Oct 12

Chevrolet Volt Electric Drive Propulsion System Unveiled

 


[ad#post_ad]A significant focal point of the Chevrolet Volt launch debriefing that I attended focused on detailing the inner workings of the car’s electric drive unit. This has been dispersed across the Internet often inaccurately and to much controversy that’s rather unwarranted.

I was one of a handful of journalists that attended a presentation by Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director of EVs and hybrids, in which he fully explained the way the system works.

The system was first designed in mid-2007 at which point GM decided to build what up to then was only a concept Chevy Volt. The patent was applied for around that time, and only two weeks ago the company was advised the patent was awarded.

The key components are the 111 kw electric motor, the 55 kw electric motor/generator, and the 62 kw 1.4 L gasoline engine.

The core element is the large electric motor which always turns the driveshaft. The car is always electrically driven. The motor turns the sun gear of a planetary gearset which itself is then connected to the driveshaft through two sets of gears set at a 7 to 1 combined gear reduction ratio. In this state of driving the generator is used to only recapture kinetic energy during motor braking and coasting which is then fed back into the battery. It is grounded to the crankcase by one of three clutches.

The next drive state occurs when the car is still in EV mode, but reaches around 70 mph. At that point the 111 kw electric motor begins to spins too rapidly and loses efficiency, around 6500 rpm. To improve efficiency the system kicks in the smaller 55 kw electric motor to operate in parallel. GM thought a lot about this element and considered instead adding a second gear, but figured they could simply use the generator because at these speeds, “it’s not doing anything, ” said Nitz. “It’s just along for the ride.”

It does so by releasing a second clutch, disengaging the ring of the planetary gearset from its formerly fixed position against the case, which then causes coupling of the generator into the ring gear of the planetary. The parallel input from the smaller motor then allows the RPMs of the larger motor to be reduced, improving the overall efficiency of the system. By allowing the second motor to participate, engineers gained an additional 1 to 2 miles of electric range.

The third state of the system occurs when the battery state of charge drops to a 20 to 25% state of charge, and extended range or charge-sustaining operation commences. There is still a buffer in the battery used to handle the dynamic responses of the vehicle in this mode.

At low speeds, the gas engine comes on board and spins the generator motor simply to produce electricity sufficient to supplement the battery and supply the electric motor. The engine is locked to the generator through a third clutch, and the ring gear stays grounded to the crankcase. GM calls this a weak one motor series that is battery dominant with the engine in the background picking up the average amount of energy the vehicle needs.

The fourth and controversial state commences when the vehicle reaches speeds of 70 mph while in extended range mode.

As in EV mode the ring gear is decoupled from the case by the clutch and the smaller electric motor is once again allowed to operate in parallel with the large motor, increasing the system’s efficiency. The difference here is that the smaller motor is still being turned by the engine and not electricity. Thus the engine becomes coupled with both electric motors and all three work together to turn the driveshaft. Thus the gas engine participates in turning the wheels mechanically although indirectly. The generator is decoupled from the ring gear again when speeds drop back below 70 mph.

Thus although the engine generator can participate in mechanically driving the wheels it never does so directly or in isolation, at all points in time the large electric motor is the main driver of the wheels.

By adding this element, engineers were able to improve fuel efficiency by 10 to 15%.

There has been considerable blogospheric controversy over this as this appears to contradict GM’s previous statements that the engine never drives the wheels. Nitz said GM had to be coy about this element due to intellectual property reasons, and now that the patent has been awarded can finally be more transparent.  He still says there is no solitary direct mechanical drive because to do so would require a clutch to the sun gear decoupling the 111 kw electric motor, something that doesn’t exist and doesn’t happen.

Does this element play a major role? It depends how often you drive over 70 mph and extended range mode.

Next question. How important is it to you?

See a video of Mr. Nitz’ whole presentation here.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 12:05 am and is filed under Efficiency, Electric Motor, Engineering, Generator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 338


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    Cab Driver

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:36 am)

    Lyle, thank you again for having given me the opportunity to put my guess about the GM “Output Split Electrically-Variable Transmission…” patent out for your readers to consider two weeks ago.

    Now that GM has confirmed how it works I will offer the opinion that it should make the Volt’s drivetrain a big success.


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    EVNow

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:38 am)

    I see no problem in this aspect of engineering. Only in the marketing of “erev”.

    So, when are they changing the website ?

    Volt%20Website.jpg


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:40 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:57 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:07 am)

    I don’t think it matters how the engine and electric motor work to power the car. What matters is the results. So far this is the ONLY mostly electric car that can be used by anybody that needs a car. The EV-1, the upcoming Nissan Leaf, the electric Mini, are limited to a 20 to 40 mile radius from your home. VERY few people are going to buy into a 20,000 to 30,000 car that you can’t drive away from your home, despite what some people on this blog think. They simply will not sell except to a very niche clientele.

    I think the real success or failure of the Volt will show when you compare it to the conventional Hybrids on the market now. Obviously the biggest competitor is the Prius as it is the ONLY successful hybrid vehicle from any manufacturer. If the Volt can achieve a reasonably competitive fuel economy number in SIDE by SIDE road tests against the Prius done by independent automotive publications, G.M. will have a Technological winner. If they can get the price down, they will have a marketing winner.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:12 am)

    Yesterday, I got to take a test drive in a 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

    After a presentation of features and drive system, we were taken out to the test area. There were 3 Volt and 2 Prius cars lined up. I got to drive the Prius first.

    The Prius powered on silently. After turning right onto the course, I had traveled only 20 feet or so then the engine came on. From that point forward it had the ‘sound’ like any other small economy car. The seats had no side support and the instrument panel is set far forward near the base of the windshield and for me and my tri-focal glasses, it was hard to read. If I had more time with it, I could have figured out the monocolor displays. The ride was average, and the car felt a little ‘top heavy’… lots of body lean in the turns.

    The Volt also started silently, after that colorful and animated welcome on the display screens. The driver’s display is at the usual dashboard position (much closer) and easy to read. The shift handle is larger than the toy in the Prius, and has a luxury feel about it.

    >Side Note<
    Someone here asked about the 'buttons' being silk-screened on so that after a few years the labels might rub off. That question concerned me so I checked it out. The console piece appears to be 'reverse painted' so that the text is actually the area without paint and so the backlight can shine through those areas. It does not appear the text could be "rubbed out".

    The Volt accelerates with more authority. I really wanted to get it up to freeway speeds, but the track was really small. It had plenty of turns. That was great. Handling was outstanding. Much like the Camaro. The "sound" of the electric drive system is exactly what I thought it would be. It sounds the same as the 2-mode system in the Tahoe, but quieter. With the A/C and stereo off, you can hear the soft "whir" of the electric motors. However, in the Tahoe when you reach about 15 MPH, the V8 engine kicks in. With the Volt, it just keeps accelerating quietly.

    I got 3 laps in the Volt, 1 in each mode: Normal, Sport and Mountain. In Mountain mode, it took about 10 seconds before the ICE Gen came to life. There were no surprises in any of the modes. When I was done, I checked out the back seat. It was comfortable like the front seat, but it is low on headroom back there. I like the Black with Neutral Leather Seats. Very stylish.

    My Verdict: This is a "Luxury Electric with Extended Range". Period. If I were running the marketing Department, that is how I would promote it. It is not a Mercedes, but it could easily be mistaken for a Lexus on the inside. And if I could control manufacturing, I would order that the Volt MPV5 would get an immediate green light. With more headroom, legroom and utility in the back, it would be a Grand Slam!


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    Big Bird

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:12 am)

    OMG Lyle thats what I said in post 261 on the last thread!!!! Yeahhh I’m not crazy :)

    A lot of this was covered many months ago by that French engineer from GM. She started talking about having two e-motors and mixing and matching. The thread was a little vague and if I remember correctly it caused quite a discussion!


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    Cab Driver

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:20 am)

    usbseawolf2000: The patent was published in March 26, 2009. That seems a lot longer than two weeks.  (Quote)

    That date was the date of publishing the patent application. The application wasn’t approved until about 2 weeks ago.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:24 am)

    lyle,

    thank you for the explanation, it is clear an easy to follow. as far as my reaction, i would say that it is important for gm to not try to pull a snowjob on the volt introduction. the volt isn’t exactly what they probably wanted to be, but it is a great start, so don’t ruin it with an attempted snowjob. i think that gm is farther along than the prius plug-in hybrid and i suspect that owners of the nissan leaf are probably in for a few surprises since i suspect that leaf owners are going to have to live with some of the limitations that caused gm to ultimately make the volt a plug-in hybrid.

    for my own part, the recent disclosures have had no impact on my interest in leasing a volt because it was my expectation all along was that the 2011 volt is a 1st generation product and that there would be improvements in future years. all the disclosures do is make me aware of what some of the limitations are in the first generation volt; but i like knowing those limitations before i lease rather than after. as it is, it appears to me that gm has consistently made the right engineering tradeoff decisions with the volt, which is another reason why the disclosure of limitations in the current design are of less concern to me. as i’ve stated, the people who are enthusiastically going the nissan leaf route are going to get some surprises – they just don’t know what they are yet…

    as to criticisms, i don’t like the cutesy attempt to declare that the ICE does not *directly* drive the wheels, because the fact of the matter is that it does drive the wheels; as i understand the configuration, in the 4th mode, the generator is acting as little more than a linkage element. that would be like saying that the electric motor doesn’t directly drive the wheels because there is a gearing apparatus between the sun gear and the wheels.

    as to why gm didn’t reveal this sooner, the reasons are strictly (and reasonably) for market competition reasons: according to the patent application, that thing was published a year and a half ago, so the technical information has been out there. what was not revealed was the specific product plans for the volt. that was a sensible thing to do because it would have given the competition valuable information that they could not have gotten from the patent application, but the decision to not reveal the product plans (or be “more transparent”) had nothing to do with the patent application or any intellectual property reasons (which is in the process of being awarded but has not been awarded yet and probably won’t be awarded for several months but that’s a somewhat minor point) because, as i stated, the intellectual property information in the patent application has been public for the past year and a half.


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    JB

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:26 am)

    OK..now we know what the Volt is, GM now needs to build a 100% EV.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:29 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:34 am)

    they could have done that now, but then the volt would have been a niche vehicle for commuter or second car purposes. gm wanted the volt to be just as versatile as existing IC vehicles; that includes the ability to drive at highway speeds for more than 40 miles. they might have been able to avoid the direct linkage of the ICE to the drivetrain if they have installed a larger motor which could generate more power (i believe this is the approach that fisker took with the karma) but then you are talking a considerably bigger, supercharged engine and a larger vehicle overall.

    JB: OK..now we know what the Volt is, GM now needs to build a 100% EV.  


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:38 am)

    The Prius is primarily driven by the gas engine and uses electric to improve overall efficiency.

    The Volt is Primarily driven by the electric motor to eliminate the use of gasoline for ~80% of all trips and only uses gas as a ‘last resort’ to allow for long trips.

    Since *my* primary interest is reducing dependence on foreign oil – I’ll go with the Volt!

    In addition, the Volt is able to use its internal clutches to shift between Series and Parallel hybrid modes to improve overall efficiency over either method alone. I can’t wait to get one!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:40 am)

    my sense is that compared to the leaf, the volt looks like a much more upscale vehicle, and i believe that the standard volt has more appointments than does the standard leaf; so i think that some of the criticisms about the higher price for the volt may not be entirely fair. after all, if they have put a cadillac nameplate on the vehicle instead of chevrolet, i suspect there would have been fewer complaints about the price. then again, it would be hard to sell a cadillac hatchback from a marketing positioning standpoint.

    CorvetteGuy: My Verdict: This is a “Luxury Electric with Extended Range”. Period. If I were running the marketing Department, that is how I would promote it. It is not a Mercedes, but it could easily be mistaken for a Lexus on the inside. And if I could control manufacturing, I would order that the Volt MPV5 would get an immediate green light. With more headroom, legroom and utility in the back, it would be a Grand Slam!  


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:42 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:47 am)

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    BatteriesIncluded

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:49 am)

    One thing that’s not clear. At low speed with the gasoline engine off, can the drive train swap between accelerating and regenerative breaking without waggling any of those clutches? I am thinking city driving here.

    Its the mass of parts that wear out that concern me rather than any loss of purity of concept. The simple idea of generator charging battery and motor/generator driving wheels needed no clutch at all, i.e. no friction surfaces to wear out and need replacing.

    I suspect they could get more than the 10/15 percent efficiency this complexity adds by a more specialised internal combustion engine that is optimized for spinning a generator.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:52 am)

    nobody reveals *everything* because part of the listening audience is competitors. customers don’t really have to know the details until close to the time of purchase. by then, you’ve got time to establish a market presence before the competitors can react. if you reveal stuff too far in advance, the competitors can cut you off before you can establish a market presence. that is the real reason for not being more transparent until now; it was not because of intellectual property reasons related to the patent application.

    Geo: Not my idea of honesty.What other facts about the car are they fudging?  


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:53 am)

    no comment: your statement is not true for the prius plug-in hybrid.it is my assumption that it was the prius plug-in hybrid that corvetteguy test drove.
      

    From what I’ve read the Prius *cannot* travel at full highway speed on electric power alone – even the plug-in version. The Volt’s electric range is ~3x the plug-in Prius’ low-speed electric range?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:54 am)

    EVNow: I see no problem in this aspect of engineering. Only in the marketing of “erev”.
    So, when are they changing the website ?

    You’re acting like a five year old. Let’s turn this around. Nissan says the Leaf is a zero emission vehicle. Is it really? How about all the pollution created by all the coal burning plants in Ohio? Why not get all riled up about this “falsehood” and run over to the Leaf Forum and demand that Nissan change it’s web site!!!!!

    Grow up already. Surely by this time in your life you’ve figured out that when you’re marketing you’re avoiding complexity. This is a web site, not a technical paper. What do you want them to say: “The Volt only uses gas to power its range-extending generator, which makes electricity to power the vehicle. This may in some instances include using an epicyclic gear set that allows the range-extending generator to couple with planetary gears when being turned by the gas engine.” Give me a break. That would be completely meaningless for 99.9% of the readers and wouldn’t make anything clear at all.

    Also you seem to think the web site is technically inaccurate but you would most definitely be wrong. There are only two claims being made: (1) The Volt only uses gas to power the generator. (2) The generator makes electricity that powers the vehicle. Both statements seem 100% accurate to me. EXACTLY which of these two statements are you saying is inaccurate? And if you say they are explain yourself because they sure seem accurate on their faces.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:56 am)

    Cab Driver: That date was the date of publishing the patent application. The application wasn’t approved until about 2 weeks ago.

    Thank you. And great job on the patent application sleuthing and your earlier article. Nice work!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:58 am)

    you’re correct, in the prius plug-in hybrid, the ICE always provides drive assist at highway speeds. in this regard, the prius plug-in hybrid operates similar to the volt when in CS mode. however, the statement of yours that i said was incorrect was your statement that the prius plug-in hybrid is driven *primarily* by the ICE.

    Larry:
    From what I’ve read the Prius *cannot* travel at full highway speed on electric power alone – even the plug-in version.  


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:05 am)

    EVnow made a good point and i think that your criticism is improper. while the initial (and desired) market position for the volt was to carve out a new ER-EV market position, the fact is that the volt is now a plug-in hybrid. that is why gm is now comparing the volt to the prius plug-in hybrid instead of the nissan leaf.

    i think that your claims that nissan is spreading falsehoods by declaring the leaf to be a zero emission vehicle are without merit. the leaf is what it is: it does not produce emissions. attempting to attach emissions from the downstream sources of the electricity, as though they are the responsibility of nissan, makes no sense whatsoever. i mean, if a leaf purchases is concerned about emissions in the production of electricity, they should get their electricity supplied to their home using renewable sources. but that is a consumer decision, not one to be made by nissan.

    DonC:
    You’re acting like a five year old. Let’s turn this around. Nissan says the Leaf is a zero emission vehicle. Is it really? How about all the pollution created by all the coal burning plants in Ohio? Why not get all riled up about this “falsehood” and run over to the Leaf Forum and demand that Nissan change it’s web site!!!!!  


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:10 am)

    It is very likely possible that the Volt could be able to run in serial hybrid mode all the way up to its top speed while in charge sustaining mode without switching to the parallel hybrid mode, it is just MORE EFFICIENT to run it as a parallel hybrid at higher vehicle speeds.

    no comment: they could have done that now, but then the volt would have been a niche vehicle for commuter or second car purposes.gm wanted the volt to be just as versatile as existing IC vehicles; that includes the ability to drive at highway speeds for more than 40 miles.they might have been able to avoid the direct linkage of the ICE to the drivetrain if they have installed a larger motor which could generate more power (i believe this is the approach that fisker took with the karma) but then you are talking a considerably bigger, supercharged engine and a larger vehicle overall.
      


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:11 am)

    OK… so the Volt isn’t the serial hybrid I thought it was. Disappointed? Yes. Will I still buy the car? Yes.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:19 am)

    no comment: i think that your claims that nissan is spreading falsehoods by declaring the leaf to be a zero emission vehicle are without merit.

    You’re a crack up. Actually not only was the claim completely without merit, it was mind numbingly stupid. That was the point. Since you missed it, the point was that the claim that the GM web site is misleading is as stupid as the claim that Nissan has mislead people about the Leaf being a zero emission vehicle. They’re basically the same. If you’re trying to find a problem, you pick some dumb and meaningless detail which has been left out and then scream like a stuck pig that you’ve been misled.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:20 am)

    Based on your comment regarding your distinction between ER-EV and plug-in hybrid, I have a question for you… If GM simply chose to never engage the parallel hybrid mode and instead only run this system as a serial hybrid in charge sustaining mode (albeit less efficiently at high vehicle speeds), would you still call it a plug-in hybrid instead of an ER-EV? If so, why??

    no comment: EVnow made a good point and i think that your criticism is improper.while the initial (and desired) market position for the volt was to carve out a new ER-EV market position, the fact is that the volt is now a plug-in hybrid.that is why gm is now comparing the volt to the prius plug-in hybrid instead of the nissan leaf.i think that your claims that nissan is spreading falsehoods by declaring the leaf to be a zero emission vehicle are without merit.the leaf is what it is: it does not produce emissions.attempting to attach emissions from the downstream sources of the electricity, as though they are the responsibility of nissan, makes no sense whatsoever.i mean, if a leaf purchases is concerned about emissions in the production of electricity, they should get their electricity supplied to their home using renewable sources.but that is a consumer decision, not one to be made by nissan.
      


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:23 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:26 am)

    so was cabdriver right?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:27 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:33 am)

    BatteriesIncluded: At low speed with the gasoline engine off, can the drive train swap between accelerating and regenerative breaking without waggling any of those clutches?

    No clutch waggling is needed to alternate between acceleration and regenerative braking.

    During acceleration the control electronics send current from the battery through the inverter into the traction motor. This speeds up the car.

    During regenerative braking the control electronics take current from the traction motor through the inverter to the battery. This slows down the car.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:42 am)

    Personally, I think that the people who are really riled up about the fact that the ICE is mechanically linked to the wheels _some of the time_ aren’t thinking about it from the engineer’s point of view. I’m just hypothesizing here, but I’m guessing that when they did the analysis of performance in CS mode, they found that it wasted more gas trying to run the ICE fast enough to supply that amount of power through the generator than if they linked it to the drivetrain. They probably found that running the wheels on electric power only at that speed in CS would either need a bigger engine (which would most likely decrease the overall efficiency) or some significant drag reduction (which might not be feasible because of other design constraints). You can’t always go all the way back to the drawing board on a project with so many interdependent parts.

    As long as it increases the efficiency, it’s fine with me, because I believe that is the primary goal, not whether the Volt fits some particular mold. I think GM’s solution is pretty ingenious, in fact.

    I am one of those people who rarely drives as fast as 70MPH anyway, unless I am going down a big hill, so I would almost never operate it in the regime where the ICE is mechanically connected to the drivetrain.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:46 am)

    If the engine starts to power the wheels directly at speeds greater than 70mph then it clearly cannot be doing much in the way of battery charging at that time. Maybe this is why the reported CS mpg performance is a bit lame or average for the industry.

    It would be interesting to see what CS mpg would be a say 68mph (just below the trigger point for the ICE).


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:53 am)

    no comment: i agree with EVnow that it is misleading for gm to promote the volt as an ER-EV vehicle because it is a plug-in hybrid.

    He didn’t say what you’re saying he said. He said the web site is misleading. It’s not. It’s 100% accurate.

    As for GM misleading people about whether the Volt is an ER-EV, GM made up the term “ER-EV.” It means whatever GM says it means. And what it has generally been thought to mean is a serial plug in hybrid. Did you not get the memo that the Volt is a serial plug in hybrid?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:59 am)

    when you make up a new term, you have to say what it means. the meaning that gm had given to ER-EV was a vehicle where the ICE was *never* connected to the drivetrain. given that the ICE is now connected to the drivetrain (and the attempts by gm to say otherwise are not persuasive) continued use of the term ER-EV is misleading; the volt is now a plug-in hybrid like the prius plug-in hybrid.

    as to your suggestion that the volt is a “serial plug in hybrid”, the current volt is not that, either.

    DonC:
    As for GM misleading people about whether the Volt is an ER-EV, GM made up the term “ER-EV.” It means whatever GM says it means. And what it has generally been thought to mean is a serial plug in hybrid. Did you not get the memo that the Volt is a serial plug in hybrid?  


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:59 am)

    omnimoeish: so was cabdriver right?

    Completely. The only thing was he didn’t think GM was using the two motors in tandem in CS Mode, but that was because of what had been said. He said he didn’t understand why they wouldn’t.

    10/10


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:08 am)

    no comment: the meaning that gm had given to ER-EV was a vehicle where the ICE was *never* connected to the drivetrain.

    Actually what they said was that the ICE was never “directly” connected to the drivetrain. It’s not. You’re problem is that you weren’t paying sufficient attention. Sometimes it helps to stay awake in class.

    In this regard, GM was always pretty clear that they were being coy. We knew there was a transmission. We knew the motors coupled. We knew it was somehow related to the two mode setup. And a couple of week ago we had a tutorial on the patent that covers all this. What do you want them to do, talk about the patent before it’s granted?

    And yes the Volt is a serial hybrid. Don’t quibble about nothing. Just go with it.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:19 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Yesterday, I got to take a test drive in a 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

    Great to hear about your test drive. You must have looked forward to it after all this time!

    I like the Luxury Electric with Extended Range tagline. This would make sense given the Chevy brand. Maybe GM should move you to marketing and advertising?


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    herm

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:08 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:27 am)

    With all that is being said these last two days. It’s clear we have a strong incentive to stay within the 40 mile battery range of the Volt. The Consumer Advisory Board will deliver the substance the public is waiting for. Providing honest and unbiased reviews of the 2011 Volt.

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:54 am)

    I rarely would use speeds above 70 mph since the highest speed limit in my state is 65mph. In fact I would guess very few miles would ever be driven above 50 mph since I would be using the car as a commuter. I would like to know how this driveline compares to the EV1 driveline? I read that they took the govener off a EV1 and it went over 200mph?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:58 am)

    no comment: …as to why gm didn’t reveal this sooner, the reasons are strictly (and reasonably) for market competition reasons.

    Earlier this year GM provided an animated walk through of how the Volt handles different terrain. In this animation it shows the Volt driving up a grade. I believe they said, “boost of power” or “added boost” or “work together”. At that time I believed the battery buffer would be temporarily widened to allow climbing boost. It appears a high ICE rpm is needed to operate at higher speeds (An unofficial graph notes this as being 4800 rpm). One of the main benefits of driving electrically is not having to race a small gasoline engine. I am interested in seeing a graph directly from GM displaying a few typical acceleration patterns under CS mode. One being a casual acceleration to 30mph or 40mph then gradually increasing to 65mph. Another maintaining 68mph. And the third being a 50mph to 80mph short term sprint. Now that the gearing information is out. I feel this is an appropriate gesture for GM to make.

    =D-Volt


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:28 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:47 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:54 am)

    no comment: the way that the patent system in the u.s. works now is that the publication date is significant because that is the date the the information becomes public knowledge. so what usbseawolf2000 is saying is that the information in the patent application has been known to the public since march 26, 2009.  (Quote)

    The point being made was the GM Volt team was informed of their successful patent application (i.e. patent granted) on Set 21 2010. Until that point, why would they even want to talk about it?
    The complexities of split-speed planetary gearsets and adjacent terminology is not lay-speak. So the terms the Volt team used were chosen strictly to prevent accidental disclosure of their intellectual property while technically NOT lying to anyone. People familiar with the terminology would concur, despite what some less-informed automotive bloggers and EV-media might allude.

    I suggest anyone that wants to improve their understanding of this powertrain, watch this video- paying particular attention to Larry Nitz explanations, including his fielding of numerous questions

    http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm

    WopOnTour


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:01 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:01 am)

    usbseawolf2000: The patent was published in March 26, 2009. That seems a lot longer than two weeks.  

    Published does not mean awarded. I have 3 patents published. This allows people/companies to challenge the patent before it is awarded.

    That said, his statement that they wanted to be “coy” until it was awarded is a little strange. While the general public would not be able to sift through all of the published patents to find this information, the competition (Toyota, Ford, etc) have engineers/legal reviewing patents published all the time related to the industry. Looking for potential violations by the competition or potential problems for themselves, looking to see what is coming from the competition and starting to formulate around it, etc.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:19 am)

    Eco_Turbo: #44 TeaTime said:A reasonable person should ask what else have we been told has been less than 100% truthful (battery life, efficiency numbers, etc.?How about price?  (Quote)

    What do you mean?
    Whenever pressed the GM Volt team alluded the Volt would be ~$40,000- which it is!
    ($41,000 INCLUDES destination charges that are not traditionally “included” in ANY advertised MSRP)
    WOT


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:28 am)

    WopOnTour: I suggest anyone that wants to improve their understanding of this powertrain, watch this video- paying particular attention to Larry Nitz explanations, including his fielding of numerous questions
    http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm

    The graph posted at 14 minutes into the video is what I wanted to see. An 80% acceleration w/ ICE rpm (in CS). The 1.4L isn’t flogged to achieve good acceleration. Runs at a normal 3000 rpm in a fairly steady manner. Good news on the CS drive system.

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:44 am)

    My two cents worth: the topic of direct drive by the ICE has been discussed (a lot). Also many comments have talked about the transmission being overly complex. To NOT have the ICE connected to the wheels would really require more gears and/or another MG (remember that the generator is a significant part of the “variable transmission”). So really, the two electric motors are significant in the drive process even when the ICE is turning the generator. Decoupling it further would require more complexity and more cost. GM is to be commended on their choices and engineering trade-offs. Good going, GM. I really look forward to the arrival of my Volt!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:46 am)

    DonC: You’re a crack up. Actually not only was the claim completely without merit, it was mind numbingly stupid. That was the point

    UNIX boxes don’t understand nuance, sarcasm, or humor.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:01 am)

    Arthur: If the engine starts to power the wheels directly at speeds greater than 70mph then it clearly cannot be doing much in the way of battery charging at that time.

    Nobody said the generator charges the battery. It generates electricity to power the main motor when the battery is below the lower SoC.

    The generator is directly in line at that point and spinning. All they need is to energize the fields and the generator starts generating.

    If the battery is below SoC, the generator needs to be making electricity to keep the primary electric motor running.

    Had GM not done it this way (for example, using a third shaft for the ICE alone into the transaxel) it would have been less efficient for a generator (spin the EVT first, generate second.) As it is, the ice/generator as a unit that is engaged when *both* generation and EVT functionality is needed.

    I think the design is elegant and beautiful.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:02 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:04 am)

    This is going to be one of those very long days, here at gm-volt.com.

    Be kind to each other,
    Tagamet


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    The grump

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:13 am)

    Tu much infermation… my hed ‘urts. I need to hit sumtin wit a hammer.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:20 am)

    Cab Driver: Lyle, thank you again for having given me the opportunity to put my guess about the GM “Output Split Electrically-Variable Transmission…” patent out for your readers to consider two weeks ago.Now that GM has confirmed how it works I will offer the opinion that it should make the Volt’s drivetrain a big success.  (Quote)

    I agree. It makes the drivetrain much more versatile with today’s technology. It will be the higher power SS and larger electric car drivetrain in GM’s near term plans IMO. Please, please marketing Gods bestow some vision in GM’s marketing brass so they see what this can do for the CUV and Minivan.

    For the more EV purists, we can hope for a little larger SOC window and smaller, less coupled genset that is 20-30% more efficient. A smaller, lighter 16kwh battery mated to a lighter, purpose built platform that engadges mountain mode at a higher SOC. This could be the 50 mile AER and 50+mpg EREV for under $30k 3 years from now.


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    Jim I

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:22 am)

    Here is my take on this:

    I am not an engineer, so I have to trust that the decisions made by the real engineers assigned to this project were in the best interests of making the car work as efficiently as possible.

    Now, how does this really affect me:

    1. Not all that much, as 95% of my usual daily driving patterns are at speeds less than 70 MPH.
    2. If the use of the ICE to help turn the wheels at high speeds makes it more fuel efficient, then why is everyone getting so upset? Wasn’t that the whole idea of the Volt?
    3. Do I feel “betrayed by GM” about this? Hardly. If anyone here actually thought that GM has been telling us 100% about this new vehicle, then you are really living in some dream world…..

    Two other thoughts:

    This is version 1.0 of EREV!!! Who is to say what version 2 will be like???? Once this car hits the road, they will see where improvements can be made. That is how it works……….

    I am actually more concerned about when GM will open up other areas of the country for Volt sales, than the possibility of the ICE driving the wheels in CS mode at 70+ MPH. In other words, when will GM officially announce that I can go to Sweeney Chevrolet in Boardman, OH and place my order for a Volt???

    JMHO

    NPNS

    Have Outlet – Ready For EREV!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:28 am)

    EVNow: I see no problem in this aspect of engineering. Only in the marketing of “erev”.So, when are they changing the website ?  

    That is still how it works…

    The ICE couples to the electric generator motor, which is linked to the wheels. The gas engine is still powering the electric generator motor.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:30 am)

    Eco_Turbo: Now that GM knows that they have a patent, they should be able to take away the price pad they built in.

    Huh? How are these in any way connected?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:31 am)

    no comment: let me clarify: i agree with EVnow that it is misleading for gm to promote the volt as an ER-EV vehicle because it is a plug-in hybrid.it is not misleading for nissan to promote the leaf as a zero emissions vehicle.
      

    How can this be misleading? GM invented the term “E-REV”. They can define it any way they want. In every sense, it is a pure EV when in CD mode. That’s the “EV” part of E-REV. The “E-R” portion of the term refers to the ICE portion of the equation. A lot of people made assumptions about how that part would work, based on a simplistic serial-hybrid model.

    Anyone following this site should not have been surprised by the announcement yesterday. It was speculated long before CabDriver found the patent application and his analysis pretty much sealed the deal on GM’s powerflow strategy for the Volt.

    The bottom line is that “although the engine generator can participate in mechanically driving the wheels it never does so directly or in isolation, at all points in time the large electric motor is the main driver of the wheels.”

    A lot of articles written yesterday would be wise to correct and/or detract some of their statements.

    As I see it, much of the furor has more to do with the GM bailout than with the technology itself and that’s sad.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:32 am)

    no comment: my sense is that compared to the leaf, the volt looks like a much more upscale vehicle, and i believe that the standard volt has more appointments than does the standard leaf; so i think that some of the criticisms about the higher price for the volt may not be entirely fair. after all, if they have put a cadillac nameplate on the vehicle instead of chevrolet, i suspect there would have been fewer complaints about the price. then again, it would be hard to sell a cadillac hatchback from a marketing positioning standpoint.  (Quote)

    Yet Jaguar and Porsche have done it. They could have easily marketed it as a Buick or Cadillac and have it fit the line better than as a Chevy, IMO. But, they would not get the same value from the “halo” effect for the rest of the brand as they will for Chevy.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:33 am)

    The grump: Tu much infermation… my hed ‘urts. I need to hit sumtin wit a hammer.

    Tag, looks like you got another customer.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:37 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:38 am)

    TeaTime: A simple “For competitive reasons, we can not provide detailed operating specifications at this time” would have been sufficient.BUT, what we have as a matter of written and video record are statements from GM engineers and management that “appear” as half-truths.A reasonable person should ask what else have we been told has been less than 100% truthful (battery life, efficiency numbers, etc.?
      

    In saying that, or something along the lines of “no comment”, you completely tip your hat anyway.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:39 am)

    DonC:
    He didn’t say what you’re saying he said. He said the web site is misleading. It’s not. It’s 100% accurate.
    As for GM misleading people about whether the Volt is an ER-EV, GM made up the term “ER-EV.” It means whatever GM says it means. And what it has generally been thought to mean is a serial plug in hybrid. Did you not get the memo that the Volt is a serial plug in hybrid?  

    LOL…great minds.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:39 am)

    JohnK: Huh? How are these in any way connected?  (Quote)

    I’m thinking they put a higher price than needed in case they didn’t get a patent and had to pay someone a royalty. If they did, then we could get a price break.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:48 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:48 am)

    Eco_Turbo: I think it’s safe to say GM let the journalists beat them to it.

    GM offered the Volt to journalists and Motor Trend expecting a fair shake. Just as we are. When we read lines like “ICE usually runs wide open” and “RPM follows acceleration” it makes one wonder who is correct. GM or everyone else? The truth is the ICE doesn’t run wide open. When in CS mode the ICE pauses to allow the battery to propel the Volt to city street speeds. Then begins to match acceleration until an RPM of about 3000 is reached. The ICE then more or less maintains 3000rpm unless the accerator is depressed past 80%. The ICE will rise to 4800rpm under full demand conditions.

    A live twitter feed of a journalist posting a random miles/fuel report as he drove for over 220 miles distance? Speeds, hills, how hard on the accelerator ..ect??? The Consumer Advisory Board reports are sure to be a bit more in focus.

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:51 am)

    The Volt propulsion is a very good design and something the GM engineers should be proud of. It is for sure superior to anything else on the market. Only I believe GM marketing made a mistake in their messaging. So now, rather than seeing the quality of the design, the focus is how GM misrepresented the Volt with the message of the EREV and how it is no way like a hybrid. For me this does not change my desire to own a Volt (as soon as I can afford it).


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    tom w

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:54 am)

    solo: The EV-1, the upcoming Nissan Leaf, the electric Mini, are limited to a 20 to 40 mile radius from your home

    Not sure why people continue to say cars like the leaf are limited to 40 mile radius. Please say limited to 40 mile radius without charging away from home. Owners of these cars will be able to charge at work, or at quick charge stations that will pop up along major highways etc. Just the same way as any ICE car is not limited to 150 mile range of their home.

    The leaf advertises an 80% charge in 20 or so minutes, but the best solution will be when charging at work becomes available (average driver may need only to add on a few KWH at work to have safe buffer) then commuters won’t ever have to stop to fill up and can easily drive over 100 miles a day.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:55 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:56 am)

    JohnK: The grump: Tu much infermation… my hed ‘urts. I need to hit sumtin wit a hammer.

    Tag, looks like you got another customer.

    “Now serving #48. Who has #49. # 49?…..” (Three couches, no waiting…)

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:04 am)

    #70 tom w said:

    Owners of these cars will be able to charge at work, or at quick charge stations that will pop up along major highways etc. Just the same way as any ICE car is not limited to 150 mile range of their home.

    When you get tired of all that, please let me know, I have a pontoon boat in mind that could benefit greatly from that Leaf’s battery.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:31 am)

    I can only speculate the reason electric motors are not placed directly behind each wheel is because that would put them outside of any suspension system and make them vulnerable to poor road condition abuse. Thus the need for a heavy drive shaft or differential. Maybe someday we’ll see a four wheel drive EREV. Here’s a question for the engineers on the site. If you place a 100 horsepower electric motor on four wheels do you get 400 horsepower performance? How does the Tesla Roadster or Nissan Leaf manage speeds above 70mph? How did the EV1 do it? Looks to me like GM “engineered” room for improvement.

    NPNS!


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    Xandor

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:36 am)

    It is a PHERB!
    Plug-in Extended Range Battery Electric Vehicle, depending how far and how fast you will be driving.

    I’m from the Netherlands and our petrol price is more dan double the price in the US. For me it would save a lot of money and I still can visit my family and can enjoy my holidays in Germany because of the high range.
    I can’t wait for the Ampera.
    I am a Prius fan but I think Toyota can learn something from GM at this moment.


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    Starcast

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    WOW 2 days of this. Who cares?

    Can the Volt run on Electric most days for most people? YES

    Can the volt keep going after you use up the Batt with a gas gen extending it’s range? Yes

    Can the gas motor sometimes provide a small % of the power to the wheels only after the Batt is out of power above 70 mph? Yes

    SO, who cares? Not me.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:41 am)

    Now that I have a better understanding of the drive-train, I am completely in awe of the engineering that has gone into this system. It’s all about maximizing efficiency…..past your 35 to 50 mile pure electric range…..the electric motors “MIGHT” get a little help from the ICE…..”IF” you had the need to drive OVER THE SPEED LIMIT in most areas of the country…..and again….only to maximize fuel efficiency while “speeding”. GM…..this is pure GENIUS!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:42 am)

    tom w: Owners of these cars will be able to charge at work, or at quick charge stations that will pop up along major highways etc.

    How will the snow removal problem be dealt with? That poses a significant barrier to providing public electric outlets… not to mention cost. And in the parking ramps, how would all the wiring be dealt with? Where would you put an outlet in spaces that are already cramped?

    In other words, the infrastructure is a mess and will take a very long time to deal with. That’s why automakers are pursuing a variety ways to deliver emission & efficiency solutions.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:43 am)

    Excellent video, GM!!

    So in essence, the Volt is:

    1) An EV for 25 to 50 miles, with no ICE intervention
    2) A performance orientated EV that is fun to drive
    3) Includes a state-of-the-art battery pack with thermal conditioning for long battery life
    4) Can operate in a series or parallel CS mode, depending upon which is most efficient
    5) Has an elegant compact drivetrain with multiple features (low range, mountain mode, sport mode, etc.)
    6) Can operate as an EV only in “EV Only” urban areas with selection of “Hold” mode (if included in the US)
    7) Will likely get, with utility factor included, a 125 to 150 mpg EPA rating.

    What’s all the bitchin’ about?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:50 am)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:52 am)

    BatteriesIncluded: Its the mass of parts that wear out that concern me rather than any loss of purity of concept. The simple idea of generator charging battery and motor/generator driving wheels needed no clutch at all, i.e. no friction surfaces to wear out and need replacing.

    Yes, me too. One can image a whole multitude of failure modes, kind of the opposite of the “simplicity” we once supposed for a mostly electric car. Maybe none of these failures will ever happen, but then again, there is the saying “if it can go wrong it will.” And with all these clutches and modes, there are a tremendous number of parts, sensors, and adjustments that can go wrong.

    When the first Chevrolet Citation was released about 1980, people loved the car. Then all the sorts of things that could go wrong in a new design started to go wrong. I hope we are not about to repeat that experience.

    Optimistically, I’ll assume that none of these things will ever go wrong and hope that will turn out to be the case.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:52 am)

    #77 Dave said:

    ”IF” you had the need to drive OVER THE SPEED LIMIT in most areas of the country…..and again….only to maximize fuel efficiency while “speeding”. GM…..this is pure GENIUS!

    I hope the four or five Americans who never speed aren’t offended by this.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:53 am)

    Dave K.: GM offered the Volt to journalists and Motor Trend expecting a fair shake. Just as we are. When we read lines like “ICE usually runs wide open” and “RPM follows acceleration” it makes one wonder who is correct. GM or everyone else? The truth is the ICE doesn’t run wide open.

    The problem is that the MT drivers were driving all out, and so the ICE has to run all out also.


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    herm

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:55 am)

    A question for you legal experts.. the patent has been granted, can Toyota still sue over this?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:57 am)

    #81 RB said:

    And with all these clutches and modes, there are a tremendous number of parts, sensors, and adjustments that can go wrong.

    I’ll bet a 3 speed automatic without overdrive is more complex than the Volts transmission.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Eco_Turbo: When you get tired of all that, please let me know, I have a pontoon boat in mind that could benefit greatly from that Leaf’s battery.

    whether I get a Volt or a leaf I plan on charging during the day. The Leaf I would only need to charge during the day if I was driving more than to and from work. The Volt I will have to charge at work so I can get back home without using gas.

    I will never get tired of not using oil that was imported from countries that are taking our money and killing our kids.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:06 am)

    After the Volt concept got the go for production, there quite a few companies out there touting their own series hybrid drivetrains trolling for money. There was quite a bit of vaporware out there and still is.

    GM must have been chuckling quite a bit at watching these sideshows.

    What a relief that reason wins over perception and marketing.

    After seeing the fuel economy numbers given by auto journalist wacko’s and their pedal to the metal driving style, I want to see just what sane people (yes, Lyle, I’m referring to your group!) can do behind the wheel.
    I’m more surprised at the weight of the Volt and just how densely compacted everything is in this chassis. I can see how the Cruze platform just may have been a little too small for this car as we see it or perhaps the first iteration of the Volt would have been better if proposed as a 2+2 for the weight issue alone.

    I’d love to see the drawing board concepts for some more Voltec vehicles. Knowing that GM has finally let the cat out of the bag for the drivetrain, GM is letting us know that it has given itself quite a jump on getting the next group of EREV’s to production above any type of competition.

    What’s next?


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    doggydogworld

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:12 am)

    Dave K.: The truth is the ICE doesn’t run wide open.

    Dave, I think you misinterpret “wide open”. It has nothing to do with RPM – you can run wide open at 1000 RPM. Wide open (aka WOT for wide open throttle) simply means the throttle plate is opened all the way to allow maximum airflow and minimum pumping losses. Since pumping losses are a primary contributor to gasoline engine inefficiency they are to be avoided at all costs. That’s why the Volt tries to always run “wide open”.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:13 am)

    Don’t you think you’re being a little assumptive? Maybe you should drive the car first or wait for other’s driving impressions before assuming there will be a performance impact in this mode. Every review I’ve read so far, where the person has ACTUALLY driven the car, they’ve commented that the car still drives like an EV once the engine turns on. Most don’t even notice and cannot tell the engine is running except for the indications on the screen.

    no comment: i’ll answer your question this way: if the ICE drives the wheels, then it is not an ER-EV.the reason for the distinction is that when the ICE has to actually drive the wheels, issues of engine torque have a direct impact on the performance of the vehicle.when the ICE is driving a generator, what counts in terms of electricity production is rpm.that is what i see as being the difference between a plug-in hybrid (which i believe is a “parallel hybrid” in your terminology) and an ER-EV (which i believe is a “serial hybrid” in your terminology).
      


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    MetrologyFirst

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:13 am)

    I have to say, after reading through all this drivel and complaining about what was said when and what words and phrases mean to different people, I am just amazed how we, as a country, have ever accomplished anything.

    Grow up.

    All electric driving is a great idea, and there are many ways to get there.
    Toyota doesn’t ‘own’ the space, they are just another option.
    Nissan doesn’t ‘own’ the space, they are just another option.
    GM is working hard to push the envelope and provide their own option.

    I prefer GM. The American way. :)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:14 am)

    So as folks are driving the car lets fill in the following values. Fill in below for MPG in CS mode and AER in CD mode. Please drive with cruise control on flat ground and if you can lets fill in these values.

    55MPH W/AC and lights on at 85 degrees F
    70MPH W/AC and lights on at 85 degrees F
    55MPH no AC or headlights at 65 degrees F
    70MPH no AC or headlights at 65 degrees F
    55MPH W/heat and lights on at 20 degrees F
    70MPH W/heat and lights on at 20 degrees F


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    MetrologyFirst

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:16 am)

    Rob: Don’t you think you’re being a little assumptive? Maybe you should drive the car first or wait for other’s driving impressions before assuming there will be a performance impact in this mode. Every review I’ve read so far, where the person has ACTUALLY driven the car, they’ve commented that the car still drives like an EV once the engine turns on. Most don’t even notice and cannot tell the engine is running except for the indications on the screen.
      

    ‘No Comment’ has no interest in reality. Only his purist opinion of what the Volt SHOULD be.

    Sort of like a child who won’t take a lolypop because its the wrong flavor.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:19 am)

    More fuel efficient above 70 mph while the VOLT is traveling long distances on the interstate.

    I’d be upset if GM hadn’t taken advantage of it.


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    Juan Muchacho

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:21 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:27 am)

    Eco_Turbo: #81 RB said:And with all these clutches and modes, there are a tremendous number of parts, sensors, and adjustments that can go wrong.I’ll bet a 3 speed automatic without overdrive is more complex than the Volts transmission.  

    I don’t know if a 3-speed automatic is more complicated, though I’m sure it been perfected for a much longer time under a greater diversity of conditions.

    But as I said, I’m going to be optimistic and assume those failure modes never occur :)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:29 am)

    DonC: (1) The Volt only uses gas to power the generator.

    DonC, this statement is not true. Take out “only” and it becomes true (albeit slightly misleading).

    Cab Driver: During regenerative braking the control electronics take current from the traction motor through the inverter to the battery.

    Cab Driver, I’ve seen a couple quotes which indicate regen is done through M/G A, not the traction motor (M/G B). Not sure why they’d do that, though.

    no comment: when you make up a new term, you have to say what it means. the meaning that gm had given to ER-EV was a vehicle where the ICE was *never* connected to the drivetrain.

    No Comment, please give us a quote where GM defines “ER-EV” to mean the ICE never connects to the drivetrain. I agree GM marketing has made and is still making misleading statements about the ICE-wheel connection. But I have never heard them make such statements in context of defining the phrase “ER-EV”. To my knowledge they always defined ER-EV as a vehicle which operates purely on battery power for a certain number of miles and then switches into extended range mode powered by gasoline for essentially unlimited range. That is the most sensible definition of the term and it still applies to the Volt and no other production vehicle.

    no comment: as to criticisms, i don’t like the cutesy attempt to declare that the ICE does not *directly* drive the wheels,

    I agree 100%. The 149 hp motor connects to the sun gear. In CS mode above 70 mph the ICE connects to the ring gear. The wheels connect to the planet carrier. The gearset has two inputs and one output. In 70mph+ CS mode the ICE is “directly connected” to the wheels every bit as much as the 149 hp motor. GM marketeers have screwed this one up enough already, from here on out they really need to stop all untruthful statements. Better yet, simply avoid the subject entirely and refer to an engineering white paper or something.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:32 am)

    BillR: Excellent video, GM!!So in essence, the Volt is:1) An EV for 25 to 50 miles, with no ICE intervention
    2) A performance orientated EV that is fun to drive
    3) Includes a state-of-the-art battery pack with thermal conditioning for long battery life
    4) Can operate in a series or parallel CS mode, depending upon which is most efficient
    5) Has an elegant compact drivetrain with multiple features (low range, mountain mode, sport mode, etc.)
    6) Can operate as an EV only in “EV Only” urban areas with selection of “Hold” mode (if included in the US)
    7) Will likely get, with utility factor included, a 125 to 150 mpg EPA rating.What’s all the bitchin’ about?  

    Thank you. I agree. a big + 1 for you. What is all this nitpicking? The Volt provides the same flexibility today they were to provide for the last three years. The public does not care about all the nuances here. They will decide whether to buy a Prius. Leaf or Volt. Ultimately the difference between the Volt and the Prius is the size of the battery and a superior design because of the battery size. My own opinion has not changed. Volt is the best transitional vehicle in the age of BEV-s at least until others including Toyota come up with something better then the Prius.
    This latest info just should add more confidence not less to this cars ability to act like ICE when it has to (I.E. sustained high speeds without infringing on its ability to act as pure BEV most of the time.
    By the way my comment about *nitpicking* not withstanding. I appreciate most of the comments here today. A great thread.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:38 am)

    Now, we need to address the fact that the ICE can power the Volt above 70 mph WITHOUT much help from the other two electric motors. Why? Because the required hp is much less than what the ICE can pump out. In fact, the sweet spot for the ICE would probably be right around where the average driver would cruise.

    Let’s be real here, folks. An electric motor connected to the planetary gear set is not like having an ICE connected. Why? Because you don’t have all that friction of turning 4 cylinders and all the associated parts. They can basically free wheel. Almost like running reserve (generators connected to the grid that spin but run under very low load. They do this to get extremely quick response to keep the grid from browning out; like when someone throws a huge switch to start up a massive machine or something.

    Now, we can all argue about how much the two electric motors will add to the highway cruise but soon we will find out. How? All that is needed is to throw a few amp meters on the wires connected to the motors. Just read the amperage an you can calculate the power draw. Simple, eh?

    From a pure physics point of view, I predict the ICE will be doing most of the work because it will be the most efficient at delivering the power directly to the wheels (no generator conversion needed). Place your bets.

    Irregardless, This hybrid systems looks to be a very elegant solution. Of course, we need to see just how expensive it is, how reliable it is and what the associated efficiencies are. Only a lot of driving will answer some those questions. By then, Volt 3.0 will be out.

    So far so good, GM! Keep up the great work let’s hope those $80 plus / barrel oil prices hold out. The cost is predicted to reach $100 next year! There will be a stampede to the Chevrolet dealers. How long the economy can hold out at that price is a whole different topic.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:39 am)

    john1701a:
    How will the snow removal problem be dealt with?That poses a significant barrier to providing public electric outlets… not to mention cost.And in the parking ramps, how would all the wiring be dealt with?Where would you put an outlet in spaces that are already cramped?In other words, the infrastructure is a mess and will take a very long time to deal with.That’s why automakers are pursuing a variety ways to deliver emission & efficiency solutions.  

    You should invest in a home in Florida, not a car. That would appear to solve many if your complaints.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:40 am)

    I can’t make heads or tail of all the engineering mumbo jumbo. So is the verdict now that the Volt is a plug in hybrid essentially?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:41 am)

    solo: ……What matters is the results. So far this is the ONLY mostly electric car that can be used by anybody that needs a car.The EV-1, the upcoming Nissan Leaf, the electric Mini,are limited to a 20 to 40 mile radius from your home.VERY few people are going to buy into a 20,000 to 30,000 car that you can’t drive away from your home, despite what some people on this blog think…. I think the real success or failure of the Volt will show when you compare it to the conventional Hybrids on the market now.Obviously the biggest competitor is the Prius as it is the ONLY successful hybrid vehicle from any manufacturer. If the Volt can achieve a reasonably competitive fuel economy number in SIDE by SIDE road tests against the Prius done by independent automotive publications, G.M. will have a Technological winner.If they can get the price down, they will have a marketing winner.  

    That has been my thinking also.

    When all is said and done how will the VOLT perform against its competitors? A premium cost implies better technology and very efficient performance that includes great fuel economy. Most customers will base their purchase on the VOLT’s stated and measured merits.
    Overall the cost of the the VOLT and its operation will still be the real measure of value. ( i.e. money talks)


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:42 am)

    HawkeyeNFO: I am one of those people who rarely drives as fast as 70MPH anyway, unless I am going down a big hill, so I would almost never operate it in the regime where the ICE is mechanically connected to the drivetrain.  

    Bonus: If the hill’s steep enough to push me over 70MPH, then it’s steep enough for me to harvest some regen braking!

    I will admit — yesterday, I was a bit disappointed. But now that I see the “mechanical connection” is via the genset, not some additional contraption/clutch connecting the ICE directly to the planetary gearset, I now only see it as a “plus” and not diluting the “all electric” nature of the Volt.

    I mean, geez, what do people want, an electric motor that isn’t connected to the gearing at all, or an ICE that’s not connected to the genset?? Neither is possible!!

    As folks have already pointed out, you could still take out the ICE and utilize a different range extender. An ICE is not absolutely necessary for the architecture as it exists. Pop in a fuel cell, turbine genset, whatever… It would just result in slightly reduced efficiency. Then you have a “pure” electric vehicle, right?

    Of course, then GM’s engineers would no doubt find some other clever and ingenious way to improve efficiency using that particular range extender, and the haters would STILL find something to moan about!!

    EDIT: Removed unnecessary paragraph.
    EDIT2: Split last paragraph for readability.


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    theflew

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:45 am)

    The shaft runs thru the generator so it’s generating electricity and using the excess torque to also help propel the vehicle.

    Arthur: If the engine starts to power the wheels directly at speeds greater than 70mph then it clearly cannot be doing much in the way of battery charging at that time. Maybe this is why the reported CS mpg performance is a bit lame or average for the industry.
    It would be interesting to see what CS mpg would be a say 68mph (just below the trigger point for the ICE).  


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:48 am)

    no comment: it is my assumption that it was the prius plug-in hybrid that corvetteguy test drove.

    Yah, right. The plug-in Prius is being tested right now and the only way GM could get them for the side by side test would be if Toyota loaned them to GM. I don’t think so!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    solo

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:53 am)

    TOMW says:

    Not sure why people continue to say cars like the leaf are limited to 40 mile radius. Please say limited to 40 mile radius without charging away from home.
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    I have worked for 15 different companies in Milwaukee, Chicago’s north and western suburbs suburbs, northern Indiana, and central Illinois. NOT ONE of them had outlets in the parking lot. I have NEVER seen a charging station anywhere. Maybe in the distant future, but right now the Nissan Leaf is going on sale. Nissan claims a 100 mile range. Realistically it will be at most 80 miles. 80/2 is 40 miles (you have to drive home). So TODAY if you buy an electric car you can venture 40 miles from home. If you happen to own your own business and can charge the car at work. More power to you. For 99.9 percent of us, that is not an option now or in the near future.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:54 am)

    TOMW says:

    Not sure why people continue to say cars like the leaf are limited to 40 mile radius. Please say limited to 40 mile radius without charging away from home.
    ——————————————————————————————-

    I have worked for 15 different companies in Milwaukee, Chicago’s north and western suburbs suburbs, northern Indiana, and central Illinois. NOT ONE of them had outlets in the parking lot. I have NEVER seen a charging station anywhere. Maybe in the distant future, but right now the Nissan Leaf is going on sale. Nissan claims a 100 mile range. Realistically it will be at most 80 miles. 80/2 is 40 miles (you have to drive home). So TODAY if you buy an electric car you can venture 40 miles from home. If you happen to own your own business and can charge the car at work. More power to you. For 99.9 percent of us, that is not an option now or in the near future.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:54 am)

    doggydogworld: Dave, I think you misinterpret “wide open”. It has nothing to do with RPM.

    Wide open throttle (WOT) refers to an internal combustion engine’s maximum intake of air and fuel that occurs when the throttle plates inside the carburetor or throttle body are “wide open”, providing the least resistance to the incoming air. In the case of an automobile, WOT is when the accelerator is depressed fully, sometimes referred to as “flooring it”.

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:58 am)

    solo: I have worked for 15 different companies in Milwaukee

    Charging stations won’t be installed until after the cars are available in the market for the post part.

    There will be many thousdands of them by next year in the markets that will have these cars.

    I live in Ohio and figure I won’t get a car until the end of 2011 and I”ll be one of the first. Charging stations won’t start popping up in Ohio probably until 2012.

    Remember there weren’t any gas stations either until there were cars.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:59 am)

    LRGVProVolt: Yah, right. The plug-in Prius is being tested right now and the only way GM could get them for the side by side test would be if Toyota loaned them to GM. I don’t think so!Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.  (Quote)

    It was a regular Prius. You know… the one that is now irrelevant. ;)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:00 am)

    doggydogworld:
    Dave, I think you misinterpret “wide open”. It has nothing to do with RPM – you can run wide open at 1000 RPM. Wide open (aka WOT for wide open throttle) simply means the throttle plate is opened all the way to allow maximum airflow and minimum pumping losses. Since pumping losses are a primary contributor to gasoline engine inefficiency they are to be avoided at all costs. That’s why the Volt tries to always run “wide open”.  

    I am/was under the impression that WOT will have the engine run at its maximum.
    So if WOT does not mean full speed is the speed (RPM) then controlled by the limiting the amount of fuel available to the injectors? If not then how is it done?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:00 am)

    RB:
    Yes, me too.One can image a whole multitude of failure modes, kind of the opposite of the “simplicity” we once supposed for a mostly electric car.Maybe none of these failures will ever happen, but then again, there is the saying “if it can go wrong it will.”And with all these clutches and modes, there are a tremendous number of parts, sensors, and adjustments that can go wrong.When the first Chevrolet Citation was released about 1980, people loved the car.Then all the sorts of things that could go wrong in a new design started to go wrong.I hope we are not about to repeat that experience.Optimistically, I’ll assume that none of these things will ever go wrong and hope that will turn out to be the case.  

    This is actually much simpler than a modern automatic transmission (less parts for one) and versions of this type of architecture are all ready in production. Just because the power flow is complex, doesn’t mean that the actual components are. This EVT is full of the types of parts that GM has been designing/manufacturing for a long time… not a “high risk” design IMO.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:01 am)

    The definition of a range-extended electric vehicle is a pure EV with the battery module connected to an additional energy supplier. Period. The only thing in between is a thick wire and juice flowing through it. All kind of distortion to this schema breaks the definition above.

    In consequence, the Volt is not a EREV.

    That doesn’t mean Volt is not good.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:06 am)

    Jaime: I can’t make heads or tail of all the engineering mumbo jumbo.So is the verdict now that the Volt is a plug in hybrid essentially?  

    This is exactly why GM kept these details a secret. Explaining this kind of technical thing leads to all sorts of confusion.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:07 am)

    solo: I have worked for 15 different companies in Milwaukee, Chicago’s north and western suburbs suburbs, northern Indiana, and central Illinois. NOT ONE of them had outlets in the parking lot.

    There are many companies that are ready to provide charging stations all over the place as soon as there are cars to charge.

    One of them you can read about at http://www.pepstations.com. They have nice pictures of what charging stations in work parking lots would look like (their product).

    With a Volt charging stations are more important then with a Leaf. With a Leaf I would only charge during the day on occasion. With a Volt I would charge every day.

    At that pepstations.com there is this tidbit:

    The International Code Council (ICC) and the American Institute of Architects is working to develop an International Green Construction Code, to become effective in 2012. The code will cover all spectrums of sustainable design and construction, including a requirement for alternative-fuel vehicle parking, similar to the requirement for handicap parking spaces. The code is expected to require that buildings in excess of 10,000 square feet and an occupant load of 100 provide 5%, but not less than 2 parking spaces, which are designated for low-emission, hybrid and electric vehicles. These are changes that will affect everyone, and they are just around the corner.


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    Norm Barker

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:08 am)

    “As in EV mode the ring gear is decoupled from the case by the clutch and the smaller electric motor is once again allowed to operate in parallel with the large motor, increasing the system’s efficiency. The difference here is that the smaller motor is still being turned by the engine and not electricity. Thus the engine becomes coupled with both electric motors and all three work together to turn the driveshaft. Thus the gas engine participates in turning the wheels mechanically although indirectly. The generator is decoupled from the ring gear again when speeds drop back below 70 mph.”

    Would be better stated as “The difference here is that the smaller motor/generator is still being turned by the engine and not electricity. Thus the engine becomes coupled with both electric motors with the smaller motor acting both as a generator to drive the larger motor and as a mechnical link to pass through engine power to help turn the driveshaft.”

    What a software nightmare this must have been.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    no comment: i’ll answer your question this way: if the ICE drives the wheels, then it is not an ER-EV.the reason for the distinction is that when the ICE has to actually drive the wheels, issues of engine torque have a direct impact on the performance of the vehicle.when the ICE is driving a generator, what counts in terms of electricity production is rpm.that is what i see as being the difference between a plug-in hybrid (which i believe is a “parallel hybrid” in your terminology) and an ER-EV (which i believe is a “serial hybrid” in your terminology).

    The Volt is both a serial hybrid AND a parallel hybrid. Maybe that’s why GM tried to make up their own term for what the Volt is. In modes 1 through 3, the Volt is a pure serial hybrid (Only electric motor drives the wheels. Gas engine is used to generate electricity when needed). In mode 4, it is a parallel hybrid (electric motors and gas engine drive the wheels).
    “Plug-in hybrid” is a very generic term that could apply to either a serial or parallel hybrid. That just means it’s a hybrid–which the Volt definitely is–with a plug. It’s a term used simply to point out how limited the current Prius is–all power comes from gas instead of plugging in to charge the battery.


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    nasaman

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:21 am)

    About an hour ago Chelsea Sexton asked what people thought about “Voltgate”. I said, ” ‘Voltgate’ is a ‘tempest in a teacup’! The Volt’s ICE lockup to its planetary transmission in extended range mode at 70mph to improve efficiency no more invalidates its EREV architecture than the torque converter lockup of conventional automatics at highway speeds for improved efficiency invalidates their torque converter architecture!” It’s really just that simple!

    /Ohhh, and as to whether Voltec is ANY kind of hybrid architecture? I AGREE WITH GM —IT’S TOO DIFFERENT TO BE CLASSIFIED AS A SERIES, SERIES-PARALLEL, PARALLEL OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF HYBRID —IT’S SIMPLY AN EREV, AS THEY’VE ALWAYS CALLED IT!

    Voltgate…
    teacup.jpg


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:22 am)

    herm: I think GM needs to apologize to the community in a frank manner for being so “coy”, none of this “indirect” stuff.. explain why they did it and how it happens, and throw in a few more substantial details.. perhaps an animated demo of all 4 modes of operation. Then give all those that signed up in the GM website a $50 rebate coupon. Then move on..

    This stuff is turning into another marketing disaster.

    I gave your comment a +1. (No idea why it would get so many negative votes) The idea of apologizing is probably a good one. Personally I don’t think it’s necessary but it wouldn’t hurt. Plus I think they’re genuinely surprised that people didn’t realize they were keeping a few things back. I knew there would be some surprises but that may be because I’m more familar with how some of this roll out stuff works. So why not apologize to anyone who felt misled?

    I also agree this is turning into a PR disaster. On the other hand, much of this is simply because there are a lot of GM haters out there who spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find some perceived mistake on GM’s part. To me it’s unbelievable. You don’t see anything like this with respect to other companies. For example, Tesla released numbers for the range of the Roadster that proved completely inaccurate. But where was the outrage? (And you want to look at how inaccurate the price for the Roadster was?) At this very moment Nissan is saying that the Leaf has a 100 mile range (on LA4), but LA4 is the old UDDS Cycle which, if driven by the Volt, might give a 50 AER. But I don’t see a ton of complaints about Nissan misleading people. Why not?

    I’ve never been a GM fan. But following the Volt has been an eye-opening experience.


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    Loboc

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:28 am)

    MetrologyFirst:
    ‘No Comment’has no interest in reality. Only his purist opinion of what the Volt SHOULD be.
    Sort of like a child who won’t take a lolypop because its the wrong flavor.  

    More like a computer. I think someone has perpetrated a Unix box on us to test their Turing logic.

    Interfacing with a Turing computer is like conversing with a psychiatrist. (Sorry Tag.) The same verbiage keeps coming back at you in a different form. Any dialog allowing form over function (such as using the shift key) is ignored. A computer cannot have original thought. It can only repeat what is input. (Unless there’s some AI out there I haven’t heard about yet. Maybe ‘no comment’ = Turk = early version of SkyNet.)

    When I reflect on this, a child and a computer are very similar after all. If a computer asked for a cherry lollipop and you supplied a grape one, the lollipop would be rejected because it doesn’t match the request exactly. A child wouldn’t necessarily be that straight-forward (they might just change their mind and want ice cream instead), but, they both come to the same conclusion.


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:29 am)

    BatteriesIncluded: One thing that’s not clear. At low speed with the gasoline engine off, can the drive train swap between accelerating and regenerative breaking without waggling any of those clutches? I am thinking city driving here.

    It should be clear! In city driving, you never get to 70 mph. The clutch system is used when the primary motor gets around 6500 rpm. The patent indicates that brake C1A is involved in regenerative braking: “Brake C1A enables …. regenerative braking functionality and reverse vehicle operation.” Other than that I do not see anything in the patent that would indicate excessive use of the clutches.

    OT:The great aspect of the EV lies in its elimination of the clutch to disengage the engine to stop the vehicle; just stop the flow of current to the motor and it slows down and comes to a stop. At a stand still no energy from the battery pack is used. You can sit in your car when traffic has come to a standstill and not use a drop of energy watching all the ICE vehicle consume their precious gasoline while doing nothing. Electric vehicles will save on consumption of a lot of gas just because of this factor.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    GM Volt Fan

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:30 am)

    Larry: The Prius is primarily driven by the gas engine and uses electric to improve overall efficiency.The Volt is Primarily driven by the electric motor to eliminate the use of gasoline for ~80% of all trips and only uses gas as a ‘last resort’ to allow for long trips.Since *my* primary interest is reducing dependence on foreign oil – I’ll go with the Volt!In addition, the Volt is able to use its internal clutches to shift between Series and Parallel hybrid modes to improve overall efficiency over either method alone.I can’t wait to get one!  

    I agree. For me it’s all about GALLONS OF GASOLINE USED PER YEAR by a typical driver driving in typical ways in a typical environment. It’s about reducing our dependence on foreign oil and paying 2 cents per mile for your energy using electricity vs. 12 cents per mile for your energy using gasoline. The benefits to the environment with air AND noise pollution are great too.

    Plus, I hope to get some good PERKS for owning a Volt over the next several years like single occupant HOV lane access, state and local tax benefits, perhaps free and better parking spaces, perhaps free charging at work, etc. I also hope that the Volt is going to have outstanding reliability so that the resale value will be excellent. Then it’ll be time to upgrade to Volt 2.0 which should be even better and hopefully less expensive so EVERYONE can get their hands on one.


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    jscott1

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:33 am)

    I said months ago that it was only software preventing the ICE from driving the wheels, so I guess they tweaked the software to allow it.

    As an Engineer I applaud them making the right technical choice.

    But as a consumer I feel a little cheated that the Volt 1.0 fell short of several of it’s goals, (styling from the prototype, Price less than $40K, CS mpg of 50, etc), and now we find out that the ICE after all DOES drive the wheels directly.

    I was never in the market for the first gen Volt, so I’ll wait to see if Volt 2.0 lives up to my expectations.


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    kent beuchert

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:33 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    flmark

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:38 am)

    According to Lyle’s survey, 1 in 5 of you still don’t get it. You are hung up on something that you WANT to focus on (can we say obsessive compulsive?) when you are not seeing forest for trees.

    FACT 1: Up to 2 Electric motors engage drivetrain
    FACT 2: ICE never engages drivetrain

    Now, 1 in 5 of you are already scrambling with keyboard and getting your blood pressure back to where it has been for two days now. You think the rest of us don’t get it. You want to blurt out that SOME of the time, one of those electric motors is being driven by the ICE and therefore Fact 2 is incomplete.

    Fact 2 is no more incomplete than ‘An EV, operating electrically, does not produce emissions’. You may want to EXTRAPOLATE and say that electricity is produced in power plants that produce emissions. However, I can recharge my EV with my solar and EXTRAPOLATE that indeed MY EV does not produce emissions while yours might.

    And I like what others have pointed out. On my frequent trips between NY and FL, I encounter no speed limits in excess of 70 mph. The only way this EVER becomes ANY kind of issue is if I choose to BREAK THE LAW!!!!!!

    Now, all you OCD types, get some therapy. It is PATHETIC that you have spent so much typing about something so inconsequential.


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:39 am)

    doggydogworld: DonC, this statement is not true. Take out “only” and it becomes true (albeit slightly misleading).

    Actually it’s 100% correct. The gas generator only powers the generator. What else do you think it powers? When the ICE is running it turns the generator 100% of the time and never sends any power directly to anything else. If you think this isn’t true tell me what else the generator powers.

    My guess, and it’s just my guess because the statement seems so accurate, is that you’re conflating this statement with the next one, which says that the generator makes electricity, and concluding that GM is saying that “The gas generator only powers the generator, which only creates electricity to power the vehicle”. Now that statement would be inaccurate but that’s not what the web site says. Basically you’re misreading what’s on the web site and then claiming that what you mistakenly think it says is misleading. That’s not exactly GM’s problem.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:39 am)

    BatteriesIncluded: I suspect they could get more than the 10/15 percent efficiency this complexity adds by a more specialised internal combustion engine that is optimized for spinning a generator.

    The EVT was added to the Volt drive train to address the problem with the primary electric motor at rpm greater than or equal to 6500. Your comment doesn’t solve this problem. True a specialized internal combustion might garner more than 10/15 percent efficiency of the overall drive train but wouldn’t solve the high speed problem.

    JFYI!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:40 am)

    On my frequent trips between NY and FL, I encounter no speed limits in excess of 70 mph.The only way this EVER becomes ANY kind of issue is if I choose to BREAK THE LAW!!!!!!Now, all you OCD types, get some therapy.It is PATHETIC that you have spent so much typing about something so inconsequential.  

    West Texas has speed limits of 80 MPH


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    cybereye

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:40 am)

    no comment: i’ll answer your question this way: if the ICE drives the wheels, then it is not an ER-EV. the reason for the distinction is that when the ICE has to actually drive the wheels, issues of engine torque have a direct impact on the performance of the vehicle

    Think of this way, What would happen if the large electric motor got broken durning at high speed and and the ICE is still running. From what I understaind about the Electrically-Variable Transmission, If the sun gear is not turning and all the RPM from the ICE is just spinging around the planetary gearset because there is no torque from the motor to lock the sun gear. All that ICE is just spinning the motor wasting the fuel and unable to turn the drive the wheels.


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    jefff j

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:47 am)

    To all people who want a strictly electric vehicle there are plenty of Nissan leaf websites that you can go to and stole the virtues of that car all day long. The posters at this website are way ahead of the curve as far as technical knowledge and keeping up with innovative products and not necessarily reflect the opinion of the average American. The GM volt can be adapted into mainstream American garages with little or no changing of lifestyle that needs repeated, no change in lifestyle. With mass adoption of this technology 80% of fossil fuels in America could be reduced. I am no greeny and could care less about carbon footprint but only a fool in massive proportions cannot see the value of reduced oil consumption. Good luck to all those first adopters of the GM volt your pioneering efforts will be appreciated by our children in the future.


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    coffeetime

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    When I head back to Idaho from the Seattle area, the speed limit jumps up to 70 MPH just out of Issaquah (a suburb east of Seattle) and – with few exceptions (going over Snoqualmie Pass or traveling through Spokane) – stays there. Sometimes I go a tad over 70, and sometimes – heavy traffic or weather permitting – I go a tad below 70. If a Volt driver is constantly driving right around 70ish, which is where the gas motor is coupling/decoupling, hopefully Chevy has done their homework to allow for lots of those cycles without wearing out the mechanism.


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    kent beuchert: o say that the motor “only powers the drivetrain indirectly” is an illogical statement. Simply because there are other electrical motor “helpers” doesn’t alter the obvious fact that the engine is, in fact, driving the wheels. And it does so, obviously, directly. GM was not being coy – they were simply splitting a whole lot of hairs and redefining several English words. Why they did so remains a mystery. A system this complicated isn’t a design anyone’s going to rush out and copy, patent or no patent.

    Agree about splitting hairs though being coy is more or less the same thing. Disagree that the connection is direct. The Prius and Fusion connect the engine to the planetary carrier. That’s a direct connection. Having the engine turn a motor that couples with the ring gear — that’s not a direct connection, it’s an indirect connection. If you disagree fine but it’s obvious why they’d say it wasn’t direct.

    On the patents you’re just being naive. There is a reason why Bob Lutz, babbler extraordinaire, shut up about the Volt having a transmission after he opened his mouth (typewriter keys actually) and why his statement about it was immediately taken down from the web site. The reason is that if you have a great patent you don’t want it copied and research started by competitors before it’s approved — if they have something working they’re not bound by the patent even is issued. No idea why you don’t understand this.


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    Hmmm

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    it doesn’t matter and the car is better this way. When in CS mode you’re using gas to move the car either way; whether it is converted to electricity in between or coupled directly to the wheels doesn’t matter (only miles per gallon matter).

    Whith that said, it really was a stupid communication blunder on GM’s part, though not one that is likely to be noticed by the broader market they ultimately hope to appeal to. But it would be nice to get off on the right foot (wheel?).


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    nasaman

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:50 am)

    JeremyK, #111: This (Voltec) is actually much simpler than a modern automatic transmission (less parts for one) and versions of this type of architecture are all ready in production. Just because the power flow is complex, doesn’t mean that the actual components are. This EVT is full of the types of parts that GM has been designing/manufacturing for a long time… not a “high risk” design IMO.

    You’re absolutely right!

    Compare the cut-away photo of the Volt’s simple transmission here….

    X11CH_VT156L.jpg

    ….to the cut-away photo of an actual conventional automatic here….

    Automatic_transmission_cut.jpg

    /…and note that the Volt’s transmission also includes 2 electric motors AND 2 CV joints/differentials which are NOT part of the more complex transmission above!


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:51 am)

    flmark: FACT 1: Up to 2 Electric motors engage drivetrain
    FACT 2: ICE never engages drivetrain

    Nice summary. Covers it all.


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    Loboc

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:53 am)

    DonC: The idea of apologizing is probably a good one. Personally I don’t think it’s necessary but it wouldn’t hurt.

    There’s nothing to apologize for. Why would you apologize to someone because they are stupid? It would end up being condescending not fruitful.

    GM needs to accentuate the positive and ignore the paparazzi. All this noise is huge free publicity. GM couldn’t buy this much airtime if they had an unlimited budget.


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:56 am)

    Texas: This hybrid systems looks to be a very elegant solution.

    It is an amazingly elegant solution. It’s one of those solutions that you look at and say: “This is so simple and solves so many problems why didn’t someone think of it before”? Those types of breakthroughs are always the most important.

    You look at it and you just have to start smiling at how elegant it is. It completely blows away the existing designs.


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    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:58 am)

    This new video by the Volt engineers is really good. It explains a lot. I’ve been confused about some of the powertrain stuff for a while.

    http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:00 am)

    Rob: It is very likely possible that the Volt could be able to run in serial hybrid mode all the way up to its top speed while in charge sustaining mode without switching to the parallel hybrid mode, it is just MORE EFFICIENT to run it as a parallel hybrid at higher vehicle speeds.
      

    What GM engineers discovered is a flat response by the primary electric motor at 6500 rpms adn above that would slow down acceleration at 70 mph and above. For the Volt to attain its top speed of 100 mph, it would have most likely damaged the motor without the output blending of the two motors. At 6500 rpm, the 111 kw motor reaches a point where additional current just results in production of heat. So, the addition of the EVT was not just because it is more efficient to operate in parallel mode; the 10% -15% improvement in efficiency was an additional plus in solving the main problem.

    In future generations of the Volt, GM will likely look for a different electric motor or just continue with the use of the EVT.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jaime

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:00 am)

    Well according to this article its a plug in hybrid, if that matters:

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/10/the-chevrolet-volt-isnt-a-true-ev/


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:02 am)

    Had a second viewing of the latest video from GM.

    http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm

    The system really looks good. Rather than going with a traditional 2 speed transmission. GM tapped the available motion in the system to produce a true automatic transmission. Something one would expect to see in a GEN 2 car. Could have easily gone with D~1 D~2 (overdrive) gears with a regen toggle switch on the side. We’ll soon know what performance is possible through careful driving and efficiency ball monitoring.

    BTW: Leaf buyers don’t take this the wrong way: The Volt could have done without assistance from the ICE in CS by limiting top speed to 85mph. In general, the American car buyer wants 100 mph capability. 85mph top end may be fine for most of Europe. The idea of passing someone in traffic. Then finding they are speeding up as well cuts into the 85mph limit idea.

    =D-Volt


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:05 am)

    Loboc: There’s nothing to apologize for. Why would you apologize to someone because they are stupid?

    You’re absolutely right but here’s a story for you. A few years ago some policy wonk was making a presentation and used the word “niggardly”, which is some old English word which means miserly. Some in the audience didn’t have the most extensive vocabulary and thought the word was related to a racial epitaph we all know and started howling. The guy apologized for unintentionally offending people.

    Did he do anything wrong? Other than being smarter than his audience, no. But sometimes it’s just easier to apologize for offending people, regardless of how ridiculous their reaction, and move on rather than try to convince them that they’re not the brightest bulbs in the pack. In this regard, Herm is a smart guy, so if he feels misled then it’s probably not unreasonable to assume that others were as well. IOW when you inadvertently step on someone’s toe in an elevator there isn’t anything wrong with telling them you’re sorry.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:07 am)

    One of the interesting things about yesterday’s presentation was on the main battery pack and cooling system. I read a lot of comments here about “why” it costs $41,000… A good chunk of that is the battery pack housing and cooling system. They use a lot of special high strength steel to encase the battery pack and cooling system. The funniest comment of the day was: “If there is a car accident bad enough to damage the battery pack , which is in the center of the car, then there will not be any survivors to worry about anyway.”

    Yeah. I’m crude. But it was really funny.
    Meanwhile, here is a shot under the hood:
    engine_compartment_small.JPG


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    doggydogworld

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:13 am)

    flmark: FACT 2: ICE never engages drivetrain

    This is incorrect. Above 70 mph in CS mode the ICE provides power to the ring gear which is mechanically connected to the wheels. It is every bit as much “engaged” as the 149 hp motor (MGB).

    DonC: The gas generator only powers the generator. What else do you think it powers?

    Gas generator??? That’s a rocketry/jet propulsion term. The Volt burns gasoline in an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Above 70 mph in CS mode the ICE powers the ring gear. Directly. Mechanically. The ICE may also power M/G A in this mode, but if the Volt’s engineers are smart (and I’m quite sure they are) then almost all ICE power in this mode will flow to the wheels through that ring gear and not the inefficient electrical path. MGA and MGB will mostly be along for the ride, providing some CVT functionality but very little propulsive power.

    The only thing I don’t understand is why GM’s marketeers say this only happens above 70 mph. I’d bet money that’s just more misdirection. A sane engineer would have the ICE power the wheels through that ring gear down to 50 mph and perhaps even slower. The connection is already there and it can meaningfully improve CS MPG, so why not use it?


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    nasaman

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:15 am)

    DonC, #136: Texas: This hybrid systems looks to be a very elegant solution.

    It is an amazingly elegant solution. It’s one of those solutions that you look at and say: “This is so simple and solves so many problems why didn’t someone think of it before”? Those types of breakthroughs are always the most important.

    You look at it and you just have to start smiling at how elegant it is. It completely blows away the existing designs.

    Well said, Texas & DonC! As a scientist the term “elegant” means “elegantly simple” to me. Take another look at the 2 cutaway photos in my post #133 for the full visual impact of “elegant”!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:29 am)

    So does this mean that in CS mode at speeds under 70 that the ICE can operate at an efficient RPM? Obviously you loose that when it gets coupled to the wheels and the RPM of the engine is dependent on the speed of the car.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:30 am)

    nasaman:
    You’re absolutely right!Compare the cut-away photo of the Volt’s simple transmission here….

    +1, NM… When I look at an automatic transmission cutaway, I always think just how ridiculous it is, that something so complex can even function and be so darn commonplace!


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    GM Volt Fan

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:35 am)

    I’m hoping that for future versions of the Volt, they can have more battery capacity for 20 additional miles of range. Basically more range for the same size battery pack and weight. Having 40 to 70 miles of all electric range regardless of environmental conditions would be nice. More is always better isn’t it? That’s just how us Americans are you know. :)

    Maybe for these future Volts, GM could use 2 more powerful generators or use 3 or 4 smaller generators in order to get a little more acceleration out of Sport mode. A 0-60 mph time of 6.5 to 7 seconds would be great. That’s plenty fast for 90% of the people. I want the “Best of Both Worlds” like that old Van Halen song goes … excellent energy efficiency AND good performance. That song sounds like good background music for a Volt commercial doesn’t it?

    Maybe 3 or 4 smaller electric motors operating in sync gives you better performance and efficiency than 2 bigger sized motors. Maybe it’s cheaper and quieter too. It could be kind of like the latest CPUs from Intel or AMD where they have 2-8 cores on a single chip working together to handle the processing loads.

    Having a new IC engine that was designed from scratch for Voltec technology would be great too. Hopefully it will have good enough horsepower and still be inexpensive. The IC engine will kind of be like legacy circuits on a CPU for older operating systems. Gotta have it for now and you’ll try to get rid of it completely down the road as upgraded applications come out. Hopefully the vastly improved energy storage devices will get invented sooner rather than later and we’ll be dropping the IC engine like a bad habit.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:36 am)

    LRGVProVolt: In future generations of the Volt, GM will likely look for a different electric motor or just continue with the use of the EVT.

    I find the latter (keep using the EVT/current design) to be HIGHLY likely for the next decade.

    While I love the “purity” of a completely decoupled design, what are you going to use for the Range Extender? Fuel Cells and Turbines aren’t going to be “drop in” or “cost effective” options for a loooong time.

    What’s that leave? WOOD-FIRED STEAM ENGINES?? EESUs??? (ROFL!!!) The ICE is going to be part of EREV for a long time. Might as well use it in the most sensible way possible.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:36 am)

    ECO_Turbo: JohnK

    OK, more of a positive thought than I expected. Still, they have a lot of development costs to take care of, even if uncle sam is helping. And remember we want other vehicles to be developed using this technology too (like the MPV5). All of this costs money. We have a chance to contribute to all of this by being early adopters. And yes, pay more than those a few years from now.


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    tom w

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:41 am)

    GM Volt Fan: I’m hoping that for future versions of the Volt, they can have more battery capacity for 20 additional miles of range. Basically more range for the same size battery pack and weight. Having 40 to 70 miles of all electric range regardless of environmental conditions would be nice. More is always better isn’t it? That’s just how us Americans are you know

    I had thought that also, but now i’m thinking (see my earlier post #114 or go look at http://www.pepstations.com) with federal requirements soon to be adopted to require charging stations at work places that the 40 mile range is perfect. Why carry the extra battery. Charge at home, drive to work and top off and off you go (off course work place charging stations can be turned off during peak AC hrs but with level 2 charging your car will have a full charge before the peak AC hours).


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:46 am)

    A couple of quick thoughts:
    - I saw something a day or two ago about another EV (I think it was the Tesla). They spoke about the advantages of a clean start and that because of not having “the tunnel” it was much stronger. I think this was a veiled poke at the Volt. But really, I don’t see how that would make the car body stronger or stiffer.

    - The Voltec drive train has a lot of optimization done so that when the ICE comes on it interacts in a beneficial way with the two MG’s and the transmission. It seems to me that anytime that you change the ICE out for another engine of any kind you may need some extensive tuning to get things right. And yes, anything that supplies or supplements the electric power from the battery can be used (with or without the ICE).


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    JohnK

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:50 am)

    Another thought – not too long ago I saw the Voltec drivetrain demo unit that has been around for probably three years. I was impressed that it was so completely integrated that it looked like one block of metal. Other than a few things that identified the ICE, it was not at all obvious where the traction motor or generator were. After watching the video it is obvious. They are SO tightly coupled (the planatary gearset is INSIDE the traction motor). This really is a neat piece of engineering. JMO


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    Raymondjram

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:50 am)

    tom w:
    Charging stations won’t be installed until after the cars are available in the market for the post part.There will be many thousdands of them by next year in the markets that will have these cars.I live in Ohio and figure I won’t get a car until the end of 2011 and I”ll be one of the first.Charging stations won’t start popping up in Ohio probably until 2012.Remember there weren’t any gas stations either until there were cars.  

    I agree with you. As soon as the car market gets flooded with EV (BEV, EREV, or PHEV), there will be many charging stations, even at fast-food places, where the cost of an hour’s worth will be added as a value to the regular meal: “Free EV charging for the first hour at xxx!”. A charging station with a remote timer is very easy to design and build.

    Then each place will offer even more time free, because the longer you stay to recharge, the more you will consume their products. It will become a standard by 2020.

    I am lucky that the parking building at my workplace has several 120 V outlets available. I can change for at least nine hours free.

    Raymond


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    Timaaayyy!!!

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:52 am)

    CorvetteGuy: My Verdict: This is a “Luxury Electric with Extended Range”. Period. If I were running the marketing Department, that is how I would promote it. It is not a Mercedes, but it could easily be mistaken for a Lexus on the inside. And if I could control manufacturing, I would order that the Volt MPV5 would get an immediate green light. With more headroom, legroom and utility in the back, it would be a Grand Slam!

    You nailed it, CG. Thanks.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:58 am)

    jscott1: West Texas has speed limits of 80 MPH  (Quote)

    I know that the west has some higher speed limits. Note that I used “I”. I don’t encounter speed limits in excess of 70 mph- and that covers most reading this. >70 mph is ALWAYS in unpopulated areas and therefore FEW will NOT be breaking law when this 70 mph direct drive issue becomes relevant.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    JohnK: I saw something a day or two ago about another EV (I think it was the Tesla). They spoke about the advantages of a clean start and that because of not having “the tunnel” it was much stronger. I think this was a veiled poke at the Volt. But really, I don’t see how that would make the car body stronger or stiffer.

    Funny, my first thought would be that the tunnel made the spine of the car stronger, not weaker.


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    Mike D.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    Jaime: Well according to this article its a plug in hybrid, if that matters:http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/10/the-chevrolet-volt-isnt-a-true-ev/  

    And that is one site’s opinion.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:16 pm)

    your understanding of the patenting system in this country is incorrect. assuming that you reference to when a patent is “approved” means when it actually issues, a patent application becomes known to the public when it is published. in the case of the volt patent in question, the date that the information became public was about a year and a half ago. what the publication did is give the public notice of the described invention. as it turns out, the publication of patent applications provides some degree of protection to the public against abuses by patent applicants.

    as to when the public is “bound” by a patent, the way it works is that you can enforce a patent when it issues, but the effective date of enforcement is not the date that the patent issues, but rather the date that the patent application was filed. as i recall, the patent application was filed some time in 2007. what this means is that when the patent issues (sometime next year i suspect), gm will be able to enforce it for all acts since 2007. so if someone “as something working” from any time after the 2007 filing date for the patent application, they are “bound” (meaning can be sued for infringement of the patent) by the patent even if the patent itself is not issued until 2011. so if competitors attempt to copy the patent any time between the filing date and the issue date, they can still get nailed for patent infringement, even if the competitor does successfully “have something working” during this time.

    DonC:
    On the patents you’re just being naive. There is a reason why Bob Lutz, babbler extraordinaire, shut up about the Volt having a transmission after he opened his mouth (typewriter keys actually) and why his statement about it was immediately taken down from the web site. The reason is that if you have a great patent you don’t want it copied and research started by competitors before it’s approved — if they have something working they’re not bound by the patent even is issued. No idea why you don’t understand this.  


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    MetrologyFirst

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:17 pm)

    Raymondjram:
    I agree with you. As soon as the car market gets flooded with EV (BEV, EREV, or PHEV), there will be many charging stations, even at fast-food places, where the cost of an hour’s worth will be added as a value to the regular meal: “Free EV charging for the first hour at xxx!”. A charging station with a remote timer is very easy to design and build.
    Then each place will offer even more time free, because the longer you stay to recharge, the more you will consume their products. It will become a standard by 2020.I am lucky that the parking building at my workplace has several 120 V outlets available. I can change for at least nine hours free.Raymond  

    100% agree. I said this a few months back and got pasted for it.

    Its funny how the obvious path may not always be the one taken as time passes.

    I have a feeling that the 300-500 mile long range battery will never actually make sense to build if charging ports are everywhere.

    Too heavy, too expensive, too many resouces tied up in something no one needs or uses = not necessary and an inefficient use of resouces.

    The thought that as time passes, widespread charging ports would make the long range battery generally unnecessary is actually rather funny.

    Future emphasis should be on fast charging technology, not bigger batteries.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Here is GM’s press release:
    http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2010/Oct/1011_volt

    DETROIT – As GM has started the media launch program for the Chevrolet Volt, some confusion has emerged about details of the Volt’s drive technology.

    The engineering of the Voltec electric drive unit is very sophisticated. As part of the media launch, we’re diving deeper into how the system works than we have in the past. We did not share all the details until now because the information was competitive and we awaited patent approvals. Following a small number of inaccurate media reports, we want to clarify a few points.

    The Volt has an innovative electric drive system that can deliver power in both pure electric and extended range driving. The Voltec electric drive cannot operate without power from the electric motors. If the traction motor is disabled, the range-extending internal combustion engine cannot drive the vehicle by itself.

    There is no direct mechanical connection (fixed gear ratio) between the Volt’s extended-range 1.4L engine and the drive wheels. In extended-range driving, the engine generates power that is fed through the drive unit and is balanced by the generator and traction motor. The resulting power flow provides a 10 to 15 percent improvement in highway fuel economy.

    Our overriding objective in developing the Voltec electric drive was to deliver the most efficient, yet fun-to-drive experience in both pure electric and extended-range driving. We think our unique technology lives up to its most important promise: delivering our customers with the only EV that can be their primary vehicle, with EV operation for normal daily driving, and extended range driving for weekends, holidays, and longer trips – all with no range anxiety.

    To read what journalists who have spent time with the Volt have to say, please click the links below:

    Unbolting the Chevy Volt to See How it Ticks (MotorTrend.com)

    “On paper, the Voltec drivetrain has more in common with a Prius (and other Toyota, Ford, or Nissan Altima hybrids) than anyone suspected. Each system employs a single planetary gear set, a gasoline-powered piston engine, and two electric motor/generators. But the way Chevy connects them is entirely different, and – if you ask me – superior.”

    Chevy Volt Surprise (Automobilemag.com)

    “To trump both the Prius and the Leaf, Volt combines their merits in one handy advanced-technology sedan. It employs cheaper and cleaner electrical energy drawn from the grid. It provides efficient electric drive without the usual compromises. It uses gasoline intelligently in a supporting role. It is a pure electric, a series hybrid, and a parallel hybrid all rolled into one.”

    Please continue to follow the Volt launch in the media and on the GM media site and the Volt Media Portal.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:22 pm)

    Here’s more info from GM. It shows the power flow in the various modes on the diagram at the beginning of this thread. Sorry, it’s a .doc file.

    http://media.gm.com/content/dam/Media/documents/US/Word/101010_volt_launch/Drive_Unit.doc


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:24 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    JeremyK

    “Here is GM’s press release:
    Please continue to follow the Volt launch in the media and on the GM media site and the Volt Media Portal.”

    Well, that sums it up for me. Now what we need is a breaking scoop on their advertising campaign! Who will be the spokesperson? Will there be a catchy jingle? What is the tag line?
    I’ve got to know!!!


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    Streetlight

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:32 pm)

    CorvetteGuy, Your VOLT posts today are super informative. Thanks … also I fully agree on getting VOLT MPV5 into immediate production. …A great under-shot of the battery-ICE.

    #133 nansaman: Folks, take a really good look at the cut-away photo (#133) of the Volt’s actual automatic tranny. That’s not something an electric car enthusiast (or anyone can) does in a garage. Its breathtaking innovative EV science.

    How about somebody here give GM selected VOLT trial participant Chelsea Sexton an engineering review on VOLT’s actual transmission. (Seriously)


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    Raymondjram

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    JohnK: A couple of quick thoughts:
    - I saw something a day or two ago about another EV (I think it was the Tesla).They spoke about the advantages of a clean start and that because of not having “the tunnel” it was much stronger.I think this was a veiled poke at the Volt.But really, I don’t see how that would make the car body stronger or stiffer.-  

    I saw a Tesla Roadster here in Puerto Rico last month, but the tinted windows and the bright sun didn’t allow any interior viewing. Most mechanical and structural engineers can explain that a flat piece of steel will be stronger if it has folds or ridges along one axis. The tunnel between the car seats does strengthen the floor and reduces flexing (may also prevent cabin compression during a front or rear collision). My Buick and my Olds are both front wheel driven autos, but have a small tunnel between the left and right seats. The consoles cover some of it, but it is there. GM also takes advantage of this tunnel to pass the exhaust pipe to the rear, and reduces heat under the seats. I have never seen any vehicle with a really flat floor pan. Maybe the interior seems flat, but there are some folds along the edges to do the same function.

    I haven’t seen the Volt interior up close (only in photos), but I know that the battery tunnel makes the floor very strong.

    Raymond


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    Chevonly

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:36 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:41 pm)

    no comment: EVnow made a good point and i think that your criticism is improper. while the initial (and desired) market position for the volt was to carve out a new ER-EV market position, the fact is that the volt is now a plug-in hybrid. that is why gm is now comparing the volt to the prius plug-in hybrid instead of the nissan leaf.P>  (Quote)

    I’d have to say to that, “Who cares? It’s close enough.” It’s all electric nearly all the time for nearly everyone. I’m calling it an EREV and leaving it at that. In fact, I’m glad it’s a parallel hybrid on occasion. It means GM went for efficiency over philosophical or definitional purity. They gave us the best 90% electric car they could. I’m going to cut them some slack on their definitions if it will help them gain in the market.


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    DonC

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    no comment: your understanding of the patenting system in this country is incorrect.

    You know so little about how the process works that it’s not worth my time to explain it to you. Suffice it to say that a patent application is not necessarily published until it is issued and that a patent grants the holder the right to exploit the patent but does not grant the holder the right to exclude others using the invention before the patent application was filed from using it. We won’t get into the international aspects.


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    Raymondjram

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    MetrologyFirst:
    100% agree. I said this a few months back and got pasted for it.Its funny how the obvious path may not always be the one taken as time passes.
    I have a feeling that the 300-500 mile long range battery will never actually make sense to build if charging ports are everywhere.Too heavy, too expensive, too many resouces tied up in something no one needs or uses = not necessary and an inefficient use of resouces.The thought that as time passes, widespread charging ports would make the long range battery generally unnecessary is actually rather funny.Future emphasis should be on fast charging technology, not bigger batteries.  

    Thanks for the agreement. I forgot to add that most gasoline stations will have to add EV charging to their basic fuel services to keep the EREV and PHEV customers and to add BEV customers. Since most have 230 VAC cabling, they will have the fast chargers available.

    Raymond


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:44 pm)

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    Steve

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:50 pm)

    I’m a little disappointed, but can see the the engineering reasons behind it. Another observation I can make is there’s not one place in my state where the posted speed limit is greater than 65 mph.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:51 pm)

    no comment: after all, if they have put a cadillac nameplate on the vehicle instead of chevrolet, i suspect there would have been fewer complaints about the price.

    I can only imagine how cool the Cadillac Converj would be after driving the Volt. A 2-door Voltec Coupe is exactly what GM needs for Caddy.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:52 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: In future generations of the Volt, GM will likely look for a different electric motor or just continue with the use of the EVT.

    I believe GM is going to develop their own electric motors in the future.


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    Van

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (12:58 pm)

    Let’s see, the ICE comes on at “20-25%” SOC, not the 30-35% previously given. If the charger fills up the battery SOC to 85%, and the ICE does not start till 20%, that provides a (13.6 – 3.2) 10.4 kwh utilization window in CD mode. If true, the AER should be about 40 miles. So why did some of the tests show only about 33 miles?


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:17 pm)

    Van: the AER should be about 40 miles. So why did some of the tests show only about 33 miles?

    Terrain. Temperature. Technique.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:25 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:28 pm)

    yoyodyn: Obviously you loose that when it gets coupled to the wheels and the RPM of the engine is dependent on the speed of the car.

    Not so obvious to me. You can keep the ICE at a steady RPM and vary M/G B’s (the main motor) RPM to change ground speed. Nothing that has been said in the last two days changes the way the ICE operates the generator. It can still operate at set RPM points to maximize efficiency.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:31 pm)

    The fourth state is what I encountered on my test drive on the highway, I previously thought it was sport mode. Looking back now, we were going about 75-80 MPH on the highway and the battery hit depletion. We had just switched to sport mode as well. At the time we thought the engine turned on in sport mode, we were wrong. Interesting, shortly after that we slowed (<60 mph) down and set it to Mountain Mode, thats when the engine was at 4800 RPM (we could feel the vibrations and the hear the engine as well).


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    GM Volt Fan

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:32 pm)

    So far so good. The Volt is getting good reviews from the car magazines like Motor Trend and Car and Driver. The Volt is superior to the Prius according to those guys. Let’s hope that everything else looks good like initial quality and reliability, etc. I’m sure that Consumer Reports will have their review of the Volt pretty soon.

    I also hope the Volt gets good longer term reviews where they have reports of the Volt after 2-3 years of driving, etc. Getting good reviews from these car and consumer magazines DOES matter to a lot of people. These days, people do more web surfing and research when they go car shopping. People are fairly knowledgeable before they go to the dealership.

    No doubt about it … good reviews from respected sources = big sales. I bet the Volt will be sold out for 2011. I hope the Volt is a huge boost to GMs reputation for building great vehicles. From now on, I want to see GM going toe to toe with Toyota and everyone else … year in and year out. Great reviews and great vehicles. More electrified vehicles of course. Hopefully, GM will be known as THE premier automaker when it comes to electrified vehicles.


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:35 pm)

    GM Volt Fan: This new video by the Volt engineers is really good.It explains a lot.I’ve been confused about some of the powertrain stuff for a while.http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm  

    This really *is* a very good presentation of both the battery and generation systems , and provides a few extra tidbits that are well worth the time spent (for example, even in extended range mode, they dip into the battery buffer for the initial acceleration(s) to maintain that sporty electric take-off).
    The entire set of issues gnawed on over the past few days are put in perspective and as nasaman said, it really *does* come down to a tempest in a teacup.
    Watch this piece and then chill out.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    bill cosworth

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:39 pm)

    Eric LG is a plant from Toyota .

    Also GM invented many things and had a hybrid back in the 1970′s

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_XP-883

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e5/GM_XP-883_Hybrid_Car.jpg/800px-GM_XP-883_Hybrid_Car.jpg

    So the prius is a copy of GM technology.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:49 pm)

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    ICUR12

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:53 pm)

    Lyle,

    Thank you for the clarification regarding the parallel mode. I was concerned that the engine engaged above 70 mph even with a full charge. I now understand that is not the case.

    This is acceptable to me and I am looking forward to driving a Volt.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:58 pm)

    Mark Z: More fuel efficient above 70 mph while the VOLT is traveling long distances on the interstate. I’d be upset if GM hadn’t taken advantage of it.  (Quote)

    Agreed!
    But I can tell you it wasn’t capable with some of the early versions of the TCM (Transmission Control Module – part of the control valvebody assembly) software. But it does make sense.
    There’s nothing earth shattering here, It’s not new, Allison (also a GM company) has been doing it since the 30s. Toyota (or TRW) certainly didn’t “invent” it or anything, in fact other than the HSD Toyota automatics are mired deep in “Simpson” style planetary arrangements, But that’s another story.
    Quite simply when you drive the sun and ring gears of a planetary gearset at 2 different speeds, the carrier will turn at the average of the two-speeds (technically a weighted average dependant on the tooth counts/ratios of the planetary elements)
    What is somewhat new is the ability to make the effect even more variable using electric motors,

    The way I like to think of it, is it is ICE via MG1 and C3 is providing a variable “reactionary” member. Planetary gearsets need something to “push off or away from” in order to work, otherwise they are just free-spinning gears.

    Try this analogy. Sit cross-legged on a chair with wheels, now try to move in one direction without touching something else. Can’t do it. Now push yourself away from the table.Whheeee!

    The table represents a reactionary member, just like the “fixed” ring gear used the majority of the time in the Volt’s planetary gearset.

    Now let’s put the table on wheels too, and while you push away have someone else push the table slowly towards you. Are you accelerating more quickly and moving farther, faster?
    Good!
    You’ve got the effect a variable reactionary member can have in a gear set. Without it you are going NOWHERE!

    :D
    WopOnTour


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (1:59 pm)

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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:04 pm)

    Mike-o-Matic:
    I find the latter (keep using the EVT/current design) to be HIGHLY likely for the next decade.While I love the “purity” of a completely decoupled design, what are you going to use for the Range Extender?Fuel Cells and Turbines aren’t going to be “drop in” or “cost effective” options for a loooong time.What’s that leave?WOOD-FIRED STEAM ENGINES??EESUs??? (ROFL!!!)The ICE is going to be part of EREV for a long time.Might as well use it in the most sensible way possible.  

    Maybe this will make a difference in the not so distant future:

    http://www.physorg.com/news204552797.html

    “Put another way, one could increase the car’s efficiency by well over 25 percent, which would be ideal for a hybrid since it already uses an electrical motor.”

    I believe that the advancements in science and technology will supply the solutions to the concept that Jackson and I support. Be it advancements in battery technology, fuel cell tech, electric motor technology, or in supercapacitor tech like the EESU. EEStor isn’t the only company working on the technology. We may all be surprised in developments within the current decade.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:04 pm)

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    Eclectic Dan

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:07 pm)

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    neutron

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:08 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: Yesterday, I got to take a test drive in a 2011 Chevrolet Volt.After a presentation of features and drive system, we were taken out to the test area. There were 3 Volt and 2 Prius cars lined up. ……
    If I were running the marketing Department, that is how I would promote it. It is not a Mercedes, but it could easily be mistaken for a Lexus on the inside. And if I could control manufacturing, I would order that the Volt MPV5 would get an immediate green light. With more headroom, legroom and utility in the back, it would be a Grand Slam!  

    From your report I think your GM/Chevy bias is showing. ;+]


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:38 pm)

    kdawg:
    I believe GM is going to develop their own electric motors in the future.  

    You are right:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60P0T820100126

    I’ve mentioned this in previous posts.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:45 pm)

    neutron: From your report I think your GM/Chevy bias is showing. ;+]  (Quote)

    And that’s a bad thing because……………………?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:54 pm)

    OK, i’ve been offline for a while….

    So I have been telling folks that the Volt is always driven by Electricity 100% of the time, hence the “Series Hybrid”.

    lol…..are you saying I lied to peeps the whole time?

    /I understood 100% electric and no mechanics from the ICE involved.
    //yeah yeah, i’ve been under a rock. :o )


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    DonC

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (2:55 pm)

    Van: Let’s see, the ICE comes on at “20-25%” SOC, not the 30-35% previously given. If the charger fills up the battery SOC to 85%, and the ICE does not start till 20%, that provides a (13.6 – 3.2) 10.4 kwh utilization window in CD mode. If true, the AER should be about 40 miles. So why did some of the tests show only about 33 miles?

    I think Larry Nitz said they use 10 kWh. This is new, up from the 8.8 kWh mentioned last week by Lyle. Now maybe the 1.2 kWh is used for battery conditioning only when the car is at rest and not plugged in. Or not. Would be an interesting Q.

    As for why some reviewers got 33 miles of AER range, TopGear got 17.2 MPG when running the Prius around their track. Flog a car and you can get all manner of outlying data points.

    Most reviewers who aren’t flogging the car seem to be getting 40 AER. In fact more or less exactly 40 AER. Some when trying have gotten 50+. Just depends on the course and how you’re driving.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:01 pm)

    It makes sense that the traction motor (149 hp) driving the sun gear gets an assist from a smaller motor driving the ring gear to handle very high wheel speeds (70-to-101 mph), so the traction motor doesn’t have to handle the full range of rpm’s that would otherwise be necessary.

    Two Questions:

    1) When GM says “By adding this element, engineers were able to improve fuel efficiency by 10 to 15%.”
    In CD mode, when they use the “assist motor” (the motor in the genset) to drive the ring gear – if they did not, and just used the traction motor for the entire 0-to-101 mph range, would that be 10 to 15% less energy efficient for the 70-to-101 mph speeds ?

    That is, in CS mode, is the 10 to 15% efficiency gain because they do not have to run the traction motor (sun gear) all the way up to 101 mph speeds (they get to use the ring gear again) ?

    2) When GM says: “The difference here is that the smaller motor is still being turned by the engine and not electricity. Thus the engine becomes coupled with both electric motors and all three work together to turn the driveshaft. Thus the gas engine participates in turning the wheels mechanically although indirectly.”

    Does this mean that when the ICE is clutched to the generator which is clutched to the ring gear, that the genset is no longer producing electricity ? Or can the generator still produce power for the traction motor (and/or battery) while it is also being spun, clutched to the ring gear ?

    ———-

    I think the “10 to 15% efficiency gains” are just from not having to run the traction motor at extremely high rpms, not because the “mechanical linkage is more efficient than the electrical linkage”. If the genset was a black box (only electric power out), and the Voltec drivetrain had two electric motors (the 149 hp traction motor for the sun gear and a small, maybe 40 hp assist motor for the ring gear), then the 70-to-101 mph situation would be exactly the same in both CD and CS modes.

    This would have kept the Volt “all electric, all the time” and would have kept the Voltec architecture plug-n-play for any electric power source – at the small cost/weight penalty of a dedicated, small electric motor that assists the traction motor by turning the ring gear when appropriate.

    Is this correct ?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:06 pm)

    carcus3: Series/Parallel not Series — and adios.

    Hey my friend, just one piece of advice: “Don’t Drive It” It will be like taking that first drink! LOL

    Seriously, I’ll tell you in a week after Leaf and Volt test drives. Hopefully they’ll be at least somewhat realistic with some different driving situations.

    Not sure why the gearing aka serial/parallel/something else matters to you. The engine runs when it runs. If it’s running I’d like it to be as efficient as possible. No real interest in having it fit some preconceived notion of how it should work.


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    Darius

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:07 pm)

    Texas:
    Now, we need to address the fact that the ICE can power the Volt above 70 mph WITHOUT much help from the other two electric motors. Why? Because the required hp is much less than what the ICE can pump out. In fact, the sweet spot for the ICE would probably be right around where the average driver would cruise.
    Let’s be real here, folks. An electric motor connected to the planetary gear set is not like having an ICE connected. Why? Because you don’t have all that friction of turning 4 cylinders and all the associated parts. They can basically free wheel. Almost like running reserve (generators connected to the grid that spin but run under very low load. They do this to get extremely quick response to keep the grid from browning out; like when someone throws a huge switch to start up a massive machine or something.
    Now, we can all argue about how much the two electric motors will add to the highway cruise but soon we will find out. How? All that is needed is to throw a few amp meters on the wires connected to the motors. Just read the amperage an you can calculate the power draw. Simple, eh?
    From a pure physics point of view, I predict the ICE will be doing most of the work because it will be the most efficient at delivering the power directly to the wheels (no generator conversion needed).Place your bets.
    Irregardless, This hybrid systems looks to be a very elegant solution. Of course, we need to see just how expensive it is, how reliable it is and what the associated efficiencies are. Only a lot of driving will answer some those questions. By then, Volt 3.0 will be out.
    So far so good, GM! Keep up the great work let’s hope those $80 plus / barrel oil prices hold out. The cost is predicted to reach $100 next year! There will be a stampede to the Chevrolet dealers. How long the economy can hold out at that price is a whole different topic.

    Texas,
    You some time ago predicted this ICE setup. I have oposed. You win. You have good feeling of power flows. Regards.


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    LRGVProVolt

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:07 pm)

    DonC: The reason is that if you have a great patent you don’t want it copied and research started by competitors before it’s approved — if they have something working they’re not bound by the patent even is issued. No idea why you don’t understand this.

    DonC,

    Are you sure of that?

    My uncle was an inventor. He would write down the invention idea on paper and seal it in an envelope and then mailed to himself and kept it unopened for any future contention over who thought of the idea first. Anyone trying to get a patent on the same idea would have to prove they thought it up first.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    EricLG

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:19 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:19 pm)

    Voice of media reason. No that is not an oxymoron! Ha ha. Actually it explains things very well. Worth a read:

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1050307_how-gm-didnt-lie-about-the-volt-and-why-the-press-is-wrong


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    DonC

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:21 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: My uncle was an inventor. He would write down the invention idea on paper and seal it in an envelope and then mailed to himself and kept it unopened for any future contention over who thought of the idea first.

    That doesn’t work. Some people think it does but no cigar. It’s all about who (has to be a person in the USA) files first.


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    EVO

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:28 pm)

    A. 2.16 final gear ratio – pullleeeze. Divide both parts by two to normalize and invert. That gives you a one gear final ratio of 8:1, about the same that every other full EV worth its salt to date uses (though you can easily tune perfomance for different future models by simply tossing on different gear/sprocket sets with different numbers of teeth). The fact that it’s a fixed single gear final ratio of 8:1 more than anything else in the diagram convinces me that at its heart and soul, the Volt is an EV first and foremost, though range extended with a little gas beef efficiency tweaked in for top end high speed cruising, for those who have no absolutely no self control and do a lot of long distance daily driving and illegally speed on interstate highways.

    B. Dang, the e-motor/generators elegantly built right into the sun/planet gear set make the ICE look like the olde piggie that it is.

    C. I like kinematic, as in maximum kinetic action from 0 rpm. Woot!

    D. Anyone who has real EV experience knows that getting 40 miles in a four wheeled vehicle made from heavy Detroit steel including a full ICE system from 16kWh total capacity while maintaining long power pack life and getting 32 to 36 mpg in range extended CS mode is impressive and acceptable.

    E. GM is focused first on a vehicle that is as mainstream overall as possible ,than on price or volume. As soon as after launch reviews and actual retail owner word of mouth comes out that it is a completely acceptable vehicle in all regards, GM can laser focus on price and volume.

    F. This appears to be a top of the line trim plug in Prius fighter on price but with much, much better EV grunt at the low end, which is where commuters, around towners and back roaders spend 100% of their time. Well played, GM!

    G. In sum, in long distance highway cruising, the Volt probably feels like any other 41k vehicle, but for everything else the Volt is vastly superior.


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    Roy H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:31 pm)

    Well, maybe it was important to keep the details secret, but I still feel it was handled badly, and the GM engineers should never have said the ICE never drives the wheels. They should have said, we can’t give out the details.


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    kdawg

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:34 pm)

    DonC: LRGVProVolt: My uncle was an inventor. He would write down the invention idea on paper and seal it in an envelope and then mailed to himself and kept it unopened for any future contention over who thought of the idea first. That doesn’t work. Some people think it does but no cigar. It’s all about who (has to be a person in the USA) files first.

    My uncle used to say things too, like…. he invented the question mark.
    dr-evil.jpg


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    Tagamet

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:48 pm)

    carcus3: Switching from Poster to Lurker, so — see you in the funny papers

    Be well and keep us posted,
    Tagamet


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    jscott1

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:49 pm)

    EVO:

    . Anyone who has real EV experience knows that getting 40 miles in a four wheeled vehicle made from heavy Detroit steel including a full ICE system from 16kWh total capacity while maintaining long power pack life and getting 32 to 36 mpg in range extended CS mode is impressive and acceptable.E. GM is focused first on a vehicle that is as mainstream overall as possible ,than on price or volume. As soon as after launch reviews and actual retail owner word of mouth comes out that it is a completely acceptable vehicle in all regards, GM can laser focus on price and volume.

    That is the tragedy in my opinion is that the Volt is a marvelous engineering feat, but all along we had been hoping that GM would under-promise and over-deliver, and the exact opposite seems to have happened.

    GM missed the mark on almost every promise made of the Volt, and it could be a PR disaster. I hope for the Volt’s sake that people look beyond the marketing screw up and at the car instead.

    As for the price dropping a lot…I’m not going to hold my breath. Although that’s common in consumer electronics, automobiles, not so much. There might be incremental adjustments, but without the Federal Tax credit this will always be a >$40K car.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:51 pm)

    Thought for the Day:

    slogan40.jpg


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:53 pm)

    Where’s the nearest filling station?

    120V%20outlet.jpg

    =D-Volt


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    no comment

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:54 pm)

    it’s all fine and well for you to present a lot of bluster to make people think that you know what you are talking about, but the fact of the matter is that you are giving out incorrect advice. the united states does not operate under “first to file” rules. i’m not asking you to show me all that you presumably “know” about the patenting system, but the stuff that i am seeing from you here is simply wrong.

    DonC:
    That doesn’t work. Some people think it does but no cigar. It’s all about who (has to be a person in the USA) files first.  


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    Tagamet

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (3:56 pm)

    Tagamet: GM Volt Fan: This new video by the Volt engineers is really good.It explains a lot.I’ve been confused about some of the powertrain stuff for a while.http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm

    In the comments since I re-posted this at #180, there have been at least 7 questions asked that were answered in this video. I’m just saying…

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    doggydogworld

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:12 pm)

    DonC: That doesn’t work. Some people think it does but no cigar. It’s all about who (has to be a person in the USA) files first.

    This is incorrect. Most of the world uses a “first to file” system, as you describe, but the US has a “first to invent” system. The first to file is assumed to be the first to invent, but if someone who files later can prove they conceived of the idea and “diligently worked to reduce it to practice” earlier he can institute interference proceedings and get the patent grant instead of the first filer.


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    WopOnTour

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:15 pm)

    DonC: I think Larry Nitz said they use 10 kWh. This is new, up from the 8.8 kWh mentioned last week by Lyle. Now maybe the 1.2 kWh is used for battery conditioning only when the car is at rest and not plugged in. Or not. Would be an interesting Q.As for why some reviewers got 33 miles of AER range, TopGear got 17.2 MPG when running the Prius around their track. Flog a car and you can get all manner of outlying data points.Most reviewers who aren’t flogging the car seem to be getting 40 AER. In fact more or less exactly 40 AER. Some when trying have gotten 50+. Just depends on the course and how you’re driving.  (Quote)

    9.6kWh to be exact. Also one media test driver (Jeff Sabatini AOLautos/Translogic) managed a whopping 57 miles of pure EV range from a initial charge, which I believe to be the current “hypermiler” type record.
    Here’s a new audio recording from Andrew Farrah that explains things a bit differently from Nitz.
    http://www.cinchcast.com/scobleizer/100805
    WopOnTour


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:15 pm)

    If the Volt is a high quality vehicle, that does what it’s supposed to reliably, all of this hubbub about the drive-train is irrelevant. JMO.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:15 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:19 pm)

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    WopOnTour

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:25 pm)

    Charlie H: The REAL beauty of Toyota engieering is that THEIR Prius only weighs 3042 lbs, seats up to 5, holds 21 cu ft of luggage and can be driven away for $22.8K.  (Quote)

    Actually TROLL, how about comparing apples to apples? (or at least MacIntosh vs Granny Smith in this case) the PHEV Prius with less than 1/3 the battery capacity of the Volts (5.2 vs., 16kWh) weighs in at 3254lbs according to Toyota.(see slide- 1490kg) GM still hasn’t published a curb weight spec yet, however Car & Driver (which traditionally doesn’t rely on OE numbers and instead weighs their test vehicles on 4 chassis scales in order to determine “distribution”) reports the weight of a fully loaded, and fueled Volt as 3755lbs.
    Not too shabby. Given the much larger battery w/ liquid TMS, extensive use of high strength steel (NOT recycled tuna cans, ever see a Prius after a 55mph “closer” ? – not pretty) it’s a saw-off IMO.

    As far as 5 passenger capacity and 21 liters of cargo volume – give me break. First there’s certainly NOT sufficient room in the back seat of the Prius for 3 full grown “typical” American men without it being so uncomfortable it’s essentially impractical. Perhaps 3 kids, but we’re down to 1.89 per family now last time I checked any census data.

    When Toyota came up with miraculous 21.6 liters of luggage space for the Gen3 Prius I just had to laugh. Typical Japanese obfuscation IMO (much like their “peak” motor specs and non-SAE confoming horsepower ratings) I figure they must be using “metric” liters! LOL

    All I know is it sure doesn’t appear to LOOK like to Prius has DOUBLE the luggage space over the Volt. (see SxS below) Given that you shouldn’t ever stack payload in a hatchback higher than the rear seats (for safety) and knowing the internal dimensions are so close I’d say they are very close in practical luggage capacity as well, with the Volt possibly evenhaving better utilization given there’s no rear strut mounts intruding into the space from both sides.
    $22.800? Is that for a stripped down base model car? (I’ve seen Gen3 Prius advertised recently for as much as $32K, so I guess you get what you pay for.

    You know, I don;t know why I bother with the likes of you, why don’t you go over to the Priuschat forums for today’s coffee talk?

    WopOnTour

    Tanaka_Dec2009_Frame17.jpg

    compare_luggage_VolttoPrius.jpg


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:26 pm)

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    bitguru

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:26 pm)

    What I don’t understand is why not use some ICE mechanical connection to power the wheels in charge-sustaining mode BELOW 70mph?

    If it’s more efficient not to, then fine, but I don’t see why that would be.

    BatteriesIncluded: One thing that’s not clear. At low speed with the gasoline engine off, can the drive train swap between accelerating and regenerative breaking without waggling any of those clutches?

    It all depends on which of the motors will be used for regenerative braking: the big one (sun gear), the small one (clutched to ring gear), or both. I’m guessing we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

    Arthur: If the engine starts to power the wheels directly at speeds greater than 70mph then it clearly cannot be doing much in the way of battery charging at that time.

    Well it’s not _supposed_ to charge the battery, excepting certain mountain mode situations. The question is what fraction of motive force is coming from mechanical connection to the ICE, and what fraction is coming from the big motor (which is being powered by the smaller motor/generator, which is being spun by the ice)? GM’s statements make it sound like the mechanical fraction is small, without actually saying so.

    DonC:
    The reason is that if you have a great patent you don’t want it copied and research started by competitors before it’s approved — if they have something working they’re not bound by the patent even is issued.

    You seem to be saying that XYZ corp can see a patent application filed, copy it, and not have to pay royalties if it can get it working before the patent is approved. Is that what you’re saying?

    If so, I disagree. In this situation XYZ corp would be infringing on the patent and a remedy ($) would be called for.

    ECO_Turbo:
    I’m thinking they put a higher price than needed in case they didn’t get a patent and had to pay someone a royalty. If they did, then we could get a price break.

    Just because they got their patent doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay someone a royalty.

    I have no idea who owns what patents in this realm, but if XYZ Corp devises an incremental improvement on UVW Corp’s patent, XYZ corp may apply for and receive patent protection. If ABC Corp builds the improved widget it would owe royalties to both UVW and XYZ. If XYZ builds the improved widget it would owe royalties to UVW.


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    EVO

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:30 pm)

    Charlie H: You’ve got that backwards – as does GM, I suppose – it’s price and volume that define “mainstream.”  (Quote)

    I was refering to vehicle behavior emulation relative to the current unwashed masses expectations. You have to get my definition right , in place and in customers hands before you can start getting to your definition. See Prius or Corvette, for that matter.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:32 pm)

    john1701a:
    Normally, that would be the case.But that time has already expired.Gas is now $3 and the way we get it has become an increasing concern & liability.Emissions (both types: smog & carbon) continue to get worse too.Automakers also have financial obligations.They cannot continue to fund research & development while selling a low-volume vehicle which may not even provide any profit.  

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

    Do you really believe that GM will do no more R&D on the Voltec design? I sure don’t think that way. And let’s not forget that many of the functions that are now standard on almost all cars started out as high end options on niche quantity vehicles. Things like disc brakes, anti lock brakes, fuel injection, electronic speed control, and air bags.

    So I expect to see many of the design elements of the Volt, improved upon and crossed over to many more vehicles over the next few years. As far as the price of gasoline, I think we can assume it will continue on an upward trend, which can only help all types of electric vehicles.

    It is for these reasons, that I would most likely lease a Volt for three years. I would expect Gen-2 from GM, or some new models from other manufacturers to be released by then, and that is the car I would probably buy for the long term.

    Time will tell………….

    JMHO


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:32 pm)

    What is wrong calling the Volt a plug-in hybrid? I always wondered why this was a problem. All along I thought all vehicles that are capable of using a dual fuel system, one being electric, the other most commonly gasoline is in the hybrid family. GM-s proprietary system is an EREV which is still a sub group of the Class Hybrid. The Volt concept is in my mind superior to all other hybrid concepts. The most important aspect of the Volt is that it is a plug-in, which provides that wonderful precious 40 miles up-front. And if Toyota will provide its plug-in Prius with its 10 to 12 miles up-front that’s great and more power (no pun intended) to them. Even if small, this is still some gas free driving.


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:33 pm)

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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    Roy H: maybe it was important to keep the details secret, but I still feel it was handled badly,

    This point of view is understandable. After reviewing the facts of the matter. Here’s my take on the Voltec system and how details are being released to the public.

    I sometimes drive an EV. The car is very quiet and launches off the line very well. Very smooth running at 80% throttle. When rolling along at city street speed then flooring the accelerator from 70% to 100%. There is an increase of speed, but much less of a launch feeling than from the initial 0mph-20mph. Knowing this I have been concerned at what a freeway ready EV feels like accelerating from 65mph to 85mph (and higher).

    GM has posted 2 graphs addressing the high end passing power of the Volt. One displays performance during the first 40 miles of battery power. The other displays CS mode extended range performance. Just as expected. At about 65mph the Volt reaches it’s maximum available HP while under full battery power. The HP doesn’t drop, it just remains the same up to a top speed of 100mph. In CS mode the 65mph to 100mph dash is represented by a slight increase in HP all the way up to top speed. Like a passing gear. Is this a good thing? Sure it is.

    Rather than looking at how GM withheld drive details prior to patent applications. Realize that the Volt is a complete product. Not a Lego block snap together toy. GM actually gave strong hints that items in the drive system worked together during steep climbs. And we have a dozen topics of the day here at gm volt dot com to support this. GM didn’t want to spill the beans prior to securing the rights to the technology. GM delivered on providing a normal driving experience from an electric drive system. Removing the feeling of a flat power curve during high speed operation. The final result is very acceptable to me. I view this latest release of information as another check in the plus column for the 2011 Volt.

    =D-Volt


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    WopOnTour

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:34 pm)

    Also, a lot of the Volt specifications (including fluid capacities of the variosu coolin systems AND fuel tank) have now been posted on the GM media portal.
    http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/vehicles/chevrolet/volt/2011.brand_chevrolet.tab1.html
    WopOnTour


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:37 pm)

    Truman: Two Questions:

    1)When GM says “By adding this element, engineers were able to improve fuel efficiency by 10 to 15%.”
    2) When GM says: “The difference here is that the smaller motor is still being turned by the engine and not electricity. Thus the engine becomes coupled with both electric motors and all three work together to turn the driveshaft. Thus the gas engine participates in turning the wheels mechanically although indirectly.” Is this correct ?

    Let me try to simplify it for you, as I understand the patent.

    1) The 10% – 15% gain in efficiency comes from running the two electric motors MGB and MGA at optimum rpm. The power from the battery pack that would normally be used by MGB is divided between the two motors so no more energy is utilized. The gain comes from increased efficiency of the two motors combined. At a constant speed, there would be no difference between the two cases. But when trying to accelerate the two motor mode would use less energy than if only the primary motor, MGB, were used.

    2) Yes! In CD mode the two motors are powered by electricity.While in CS mode the second motor is driven by the ICE with clutch C3 in the above diagram engaged to drive the generator; and clutch C2 engaged to connect the ICE through the generator to the ring gear in the EVT. In this combination, the generator is powering MGB, as in the single motor mode but here the C2 clutch combines the ICE power output to the planetary gear.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    herm

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:37 pm)

    WopOnTour: Quite simply when you drive the sun and ring gears of a planetary gearset at 2 different speeds, the carrier will turn at the average of the two-speeds (technically a weighted average dependant on the tooth counts/ratios of the planetary elements)
    What is somewhat new is the ability to make the effect even more variable using electric motors,

    Wop, how is the torque distribution calculated in these systems?


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    James

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:46 pm)

    I drove a Volt Sunday and did walk away very impressed, for the most part.

    The engineer I spoke with was linked to the CAB program in California. On Sunday, in reference to this patent, he emphatically denied there was any mechanical linkage between the generator and the front wheels. He stated that what he termed “the information embargo” had been lifted Saturday coinciding with the Unplugged tour and all information was now on the table. I guess now everyone has to get on the same page.

    I spent hours in and around Volts Sunday and was literally in 7th heaven. It’s just something to be reading and discussing this car for years – and suddenly it’s there in front of you. It looks much better in person than in the photos. up close you can get the real impression it is a sports/coupe/sedan rather than a frumpy Camry or Accord class vehicle. When the Volt was parked right next to my Prius, I could tell that, even though the size is similar, the Volt had a presence which said “Hey, I’m not a nerdy hybrid”.

    I drove the Volt, a black one emblazoned with HUGE VOLT stickers on it’s doors and catchy graphics with electric plugs – to advertise it’s identity to the general public. I was disappointed that GM had opted to drive the 35+ miles to the Unplugged ride-and-drive site and not truck them there, or at least plug them in hours before the drive. By my turn the cars were in CS mode but that was also very interesting. Absolutely quiet and smooth during CS operation, travelling through the parking lot and then out for 4.5 miles of pounding on four lane, and two land arterials. I wanted to test some limits of the Volt and raised the eyebrows of my GM host a couple times – once for a fast stop down from 35mph. I floored it going uphill at a slight grade and only then was the generator truly perceptible above the HVAC fan and conversation, at a subtle growl – and acceleration, while not brisk – was better than my Prius. ‘There were some nice curves on the roads we took and I took advantage and can tell all that compared to my Prius, which is the Touring Model with the stiffer suspension – the Volt does not wash out or lean like my Prius does. On one brake to a stop sign, I did note to the GM rep the brakes in the mid-pedal range had less feel than my car.

    Most everything has been covered ten times over so I’ll make this brisk as today is a busy day. I will say that Corvetteguy’s assessment regarding “Lexus quality” makes me groan. It’s not. It just isn’t. But that’s OK, because it was not meant to be. I drive a Prius and I’d say GM’s attention rightfully went to the front cockpit, as it’s solidity of plastics and fit and finish definately are good. I tweaked everything from the glovebox to the console compartment – and up front they did a good job. It’s at least as good as the current Malibu and the shiney surfaces, while I’m sure will collect dust – they do give the car a high tech feel and appearance. To some, that may feel “luxury”, but to me, it’s shiney hard plastic. One thing that really will strike you if you’re a current hybrid driver is how high def and bright the Volt’s displays are. They really pop and it was a point I truly appreciated and a step up in clarity and graphics from the Prius. The rear seat? Well, in the rear is where GM cut corners. It’s OK though, the Prius is no luxo cruiser in this regard either. All the while one must think about how expensive the battery pack is, and there were price points to meet.
    That said, the small cubby in the center divider in front of the cupholders had a small plasticized mat glued to it’s bottom. It was curled up and when I lifted it, it just came out in my hands – the back seemingly has a 1/2 in. strip of what appeared to be double-sided sticky tape or glue on back and it was tacky. I took photos and pointed it out to a GM Hamtramck line employee who was there and he stated they were aware of the issue ( remember, these are production-ready vehicles made for the Unplugged Tour, not PPVs ) and they noted it and said they’d improve that. The door panels are of a sturdy, yet solid piece of plastic in back – and the leather seats already had a slight broken in look. Again, I am not griping, just addressing those who keep insisting it’s “Lexus-like”. Those are folks who’ve never sat in a Lexus. To me I don’t want a Lexus, I want a EV-Hybrid plug in car and the level of lux in Volt suits me fine.

    I’ll write more and post more later. I will say seeing the Volt, driving it and talking with actual workers who will be responsible for the production line and screwing them together was an honor. I told everyone I could that they were “rock stars” and heros in my book. I have to say seeing 4 Volts driving around just miles from my home made me proud to be an American.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,

    RECHARGE!

    James


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    WopOnTour

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:49 pm)

    herm: Wop, how is the torque distribution calculated in these systems?  (Quote)

    Herm
    By the applied input torque, effective gear ratios and angular velocities of each contributing member.
    HTH
    WOT


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    bitguru

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:56 pm)

    Truman: Does this mean that when the ICE is clutched to the generator which is clutched to the ring gear, that the genset is no longer producing electricity ? Or can the generator still produce power for the traction motor (and/or battery) while it is also being spun, clutched to the ring gear ?

    The generator MUST produce some power (for the traction motor to use to keep the sun gear from spinning free) or else the battery will drain below minimum state-of-charge to zero.

    The other option is there’s another clutch GM hasn’t told us about that can be used to freeze the sun gear. I guess this would make more sense than the traction motor using juice to hold the sun gear still (or quasi-still), but what GM seems to be saying is that the traction motor will to some significant degree be driving the wheels.


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    Dave K.

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (4:57 pm)

    James: I’ll write more and post more later.

    Good review James. Several here have asked about visor mirror lighting, Bose sound system quality, driver headroom, and parking camera usefulness. Have anything on this?

    “On one brake to a stop sign, I did note to the GM rep the brakes in the mid-pedal range had less feel than my car.”

    One recent report mentions the brakes feeling “stiff but effective”. Do you rate the brakes as being effective?

    NPNS


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    WopOnTour

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:04 pm)

    James: I drove a Volt Sunday and did walk away very impressed, for the most part. finish definately are good. I tweaked everything from the glovebox to the console compartment – and up front they did a good job.
    .
    I will say seeing the Volt, driving it and talking with actual workers who will be responsible for the production line and screwing them together was an honor. I told everyone I could that they were “rock stars” and heros in my book. I have to say seeing 4 Volts driving around just miles from my home made me proud to be an American.PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,RECHARGE!James  (Quote)

    Nice write-up James!
    That Larry McCoy from the Hamtramk line is quite a piece of work, wasnt he? Salt-o-the-earth IMHO.
    If I would have known you were going to be there, we could have met up for “tacos” LOL
    I will say the food at the Griot’s Garage event on Saturday was quite a bit better IMO
    Also, someone on Saturday had pulled that rubber cup-holder liner out of the rear console, apparently looking for the manual disconnect lever (it’s below a removabale tray in the FRONT console) and they might not have been properly resecured.
    Looking forward to hearing your further impressions of the Unplugged experience.
    WopOnTour


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:14 pm)

    An interesting quote from earthtechling.com “The Nissan Leaf has a range of 80 to 100 miles in most cases, after which you have to recharge for several hours. The Chevy Volt only does 25 to 50 miles electrically, but then adding hundreds of additional miles is as quick as filling the gas tank.

    Who buys those two different types of cars, and how they use them, is the biggest question facing the green car world over the next five years. Though I’ll add that for the next couple of years, Nissan, Chevy, Toyota, and Coda will likely sell every last plug-in car they plan to build”


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:14 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: I can only imagine how cool the Cadillac Converj would be after driving the Volt. A 2-door Voltec Coupe is exactly what GM needs for Caddy.  (Quote)

    Yes, yes and have the “super sport” mode engadge the ICE earlier to supplement the full power of the traction motor for those rare times you want to have some fun. Still 35 AER the rest of the time.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:17 pm)

    WopOnTour: Looking forward to hearing your further impressions of the Unplugged experience.
    WopOnTour

    So WOT, when will there be a chance to drive the Volt in the Detroit area. Yes, I know about the one at “The Business of Plugging In”, but the cost of that is kind of steep ($700).


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:25 pm)

    James: …I will say seeing the Volt, driving it and talking with actual workers who will be responsible for the production line and screwing them together was an honor. I told everyone I could that they were “rock stars” and heros in my book. I have to say seeing 4 Volts driving around just miles from my home made me proud to be an American.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,

    RECHARGE!

    James

    Congrats on the ride, and thanks for the feedback. The “Lexus” comparison must be (at least in part) “in the eye of the beholder” because we’ve owned a Lexus for years and my wife and I see the Volt as comparable (she sat in, but didn’t drive the Volt at the last NYC get together).
    Looking forward to the rest of your remarks.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Raymondjram

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    DonC:
    That doesn’t work. Some people think it does but no cigar. It’s all about who (has to be a person in the USA) files first.  

    That is why we have Bell Telephone instead of Gray Telephone. Alexander Bell filed his invention a few hours before Elisha Gray. Anyway, Gray did invent the facsimile machine, a.k.a. FAX.

    Raymond


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    EVO

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:40 pm)

    koz: Yes, yes and have the “super sport” mode engadge the ICE earlier to supplement the full power of the traction motor for those rare times you want to have some fun. Still 35 AER the rest of the time.

    Since the engagement seems to be based on electric motor rpm, just use a shorter gear ratio for that effect, which will also give even stronger launches and faster 0-30 mph cold starts. I already covered that possibility for a future model in an earlier post in this thread. Since shorter gears use less metal, I’d expect that type of supersport model to cost less, though your CS mpg would suffer in high speed, long distance driving.

    Keep in mind that my perspective on this site is entirely from that of a high performance full EV racer.


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    no comment

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:51 pm)

    your recollection of history is incorrect: the patent examiner required that bell provide proof that the claimed invention in question had been invented by bell before it had been invented by gray.

    Raymondjram:
    That is why we have Bell Telephone instead of Gray Telephone. Alexander Bell filed his invention a few hours before Elisha Gray. Anyway, Gray did invent the facsimile machine, a.k.a. FAX.Raymond  


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    TeaTime

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:52 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    DonC

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:52 pm)

    no comment: but the stuff that i am seeing from you here is simply wrong.

    Must resist urge to break “no comment” rule for no comment. Must apply the prima facie rule. Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha! Technically the US is the exception — a first to invent country — but in practice it’s just like all the rest of the first to file world. Not only is the first filing a difficult prima facie burden to rebut, but if any time lapses between “conception” and filing the invention is considered to be abandoned.

    So no, sending yourself an email about your invention isn’t going to cut it. You file it or forget it.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    The new GM Koz, with shorter gear set:

    Top speed: around 70 mph.
    0-60 mph: around 6 seconds.

    More off the line punch, massive fun and fewer speeding tickets. To fully enjoy it, get first in line (both to sign up for a sale and in traffic). Yeah, it’s got a ‘EMI (electric motor inside).

    You gonna start a new site for this one, Koz?


  241. 241
    coffeetime

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:01 pm)

    Charlie H: Here’s a little experiment to try…Run the battery down.Try to climb a steep hill at less than 70mph.You might want ammeters everywhere but I don’t think power is going to flow from the generator into the battery, back to the motor and then down the driveshaft.The ICE is going to push the car up the hill.Of course, at $41K, it’s all academic, anyway.  

    Please. What’s with all the “Prius rules, Volt sucks”, “Volt rules, LEAF sucks”, etc.? A rising tide lifts ALL boats, and the tide we are ALL trying to ride is LESS (IMPORTED) OIL CONSUMPTION. I want to see lots of Prius’, Volts, LEAFs, and everything else that weans this nation off of imported oil. I don’t understand why someone who would have NO interest in buying a Volt would log into a Volt enthusiast site just to denigrate people who are interested in the Volt. It just seems like a weird thing to do.

    Each day, our individual hourglass has a little less sand on top and a little bit more on the bottom. Why waste the finite amount of sand still in the top portion by slamming the Volt and the people who are interested in the Volt? Isn’t there something more productive you can do with your time?


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    ECO_Turbo

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:04 pm)

    #220 LazP said:

    Even if small, this is still some gas free driving.

    I like that word, “small”. Almost as good as “second rate”.


  243. 243
    Matt B

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:07 pm)

    neutron:
    I am/was under the impression that WOT will have the engine run at its maximum.
    So if WOT does not mean full speed is the speed (RPM) then controlled by the limiting the amount of fuel available to the injectors?If not then how is it done?  

    Speaking as an Engineer:
    WOT means wide open throttle. Throttle means the butterfly valve that offers variable restriction to air entering the engine. As has been stated, WOT therefore represents the optimal condition in respect of minimising pumping losses.
    The relationship between WOT and fuel flow is not direct – it depends on revs and carburation / injection parameters. For an old-fashioned carburated engine, max fueling will be at WOT at any given revs.
    However one major reason Direct Injection is interesting is that it allows you to run a very “weak” stratified mixture. This allows WOT at part load and is a significant contributor to the efficiency gains achieved in gasoline cars in the last few years.
    It appears that the Volt DOES run WOT most of the time when in CS mode. We can see this from the graph we saw yesterday: near-zero manifold pressure = WOT. The only times it moves from WOT is when the engine speed drops dramatically. I imagine that at these points no fuel is injected anyway.

    Speaking as a driver, WOT means “I’m nailing it”.

    This example illustrates the danger of confusing the two and imagining that because we can drive a car we know more than the Engineers who design them.

    FWIW, the subtletys revealed over the last couple of days mean that:
    1) Volt is *more* than “just” serial EREV, not less.
    2) For the (US Citizen) shareholders (I’m a Brit so have no stake): rather than complaining I’d imagine you should be delighted that Volt has a patentable advantage. This protects your investment in a way that could not be done for simple Serial Hybrid – which was demonstrated 100 years ago so is not patentable.

    Just my 2p!

    Matt


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    WopOnTour

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:08 pm)

    TeaTime: -1 for starting a dialog by calling someone a troll.   (Quote)

    No problem. Thanks! (and I’ll do it again, under similar circumstances when it comes to certain posters) But I just call’em as I see’em
    Perhaps you havnt bee around here very long or know Charlie H personally
    But I dont pay much attention to the voting system (other than being able to skip over those that are voted down enough- which is a nice feature IMO)
    Peace
    WOT


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:11 pm)

    TeaTime: -1 for starting a dialog by calling someone a troll.

    It’s deserved at this point. He’s just posting stupid stuff and trying to rile people up. If he had more interesting things to say, even if provocative, actually especially if they were provocative, that would be different. But it’s just a steady drumbeat of meritless points about how wonderful the Prius is.

    If people started going on to the Prius forums and saying “Na na na na na, your car is now third rate” it would basically be the same trolling he’s engaged in. The only difference is that posting negative stuff about the Prius being technologically eclipsed would be mean since it’s true, whereas his stuff is simply annoying.


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    CaptJackSparrow

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:13 pm)

    Tagamet: If the Volt is a high quality vehicle, that does what it’s supposed to reliably, all of this hubbub about the drive-train is irrelevant. JMO.

    In other words….

    “If the Beers cold…….who gives a sh|t!”


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    James: I drove a Volt Sunday and did walk away very impressed, for the most part.

    Nice write up. Will be great to see more. It’s great to get a more realistic sense of the car. At some point “real soon now” I’ll hopefully have a chance to see for myself. (I’ve seen the car in person and sat in it a couple of times. I agree that pictures don’t show as well as the car presents. If it didn’t have the bowtie, and I didn’t know what it was, my guess would be a BMW. To me it has similar lines.)

    I’m thinking you will also have a chance to drive a Leaf. Having sat in both, by way of comparison, the Leaf is mostly an econobox. A nicely done econobox but still an econobox. That doesn’t put me off though. As you point out when saying you don’t want a Lexus you want an EV, in a similar way I don’t think I need a luxury sedan to take the dog to the dog park.


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    Xioaiwe1

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:36 pm)

    DonC: You’re acting like a five year old. Let’s turn this around. Nissan says the Leaf is a zero emission vehicle. Is it really? How about all the pollution created by all the coal burning plants in Ohio? Why not get all riled up about this “falsehood” and run over to the Leaf Forum and demand that Nissan change it’s web site!!!!!Grow up already. Surely by this time in your life you’ve figured out that when you’re marketing you’re avoiding complexity. This is a web site, not a technical paper. What do you want them to say: “The Volt only uses gas to power its range-extending generator, which makes electricity to power the vehicle. This may in some instances include using an epicyclic gear set that allows the range-extending generator to couple with planetary gears when being turned by the gas engine.” Give me a break. That would be completely meaningless for 99.9% of the readers and wouldn’t make anything clear at all. Also you seem to think the web site is technically inaccurate but you would most definitely be wrong. There are only two claims being made: (1) The Volt only uses gas to power the generator. (2) The generator makes electricity that powers the vehicle. Both statements seem 100% accurate to me. EXACTLY which of these two statements are you saying is inaccurate? And if you say they are explain yourself because they sure seem accurate on their faces.  (Quote)

    marketing the Leaf as “zero emissions” and marketing the volt as “only ever uses power from the generator to make electricity to power the wheels” are both a bit of a leap, though the latter more so. Marketing among other things makes use of “fluff” (which is a technical term for exaggeration, where you know this not to be true) and misrepresentation (which is a technical term for deceit, where you lead to believe what you are told).

    Yep, electricity is generated from coal, and the making of the car itself is intensely pollutant as well. Can’t argue against that, thought the tail pipe emission bit is manageable and will depend on your power source. Its not 100% pollutant free as even solar energy required solar cells which causes pollution when made. You pick were you want to draw the line, you would be an idiot if you thought cars running on electricity are 100% pollutant free – Fluff!

    Saying however “The generator makes electricity that powers the vehicle.” Directly implies by the use of the word “generator” and all the sundry information released to support the idea of what the “generator does”, such as “there is no mechanical link” or “its not possible to link the generator to the wheels”, “you can use any power source in the volt design as a generator”, “the generator only produces electricity”, “its 100% electric” bolsters certain beliefs. This is not fluff, its deception (be it well intentioned or otherwise). GM built a complex system, and need to market it as simply as they can, but cannot deceive in the process.

    I have less of a problem with the arrangement than I did yesterday as the Volt does use electricity only for the first 40 miles, and will only use the generator as an engine in CS mode under pressing situations (which is logical and almost stupid to not allow their use in tandem if the driver desperately needs it).

    As for nondisclosure due to patents, sure they want to protect their IP, though a little knowledge of patent law will tell you a “patent pending” status does not inhibit disclosure, as the patent is not dependant on the approval date, but the date of application. Any engineer with a patent to their name or marketer of patented products will be fully aware of this.

    Do not get me wrong, whilst I now consider the Volt a hybrid (sorry mechanical link stopped it from being a pure electric), I love this vehicle and cannot wait for the opportunity to purchase one here in Australia. This is a great leap forward and I look forward to its success.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:39 pm)

    coffeetime: Please. What’s with all the “Prius rules, Volt sucks”, “Volt rules, LEAF sucks”, etc.? A rising tide lifts ALL boats, and the tide we are ALL trying to ride is LESS (IMPORTED) OIL CONSUMPTION. I want to see lots of Prius’, Volts, LEAFs, and everything else that weans this nation off of imported oil. I don’t understand why someone who would have NO interest in buying a Volt would log into a Volt enthusiast site just to denigrate people who are interested in the Volt. It just seems like a weird thing to do.

    Mr. Coffee, we understand the necessity of this country reducing imported oil. I for one wish to see the OPEC oil ministers crying like little girls when the US officially ends imported middle eastern oil.

    But that’s not good enough for these 5 or 6 ‘trolls’ that stop in for Volt bashing. You see, if you have been following this site for the past year or so, you would have noticed how as we get closer to launch day for the Volt, the intensity of their hacks gets worse, even knowing that their comments are falling on deaf ears. They continue to attempt to make the Prius “still relevant” when in fact it is just a few weeks away from being outdated with a better, more fuel efficient design. They will always fall back on “Price” as being the biggest reason the Prius will sell more, but that still doesn’t change the fact that more automakers are going with the EREV design vs a traditional hybrid design. Even Toyota is copying the Volt, but on a smaller scale with their 2012 Plugin POS.

    This means these poor souls will no longer be driving the latest-greatest technology that has propped up their self-importance for the past 11 years or so, and why they continue to harass this site. They just can’t get over these facts. The King is Dead. “Long Live The King!”


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:52 pm)

    James: I could tell that, even though the size is similar, the Volt had a presence which said “Hey, I’m not a nerdy hybrid”.

    +10 for the Best Quote of the Day!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (6:53 pm)

    The latest Motortrend article on the Volt
    In a single day trip they average 74.6mpg over 122 all-road miles in Cali (including 36.3 in CD) with peak speeds as high as 102mph (according to the speedo) all in 100-degree weather with the A/C “ON” the entire time.

    http://blogs.motortrend.com/6719595/green/127-mpg-this-volt-story-must-be-told/index.html
    WopOnTour


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:04 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: neutron

    Where did I say it was a bad thing? You are a sales guy for Chevy. Your report is what is to be expected. In fact if you had stated anything different that would have been a surprise.
    Apparently you missed the :+} at the end.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:10 pm)

    Matt B:
    Speaking as an Engineer:
    WOT means wide open throttle. Throttle means the butterfly valve that offers variable restriction to air entering the engine. As has been stated, WOT therefore represents the optimal condition in respect of minimising pumping losses.
    The relationship between WOT and fuel flow is not direct – it depends on revs and carburation / injection parameters. For an old-fashioned carburated engine, max fueling will be at WOT at any given revs.
    However one major reason Direct Injection is interesting is that it allows you to run a very “weak” stratified mixture. This allows WOT at part load and is a significant contributor to the efficiency gains achieved in gasoline cars in the last few years.
    It appears that the Volt DOES run WOT most of the time when in CS mode. We can see this from the graph we saw yesterday: near-zero manifold pressure = WOT. The only times it moves from WOT is when the engine speed drops dramatically. I imagine that at these points no fuel is injected anyway.Speaking as a driver, WOT means “I’m nailing it”.This example illustrates the danger of confusing the two and imagining that because we can drive a car we know more than the Engineers who design them.FWIW, the subtletys revealed over the last couple of days mean that:
    1) Volt is *more* than “just” serial EREV, not less.
    2) For the (US Citizen) shareholders (I’m a Brit so have no stake): rather than complaining I’d imagine you should be delighted that Volt has a patentable advantage. This protects your investment in a way that could not be done for simple Serial Hybrid – which was demonstrated 100 years ago so is not patentable.Just my 2p!Matt  

    Thanks for the information Matt. It is appreciated and I now have a better understanding of how WOT works with the different fuel delivery options.


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:15 pm)

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    IQ130

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:15 pm)

    “By adding this element, engineers were able to improve fuel efficiency by 10 to 15%.”

    As an engineer for me this is of course what is important. With a specialized ICE like the 2-cilinder Twin-Air from Fiat, or an engine with Atkinson cycle the efficiency should improve even further and with a much lighter batterypack hopefully comes close to 50mpg in CS mode.

    This goal of 50mpg in CS mode is especially important for a Volt with a smaller EV range.


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:19 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:21 pm)

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    GM Volt Fan

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:21 pm)

    WopOnTour: The latest Motortrend article on the Volt
    In a single day trip they average 74.6mpg over 122 all-road miles in Cali (including 36.3 in CD) with peak speeds as high as 102mph (according to the speedo) all in 100-degree weather with the A/C “ON” the entire time.http://blogs.motortrend.com/6719595/green/127-mpg-this-volt-story-must-be-told/index.html
    WopOnTour  

    That was a good read. Gotta love it when the folks at Motor Trend are impressed with the Volt. People are going to be looking to the car magazines for their approval since the Volt is a whole new kind of car. The Volt development team should feel good when they get these kinds of reviews. They’ve worked hard and I’m sure they want to get some accolades for it.

    I think the whole world is about to be amazed at this new Volt technology. I just hope that GM and their suppliers can somehow get the price tag down pretty quick so everyone can get their hands on one. :)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:26 pm)

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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:38 pm)

    neutron: Where did I say it was a bad thing? You are a sales guy for Chevy. Your report is what is to be expected. In fact if you had stated anything different that would have been a surprise.Apparently you missed the :+} at the end.  (Quote)

    I’m poking fun back atcha! I can tell when people are joking… Unlike our unwanted visitors who couldn’t laugh their way out of a paper bag. :)


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    Red HHR

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:43 pm)

    Crystallized Awesome Redness
    redline.jpg
    The Red Volt Appreciation League


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    Justin

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:43 pm)

    The big question that I and others have:
    Is it possible to drive above 70mph WITHOUT using gas?

    This article suggests it is possible if the battery has more than 25% charge, but engadget and others are reporting that they asked GM directly and were told that in fact you can’t drive at those speeds without using gas, regardless of how charged your battery is.

    Can this be clarified?


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    IQ131

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:44 pm)

    IQ130: As an engineer for me this is of course what is important.

    I agree.

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:46 pm)

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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:51 pm)

    Twins

    red-volts.jpg

    NPNS


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    Red HHR

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (7:56 pm)

    WopOnTour: The latest Motortrend article on the Volt
    In a single day trip they average 74.6mpg over 122 all-road miles in Cali (including 36.3 in CD) with peak speeds as high as 102mph (according to the speedo) all in 100-degree weather with the A/C “ON” the entire time.

    Thanks WopOnTour, I have no doubt that the Volt is Crystallized Awesomeness in any color.


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    Red HHR

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:04 pm)

    Dave K.: TwinsNPNS  

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I was just going to post that photo, Red Volts for you and me!
    Really Enthusiastic DeVoltees


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    kdawg

     

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:18 pm)

    So if you won a contest, and your prize choices were between a plug-in Prius, a Nissan Leaf, or a Chevy Volt, and all three had the same warranty, and came with the same home charger, and you were not allowed to sell the car for 10 years, which one would you choose and why? I know the answer for most of us, but I’d be curious to hear the responses of certain posters.

    (oh and is there a pool for guessing the person to get the first Volt, first celebrity, first country outside the US, etc?)


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:20 pm)

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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:24 pm)

    Volt%20CS%20rpm%20graph%2080%20percent.jpg

    Volt CS mode rpm comparison graph @ 80% acceleration:

    @ 10 mph = no gas

    @ 20 mph = no gas

    @ 30 mph = 1600 rpm (engine idle speed)

    40 mph – 90 mph = 3000 rpm – 3300 rpm

    Notice the three other listed vehicles are all pushing about 5000 rpm @ 60 mph during 80% acceleration. What did you say the Volt CS mpg was again?

    =D-Volt


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    nasaman

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:29 pm)

    Justin, post #262: The big question that I and others have:
    Is it possible to drive above 70mph WITHOUT using gas?

    YES, EMPHATICALLY! You can drive the Volt in EV mode from 0-100mph under all conceivable conditions using NO GAS. It’s only after you deplete the battery and the car switches to ER mode that you’ll be using gas. Download & study the 4-page document ‘Electric Drive Unit [.doc]‘ at http://media.gm.com/product/public/us/en/volt/tech.html if you want to really to understand the Volt’s 4 different operating modes, though I think Lyle has done a terrific job explaining it.


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    ted

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:33 pm)

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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:38 pm)

    Justin: The big question that I and others have:
    Is it possible to drive above 70mph WITHOUT using gas?This article suggests it is possible if the battery has more than 25% charge, but engadget and others are reporting that they asked GM directly and were told that in fact you can’t drive at those speeds without using gas, regardless of how charged your battery is.Can this be clarified?  

    Todays article explains that while in all electric mode (Charge Depletion mode), GM experienced loss in power when going faster than 70 mph. To overcome this problem, they chose to use the EVT, a planetary gear transmission which permits a two motor mode to blend power from each motor. This allowed both motor to operate in an optimal range. For as long as the battery pack can stay above its reserve level (25% SOC to 35% SOC depending on who you talk to), you will be driving in CD mode. At those high speeds, you will use up the available SOC with the result of lower AER.

    Someone posted a link earlier to a video by GM engineers that showed a graphic representation of what happens at 70 mph when the EVT goes into two motor mode; it showed how the power is distributed between the two motors resulting in lower rpm while still maintaining speed above 70 mph. As long as the battery has sufficient power, there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to go over 70 mph using no gas.

    In reading the information in the patent, the ICE is used in two motor mode only when in CS mode. Here, the second, smaller motor/generator (MGA) is driven by the ICE to make electricity to run the primary motor (MGB); when needed MGA can be engaged through a clutch to the ring gear. In this arrangement, the ICE then supplies power through the planetary gear transmission (EVT). It would only be needed where there isn’t enough energy in the battery pack.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.

    That’s how I understand the functioning of the EVT.

    <b.Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:42 pm)

    Red HHR: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!I was just going to post that photo, Red Volts for you and me!Really Enthusiastic DeVoltees  (Quote)

    Boy I wish I they made that color red for production. Guess I’ll have to stick with Cyber Gray for now!

    join thE REVolution


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    Texas

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    EricLG: Texas said “From a pure physics point of view, I predict the ICE will be doing most of the work because it will be the most efficient at delivering the power directly to the wheels (no generator conversion needed).Place your bets.”I thought the only way for the ICE to send power to the PSD is through a G/M route. Incorrect ?  

    At highway speeds above the point where the clutch is engaged. Again, we need to see the actual system, and all of the software, in action.

    Don’t forget, they can always update the software to change things up if they need to.


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    nasaman

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    ted, post #272: No wonder the car is so expensive :P I was hoping the Volt would have a simple drivetrain with a simple ER-EV setup. This totally blows my expectations for the car. Seems like a 2 speed transmission could have saved all this complexity, that’s what they did for the Tesla. Also, couldn’t the motor double as the generator? *shakes head in disappointment*

    The Volt’s drivetrain is actually elegantly simple —even compared to conventional ICE cars with ordinary automatic transmissions. I grant you it takes some “skullduggery” to fully understand,
    but its implementation and parts count is remarkably simple. See my post #133 above for proof.

    /For a full description, download the 4-page document ‘Electric Drive Unit [.doc]‘ at http://media.gm.com/product/public/us/en/volt/tech.html


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:46 pm)

    ted: I was hoping the Volt would have a simple drivetrain with a simple ER-EV setup. This totally blows my expectations for the car.

    http://garfwod.250free.com/Volt%20_Deep%20Purple%20_%20Ted%20The%20Mechanic.mp3

    =D-Volt


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:50 pm)

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    kdawg

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (8:58 pm)

    Charlie H: You should do that in the forum. Maybe Lyle would let you/help you set up a poll.

    Which one would you pick and why?


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:09 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Tagamet: If the Volt is a high quality vehicle, that does what it’s supposed to reliably, all of this hubbub about the drive-train is irrelevant. JMO.

    In other words….

    “If the Beers cold…….who gives a sh|t!”

    I *love* a well-turned phrase.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:09 pm)

    AP ~ On Tuesday October 12, 2010, 5:35 pm EDT

    GM workers get chance to buy stock in public sale

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GM-workers-get-chance-to-buy-apf-567740793.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=7&asset=&ccode=

    =D-Volt


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:16 pm)

    LRGVProVolt:
    Todays article explains that while in all electric mode (Charge Depletion mode), GM experienced loss in power when going faster than 70 mph. To overcome this problem, they chose to use the EVT, a planetary gear transmission which permits a two motor mode to blend power from each motor. This allowed both motor to operate in an optimal range. For as long as the battery pack can stay above its reserve level (25% SOC to 35% SOC depending on who you talk to), you will be driving in CD mode. At those high speeds, you will use up the available SOC with the result of lower AER.Someone posted a link earlier to a video by GM engineers that showed a graphic representation of what happens at 70 mph when the EVT goes into two motor mode; it showed how the power is distributed between the two motors resulting in lower rpm while still maintaining speed above 70 mph. As long as the battery has sufficient power, there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to go over 70 mph using no gas.In reading the information in the patent, the ICE is used in two motor mode only when in CS mode. Here, the second, smaller motor/generator (MGA) is driven by the ICE to make electricity to run the primary motor (MGB); when needed MGA can be engaged through a clutch to the ring gear. In this arrangement, the ICE then supplies power through the planetary gear transmission (EVT). It would only be needed where there isn’t enough energy in the battery pack.Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.That’s how I understand the functioning of the EVT.<b.Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.  

    If you watched the video listed above, it was clear (to me) that in charge depletion mode the ICE is not engaged at any speed. I got something wrong one time, but I *think* I’m right on that.
    In any case, it doesn’t matter!

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Hodginator

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:19 pm)

    The video was great. I said yesterday that it would be nice to have a video explaining the technology. We got it! I love this car.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:25 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: You should invest in a home in Florida, not a car. That would appear to solve many if your complaints.  (Quote)

    Bite your tounge. Just say no to trolling Priustorics in your state. Mine happens to be Florida.

    /Actual, I’ve been a fan of the Prius because it WAS the best mass marketed high efficiency option for many years. Now it’s not even close for most people and it’s fans should be Volt fans now unless efficiency was never their primary concern.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:48 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (9:51 pm)

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    D LO

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:02 pm)

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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:03 pm)

    Justin: The big question that I and others have:
    Is it possible to drive above 70mph WITHOUT using gas?This article suggests it is possible if the battery has more than 25% charge, but engadget and others are reporting that they asked GM directly and were told that in fact you can’t drive at those speeds without using gas, regardless of how charged your battery is.Can this be clarified?  

    I tried to post a reply to your question before but the abyss grabbed it. :)

    Someone post a link to a video conference with two GM engineers; one spoke about the battery pack, the other about the drive train. A animated display of what happens in two motor mode while on all electric power showed the split of power doing to the two motor/generators with MGB and MGA working as motors with their power blended in the EVT. So clearly as long as the battery pack can keep the drive train in CD mode, the Volt can travel over 70 mph without using gasoline. Go back and check the posts today. I’m sure you can find it, or maybe someone will re-post it for you. It was interesting to see the bar graph for MGB approached 70 mph and the EVT going into two motor mode with the bar graph for MGA increasing while at the same time the bar graph for MGB decreasing significantly. The ICE only kicks in when their SOC of the battery pack is too low and the drive train goes into CS mode. The only exception to this would have to be when the battery pack has too little power to drive both motors at fast enough rpm to attain or retain the high velocity. Then of course the drive train goes into CS mode.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Charlie H

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:09 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:15 pm)

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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:25 pm)

    kdawg: So if you won a contest, and your prize choices were between a plug-in Prius, a Nissan Leaf, or a Chevy Volt, and all three had the same warranty, and came with the same home charger, and you were not allowed to sell the car for 10 years, which one would you choose and why?I know the answer for most of us, but I’d be curious to hear the responses of certain posters.(oh and is there a pool for guessing the person to get the first Volt, first celebrity, first country outside the US, etc?)  

    The Volt hands down! A;; I have to do is look at the other choices. The Volt is one impressive vehicle that looks like a car I would want to own. That’s not to say everything else about the Volt doesn’t matter. I place myself amoung the owners who would travel 40 miles or less a day. There are trips that my wife and I take during the year where the one way mileage is just over 150 miles. So the Volt with its extended range would allow us to own one car.

    After following this blog from nearly day one, and examining every facet of the Volt, I can imagine why anyone would not select the Volt over the Nissan Leaf or the Toyota Prius. The esxception would of course be those devoted owners of a Toyota Prius or the niche owners who never travel much further than the area around where they live.

    I consider all the features a Volt comes with, compared to the other vehicles, big selling points.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    john1701a

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:25 pm)

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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:36 pm)

    Tagamet:
    If you watched the video listed above, it was clear (to me) that in charge depletion mode the ICE is not engaged at any speed. I got something wrong one time, but I *think* I’m right on that.
    In any case, it doesn’t matter!
    Be well,
    Tagamet  

    Tag, I believe that what I wrote is the same thing. And I did watch the video. This post was released by Lyle after getting caughtt in the abyss. There is a second post down the line worded a little differently but still answers the question as Yes, no gas is needed to go from 70 to 100 mph. As long as the battery pack has enough juice, you can drive up to the max with just electricity. So we are in agreement along with Nasamann.

    Be Well my friend and GO VOLT!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:41 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: Someone post a link to a video conference with two GM engineers; one spoke about the battery pack, the other about the drive train. A animated display of what happens in two motor mode while on all electric power showed the split of power doing to the two motor/generators with MGB and MGA working as motors with their power blended in the EVT. So clearly as long as the battery pack can keep the drive train in CD mode, the Volt can travel over 70 mph without using gasoline.

    Here you go: http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htm

    Work tomorrow, so G’Nite.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:45 pm)

    Charlie H: Now, if I could get two cars, I might get a Prius and a Leaf. We only need one car that’s capable of leaving town. it’s just math.

    If I were you, since it’s just math, I would sell the Prius and rent a vehicle (a Prius since you like them so much) to make those infrequent trips out of town. JMO.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:48 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:52 pm)

    john1701a: BINGO!Emissions (both types) was the primary concern, at a mainstream price.Efficiency followed.  (Quote)

    How much more efficient than a Prizm was it and at what relative price and how many other high volume HSD vehicles did it spawn? After the 13 years of the Prius’ production existence, somewhere north of 500 million vehicles have been sold worldwide, of which the Prius and all HSD is less than <0.4%. By your own rediculous standards this is utter failure. Personnal, I think the Prius and HSD have been a great success, but it must now be adapted to survive. Its price was never its claim to fame and will not alone be enough to retain much of its customer base. 5 seats, low Volt/Leaf near term production, apartment dwellers, and better highway mpg are its saving grace for now, not price. The problem for Toyota as that production looks to ramp up in 2012 plus the seating and highway mpg advantages only affect small segments of the market.


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (10:53 pm)

    Tagamet:
    Here you go: http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Lobby/default.htmWork tomorrow, so G’Nite.Be well,
    Tagamet  

    Thanks Tag.

    Justin, at about 19:58 in the video they show the EVT and at 20;22 the bar graphs are shown. Larry Nitz specifically states that you can drive up 100 in all electric mode.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:04 pm)

    Charlie H: LRGVProVolt: After following this blog from nearly day one, and examining every facet of the Volt, I can not imagine why anyone would not select the Volt over the Nissan Leaf or the Toyota Prius.

    Did you leave out a word? Should there be a “not” in there?

    Did I leave one not out!?!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.P.S. I guess it is getting late! Thanks!


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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:06 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:16 pm)

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    Oct 12th, 2010 (11:29 pm)

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    lousloot

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (12:44 am)

    Good!

    This could use some tweaking ‘tho.

    If you run the main motor backwards at low speed, can you get more RPM out of the Engine/Generator/Motor — being a planetary setup…

    I dont think this will get any extra torque — but may in some conditions…

    I want the motor to recharge the battery — when I want. I NeeD more power. Charge sustaining mode Volt will be a dog. Hmm, mountain mode may do more than they have been saying… x fingers..

    Hmm, what other suprises are in store?

    I hope the planetary gears don’t strip easily — under excessive torque… I am sure there will be plenty of gearsets avail. at the junk yard — from granny drivers that get rearended.

    So be gentle with your Volt, I may need replacement parts.

    nonono — cant afford a new Volt, but plan to get a used one in a couple of years.


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    DonC

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (1:22 am)

    ted: No wonder the car is so expensive I was hoping the Volt would have a simple drivetrain with a simple ER-EV setup.This totally blows my expectations for the car.Seems like a 2 speed transmission could have saved all this complexity, that’s what they did for the Tesla.Also, couldn’t the motor double as the generator?*shakes head in disappointment*  

    Tesla would have killed for this transmission. Way beyond their capabilities. The single reduction gear transmission in the Roadster is simple but the downside is that the efficiency is hurt — the Tesla uses 350 wh/mile at 80 MPH whereas the Volt seems to sue 250 wh/mile at the same speed.

    As for your disappointment that the motor doesn’t also serve as a generator, both motors serve as generators at different points. Just depends on what is more efficient.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (1:37 am)

    Charlie H: It depends on your primary concern… the Volt likely is responsible for more GHGs per mile.

    Not where I live. And not where most of the people who will buy EREVs and BEVs live. Moreover as the grid becomes cleaner, and that’s happening every day, the gap will widen. Plus really, even where the grid is dirty, how can you think that a tiny bit more GHG would balance out the tons more pollution the Prius will spew? Just doesn’t balance.

    Charlie H: I live 3 miles from work. We’re 6 miles from my spouse’s place of work. Everything else is similarly nearby. A 13-14 mile EV range vehicle is ideal.

    A Honda Fit would save you a ton of money, and you wouldn’t use much more gas! But we’ve been down this path before. No matter the scenario, the “reasons” are always arranged and rearranged so you can cling to the delusion that the Prius makes sense.

    The fact is that the Prius has never made sense. People bought it cause it was green and it had neat technology. Now there are other alternatives that are greener and infinitely more interesting — and a lot more fun. You just need to sort out whether you’re happy to stay with what you have or whether it’s worth it to you move up.

    Your choice. It all comes down to personal choice and budget.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (6:41 am)

    Justin: The big question that I and others have:Is it possible to drive above 70mph WITHOUT using gasCan this be clarified?  (Quote)

    Yes, you can go above 70 MPH without using gas by going downhill on a deep incline with the engine off! And you can do that with any car now.

    Raymond


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (7:05 am)

    john1701a: koz:
    By your own rediculous standards this is utter failure.

    What kind of spin nonsense is that?
    Prius is selling at a rate of 400,000 per year.
    More choices are on the way too.
    How is the status of Volt going to be measured?

    Bu..Bu…Bingo!!!

    The IRONIC kind Einstein.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (7:12 am)

    Don J: 2) This system is more complicated that I would like. One of the things I like about EVs is that they are simple & elegant. Fewer moving parts that can fail. With these clutches, sun gear, planetary gears, etc., there are many moving parts that require maintenance, can fail, and will cost a lot to repair when they fail. .  (Quote)

    As any of my fellow engineers can explain, making an electric automobile is more than just a chassis with a motor, a battery, and a control switch, like a toy car you might had played with as a child.

    There are safety, comfort, and efficiency issues that must be included. Ask anyone who has actually built an EV or converted a regular gas car to an EV. It is much more complex. Only large manufacturers have the resources to build one that complies with every need and regulation, and that can be sold economically.

    Look at Tesla Motors, one of our most admired companies. Thay designed and built an excellent EV, surpassing even what all other EVs have done, but at a high cost. If the federal government did not give them some help, Tesla Motors would be gone, like so many pioneers who started with a good idea and couldn’t maintain it.

    Now, put yourself in their shoes. Could YOU design and build from scratch a better electric vehicle, with present American salaried workers, and sell it cheaper than $40,000?

    That is why we have to compromise. You accept what the market offers, or you do it yourself. GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota have done their part in bringing vehicles that use less or no gas, but none have the “Perfect EV”. So if you can do better, then get the money and do it! We need more EVs and hybrids now.

    BTW, GM invented the modern automatic transmission in 1939, and many other manufacturers use it (see my previous posts). I had four GM models (average of 15 years each) and only one of then had a transmission failure (the torque converter). GM has the best transmissions with few failures, and if the Volt transmission is much simpler, it will fail even less.

    Raymond


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (7:15 am)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (7:45 am)

    In MN, if Summer falls during the week, do working people miss it altogether?


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (8:35 am)

    bitguru: The generator MUST produce some power (for the traction motor to use to keep the sun gear from spinning free) or else the battery will drain below minimum state-of-charge to zero.

    Not necessarily. It’s possible for the traction motor to keep the sun gear from spinning free by generating electricity. The system would feed this electricity to the generator (MGA) so it would in fact be running as a motor. I could imagine this happening in some modes (e.g. charging the battery when driving slow) don’t I don’t know if it ever does.

    The Prius has a mode like this. Some enthusiast groups call it “heretical mode” because it was so hard to believe the first people who suggested it were branded heretics.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (11:41 am)

    Charlie H: EricLG, the other day, pointed out that the best use of an EREV or PHEV was to get a vehicle sized for one direction of the commute and then plug it in during the day. He was exactly right; this makes the best use of the most expensive component of the car and he probably earned a -25 for it.

    Then why does a LEAF make any sense? You said a LEAF would be your 2nd car choice after a Prius. You have two commuters.

    Didn’t you? NO anti-GM attitude; it’s just math, right?


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (11:53 am)

    It’s funny what people choose as a debate.

    I own a Prius and bought it new so I am not a Volt fan boy. I loathe what GM did to us all in the ’80′s and ’90s, and the EV-1 debacle goes down as an all time epic joke on us all, IMO….

    ….Yet no Prius can go 40 to 50 miles as a pure EV.

    ….No Prius we can buy today has a lithium 16kwh battery – or a plug.

    If you want to argue something and place a flag on your point as meaningful, purposeful and significant…. DON’T make it that the Volt engages the ICE in Charge Sustaining mode above 70 mph. Sheesh!

    In my opinion they can call it anything they want – as long as they hold true, build them in real mainstream numbers, and sell them in all 50 states.

    If you want, just call Volt an EREVDCSA70H!

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,

    RECHARGE!

    James


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (1:21 pm)

    Charlie H: A PHEV Prius.
    1. I live 3 miles from work. We’re 6 miles from my spouse’s place of work. Everything else is similarly nearby. A 13-14 mile EV range vehicle is ideal. Why spend the money for battery capacity we won’t need? We live close to where we work because over 20 years ago, when we bought the house, reducing gas use was important to me. Until a couple years ago, my spouse worked within a mile of the house, also by design.
    2. However, we end up doing some long distance travel every year (family doesn’t live here). Unless we learn something extremely surprising, the Prius wins on fuel economy on long trips.
    3. We own Toyotas that have been supremely reliable Since the numbers favor the Prius, it doesn’t matter. But it might matter if the numbers did favor the Volt. Our history with GM was not good.
    Now, if I could get two cars, I might get a Prius and a Leaf. We only need one car that’s capable of leaving town.
    It’s not personal and it’s not anti-GM… it’s just math.

    Regarding #1, you won the car, so price is irrelevant (note: I also stated you can’t sell it either)
    Regarding #2 sounds like a prius may be a good 2nd car, or just rent one, but you need to define “long trip” first. You would also need to work out the #’s if it would be worth keeping a second car just for those long trips.
    Regarding #3 that is a valid opinion. I have had the opposite experience in life, thus my opinion would be opposite. (also note: i did say both cars had the same warranty as to negate this type of rationale)


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (1:32 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (2:53 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (3:47 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (4:12 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (4:17 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (4:26 pm)

    john1701a:
    Why some feel the need to fight the very vehicle helping to end the reign of guzzlers remains a mystery.

    Exactly. Why is it, then, that you and your friends keep trolling here?


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (4:50 pm)

    Someone correct me if I misunderstand the sun/planet gear system here, but it looks like you could lock the sun gear (normally driven by the main motor), and that would enable the ICE to drive the wheels by itself (Albeit in tandem with the generator)


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (6:11 pm)

    Charlie H: 1: Look at it differently, why put the resources into a car and battery that isn’t necessary? But the market for these cars doesn’t involve everybody winning one… Toyota and Nissan and, one hopes, GM are in this to make money. Price matters… and it matters a lot.
    2: Long trip? Is 3500 miles long enough? Certainly, that’s not a trip we do every weekend. We’re waiting for more numbers, of course, but the break-even on gas/distance for a fully-charged Volt and a standard-you-can-buy-it-today Prius is probably about 190 miles. One of our children lives further away than that (and no charging there). Scout camp is 220 miles away. Once we leave the Metro area, we’re going to be on cruise control for a minimum of 150 miles and usually more. In any event, I’ve run the numbers, at least to the extent we know them, and I’m going to save more fuel with a car that does better on the long trips even if it has shorter AER. If the AER for the Volt is better than the early results (low 30’s at C/D and M/T) as Lyle’s experience suggests (49), that doesn’t matter to to the calculation as much as the CS mode fuel economy. If the CS mode fuel economy turns out to be good, that might make a difference. I’m not holding my breath for a number that makes the car attractive on long trips.
    3: It’s still a problem for GM. They don’t have the rep that Honda and Toyota have. It’s unclear whether or not the current product is, quantitatively, just as good. Lutz promised that GM had achieved parity back in 2003 and he was, clearly, wrong. TrueDelta.com is a good place to look for emerging reliability data. CR is good but not updated all that often, so emerging trends are hard to spot. You might have had the opposite experience but it’s like the Roulette Wheel of Automotive Misfortune has more spaces on it marked “GM” than “Toyota.” You might have gotten lucky but the people betting on “GM” have lost more often than those betting “Toyota.”
    Speaking of GM’s rep, the “Government Motors” meme isn’t helping, either. Volt fans should be speaking out about the real impact of the bailout: hundreds of thousands of jobs directly saved and probably avoided an additional multi-point drop in the Consumer Confidence level. The cascading damage from GM shutting down completely to reorganize for a private-market-only Chapter 11 would have likely put additional millions out of work and further depressed home prices across the nation and lots of other exciting collateral damage. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that it would have changed the Recession into a solid Depression.

    #1 But that’s not what my hypothetical question was. Remove money from your equation, and re-evaluate

    #2 I think you would be better off just renting a car for those trips.

    #3 I’ll change my hypothetical a bit for this. Assume all repairs & maintenance are free for life.

    Would you still choose a Prius?


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (6:37 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (7:07 pm)

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    Oct 13th, 2010 (8:12 pm)

    Charlie H: 1: Whether or not price is in there, I use less fuel with a PHEV Prius (unless Toyota somehow screws it up – testers say that isn’t happening).
    2: Do you mean to suggest that I should find it sensible to take the $41K car and then, in addition to that, rent a car when I want to go out of town? The contest idea is nice but in the real world, nobody’s going to buy the most expensive car on the list and then spend $400 every time they want to leave town.
    3: If I felt the long-term maintenance/repair/depreciation on the Volt was equal or better, it would make a difference if I thought the Volt suited my needs better.
    Remember, the Prius holds 5 (we occasionally do ride with 5 in our smaller cars) and, by published numbers, holds more stuff (see Edmunds – cargo numbers are up for the Volt). Those are plusses.

    You didn’t really stick to the hypotheticals, but to sum it up, in my opinion, the Volt is not for you due to your frequent enough long trips (200mile+) you make that will cause you to use more gas at 35mpg (Volt), vs 50mpg (Prius). And that you make enough of these long trips, that the gas-cost on these trips will supercede the cost of gas for daily driving in the Prius vs. no-cost gas-free Volt driving.

    Looking purely at the gas cost, the Volt is designed for a daily 40-mile commuter who makes occasional long trips. It sounds like you have run the #’s and your lifestyle requires you to make too many long trips, so that you need something thats geared more to getting a high mpg on long trips.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (8:19 pm)

    Nate: When GM first stated that they were producing an ELECTRIC car with a range extending motor, I was excited. Yet as an American where my tax money was used to float the company for bad business, I was in belief that the car would be a true Electric car with an emergency motor to recharge the battery. This is no longer the case, its a plug-in hybrid. You can buy a adapter for a Prius to make a it a plug in so whats the difference. I was relying on GM to bring an electric car to the market. Once more GM you are falling behind the game of other auto makers, foregin and domestic. I kind of would like my money back for the reason you did not use it in producing an Electic car but a hybrid. Good play on words to our goverment, but you have not gained my respect. I will be purchasing an Telsa instead.

    The Volt is a pure EV for 25-50 (or more) miles. After that its a serial/parallel/hybrid (whatever term you want to use). If you want a pure EV for 40-100 miles of straight pure EV driving, then yes buy a Tesla or Leaf. But also be aware of their shortcomings/opportunity costs before you sign the dotted line.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (9:18 pm)

    kdawg:
    You didn’t really stick to the hypotheticals, but to sum it up, in my opinion, the Volt is not for you due to your frequent enough long trips (200mile+) you make that will cause you to use more gas at 35mpg (Volt), vs 50mpg (Prius).And that you make enough of these long trips, that the gas-cost on these trips will supercede the cost of gas for daily driving in the Prius vs. no-cost gas-free Volt driving…

    I find it absolutely fascinating how some continue to choose to use the no-plug model of Prius as a basis of comparison.

    Why does the 75 MPG average from the 14-mile EV capacity cause such avoidance?


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (9:44 pm)

    the volt is operating in CS mode it operates as a “serial hybrid” at speeds under 70 mph and as a “parallel hybrid” at speeds over 70 mph.

    as some have noted, the term “hybrid” is subject to various interpretations, but the reality is that toyota pretty much defines the hybrid space in the market right now, so their use of terminology tends to be the one that carries the most weight. the operation of the volt is comparable to that of the prius plug-in hybrid, so, for market purposes, the volt a plug-in hybrid. for marketing purposes, gm might want to continue to position the volt as a ER-EV to differentiate it from the prius, and when i give it some thought, that would probably be a good idea. the problem with going head-to-head against the prius plug-in hybrid is that i suspect the prius plug-in hybrid will get better mpg than the volt. there are a number of differences between the volt and the prius plug-in hybrid but the typical consumer is less likely to scrutinize the many operational differences and instead just make an mpg comparison.

    kdawg:
    The Volt is a pure EV for 25-50 (or more) miles.After that its a serial/parallel/hybrid (whatever term you want to use).If you want a pure EV for 40-100 miles of straight pure EV driving, then yes buy a Tesla or Leaf.But also be aware of their shortcomings/opportunity costs before you sign the dotted line.  


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (11:25 pm)

    john1701a: I find it absolutely fascinating how some continue to choose to use the no-plug model of Prius as a basis of comparison.
    Why does the 75 MPG average from the 14-mile EV capacity cause such avoidance?

    I wasn’t talking about blended MPG. Note I used 35mpg for the Volt.


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    Oct 13th, 2010 (11:34 pm)

    no comment: the volt is operating in CS mode it operates as a “serial hybrid” at speeds under 70 mph and as a “parallel hybrid” at speeds over 70 mph

    Actually in CS mode the Volt will balance power from the traction motor, the generator, and the ICE based on its efficiency map and the torque required. There’s nothing specifically tying this to 70mph.


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    Oct 14th, 2010 (1:34 am)

    the generator provides drive only in CD mode; in CS mode the ICE provides drive. yes, even in CS mode it the generator which provides “direct” drive, but the generator is just a linkage element because it is the ICE which is turning the generator, which in turn, turns the wheels, but to be real about it, the motive drive is coming from the ICE and not the generator. in this sense, the ICE is said to provide “indirect” drive as a matter of topology, but as a matter of function the ICE is providing direct drive.

    kdawg:
    Actually in CS mode the Volt will balance power from the traction motor, the generator, and the ICE based on its efficiency map and the torque required.There’s nothing specifically tying this to 70mph.  


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    Oct 14th, 2010 (5:48 pm)

    no comment: the generator provides drive only in CD mode; in CS mode the ICE provides drive. yes, even in CS mode it the generator which provides “direct” drive, but the generator is just a linkage element because it is the ICE which is turning the generator, which in turn, turns the wheels, but to be real about it, the motive drive is coming from the ICE and not the generator. in this sense, the ICE is said to provide “indirect” drive as a matter of topology, but as a matter of function the ICE is providing direct drive.

    Actually no. In CS mode the generator can act as a motor as well as power being supplied by the traction motor, and the ICE can also provide torque at the same time. This would be a case where max torque was needed. The balancing act is done by the software & efficiency maps.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:23 am)

    doggydogworld: Not necessarily. It’s possible for the traction motor to keep the sun gear from spinning free by generating electricity. The system would feed this electricity to the generator (MGA) so it would in fact be running as a motor. I could imagine this happening in some modes

    Good point. I too could see the Volt doing this in some situations.

    Going back to the original question (“Does this mean that when the ICE is clutched to the generator which is clutched to the ring gear, that the genset is no longer producing electricity?”) we can I think agree that one of the two motors would be generating electricity while the other would be spending it.

    In this “heretical” mode it would be the big motor generating and the small motor spending. (If the big motor was generating and the smaller motor was clutched fixed, then I guess the the battery could be charged with the excess. But in general the Volt doesn’t want to charge its battery unless it’s plugged in.)


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    Oct 17th, 2010 (11:29 pm)

    In Georgia, where I live, the speed limit on the highway, outside Atlanta, is 70 and everyone does 75+. Inside Atlanta the speed is 55 but everyone still goes about 72. So, it would be hard to be in EV-only mode here at all. That really sux. Very disappointing X(


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    Oct 18th, 2010 (8:37 am)

    Driving at greater than 70 MPH is illegal in most places.

    It seams rather odd to add direct drive for greater than 70 MPH, as this only adds to the complexity, cost, and chance for failure, while encouraging illegal, and inefficient driving.

    Perhaps GM would come out with a “low end” version that does not have the direct gas drive. I would more likely consider that version.


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    Oct 28th, 2010 (2:42 pm)

    no comment,

    I echo your comments about the explanation, although another round of editing wouldn’t hurt. The engineering solution is well thought out and appears to be a good interim solution until a “real” electric car can be built. However, you are being too kind calling the “cutesy” language that GM has used to describe the technology a way to mislead the competition. I call it a lie. Why didn’t GM simply say nothing.


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    Oct 28th, 2010 (2:45 pm)

    Rick: no comment,
    I echo your comments about the explanation, although another round of editing wouldn’t hurt. The engineering solution is well thought out and appears to be a good interim solution until a “real” electric car can be built.However, you are being too kind calling the “cutesy” language that GM has used to describe the technology a way to mislead the competition.I call it a lie.Why didn’t GM simply say nothing.    

    Rick: no comment,
    I echo your comments about the explanation, although another round of editing wouldn’t hurt. The engineering solution is well thought out and appears to be a good interim solution until a “real” electric car can be built.However, you are being too kind calling the “cutesy” language that GM has used to describe the technology a way to mislead the competition.I call it a lie.Why didn’t GM simply say nothing.    


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    Oct 31st, 2010 (11:13 pm)

    Well, I’m glad I was disappointed with the Volt before this news broke. It would really suck to be a devoted fan of the Volt and then realize it doesn’t really have a pure electric drive. But I think for many fans, that won’t matter much. To me, it means a great deal. Now the Volt is nothing more than another plug-in hybrid. A very unique and advanced one, but still not a pure electric drive.

    GM failed- and it didn’t just fail- it lied to *everyone*. I’ll be looking forward to what competition has to offer, but this definitely ends my lengthy obsession with the Volt. I remain optimistic to see what the future holds, but I’m very disappointed to see GM can’t even live up to the basics that it promised with the Volt.