driving over the ownership life, then you have to make an assumption about the fuel costs. Given the supply/demand dynamics for gasoline and electricity, the only people that would assume the cost spread will remain constant are the ones that never wanted a Volt in the first place. Everyone can pick their own number, but for me I would use $4.00 for the average adjusted gas price in today’s dollars. This brings it to $0.16/mile for gas or $0.13/mile differential. That’s $13K over 100K miles. It is easy to put numbers that look good for what you want to portray.


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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:52 pm)

    That is a “safety feature” as this is an extremely fast car that has been detuned for American drivers.


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    Lurtz (Lawrence Makoare)

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (5:53 pm)

    GM sales are 20% off last August’s, while Hyundai, Toyota and Honda sales are up.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/business/02auto.html?_r=1


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    old man

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:02 pm)

    Scooter

    Take a couple of aspiren with warm milk and sleep it off.

    You might want to keep an up chuck bucket close by. Drinking that much can be messy.


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    Mark Bartosik

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:20 pm)

    That’s true, but in some places it is hard to get up above 30 mph with traffic.

    A friend of mine from the UK was visiting his brother in LA. While crawling along in traffic he turned to ask his brother “What’s the speed limit here?” His brother responded “I haven’t a clue, but I’m sure that I’ve never reached it!”

    Those places where there is heavy traffic crawling along are just those same places that are ideal for electric vehicles. They are usually cities or suburbs where pollution is worst. And stop/go traffic is where EV does really well because it doesn’t idle an an ICE is even less efficient at 1000 rpm.

    However, I’m not suggestion that EV drivers slow down to gain range. If they do, they will soon be the curse of most drivers and give the EV a bad rap.


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:22 pm)

    If that was the OPs intention then he wouldnt have mentioned Ford at all. Numbers are just that – numbers, and can be made to represent good or bad by anyone that even 1/2 understands them. GM sales numbers are actually not all that bad compared to the rest of the industry for August. But you can put whatever spin on them as you wish as of course, being a tax-payer , you are now a “stake-holder” LOL


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    Koz

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:22 pm)

    I hope not. Charging 10KWh is a much different scenario than charging up to 20KWh. 120V, 8A does it overnight for 10KWh but not much more.


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    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:22 pm)

    This is dumb, and makes BMW, AC Propulsion, and everybody else involved look really bad.

    You can’t blame AC Propulsion for anything. Their tzero controller doesn’t do this. Reading between the lines, my guess is that they told the BMW engineers that these “enhancements” were a bad idea but their suggestions were ignored.

    While there is good and bad greenwashing, the MINI E seems to represent the “bad.” A not very well thought out product designed to exploit a loophole in the CARB regulations. As Chelsea Sexton has said: “This is turning out to be a half-baked, poorly executed program by BMW, who is acting solely for the sake of regulatory compliance. Shame on CARB for allowing it.”

    http://action.pluginamerica.org/o/2711/pressRelease.jsp?press_release_KEY=497

    If GM tried to pull this stunt it would be pilloried.


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:24 pm)

    The MINI E drive train is from AC Propusion. Mercedes has the relationship with Tesla. Maybe all those German luxury brands look the same …. ;-)


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    Koz

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:29 pm)

    If you search, you can find energy usage numbers for the Prius (Gen 2). I think you’ll find that your 25 miles AER for 8KWh will equate to sub 40MPG in the Prius. So, unless you believe GM will fail miserably in their attempt to minimize power consumption, your numbers don’t add up.


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:36 pm)

    What the !*#@!;#& are you talkin about??
    In August GM sold 245,550 vehicles in the USA, the most of ANY manufacturer (19.45%).Toyota (including Lexus and Scion) was 225,088 a 17.8% share.
    Ford 181.826,Honda 161,439, Nissan 105, 312 Hyundai 100,665 and Chrysler 93,222. The rest of the manufacturers were all WAY below that.
    Get your facts STRAIGHT!!


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:38 pm)

    With an 8kWh charge in a 16kWh battery aren’t you always at or below the half way point when charging a new battery?

    The pack only uses 50% of the available SOC, but since the pack operates within a 80%-30% SOC you’d be above 50% more than below it.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:40 pm)

    DonC
    Maybe the charger will be included in the price of the vehicle?
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Dan Petit

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:42 pm)

    Not that BMW does many things like anyone else. The more “techno” I ever see published “repair” information, the more and more I show techs that you must first look at the least expensive things to check, that are possibly related.
    85% of the time, the cheap parts or neglected services are the little things that hit hard at the expensive things that may or may not have failed by the time the customer brings it in.
    Where we have a topic like yesterdays, (an unbelievable car in the first place), “concept on paper” as likely, still, the laws of physics prevail for the all simple things to be checked firstly, which is the ethical thing to do in the first place anyway.
    78% of the time, due to very high mileage, concurrent unrelated things that are somewhat seriously needing immediate attention (to prevent more expenses), are revealed if diagnostics are done properly.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:45 pm)

    Muddy,
    Good to have a wife that commutes (read has a job)(lol). Ah, long evening rides with the Mrs., too. Sounds sweet.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:49 pm)

    So THIS is how the thread reached 250 comments (g). I dropped in this evening and marveled that a thread that looked to be “petering out” this morning was still going strong!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Carcus1

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:52 pm)

    Hesitation and gear “pop-out”:

    Wiki says this about the mini e:

    “A software mediated delay makes the vehicle hesitate a little when the acceleration pedal is first pressed. This artificially limits the electric motor’s response, preventing burnout from a standstill. After this initial delay, response goes back to normal, making the Mini E a peppy little car.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_E#Specifications

    …and I agree with Herm’s guess on the likely cause of the pop-out. It’s probably just too much instant torque for not enough gear. Popping out of gear is better than shredding the teeth.

    I would think both hesitation and neutral pop are limiting drive train damage during periods of “excessive enthusiasm”.

    p.s. Have you taken the car to your designatd service center or called the service manager in charge of this mini e project? I find that a lot of times email just gets lost in the volume.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:53 pm)

    Omnimoeish,
    Two words: “Superior engineering” (g). I’m still betting on better than 40 AER off the dealer’s lot.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:54 pm)

    Does that mean they also made the most clunkers over the years?

    That was funny. Actually the Ford Explorer was far and away the top clunker, but that has more to do with the the trend of trading in SUVs for smaller cars than anything else. Chrysler got hit on the sales side because it doesn’t have many small cars to sell. Which is I guess why they did the deal with Fiat.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (6:56 pm)

    Hopefully soon they will go to “Hall Effect” throttles. This should eliminate the wear on the POT. That’s the theory, it’s a magnetic sense that’s derived as a resistance value thus offers a method of variance to control higher power electronics.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:01 pm)

    All,
    Isn’t it also the case that the rate a battery TAKES the charge differs, so it gains a bigger percentage of charge the first hour than it does on the 4th hour?
    The modem and river examples helped me, too.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:01 pm)

    Whatever the interpretation, the fact that gm’s sales were down sharply year over year is bad news.

    It’s more complicated than this. Y2Y comparisons will probably start showing big increases over the next six-seven months or so. Not because things will be so terrific but because last year was so bad.

    I think the idea of looking at total numbers sold, especially for non fleet sales, is probably the best measure.


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    DonC

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:11 pm)

    I thought BMW said AC Propusion was providing both the drive train and the packs:

    http://www.dailyhybrid.com/2008/10/new-mini-e-powered-by-ac-propulsion-not-tesla/

    “Nathalie Bauters of MiniUSA has said that AC Propulsion of San Dimas, CA was the supplier. This is great news since the ACP 150 is the gold standard for EV motor/controller drive trains. She also confirmed ACP would be supplying the battery pack.”


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:18 pm)

    It would take about $6 a gallon for me, at $7 I would accelerate work on the generator-on-a-trailer trick for those rare long distance trips.. and I guarantee you that I would get that 100 mile range even without the extender.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:19 pm)

    Me too.


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:19 pm)

    Note that the batteries he plans to use do not exist today.. but they probably will by the time he needs them.

    That car will end up costing way more than $50k


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    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:22 pm)

    It still makes them look bad. Maybe they should have a heart to heart with BMW.


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    Carcus1

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:32 pm)

    Lyle’s commute (and driving style) yields him 75 to 85 miles on 28 kwh of usable battery. So at 80 miles average that’s 350wh/mile in the mini E. If the volt’s electric drive efficiency is similar, then he’s going to get 8,000/350 = 22.85 miles AER in the volt using his same driving style.

    How much more efficient do you think the Volt will be vs. the mini e in wh/mile?

    I’ve made my case countless times as to why the volt won’t match the prius in mpg, so yes, I think GM will fail in achieving 50 mpg in a 2008 epa city/hwy combined testing in CS mode. . .. 50 mpg is not going to happen for the volt, and anxiously await to see how far my 30 to 35 mpg guess is off the mark.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:34 pm)

    I looked at buying the Civic NG car and there is a problem. I first thought wow about the same price as other cars, a 250 mile range means I could actually drive 200 miles or so and refill it…Uh Oh! [feel free to insert your own solution, complaint FUD etc,] The Phill refueler was about $6000 at the time, but I believe most of that was covered by Govt. rebates (back in late 2006 early 2007 before Honda pulled the plug on the home refueler suppliers line of credit).


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    CarlosG

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:43 pm)

    Simply Reason. Yes even a caveman knows why GM sales down Asian sales way UP.

    Customer has decided to buy QUALITY. woot.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:45 pm)

    DonC,

    Every time I ask this I get the same reaction. Thanks for explaining why. SOC in this case is not a measurement of a physical battery condition, but is an accounting function.

    WRT resistance across the boundary of the anode, aren’t you always at or below the half way point when charging a new battery?


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    RB

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:50 pm)

    N. Riley –> I agree with you.


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:51 pm)

    30 years?.. you can routinely charge A123 cells at 4C in 15 minutes right now.. . the problem is the cost of the 50kwh pack. I think the chinese are selling similar batteries at $13k a pack so it should be possible for A123 to lower its cost in a few years thru mass production and product improvements.. in 10 years it will probably be half the cost and weight.

    I’m talking about a “real life” 150 mile pack.


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (7:56 pm)

    There is no drag except what the bearings provide.. it is freewheeling.

    You may notice some motor cogging from the magnets aligning in permanent magnet motors.. but even that can be designed away. AC motors without magnets dont even have that..


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:01 pm)

    There may be some legal issues if GM provides that option to drivers.. there are too many buttons in the car as is, keep it simple.. lift of the gas and weak regen starts, touch the brakes and regen starts to increase.. at some point (panic stop) the actual friction brakes will engage. Brake pads and rotors may last a loooong time in a Volt.

    So how is GM going to deal with rust on the seldom used brake rotors?.. stainless steel rotors?.. Here is a patent on that:

    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6386342.html


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    LauraM

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:05 pm)

    You’re right. I stand corrected. I confused the government’s cash for clunker’s market share with the total market share. I apologize.

    I went to the wall street journal’s market share figures. And GM basically held steady at 19.4. Toyota went up from 16.6 to 17.8. Honda went up from 11.4 to 12.8. Ford went down from 15.2 to 13.9. (Note: The 13.9 might be a mistake. They put their sales at 176,000 and their article said 181,826, which would mean 14.4). Chrysler also declined, but it sounds like that was about an inventory shortage.

    http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

    So, in other words, cash for clunkers helped Toyota (and Honda) at Ford’s expense. Brilliant.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGOe86K3pSWI

    Regardless, this is good news for GM all the way around once you take into account that they had a strong August last year. Unless I’m missing a piece of the puzzle, which I might be. All the articles said it was great for Ford and bad for GM. So, basically, I’m confused.


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    Herm

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    Maybe he could trade some brain surgery work for the paint..

    Yes Doc, make me smarter please! :)


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:26 pm)

    Yea, no worries (and sorry for the expletives) As usual the numbers can be twisted to mean just about anything you want.
    Some of the press are misrepresenting the data IMO
    In the end most manufacturers are still struggling sales wise over the 1st 8 months of 2009 even WITH C4C. The only mainstream OE posting any real gains so far in 2009 is for whatever reason, is Subaru who is up 11.2% YTD then there’s Hyundai which is +0.8% The rest of the majors are ALL down “double digits” from 2008. The economy just hasnt bounced back just yet, despite the government stimulus.
    Going to take another year probably


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    Carcus1

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:26 pm)

    Ah hellz bellz, kick it up a notch . . . .

    Spray Paint Bomb
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEey7luy3j4


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    koz

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:30 pm)

    You have stated your case many times about MPG but these comments are about vehicle energy consumption not just MPG. If you apply Lyle’s Mini experience to the Volt in the one watt for one watt manner you have, then yes, the Volt’s AER will be as you calculate if they indeed use 8kwh battery window as they have indicated. But, if you apply the same energy consumption to the Prius then it will have below 40 40MPG. Lyle’s Mini numbers don’t jive with Tesla’s, Aptera’s, the Prius’, etc, etc. So why do these car’s energy consumption numbers mean nothing to you but Lyle’s lone Mini experience foretells the Volt’s performance precisely.

    Sorry, but you state your case 1000 more times but that won’t make it any more valid.


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:39 pm)

    Why would anyone care about August sales over previous year in a recession?
    There’s all sorts of reasons why a paticular month shows gains / losses from a previous year. Ford had a terrible August 2008 and now they are getting praise for their mediocre numbers in August 2009. GM still sold more cars than any other manufacturer last month and actually gained marketshare (in the fraction of a % but still) You dont see that in any headlines LOL
    See the sale numbers posted up above

    My advice is to forget what the mainstream press is saying, get the numbers yourself (I use Automotive News) then draw YOUR OWN concusions.


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    Carcus1

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:43 pm)

    When GM finally has to reveal the epa numbers city/hwy combined, and if they come out to 32 miles AER / 33 mpg . . . . will that make my case more valid?


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (8:47 pm)

    Carlos, why dont you tell us which Asian OE is WAY UP. LOL
    Climb outta the cave.
    They are ALL down kid (save for Subaru)
    Get your head outta yer a$$


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    jeffhre

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:14 pm)

    Would be great if we produced more than we used. Hopefully advanced drive trains will move us in that direction…NPNS!

    Maybe we can find a better model than sending stacks of cash to the Middle East for huge tankers of valuable petroleum…and burning it up.

    The image of the fat cats from the 1920′s using $100 dollar bills to light their cigars and in 2008 burning hundred dollar bills to drive our SUV’s to work has run full circle.


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    GXT

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:24 pm)

    If those timeframes are correct then it would be more correct to assume that GM is infringing on Fisker/Quantum patents.

    However there are bound to be patents all over this idea as it is relatively trivial.

    I looked for just a second or two and I found a patent for a generator control system for an architecture identical to the Volt…and that was from 1998.

    I’d encourage you to search for yourself and see what you can find. I hope GM didn’t spend too much time on their “REMOTE POWER USAGE MANAGEMENT FOR PLUG-IN VEHICLES”.


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    Jackson

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (9:31 pm)

    … or perhaps some kind of optical device, such as a slitted disc which interrupts a beam from a LED to a detector (inside a light-tight container), though there are a great number of variations to incorporating sensor position via optical detection (think of your mouse).


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    WopOnTour

     

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    Sep 1st, 2009 (10:20 pm)

    Well not likely a simple “pot” or “cable” issue as with the older, traditional TPS. Most everything is throttle-by-wire these days and the APP sensor at the accelerator pedal actually has 2 or even 3 pots all operating on different voltage slopes (and at least 1 is inverse) Then the control unit uses the combined voltage from all 3 inputs to determine driver requested throttle. If even 1 of them does not correlate to the others to within a fraction of a volt (e.g. due to a bad spot carbon strip in a potentiometer as you suggest) DTCs are set and reduced power modes with limited throttle (or even engine shut down) ensues.

    Same thing goes for the “feedback” at the output (throttle plate motor) end. Usually a pair of inverse voltage pots indicate ACTUAL throttle opening, which o sshould match “desired” to within a 0.1 degree else te diagnostc executive will detect it. Since Lyle doesnt mention any MIL or warning messages it’s not likely something so simple …


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (12:53 am)

    Well I still have not seen any picture of the new Astra Station Wagon, usually they come six months to one year later than those of the normal car.

    And I think nobody knows today what will be the future relations between Opel/Vauxhall and GM and between GM and Saturn so I’m not sure the new Astra Station Wagon will ever be sold in the USA.


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (1:03 am)

    Hi Nasaman and N Riley,

    The Ampera will be at the 63rd IAA Cars,17 to 27 September 2009, Frankfurt/Main Germany. If my work let me have some spare time, it is only 300 kms from my home …
    I’ll tell you.

    By the way, Nasaman, the marketing men at Opel succeeded, you are not the first to succumb to the similarity of both names.

    Regards,

    JC NPNS


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (1:15 am)

    Hi N Riley,

    I asked but didn’t get an answer.
    It seems that the cost for the affiliated driver will be fixed in concertation will the local electricity providers, but you should discount the (expected) value of the advantages to be affiliated : (If you believe what Betterplace is writing, see : http://www.betterplace.com/solution/in-car-services/).

    For the non affiliated, I read somewhere but I cannot find the source anymore, that they could not exchange batteries in the swapping stations.

    Regards,

    JC NPNS


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    jake

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (1:36 am)

    I’m not sure if most people here know already, but rapid charging exists as an alternative to Project Better Place:

    http://www.greencar.com/articles/hyundai-santa-fe-ev.php

    It’s a 10-20minute charge for ~80-120miles.

    And this isn’t any new technology either; an 8 charger station should cost about the same as a 8 pump gas station. However, it does mean waiting for this infrastructure to be built, but it allows for a future without a “range extender”.

    Another idea is a small trailer to pull along a external range extender.


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    jake

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (1:53 am)

    Yes, Tesla is only handling the packs for the Smart Eds (for Daimler AKA Mercedes), NOT the MINI E. AC Propulsion (a US company) is doing most of the work on the MINI E so I wouldn’t be so smug if I were Scooter.


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    Matthew_B

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (1:57 am)

    “Toyota will come out with a plug-in prius with a 40 mile AER before GM has the chance to ramp up production.”

    Please explain why that’s bad?


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    Matthew_B

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (2:10 am)

    Even in an electric, coasting to a stop saves energy.

    Regen isn’t perfect; some of that energy is lost. It’s better to cut the power a ways back from a stop and convert some of the kinetic energy into overcoming resistance.


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    Matthew_B

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (2:18 am)

    The difference between an internal combustion engine drag and an electric motor drag is HUGE.

    In an electric motor, the only drag is bearing friction and windage (moving the air). In a permanent magnet motor, there is also some drag from magnetic losses in the stator. But even then, it’s very little. Even a 500 HP AC motor is easy to roll by hand; albeit with significant inertia. A big motor like that takes several minutes to stop when spun slowly by hand.

    The drag on an internal combustion engine is significant. First off is the drag of the piston rings. Go try to roll a car engine by grabbing a fan belt! It’s difficult to even budge it because of the significant ring friction. On top of that, there’s the pumping losses. On a gas engine, there is significant manifold vacuum when coasting, and the engine pumps out of the intake and into the exhaust above atmospheric. That’s why an engine takes a second top to drop from idle to stationary, where a similar sized electric motor will roll for several minutes.


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    Matthew_B

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (2:20 am)

    This is my normal mode of driving my daily driver.

    I don’t even touch the clutch most of the time, just hit the shifter out of 5th and coast. I’ve never heard a comment from a passenger.


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    DaveP

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (2:59 am)

    Good point about the Phil. I never did actually look up the cost for it while it was for sale. I remember it was only estimated to be a couple grand before it was released:
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2004/09/natural_gas_fue.html

    And I hadn’t realized Honda had pulled the plug on it, either:
    http://www.fuelmaker.com/

    If anything it underscores how absolutely critical infrastructure is for cars. I think the Volt has a clear advantage obtaining energy from 2 extremely well developed infrastructures (gasoline and electricity).


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    koz

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (3:45 am)

    Yup, that would do it or you could detail how you expect the Volt to consume 350Wh/mile for EPA combined rating (other than assumptions based on unmetered Mini E commentary). Where will the Volt’s energy go?


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    LauraM

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (7:49 am)

    It’s bad for GM because they then wasted almost a billion dollars in R&D and product development. And, as an American taxpayer, who’s future is dependent on the American economy, I care about GM’s future.

    But it’s also bad for society at large because, without patents, no one will have any incentive to spend that billion dollars in R&D and product development. The Volt/plug-in Prius may be a done deal at that point. But for the sake of encouraging future innovation, we’re still going to need patents. I don’t ever want to put a cap on future innovation.


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    LauraM

     

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    Sep 2nd, 2009 (7:52 am)

    30 years for a) the technology, and b) more importantly, the infrastructure. Until fast charging stations are as ubiquitous as gas stations, the fast charge won’t be as competitive as gasoline. And that’s going to take decades. At least, IMHO.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Sep 3rd, 2009 (2:28 am)

    Tesla’s drive train was originally licensed from AC Propulsion and modified to meet their needs over time. AC propulsion didn’t try working with Li Ion batteries until commissioned by Tesla’s Martin Eberhard. AC, Alan Coconi, of AC propulsion was previously hired by GM to develop the controllers for the Impact and EV – I, which formed the basis for the start of current (no pun intended, really!!) Voltec development. Daimler will use Tesla’s battery management technology for the electric Smart and who knows what else.

    At first the industry spokesmen used measured tones and rehearsed lines to carefully imply that the folks at GM had lost their minds. Now everyone is screaming me too as they sprint like kindergartners to be the first ones at the front of the electric bus(dang, sorry another pun). It’s amazing to see the rapid spread of technology over turn a hundred years of refining the way things are done in the auto industry.


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    lousloot

     

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    Sep 3rd, 2009 (9:53 am)

    MPH vs Drag and driving style

    Your point that driving faster requires more energy is true but I want to get to where I am going. It also is an oversimplification. Decrease rolling resistance and CD and go FAST or build pneumatic tubes where cars are pushed thru ‘straws’ at 150mph+.

    I will not travel at 46mph. Not gonna happen. I would rather ‘drive’ thru pneumatic tubes.


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    lousloot

     

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    Sep 3rd, 2009 (11:13 am)

    Interstate travel will require 5 minute (equiv) charging.

    I agree that the local gas/recharge station may not be needed, but people (me) like to take long trips. Waiting 8 hours or even 3 hours to go another 200 or 300 miles is not acceptable. Potty breaks will also be needed. The costs to setup your convenience store to sell electrictiy is small. I expect parking spots will be electrified. (You already have parking meters, and the street lights use electricity)

    Charging each cell in parallel would allow a 5 minute TZAAAP charge.
    And a smart battery manager could monitor the health of each cell
    (oops, wandering off topic)

    But lets get to step 1 first.


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    zim wolfe

     

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    Sep 3rd, 2009 (1:53 pm)

    Even sailboats have a small gas engine. That’s why an all electric car has never caught on and that is why Toyota has done so well and the Volt is the next game changer.

    Europe does not know what to do since the automotive model is changing towards technology. In this field of new technology it absolutely levels the playing field, it will make 100 year old auto manufactures sick. Nobody is going to want a high quality performance v6/v8 sedan in the future when performance will be far superior and use less energy to propel the car.
    If you look at the BMW Vision Plug-in Hybrid Concept Car all BMW did with their engineering team is try to guess what the best ideas will be and put it in a dream car of the future.

    Like my dad once told me when he was working on new technology years ago it’s easy to dream up these ideas but it’s much much harder to make it work reliably.
    So when you see European car companies bash the new technology you know why it’s because they won’t be able to compete unless they buy these companies out.


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    whistleteeth

     

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    Sep 3rd, 2009 (9:23 pm)

    sure would be nice to buy one :(


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    Ted

     

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    Sep 4th, 2009 (1:26 pm)

    Needs a gen-set trailer


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    Helmut

     

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    Sep 11th, 2009 (12:15 am)

    when was the last time you spent 15 minutes putting gas in your car? I’m not going to wait 15 minutes at a recharging center every 100 miles I drive, life is too short.


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    Kevin

     

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    Oct 15th, 2009 (9:14 pm)

    I have a mini-e as well. I agree with much of what you have said. I love to drive this car. I use it every day. Often 40+ miles each way… as an on the road sales engineer. In my mind the car would be perfect if it had a range of 200+ miles.. it would eliminate the anxiety of running out of battery. I have gotten down to 2 miles. Having said this . You get more out of the batteries when you stay at 55mph and drive with a light foot. In my experience you can squeeze more miles out of a low battery by simply letting the car cool off.

    The real interesting test will be the cold weather. It appears that the heater is slow to warm the cabin in 40 degree weather and the mileage appeared to really drop to about 80 miles .. ouch!

    I use the 110V charger a lot to gain a few additional miles here and there. The car would be better if it had a 220VAC 20A on board charger for a quick charge (while getting burger etc.) I have cajoled many people to let me plug in.

    I guess I’ll be very careful with the limited miles now that it’s colder.