Jun 27

Opel Ampera Journalist Test Drive Questions High Speed Performance

 

[ad#post_ad]The Opel Ampera is the identical sister car to the Chevy Volt only sporting Opel design cues.  It will be built side-by-side with the Volt in Michigan for export to Europe where it will go on sale in 2011.

Like the Volt, only a little later, Opel is beginning to allow journalists to test drive an Ampera. Famed British publication Telegraph had its chance at the wheel and author Andrew English has produced an interesting review.  GM has been careful to only allow journalists, myself included, the chance to test drive Volts at modest sub-50 mph speeds, limited to pylon-flanked parking lot impromptu tracks.  English had the chance to take an Ampera out on the highway.

He was pleased with the spacious and attractive interior calling it “comfortable, classy and commodious.”

He found acceleration strong noting the car “charges hard” up to 50 mph. After that he perceived, “the single-speed electric motor’s flat torque curve has begun a nose dive and acceleration at high speeds is poor.” Perhaps this is why GM hasn’t allowed US drives beyond 50 MPH. That was the fastest speed I could hit on a roughly half mile track, though one US reporter was said to take a Volt to 92 MPH at the Warren Tech Center, on a side road.

English suspects the perceived power fade at high speed is because the Volt/Ampera’s top speed is100 mph which is lower than most similar-sized gas sedans which is typically 130 mph.

He claims GM has a solution forthcoming:

General Motors is working on the problem and this autumn plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox. This would reduce the energy losses of turning petrol power into electricity to drive the car at high speeds, and would also give the Ampera more spritely overtaking performance.

This claim, if true, is rather shocking because it flies in the face of everything GM has said in the past and would mean the gas engine could power on even during the first 40 miles.

I reached out to Volt spokesperson Rob Peterson who with utmost respect for the reporter denies this is the case.  He also notes the Ampera English drove is a 65% calibration build, whereas current Volt test cars are at a much more refined 99%.  This is what Peterson had to say about the powertrain change claim:

This report is inaccurate. First off, the Volt cannot be driven without electric power. It always makes use of electric power within the drive unit.

Secondly, we have no plans to make any mechanical or control strategy changes prior to launch.

The team is in the final stages of validation and durability and have not identified any reason to make any changes. We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today. For competitive reasons we won’t provide more details on the operation at this point, but will soon.

Source (Telegraph)
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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2010 at 3:00 am and is filed under Ampera, Engineering, Performance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 174


  1. 1
    Red HHR

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:23 am)

    I do not drive much over 80mph, though the wife has taken the Prius to 90mph+. It can be easy to take a silent car faster than you realize. As for ” First off, the Volt cannot be driven without electric power. It always makes use of electric power within the drive unit.” Would that be 100% electric power, or electric power is used 100% of the time in conjunction with a petrol boost at high loads and upon battery depletion.

    Stay Tuned…


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    Red HHR

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:32 am)

    Can a Two-Mode be driven without electric power? I would think if the electric lines are removed the transmission would not work. As for actual schematics, semantics and power flow, it does not matter as long as the car is efficient.

    /Good morning Lyle, what are you doing up at this time?


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    Herto

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:34 am)

    Quite surprising… It’s always been told that there was no mecanical link from engine to weels…


  4. 4
    Future LEAF Driver

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:40 am)

    “plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox”

    Not Good! – This thinking will simply poison the idea that the VOLT runs on pure battery FIRST! Then the VOLT will just be an ordinary hybrid vehicle, nothing special, and definitely not worth $40K!!

    Bad, Bad time to start creating changes like this, if it is true!

    GO EV!!!


  5. 5
    Red HHR

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:51 am)

    Future LEAF Driver: “plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox”

    I wonder if the application of the “Sport Mode” switch would affect this? In other words this would only happen if the “Sport Mode” was engaged. Besides electricity would still be involved, can’t run a Two-Mode without it. (Or so I think)


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    Flaninacupboard

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:24 am)

    So the rumour from last year comes back.

    I am not that suprised, and it does sound as though it’s set up similar to the prius. the gen 3 has a power display bar, and on the end has a POWER zone. sounds like the ampera and volt will, when driven in this power area, spin up the old ice and add mechanical torque.

    it’s disappointing that the mode is required (i guess the 370nm is reduced somewhat at higher speeds), however, if you don’t go over 70 and don’t floor it, it probably won’t happen to you. roll on gen2 with improved motor and higher output battery…

    It’s also still better than the prius phev with 12 mile elecric range.


  7. 7
    Jimza Skeptic

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:55 am)

    I guess, I don’t know who to believe on this one. The GM spokesman says the guy had a car with 65% “calibration” versus 99% for U.S. models. Then why did they let him take it out on the highway. I could see where some journalist could get confused and misunderstand the European spokesperson, but he could not have just made up the details like that. There must be some kernel of truth. The fact that no drivers (well maybe one) in the U.S. was allowed over 50 mph is a concern. And the one that was only took it up to 92mph.

    This is why I say be patient. Wait for the early adopters to find the problems. I don’t want anyone pulling out to pass a semi on a two lane highway only to find there is not enough juice to get them past and then there is an accident. Oh and by the way, I do not want the early adopters to find the problem in the bad way, getting killed. After all I might be the guy coming the other way and get hit!

    The early adopters will find this problem quickly and are typically a better driver that won’t put themselves into that position.

    I will get my Volt in about 4 years and 6 months from now. Patients is a virtue! ;-)


  8. 8
    Dave K.

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (5:00 am)

    I recently spoke with a fellow who instructs mechanics for a living. He is excited with the move toward battery cars. And would like to see more work done with rotary engines as they, “…like to rev high and will be a good device to produce electricity”.
    He added that the torque from an electric motor starts at it’s highest and becomes less closer to top speed. So no surprise with the report of less than crisp passing power at 70-90 mph.
    We will need to wait n’ see if the report of the 1.4L liquid fuel engine driving the front wheels is true.
    The Volt is somewhat top heavy with bells, whistles, and systems at this point. GM needs to keep in mind that the Volt is competing with 4 cylinder cars that have gone through decades of refinement. Practical, dependable, and simple is the way to go.

    =D-Volt


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    Dave G

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (5:28 am)

    From the article: We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today.

    Lyle, is “Sport Mode” available when the gas engine is running?

    I’ve gotten conflicting reports on this, and Rob Peterson’s comments above may indicate that the Sport Mode is only available for the first 40 miles.


  10. 10
    Dave G

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (5:41 am)

    Dave K.: He added that the torque from an electric motor starts at it’s highest and becomes less closer to top speed.

    Sonds right. Here’s a look at Tesla’s torque curve as a comparison.
    torquegraph_v2.gif

    Note that Elon Musk originally wanted a 2-speed transmission for the Roadster, but they had problems finding a supplier that could actually build a transmission that operates at 14,000 RPM.


  11. 11
    Herm

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:07 am)

    “We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today. For competitive reasons we won’t provide more details on the operation at this point, but will soon.”

    Oh my!, all the 2 Mode nutjobs will be coming out of the closet today.. it could simply mean that GM is using a 2 ratio transmission, or some device to blend torque from the 2 motors, the main traction motor and the regen braking traction motor.


  12. 12
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:15 am)

    Now they’re talking. Turbo charged ICE and voilá, a 130 mph or more car. Does anybody make low rolling resistance z-rated tires? And it’s still a hatchback that does 40 miles all electric. A Saab turbo on steroids.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:20 am)

    I can hear it now, “but all you need is a transmission with a bunch more gears and clutches to do the same thing the electric drive does”. Try driving a standard ICE car 40 miles with no gas.


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    BillR

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:30 am)

    I have maintained that the Volt’s transmission is essentially the 2-mode FWD transmission.

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4181

    From Rob Petersons’s comments,

    “First off, the Volt cannot be driven without electric power. It always makes use of electric power within the drive unit.”

    Since the ICE likely operates at several distinct speeds and power settings, it cannot modulate its output to drive the car. Therefore, electric power is always needed to either drive the car or generate electricity to absorb the excess power from the ICE.

    “Secondly, we have no plans to make any mechanical or control strategy changes prior to launch.”

    This neither confirms nor denys the existance of a mechanical link from the ICE to the wheels.

    “The team is in the final stages of validation and durability and have not identified any reason to make any changes. We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today. For competitive reasons we won’t provide more details on the operation at this point, but will soon.”

    This seems to indicate that the drive unit exists in pre-production vehicles (perhaps the former Saturn Vue 2-mode). Like the 2-mode, it includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear set. This link is contained in above link, but for more info in the FWD 2-mode, see this.

    http://www.che.ncsu.edu/ILEET/phevs/plug-in_2008/1A-1_GM%202-ModePHEV%20VUE.pdf

    Regarding the English journalist’s comment:

    “General Motors is working on the problem and this autumn plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox. This would reduce the energy losses of turning petrol power into electricity to drive the car at high speeds, and would also give the Ampera more spritely overtaking performance.”

    I don’t believe GM will use the ICE to provide added power, but only the average power to maintain battery charge. However, torque from the ICE will be input to the gearsets, and with added electric power or reduced power thru electric generation, will provide the exact drive power needed by the car.

    The added power may come from allowing the Volt’s motors to operate at a “peak” versus continuous rating. This could be Sport Mode. I have some background info on electric motors here.

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4288

    In summary, the Volt is essentially complete, and I believe contains the 2-mode transmission with the ICE adding torque to the gearsets. Perhaps the initial Ampera’s, only 65% complete, don’t have Sport Mode yet available, or aren’t calibrated to the Volt’s final specs. But it could be that the Volt is designed for best performance at 0 to 70 mph, and at high speeds, the traction motors are not in their optimum speed range.

    Since Europe have highways where higher speeds are typical, the Ampera may have a different calibration than the Volt, which might include operating the ICE in conjunction with the motors to provide more than 111 kW at high speed operation.


  15. 15
    Money Pit

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:33 am)

    (click to show comment)


  16. 16
    an_outsider

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:36 am)

    What was the specific mode (or function) on Ampera for the European market? (sorry, I forget this detail). May it be related?


  17. 17
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:56 am)

    Please, please, please, don’t tell us this feature is only for foreign customers. 8-(


  18. 18
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:05 am)

    Don’t forget that people like early adopters are the only ones who would be talking about this as negative, average car buyers would only say the car can go 40 miles without gasoline, but it’ll still do 140 mph if you want to.


  19. 19
    SteveK9

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:20 am)

    Why do more people here believe a reporter’s rumor than the statement of the GM representative?


  20. 20
    joe

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:33 am)

    We do know the Ampera will be the same basic car as the Volt. So we know, it won’t be long before the anti-GM hate groups will try to tear down both cars. Consumer Reports is one of these hate groups.
    Below is a link of Consumer Reports first encounter with the Volt. Nothing real negative was said, but wait and see. Too bad the Volt does not have the Honda or Toyota insignia on it. It would have been nothing but rave even from it’s first encounter.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/26/2011-chevrolet-volt-visits-consumer-reports-w-video/


  21. 21
    Herm

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:38 am)

    BillR: In summary, the Volt is essentially complete, and I believe contains the 2-mode transmission with the ICE adding torque to the gearsets. Perhaps the initial Ampera’s, only 65% complete, don’t have Sport Mode yet available, or aren’t calibrated to the Volt’s final specs. But it could be that the Volt is designed for best performance at 0 to 70 mph, and at high speeds, the traction motors are not in their optimum speed range.

    Lyle mentioned a while back that these Ampera models were essentially handmedowns early generation prototype models made in the US (not pre-production).. they would not have the latest Volt calibrations and refinements.

    So your position is that a direct engine-wheels torque connection is not the same as a direct engine-wheels power connection?.. I think they are using a planetary gearset with braking clutches to blend the two traction motors together, the third motor (generator) is still separate and only attaches to the engine.. previously we had speculated that GM had built the two traction motors in the same casing (one rotor, two stators), but apparently they are two separate motors and the power is blended mechanically. Standard, sport and regen modes would be controlled both mechanically and electronically using these planetary gearsets.


  22. 22
    Rob Peterson

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:40 am)

    Good morning everyone, this is Rob Peterson from Chevrolet Communications

    To clarify, the reporters comment was related to his extended range performance in a 65 percent calibration vehicle. As we’ve stated in the past, the Volt is a full-performance electric vehicle for the first 40 miles of operations (engine off), switching into the extended-range mode (engine on)once the battery is depleted. The performance of the vehicle – sport mode included – is the same in both modes.

    The engineering team has developed a highly efficient electric drive unit. We’ll pull the covers off the drive unit soon – if we don’t we know our competitors will do it for us when the Volt hits the market later this year – no reason for us to tip our hands now.

    Last week Andrew Farah (vehicle chief engineer for the Volt) and Doug Parks (vehicle line executive for the Volt) drove two nearly final Chevrolet Volt’s from our Milford Proving Grounds to Connecticut for Consumer’s Report to test. A video of CRs review is available at the link below. This may give you a better idea of what to expect from the production Volt’s performance http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/26/2011-chevrolet-volt-visits-consumer-reports-w-video/

    Thanks
    r


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    joe

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:40 am)

    Herto: Quite surprising… It’s always been told that there was no mecanical link from engine to weels…  

    Maybe GM wanted to keep their Volt technology super secret. Let the competition figure out their own designs.


  24. 24
    Dave K.

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:48 am)

    Herm: .. previously we had speculated that GM had built the two traction motors in the same casing (one rotor, two stators), but apparently

    Months ago someone here mentioned one mode for the Volt. With a “sport” feature kicking in as the accelerator is stomped on. But remaining in default when the accelerator is smoothly depressed. This seems like the most direct way around the issue of electric motor torque fade at higher mph. Another is to fit all four wheels with smaller electric motors and toggle the rear two when punch is needed. I’m sure we’ll see all of the above within 5 years time.

    =D-Volt


  25. 25
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:52 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:59 am)

    Thanks for the video link Rob, it was nice to hear the reactions of somebody driving the car around with just a camera or camera man. That’s the first moving Volt I remember seeing with less than 4 people in it.


  27. 27
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:02 am)

    WooHoo, this is getting exciting! 8-)


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    omnimoeish

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:12 am)

    “We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today. ”

    It appears Mohsen was right (Aaarrrrgghh) about there being a transmission. We’ll never hear the end of it now. :-)


  29. 29
    Money Pit

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:13 am)

    From the consumers report video provided by the GM rep ” the Volts will go on sale with a price of near 40,000.00 , after rebates though, in the low 30′s ”

    about 10K more than a Leaf


  30. 30
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:20 am)

    Money Pit said:

    about 10K more than a Leaf

    A 40 mile all electric commuter that you can use to go visit aunt Ghilda in Key West might be worth it.


  31. 31
    Loboc

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:26 am)

    From the link provided to the CR blog.

    “..they have never before disclosed the capacity of the gasoline fuel tank. It will likely hold about nine gallons, in which case the range based on these figures would be well above 300 miles.”

    I don’t know if ‘likely hold’ is the same is ‘the capacity is’, however, that never stops gm-volt bloggers :)

    At 50mpg CS mode, this gives more than 400 miles total range. If cs mode is less than 50mpg, then, a 9-gallon tank may only give 340 total range as GM has been saying all along.

    I am in the camp of ‘under-promise, over-deliver’ that will give us some nice surprises pre- and post-launch.


  32. 32
    Carcus

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:26 am)

    Uh-oh.


  33. 33
    Steve

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:31 am)

    Maybe the journalist didn’t know what he’s talking about. Wouldn’t be the first time would it? How many times have we seen published stuff that made it obvious the author didn’t understand the drive train design?


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    john1701a

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:34 am)

    General Motors is working on the problem and this autumn plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox. This would reduce the energy losses of turning petrol power into electricity to drive the car at high speeds, and would also give the Ampera more spritely overtaking performance.

    For many years, that’s the advantage GM had been touting about Two-Mode. In fact, it was the more direct drive which they claimed would make it more efficient than the FULL hybrid designs from Toyota and Ford. Sadly, GM wasn’t able to physically fit the system into a small enough vehicle to actually prove it. The added complexity kept it from being cost-competitive too.

    It’s nice to see the conversion loss is finally being addressed. That had always been a concern, yet it was simply dismissed… even after doubts were raised about the 230 MPG claim. 175 MPG is the combined value using the EU estimate measure, noted in today’s article. For perspective, that value for Prius is 72.4 MPG.

    Operation while the engine is providing power is a worthwhile design aspect to address. Being able to efficiently travel beyond the battery-capacity threshold should be a selling point for those who routinely will. Remember all those times it was asked why a model with a smaller battery wasn’t being offered?


  35. 35
    Jimza Skeptic

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:36 am)

    Money Pit: From the consumers report video provided by the GM rep ” the Volts will go on sale with a price of near 40,000.00 , after rebates though, in the low 30’s ”about 10K more than a Leaf  

    $10K more, maybe… But VOLT is much more capable than the Leaf. The Leaf’s low range will not come close to meeting the needs of the mass market consumer. There is a place for the Leaf type technology, but not in a $32,700 vehicle. The MiEV for $22,000 will fill the void for the people that can live within the limitations.

    People need the ability to drive more than 60-100 miles on a number of occasions. And while a low number of ECO conscience BEV drivers may have the time to plan stops along the way and sit 2-6 hours to fill with juice, the mass market consumer will not have any of that. The VOLTS 40 mile EV range will cover Monday-Friday for the most part. The VOLTS EREV will cover Saturday & Sunday. We are a nation that loves the freedom to travel by car. GM has gotten it right. Take care of the environment and energy concerns during the business week (Mon-Fri) and party on the weekend. Almost like a mullet — Business in the front and party in the back! ;-)

    Final Prediction: MiEV and similar technology cars at $22,000 or less will be huge success with the young. VOLT technology will be huge success with the middle class and upper markets. Leaf will die on the vine unless it is “grafted” with EREV technology and relaunched. Coda will be dead in 3 years.


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    carcus3

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:38 am)

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    Interviewd at ford

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:40 am)

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    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:46 am)

    I have a tendency to believe that Herm is correct in his postulation. That there are 2 M/G’s and 1 generator. The Two MG’s act as traction motors and are blended within the 2 mode. The 2 traction motors are in the same spot as MG1 and MG2 of the 2 mode. The generator exists outside the 2 mode and is sandwitched between the ICE and the 2 mode transaxle housing. So there is a planertary gear set but power is never mechanically transmitted from the ICE to the rear wheels.


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    crew

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:50 am)

    Could this be another misguided bit of info from Shad Balch? According to him, there will be a BEV Volt in May ’11. So who says that now we’re going to have a parallel hybrid Volt (if that’s the real implication for an additional drivetrain mod rather than an evolution of the current one)?

    Think positive here!

    Why criticize? If GM does indeed have these ideas on a production plan in the future then we are all going to be happy Chevy owners. (stop cringing and take a valium.)

    All three cars, EREV, BEV, and 40 mile hybrid would be a fantastic lineup for the Voltec drivetrain!. This kind of a lineup would totally outperform any carmakers offerings out there!!! Hands down.


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    Roy H

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:55 am)

    Herm:I think they are using a planetary gearset with braking clutches to blend the two traction motors together, the third motor (generator) is still separate and only attaches to the engine.. previously we had speculated that GM had built the two traction motors in the same casing (one rotor, two stators), but apparently they are two separate motors and the power is blended mechanically. Standard, sport and regen modes would be controlled both mechanically and electronically using these planetary gearsets.  

    I don’t believe there are 3 motors. There is one primary drive motor, I think we all agree on that. The second motor/generator is connected to the ICE (via clutch) when in ICE mode beyond the 40 mile AER limit. This point we all agree on.

    But I think the “Sport mode” is available only within the first 40 miles and is accomplished by disconnecting the clutch at the ICE and engaging a clutch to join the two electric motors. Both motors are then driven electrically to gain the extra performance.

    Since both clutches already exist, it would be trivial to engage both at the same time and thus have a mechanical connection between the ICE and the wheels. This becomes a software change, and due to the European emphasis on high speed performance, I wouldn’t be surprised to find this as only available on the Ampera.

    I think this fits well with the claim of “65% calibration build” although I think it is more like 98% as this is such a small change, however it would be less than the 99% claimed for the Volt.

    I also agree with the suggestion that “Sport Mode” should automatically engage if the accelerator is kicked down. This does have a negative possibility as the example of passing a semi is realistic. If the driver is used to having the kick down boost but tries to pass a semi after the battery is depleted and ICE is on he may be shocked to find NO BOOST!


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    George S. Bower

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:56 am)

    George S. Bower: I have a tendency to believe that Herm is correct in his postulation. That there are 2 M/G’s and 1 generator. The Two MG’s act as traction motors and are blended within the 2 mode. The 2 traction motors are in the same spot as MG1 and MG2 of the 2 mode. The generator exists outside the 2 mode and is sandwitched between the ICE and the 2 mode transaxle housing. So there is a planertary gear set but power is never mechanically transmitted from the ICE to the rear wheels.  

    OOps front wheels


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    carcus3

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:59 am)

    Plug in Vue — mysteriously disappears!
    Billion dollars in volt research money — vanishes!
    Plug in Volt — appears!

    SHAZAM!


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    Red HHR

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Rob Peterson: A video of CRs review is available at the link below.

    First view that I know of with the hood opened.
    Thank You Rob.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:11 am)

    SteveK9: Why do more people here believe a reporter’s rumor than the statement of the GM representative?  (Quote)

    Rob Peterson has clarified his comments excellently…my original comment is deleted


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    David

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:28 am)

    I am gratified to know that when driving a Volt that for 80% of the time I’ll have greater acceleration (torque) than 80% of the cars around me.


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    Rooster

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:29 am)

    Very interesting…I’m still not sure what to think. Here’s what we know

    (1) In EV mode the Volt is only drive by electricity
    (2) In charge sustaining mode, the drive axles are always driven by electricity.

    However, the $54,000 question is:

    In change sustaining mode, can the drive axels also be mechanically assisted in via the gear box to increase efficiency? Think the reverse of Toyota’s synergy drive. Instead of the mechanical drive unit being occasionally assisted by the electric motors, the electric motor is occasionally assisted by a mechanical linkage when it makes sense to increase fuel economy in charge sustaining mode. I’m not sure I understand why some get emotional at this idea. If it improves fuel economy in charge sustaining mode and thus serves to further reduce our oil consumption, that’s bad because?????

    Personally, I’m still leaning more toward the side that there is NO mechanical linkage to the Volt’s drive axles, but I won’t be shocked if there is. GM is being coy on purpose, which is curious. Irregardless, I still want a Volt and I still believe it will be a paradigm shifting vehicle.

    Just my 2 cents.


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    maharguitar

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:29 am)

    OF course the is some sort of drive system. You have to connect the electric drive motor to the wheels in some fashion. The most efficient RPMs for the electric motor may not be the ideal RPMs to drive the car. If I recall correctly, you can select different modes for regenerative braking. That is likely to require something to change in the mechanical linkage between the motor and the wheels. Nothing that I have heard from GM indicates that there is a mechanical linkage between the ICE and wheels. That’s not to say that there isn’t such a linkage it just that they haven’t told us what the drive system actually looks like.

    They have been pretty consistent in saying that when the car is in pure electric mode you get the same performance that you do when in range extended mode. Putting in a mechanical linkage between the ICE and the wheels would be a lot of work to go through if you can’t use it for the first 40 miles


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:31 am)

    Nothing in Rob Peterson’s comment indicated the Volt does not have the ability to direct connect the engine to the wheels, thank goodness. 8-)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:33 am)

    Rob Peterson: Good morning everyone, this is Rob Peterson from Chevrolet Communications
    To clarify, the reporters comment was related to his extended range performance in a 65 percent calibration vehicle. As we’ve stated in the past, the Volt is a full-performance electric vehicle for the first 40 miles of operations (engine off), switching into the extended-range mode (engine on)once the battery is depleted. The performance of the vehicle – sport mode included – is the same in both modes.

    Oops! I missed this very important detail in this post reading through first time. Kinda throws a serious wrench into my theory of operation. How do you get “Sport Mode” in CV mode without 3 motors? The most obvious answer is as the reporter suggests, direct connection from ICE to drive wheels, however we have been repeatedly assured that this is not permitted. An unlikely possibility is the ICE is dis-engaged if Sport Mode is selected and extra power demanded.

    Maybe Herm and George Bower are correct after all.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:47 am)

    omnimoeish: It appears Mohsen was right (Aaarrrrgghh) about there being a transmission. We’ll never hear the end of it now.   

    I need more coffee to go with this crow I’m eating!


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:54 am)

    Herm: I need more coffee to go with this crow I’m eating!

    Now can Volt finally be an ally with Prius, share coffee from the same electric pot?

    Both have a common goal of replacing production of traditional vehicles with much more efficient choices.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:01 am)

    Eco_Turbo: Nothing in Rob Peterson’s comment indicated the Volt does not have the ability to direct connect the engine to the wheels, thank goodness.

    If the Volt connected the ICE to the wheels, that really wouldn’t bother me. As long as the ICE is completely off for the first 40 miles, I’d still call that and EREV.

    For example, both Mercedes and Fisker have EREVs that connect the gas engine to the wheels. The Mercedes BlueZERO E-Cell Plus has 60 miles of all-electric range.
    http://www.carsuk.net/mercedes-bluezero-e-cell-plus-electric-concept-car-revealed/
    But unfortunately, this car is only a concept with no real production plans.

    By the way, I believe the technical term for an EREV than connects the ICE to the wheels is a “near series design”.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:07 am)

    GM’s killing this car by incrementally taking the electric sparkle out of it.. why the hell can’t GM just focus on making an electric car? Isn’t that what we all truly want? I want to buy an American-made electric car that is just “a little less” than $100,000; however, with Bob Lutz gone and GM no longer needing to kiss the government’s butt for money, we’re stuck with 40 miles of electric that isn’t really that electric. After all, the engine will automatically kick-in at regular intervals to prevent breakdown from happening due to a lack of use. Also, if this is true about the engine kicking-in for more power above a whopping 50mph, then we basically have a car that’s just one tier above the current Prius. Everyone here wants to be off oil, and we were all initially attracted to the Volt because it was initially marketed as an electric car. With that said, we shouldn’t sit here and endlessly defend GM like I see day after day on this site from a majority of the comments posted; rather, we need to hold their feet to the fire and let our market demand drive them to do better than this.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:11 am)

    Interviewd at ford: I talked to EV Drivetrain group at Ford, one of the main reason Ford didn’t adopt series PHEV design is the acceleration and poor handling when battery is reaching 30%, especially on a long slope, Ford had prototype vehicles similar and they predicted this problem even before making such vehicle at Ford Engineering Center in Dearborn.I ganranttee that many people will complain about its performance once it come out, just look at the iPhone 4. Because GM does not have strong HEV, when gas hit $4/gal, GM will lose out again and that is why I did interview at Ford, not GM. GM is doomed!  

    Dude,
    I would be worried for Ford for having you on its staff.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    Tim: why the hell can’t GM just focus on making an electric car?

    I will never buy a pure EV. I don’t think I’m alone on this.


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    Herm

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    Roy H: How do you get “Sport Mode” in CV mode without 3 motors? The most obvious answer is as the reporter suggests, direct connection from ICE to drive wheels, however we have been repeatedly assured that this is not permitted. An unlikely possibility is the ICE is dis-engaged if Sport Mode is selected and extra power demanded.

    Its from a January article:
    http://gm-volt.com/2010/01/16/gm-to-open-electric-motor-plant/

    Note that what I call the third motor is actually the 53kw generator attached to the ICE.. its really a generator but acts like a motor to crank the ICE.

    In any case GM has done some interesting engineering in the Volt. My CS mpg prediction still stands at just below 60mpg.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:17 am)

    John 1701a said:

    Now can Volt finally be an ally with Prius, share coffee from the same electric pot?

    Both have a common goal of replacing production of traditional vehicles with much more efficient choices.

    I think the real question is when will Toyota build a Prius that can completely disconnect the ICE from the wheels? 8-) 8-)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:19 am)

    Herm said:

    In any case GM has done some interesting engineering in the Volt. My CS mpg prediction still stands at just below 60mpg.

    I’ll second that emotion.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:19 am)

    Herm: Note that what I call the third motor is actually the 53kw generator attached to the ICE.. its really a generator but acts like a motor to crank the ICE.

    What is your source for this?

    How do know GM doesn’t have a separate starter motor? GM has already told us the Volt has a separate 12 volt battery with enough power to jump-start another car.
    http://gm-volt.com/2009/05/18/there-will-be-no-customer-access-to-high-voltage-on-the-chevy-volt-but-it-can-jump-start-another-car/
    Why would they need that much power if they don’t have a starter?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:29 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:36 am)

    Tim said:

    Instead, GM is wasting time on a car that is still gasoline-dependent

    Do you work for, Ford?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:37 am)

    Eco_Turbo: I think the real question is when will Toyota build a Prius that can completely disconnect the ICE from the wheels?

    No, the real question is this: When when will Toyota build a car that can run at full power on the electricity alone?

    Whether not not the ICE connects to the wheels is irrelevant. As I said before, Mercedes and Fisker both have EREVs that connect the ICE to the wheels. Its the all-electric range thats important, not the particular design.

    And by the way, any car with significant all-electric range would require a much larger battery pack than the current Prius. For crash safety and handling, you would need a new chassis to accommodate that large of a pack. So that would be a new ground-up car design for Toyota – nothing to do with the current Prius.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:38 am)

    Dave G: As long as the ICE is completely off for the first 40 miles, I’d still call that and EREV.

    Dave G: By the way, I believe the technical term for an EREV than connects the ICE to the wheels is a “near series design”.  

    Sliding the goalposts around a bit, are we Dave ?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:41 am)

    Dave G said:

    So that would be a new ground-up car design for Toyota – nothing to do with the current Prius.

    That’s kind of what I was meaning. 8-)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:42 am)

    Rob Peterson: Good morning everyone, this is Rob Peterson from Chevrolet Communications

    Hey, Rob! Is there any chance of Chevrolet Dealers in Southern California “borrowing” one of the pre-production VOLTs to promote and use for consumer ‘test drives’ ?

    Our dealership is smack in the middle of the highest density of commuters in SoCal. I’ll ride shotgun on a 1.5 mile test drive loop with a stack of purchase orders in my lap. I want to be the first to reach 1000 volts. Get it? 1000 VOLTs!!!

    Whattya’ say?!


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:43 am)

    Rob Peterson: The performance of the vehicle – sport mode included – is the same in both modes.
    The engineering team has developed a highly efficient electric drive unit. We’ll pull the covers off the drive unit soon – if we don’t we know our competitors will do it for us when the Volt hits the market later this year – no reason for us to tip our hands now.

    Can not get any better than this. Clarification from a GM rep. Thanks for your update and we look forward to an exciting game changing car that will be available this fall.


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    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:45 am)

    I found a dealer in Sterling Heights Michigan and put down $500.00 on my new Volt.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:48 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    Hey, Rob! Is there any chance of Chevrolet Dealers in Southern California “borrowing” one of the pre-production VOLTs to promote and use for consumer ‘test drives’ ?Our dealership is smack in the middle of the highest density of commuters in SoCal. I’ll ride shotgun on a 1.5 mile test drive loop with a stack of purchase orders in my lap. I want to be the first to reach 1000 volts. Get it? 1000 VOLTs!!!Whattya’ say?!  

    http://new.wavlist.com/soundfx/014/cricket-2.wav


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    Tim: The reason you won’t is because GM is not investing enough time or energy to make an EV with a 300 or 400 mile range, great acceleration at all speeds, optimal towing power, etc.

    If a BEV had 400 miles of range, I still wouldn’t buy it.

    Fast charging a BEV-400 is inherently unsafe, and battery swapping is not economically viable.

    Bio-fuels are the solution for long distance driving. We can replace up to 35% of gasoline consumption using cellulosic gasification, without any affect on our food supply. EREVs can replace 80% of our gasoline consumption. Together, thats 115%, more than enough to replace gasoline. And thats using our current infrastructure of 110 volt home outlets and liquid fuel filling stations.

    Cellulosic gasification is already being scaled up. It’s not just a lab experiment.
    LightHouseFacility2.jpg


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:57 am)

    carcus3: Sliding the goalposts around a bit, are we Dave ?

    How so? I’ve been saying the same thing for the last 2 years.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:14 am)

    Dave G:
    How so?I’ve been saying the same thing for the last 2 years.  

    Series vs. Series/Parallel:

    Might want to check out all your posts on this thread. (Especially the one where you mention how things could come back to bite.)

    Toyota Believes its Parallel Hybrid Approach is Better Than Volts Series Design
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/09/04/toyota-believes-its-parallel-hybrid-approach-is-better-than-volts-series-design/


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:17 am)

    neutron:
    Can not get any better than this. Clarification from a GM rep.Thanks for your update and we look forward to an exciting game changing car that will be available this fall.  

    Being a “Skeptic” I would rather hear Lyle confirm it was the real Rob. It could be, but it could also be a troll who just used Rob’s name and any old email account. I know GM reads this Blog, but for a spokesman to respond on a Sunday seems a little odd. I would think he would need clearance from GM with a more prepared response that what this is. There is at least one grammatical error. While I am sure someone can find many errors in my posts. I am not the professional. The website link to Consumer Reports is the same that someone else posted earlier, so it was not a special scoop. Every Party has to have a Pooper. Sometimes I am that guy! LOL ;-)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    Eco_Turbo: I think the real question is when will Toyota build a Prius that can completely disconnect the ICE from the wheels?

    What would the benefit be of disconnecting?

    The PHV model allows the engine to remain motionless for up to 100 km/h (62.1 mph). Above that speed, it’s the measure of the parasitic loss from the engine spinning without using any fuel. Overcoming that is a matter of changing power-carrier ratios within the PSD… which is quite realistic, but not cost-effective when taking advantage of high-volume production by sharing components with the no-plug models.

    In other words, would the increased cost justify the gain?

    Look at it this way, in the no-plug 2010 Prius, observed effiency of the engine operating at its lightest fuel-consuming load is 145 MPG.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:28 am)

    Eco_Turbo: Tim said:Instead, GM is wasting time on a car that is still gasoline-dependentDo you work for, Ford?  (Quote)

    No, Ford hasn’t done any better on this front either. I’m an American consumer who’s mad that the EV1 was out years ago, and in 2010 I had to buy a Prius (my first foreign car) because GM, Ford, and every other American car manufacturer can’t get their act together… their hybrids have all been half-hearted attempts, and the electrification buzz they touted when they needed a bail-out (GM at least) is clearly waning right now. They’ve been in bed with the oil companies for way too long, and it’s clear with these gas-required revelations about the Volt that old habits die hard. I’m angry that the Volt had all the buzz and media-hype only a year ago, and since then GM has let Ghosn and his LEAF completely yank the rug out from under them. We can debate the percentage breakdown, but there is no doubt that Nissan has stolen some Volt customers (again, I will let you decide how many). This apathy from GM’s top brass reeks of their actions related to the EV1, and I’m not going to sit here and act happy about it. The Volt needs to be what was originally promised: 40 miles of gas-free driving… period. Also, the Volt needs to be only a beginning that with a massive R&D investment, can eventually be a 100 mile electric ride EREV, then 200 mile EREV, and so on. Full electrification and zero gas must be the ultimate goal, not oily beaches and writing checks to Saudi Arabia everytime I need to drive somewhere.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:37 am)

    Tim said:

    the Volt needs to be only a beginning that with a massive R&D investment, can eventually be a 100 mile electric ride EREV, then 200 mile EREV

    Based on battery predictions, that seems quite possible, all today’s post means is that a 200 mile AER Volt might also be a 140 mph Volt. 8-)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:38 am)

    I concur with the auto and oil are in bed together. Look at the boards and all becomes clear. I tip my hat to Tesla and Elon Musk on that front for inspiring the push ahead. My prayers are with him and his company.

    Chevy Volt: American-made, American-FUELED also belongs to Tesla Motors The Tesla S, American-made, American-FUELED. May they both prove viable.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:40 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:47 am)

    Special thanks today to Lyle for starting and running such a great site. Also many thanks to Rob Peterson for jumping in and clarifying his statements as well as for the great link. As mentioned before, it really doesn’t get much better than this.

    On the subject, my first reaction to the piece was to say that we’ll know how it all works when GM decides to let the engineers talk about the drive train. From the interview a couple of months back when they were testing in CA you can tell that the engineering team really can’t wait to explain just how elegant the Volt drive train is. Can’t wait!


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:49 am)

    john1701a: It pretty much boils down to acceptance and taking that next step quickly now.

    OMG. We agree on this. It’s frustrating to me that GM has come up with such an incredible solution and it’s not running with it.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:52 am)

    Amen guys and gals,
    Look at this website… even at gm-volt.com, Nissan is advertising the LEAF!!! Is anyone else shocked at the fact that GM would let its top electric competitor out-advertise it on the leading blog devoted to its own product? Nissan is engaged in an all-out media blitz because they have a CEO who fully believes in his product, and his unbridled enthusiasm has translated to, what, 15,000 deposits thus far? Does anyone here even know for certain when GM will begin taking deposits on its car, which is being released at the SAME TIME??? If GM doesn’t step up to the plate and begin an all-out media campaign pushing the Volt and directly challenging the practicality of the LEAF, then the Volt will be just like their obscure hybrid products. I’m rooting for the Volt, but am I the only one who feels like I’m cheering on the Volt much more than the execs at GM?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    Jimza Skeptic: Being a “Skeptic” I would rather hear Lyle confirm it was the real Rob. It could be, but it could also be a troll who just used Rob’s name and any old email account. I know GM reads this Blog, but for a spokesman to respond on a Sunday seems a little odd. I would think he would need clearance from GM with a more prepared response that what this is.

    I bet they all read this blog constantly, even on Sunday mornings. It does sound like an official statement since he really did not say much.. just made soothing sounds :)

    In any case he may have just made a good career move in putting out this fire almost instantly.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:11 pm)

    carcus3: Series vs. Series/Parallel:
    Might want to check out all your posts on this thread.

    The thread you reference is almost 3 years old.

    Around 2 years ago, I changed my mind on that. Is that allowed?

    Specifically, when Mercedes and Fisker announced near series designs with more all-electric range than the Volt, I realized that it was the the all-electric range that mattered, not the design specifics.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    Tim: If GM doesn’t step up to the plate and begin an all-out media campaign pushing the Volt and directly challenging the practicality of the LEAF, then the Volt will be just like their obscure hybrid products.

    GM went to school on the new body style Camaro. Even though it seems like years off. It’s best for GM to wait and be in a position to deliver pre-order Volts in less than 3 months. And it’s KEY for GM to have plenty of Volts available for demo drives. Even if 3/4 of the demo drivers won’t be spending the MSRP money. This keeps momentum heading toward the positive.

    It’s a month early to be boasting on how the Volt kicks azz. This will quickly raise the comment, “Funny, I have never been passed by one”. But, GM seriously needs to start talking talk and walking walk by around August 7th. Pre-ordering should begin around Labor Day.

    =D-Volt


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Dave G:
    # 59
    “Herm: Note that what I call the third motor is actually the 53kw generator attached to the ICE.. its really a generator but acts like a motor to crank the ICE.”
    What is your source for this? How do know GM doesn’t have a separate starter motor? GM has already told us the Volt has a separate 12 volt battery with enough power to jump-start another car.

    Last year Frank Weber stated that the Volt did not have a starter, and if the big battery died the Volt would not be able to crank over the engine..

    Lyle should make an official list of what are facts and guesses regarding the Volt.

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3218


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:31 pm)

    Dave G: Sonds right. Here’s a look at Tesla’s torque curve as a comparison Note that Elon Musk originally wanted a 2-speed transmission for the Roadster, but they had problems finding a supplier that could actually build a transmission that operates at 14,000 RPM.  (Quote)

    seems mitsubishi has better motor : http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/special/ev/4innovations/index.html , or its a smart chart :-) ( comparing a 180 Nm electric motor to a 94 Nm gasoline engine.

    Any way there is my question :- The problem described here is a not a volt problem, its a EV problem ( problem with electric motor ) ,

    for an EV, a mechanial 2 speed transmission will do the first level . There are efficency curve also for the electric motor. It seems we are going to have the the same/similar 6 speed attached to an electric motor will happen after once we worried on the economy/range.

    Another idea may be adding ondemand coils so change the chareactestics of motor ( this should be a new generation gear system ) by activatng them when and only needed.

    BTW it seems 4 mode hybrid is comming ( any ideas/ news on them and difference between the voltec, 4 mode and 2 mode ) -


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    Money Pit: From the consumers report video provided by the GM rep ” the Volts will go on sale with a price of near 40,000.00 , after rebates though, in the low 30’s ”about 10K more than a Leaf  

    He also got a lot of other things wrong such as a complete drain of the battery before the engine came on when actually it is ~30% SOC.

    GM has not formally announced the final price so the reporter just parroted what has been suggested for some time. I am hopeful that it will be less than that by a few thousand $US.

    I think the Leaf is being rushed to market. I hope that Nissan has not made an error which will set back electric vehicles.

    Harrier1970


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:39 pm)

    Interviewd at ford: and that is why I did interview at Ford, not GM.

    He thought he was giving an interview at Ford when really he was buying crack behind a local dealership.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:41 pm)

    Dave G:
    The thread you reference is almost 3 years old.Around 2 years ago, I changed my mind on that.Is that allowed?Specifically, when Mercedes and Fisker announced near series designs with more all-electric range than the Volt, I realized that it was the the all-electric range that mattered, not the design specifics.  

    Sure Dave, you can change your mind. But it sure looks like it’s been more recent than two years since you’ve done so.

    Here’s a thread from 10 months ago where the topic was “Will the Volt Have Power Limitations on the Highway?”
    http://gm-volt.com/2009/08/21/will-the-volt-have-power-limitations-on-the-highway/

    I argued (rather adamantly) that power fade was going to be an issue with continuous high loads (i.e. fast driving) for the EREV (series) and it would be better handled with series-parallel design (or they’d have to crank up the battery buffer zone):

    “To me, this power fade issue isn’t about EREV vs. BEV, it’s about series plug in hybrids vs series/parallel plug in hybrids.”

    You argued for EREV:

    “With an EREV, the max horsepower always comes from the battery and electric motor, even when the gas engine is running.”
    “I think you will be able to go 90 MPH continuous.”

    /plus, I know there’s at least one other looooong thread where you and I went round and round on the buffer zone size and it’s implications to power fade.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:48 pm)

    Tim: Amen guys and gals,
    Look at this website… even at gm-volt.com, Nissan is advertising the LEAF!!! Is anyone else shocked at the fact that GM would let its top electric competitor out-advertise it on the leading blog devoted to its own product?

    The way internet advertising works these days on the majority of small sites is google analytics figures out what to put on what page. Lyle doesn’t have any say as to what goes in those advertising boxes. Nissan pays google to advertise on sites where it will get the most click throughs. And then lyle will get paid for click throughs on his page. So of course, a leaf ad will get a whole lot more action here than on a site for a new animated movie. The only sites that have dedicated ads these days where the owner of the site knows what’s up is like Microsoft or Yahoo maybe. And half of those ads are targeted to your search preferences. It’s very complex.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (12:53 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers: I found a dealer in Sterling Heights Michigan and put down $500.00 on my new Volt.Take Care,
    TED  

    Hey Ted! If you need someone to help you drive it back from Michigan with ya I’m in! No, I would, but seriously I’d love to test drive if I could come down there when ya get it, I’ll bring ya a nice bottle of wine or a case of beer, your choice.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    carcus3: I argued (rather adamantly) that power fade was going to be an issue with continuous high loads (i.e. fast driving) for the EREV (series) …

    The power fade issue remains to be confirmed. The Consumer Rports first look review said nothing about this, and it looked like they were driving pretty fast.

    I suspect the Volt’s 110kw inductive motor will work well at high speeds, but we’ll have to wait for more info to be sure.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:03 pm)

    Tim: Nissan is engaged in an all-out media blitz because they have a CEO who fully believes in his product, and his unbridled enthusiasm has translated to, what, 15,000 deposits thus far?

    GM doesn’t seem to have a vision of where it wants to go. Is it EREV? Is it BEVs? Hydrogen? Ethanol? The Cruze? A lot of confusion and ambivalence which is translated into a lack of a strong and consistent message. That said, GM Marketing is not exactly shining. Given all the great material they have to work with the results are disappointing to say the least. Continuing to stick with a green message and ignoring the national security and economic messages is just one example of the overall failure to take advantage of the opportunities.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Tim: Amen guys and gals,
    Look at this website… even at gm-volt.com, Nissan is advertising the LEAF!!! Is anyone else shocked at the fact that GM would let its top electric competitor out-advertise it on the leading blog devoted to its own product? Nissan is engaged in an all-out media blitz because …

    Nissan has to advertise, they have to convince the public that 100 miles of range and slow recharges are sufficient.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:07 pm)

    Herm: Last year Frank Weber stated that the Volt did not have a starter, and if the big battery died the Volt would not be able to crank over the engine..

    OK, I’ll consider that confirmed now. The 53kW generator works as a motor to start the gas engine. Thanks!

    Herm: Lyle should make an official list of what are facts and guesses regarding the Volt.

    Sounds good to me!


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:08 pm)

    To get great fuel economy requires the ICE to operate in it’s sweet spot as much as possible. I’ve believe that GM is using a modified two mode transmission on the Volt. This makes sense because that’s how the two mode transmission works. Time will tell.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:08 pm)

    Dave G: The power fade issue remains to be confirmed. The Consumer Rports first look review said nothing about this, and it looked like they were driving pretty fast.
    I suspect the Volt’s 110kw inductive motor will work well at high speeds, but we’ll have to wait for more info to be sure.  

    The power fade Carcus is worried about relates to the size of the battery.. its only going to be a problem with unreasonable drivers, they deserve to get power-faded.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    joe: We do know the Ampera will be the same basic car as the Volt. So we know, it won’t be long before the anti-GM hate groups will try to tear down both cars. Consumer Reports is one of these hate groups.Below is a link of Consumer Reports first encounter with the Volt. Nothing real negative was said, but wait and see. Too bad the Volt does not have the Honda or Toyota insignia on it. It would have been nothing but rave even from it’s first encounter.http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/26/2011-chevrolet-volt-visits-consumer-reports-w-video/  (Quote)

    As a long time Consumer Reports customer, and commenter, who just last week gave his annual vehicle report, I give you this feedback on your CR statement.

    Consumer Report’s uses actual Consumer Report’s customers responses on rating vehicles. Their customers, like myself, go through an extra long list of vehicle repair questions and service related issues with our personal vehicles. It is from that list of vehicle data that their statistics are formed. They do buy new vehicles, and in-house test them. However, the annual and historical data are from customers like myself who have given reports on our personal vehicles. I have personally reported on my Toyota, Honda and Nissan for over 20-years. I personally believe that CR’s is the only reliable source of vehicle historical data. Their customer’s are not receiving any incentive, nor are they having to please any customer, manufacturer, advertiser or dealer. Having had my own utility company publication’s, “COOL NEWS PUBLICATIONS” with many advertizers, I am well aware of the never ending conflict of never trying to offend your advertisers.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:15 pm)

    Dave G: The power fade issue remains to be confirmed. The Consumer Rports first look review said nothing about this, and it looked like they were driving pretty fast.
    I suspect the Volt’s 110kw inductive motor will work well at high speeds, but we’ll have to wait for more info to be sure.  

    The report from Andrew English sounds perfectly clear to me. And it sounds like he understood what he was talking about. Hard to imagine he would have just blurted all that out erroneously.

    The response from Rob Peterson (in typical GM form) . . . . I have no idea what he’s really saying.

    Someday, . . . . someday, we’re going to get some answers.
    Stay effing tuned.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:17 pm)

    Harrier1970: I think the Leaf is being rushed to market. I hope that Nissan has not made an error which will set back electric vehicles.

    Nissan has been working on this for a long long time.. perhaps they were waiting for the next generation of battery (2014), the 200mile range one, but a combination of the Volt and the fed $7500 tax credit may have motivated them to accelerate the plans. In hindsight maybe it was not a good idea to do this in the middle of a major recession.

    Dont forget the LEAF is based on a unique chassis just made for BEVs and Nissan is busy building factories to make batteries, motors and inverters in mass quantities.. GM is buying that from suppliers.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:22 pm)

    carcus3: I argued (rather adamantly) that power fade was going to be an issue with continuous high loads (i.e. fast driving) for the EREV (series) and it would be better handled with series-parallel design (or they’d have to crank up the battery buffer zone):

    I’m not understanding why you think power fade will be an issue. If there is a power fade problem it will probably be limited to some specific instances. In EV mode I don’t think someone would experience power fade at reasonable speeds. Power fade in the Leaf has been reported at speeds between 60 mph and 80 mph. But that’s with an 80 kW motor rather than a 110 kW motor. While the Leaf will weigh less that isn’t going to be that big of a deal at 75 mph. Maybe there would be power fade between 90mph and 100 mph but those aren’t what you could call reasonable speeds. So my guess is that most users won’t experience a power fade in EV mode.

    CS Mode is a different story. If the battery is available then you have a 50 kW motor supplemented by a 110 kW motor. I don’t understand why you’d think someone would experience power fade with this amount of power available, unless you think the drive motor wouldn’t be contributing. If the battery is depleted then of course power will be affected. In fact in the limiting case you’d only have a 50 kW motor available which not only produce power fade — it wold be power limited.

    In any event we’ll shortly know more about how this all works and things will become much clearer.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:26 pm)

    Herm: The power fade Carcus is worried about relates to the size of the battery.. its only going to be a problem with unreasonable drivers, they deserve to get power-faded.

    Ha ha. Yeah there is a difference between a “sporty car” and a “racecar”. And yeah, the battery, not the motors, are the limiting factor here.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:42 pm)

    Herm: The power fade Carcus is worried about relates to the size of the battery..

    This is a good point, often overlooked.

    A smaller battery not only means less all-electric range, but also less instantanious peak power. So an EREV pretty much requires a fairly large battery, otherwise acceleration would suffer.

    Herm: its only going to be a problem with unreasonable drivers, they deserve to get power-faded.

    Or it could be more of a problem with European drivers. The speed limits are generally much higher over there. I think most highways in England have an 85 mile per hour speed limit, and many routinely exceed that, so figure an average speed of 90.

    In the U.S., most people seem to drive 70-75 miles per hour, so torque fade may not be as much of an issue here.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:43 pm)

    Tim: we’re stuck with 40 miles of electric that isn’t really that electric. After all, the engine will automatically kick-in at regular intervals to prevent breakdown from happening due to a lack of use. Also, if this is true about the engine kicking-in for more power above a whopping 50mph, then we basically have a car that’s just one tier above the current Prius.

    This isn’t true, the Volt will not turn on it’s engine for any reason to help propel the vehicle before the batteries usable charge is depleted, GM would not allow this, it would totally ruin the marketing of the car. And like Rob said, this was in “extended range mode anyways” At that point the battery may not have the energy to give you a boost at 80 m.p.h. If they need to find a way to bypass the battery and form a direct link from engine to driveshaft for extra acceleration after the battery is used up I have no problem with that. This isn’t really cause for concern.

    And your “Regular intervals” comment, they have said the engine will come on if you never use it, only once every 3 months though for a few minutes. My guess is you’ll use it before that 3 months is up.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:50 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers: I found a dealer in Sterling Heights Michigan and put down $500.00 on my new Volt.Take Care,
    TED  

    Hmmmmm… Let’s see… Hi GM of Sterling Heights! Ted wanted me to pick up his VOLT. Here is a cashiers check for the amount plus $1000 above MSRP for you and the guys. I will make sure Ted gets the VOLT. ;->


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (1:55 pm)

    Dave G: In the U.S., most people seem to drive 70-75 miles per hour, so torque fade may not be as much of an issue here.  

    But we’ve got winds and large elevation changes.

    Try driving west bound on I-40 west of Amarillo. Long uphill gradients, everybody’s doing 75 to 80 mph and a 25 mph wind out of the west is not uncommon. Now miix in a 100 degree day and the fact that generator efficiency losses are affected by temperature and get worse as you demand more.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (2:15 pm)

    Dave G: A smaller battery not only means less all-electric range, but also less instantanious peak power. So an EREV pretty much requires a fairly large battery, otherwise acceleration would suffer.

    If you’re a purist, perhaps. But turning on the engine additional power during acceleration is no big deal. After all, how long does heavy acceleration last anyway? For that matter, how often do you actually need heavy acceleration?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (2:34 pm)

    john1701a: If you’re a purist, perhaps. But turning on the engine additional power during acceleration is no big deal. After all, how long does heavy acceleration last anyway? For that matter, how often do you actually need heavy acceleration?

    Turning the internal combustion engine on and off frequently:
    1) produces a lot of emissions
    2) uses a considerable amount of fuel
    3) tends to increase maintenance costs

    By contrast, with an EREV (series or near series) the system controls the gas engine’s output to roughly match the needs of the car, so the engine stays on for longer periods of time.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (2:41 pm)

    Dave G: Turning the internal combustion engine on and off frequently:
    1) produces a lot of emissions

    Once the converter is heated there are about zero emissions. It’s the number of cold starts not the number of starts. The big advantage of an EREV over a parallel hybrid, and it is a big advantage, would be that on some days — maybe many days — the engine will never come on.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (2:43 pm)

    This article really sounds good to me..With a lot of information to get..I am really impressed about how you handle a car.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (2:52 pm)

    carcus3: But we’ve got winds and large elevation changes.
    Try driving west bound on I-40 west of Amarillo. Long uphill gradients, everybody’s doing 75 to 80 mph and a 25 mph wind out of the west is not uncommon.

    As I understand it, the potential for torque fade relates directly to the electric motor’s RPM. So this would have to do with speed only, and not with wind resistance or uphill grade.

    As for the torque issue in general, Rob Peterson mentions the Volt has planetary gear-set, so there may be something like a transmission that addresses the torque issue.

    So as you said before:
    Someday, . . . . someday, we’re going to get some answers.
    Stay effing tuned.

    That pretty much sums it up.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (2:59 pm)

    Dave G: Turning the internal combustion engine on and off frequently

    How long?

    How often?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:17 pm)

    DonC: Once the converter is heated there are about zero emissions. It’s the number of cold starts not the number of starts.

    John’s point was this: If the ICE only has to come on occasionally, then it may not affect gasoline consumption that much. So I interpret this as mostly cold starts and stops.

    My point was that cold starts and stops can have a real effect on emissions, fuel consumption, and maintenance.

    But having said all that, I would be willing to accept a solution that would use the ICE for very rare cases with extreme power requirements, like when you floor it for while.

    Basically, I just want a car that uses electricity as it’s primary fuel source, and uses gasoline or E85 to fill in occasionally. So anything that covers 70-80% of my yearly driving with an overnight charge works for me.

    Plug-in options of existing strong hybrids still seem to use gasoline as the primary fuel source, and use electricity to boost MPG figures. So I believe Ford and Toyota are moving in the wrong direction with these, but time will tell.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (3:51 pm)

    Dave G: ohn’s point was this: If the ICE only has to come on occasionally, then it may not affect gasoline consumption that much. So I interpret this as mostly cold starts and stops.

    OK I’m quibbling. No doubt whether your goal is clean energy (no emissions) or nationally secure energy (no oil), an EREV or serial hybrid like the Volt is way better than a parallel hybrid like the Prius. But they’re not exactly the same thing. For emissions purposes once the engine kicks on you might as well keep it on whereas for gas consumption or CO2 purposes the more often the ICE is off the better (which is why you turn off the engine at stops).

    I understand you know this, but, in this regard, starts and cold starts are likewise not the same thing. Once an engine has been running it stays hot for quite a while. Which is why my garage is frequently fairly toasty! So maybe you get two cold starts a day. (Note that if you really wanted to reduce emissions the Volt could preheat the converter before the transition from EV to CS Mode).


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:15 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: I think the real question is when will Toyota build a Prius that can completely disconnect the ICE from the wheels? 8-) 8-)

    They already do. My wife’s 2004 Prius can move with the engine turned off. The electric motor and battery are both undersized, so it can’t go very fast (<20mph) or very far (<1 mile) — but it can do it, if you’re willing to hold up traffic.

    Of course, the power in the battery all came from the gas tank, but that can be fixed with some (expensive) after-market upgrades.

    So, even if the Volt is built on exactly the same hybrid architecture as my existing Prius, it would be in excess of 40 times better.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:23 pm)

    Tim: Really? The reason you won’t is because GM is not investing enough time or energy to make an EV with a 300 or 400 mile range, great acceleration at all speeds, optimal towing power, etc. Instead, GM is wasting time on a car that is still gasoline-dependent because, aside from Bob Lutz, there is still too much antiquated thinking at the company. If you could have an EV that does everything your current car does, then there would be no need for you to say that; however, that is not happening because GM will tell you that the technology is not currently available to make that happen. The irony here is that it is a company like GM that must first develop that technology so it is available, but because they won’t, they can say they can’t. Thank you GM for a lesson in circular reasoning…

    Dude, it’s not like GM is the only car company in the world. They’re not even the biggest.

    They’re just another member of the worldwide automotive oligopoly. Sometimes they make good cars, sometimes they don’t. Just like Toyota, Honda, and Ford — to name a few competitors that I’ve personally owned.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:40 pm)

    BILLR,

    Not that long ago I had a chance to ask a GM engineer (who has been involved with the VOLT since early on) a direct question regarding the VOLTs transmission…

    Me: ” so it’s off the shelf parts then?”
    Him: “Yes it’s a modified version of our Two mode tranny”
    Me: “is there ANY mechanical connection from the ICE to the wheels then?”
    Him: “no…”
    Me: “None at all? Really? B/C I had thought the Two-Mode had some”
    Him (after a minute of skirting the question): “Ok, I’m not really allowed to say… but there could be”

    Part of the reason is due to the inefficiency of going from gas (gen-set) to electronics to chemical (battery) to electric motor to wheels…

    I’d say that matches your theory on the Two mode. Kinda sad… was hoping for an all electric :(

    BillR: I have maintained that the Volt’s transmission is essentially the 2-mode FWD transmission.http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4181From Rob Petersons’s comments,
    “First off, the Volt cannot be driven without electric power. It always makes use of electric power within the drive unit.”Since the ICE likely operates at several distinct speeds and power settings, it cannot modulate its output to drive the car.Therefore, electric power is always needed to either drive the car or generate electricity to absorb the excess power from the ICE.“Secondly, we have no plans to make any mechanical or control strategy changes prior to launch.”This neither confirms nor denys the existance of a mechanical link from the ICE to the wheels.“The team is in the final stages of validation and durability and have not identified any reason to make any changes. We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today. For competitive reasons we won’t provide more details on the operation at this point, but will soon.”This seems to indicate that the drive unit exists in pre-production vehicles (perhaps the former Saturn Vue 2-mode).Like the 2-mode, it includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear set.This link is contained in above link, but for more info in the FWD 2-mode, see this.http://www.che.ncsu.edu/ILEET/phevs/plug-in_2008/1A-1_GM%202-ModePHEV%20VUE.pdfRegarding the English journalist’s comment:“General Motors is working on the problem and this autumn plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox. This would reduce the energy losses of turning petrol power into electricity to drive the car at high speeds, and would also give the Ampera more spritely overtaking performance.”I don’t believe GM will use the ICE to provide added power, but only the average power to maintain battery charge.However, torque from the ICE will be input to the gearsets, and with added electric power or reduced power thru electric generation, will provide the exact drive power needed by the car.The added power may come from allowing the Volt’s to operate at a “peak” versus continuous rating.This could be Sport Mode.I have some background info on here.http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4288In summary, the Volt is essentially complete, and I believe contains the 2-mode transmission with the ICE adding torque to the gearsets.Perhaps the initial Ampera’s, only 65% complete, don’t have Sport Mode yet available, or aren’t calibrated to the Volt’s final specs. But it could be that the Volt is designed for best performance at 0 to 70 mph, and at , the traction motors are not in their optimum speed range.Since Europe have highways where higher speeds are typical, the Ampera may have a different calibration than the Volt, which might include operating the ICE in conjunction with the motors to provide more than 111 kW at high speed operation.  


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:54 pm)

    Plus +1 for your response. Well said! The fact that your very true response is getting negative reviews, really shows how some people here have no desire to get off of gas or will believe that everything that GM says is true. Max Bob said that if Tesla can do it, so can GM. Well with Bob gone, GM is doing what Toyota/Honda did, but Nissan is making what Tesla did a reality for the masses!!!

    Go EV!!!!

    Tim:
    No, Ford hasn’t done any better on this front either.I’m an American consumer who’s mad that the EV1 was out years ago, and in 2010 I had to buy a Prius (my first foreign car) because GM, Ford, and every other American car manufacturer can’t get their act together… their hybrids have all been half-hearted attempts, and the electrification buzz they touted when they needed a bail-out (GM at least) is clearly waning right now.They’ve been in bed with the oil companies for way too long, and it’s clear with these gas-required revelations about the Volt that old habits die hard.I’m angry that the Volt had all the buzz and media-hype only a year ago, and since then GM has let Ghosn and his LEAF completely yank the rug out from under them.We can debate the percentage breakdown, but there is no doubt that Nissan has stolen some Volt customers (again, I will let you decide how many).This apathy from GM’s top brass reeks of their actions related to the EV1, and I’m not going to sit here and act happy about it.The Volt needs to be what was originally promised: 40 miles of gas-free driving… period.Also, the Volt needs to be only a beginning that with a massive R&D investment, can eventually be a 100 mile electric ride EREV, then 200 mile EREV, and so on.Full electrification and zero gas must be the ultimate goal, not oily beaches and writing checks to Saudi Arabia everytime I need to drive somewhere.  


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:57 pm)

    carcus3: But we’ve got winds and large elevation changes.Try driving west bound on I-40 west of Amarillo. Long uphill gradients, everybody’s doing 75 to 80 mph and a 25 mph wind out of the west is not uncommon. Now miix in a 100 degree day and the fact that generator efficiency losses are affected by temperature and get worse as you demand more.  (Quote)

    ICE power lapses with temperature too. Always has. Since we don’t know the power requirement versus speed anything said is a scientific wild ass guess. Those requirements are likely somewhat lower than for the average car of the same size. Low drag coefficient (don’t know the frontal area), minimal gear trail losses, and low resistance tires, etc. In charge sustaining mode, the maximum continuous speed is determined by whatever the output of the generator delivers or whatever it’s governed at. Since the battery is never completely discharged the peak power of the electric drive is aways the maximum intermittent power available for acceleration. What that means in the real world is still somewhat a Scientific Wild Ass Guess. GM is the only one that’s got the experience with the car. Everyone else is basing their opinions on experience with “other” cars that have different power trains. Do we experience power fade or run out of road/nerve first in most cases? Don’t know.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (4:58 pm)

    Dave G: Plug-in options of existing strong hybrids still seem to use gasoline as the primary fuel source, and use electricity to boost MPG figures. So I believe Ford and Toyota are moving in the wrong direction with these, but time will tell.

    Any car with a plug is using electricity to offset gasoline. I don’t see this is a bad thing. We may argue about the design and AER (if any), but, really any grid electricity use is good.

    What I don’t get is why these guys aren’t doing more things like dual-mode. A power design (such as Karma) could make the Corvette launch-mode look weak. The initial launch is where an electric motor’s zero-rpm torque shines.


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    Future Leaf Driver

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (5:06 pm)

    Pleas read up on the 17 year development cycle regarding the LEAF starting with the EV-01, then EV-02, and NEC’s battery technology. You then might look smarter taking back the “rushed” comment. As well with the VOLT, GM has to make it perfect, or game-changer will be known as a game-ender. And that would be bad for all!

    Go EV!!!

    Harrier1970:
    He also got a lot of other things wrong such as a complete drain of the battery before the engine came on when actually it is ~30% SOC.GM has not formally announced the final price so the reporter just parroted what has been suggested for some time.I am hopeful that it will be less than that by a few thousand $US.I think the Leaf is being rushed to market.I hope that Nissan has not made an error which will set back electric vehicles.Harrier1970  


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (5:08 pm)

    Dave G: Plug-in options of existing strong hybrids still seem to use gasoline as the primary fuel source, and use electricity to boost MPG figures. So I believe Ford and Toyota are moving in the wrong direction with these, but time will tell.

    Hmm. GM is taking a step back by introducing a direct-drive feature. Ford & Toyota taking a step forward by using direct-drive less with each upgrade.

    Since you reinterpretted my questions rather than just answer them, I’ll simply stick with the fact that “wrong” doesn’t actually hold any merit.

    Reducing production of traditional vehicles is still the goal.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    Jimza Skeptic:
    Being a “Skeptic”I would rather hear Lyle confirm it was the real Rob.It could be, but it could also be a troll who just used Rob’s name and any old email account.I know GM reads this Blog, but for a spokesman to respond on a Sunday seems a little odd.I would think he would need clearance from GM with a more prepared response that what this is.There is at least one grammatical error.While I am sure someone can find many errors in my posts. I am not the professional. The website link to Consumer Reports is the same that someone else posted earlier, so it was not a special scoop.Every Party has to have a Pooper.Sometimes I am that guy!LOL   

    I agree. I did think about that but also am making the assumption he is the GM spokesman from the story. Perhaps the grammatical error is because of a Sunday post? Perhaps the final confirmation is up to Lyle. The fact Lyle has not refuted the comments may be the “confirmation” (have not seen anything so far.) :+} Until the Volt is in service being a skeptic drives good discussion…..


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:22 pm)

    Herm: Lyle should make an official list of what are facts and guesses regarding the Volt.

    I was ust thinking this the other day. I’ve been visiting this site long enough that frequently I remember some of the answers. Obviously some folks remember much better than I do. But especially after the first Volts get delivered it seems like it would very good to have a database of facts on the Volt (and other voltec vehicles) and also on subjective experiences as users gain experience in various environments.


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    Slave to OPEC

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:26 pm)

    We know the ICE/Gen works in conjuction with the battery to provide additional power on demand.

    If GM added a transmission, they would end up with a 40 mile AER Prius…


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:35 pm)

    Hey Guys and Gals,
    You seem to be missing a really BIG distinction. The article was about the Ampera, NOT the Volt. Even if the particular Ampera has an exact copy of the Volt drive train hardware it may well be that said Ampera has modified software. Don’t know what the point of such a modification would be (well, that is not too hard to imagine), but why would anyone allow a reporter to drive such a vehicle? Maybe it is just a way to get attention so that the real characteristics will be paid more attention. Just a thought.
    This sounds kind of like GM engineering trying to make up for GM marketing’s shortcomings. (See some of my remarks from a few days ago). I continue to believe that GM engineering has been at it’s finest in developing the Volt, but GM marketing seems to fall flat (ala the Volt dancers). When we talk about “getting the Volt right” I think marketing is the only thing that can turn this winner into a loser.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:39 pm)

    Slave to OPEC: We know the ICE/Gen works in conjuction with the battery to provide additional power on demand. If GM added a transmission, they would end up with a 40 mile AER Prius…  (Quote)

    No, not at all. The Prius has an electric motor that could never power the car adequately. Not the case at all with the Volt.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (6:46 pm)

    The referenced Ampera article says…

    “Accelerating up the motorway slip road, the Ampera charges hard and deceptively quickly up to 50mph, but by then the single-speed electric motor’s flat torque curve has begun a nose dive and acceleration at high speeds is poor.

    “The 0-62mph time of 9 seconds and top speed of 100mph are an indication of this – most family hatchbacks with that sort of sprint capability will have a top speed of nearer 130mph.

    “General Motors is working on the problem and this autumn plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox. This would reduce the energy losses of turning petrol power into electricity to drive the car at high speeds, and would also give the Ampera more spritely overtaking performance.

    This “passing speed acceleration” matter is an issue I’ve been harping on here for more than a year. And during my test drive in NYC this March I stressed it’s great importance with the GM people at that event. The original plug-in VUE’s 2-mode transmission may very well contribute at least a variant of its housing as well as its 2 motor/generators and its planetary gear/clutch architecture to the Volt design. If so, it’s entirely possible that the article’s statement that “(GM) plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox” could be correct.

    If so, this perhaps could be further insight into how the Volt achieves the “sport mode” as well as what Bob Lutz was thinking when he said (paraphrasing), “the Volt will have a transmission unlike any other”. In any case, I’m pleased at long last to conclude that the Ampera’s/ Volt’s 45-85mph acceleration should be “spritely” rather than sluggish!


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:09 pm)

    Jimza Skeptic: Hmmmmm… Let’s see… Hi GM of Sterling Heights! Ted wanted me to pick up his VOLT. Here is a cashiers check for the amount plus $1000 above MSRP for you and the guys. I will make sure Ted gets the VOLT. ;->

    LOL. There was a time when I would have said that I volunteer to deliver Volts (obviously by driving them) to folks all over the country. But since I am in line at probably that same dealer I will probably have my Volt before then. Course, I might still consider it.


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    Toyota Green

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:17 pm)

    Anybody buying a Volt is probably not very interested in performance anyway. Just be careful on the highways folks. My Prius will blow the doors off the Volt on the interstate that is for sure.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:29 pm)

    Remember in Europe they tend to drive much faster on their motorways than the USA on their interstates. I fear the Volt could be very dangerous to drive on the super highways of Europe especially with a very low 100 mph limit. Best Volt stay on the back roads for owners safety !

    I believe most of the American bunch puddle along at a measly 70-75 mph on their interstate highway system which is totally inadequate for the average European who demands much more from their vehicles.

    Ampera road hazard ahead !


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:37 pm)

    This report is inaccurate. First off, the Volt cannot be driven without electric power. It always makes use of electric power within the drive unit.

    That’s not a direct answer to the question asked. “Can’t be driven without electric power” isn’t the same as saying “there is never a mechanical connection from the engine to the wheels.”

    The Prius has a mechanical connection from the engine to the wheels, but won’t move without power flowing through the motors.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:42 pm)

    JohnK: No, not at all. The Prius has an electric motor that could never power the car adequately. Not the case at all with the Volt.  (Quote)

    You’ll have a hybrid (like a Prius). I’m really surprised this direct drive suggestion is even being entertained. IMO, you’re more likely to find an EESTOR power unit in the Volt before a direct drive system.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:44 pm)

    SteveK9: Why do more people here believe a reporter’s rumor than the statement of the GM representative?  

    If GM has some innovative ideas that they don’t want competitors to know about, they will “play dumb” to avoid confirming the rumors.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:49 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: SteveK9 said:

    Why do more people here believe a reporter’s rumor than the statement of the GM representative?

    Because it makes sense maybe?

    People down-voted you, but I think you’re correct. We were issued a non-denial, not a denial. Mr Peterson reveals just that in a follow on comment:

    Rob Peterson: The engineering team has developed a highly efficient electric drive unit. We’ll pull the covers off the drive unit soon – if we don’t we know our competitors will do it for us when the Volt hits the market later this year – no reason for us to tip our hands now.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (7:59 pm)

    Roy H: I don’t believe there are 3 motors. There is one primary drive motor, I think we all agree on that. The second motor/generator is connected to the ICE (via clutch) when in ICE mode beyond the 40 mile AER limit. This point we all agree on.

    But I think the “Sport mode” is available only within the first 40 miles and is accomplished by disconnecting the clutch at the ICE and engaging a clutch to join the two electric motors. Both motors are then driven electrically to gain the extra performance.

    Since both clutches already exist, it would be trivial to engage both at the same time and thus have a mechanical connection between the ICE and the wheels.

    I have the same suspicions. The talk about a regen motor doesn’t make sense. There isn’t something special about one direction of power flow that leads to making one motor for power and one for braking.

    I think the direct connection will be used all the time though. Above 60 MPH, direct connection between the ICE and the wheels makes sense when producing power. The moment the engine doesn’t need power, it could be declutched and stopped. Not sending the power through the generator, electrical conversion and motor would be more efficient at high speed.

    The car even could have “sport” mode in charge sustain mode. With the engine direct connected to the wheels, the generator could be used as a motor for even more boost.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:06 pm)

    Grouch: Dude, it’s not like GM is the only car company in the world. They’re not even the biggest.They’re just another member of the worldwide automotive oligopoly. Sometimes they make good cars, sometimes they don’t. Just like Toyota, Honda, and Ford — to name a few competitors that I’ve personally owned.  (Quote)

    True, but I don’t give a rip if Toyota or Honda sink or swim. I want to see an American car manufacturer come out on top… plain and simple. To do that, I honestly believe that the electrification of the automobile is the future of the automotive industry, and I don’t want to see GM conduct its gas-guzzling business as usual. After all, that landed them in bankruptcy court only a year ago.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:15 pm)

    Toyota Green: Anybody buying a Volt is probably not very interested in performance anyway.

    One of the beautiful things about the Volt is the 0-50 quickness. The first 40 miles provided at the cost of $1 home recharge. A few months back GM tested the Volt on a demanding desert grade leading over a mountain range on highway 15 (to Vegas from LA). In this test it is reported that the Volt didn’t need mountain mode. And that it stayed with the flow of traffic. I have taken this grade 20 times over the years. My 4 clyinder Honda does nothing but get louder when I stomp on it. My former 6 cylinder Mustang would overheat when pushed on this slope.

    =D-Volt


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:19 pm)

    Tim: GM’s killing this car by incrementally taking the electric sparkle out of it.. why the hell can’t GM just focus on making an electric car? Isn’t that what we all truly want? I want to buy an American-made electric car that is just “a little less” than $100,000; however, with Bob Lutz gone and GM no longer needing to kiss the government’s butt for money, we’re stuck with 40 miles of electric that isn’t really that electric. After all, the engine will automatically kick-in at regular intervals to prevent breakdown from happening due to a lack of use. Also, if this is true about the engine kicking-in for more power above a whopping 50mph, then we basically have a car that’s just one tier above the current Prius. Everyone here wants to be off oil, and we were all initially attracted to the Volt because it was initially marketed as an electric car. With that said, we shouldn’t sit here and endlessly defend GM like I see day after day on this site from a majority of the comments posted; rather, we need to hold their feet to the fire and let our market demand drive them to do better than this.  (Quote)

    Tim, If it’s successful it will go a really long ways toward getting us off of oil. Think of the average mph now of about 25 versus about 200 for the Volt. That’s pretty huge. Those are purist’s, OCD sufferers’, -type concerns you’re expressing.


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    Lyle

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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:33 pm)

    CONFIRMATION

    It really is Rob Peterson of GM in comment #22.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (8:41 pm)

    It will be built side-by-side with the Volt in Michigan for export to Europe where it will go on sale in 2011.

    The most important info you leave out here is HOW MUCH WILL THE VOLT COST IN EUROPE.

    While we give our competitors $7500 per car they will be putting tariffs on our superior technology cars.

    The reason is … they know if they give the Americans a level playing field they cannot compete.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:07 pm)

    A reporter inflates his own wild-ass guess as truth, and the majority of you come unglued. Weak, people. Weak!

    I predict that this will reveal itself to be a tempest in a teapot.

    How can I be so sure?

    If there is no substantial difference in performance between AER and CS-mode, that sort of shoots mechanical-assist in the foot, doesn’t it? Someone other than a GM spokesman will be able to tell us this before the end of the year.

    I’ll really look forward to getting Jay Leno’s take (Hollywood star with credible car knowledge and his own car-show, who has publicly announced his intention to become a Volt first-adopter).

    BTW, when I drove the Volt in NY, Sport Mode was demonstrated with the engine off, and 3-4 miles of useful AER remaining. It illicited a rare WOW from the dead prez.

    FWIW, I believe that there is a 3-motor system (if you count the 53kw generator on the ICE).

    No, the Volt is more unlike a Prius than the Prius is unlike a traditional ICE car. The Prius applies electric assist to ICE-drive; the Volt is all-electric with the exception of an engine used occasionally to generate electricity.

    Oh, and CS-mode MPG will top 50, I predict (I used to say 60, but I officially hold out only for >50 these days. Gen III will get >60).


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:23 pm)

    Lyle: CONFIRMATIONIt really is Rob Peterson of GM in comment #22.  

    Hmmm, is this the real Lyle? LOL OK, I humbly remove my “skeptical” comment #72


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:24 pm)

    joe: … Consumer Reports … Too bad the Volt does not have the Honda or Toyota insignia on it. It would have been nothing but rave even from it’s first encounter.

    vegaselectric: Consumer Report’s uses actual Consumer Report’s customers responses on rating vehicles. Their customers, like myself, go through an extra long list of vehicle repair questions and service related issues with our personal vehicles. It is from that list of vehicle data that their statistics are formed.

    Both of these viewpoints have merit simultaneously. Yes, Consumer Reports ratings are developed with data from actual owners. Yes, GM and other American makes frequently come off badly vs. their (particularly Asian) competition. The temptation here is to blame Radar for the weather: what CR anti-American bias illustrates is the perception of the American driving public at large, which colors anything less-than-perfect with an American car. This ill-will has taken decades to form, and will not go away quickly.

    Even with perfect offerings, GM has a lot of built-up inertia to overcome.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:41 pm)

    In NY, I was told emphatically by a GM engineer that the only thing the engine does is generate electricity. I had asked if waste heat from the engine was used to keep the batteries warm (another area where you’d think direct engine energy-use would be plausible), but the rare, unambiguous response flies in the face of the suggestion that there is mechanical (or any other non-electric) assist.

    Attempts to build the English report into a betrayal on the part of GM (or an admission that mechanical-assist “wouldn’t be all bad”) are misguided, IMO.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:42 pm)

    End Dependency Day next weekend…


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:48 pm)

    Toyota Green: Anybody buying a Volt is probably not very interested in performance anyway. Just be careful on the highways folks. My Prius will blow the doors off the Volt on the interstate that is for sure.  (Quote)

    Not if I read the specs right. That’s a 98 horsepower ICE engine in the Prius. Driving through a transmission that likely has more mechanical losses and more fully charges the battery. Might be a little faster, then again it might not be.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:52 pm)

    Toyota Green: Anybody buying a Volt is probably not very interested in performance anyway.

    Steve: Not if I read the specs right. That’s a 98 horsepower ICE engine in the Prius.

    As someone who’s driven the Volt, I can tell you that performance will have a lot to do with the Volt’s success. You can hear the surprise in the voice of the CR Volt driver in the video, above. That surprise is going to be mirrored something like 50,000 times over the next 2 years.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:55 pm)

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson): As someone who’s driven the Volt

    Highway speeds?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (9:57 pm)

    john1701a:
    Highway speeds?  

    No.

    I’m willing to wait for that confirmation. Are you?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:03 pm)

    Could care less about the Volt’s high-speed performance or the Ampera’s for that matter; won’t deter me from buying one.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:09 pm)

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson): I can tell you that performance will have a lot to do with the Volt’s success

    For the enthusiasts, of course. They’ll gladly pay the extra for that.

    Who are the buyers following them?

    If it’s the type of consumer who purchases a mainstream midsize or compact car (like Camry or Corolla), performance simply doesn’t rate high on their priorities.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:11 pm)

    So, Eric Everts, the CR guy, says near the end of the video, “Now after our first drive, the car really shows promise, but we’ll see if it really delivers on that promise after we purchase one and test it.” Please tell me we don’t have to let them have one of our first Volts just to test it. 8-) It’s my Volt and I want it now! :-)


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:16 pm)

    Tim: Really? The reason you won’t is because GM is not investing enough time or energy to make an EV with a 300 or 400 mile range, great acceleration at all speeds, optimal towing power, etc. Instead, GM is wasting time on a car that is still gasoline-dependent because, aside from Bob Lutz, there is still too much antiquated thinking at the company. If you could have an EV that does everything your current car does, then there would be no need for you to say that; however, that is not happening because GM will tell you that the technology is not currently available to make that happen. The irony here is that it is a company like GM that must first develop that technology so it is available, but because they won’t, they can say they can’t. Thank you GM for a lesson in circular reasoning…  

    Buy you’re Leaf, I’ll wave to you as I’m crossing the country in my Volt.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:26 pm)

    john1701a: If it’s the type of consumer who purchases a mainstream midsize or compact car (like Camry or Corolla), performance simply doesn’t rate high on their priorities.

    Is this because they simply aren’t interested in performance, or because it’s an understood limitation of a mainstream, efficient car?

    Performance may be more relevant than you seem to think. What are the sales figures for I4 vs V6 Camrys, for example?

    Once efficiency and reliability prove out, how long before a third-order priority takes precedence?


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (10:51 pm)

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson): Once efficiency and reliability prove out, how long before a third-order priority takes precedence?

    As we’ve seen over the previous decade, that’s totally dependent upon the price premium.


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    Jun 27th, 2010 (11:36 pm)

    john1701a: For the enthusiasts, of course.They’ll gladly pay the extra for that.
    Who are the buyers following them?
    If it’s the type of consumer who purchases a mainstream midsize or compact car (like Camry or Corolla), performance simply doesn’t rate high on their priorities.

    Your’e right, performance is more than just acceleration. Just look at all those little civics running around making silly sounds and going nowhere. It’s fun to look at all those stickers on the fenders but even more fun just pissing on them. You’re absolutely right about the Camry and Carolla being white bread too. Their sales are based on having an old reputation for reliability. The cars themselves? Meh!
    Don’t forget that Toyota isn’t the biggest car company in the US, GM is. If we say we buy cars for performance then that’s what it is. We buy American, we work.

    I took posession of a Civic from an estate, it cost me over $300 to replace one strut, not two. The only thing thinner that the sheet metal is the paint that covers it. My Saturn kills if in fuel economy! The high performance of the Civic is resale value. I’m keeping title just to use as a trade on a Volt.

    Look, John, the Prius is a wonderful car for gasoline fuel economy, nothing comes close. But the day of the Prius will pass with every Volt that comes off the assembly line. Argue semantics all you want. If the Volt has a direct drive on the highway, so what? Chevy is smart for doing it. If it’s a 40 mile EREV or 40 mile hybrid or 40 mile urea injected biodiesel plugin, it would be fine for me.
    It’s the electricity that matters, not gas.

    The car to have now and in the future is the Volt.


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    DummY dum DUM

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (1:14 am)

    I love the Volt, I’m so happy it’ll be out soon. I can imagine that this may be it’s only limitation, perhaps not having great acceleration in extended mode, but I also wouldn’t be suprised if GM can figure a way around it. Hopefully in Gen 1, if not then I’m sure by Gen 2. Either way I’m sure it won’t be a serious issue. Also, this car should just flat out sell like hotcakes in Europe. 6 to 10 dollar gas!! How could it not. And you’d pay off your solar panels in like 2 years if you bought 9 kw’s of em for the Volt. GM should team up with a Solar company and wrap installation in with the purchase price. At least in the European countries that have really high energy costs.


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    joerg

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (2:32 am)

    we had a lot of test driving the ampera for the last two months here in germany.
    None of the journalists complained about low-performance at high speed.
    Most of them had a positive impression of the car.
    I had offered a translation to lyle of some of the articles but he didn’t respond, sorry.


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    Keith

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (5:12 am)

    I was thinking that some of you would want to know this .

    China’s largest EV charging station built in Shandong
    By Amanda Zheng From:Gasgoo.comJune 25, 2010
    Shanghai, June 25 (Gasgoo.com) The construction of China’s largest charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) has been completed in Linyi city, Shandong province, east China, on June 23, and the locally produced Yixing electric bus has now been put into service in the city, media reported today.

    As the seventh electric-vehicle charging station built by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) in China, the Linyi charging facility includes two 1600 kVA transformers, 30 charging machines, 30 DC charging piles and 15 AC charging piles, which can serve 45 vehicles simultaneously with a combined charge capacity of 3200 kVA.

    According to SGCC, 75 electric vehicle-charging stations will be built in 27 cities across China by the end of this year and at present, two charging stations in Shenzhen city, built by China Southern Power Grid Company, are already in use.


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    Roy H

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (6:37 am)

    Matthew B: I have the same suspicions. The talk about a regen motor doesn’t make sense. There isn’t something special about one direction of power flow that leads to making one motor for power and one for braking.

    If you have 2 motors, for low power it is more efficient to run one nearer full capacity than two at half capacity. For regen you can get better regen if you connect the two motors in series. This will give higher voltage to charge batteries down to lower speeds for improved low speed regen. For sport mode connect the two motors in parallel for more power.


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    Jun 28th, 2010 (6:38 am)

    crew: If the Volt has a direct drive on the highway, so what?

    That was my point.

    crew: It’s the electricity that matters, not gas.

    So was that.


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    JohnK

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (7:01 am)

    I think it is silly to obsess over this report. Why not trust one of our own members? See http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4583
    I repeat that we have no idea if the particular car was anything like a Volt.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (7:05 am)

    The bad part, IMO, is if only Ampera has this clutch, you’ll probably have to pull the engine to install it yourself. I hope GM puts it in all the cars, and merely disables it in Volts.


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    Roy H

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (7:12 am)

    “We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today.”

    Now I’m going around in circles. If there are 3 electric motor/generators, there is no reason to have clutches! Clutches only make sense if you want to disconnect one from drive or regen duty to generator duty. There is little to none to be gained by having a clutch between two drive motors when switching from powering one to two going from regular to sport mode. Using a clutch to engage the regen motor each time the driver slows slightly would involve a slight delay an a “bump” as the regen motor was brought up to speed.

    How do you have sport mode and CS at the same time without mechanical linkage or 3 motors?

    Could sport mode be just an overload condition where the motor would over heat after one minute? This would limit sports mode to acceleration not extended high speed or mountain climbing.


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    Dave K.

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (7:23 am)

    Roy H: How do you have sport mode and CS at the same time without mechanical linkage or 3 motors?

    My guess is the use of a centrifugal collar (or clamp) of some kind. This topic was mentioned and talked about here at gm volt dot com nearly a year ago. Seems there is a spindle driven by the 1.4L ICE which can be leached on by a collar/clamp/clutch system of some kind. This accounts for the “wide variety of combinations” mentioned a year ago.

    =D-Volt


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    Eco

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (9:51 am)

    Personally I don’t see a problem that the engine would give additional power to the wheels…as long as it does it at over 75 mph.

    I see the safety implications, it will extend the all-electric range after you come back down under 75, and I don’t believe 75 mph in the EPA drive cycle, though I might be wrong.

    It’s lamentable that it may be necessary, but overdrive was built into cars for a reason. Most people would never use it anyway.


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    Grouch

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (10:19 am)

    Tim:
    True, but I don’t give a rip if Toyota or Honda sink or swim.I want to see an American car manufacturer come out on top… plain and simple.To do that, I honestly believe that the electrification of the automobile is the future of the automotive industry, and I don’t want to see GM conduct its gas-guzzling business as usual.After all, that landed them in bankruptcy court only a year ago.  

    I just want the right car for my needs, I don’t really care where it comes from. If GM steps up to the plate, then wonderful. If they don’t, then someone else will get my money.

    My ability to travel safely, reliably, and with the minimum necessary environmental impact is too important to get caught up in flag-waving.

    After all, where does the oil that you burn in your American car come from? I’d rather burn less foreign oil in my Toyota than burn more in my American car. (That and the reliability, are why my American car sits while the Toyota is our daily driver.)


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    Darius

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    This “power fade” might future issue. There are very fast electrical engines which perfectly work for fast trains. I expect not gearbox but rather electric engine engineering via DC/AC solutions.


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    Tim

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (12:58 pm)

    Volt Owner: Buy you’re Leaf, I’ll wave to you as I’m crossing the country in my Volt.  (Quote)

    Great point! Seeing that I drive cross-country on a regular basis, I will now reconsider…
    Now, if you will excuse me, I need to leave Seattle for Chicago, then onto San Diego, followed by Miami, Albany, Phoenix, etc…


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (1:17 pm)

    I’m not gonna drive my Volt 100 mph anyway, that’s not what it’s for. If I want to go 100 mph, I’ll dust off one of the old Corvettes. Big deal. Next case.


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    RogerE333

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (2:20 pm)

    Funny how every pre-release “review” of the Volt/Ampera seems to get at least one major technical factor completely incorrect. For example how many have said, “Uses the gas engine to fully recharge the battery”?? You’d think they would run the article past GM’s people before publishing it.

    It must all be a cleverly run misinformation campaign, yeah that’s it (kidding).


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    Texas

     

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    Jun 28th, 2010 (10:25 pm)

    Don’t be surprised if they do put a mechanical link in a future version of Voltec.

    At highway speeds you can get much better efficiency, as many of us here have stated before, by cutting out the ICE-electricity-motor-mechanical transmission path and going directly from ICE-mechanical transmission.

    I have proposed a one-speed link specifically for highway driving that would increase fuel efficiency.

    Yes, it hurts the image of a pure electric car but lets face it, on the highway, the ICE is going to be running all the time. Why not simply engage a one-speed link and cut the fat?

    At low speeds it will be that perfect electric car. Since the Volt can then act just like a normal car after that, it’s far ahead of a pure EV anyway.

    Maybe a different drivetrain model name can be used so as not to spoil Voltec’s image.

    To me, it’s just a waste of efficiency not to engage a simple mechanical link at highway speeds. The cost would be minimal, especially for those that drive a lot on the highway.


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    Darius

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    Jun 29th, 2010 (2:00 am)

    Texas,

    I don’t like mechanical links because it will limit selection of range extender architecture. In case of mechanical link range extender will be not pure genset in classic terms and it will automatically lead to lower efficiency.


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    JilianneT@speed test

     

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    Jun 29th, 2010 (6:54 pm)

    That car is rather streamlined. You wouldn’t expect it to be a 4-door model at all. I love the streamlined body of 2 door cars, but have a need for 4-door due to the multitude of kids that are always riding with us.