Jul 30

Why the Volt Requires Premium Gasoline

 


[ad#post_ad]Earlier this week GM released the 2011 Chevrolet Volt ordering guide for dealers to use. Included in the description about the gasoline generator were the words “requires premium fuel.” This led to specualtion and surprise from fans and skeptics as to why in the world the car would require premium gas.

According to Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz, there are two main reasons.

“The Volt is all about efficiency,” he said. “Premium fuel offers the opportunity to have a little bit more spark.”

“Ninety one octane fuel also offers the opportunity to be a little more efficient, he added. “So technically its a five to ten percent fuel economy improvement the few times that most people will run the range extender.”

Posawatz also claimed the increase is cost will be offset by the efficiency gains.

“Based on our calculations the fuel economy and efficiency gains you get will effectively compensate for the extra cost of premium fuel,” he said

Additionally, premium fuel is apparently slower to go stale.

If people are not using the extended range capability a lot, the premium fuel does last a little longer,” he said

“There will be a few that will have their gas go bad,” he added. “We have ways to address that as well.”

The AAA Fuel Gauge Report shows the current national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.74. The national average for a gallon of premium gasoline is $3.01.

[ad#postbottom]

This entry was posted on Friday, July 30th, 2010 at 6:21 am and is filed under Efficiency, Fuel, Generator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 183


  1. 1
    Rashiid Amul

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:31 am)

    I wonder how the “shelf life” of E85 compares to Premium fuel.


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    Jim I

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:33 am)

    IMHO, for most people that will buy a Volt, this is a non issue. The whole idea is to cut down on the amount of gasoline used. In my personal situation, I will cut my gasoline consumption from 600 gallons per year to between 50 and 60 gallons per year, depending on that pesky CS mileage rating, that no one will tell us about. So we are talking about less that $20.00 per year extra for using premium fuel.

    With everything else that GM has done over the last few days, if $20.00 is the deal killer, then you really were never interested in this vehicle…………..


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    Jimza Skeptic

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:34 am)

    If you look at the VOLT as an opportunity to save money it will never make sense. If you are looking at it as technology to reduce the need for oil, it makes perfect sense.

    The next question is, do they see E85 as an option in the future. I know that E85 provides less mpg performance, but it helps reduce the need for normal gas.


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    Money Pit

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:34 am)

    GM is blowing smoke, its not 10% more efficient. Higher octane allows higher compression rations so you can get more HP from a given size engine, but its not more efficient at the actual burn rate of fuel to HP.


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    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:39 am)

    Just don’t understand why the Volt has to have a premium price too?

    Take Care, TED


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    BobS

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:45 am)

    Money Pit: GM is blowing smoke, its not 10% more efficient. Higher octane allows higher compression rations so you can get more HP from a given size engine, but its not more efficient at the actual burn rate of fuel to HP.  

    Agreed. My understanding is there are no more BTU’s in premium fuel, although that is a common misconception. I am surprised Tony is perpetuating that myth. For a high compression engine the higher octane is needed to prevent pre-combustion which does rob HP and causes engine knock. It works like this: a high compression engine block gets hotter, so hot that the air-fuel mix in the piston chamber will begin to ignite before the piston completes the compression phase of the stroke. While the piston is still moving up, compressing the air-fuel mixture, the fuel begins to ignite from the extreme heat. So it starts to expand fighting against the rising piston. The higher octane inhibits that early tendency to ignite until maximum pressure is reached and the spark plug fires.


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    Tagamet

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:51 am)

    Jim I: IMHO, for most people that will buy a Volt, this is a non issue.The whole idea is to cut down on the amount of gasoline used.In my personal situation, I will cut my gasoline consumption from 600 gallons per year to between 50 and 60 gallons per year, depending on that pesky CS mileage rating, that no one will tell us about.So we are talking about less that $20.00 per year extra for using premium fuel.With everything else that GM has done over the last few days, if $20.00 is the deal killer, then you really were never interested in this vehicle…………..  

    Agreed re the money issues being negligible, especially in light of what jimza says – it’s NOT all about the money.
    Does anyone know if E85 can be MADE at premium grade? I know that it’s less energy dense (fewer mpg) and that it will draw water (hydroscopic?) – and therefore might not be best in a “rarely used” situation. The solution may be as simple as a little Sea Foam in the tank, but since Gen I won’t accept E85, it’s a moot point for a while yet.
    Not a particularly high interest topic for Moi.

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    /left a couple of replies on the last thread.


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    Tom M

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:52 am)

    I just don’t see why this is such a big deal. Even at .25/gal more, unless you drive an extraordinary amount of miles it’s really not going to amount to much money at all. Unless you drive the car cross country, this is a non issue to me.

    But I forget how annoying it is to have to buy gasoline, I haven’t for about 14 months now: Here’s how the back of my MINI-E looks:
    2010-07-09+10.53.04.jpg


  9. 9
    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:58 am)

    Morining Tag. My next question for Lyle is he going to keep the site going until us, not without a limit on our automotive budget can afford a Volt. Please Lyle.

    Take Care, TED


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    JohnK

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:58 am)

    I think that I see a pattern here. Maybe E85 was out so that CS MPG would be higher. And now premium moves it from 50mpg to 55mpg???
    Just speculating.


  11. 11
    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:02 am)

    JohnK: I think that I see a pattern here. Maybe E85 was out so that CS MPG would be higher. And now premium moves it from 50mpg to 55mpg???Just speculating.  (Quote)

    I kinda thought you might be a dreamer John.

    Take Care,

    TED


  12. 12
    JohnK

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:02 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: Morining Tag. My next question for Lyle is he going to keep the site going until us, not without a limit on our budget can afford a Volt. Please Lyle.Take Care, TED  (Quote)

    I sure hope this site stays up for a few years, if not forever. The value should continue undiminished. And actually become more important to lift EV’s to the mainstream. The adventure has just barely begun.


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    Rooster

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:02 am)

    Lyle,

    If you can, ask what is the minimum octane rating that can be safely burned in the Volt.

    For example, Acura recommended premium fuel in my 05 Acura, but it could safely burn 87 Octane fuel…and yes, fuel economy did suffer…I always burned premium. That said, it could not burn 86 Octane fuel, as it would cause severe engine knocking. I had a co-worker who owned an MDX that was burning low Octane fuel and she bent an engine valve.


  14. 14
    JohnK

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:03 am)

    Say NASAMAN, I left you a PM (Personal Message) the other day about the possibility of some of us coming to watch the last shuttle launch.


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    JohnW (Tampa)

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:08 am)

    Jim I: depending on that pesky CS mileage rating, that no one will tell us about.

    33 Highway 45 City That’s my guess. I’m keeping the expectations low.


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    Tagamet

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:12 am)

    JohnK: I think that I see a pattern here.Maybe E85 was out so that CS MPG would be higher.And now premium moves it from 50mpg to 55mpg???
    Just speculating.  

    If that were the case, I’d speculate that if GM wasn’t already shouting it from the rooftops, they would have leaked the information. Certainly, they wouldn’t be saying “You wont hear it from us”. JMO.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    JeremyK

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:16 am)

    Premium fuel will allow more spark advance, higher compression ratio, or both. Either way, available torque at a given rpm will be increased. This makes sense, since the ICE will potentially see high loads at mid-rpms. Knock or and/or pre-ignition is not as much of a problem at high rpm.

    Perhaps in an effort to decrease NVH, the wanted to run the engine at lower rpm (which means they would need the same torque, but at a lower rpm…requiring higher octane fuel).


  18. 18
    Rashiid Amul

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:18 am)

    Tom M: I just don’t see why this is such a big deal. Even at .25/gal more, unless you drive an extraordinary amount of miles it’s really not going to amount to much money at all. Unless you drive the car cross country, this is a non issue to me.But I forget how annoying it is to have to buy gasoline, I haven’t for about 14 months now: Here’s how the back of my MINI-E looks:
      

    I love the sticker in the window.
    It would make a great T-Shirt.


  19. 19
    Neromancer

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:20 am)

    Actually premium gasoline will allow a higher compression ratio and will increase thermodynamic efficiency. It’s one of the reasons diesels are more efficient than gasoline engines due to the higher compression ratio’s.

    Premium fuel is actually dirtier than regular (and has slightly less energy but more than offset by the higher compression ratio). There are more stuff added to get the high octane. But the stuff added with increase the shelf life of the gas slightly.

    GM has the technology (thanks to SAAB) to run high compression engines on regular. But you will suffer a fuel economy and power hit. In a regular car it’s not much of an issue (you just go slower). But in the Volt it might play with the generator set point mapping as the genset will now generate a different power curve on regular which MAY (might not) create some issues in charge sustain mode.


  20. 20
    JohnW (Tampa)

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:21 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: Tag. My next question for Lyle is he going to keep the site going

    In case Lyle doesn’t answer I’ll take a guess.

    I think Lyle is passionate about our world transforming from Gas to Electric.
    Until electrics are completely accepted and everyone knows they can be a reliable alternative to what we currently have he will keep this site up to inform those with questions. I can see the site growing as hundreds of thousands of people are actually driving these cars.

    Just my guess.


  21. 21
    firehawk72

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:26 am)

    Rooster: Lyle,If you can, ask what is the minimum octane rating that can be safely burned in the Volt. For example, Acura recommended premium fuel in my 05 Acura, but it could safely burn 87 Octane fuel…and yes, fuel economy did suffer…I always burned premium. That said, it could not burn 86 Octane fuel, as it would cause severe engine knocking. I had a co-worker who owned an MDX that was burning low Octane fuel and she bent an engine valve.  (Quote)

    The general rule is this…If the owners manual states “Premium fuel required” you better use it. If it states “Premium fuel recommended” then you can use whatever grade you want. And generally speaking, you will only lose a few horsepower if you run a lower grade gas than what is recommended. Most people would never notice the difference. Notice the Volt did say required, so that is the only fuel you better use.

    Hawk


  22. 22
    ronr64

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:27 am)

    BobS: Agreed. My understanding is there are no more BTU’s in premium fuel, although that is a common misconception. I am surprised Tony is perpetuating that myth. For a high compression engine the higher octane is needed to prevent pre-combustion which does rob HP and causes engine knock. It works like this: a high compression engine block gets hotter, so hot that the air-fuel mix in the piston chamber will begin to ignite before the piston completes the compression phase of the stroke. While the piston is still moving up, compressing the air-fuel mixture, the fuel begins to ignite from the extreme heat. So it starts to expand fighting against the rising piston. The higher octane inhibits that early tendency to ignite until maximum pressure is reached and the spark plug fires.  (Quote)

    I believe you are wrong, regarding premium being less efficient. Any ICE engine no matter what fuel it burns converts a surprisingly small amount of the total potential energy of the fuel into kinetic energy of the vehicle. But with any fuel as you increase compression the % of energy that can be harnessed goes up. This will be true right up to the point where you destroy the engine because of predetonation. Just putting premium into an engine that is not engineered to take advantage of it will do absolutely nothing. However design the engine to take advantage of it and you will have a more powerful engine with better efficiency. Usually that equates to having an even higher power engine then is needed (says who!) and higher acceleration and reduced gas mileage which is why your intuition tell you that premium fueled engines are less efficient. But in the case of a vehicle like the Volt where engine power and car power are not directly related you will see an increase in efficiency. As much as claimed in this interview? I have no idea.


  23. 23
    Nick D

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:29 am)

    Rashiid Amul: I wonder how the “shelf life” of E85 compares to Premium fuel.  (Quote)

    I have read that E-85 shelf life is shorter than Gasoline, but I dont remember where i read that nor do i have a source. I read that 2-3 years ago.

    Money Pit: GM is blowing smoke, its not 10% more efficient. Higher octane allows higher compression rations so you can get more HP from a given size engine, but its not more efficient at the actual burn rate of fuel to HP.  (Quote)

    This is so they can mess with engine timing while using the higher octane rating to resist knocking, you could probably get away with regular gas plus an octane additive in this situation.

    Tagamet: Does anyone know if E85 can be MADE at premium grade? /left a couple of replies on the last thread.  (Quote)

    E-85 already has a higher octane than premium if that is what you are referring to, I had an S10 which i used E-85 and it ran much smoother and much cleaner. My exhaust had less odor too.


  24. 24
    Money Pit

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:31 am)

    Wow, already getting negatives for tell the truth?

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

    Premium fuel is actually slightly lower in btus than regular, AV gas, which is 110 Octane has 4% less btus than regular

    Diesel, is the highest, about 9% more then regular, so GM is claiming premium is greater than Diesel fuel in energy content

    This is simple science and yet again, GM for what ever reason is just trying to “spin” the decision to uses premium fuel


  25. 25
    lh_newbie

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:31 am)

    “Additionally, premium fuel is apparently slower to go stale.”

    When I read that premium fuel was required, this was the very first thought that came to my mind. There’s a good chance the fuel could be sloshing around in the tank for months between refills, so fuel stability is certainly a concern.

    Brian


  26. 26
    Tagamet

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:32 am)

    JohnW (Tampa):
    In case Lyle doesn’t answer I’ll take a guess.I think Lyle is passionate about our world transforming from Gas to Electric.
    Until electrics are completely accepted and everyone knows they can be a reliable alternative to what we currently have he will keep this site up to inform those with questions.I can see the site growing as hundreds of thousands of people are actually driving these cars.Just my guess.  

    I do know that Lyle has given a lot of thought to the future of the site. To me it seems best that he plots a course, and let’s *us* know. JMO. Maybe he’ll come up with some options that fit his goals and will post a poll. Or thread. Or something. Probably pretty early just yet.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


  27. 27
    Guy Incognito

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:33 am)

    The Volt’s internal combustion range extender engine will run fine on 87 Octane (regular).
    Use gasoline stabilizer if stale gas is an issue.


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    Van

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:35 am)

    I do not know about all cars, but the cars I have owned do get better highway mileage on the second and subsequent tanks of premium fuel. But the gain is nullified by the additional cost. And I have no idea whether premium gas has a longer shelf life, but by requiring premium fuel, a higher mileage number can be advertised. So for those that see the mileage number but not the higher fuel cost, they are without a clue.


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    Gsned57

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:39 am)

    Tom M: I just don’t see why this is such a big deal. Even at .25/gal more, unless you drive an extraordinary amount of miles it’s really not going to amount to much money at all. Unless you drive the car cross country, this is a non issue to me.But I forget how annoying it is to have to buy gasoline, I haven’t for about 14 months now: Here’s how the back of my MINI-E looks:
      

    Tom that plate is awesome and the bumper sticker is perfect when I finally start driving electric that’s the first thing I need to go out and find


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    ronr64

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:44 am)

    Money Pit: Wow, already getting negatives for tell the truth?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiencyPremium fuel is actually slightly lower in btus than regular, AV gas, which is 110 Octane has 4% less btus than regularDiesel, is the highest, about 9% more then regular, so GM is claiming premium is greater than Diesel fuel in energy contentThis is simple science and yet again, GM for what ever reason is just trying to “spin” the decision to uses premium fuel  (Quote)

    If I had a choice of a fuel that had 1/2 the BTU’s of gasoline but the engine would convert 100% of that energy to kinetic (motion) energy then that is the fuel I would choose. You are arguing the wrong thing. Who cares what the potential or for that matter the efficiency of a fuel is? It is the amount of kinetic energy I can get per $ of fuel that will result in the most economical choice. I don’t know the facts to argue that GM is correct in that Premium will offer enough increased efficiency to offset the extra cost. But it is a fact that Premium will offer the ability to design a higher compression engine. For a GIVEN ENGINE SIZE this will mean increased power it will also mean an increase in the % of power converted into motion. If this is used to decrease engine size it would mean an increase in MPG. If it is used to have more additional power available to accelerate the vehicle it will result in decreased MPG. In the case of the Volt since ICE power has nothing to do with vehicle performance (other than whether it can keep up on long uphill grades) it will result in increased MPG. While this is all true we still have no specifics so once again we cannot judge the GM statement.


  31. 31
    BillR

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:52 am)

    This leads me to wonder what they are using for a compression ratio in the engine.

    The 3.6L V6 engine with direct injection runs an 11.3 to 1 compression ratio. It is spec’d with 87 octane gasoline.

    Maybe the Volt’s engine has a high compression ratio but without direct injection.

    Then again, maybe they’re using HCCI.

    http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2009/May/0520_HCCITechnology

    I’m taking over the optimist role from Tag, and have predicted 58 mpg CS mode in the forum poll. Here’s my speculation on the ICE,

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4319


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    bookdabook

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:52 am)

    OK $0.25 more per gallon is neat to talk about but did you guys see the colors?

    Viridian Joule Tricoat!

    I mean is that marketing genius or what!? Not being a wordsmith I had to google viridian since the pdf photo was not so good. It may actually be a good color, blue-green … going with the green theme. I may choose it.


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    Xiaowei1

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:59 am)

    From the posted article: “Based on our calculations the fuel economy and efficiency gains you get will effectively compensate for the extra cost of premium fuel,”

    Whilst I dont really beleive the comment so readily, I would like to ask:
    1) Is that at today’s prices?
    2) Shouldn’t an E85 engine also be able to use Premium too (and everything in-between)? Then wouldn’t it be best to leave this decision up to the consumer?


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    Mark Z

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:02 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: Morining Tag.My next question for Lyle is he going to keep the site going until us, not without a limit on our automotive budget can afford a Volt. Please Lyle.Take Care, TED  

    The site will be an invaluable source of operational data once the VOLT wheels hit the road. While GM may have their own owners site, Lyle, Statik and others will provide daily topics about the operation of the VOLT and what should be included in future VOLT generations for years to come.


  35. 35
    carcus3

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:03 am)

    If it turns out they are running normal compression (i.e. 9:1 or less) than I think this would be the time to call in — “Houston, we have a problem.”

    And the problem would be detonation.

    They’ve got a LOT of things stuffed under that hood, not to mention the grill is closed off somewhat for aero. If generator efficiency losses are high (the hotter things get, the worse they will be), then they may be putting a lot of strain on the 1.4 under some circumstances. High engine loads plus inadequate cooling will result in detonation. One way to control the problem (and return some efficiency — correct spark advance) would be to run premium fuel.

    If high heat and detonation control turns out to be the real reason for premium, then I think you have to step back and consider a whole realm of other problems that may be baking under the hood.

    Purely an anecdotal to my “high heat” hypothesis, but on the web chat thingy when one of the Tonys was explaining the premium fuel, he did use the word “knock”. I thought this a bit odd to even bring “knock” into the hawking. If they were running a high compression engine for better efficiency, seems like you’d just say it — really this should be a selling point — an upgrade.

    /I don’t quite buy the higher octane retains less water argument because, well …. I don’t think it holds water (ha). Maybe a small amount of truth in that, but not enough to ‘require’ premium fuel.

    http://www.misterfixit.com/deton.htm
    (a nice little write-up on detonation and pre-ignition)

    //Hopefully my post doesn’t have too much “ranker” for anyone. If it does, you can drop your eye covering salute and go back into parade rest. Sorry.


  36. 36
    Lyle

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:03 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: My next question for Lyle is he going to keep the site going until us, not without a limit on our automotive budget can afford a Volt. Please Lyle.Take Care, TED  

    There are no plans in sight to end this site. Long live the Volt!


  37. 37
    joe

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:05 am)

    Higher compression means more HP. More HP means more efficiency.

    The Volt engine will work at full load whenever it’s runs. On the highway at cruising speeds, a typical engine only needs about 35HP to keep it’s momentum going making a large engine inefficient. That’s where the Volt will shines. Working at maximum load, the excess electricity it will produce, if any, will go to the battery making it very efficient.


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    kdawg

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:08 am)

    If we are going to debate about the cost of the few gallons of premium fuel used, you might as well throw in the cost of the stabilizer too. 60 cents/oz and 1 oz to 2.5 gallons of fuel = another 24cents/gallon of fuel.


  39. 39
    Tom M

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:14 am)

    Lyle:
    There are no plans in sight to end this site.Long live the Volt!  

    Thanks for clearing that up Lyle. I would have been shocked it that weren’t the case. In fact, I think the site will be even more popular once there are Volts on the road.

    There aren’t that many people like us here that will spend so much time talking about a car that they don’t own or isn’t even available yet. Once there are volts on the road this will become THE place for volt owners to communicate, share stories and ask questions about the car.

    Then, the rest of us will get to know the car intimately before we even get the chance to buy one. We will know everything there is to know about the car and be able to make an informed decision on whether or get one.


  40. 40
    Lee Anderson

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:15 am)

    Jeremy is correct. Higher compression increses hp/torque and volumetric efficiency. Reference one article at:
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-459723.htm (Premium gas gives 7hp and 13lb ft torque increase. Test vehicle was a 2.4 liter gas Jetta)

    The L4 in the Volt will be set up different then we are used to in a conventional drive train. Maximum torque on the L4 will be around 90-100 Lbs/ft. at around 3,500 RPM. The engine can run slower for light loads and provides lower torque. At maximum torque the throttle postion can vary based on loads of generator. The generator will provide maximum RPM (output) at the L4′s max torque. The L4 won’t rev in the 6,000 rpm range–no need to and it would be way off torque curve. 3,500 will seem noisy and high but its really not compared to what we are used to. At the point of maximum generator load, to avoid pre-detonation at the higher compression, premium fuel is required. This design will be more efficient with premium. If regular fuel were used knock sensor would more frequently activate, decreasing timing advance and adding fuel. Result–power loss and higher fuel consumption.


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    KUD

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:18 am)

    IMHO Premium gas is not a deal breaker. But how to come up with 41K might be. I still haven’t returned the Dealers call. Still running the #’s


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:26 am)

    bookdabook: OK $0.25 more per gallon is neat to talk about but did you guys see the colors?
    Viridian Joule Tricoat!
    I mean is that marketing genius or what!? Not being a wordsmith I had to google viridian since the pdf photo was not so good. It may actually be a good color, blue-green … going with the green theme. I may choose it.

    This is where that color came from.
    http://gm-volt.com/2009/10/22/gm-announces-chevy-volt-paint-colors-and-contest-to-name-the-signature-hue-and-win-a-test-drive/


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:29 am)

    My mom’s 2003 Nissan Maxima is “Premium-Only” minimum octane 91. She’s been putting only regular unleaded since she bought it new and its yet to need a single repair (wish I could say that about my 2000 Saturn). I’ve seen LS1 engine with VVT dyno’d on regular vs premium, premium only gives it slightly less than 10% hp increase.

    E-85, although it has less energy density, has a pretty high equivalent octane rating. Pagani was saying their engines have higher hp output on E-85 than even on 100-octane gas. You’ll run empty pretty fast though.


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    WK4P

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:43 am)

    The problem with the premium fuel requirement is illustrated by the fact that this thread exists. The premium requirement will turn many off, and will thus limit the Volt’s appeal. It will be another negative for naysayers to point to. Why GM would want to unnecessarily create this issue is beyond me. Design the engine to run on regular and it’s a non-issue.

    I understand the Volt generator to essentially be a naturally-aspirated Cruze engine. Does this mean the Cruze will also require premium fuel?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:43 am)

    “There will be a few that will have their gas go bad,” he added. “We have ways to address that as well.

    So, are they going to install some type of bleeder valve, to allow you to drain your tank, should it go stale? GM has said in the past they they would have the engine run occasionally, but I believe that was more for the lubrication issue.

    Hope they do not make to easy, since I could see people stealing gas from Volts, if it is to easy.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:44 am)

    JohnK: I think that I see a pattern here. Maybe E85 was out so that CS MPG would be higher. And now premium moves it from 50mpg to 55mpg???

    I was thinking along the same lines but more like it moved the MPG from 30 to 33.3. E85 was a different issue.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:45 am)

    Tom M: But I forget how annoying it is to have to buy gasoline, I haven’t for about 14 months now: Here’s how the back of my MINI-E looks: (image clipped)

    That totally rocks. I particularly like the one in the window.

    Ron C


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:49 am)

    JohnK, post #14: Say NASAMAN, I left you a PM (Personal Message) the other day about the possibility of some of us coming to watch the last shuttle launch.  

    OT: Sorry John, I don’t often check my PM’s here. Since anyone else interested in seeing the shuttle launch is more likely to see this post, I’ll reply here…

    For up-to-date launch schedules, go to: http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html

    For excellent places to view launches from, go to: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/view/view_shuttle.html —I suggest any of the Titusville locations such as Marina Park or Manzo Park.

    PS: If you’ve never taken the KSC tour, I strongly recommend it. Go the day before the launch (or stay a day longer), to the Visitor Center from the KSC main entrance off of I-95 or US 1. Also, don’t buy passes to watch the launch from inside KSC —you won’t see it any better and the exiting traffic is horrific (many TV stations actually shoot the launches from along the long Titusville river frontage).


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    Rooster

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:49 am)

    Even with the Premium fuel requirement, you’re only talking a $2.40 price difference on a 8 gallon fill up (8 gallons X $0.30/gallon), and most people probably will not consume a tank a month. Keep in mind even if you drive 60 miles/day, you’re equivalent MPG will be in the neighborhood of 150 MPG and you can drive for 20 days without having to refuel. (150 MPG x 8 gal = 1200 miles; 1200 miles / 60 miles/day = 20 days) So keep it in perspective, that’s the cost of one Starbucks coffee every month.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:49 am)

    Arguing BTUs/gallon is irrelevant. You cannot assume that the efficiency of converting that potential into real power is a constant. This gas engine is going to be run very differently than a direct drive ICE vehicle. I’ll give the engineers that have actual experience on their vehicle the benefit of the doubt until I see real world numbers that dispute their claims.

    Keep in mind that the higher the octane, the slower the fuel burns. This means that torque is applied over a greater number of degrees of crankshaft rotation. This is exactly what a generator needs to be efficient. Diesel burns much slower, which is why a diesel engine has so much torque and cannot rev that high and are really the best ICE type at being a generator. The fact that diesel has more BTUs/gallon is good, too, but not the only reason a diesel engine is more efficient as a generator.

    Brian


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:54 am)

    Money Pit: Additionally, premium fuel is apparently slower to go stale

    Not quite true. A higher compression ratio leads to a higher efficiency in conversion of heat to mechanical energy.

    It’s still true that f your engine runs on regular, however, there’s no advantage to premium.

    I also heard Tony Posawatz say that the shelf life of premium was better.

    That’s BS.

    The fuel economy with a normal compression engine must have been awful or GM wouldn’t be so desperate as to switch to a higher compression engine that requires premium. And 5 to 10% better than “awful” is not going to be “great.”


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:56 am)

    Rooster: Even with the Premium fuel requirement, you’re only talking a $2.40 price difference on a 8 gallon fill up (8 gallons X $0.30/gallon), and most people probably will not consume a tank a month.Keep in mind even if you drive 60 miles/day, you’re equivalent MPG will be in the neighborhood of 150 MPG and you can drive for 60 days without having to refuel.(150 MPG x 8 gal = 1200 miles; 1200 miles / 60 miles/day = 20 days) So keep it in perspective, that’s the cost of one Starbucks coffee every month.  

    Rooster,

    I totally agree. The premium issue is a non-issue. There are plenty of real issue about the Volt that are important. spending a couple more bucks a month on gas should not even be on the radar.

    If you can afford a $41,000 + tax + dealer markup + lic – 7500 car, then this issue is just simply not an issue.

    Lets move on folks, to something more “meaty”, like that rascally generator that the Volt is using. I still find little to no information on this very critical part of an EREV.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:56 am)

    carcus3: If generator efficiency losses are high (the hotter things get, the worse they will be), then they may be putting a lot of strain on the 1.4 under some circumstances. High engine loads plus inadequate cooling will result in detonation. One way to control the problem (and return some efficiency — correct spark advance) would be to run premium fuel.

    You are wrong on this point. An ICE is more efficient if it runs hotter. However I agree with the rest. GM engineers are not idiots. They will not have inadequate cooling. Premium gas allows them to use higher compression and run hotter.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:57 am)

    David: My mom’s 2003 Nissan Maxima is “Premium-Only” minimum octane 91.She’s been putting only regular unleaded since she bought it new and its yet to need a single repair (wish I could say that about my 2000 Saturn).I’ve seen LS1 engine with VVT dyno’d on regular vs premium, premium only gives it slightly less than 10% hp increase.E-85, although it has less energy density, has a pretty high equivalent octane rating.Pagani was saying their engines have higher hp output on E-85 than even on 100-octane gas.You’ll run empty pretty fast though.  

    ===========================

    I think a lot of that would depend upon how your mom drives. If she is gentle on the vehicle, you are right, there should be no problems.

    But if she drives like she is at the Daytona 500, the engine might tell her it is not happy…..


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:58 am)

    People! People!… Let’s remember you can drive the VOLT when the ‘gas tank’ is EMPTY! It is an ELECTRIC CAR!

    I think it is more important to educate the masses how ‘little’ gasoline you would use on a typical day, BUT, you can go 340 miles non-stop if you want to. That’s why yesterday’s topic is more relevant.

    I finished a table late last night:

    VOLT_gas_usage.jpg


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    doggydogworld

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:58 am)

    Lee Anderson: Higher compression increses hp/torque and volumetric efficiency. Reference one article at:
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-459723.htm (Premium gas gives 7hp and 13lb ft torque increase. Test vehicle was a 2.4 liter gas Jetta)

    Higher power does not mean higher mpg and ‘volumetric efficiency’ has nothing to do with fuel efficiency (in fact, higher volumetric efficiency means you suck in more fuel and air per stroke). It’s quite common for techniques which deliver higher power and volumetric efficiency to actually reduce fuel economy.

    GM isn’t making a hot rod, so they probably didn’t go that direction. Higher compression ratio can deliver slightly higher thermodynamic efficiency, which is what they’re really after. I think Posawatz is blowing smoke about a 10% gain, but it might deliver an extra 2-3 mpg in CS mode.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:59 am)

    joe: Higher compression means more HP. More HP means more efficiency.The Volt engine will work at full load whenever it’s runs. On the highway at cruising speeds, a typical engine only needs about 35HP to keep it’s momentum going making a large engine inefficient. That’s where the Volt will shines. Working at maximum load, the excess electricity it will produce, if any, will go to the battery making it very efficient.  

    +1

    I am amazed at how many people don’t get this point.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (8:59 am)

    ronr64:
    I believe you are wrong, regarding premium being less efficient.Any ICE engine no matter what fuel it burns converts a surprisingly small amount of the total potential energy of the fuel into kinetic energy of the vehicle. But with any fuel as you increase compression the % of energy that can be harnessed goes up.This will be true right up to the point where you destroy the engine because of predetonation.Just putting premium into an engine that is not engineered to take advantage of it will do absolutely nothing.However design the engine to take advantage of it and you will have a more powerful engine with better efficiency.Usually that equates to having an even higher power engine then is needed (says who!) and higher acceleration and reduced gas mileage which is why your intuition tell you that premium fueled engines are less efficient.But in the case of a vehicle like the Volt where engine power and car power are not directly related you will see an increase in efficiency.As much as claimed in this interview?I have no idea.  

    Absolutely correct. Now we just need to find out if the compression of the Volt engine will take advantage of the high octane fuel or not. A low compression engine will not see any power benefit switching to a higher octane fuel. The general misconception I was referring to is “octane = power”.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:00 am)

    Oh, bring on the hate!! GM might as well put on “Sunoco 110 octane race fuel REQUIRED”! People WON’T use 91 octane, just like the Northstar has the same line of B.S…. Is it high compression? No, not really… Is it High Horsepower, more than 250HP? No, it’s not.. 91 Octane ages just like 85-87 octane, that’s why I popped off, and said 110 octane. 110 is hotter, and as long it doesn’t see a lot of oxygen, it will have a long shelf life, but here is $6.00/gallon…

    Or this is a ploy to mak OPEC happy, either way, it’s a crock..


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Charlie H:
    Not quite true.A higher compression ratio leads to a higher efficiency in conversion of heat to mechanical energy.It’s still true that f your engine runs on regular, however, there’s no advantage to premium.—I also heard Tony Posawatz say that the shelf life of premium was better.That’s BS.—The fuel economy with a normal compression engine must have been awful or GM wouldn’t be so desperate as to switch to a higher compression engine that requires premium.And 5 to 10% better than “awful” is not going to be “great.”  

    That is kind of how I read this.

    In the past I ran a napkin estimate of the Volt CS mode mpg, based on energy useage of a 20HP generator, which has approximately the required average power, to propel the Volt at hwy cruising speed indefinitely (assumed 250 W/mile useage). I think it came to about 34-36 mpg, which seems about reasonable, but I am now thinking it may be more close to the low 30′s mpg, after all these new announcements (and lack of) from GM.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Lyle:
    There are no plans in sight to end this site.Long live the Volt!  

    ===========================

    Lyle Is Still Alive!!!!

    Good to see you post here like one of the gang now and then, bud!

    So are you going to buy or lease your Volt????

    Or did you work a justifiable deal with GM to get one for free for your efforts???

    Curious minds want to know!!!

    :-)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:04 am)

    carcus3: They’ve got a LOT of things stuffed under that hood, not to mention the grill is closed off somewhat for aero.

    Yeah, they should have put this stuff on a trailer. Solves a lot of problems. Plus the 500 cc engine will run on regular gas. (It’s completely dorky and has no appeal at all but as a practical matter a 100+ mile Volt EV with this option would be more useful than a Volt EV with a 40 mile range and a gas engine that needs care and feeding).

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

    A $41K MSRP plus MPG in the low 30s plus a very short 40 mile EV range plus now premium gas seems more like a vehicle destined for Nicheville than it does a winning combination. Not exactly the technological tour de force many were hoping for.


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:05 am)

    Roy H: You are wrong on this point. An ICE is more efficient if it runs hotter.

    Is that the reason a fuel dragster has no radiator? I’ve wondered about that since I was a kid.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:06 am)

    CorvetteGuy: People! People!… Let’s remember you can drive the VOLT when the ‘gas tank’ is EMPTY! It is an ELECTRIC CAR!I think it is more important to educate the masses how ‘little’ gasoline you would use on a typical day, BUT, you can go 340 miles non-stop if you want to. That’s why yesterday’s topic is more relevant.I finished a table late last night:  

    I am not sure that is completely true.

    What happens if your tank is empty, and you have a full charge on the battery, but it is -15 F, and your not plugged in. Will the car actually run, or will it say “Sorry, we need to condition the battery by running the ICE, but your currently out of gas…Thank you…have a nice day!”

    You would hope that it would still go, or that you could over ride this, but we still do not know some of these more “minor” technical details. At least I don’t.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:07 am)

    David: E-85, although it has less energy density, has a pretty high equivalent octane rating. Pagani was saying their engines have higher hp output on E-85 than even on 100-octane gas. You’ll run empty pretty fast though.  

    Self contradicting statement. Highly unlikely that the engine has higher hp on E-85. If that statement was true then your gas tank full would take you farther.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:09 am)

    I did some research on electric generators and found out something very interesting almost all manufactures tune the gas generators to run on 87 octane fuel and call for 91 to 93 octane . Why because octane is lost with time so when you actually use the fuel the octane is in the usable range. If however you find you use up the fuel with in a month or so 87 will work fine. (CAUTION this is for gas engine generators your volt may be different.)
    Tom


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:10 am)

    Lyle:
    There are no plans in sight to end this site.Long live the Volt!  

    Any thoughts yet on my suggestion that you move into a ‘magazine’ publication? With the new iPad making color magazine publications purely electronic, it should be an easy move… Can I be on the graphics team?!!!

    Cover1small.jpg


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:11 am)

    So it takes premium fuel. Might as well be AVGAS. Anyone willing to spend $41k on this car wont care. Here is an article that sums it up pretty well: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/opinion/30neidermeyer.html?ref=opinion


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:13 am)

    Jim I:
    ===========================Lyle Is Still Alive!!!!Good to see you post here like one of the gang now and then, bud!So are you going to buy or lease your Volt????Or did you work a justifiable deal with GM to get one for free for your efforts???Curious minds want to know!!!   

    Of course I’m alive Jim..who do you think writes these articles everyday :)

    Though I may not write as many, I always read (and learn from) all the comments.

    As it stands I have put myself #1 on my local Chevy dealers list, who isn’t ordering yet. What will work out, I do not know.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:13 am)

    Roy H: You are wrong on this point. An ICE is more efficient if it runs hotter.

    I was speaking of generator efficiency losses. The hotter the generator is, the greater the efficiency losses . . . thus requiring more more power from the ICE to make up the difference so the genset can maintain the same power out.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:13 am)

    WK4P: The problem with the premium fuel requirement is illustrated by the fact that this thread exists.The premium requirement will turn many off, and will thus limit the Volt’s appeal.It will be another negative for naysayers to point to.Why GM would want to unnecessarily create this issue is beyond me.Design the engine to run on regular and it’s a non-issue.I understand the Volt generator to essentially be a naturally-aspirated Cruze engine.Does this mean the Cruze will also require premium fuel?  

    Yes curious that GM would not take the easy route and stay with regular gas. Now GM has another point that they have to educate the buyer on explaining why premium is better. Just because the Volt engine is based on the same engine as the Cruze does not mean it is identical. In fact we know it is not. You cannot reverse this and draw conclusions about Cruze requirements.

    GM’s primary point is that premium fuel, in an engine designed for it (higher compression) is more efficient. If your goal is to reduce dependency on middle east oil, then you will agree with this decision.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:14 am)

    Higher compression ratios make more power AND are more efficient.

    That’s all true, but if you take the AAA fuel prices in the story, premium is 10% higher so 10% efficiency gain makes you break even. Higher compression and more spark would help with E85 performance over an engine that had to run regular.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:14 am)

    Money Pit: GM is blowing smoke, its not 10% more efficient. Higher octane allows higher compression rations so you can get more HP from a given size engine, but its not more efficient at the actual burn rate of fuel to HP.  (Quote)

    One man’s smoke is another man’s fire… You are right, only a gear head would understand that he means more horsepower. His comment about more spark is a veiled reference to more HP. He had his Marketing/Sales hat on. While he did not lie, most people would believe it meant 10% better mpg.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:15 am)

    CorvetteGuy: I think it is more important to educate the masses how ‘little’ gasoline you would use on a typical day, BUT, you can go 340 miles non-stop if you want to. That’s why yesterday’s topic is more relevant.

    I’m thinking “the masses” will conclude that your chart shows they’ll use less gas with an EV with a 100 mile range and that $11K can buy you hundreds of days in a larger more comfortable rental car that will get the same or better MPG and which won’t depreciate their car by putting miles on it.

    Just sayin.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:25 am)

    Lyle: As it stands I have put myself #1 on my local Chevy dealers list, who isn’t ordering yet. What will work out, I do not know.

    GM reads this blog too…

    Note to GM, find this local chevy dealer and make sure Lyle is taken care of. He should get one of the first 10 cars and it should be perfect…..


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:26 am)

    CorvetteGuy: People! People!… Let’s remember you can drive the VOLT when the ‘gas tank’ is EMPTY! It is an ELECTRIC CAR!I think it is more important to educate the masses how ‘little’ gasoline you would use on a typical day, BUT, you can go 340 miles non-stop if you want to. That’s why yesterday’s topic is more relevant.I finished a table late last night:  

    From the previous thread.

    Great job corvetteguy.#55
    To satisfy everyone you could have repeated your chart display with 45 mpg charge sustaining mode as a second scenario since we do not have the real number.


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    Steve

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:27 am)

    Lee Anderson: Jeremy is correct. Higher compression increses hp/torque and volumetric efficiency. Reference one article at:http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-459723.htm (Premium gas gives 7hp and 13lb ft torque increase. Test vehicle was a 2.4 liter gas Jetta)The L4 in the Volt will be set up different then we are used to in a conventional drive train. Maximum torque on the L4 will be around 90-100 Lbs/ft. at around 3,500 RPM. The engine can run slower for light loads and provides lower torque. At maximum torque the throttle postion can vary based on loads of generator. The generator will provide maximum RPM (output) at the L4’s max torque. The L4 won’t rev in the 6,000 rpm range–no need to and it would be way off torque curve. 3,500 will seem noisy and high but its really not compared to what we are used to. At the point of maximum generator load, to avoid pre-detonation at the higher compression, premium fuel is required. This design will be more efficient with premium. If regular fuel were used knock sensor would more frequently activate, decreasing timing advance and adding fuel. Result–power loss and higher fuel consumption.  (Quote)

    That’s thermal efficiency not volumetric. Volumetric efficiency is cylinder filling efficiency, determined by intake and exhaust design and valve timing and lift.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:31 am)

    CorvetteGuy: People! People!… Let’s remember you can drive the VOLT when the ‘gas tank’ is EMPTY! It is an ELECTRIC CAR!
    I think it is more important to educate the masses how ‘little’ gasoline you would use on a typical day, BUT, you can go 340 miles non-stop if you want to. That’s why yesterday’s topic is more relevant.
    I finished a table late last night:

    So you went with 34MPG in CS mode… just your hunch? I am guessing upper 30′s to maaaaybe 40. Nice chart btw.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:40 am)

    DonC:
    I’m thinking “the masses” will conclude that your chart shows they’ll use less gas with an EV with a 100 mile range and that $11K can buy you hundreds of days in a larger rental car that will get the same or better MPG and which won’t depreciate their car by putting miles on it.
    Just sayin.  

    I know for a fact that 99.99% of the ‘masses’ that come in to our dealership are going to say the exact same thing… give me a dirty look… and leave thinking we are idiots for making an electric car for over $40,000.

    Again, they need to be educated because ‘price alone’ is NOT the point of a VOLT. (Please, God… Tell me the GM Marketing guys are reading this!)

    The VOLT is NOT an ‘economy car’ in the classic sense of Low, Low Price and High MPG’s. Now that the VOLT is about 120 days away, the education of these people needs to begin NOW. What has to be stressed is that the VOLT is “a high-technology sport-sedan that just happens to run on electricity”… “with the performance of similarly-priced small import cars…” (I hope) —

    For the most part, all the public has heard about is the Nissan LEAF, which they are making it ‘look like’ an economy car and are not highlighting it’s price. With the VOLT, that’s all we are hearing about is the price… NOT what is does… NOT what makes it different… NOT how it performs… NOT how it compares to a conventional car of the same size from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Fisker, Tesla, Toyota, etc… NOT what makes it BETTER…!!!

    Listen up, General… It is going to take a lot more than 120 days to get this through to people and since I can’t do all of the training by myself, it would be nice to see a few commercials on TV, and how about giving a production model to Road and Track, Car and Driver, MotorTrend, (and 1 to me) so we can start writing about it!!! Screw the actual MPG figure! Without educating everyone why that does NOT matter, it’s going to be a much harder sell for us guys in the trenches.


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    kdawg

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:40 am)

    DonC: I’m thinking “the masses” will conclude that your chart shows they’ll use less gas with an EV with a 100 mile range

    Make that 100 – 47 mile range. Thus the problem with pure EV’s.


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    nuclearboy

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:43 am)

    Roy H: You are wrong on this point. An ICE is more efficient if it runs hotter. However I agree with the rest. GM engineers are not idiots. They will not have inadequate cooling. Premium gas allows them to use higher compression and run hotter.

    There has been news lately that GM is reducing the cooling flows (I think mainly the oil pump flows) to increase temperatures in the Cruze engine when it is not running hard. This higher temperature is used to increase the efficiency of the engine and to obtain higher mpg ratings.


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    nasaman

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:44 am)

    nuclearboy, post #75: Lyle (quote): As it stands I have put myself #1 on my local Chevy dealers list, who isn’t ordering yet. What will work out, I do not know.

    GM reads this blog too…

    Note to GM, find this local chevy dealer and make sure Lyle is taken care of. He should get one of the first 10 cars and it should be perfect…..

    I want to add my strong support for your suggestion…

    ATTN GM MGMT: IMHO, if anyone alive deserves a free Chevy Volt, it’s Lyle Dennis!


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:45 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Listen up, General… It is going to take a lot more than 120 days to get this through to people and since I can’t do all of the training by myself, it would be nice to see a few commercials on TV, and how about giving a production model to Road and Track, Car and Driver, MotorTrend, (and 1 to me) so we can start writing about it!!! Screw the actual MPG figure! Without educating everyone why that does NOT matter, it’s going to be a much harder sell for us guys in the trenches.

    I think you’ll be OK. The first 2 years will sell out, and by then the water cooler conversations will have had time to spread. Everyone will hopefully know a guy, that knows a guy, that has a Volt, and will only hear good thinga about it. By the time Gen 2 rolls around w/a 30% price cut and all the good press from Gen 1, hopefully we will have a much more educated buying public and a lot more cars available to buy.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:47 am)

    kdawg:
    So you went with 34MPG in CS mode… just your hunch?I am guessing upper 30’s to maaaaybe 40.Nice chart btw.  

    I just took 9 gallons divided by 300 miles. If it were a 10 gallon tank, I would have used 30MPG.


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    lousloot

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:48 am)

    87 octane is more bang for the buck.

    High octane gas burns vs explodes — preignition aside, the good stuff burns better and so torque is improved. The piston power stroke has a nice push instead of BANG… The cheap gas just doesn’t burn as well as the good stuff. Even if your car can run on 85 octane, the good stuff will give a minor improvement. E85 burns nice, but E100 (filtered) tastes Nice and Burns better!


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:50 am)

    BobS: Agreed. My understanding is there are no more BTU’s in premium fuel, although that is a common misconception. I am surprised Tony is perpetuating that myth. For a high compression engine the higher octane is needed to prevent pre-combustion which does rob HP and causes engine knock. It works like this: a high compression engine block gets hotter, so hot that the air-fuel mix in the piston chamber will begin to ignite before the piston completes the compression phase of the stroke. While the piston is still moving up, compressing the air-fuel mixture, the fuel begins to ignite from the extreme heat. So it starts to expand fighting against the rising piston. The higher octane inhibits that early tendency to ignite until maximum pressure is reached and the spark plug fires.  

    -1

    I don’t understand why you get a +10 for this.

    First Tony did not perpetuate this myth, what he said was that the engine would get 5% to 10% more fuel efficiency, he did NOT say that the fuel contained more energy.
    Your information is all correct and explains how you get higher efficiency, but some how you come to the conclusion that this is bad.

    Money Pit is wrong, again he states the correct fact that more hp is produced, then comes to the wrong conclusion that more hp is less efficient. Higher hp is more efficient!

    You people are getting mixed up because you associate high performance cars with poor fuel economy. That is for a number of reasons, but not the ones you think. High performance cars are tuned to get maximum power over a usable rpm range and fuel economy is not an issue.


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:54 am)

    kdawg: By the time Gen 2 rolls around…

    I’m hoping to NOT having to wait that long… (sigh)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:57 am)

    BobS:
    Agreed.My understanding is there are no more BTU’s in premium fuel, although that is a common misconception.I am surprised Tony is perpetuating that myth.For a high compression engine the higher octane is needed to prevent pre-combustion which does rob HP and causes engine knock.It works like this: a high compression engine block gets hotter, so hot that the air-fuel mix in the piston chamber will begin to ignite before the piston completes the compression phase of the stroke.While the piston is still moving up, compressing the air-fuel mixture, the fuel begins to ignite from the extreme heat.So it starts to expand fighting against the rising piston.The higher octane inhibits that early tendency to ignite until maximum pressure is reached and the spark plug fires.  

    Which means that the engine can operate in a higher efficiency range because the compression can be higher. Google search a curve for engine efficiency versus compression ratio, hopefully this will help the concept make more sense for you.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (9:58 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    I just took 9 gallons divided by 300 miles. If it were a 10 gallon tank, I would have used 30MPG.  

    I think they are serious when they say you can drive 300 miles, but that would mean driving until the gas indicator said to re-fuel, not when empty. So 7 gallons might be more reasonable.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    Money Pit: Wow, already getting negatives for tell the truth?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiencyPremium fuel is actually slightly lower in btus than regular, AV gas, which is 110 Octane has 4% less btus than regularDiesel, is the highest, about 9% more then regular, so GM is claiming premium is greater than Diesel fuel in energy contentThis is simple science and yet again, GM for what ever reason is just trying to “spin” the decision to uses premium fuel  

    Again, it’s not only about the BTU content and much more related to the compression ratio of the engine.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    This actually brings up a question I had for GM early on in regards to what will happen if people simply don’t use the engine. I work on small engines on the side and I can tell you from personal experience that around 75% of the mowers I get in for repair are due to faulty, gunked-up carburetors. Usually this is because the customer puts the mower away for the winter and the gas turns to varnish. This wreaks havoc on the carburetor.

    There are fuel stabilizers you can add to the gas tank that will keep the gas fresh for up to a year. But its preferable that the gas is kept fresh- as in letting it sit for no more than 3-4 months. Additionally, its not good for an engine to sit unused for long periods. Doing so creates all kinds of problems, from cylinders that form rust, seals and gaskets that dry out, oil that sludges, and so on. I have a 55′ Mercury that gets started and run for 20 minutes every week for this very reason.

    In my opinion GM needs to have some sort of procedure for the customer to perform where they owner regularly runs the battery down enough to run the engine to keep things in working order. I had even thought that perhaps it would’ve been a good idea if the Volt ICE had included a small reservoir of fuel stabilizer that gets injected into the gas. It wouldn’t take much and the stabilizer could be sold at the dealer.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:04 am)

    nuclearboy:
    GM reads this blog too…Note to GM, find this local chevy dealer and make sure Lyle is taken care of.He should get one of the first 10 cars and it should be perfect…..  

    AND DON’T SKIMP ON THE OPTIONS!

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:05 am)

    I wanted to add another comment sort of going back to price. While I personally find the price to be too high, looking around on other sites seems to indicate that there are MANY people who didn’t even bat an eye to the price. Instead there seems to be a problem where people are having an issue trying to BUY the car period from dealers. Interesting. Perhaps GM knew what they were doing…


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    Roy H, #71 wrote: :GM’s primary point is that premium fuel, in an engine designed for it (higher compression) is more efficient. If your goal is to reduce dependency on middle east oil, then you will agree with this decision.”

    Not necessarily. If requiring premium fuel increase the average fuel efficency 5%, let’s say bumps the CS mpg from 50 to 52.5 MPG and the average Volt driver drives 200 miles/month in CS mode he saves less than 2/10 of a gallon of gas per month. If 10,000 Volts are built in 2011 that amounts to less than 2000 gallons of gas saved each month.

    If only 100 people across the country are turned off by the Volts premium fuel requirement and they all decide to drive 35 mpg cars at 1200 miles/month then those 100 people will burn 3000 gallons/month more gas than if they were driving a Volt. Net result is the turnoff caused by the premium fuel requirement causes a net increase in the amount of oil consumed.

    The sad thing is if GM really wanted to increase engine efficency they would have used a diesel generator instead.


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    bookdabook

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    ViridianJoule.htm

    Come on people! End the nerd-talk. Get on board!

    Viridian Joule Tricoat!

    Who wouldn’t buy a car with paint named that!

    (A name invented on this site. Thanks Lyle for the origin story.)


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    David

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    Jim I:
    ===========================I think a lot of that would depend upon how your mom drives.If she is gentle on the vehicle, you are right, there should be no problems.But if she drives like she is at the Daytona 500, the engine might tell her it is not happy…..  

    The truth is that the engine only requires regular and isn’t even designed to take advantage of higher octane gas. A lot of manufacturers just slap the premium label on and get a kickback from the oil companies.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:15 am)

    JEC: I am not sure that is completely true.
    What happens if your tank is empty, and you have a full charge on the battery, but it is -15 F, and your not plugged in. Will the car actually run, or will it say “Sorry, we need to condition the battery by running the ICE, but your currently out of gas…Thank you…have a nice day!”
    You would hope that it would still go, or that you could over ride this, but we still do not know some of these more “minor” technical details. At least I don’t.

    I think the VOLT would still run with an empty tank, but the little ‘gas gauge’ on the display screen would keep flashing and beeping at you.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:18 am)

    Roy H: Nissan

    it must be interesting living in your world where computers don’t control fuel/air ratios on 100% of all new cars.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:18 am)

    bookdabook: Come on people! End the nerd-talk. Get on board!Viridian Joule Tricoat!Who wouldn’t buy a car with paint named that!(A name invented on this site.Thanks Lyle for the origin story.)  

    Tunnel-vision extraordinaire! Did you notice the topic for the day? (lol). OK, it’s a nice color, but it’s a nerd thread (read, I’m lost too).

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:41 am)

    Something else that premium fuel has that the regular stuff doesn’t (or at least has less of): detergent. For an engine that runs as seldom as the Volt (hopefully) does, a higher detergen gas might be advantageous to keep all the working parts shiny clean.

    As for the efficiengy argument, if an engine can be made to produce more power per amount of fuel burned, does it not make sense that it would use less fuel to produce the same amount of power as before? To illustrate: an engine that produces 90 hp on regular also produces 97 hp on premium. If only 90 hp is required, then the engine running premium uses less fuel to produce that power. It’s two sides of the same equation. All an engine does is convert fuel into usable power. The power to fuel ratio can either be exploited to make more power, or make the same power with less fuel.

    In any case, using less non-domestically produced, non-renewable fuel for roughly the same out of pocket cost is a good thing. You just have to get over yourself, suck it up, hold your nose, or do whatever works for you and click the premium button at the pump. Just imagine, by pressing that simple button, you’re depriving terrorists of even more oil money, at no extra cost to you. Way to go GM. Brilliant.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:47 am)

    Rashiid Amul: I wonder how the “shelf life” of E85 compares to Premium fuel.  

    Biodiesel and E85 do attract water and wil cause fouling within a few months, especially when dew is not prevented


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:48 am)

    I didn’t read all the comments, I think they specified Premium because of noise. With my Saturn Hybrid, low rpm’s give valve chatter and some knock at some rpm’s. I do use cheap gas in it. If I use Chevron Premium then it is quit. My Harley requires Chevron or it knocks. IMHO


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    Roy H: Self contradicting statement. Highly unlikely that the engine has higher hp on E-85. If that statement was true then your gas tank full would take you farther.  (Quote)

    On an engine optimized to run just on E85, it might be true. Not of a flex fuel though.


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    Van

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    Volt versus Prius PHV

    Price $41,000 $29,000
    (rebate) $33,500 $26,000

    Mileage
    40 miles infinite 78.4 MPG
    60 miles 101.7 MPG 68.2 MPG
    100 miles 56.5 MPG 61.0 MPG

    Assumptions: 40 mile AER for Volt, 13 mile AER for Prius PHV
    Combined highway city mile in CS mode for Volt 37 MPG
    Combined mileage for Prius PHV 53 MPG


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:50 am)

    Jim I… between 50 and 60 gallons per year

    with propper trip planning and use of alternative transport means we could live without that internal combustion engine or use a much smaller power generator having two cylinders only.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:51 am)

    WK4P: Roy H, #71 wrote: :GM’s primary point is that premium fuel, in an engine designed for it (higher compression) is more efficient. If your goal is to reduce dependency on middle east oil, then you will agree with this decision.”Not necessarily. If requiring premium fuel increase the average fuel efficency 5%, let’s say bumps the CS mpg from 50 to 52.5 MPG and the average Volt driver drives 200 miles/month in CS mode he saves less than 2/10 of a gallon of gas per month. If 10,000 Volts are built in 2011 that amounts to less than 2000 gallons of gas saved each month.If only 100 people across the country are turned off by the Volts premium fuel requirement and they all decide to drive 35 mpg cars at 1200 miles/month then those 100 people will burn 3000 gallons/month more gas than if they were driving a Volt. Net result is the turnoff caused by the premium fuel requirement causes a net increase in the amount of oil consumed. The sad thing is if GM really wanted to increase engine efficency they would have used a diesel generator instead.  (Quote)

    It’s not GMs job to compensate for people’s ignorance. Thier job is to design an efficient car. If the requirement for premium fuel allows for a greater efficiency, thus lowering the use of petroleum fuel, then it was a good decision. People simply need to be better educated. Good engineering decisions are often not intuative, but are always backed up by good data. They are also driven by compromise, which leads to less intuative, less than ideal looking solutions. Hence the choice of using an off the shelf gas engine as opposed to a diesel or HCCI for Gen I. Given the amount of testing the Volt has endured, I’m guessing that there is a pretty decent helping of data to back up the decision to use premium gas.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:53 am)

    carcus3:
    I was speaking of generator efficiency losses.The hotter the generator is, the greater the efficiency losses . . . thus requiring more more power from the ICE to make up the difference so the genset can maintain the same power out.  

    You are talking about the generator windings getting hotter and increasing resistance. In this case you are right. However I am confident that the GM engineers have made sure the temperature rise in the generator is minimal. Design wise, this is almost a requirement as the motor would be expected to run for long periods at maximum power (not just when the car is accelerating) to bring the battery back up to 30% SOC. This increase in resistance should be insignificant.


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    CaptJackSparrow

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:55 am)

    I’m lost in all this stuff bbuttt….

    IF Premium gas offers the best efficiency or MPG as they state, wouldn’t it make sense that their high MPG small cars require Premium gas for best overall efficiency and MPG?
    How about their big azz SUV Hybrids? Wouldn’t it be just as wise to require Premium gas for best efficiency & MPG?

    As for stale gas….it’ll still burn. :-P
    It’ll at least be there to get you where you need to go when you need it. My thought is……If the beers cold, fukit and get on with it.

    Stale gas? I wonder if GM offers a method to remove the gas so you can put brand spankin new right outta the pump gas? If not, who gives a shit…….fukit and get on with it.

    /but that’s just me, straight shot.
    //back to my Kahlua n Coffee!!!


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (10:56 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    Is that the reason a fuel dragster has no radiator? I’ve wondered about that since I was a kid.  

    Not really, the dragster does not run long enough to over heat, and a radiator is just extra weight.


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    flmark

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:00 am)

    David F: So it takes premium fuel. Might as well be AVGAS. Anyone willing to spend $41k on this car wont care. Here is an article that sums it up pretty well: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/opinion/30neidermeyer.html?ref=opinion  (Quote)

    Sums up WHAT very well?

    From the article, “In the end, making the bailout work — whatever the cost — is the only good reason for buying a Volt. The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well.”

    Sorry, you should have informed us before you posted the link that the writer was a troll. The writer just doesn’t get it. I have no use for people who are more defined by what they are against, than what they are for. Unfortunately, many are journalists. His write up is not a critique- it is an agenda.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:02 am)

    edvard: In my opinion GM needs to have some sort of procedure for the customer to perform where they owner regularly runs the battery down enough to run the engine to keep things in working order.

    The Volt will do this automatically, so no need for the customer to do anything. However the gas could become stale still, so yes, stabilizer will work well.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:03 am)

    CaptJackSparrow: I’m lost in all this stuff bbuttt….IF Premium gas offers the best efficiency or MPG as they state, wouldn’t it make sense that their high MPG small cars require Premium gas for best overall efficiency and MPG?
    How about their big azz SUV Hybrids? Wouldn’t it be just as wise to require Premium gas for best efficiency & MPG?
    As for stale gas….it’ll still burn.
    It’ll at least be there to get you where you need to go when you need it. My thought is……If the beers cold, fukit and get on with it.Stale gas? I wonder if GM offers a method to remove the gas so you can put brand spankin new right outta the pump gas? If not, who gives a shit…….fukit and get on with it./but that’s just me, straight shot.
    //back to my Kahlua n Coffee!!!  

    Don’t tell me you buy your beer from CostCo. I would lose all respect for you. ;)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:06 am)

    kdawg: However the gas could become stale still, so yes, stabilizer will work well.

    WAIT! What? I have to use stabilizer too? How much is that?
    Will Vodka work? How bout Tequila???? Patron?

    Oh wait, nevermind. Using alcohol the wrong way is “Alcohol Abuse”.
    :-P


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:12 am)

    CaptJackSparrow: WAIT! What? I have to use stabilizer too? How much is that?
    Will Vodka work? How bout Tequila???? Patron?
    Oh wait, nevermind. Using alcohol the wrong way is “Alcohol Abuse”.

    See post #34


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:13 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Don’t tell me you buy your beer from CostCo. I would lose all respect for you.

    lol…..maaan, I buy whatever is on sale or if I have a coupon. :-)
    But only *IF* I have extra $$$. Lately we’ve had some overtime so I bought a bottle of Kahlua.
    Gotta love Govt man. Lay off a shitload of peeps then have to do overtime to cover their areas.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:14 am)

    BobS: Agreed. My understanding is there are no more BTU’s in premium fuel, although that is a common misconception. I am surprised Tony is perpetuating that myth. For a high compression engine the higher octane is needed to prevent pre-combustion which does rob HP and causes engine knock. It works like this: a high compression engine block gets hotter, so hot that the air-fuel mix in the piston chamber will begin to ignite before the piston completes the compression phase of the stroke. While the piston is still moving up, compressing the air-fuel mixture, the fuel begins to ignite from the extreme heat. So it starts to expand fighting against the rising piston. The higher octane inhibits that early tendency to ignite until maximum pressure is reached and the spark plug fires.  (Quote)

    You have just explained why it increases efficiency. By not combusting DURING the compression stroke, it requires less energy for the same work. Pre combustion diminishes the overall conversion of BTU to usable horsepower.

    Energy content is not the issue, it is all about how it is used. Look at your furnace, a mid and a high efficiency gas furnace but use the exact same natural gas, but one delivers more heat at a 10% increase in efficiency..same fuel? where does it come from (and I could explain in great detail how) but it is NOT the energy content, it is in the application. By avoiding pre combustion, it will be more efficient.


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    Streetlight

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:14 am)

    Typically premium in N. Cal., usually the highest in the U.S., runs maybe $0.20 or so over regular. No big deal. On my Sierra Classic (5.7 L V8 — 317k mi.) premium returns a solid 10% better mileage.

    Let’s drive EPA nuts: there’s significant differences of engine performance between gas brands. So whenever EPA decides to stick the sticker you know where the sticker should specify by which brand fuel the sticker’s based on. That is, so you don’t get stuck.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:14 am)

    Still complaining about the Volt’s price? Here is another thing that may be considered. We have all been told that the first bunch out the door is going to the government. Anyone stop to think about what each vehicle will cost THE GOVERNMENT? If you are GM’s management, you have a lot of incentive to price the car HIGH to repay your debt to the government that much faster. In all the pissing and moaning I’ve seen over the last few days, I don’t think this was mentioned.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:19 am)

    David:
    it must be interesting living in your world where computers don’t control fuel/air ratios on 100% of all new cars.  

    What on earth are you talking about? Let me guess, are you suggesting that adjusting fuel/air ratio negates the need for higher compression? I don’t think so. But just in case I am wrong on this point, my arguments still hold, that is if designed for high octane fuel, it will get better mileage.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    So, can one use regular gas anyway and just accept the lower efficiency and increased chance of unused gas going stale? Many cars that use premium fuel are able to run on regular without engine damage.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:25 am)

    CorvetteGuy: I know for a fact that 99.99% of the ‘masses’ that come in to our dealership are going to say the exact same thing… give me a dirty look… and leave thinking we are idiots for making an electric car for over $40,000.

    That’s what I’m thinking and I don’t have your hands on experience. Not only is it over $40,000, it’s well over $40,000 if you add a couple of options. I think people in the market for an EV would be OK with the price were it not for the Leaf. A 30% premium is a lot when you’re getting 60% less EV range. Yes the range extender is a benefit but the price to be paid is steep.

    I wouldn’t blame the marketing folks though. Once management decided to limit production the price per copy had to be high. It’s just the nature of manufacturing. So GM’s marketing people are having to deal with the hand they have been dealt, just like you are. In this regard, I’ve always liked Tony Posawatz but he seemed over the top during the web chat, which I think just represented how hard he felt he had to work to overcome the high MSRP.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:29 am)

    You have re-raised a great speculation!!!

    BillR: This leads me to wonder what they are using for a compression ratio in the engine.The 3.6L V6 engine with direct injection runs an 11.3 to 1 compression ratio.It is spec’d with 87 octane gasoline.Maybe the Volt’s engine has a high compression ratio but without direct injection.Then again, maybe they’re using HCCI.http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2009/May/0520_HCCITechnologyI’m taking over the optimist role from Tag, and have predicted 58 mpg CS mode in the forum poll.Here’s my speculation on the ICE,http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4319  

    Looking at your web site links and your comments I find this speculation very exciting.

    Then the requirement for premium gasoline makes a lot of sense.

    It would be very very cool!!!!! if the VOLT has a HCCI engine on board. It would have great mileage and low emissions. That would be very consistent with the concept of the VOLT and a great coup for the engineers and CHEVY – GM!!

    If true… the 41 K price tag is not quite as bad. We would be getting a “twofer” :+}

    I like this… a excerpt from your second web link
    Quote of BillR

    “…… It is my contention that the reason GM was very guarded about letting the media drive in CS mode, was that the “clack” sound of the HCCI operation could be detected, and they didn’t want to this information to leak out. This is also why they don’t want to release the mileage rating in CS mode, because it will be a telltale sign that they are using HCCI.

    HCCI seems like a very real possibility to me for the Volt.”


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:32 am)

    Van: Combined highway city mile in CS mode for Volt 37 MPG

    At what combination of city and highway mile distances will this occur?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:42 am)

    52 JEC, regarding the cost of premium: If you can afford a $41,000 + tax + dealer markup + lic – 7500 car, then this issue is just simply not an issue.


    I agree about the additional cost of premium, but on a different note, the total needs to be
    $41,000+ OPTIONS + tax + dealer markup + lic – 7500

    Do we have any information on the cost of options? As most of the cars built are going to have many or most of the options, they will be nice additions but for the most part not optional, in the sense of choices. I am guessing some thousands of dollars, as on most cars at a similar price level, but will be happy to have some more definitive information.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:45 am)

    #106 kgurnsey wrote: “It’s not GMs job to compensate for people’s ignorance.”

    It is if they want to sell cars. To think the citizens of the world will all become educated about efficencies is foolish. Just remember, half the people on the planet are below average, and average ain’t nothing to brag about.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:47 am)

    WK4P: Roy H, #71 wrote::GM’s primary point is that premium fuel, in an engine designed for it (higher compression) is more efficient. If your goal is to reduce dependency on middle east oil, then you will agree with this decision.”Not necessarily.If requiring premium fuel increase the average fuel efficency 5%, let’s say bumps the CS mpg from 50 to 52.5 MPG and the average Volt driver drives 200 miles/month in CS mode he saves less than 2/10 of a gallon of gas per month.If 10,000 Volts are built in 2011 that amounts to less than 2000 gallons of gas saved each month.
    If only 100 people across the country are turned off by the Volts premium fuel requirement and they all decide to drive 35 mpg cars at 1200 miles/month then those 100 people will burn 3000 gallons/month more gas than if they were driving a Volt.Net result is the turnoff caused by the premium fuel requirement causes a net increase in the amount of oil consumed.The sad thing is if GM really wanted to increase engine efficency they would have used a diesel generator instead.  

    That’s an awful big if. Highly unrealistic scenario. You assume that no one will take the place of those 100 people. If GM cannot sell all 10k Volts in 2011 you may be right. This is their loss for not understanding (or not agreeing with) GM’s desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

    I can hardly imagine I said that. Is this really true? GM’s top two board members are directors in major oil companies and would like nothing better than to sell gobs of gas guzzling SUVs. However I think they are actually embracing the new reality that this cannot continue. There are government mandates to meet and the public is more aware of the connection between fuel economy and dieing soldiers in the middle east. If you have lost a son or daughter to this war this is a big deal, even if you know anyone who has died over there. However there is one other point, American oil companies can purchase less foreign oil and make higher profits if people use premium gas instead of regular. A win for the oil companies and for GM.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:52 am)

    kdawg: I think you’ll be OK. The first 2 years will sell out, and by then the water cooler conversations will have had time to spread. Everyone will hopefully know a guy, that knows a guy, that has a Volt, and will only hear good thinga about it. By the time Gen 2 rolls around w/a 30% price cut and all the good press from Gen 1, hopefully we will have a much more educated buying public and a lot more cars available to buy.  

    This is an OK scenario but:

    1. For every Volt owner there will be 3 or 4 Leaf owners, which means that you’re substantially more likely to hear about a Leaf than a Volt.

    2. If we can believe all the people who have leased EVs, those water cooler conversations will dissipate range anxiety so GM’s primary pitch about why EREVs are superior to EVs will fall flat as time moves on.

    3. If the point is to have an EV and avoid using gasoline, those water cooler conversations will suggest that BEVs like the Leaf accomplish this goal more effectively than an EREV like the Volt.

    4. Given (2) and (3), the water cooler conversations will strongly suggest that the disadvantages of the Volt — shorter EV range, the need for care and feeding of the ICE, and last but hardly finally the much higher price — don’t outweigh the disadvantages of a BEV not having a range extender. (I suspect you will be able to get a range extender on a trailer for an EV, I know someone already working on one for the Leaf).

    5. With each year there will be more EV models with various feature sets to choose from. Some will have longer range, some will have better performance, some will have lower price points, and so on and so forth. So in three years the Volt won’t necessarily be top of mind. (Even the most recent Prius conversions seem to outperform the Volt on the MPG front).

    Seems like GM has painted itself into a corner of relegating the Volt to niche vehicle status. There are some areas of the country which are more suited to the Volt’s EREV technology than to BEV technology, but those areas aren’t prime targets for BEVs or EREVs.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:54 am)

    DonC:
    That’s what I’m thinking and I don’t have your hands on experience. Not only is it over $40,000, it’s well over $40,000 if you add a couple of options. I think people in the market for an EV would be OK with the price were it not for the Leaf. A 30% premium is a lot when you’re getting 60% less EV range. Yes the range extender is a benefit but the price to be paid is steep.I wouldn’t blame the marketing folks though. Once management decided to limit production the price per copy had to be high. It’s just the nature of manufacturing. So GM’s marketing people are having to deal with the hand they have been dealt, just like you are. In this regard, I’ve always liked Tony Posawatz but he seemed over the top during the web chat, which I think just represented how hard he felt he had to work to overcome the high MSRP.  

    My point is: the VOLT is $401000 worth if new technology. That is what it is ‘supposed to cost’. Most that I have spoken with ‘assume’ that an electric car is ‘naturally’ less expensive because it’s an ecomomy vehicle. Which we know is not true…. Yet


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:56 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    My point is: the VOLT is $401000 worth if new technology. That is what it is ’supposed to cost’. Most that I have spoken with ‘assume’ that an electric car is ‘naturally’ less expensive because it’s an ecomomy vehicle. Which we know is not true…. Yet  

    $41,000 worth. Dang editor.

    CorvetteGuy:
    My point is: the VOLT is $401000 worth if new technology. That is what it is ’supposed to cost’. Most that I have spoken with ‘assume’ that an electric car is ‘naturally’ less expensive because it’s an ecomomy vehicle. Which we know is not true…. Yet  


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:58 am)

    Roy H: I can hardly imagine I said that. Is this really true? GM’s top two board members are directors in major oil companies and would like nothing better than to sell gobs of gas guzzling SUVs. However I think they are actually embracing the new reality that this cannot continue.

    Did you watch Ed Whitacres’s recent performance in Austin? Check it out. After listening to him wax eloquent about how the country needs huge SUVs, full sized trucks, and performance cars like the Corvette (even when he’s supposedly making an announcement about the Volt), tell me exactly why you think there is the remotest chance that GM is embracing a new reality. And if that doesn’t make clear how nothing has changed at GM, just look at the anemic production numbers for the Volt.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:12 pm)

    WK4P: The sad thing is if GM really wanted to increase engine efficency they would have used a diesel generator instead.  

    There are trade-offs. A diesel is bigger and heavier, so yes more efficient but there is not much space in the Volt and they have gone to considerable effort to keep weight down. Lower weight was the reason they said power seats would not be offered. Shouldn’t it be possible to build light weight power seats? Another issue to be solved for GenII.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:22 pm)

    #126, Roy H.

    And you are right, GM will sell all the Volts they will make the first couple of years. They are not making a car they are trying to sell in quanity, thus don’t have to worry about little things like price or fuel type.

    If GM was really concerned about efficency they would have put a diesel in the Volt. If they were concerned about cutting oil use they would have made it flex fuel (which would have allowed for using regular or premium gas). Instead they wanted a car on the road quickly for PR purposes.

    I love the Volt concept, but it is neither a car for the masses or for great efficency. It is a car GM is using for PR, the price and use of premium gas help to illustrate this. I only hope it’s the start of things to come.

    BTW, I agree with your assessment of our current military operations. I was saying the same thing 8 years ago and it is still true today.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:25 pm)

    Roy H: I think they are serious when they say you can drive 300 miles, but that would mean driving until the gas indicator said to re-fuel, not when empty. So 7 gallons might be more reasonable.  (Quote)

    I was thinking the same thing but how do automakers usually state the range of a car? Based on every last drop of gas or not including the “extra” gallon or two?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:28 pm)

    DonC:
    Did you watch Ed Whitacres’s recent performance in Austin?   

    Yes I did. But you have to keep in mind that right now GM needs to sell lots of these gas guzzlers because that is what they have right now. And don’t forget the audience he was addressing. We will have to wait and see before drawing conclusions. I too am upset about low Volt quantities, but accept the requirement for 2011, not so much for 2012. If my guess is right, GM will lower the price of the two-mode hybrid and even offer plug-in versions. Maybe even make the two-mode standard equipment. I think GM would like to keep the SUV market and not try to force these people into smaller cars (which they resist anyway and just buy from companies that sell SUVs) Ideally eventually all cars will be pure BEVs including SUVs and will use no oil at all. Also ideally the electric power will come from zero pollution sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, LFTRs( http://energyfromthorium.com/ ), and hydro. Then people can drive large vehicles completely guilt free.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: $41,000 worth. Dang editor.

    lol….
    You drinkin Kahlua in your coffee too?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:32 pm)

    Hi Jeffhre @ 123

    The Volt Charge sustaining mode mileage is based on two claims, one the highway and city mileage are nearly the same, and two the range extender adds 300 miles to the range. Since we know the tank holds 9 gallons, but only about 8 would be available, 8 into 300 equals 37.5 MPG.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:36 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: My point is: the VOLT is $401000 worth if new technology.

    Ultimately what something is worth is what you can sell it for, and what you can sell it for depends on the alternatives. The Volt may look affordable at $44K if you’re looking at a Tesla at $125K but it may look pricey if you’re looking at a Leaf at $32K.

    The other point is that while you’re right that the technology in the Volt is worth what it costs to deliver it, the cost of delivering it greatly depends on the volume. If GM had been aggressive about production numbers the cost of each Volt would be substantially below the announced $41K MSRP. IOW if GM decided to produce 10K Camaros a year each Camaro would probably have to be priced at about $40K. How would that work out? I’m thinking there would be a lot more Mustang owners.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:38 pm)

    #14 JohnK Said:

    Say NASAMAN, I left you a PM (Personal Message) the other day about the possibility of some of us coming to watch the last shuttle launch.

    There could probably be a Blog as big as GM-Volt with equal speculation about when the last Shuttle launch will actually happen. 8-)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:40 pm)

    Given GM’s obsession with the efficiency of the range-extender, perhaps we’ll see the Atkinson cycle or direct injection in later versions? We can only hope…

    George, Sudbury, Canada…go Volt!!


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    Not sure if HCCI is ready for prime time yet, but wouldn’t that be cool? :)

    The 1.4L engine in the Cruze (as far as I know) will not use direct injection…therefore I doubt the engine in the Volt will. Both of them SHOULD…but that’s GM being cheap again and holding back technology.

    My guess is that the engine computer is able to optimize performance by using high octane fuel. By “requiring” high octane fuel, they can use use it for EPA testing and are therefore able to eeek out high mpg ratings.

    Yes, the average consumer will probably run 87 octane (at slightly reduced performance), which is fine because GM can still advertise the EPA rating.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    Eco_Turbo, post #138: #14 JohnK Said:

    Say NASAMAN, I left you a PM (Personal Message) the other day about the possibility of some of us coming to watch the last shuttle launch.

    There could probably be a Blog as big as GM-Volt with equal speculation about when the last Shuttle launch will actually happen.

    Right, and that’s why my response (post #48) provides a link that is kept updated by NASA.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    DonC: Yeah, they should have put this stuff on a trailer. Solves a lot of problems. Plus the 500 cc engine will run on regular gas. (It’s completely dorky and has no appeal at all but as a practical matter a 100+ mile Volt EV with this option would be more useful than a Volt EV with a 40 mile range and a gas engine that needs care and feeding).http://www.evnut.com/rav_longranger.htmA $41K MSRP plus MPG in the low 30s plus a very short 40 mile EV range plus now premium gas seems more like a vehicle destined for Nicheville than it does a winning combination. Not exactly the technological tour de force many were hoping for.  (Quote)

    Yes!!!

    Thanks for bringing this up. I love the concept. Imagine renting your Range-Extender just when you need it, instead of buying it. Imagine an industry-standard interface, so that different manufacturers can build range-extending trailers tailored to different needs. Imagine rental range-extenders with some cargo storage capability. Imagine a Triple-A service which brings you a range-extender if you inadvertently go past your EV range and suddenly need one. The trouble and maintenance of an ICE can be unhooked from your EV, so that your vehicle cost and maintenance are low, like a good EV should be and the car is never “in the shop” for ICE service.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    Dealer mark ups

    I’ve been on a list of interested customers of a few dealers.
    Today one called me up, and said the MSRP is $41000, but their dealer markup will be at least $5000. He also said that the consense between dealers in his area (Los Angeles) was that the markup would be $5000 to $10000.

    So at $5000 markup I will wait!

    But this also made me think — the sales man said that consensus between the local dealers was $5000 to $10000 markup. This appears that it COULD be a case of illegal anticompetative practice (price fixing), of course depending on whether the local dealers are actually agreeing their markup.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:50 pm)

    BREAKING GOOD NEWS
    Chevrolet to Increase Volt Production Capacity by 50 Percent
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/production-capacity-50-percent,1404493.html

    Hawk


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    firehawk72: BREAKING GOOD NEWSChevrolet to Increase Volt Production Capacity by 50 Percenthttp://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/production-capacity-50-percent,1404493.htmlHawk  (Quote)

    And I had it first at #137 – but my post went to moderation!

    Great news….. prices will be falling over time as production increases.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    Roy H: Self contradicting statement. Highly unlikely that the engine has higher hp on E-85. If that statement was true then your gas tank full would take you farther.  (Quote)

    No, usually E-85 systems compensate for the lower density by using more fuel, which leads to roughly the same amount of power.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:57 pm)

    firehawk72: BREAKING GOOD NEWS
    Chevrolet to Increase Volt Production Capacity by 50 Percent
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/production-capacity-50-percent,1404493.html

    Hawk

    Great News! This puts volt production higher than Leaf production (US sales) over the first two years.

    I assume many dealers are reporting a few to a dozen orders for 2010 Volts already and the car is not shipping yet. Even at $41K, the demand is high (high in relation to the limited numbers planned).

    Good job “early adopters”.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (12:58 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: I know for a fact that 99.99% of the ‘masses’ that come in to our dealership are going to say the exact same thing… give me a dirty look… and leave thinking we are idiots for making an electric car for over $40,000.Again, they need to be educated because ‘price alone’ is NOT the point of a VOLT. (Please, God… Tell me the GM Marketing guys are reading this!)The VOLT is NOT an ‘economy car’ in the classic sense of Low, Low Price and High MPG’s. Now that the VOLT is about 120 days away, the education of these people needs to begin NOW. What has to be stressed is that the VOLT is “a high-technology sport-sedan that just happens to run on electricity”… “with the performance of similarly-priced small import cars…” (I hope) —For the most part, all the public has heard about is the Nissan LEAF, which they are making it ‘look like’ an economy car and are not highlighting it’s price. With the VOLT, that’s all we are hearing about is the price… NOT what is does… NOT what makes it different… NOT how it performs… NOT how it compares to a conventional car of the same size from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Fisker, Tesla, Toyota, etc… NOT what makes it BETTER…!!! Listen up, General… It is going to take a lot more than 120 days to get this through to people and since I can’t do all of the training by myself, it would be nice to see a few commercials on TV, and how about giving a production model to Road and Track, Car and Driver, MotorTrend, (and 1 to me) so we can start writing about it!!! Screw the actual MPG figure! Without educating everyone why that does NOT matter, it’s going to be a much harder sell for us guys in the trenches.  (Quote)

    Excellent post. I’m in retail sales, too. “Live by price, die by price” is true. The Volt is NOT a commodity product. Highlight what the Volt does, instead of its price.

    That being said, product positioning and perceptions/expectations are very important. Volt.01 should maybe have been a Buick or Caddy instead. The .02 or .03 versions could have been higher volume, lower-cost Chevys. What does Chevy stand for? Affordability is what comes first to my mind, e.g., the Corvette is an affordable sports car.

    Question: how important is show-floor positioning? Should the Volt be next to the Cruze, or the Corvette?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:01 pm)

    Roy H: I think they are serious when they say you can drive 300 miles, but that would mean driving until the gas indicator said to re-fuel, not when empty. So 7 gallons might be more reasonable.  (Quote)

    No Detroit manufacturer has ever quoted a range that wasn’t “to empty.”


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:01 pm)

    DonC: This is an OK scenario but:
    1. For every Volt owner there will be 3 or 4 Leaf owners, which means that you’re substantially more likely to hear about a Leaf than a Volt.
    2. If we can believe all the people who have leased EVs, those water cooler conversations will dissipate range anxiety so GM’s primary pitch about why EREVs are superior to EVs will fall flat as time moves on.
    3. If the point is to have an EV and avoid using gasoline, those water cooler conversations will suggest that BEVs like the Leaf accomplish this goal more effectively than an EREV like the Volt.
    4. Given (2) and (3), the water cooler conversations will strongly suggest that the disadvantages of the Volt — shorter EV range, the need for care and feeding of the ICE, and last but hardly finally the much higher price — don’t outweigh the disadvantages of a BEV not having a range extender. (I suspect you will be able to get a range extender on a trailer for an EV, I know someone already working on one for the Leaf).
    5. With each year there will be more EV models with various feature sets to choose from. Some will have longer range, some will have better performance, some will have lower price points, and so on and so forth. So in three years the Volt won’t necessarily be top of mind. (Even the most recent Prius conversions seem to outperform the Volt on the MPG front).

    6. Chevy is now telling it’s audience why the Volt is better than other EV’s.
    ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iPsvTEq0PQ&feature=player_embedded )

    7. When Chevy brings their improved version of actual BEVs, which they are now developing for sale in China and India as “City Cars,” to the US in the form of highway capable cars, will there be any Chevy fans left that have any belief at all Chevy’s version of the “worse” EV option.

    Question. Why is everyone so intrigued by the range extending trailer? I personally like the range extending roof rack – something Mad Max style :)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Many people use middle grade gasoline in cars that only require 86 octane. Having to run 91 octane in the Volt is not an issue.

    CorvetteGuy: Screw the actual MPG figure! Without educating everyone why that does NOT matter, it’s going to be a much harder sell for us guys in the trenches.

    You only have 10 or 12 Volts to sell. What matters is what GM plans for the 2012 Volt, and hopefully, a crossover EREV. We know the competition has EV crossovers waiting to roll.

    =D-Volt

    BTW: Sure miss CEO Henderson comments about listening close to customers and acting quickly. He is a refreshing twist from the norm.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I’m lost in all this stuff bbuttt….IF Premium gas offers the best efficiency or MPG as they state, wouldn’t it make sense that their high MPG small cars require Premium gas for best overall efficiency and MPG?How about their big azz SUV Hybrids? Wouldn’t it be just as wise to require Premium gas for best efficiency & MPG? As for stale gas….it’ll still burn. It’ll at least be there to get you where you need to go when you need it. My thought is……If the beers cold, fukit and get on with it.Stale gas? I wonder if GM offers a method to remove the gas so you can put brand spankin new right outta the pump gas? If not, who gives a shit…….fukit and get on with it./but that’s just me, straight shot.//back to my Kahlua n Coffee!!!  (Quote)

    Hmmm… there’s a thought… Does the Cruze Eco, which is the 40mpg version, require premium?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:06 pm)

    Roy H: I think GM would like to keep the SUV market and not try to force these people into smaller cars (which they resist anyway and just buy from companies that sell SUVs)

    It’s not so much that GM sells these vehicles, it’s how vocal and excited Whitacre was in extolling their virtues. What was astonishing was that it seems apparent that rather than paving the path to financial success they are paving the way to another bankruptcy.

    Vehicle sales in the US, the EU, and Japan have been declining for years. Those areas are scrapping more vehicles each year than they are adding. The recession has accentuated the loss of new vehicle sales, but the downward trend was in place before the recession, so what you’re looking at is a secular trend which is likely to continue well into the future. People are holding their vehicles for longer periods of time and aren’t buying as many vehicles per person.

    The areas of growth are places like China, India, South America, and Eastern Europe. So in order to grow you have to selling in these areas. But there are challenges. In these places average family incomes are lower, so the vehicles have to be less expensive. In order to meet the challenge of delivering lower priced vehicles, you have to sell the same vehicle globally. This allows you to get total volumes up and the price per copy down. (In fact it’s the only way to get prices down).

    So where exactly can you sell full sized pickups and SUVs? You can sell them in NA, but after that it gets sketchy in a hurry. So in an era where car companies will need to have global vehicles and global suppliers, vehicles that you can only sell in one market are the best way to go bankrupt, and the vehicles that Whitacre seems so excited about are exactly those vehicles.

    If I thought he understood this and was just doing the “Texas Chamber Things” it wouldn’t be a big deal, but he doesn’t seem to have a clue. Then again what can you expect from a CEO who worked his way to the top in a government created monopoly. He just radiates the aura of a regulated telephone guy.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:12 pm)

    Charlie H:
    No, usually E-85 systems compensate for the lower density by using more fuel, which leads to roughly the same amount of power.  

    Ah. OK now I understand. Thanks.


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    JEC

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:12 pm)

    RB: JEC

    RB: Do we have any information on the cost of options? As most of the cars built are going to have many or most of the options, they will be nice additions but for the most part not optional, in the sense of choices. I am guessing some thousands of dollars, as on most cars at a similar price level, but will be happy to have some more definitive information.

    In the video it said that the few options (leather, larger tires, and a couple other minor ones) would make the total cost come in at about $45k, or something close to that.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:13 pm)

    firehawk72: BREAKING GOOD NEWSChevrolet to Increase Volt Production Capacity by 50 Percenthttp://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/production-capacity-50-percent,1404493.htmlHawk  (Quote)

    You should probably be thanking Ed Niedermeyer and the NYTimes for this bit of good news.

    It’s likely that the effect of Ed’s article is to shame GM into at least pretending that this is a car for the masses.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:16 pm)

    New thread has been posted everyone.


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    DonC

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:20 pm)

    jeffhre: 6. Chevy is now telling it’s audience why the Volt is better than other EV’s.

    Yeah, what in this piece remotely refutes the following: The Leaf after rebates could cost $20K. The Volt costs over $40K. The Leaf can use the HOV lanes. The Volt can’t. No amount of nice music is going to help this comparison. Plus Nissan seems a lot more active about promoting the Leaf. If I see one more Leaf commercial with Lance Armstrong I’m going to puke.

    jeffhre: Question. Why is everyone so intrigued by the range extending trailer? I personally like the range extending roof rack – something Mad Max style

    Cause the trailers appeal to the inner dork in all of us! :-) Plus I have a hard time envisioning the Missus hooking up the trailer much less hefting 400 pounds on to the roof.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:22 pm)

    DonC: If I thought he understood this and was just doing the “Texas Chamber Things” it wouldn’t be a big deal, but he doesn’t seem to have a clue. Then again what can you expect from a CEO who worked his way to the top in a government created monopoly. He just radiates the aura of a regulated telephone guy.  

    Yep. Big Ed was instrumental in re-monopolizing ma bell after the biggest anti-trust settlement in U.S. history.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if his plan is to get a successful IPO (whatever that might mean) out of GM and then duck for retirement cover before the Volt full reveal fallout hits the fan.


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    dave

     

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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:29 pm)

    Money Pit: GM is blowing smoke, its not 10% more efficient. Higher octane allows higher compression rations so you can get more HP from a given size engine, but its not more efficient at the actual burn rate of fuel to HP.  

    actually, higher compression is more efficient but I think 10% is a bit exagerated for the amount of additional compression they are using.

    the efficiency (defined as power out per unit of fuel burned) of both Otto and Diesel cycle engines is directly propoRtional to CR. this is a major reason diesels are more efficient- it’s possible to use a much higher CR.

    still, I doubt the efficiency makes up for a 30 cent per gallon price differential


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:33 pm)

    I drive an Acura CL ’01 and my wife drives a Mini Cooper. My MPG is almost THE SAME as hers as a result of driving a premium fuel only car. So there’s that to support the argument…

    Conversely, I think the argument may be apples to oranges. We are talking about a GENERATOR and NOT a POWER TRAIN engine! I thought the generator was a GM 4 cylinder used in their economy cars! Since when do they use premium fuel??


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (1:56 pm)

    Efried:
    with propper trip planning and use of alternative transport means we could live without that internal combustion engine or use a much smaller power generator having two cylinders only.  

    ========================

    Two days per week, I do have to drive over 100 miles per day for work.

    When retired, you are right. A BEV with a REAL range of 100 would work just fine for me….


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (2:04 pm)

    It’s a generator, I wonder if you have to smog it? The volt did not pass the (AT-PZEV) standard that’s why the buyer is not getting the state rebate and if AB 535 passes it won’t matter, you will not be able to go solo
    in the HOV lanes, I guess I will pass. GM should of waited untill they could develop 200 range EV instead… by
    then Infrastucture would be better established.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (2:33 pm)

    DonC: Yeah, what in this piece remotely refutes the following: The Leaf after rebates could cost $20K. The Volt costs over $40K. The Leaf can use the HOV lanes. The Volt can’t. No amount of nice music is going to help this comparison. Plus Nissan seems a lot more active about promoting the Leaf. If I see one more Leaf commercial with Lance Armstrong I’m going to puke.Cause the trailers appeal to the inner dork in all of us! Plus I have a hard time envisioning the Missus hooking up the trailer much less hefting 400 pounds on to the roof.  (Quote)

    “Inner dork?” I’m dork through and through, thank you very much.

    That trailer is 350lbs. It’s not hard to imagine that another 50, maybe even 100, pounds could be shaved off with a concerted engineering effort. On reasonably level surfaces, it should be fairly easy to shift this thing into position.

    The way trailers attach probably requires some thought, the hitch ball has always struck me as less than ideal. It might also be useful to provide lines for hot coolant to be circulated into the towing vehicle.

    The significant problem comes from parking, which is a nuisance with trailers. If it’s light enough and easy enough to detach/attach, maybe it’s not a big deal. I would put up with it.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (3:13 pm)

    nuclearboy: GM reads this blog too…

    Note to GM, find this local chevy dealer and make sure Lyle is taken care of. He should get one of the first 10 cars and it should be perfect…..

    I’m sure GM will do the right thing. After all, Ed Whitacre once contacted Lyle directly so they can certainly ask him what dealer’s list he is on and take good care of delivering there first.

    I have an interesting question for Lyle. Any news on how much GM intend to ask for the Volt in Canada ? They usually price the cars higher in Canada so the question is : how much higher do they intend to go ? If you have a chance to ask, it would be appreciated by many of us. Unless you want to keep it a secret so Statik don’t use it on ‘this other site’ he’s taking care of :-)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (3:25 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: Listen up, General… It is going to take a lot more than 120 days to get this through to people and since I can’t do all of the training by myself, it would be nice to see a few commercials on TV, and how about giving a production model to Road and Track, Car and Driver, MotorTrend, (and 1 to me) so we can start writing about it!!!

    That’s true. But don’t forget that only 10 000 cars are available on Year 1 and 30 000 on Year 2. That gives a lot of time to educate and I guess they hope some of that education will be provided by early adopters as well.

    One more reason why I do not understand they didn’t make any use of Lyle’s ‘want list’. These were your top teachers having 3 years of education already done.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (3:49 pm)

    Tall Pete:
    That’s true. But don’t forget that only 10 000 cars are available on Year 1 and 30 000 on Year 2. That gives a lot of time to educate and I guess they hope some of that education will be provided by early adopters as well.
    One more reason why I do not understand they didn’t make any use of Lyle’s ‘want list’. These were your top teachers having 3 years of education already done.  

    In light of the news, make it 45 000 on Year 2. It’s still not enough. If the orders keep on coming, they will soon annonce a new increase in production to 60 000.

    When they reach that number, if orders are still growing strong, it will become interesting… will they make a bold move to 120 000 ?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (5:16 pm)

    DonC: This is an OK scenario but:
    1. For every Volt owner there will be 3 or 4 Leaf owners, which means that you’re substantially more likely to hear about a Leaf than a Volt.
    2. If we can believe all the people who have leased EVs, those water cooler conversations will dissipate range anxiety so GM’s primary pitch about why EREVs are superior to EVs will fall flat as time moves on.
    3. If the point is to have an EV and avoid using gasoline, those water cooler conversations will suggest that BEVs like the Leaf accomplish this goal more effectively than an EREV like the Volt.
    4. Given (2) and (3), the water cooler conversations will strongly suggest that the disadvantages of the Volt — shorter EV range, the need for care and feeding of the ICE, and last but hardly finally the much higher price — don’t outweigh the disadvantages of a BEV not having a range extender. (I suspect you will be able to get a range extender on a trailer for an EV, I know someone already working on one for the Leaf).
    5. With each year there will be more EV models with various feature sets to choose from. Some will have longer range, some will have better performance, some will have lower price points, and so on and so forth. So in three years the Volt won’t necessarily be top of mind. (Even the most recent Prius conversions seem to outperform the Volt on the MPG front).
    Seems like GM has painted itself into a corner of relegating the Volt to niche vehicle status. There are some areas of the country which are more suited to the Volt’s EREV technology than to BEV technology, but those areas aren’t prime targets for BEVs or EREVs.

    I pretty much disagreed with every statement you made here.
    Time will tell.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (6:29 pm)

    Money Pit: This is simple science and yet again, GM for what ever reason is just trying to “spin” the decision to uses premium fuel

    You have the wrong science. The fact that premium gas has slightly lower energy content than regular gas is irrelevant because the overall efficiency of the engine is so incredibly poor. In other words, increasing engine efficiency is more important that increasing gasoline energy content.

    Try this wikipedia article, instead:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compression_ratio
    “A high compression ratio is desirable because it allows an engine to extract more mechanical energy from a given mass of air-fuel mixture due to its higher thermal efficiency. High ratios place the available oxygen and fuel molecules into a reduced space along with the adiabatic heat of compression – causing better mixing and evaporation of the fuel droplets. Thus they allow increased power at the moment of ignition and the extraction of more useful work from that power by expanding the hot gas to a greater degree.”

    I didn’t get a chance to post the other day when the topic was hot, but I was wondering if it could have been something along those lines. Basically, I was thinking the turbo version of the 1.4 would require premium since the turbo can effectively create the high compression for what would otherwise be a lower compression engine. But its compression can be made variable to cover a wide variety of operating conditions ( I like turbos :) ). But, if you don’t have to cover a wide variety of operating conditions, you could just fix the compression ratio to something that the turbo would have otherwise generated and then just run at that point and shut the engine down elsewhere. So, it’s like a single operating point turbo engine, without the turbo. And probably not a miller cycle, either, but I was just pondering, not engineering. :)


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:12 pm)

    Van: Hi Jeffhre @ 123
    The Volt Charge sustaining mode mileage is based on two claims, one the highway and city mileage are nearly the same, and two the range extender adds 300 miles to the range. Since we know the tank holds 9 gallons, but only about 8 would be available, 8 into 300 equals 37.5 MPG.

    Question 2) How many days a year do you drive 340 miles?


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (7:51 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers: Just don’t understand why the Volt has to have a premium price too?Take Care, TED  (Quote)

    The thing one has to remember about this car is that it is new technology. Think of the VCR. When VCRs came out they were about 1000 dollars, in early 1980s dollars. Ditto DVD players. The first DVD players were many hundreds of dollars. Today of course you can buy a combination VCR/DVD player at Big Lots for a bit under $40 or $30.

    So it being a bit high priced for size and appointments is not really a surprise. The price point will come down if the production supports it. More production tends to lower unit cost. Let’s say the government buys 50 F-22 fighters. Then they buy 150 more. If they run the line and have higher production, the “per plane” cost will usually go down.

    An electric or hybrid luxury car would actually make some sense given the price range they get into. Be a neat car but the Volt as it is now is a proof of concept vehicle.

    This current generation of electric cars is the barometer for whether it will take off with the customers out there. Similar to the EV-1 about 15 years ago. A customer can buy the Volt outright too as opposed to just leasing.

    Another part of the initial cost to consider is the need for a new manufacturing base to build up, retooling, maintenance etc.

    This is car one of this generation of electrics at GM.


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    Jul 30th, 2010 (11:06 pm)

    Where I live (Midwest), the biggest issue with premium vs. 87 octane gas is one word – ethanol. I can still buy premium fuel with zero ethanol content. The standard and mid-grades have 10 percent ethanol. Ethanol blend fuels start to phase separate in as little as 30 days, which is fine if you burn up a tank in 3-4 days like most cars in normal service. For any application where I expect the fuel to be unused for more than 30 days, I buy premium even though I don’t acutally need the higher octane – I just need gas with no ethanol. Typically these are low-use applications anyway (such as my boat and the wife’s 81 vette, both of which have a short use season here in the Midwest), so the added cost is minimal. So, if I had a Volt (which I won’t anytime soon) I would fill it with premium (read ethanol-free) fuel, regardless of what GM recommended, because I would expect the gas to be sitting in the tank for a while.


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    Russ

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    Jul 31st, 2010 (6:38 am)

    The Volt is an electric car????!!!! Let’s not loose sight of the fact that the Volt is a “series hybrid” period. No amount of GM spin can change that! I still want to get the biggest bang for my buck and it looks like the Prius fits the bill in both cost and the ability to burn regular gas!!!


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    Phred

     

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    Jul 31st, 2010 (9:32 am)

    I wish GM well and great success with the Volt too bad we can’t can’t afford the 41k (probabley higher once the dealers get it). One question I have is why gas? Why not a small (2 cylinder) diesel? Isn’t that most of our trains are? In other parts of the world, diesels are clean and quiet so why not? Also I thought diesels could run on other fuels such as bio diesel or natural gas.


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    Dan Petit

     

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    Jul 31st, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    Tagamet:
    Agreed re the money issues being negligible, especially in light of what jimza says – it’s NOT all about the money.
    Does anyone know if E85 can be MADE at premium grade? I know that it’s less energy dense (fewer mpg) and that it will draw water (hydroscopic?) – and therefore might not be best in a “rarely used” situation. The solution may be as simple as a little Sea Foam in the tank, but since Gen I won’t accept E85, it’s a moot point for a while yet.
    Not a particularly high interest topic for Moi.Be well,
    Tagamet/left a couple of replies on the last thread.  

    Hi Tag,

    No, e-85 can never have a premium label, and, as a matter of fact, it sets a “Calculated Engine Load” percentage at around 70 percent on an 07 Avalanche that one transmission repair shop tech (the Avalanche was in perfect shape, of course) had brought in for the A/T processing diagnostics seminar I was teaching them.
    He said that it was not quite as peppy as when he used regular gas.
    The energy content available at idle is really far less than in regular gas.
    So, E-85 is really contra-indicated as something desirable in a Volt. IOW, never use it!!
    Normally, a GM V-8 runs a “Calculated Engine Load” from between 1% to 7% after it has
    warmed up and is in Park.


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    Jul 31st, 2010 (3:13 pm)

    Why do auto manufactures continue to produce new vehicles that do not accept E85? As a purchaser who is reading the writing on the wall, I take note of more and more stations selling only E10, E25, E70, ET. Al. Many states are being pressed into higher E mandates by EPA, Clean air standards, and Ag lobbies. If you purchase a vehicle that can only burn unleaded gas with a max of E10 and the gas station only sells E15 or E20 as unleaded, don’t expect the manufacturer to solve your fuel related issues under warrantee. This happened when the government stopped allowing leaded gas (“regular gas”) to be sold and owners of vehicles requiring them had to use unleaded. As maintenance issues arose, the manufacturers were long on sympathy but short on assistance. Does anyone know how the transition from high sulfur to low sulfur to the ultra low sulfur mandate has affected older diesel cars on the road?


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    Jul 31st, 2010 (7:02 pm)

    In the past, GM always opted for no premium gas requirement except for a few of their vehicles, the Corvette being the most notable. Also some Cadillacs. I have never heard anyone claim that higher octane gas provided greater fuel economy, although I have to assume that GM engineers are correct in their statement here. Higher octane gas is harder ro ignite, thus necessary when
    performance engines have high compression ratios and thus are prone to preignition. I have read a statement once that claimed that lower octane gas actually contains more energy than high octane versions, but whether that’s true, I can’t verify. The going stale slower attribute was my
    first thought upon hearing about the Volt’s need for high octane gas. In most cases, since the Volt will ordinarily use such small amounts of gas, the issue is irrelevant.


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    Steve

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    Jul 31st, 2010 (7:22 pm)

    Mike Smith: Why do auto manufactures continue to produce new vehicles that do not accept E85? As a purchaser who is reading the writing on the wall, I take note of more and more stations selling only E10, E25, E70, ET. Al. Many states are being pressed into higher E mandates by EPA, Clean air standards, and Ag lobbies. If you purchase a vehicle that can only burn unleaded gas with a max of E10 and the gas station only sells E15 or E20 as unleaded, don’t expect the manufacturer to solve your fuel related issues under warrantee. This happened when the government stopped allowing leaded gas (“regular gas”) to be sold and owners of vehicles requiring them had to use unleaded. As maintenance issues arose, the manufacturers were long on sympathy but short on assistance. Does anyone know how the transition from high sulfur to low sulfur to the ultra low sulfur mandate has affected older diesel cars on the road?  (Quote)

    Maybe it’s handwriting on the wall in your area, but right now there are three E85 stations in CT. They are all CT DOT depots not selling fuel to the general public. So flex-fuel capability is rather moot here.


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    Aug 1st, 2010 (1:41 pm)

    The Infrastructure for E85 is not there right now. Same with Hydrogen. Unless someone is going to build a “Hydrogen Highway” it will be hard to fuel up on the go.

    Hybrids and Plug ins can use existing gas stations and relatively standard electric socket equipment.


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    Chevonly

     

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    Aug 2nd, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    Here we go again I call it nitpickin, so big deal the gas engine requires premium. The fabulous smart car barely big enough for two people requires premium fuel, and many people buy premium for better performance. I have an extra vehicle that I drive once a week to keep the battery charged up it is an old V/8 and I probably have to buy gas for it once every two months and have never had a problem with old or stale gas and it requires premium. So trust GM on this one and if you are one of the lucky ones to buy a Volt. I will probably not have the opportunity until 2012 or 2013.


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    Aug 8th, 2010 (10:45 am)

    I would get in touch with neighborhood universities as part of your area that train vehicle mechanics. I instruct vehicle mechanics with a career college and we really do not work on autos on the public. This is certainly due to liability situations as adequately as how for an extended time we would prefer to contain the vehicle to perform this variety of repair.


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    Aug 11th, 2010 (11:35 am)

    From a live web-chat today:

    John Hughes: Premium gas ensures that customers get maximum fuel economy when driving in extended-range mode. We don’t anticipate that Volt drivers will use a lot of gas, but when it’s needed, using premium fuel increases fuel efficiency by 5% or greater over the use of regular fuel. Simply put, premium fuel optimizes the engine’s characteristics.


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    Aug 20th, 2010 (9:18 am)

    That is rly stupid of gm. They shud hv gone with a diesel engine which is more efficient than petrol engines anyway.