Oct 15

Clarification: Gas Engine Can Help Drive the Chevrolet Volt Starting at 30 MPH

 

[ad#post_ad]As regular readers here know, I have faithfully followed every detail of the Chevrolet Volt story and every morsel of news since the car was no more than a show car shell and a pen and paper idea.

Over these months and years we’ve run into many controversial moments.

Perhaps none has been as controversial as the present “gas engine driving the wheels” fiasco.

Earlier this week I attended GM’s first media press conference where executive engineer Larry Nitz described how the Volt operated.  In the lecture he specifically mentioned 70 MPH as the point where the combustion engine can contribute power indirectly to the driveshaft.  He was quite specific this can only occur once the vehilce is in extended range mode.

I reported this information in great detail here in a post called Chevrolet Volt Electric Propuslion System Unveiled.

Soon after, news started coming out suggesting the engine can help drive the car at even lower velocities.  I sent a note to Mr. Nitz, and spokesperson Rob Peterson responded:

The engine WILL NOT turn on while the car is in electric driving mode (which for your trip two days ago approached 50 miles) – simply put, it is a full-performance battery electric vehicle.

Once the battery is depleted, the Volt’s gas-powered engine engages to create the power needed to extend the range of the vehicle several hundred additional miles.  In extended range mode the Volt is powered by either a 1-motor series or 2-motor combined mode. The vehicle will select the most efficient mode for the driving condition:  1-motor series – for operations almost exclusively below 30 mph; 2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph.  At speeds in between 30-70 mph, the Volt will select the most optimally efficient drive mode amongst the two.

So it turns out the engine can contribute motive force to the Volt even at speeds from 30 to 70 mph presumably when the power demand calls for it such as hills and strong acceleration.  Perhaps even more than that, Peterson wouldn’t say.

Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah explained this a bit more in an interview.

“The 70 mile an hour thing, we’re really not sure where that came from,” he said.  “Somebody didn’t get the story right.”

He said there were specific determinants when the engine would provide input to the driveshaft.  “Its’ really more an issue of torque and power than it is of speed,” he said.

The Volt has internal programming to determine at what points the engine should be coupled in.  “It has an efficiency map, and based on the efficiency map it will decide what to do,” said Farah.

The gear-heads among us, myself included, want to know exactly how the Volt works, and for that reason these details are important.  In the big scheme of things, though, and to most consumers, it really doesn’t matter.  The car will carry you for 40 miles without gas. That’s the promise.

After that it becomes a hybrid.  It is actually the reverse of current hybrids like the Prius in that in the Volt the electric motor is the main player, and the gas engine is the minor assistant.  In most of today’s hybrids the opposite is true.  This allows the Volt to have the unmistakable feel of pure electric drive in all circumstances.  To that I can fully attest.

Do I feel GM lied to me as some whiny journalists have claimed? No. Lying is too strong a term.  It was more of a corporate decision to conceal these details until an appropriate time to keep a competitive edge.

I don’t feel betrayed, or frankly really care at all.  And to all the journalists getting lit up about all this I’m really not sure what the fuss is all about..ruffled feathers?

What it is about is having the most people use the least oil as possible, without compromising their lifestyles in a car that’s good looking, high tech, and fun to drive.  And to that mission the Volt holds true in a big way.

GM has done an amazing thing here despite all the odds against them, an for that I am extremely pleased that I have committed nearly four years of my life evangelizing this car.  I should be getting my Volt in just 10 days, and I can’t wait.

So let us have a moment of silence and allow this controversy to die a natural death.



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This entry was posted on Friday, October 15th, 2010 at 12:26 am and is filed under Engineering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 440


  1. 1
    Matthew B

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:35 am)

    I suspect the 70 MPH number came out since that is the speed where the generator MUST turn on to prevent the main drive motor from over-speeding. In CS mode the engine is already turning the generator so 70 MPH is a MUST point. I’m suspecting it comes on much lower in CS to minimize the amount of power going through both motors serially.

    The folks that are all wound up about the secrecy from GM have never dealt in patents. You jeopardize the ability to use the patent to block competition if you let the secrets out before the patent publishes.


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:35 am)

    “The 70 mile an hour thing, we’re really not sure where that came from,” he said. “Somebody didn’t get the story right.”

    A car magazine hooked up diagnostic equipment to the Volt during several test runs. The power curve appeared to change at 70mph. So, they reported that assistance was added at 70mph.

    =D-Volt


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    DonC

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:37 am)

    I’m glad you’re not overly bothered. To some extent GM did try to mislead you, and the rest of us, but it was a minor detail. When a company is in the middle of a development effort, you have to understand that the rules of engagement, so to speak, involve some areas where the kimono will not be fully opened. And this message wasn’t exactly hard to read with respect to some aspects of the drive train.

    And since you’re getting a very extended test drive I’m sure you (and the rest of us) can find it in your heart to forgive them!


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    Matthew B

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:44 am)

    Dave K.: A car magazine hooked up diagnostic equipment to the Volt during several test runs. The power curve appeared to change at 70mph. So, they reported that assistance was added at 70mph.

    Even in electric mode there probably is a bump in the curve due to the generator kicking in and providing assistance.


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    LazP

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:59 am)

    Lyle,
    I could not agree with you more. Some here and elsewhere can’t see the forest from the trees. The upfront 40 electric miles is the ace in the hole in this car. This is what originally attracted me to the Volt. This is what currently distinguishes the Volt from other hybrids. In fact this surprising recent announcements only enhances the Volt by retaining all the earlier assumed important qualities with these changes.
    Whatever it si going to be classified. Hybrid or combo hybrid etc.
    All the outcry, but GM hardly owed us detailed explanation how the car works. They were much more transparent than one could have expected them to be.


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    Larry

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:04 am)

    That is an awesome animation video; it clearly shows the advantages of the Multi-Mode Volt over more simplistic vehicles. It has:
    – Pure Electric Mode for zero gas consumption under 80% of all usage conditions
    – Series Hybrid Mode when the battery is low and the RPM range is not ideal for a ICE engine
    – Parallel Hybrid Mode when the battery is low and greater efficiency is realized by directly coupling the ICE to the wheels.

    There is no ‘simple’ description of the Volt, except as “simply the most efficient vehicle going into full production today”!


  7. 7
    Volt Sucker

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:17 am)

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  8. 8
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:29 am)

    Thanks Lyle for your post (as always). I follow you when you write that all of this is a matter of business communication.

    I cannot wait (but this will be longer than for you) for the Ampera to be on sale in Europe.

    Best regards,

    JC NPNS


  9. 9
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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:33 am)

    the reason why the fact the ICE drive mode has become “controversial” is because GM previously made such an issue of declaring that the ICE would never turn the wheels. that was why they previously resisted attempts to call the volt a hybrid and instead referred to it as an ER-EV.

    i don’t think that GM was lying because if they were, they would have not initially positioned the volt against BEVs like the leaf. i believe that it was GM’s initial product intent that the ICE would never drive the wheels. however, when faced with the reality of the state of the technology, an engineering decision had to be made. the result of that engineering decision was performance and efficiency required that they either: a)engage the ICE in the drive train; or b)develop a 2 speed transmission that would allow the traction motor to turn the wheels alone across the volt speed range. GM chose option a). i think that was the right choice. however, the result of that engineering decision (which i don’t doubt was a very difficult one) was that the marketing strategy had to change.

    it would be a huge mistake for GM to try to ignore the “controversy” and hope that it “blows over”. that might be fine for the enthusiasts, but the volt will need more than enthusiasts to be commercially successful. the marketing challenge for GM is to focus on how the engineering decisions resulted in a better vehicle. personally, i think that the marketing group needs to develop 1-page (max and preferably less) bullet point fliers that list the ways in which the volt is superior to the identified competition. these need to be quick talking points that reframe the discussion to how the volt that is is better than competitive offerings.

    as to the issue of when the ICE engages the drive train: if you look at the acceleration times listed in the motor trend article, 0-60 acceleration is faster in CS mode and acceleration times are comparable over the 0-50 range. given the nearly 50% drop off in power as you go from CD mode to CS mode, it would seem that to maintain acceleration in CS mode as closely as they have, the only way that could be done is if the traction motor got some assistance; namely from the ICE.

    i suspect that the 70 mph figure arose because that is the speed at which the M/G provides assist to the traction motor in CD mode. if you assume that the M/G kicked in at the same speed in CS mode, and given that the M/G is driven by the ICE in CS mode; it is easy to conclude that the ICE therefore provides assist to the traction motor at speeds above 70 mph. the explanation that the ICE kicks in before that helps assuage my confusion about the comparative acceleration statistics for CD mode vs. CS mode.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:41 am)

    patents aren’t about secrecy; in fact, they are the antithesis of secrecy. by seeking patent protection, GM was putting their information out to the public. the mere publication of a patent application grants no patent protection: someone could have looked at the application once it was published and used any technology described in the application with impunity. what keeps companies from actually doing that is that if the patent application actually issues into a patent, then the copier could be forced to stop using the technology.

    Matthew B: The folks that are all wound up about the secrecy from GM have never dealt in patents.You jeopardize the ability to use the patent to block competition if you let the secrets out before the patent publishes.  


  11. 11
    Mark Z

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:05 am)

    Wonderful news. The VOLT is designed by ENGINEERS and not designed by trolls.


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    DonC

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:05 am)

    no comment: by seeking patent protection, GM was putting their information out to the public. the mere publication of a patent application grants no patent protection: someone could have looked at the application once it was published and used any technology described in the application with impunity. what keeps companies from actually doing that is that if the patent application actually issues into a patent, then the copier could be forced to stop using the technology.

    Nice try but no cigar. When filing for a patent you can request confidentiality so that the patent is only made public if issued. IOW there is no publication of the patent application, which means that a competitor could not have “looked at the application … and used any technology described in the application with impunity”. That could only have occurred after the patent issued in this case. (And when it did, CABDriver found it immediately).

    GM is ahead in EV technology. Obscuring things a bit may have helped it keep that lead. If the price of that was misleading some people, but otherwise causing no harm, so be it. No idea why you think this is a problem.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:09 am)

    you’ll notice that GM did not seek secrecy in their patent application. it turns out that there is a reason why people generally *don’t* seek secrecy. think about it, if people could maintain secrecy while getting the same benefits from publishing, do you really think that anyone would publish applications? since most applications are published, that should tell you something.

    DonC:
    Nice try but no cigar. When filing for a patent you can request confidentiality so that the patent is only made public if issued. IOW there is no publication of the patent application, which means that a competitor could not have “looked at the application … and used any technology described in the application with impunity”. That could only have occurred after the patent issued in this case. (And when it did, CABDriver found it immediately).GM is ahead in EV technology. Obscuring things a bit may have helped it keep that lead. If the price of that was misleading some people, but otherwise causing no harm, so be it. No idea why you think this is a problem.  


  14. 14
    Darius

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:10 am)

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    TinManNFO

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:43 am)

    I think the main thing that should be emphasized here is that the engine is programmed to dynamically choose the mode that is most efficient under the circumstances, and not at some semi-arbitrary fixed number. Given a particular configuration of equipment, that’s exactly what most of us are looking for, right?

    I’m sure that the engineers would have come up with a system that could use the electric motors more of the time while getting equal or better efficiency, or used a more specialized and more efficient ICE, but that would have almost certainly taken a lot more time or a lot more cost. They have to try to get a good product out to market on a timeline that makes it relevant and successful, and, from all I have seen, I feel they have done an excellent job balancing features, cost, and time under pretty tough conditions. We can expect the costs to come down and the efficiency to go up as the technology matures, but that’s only going to be possible with the capital coming from and future market expectations based on selling today’s Gen 1 product.

    I, like most people here who care a lot about fuel efficiency probably do, already drive my current car at speeds and with technique to increase or maximize efficiency, and I expect that I will be operating inside the pure EREV part of the driving envelope easily 95% of the time. If I need to drive faster or accelerate harder when the situation requires, connecting the engine (through the generator) to the drive is certainly something I can live with, especially if it increases the efficiency over not doing so. Also, given the real-world information that Lyle has given us over the past few days and the account of his copilot from Popular Science, I actually getting more confident that I can get at least 40 miles AER and be able to regularly get 45-50 MPG CS.

    While I think that it’s very relevant to be interested in how the vehicle works, I am with Lyle in not liking the controversy that’s primarily for controversy’s sake. In my opinion, trying to politicize and hold grudges isn’t constructive when we could instead be learning from different ideas in the field of automotive technology and thinking about how we can improve it.


  16. 16
    jeffhre

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:45 am)

    Lyle it seems you got 50 miles AER fairly easily. Yes 50 miles is great and will handle the vast majority of driving for many many people. Though, just imagine a gen II Volt with a modest improvement in battery capacity allowing many folks to often get 60 miles AER with not too much trouble, and 40 miles for virtually any situation. A 60 mile range possibility is going to put the Volt in pure BEV range territory for people with moderate driving conditions and habits.

    I actually don’t feel mislead with a planetary gear hybrid set-up, since the only thing they’ve actually said about the transmission is that we’ll be amazed. It’s a Volt, and it still fits well with the way I’ve been explaining it for the last few months. It’s an electric car for 40 miles (should I now say or 50 miles with moderate driving?) that switches to hybrid mode for longer drives.


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    Tibor

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:45 am)

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    pjkPA

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:53 am)

    Very well said Lyle…. I consider the Volt a commuter car… and GM has never presented the car as anything other than a commuter car. It’s yellow journalists who try to protray it as anthing else. The car is better than the current hybrids and better than the current electrics.. It’s just simply the best technology to date. The Volt utilizes the best of the current state of the art. Until there is a better source of energy .. the Volt is it. And GM has done this on a very unfair playing field. That is… our government gives GM’s competitors $7500 while all competitors markets are rigged against GM. How many Prius cars would be sold in the US if we put a $20,000 tariff on them like the Japanese will be putting on the VOLT?


  19. 19
    jeffhre

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:57 am)

    jeffhre: A 60 mile range possibility is going to put the Volt in pure BEV range territory for people with moderate driving conditions and habits.

    Or perhaps we could see this slightly before gen II since new batteries are constantly tested and the prices are headed downward :) Just anticipating looking a little forward for this technology.


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    Poo Poo Pants

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:08 am)

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    Voltastic

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:24 am)

    I should be getting my Volt in just 10 days, and I can’t wait.

    Giddyup. If you’re not out driving it you should be here writing about it ;-)


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    Voltastic

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:31 am)

    Do I feel GM lied to me as some whiny journalist have claimed? No. Lying is too strong a term. It was more of a corporate decision to conceal these details until an appropriate time to keep a competitive edge.

    It is a little bit disappointing that the Volt isn’t 100% serial when in CS mode but after watching that video and I can’t help but think “hey, that’s pretty cool actually”.


  23. 23
    Rob Peterson

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:46 am)

    Matthew B: Even in electric mode there probably is a bump in the curve due to the generator kicking in and providing assistance.  (Quote)

    The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.


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    mmcc

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:21 am)

    Yawn… I still have at least another year before I can order a Volt locally.


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    Flaninacupboard

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:31 am)

    So, just like Prius, it’s free to choose serial, parallel or even ICE only operation (MG-B spins but supplies no torque, while MG-A powered by the ICE supplies torque) as demand requires. so why, given the same flexibility and a smaller engine, is it less efficient than Prius in CS mode?

    There’s a really good interactive model of the prius planetary gearset here:
    http://eahart.com/prius/psd/
    and i think it would help out those folks who can’t quite get their head around the planetary set in the volt. Be great if someone could remcompile the source code that’s available there to make one for the volt….


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    Flaninacupboard

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:34 am)

    Rob Peterson: The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.  (Quote)

    No, but when MG-A engages and starts to spin (and MG-B speed reduces) you will maybe feel it. I expect you will, as you can feel it in the Prius when the ICE goes from 0rpm to 800rpm(not injecting any fuel, just spinning) and MG1 drops from ~9,000rpm to ~3,000rpm, though in the prius it doesn’t effect MG2 speed, which remains constant.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:01 am)

    #23 Rob Peterson Said:

    The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.

    Hope springs eternal!


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    Raymondjram

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:14 am)

    That engine photo shows how compact the design and construction is. The catalytic converter is attached directly to the exhaust ports, so there is no exhaust header. And the oil filter is under the engine, but horizontal, so changing the oil and filter will cause some oil spill, and a large oil collecting pan is needed. GM autos have an oil sensor in the crankcase, and the ECU will monitor the engine useage, so the car will inform the oil life and when to change it, as it does in my Equinox. But for the times and distances I will be using my Volt, I could probably change the oil once per year (maybe once every five years?).

    Speaking of engine servicing, I visited HelmInc this morning, searching for the Chevy Volt manuals. The Owners Manual is due out today, but not yet as of this hour (maybe I am posting too early!). But for those who wish to be the first owners of the manual ($25 + shipping), here is the link:

    http://www.helminc.com/helm/Result.asp?Style=helm&Mfg=GMC&Make=CHV&Model=VOLT&Year=2011&Category=&Keyword=&Module=&selected%5Fmedia=

    I had posted this previously last month, since I ordered and bought the Service Manuals for all my GM autos at HelmInc by mail, and now you can order them by this web page. The big 2011 Chevrolet Volt Service Manual Set is worth $150 + shipping, but HelmInc will not have it for sale until April 15, 2011 (Income Tax Day!). For everyone who have older GM autos, this link will be valuable, so I recommend keeping it as a Bookmark (I use FireFox), or as a favorite (for those older Microsoft fans).

    Raymond


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    xiaowei1

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:16 am)

    If the addition of the engine is to add economy to the Volt, then it does not matter when the engine kicks in to help. It was just a shock learning that the engine can assist the drive and the volt was a hybrid after all, but I think we are pretty much over it. I’m just ecstatic to learn it really can get 50 miles on pure electric and 50 mpg thereafter.

    Every review I’ve read to date says GM have done the right thing, and I cant disagree.


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    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:16 am)

    It will use less gas than any car before it. I am trading up from my 60 MPG Insight and I feel good about it. I do wish it would pull the boat down to the launch (just 2 miles). I am pretty sure I will use only the gas to maintain my Volt’s fuel tank freshness but you never know.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    JeremyK

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:17 am)

    Rob Peterson:
    The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.  

    I think he means M/G A kicking in…not the ICE


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    Exp_EngTech

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:26 am)

    Mark Z: Wonderful news. The VOLT is designed by ENGINEERS and not designed by trolls.  

    Amen.
    Now if GM can just squash those rumors that the VOLT requires high octane racing fuel or aviation gas….


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    nasaman

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:32 am)

    Regular readers here will recall that several GM people have made references to the FWD 2 mode transmission originally intended for and extensively road tested in the now-defunct Saturn VUE, including the control electronics & software it used. In fact, our own Lyle Dennis actually drove a 2 mode VUE while at the GM test grounds to drive an early Volt. The Volt EVT is actually a derivative of that FWD 2 mode. Here are excerpts from an October 2008 road test of the 2 mode VUE written by John Matras in the Auto Review Examiner.* (I’ve highlighted a few key items in bold text):

    “The (VUE’s) two-mode transmission combines two electric continuously variable modes with four fixed mechanical gear ratios. The system turns the engine off at idle and cuts fuel flow to the engine on deceleration, but the system’s official two modes of operation are:

    First mode (low speed, light load): On moving away from rest, the Vue 2 Mode Hybrid can operate on electric power from the two 55-kW electric motors incorporated into the transmission at up to about 20 miles per hour (under light acceleration). The gasoline engine provides power for more acceleration and higher speeds and can operated in conjunction with the electric motors. The effect feels something like a continuously variable transmission, with a virtuously stepless sensation, the engine hardly ever sounds like its revving.

    Second mode: The electric motors shift to boosting the gasoline engine during heavy acceleration, towing or climbing steep grades. The transmission will also “lock up” for efficient power transfer while cruising at speed.

    “The magic (of the 2 mode FWD transmission) is in the software and careful calibration that provides no sensation of changing modes.”

    See anything familiar? I see the Volt EVT as very similar, including an on-axis planetary gear train and 2 concentric electric motors (one even has the same power, 55KW/74Hp); the 2nd EVT motor is twice that size at 111KW/149Hp. There are clearly several similarities, but we may never know exactly what other improvements or differences exist between the Volt EVT and the VUE 2 mode. But we know the Volt EVT has FOUR distinct operating modes, not two, and that in its 2 CD/EV modes it uses both MGA & MGB (but never the ICE), whereas in its 2 CS/ER modes it uses the ICE …but only for a power/torque assist at higher speeds. My point is that, while I agree the 2 mode VUE application was clearly a hybrid drive train, I do NOT see how the Volt EVT application can be easily classified as a hybrid, since for its primary modes the ICE never operates.

    In other words, although in the VUE (as well as in Prius, Fusion, etc) the ICE is used in a primary role, the Volt’s ICE is used only in a very different secondary role. I THEREFORE STRONGLY URGE THAT WE AVOID TRYING TO CLASSIFY VOLTEC AS A HYBRID AND BEGIN CALLING IT AN “EREV” DRIVE TRAIN —as GM has consistently done— to avoid the kind of confusion I see many readers/
    posters express, as well as to recognize its distinct improvement over all existing hybrid systems.

    /*From http://www.examiner.com/auto-review-in-national/road-test-2009-saturn-vue-2-mode-hybrid-car-review-full-measure


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    Roy H

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:36 am)

    no comment: it would be a huge mistake for GM to try to ignore the “controversy” and hope that it “blows over”. that might be fine for the enthusiasts, but the volt will need more than enthusiasts to be commercially successful. the marketing challenge for GM is to focus on how the engineering decisions resulted in a better vehicle.

    I gave you a +1 but disagree on this point. Only enthusiasts know or care about this issue. I felt betrayed, but GM is doing the right thing now, explaining all and Lyle has got it right. I should have realized that obfuscation was important vs competition. The issue has been dealt with and time to put to bed.

    “So let us have a moment of silence and allow this controversy to die a natural death.”
    Amen.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:38 am)

    I bet GM is really kicking themselves right now for not going with direct injection on this engine family (family zero). That’s a 10-20% efficiency gain they left on the table. They’d also have the side benefit of increased torque AND they would have been able to use low octane fuel.

    I work for GM in an area unrelated to the Volt and when I heard internally that this would not be a direct injection engine (a couple years ago) I was a little crushed. Not only because I knew GM was holding back on engine technology for the Volt, but because this also meant that DI wouldn’t be available in the Cruze. I wouldn’t be surprised if the turbo 1.4L in the Cruze Eco could have gotten 45 mpg hwy if they would have gone with DI.

    Hopefully this is something “we” choose to correct in Gen II. That’s actually my one of my biggest gripes with this design. I love the beauty and the simplicity of EVT transmission, however.


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    herm

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:38 am)

    Flaninacupboard: So, just like Prius, it’s free to choose serial, parallel or even ICE only operation (MG-B spins but supplies no torque, while MG-A powered by the ICE supplies torque) as demand requires. so why, given the same flexibility and a smaller engine, is it less efficient than Prius in CS mode?

    We dont know its less efficient than a Prius in CS mode but we are beginning to suspect it is. GM gave up the flexibility of the pure series configuration and partially gave up the ability to use exotic tuning setups for the ICE.. the problem with that is that the Volt’s mileage is now more affected by the high weight of the car than we suspected (as has been the case for the plug-in Prius).. and probably the reason for the lower CS mode mileage.. obviously the CD mode mileage of the Volt is much higher and the is the whole point. A pure series configuration is insensitive to high weight.

    The Volt has a battery dominant hybrid architecture, the Prius is an ICE dominant hybrid.. both designs can be tweaked in further generations to adjust the design completely over to the other side and both cars are very similar after you step back and look at the overall picture.

    You cant blame GM because they know how to make engines, and the 2 Mode transmission (plus its software, very important) was already in the parts bin and looking for a home.. the old saying goes: when all you have is a hammer all the problems look like nails..

    There are four companies working on pure serial architectures.. Fisker with the Karma, a commercial fleet retrofit venture, Proton and a german company using the Lotus range extender.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:02 am)

    How ’bout a moment of silence for Saturn?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:02 am)

    Raymondjram: That engine photo shows how compact the design and construction is. The catalytic converter is attached directly to the exhaust ports, so there is no exhaust header. And the oil filter is under the engine, but horizontal, so changing the oil and filter will cause some oil spill, and a large oil collecting pan is needed. GM autos have an oil sensor in the crankcase, and the ECU will monitor the engine useage, so the car will inform the oil life and when to change it, as it does in my Equinox. But for the times and distances I will be using my Volt, I could probably change the oil once per year (maybe once every five years?).

    There is an exhaust header but its very short.. it is a pretty engine I think. I was surprised to see that oil filter looking thing, the Cruze will use an internal canister type oil filter at the top of the engine but perhaps they had to change it back to a conventional filter for the Volt.

    BTW, the Volt will have a two year oil change interval, using the new long life synthetic oil that all GM cars are going to use.

    The 2010 Equinox uses the same type replacement cartridge for the oil filter, its on top of the engine right behind the dipstick.. no mess easy oil changes.

    I have a post on Volt engine break-in in the engineering forum, look for it.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:09 am)

    So, lets see if I understand the argument of why the engine should not provide assistance while running.

    “Because GM lead me to believe it would not”

    “I feel stupid, because I told others it would never directly drive the wheels”

    “It corrupts the purity of an EV”

    If you have to run the engine anyway, who the heck cares if it is spinning the generator or spinning the wheels? If that makes more sense, engineering wise, than that is what it should do.

    How would it sound if GM said, “Gee, we know we could have improved the efficiency and mpg by allowing the engine to participate in assisting the motors in specific scenarios, but we just did not want to hurt the feeling of EV purists”.

    GM engineers made a engineering decision, based upon engineering principles. Nice call GM engineers!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:12 am)

    Yeah, the Trolls are going to have a “field day” with this latest revelation. But, like I said yesterday, I do not care.

    Whatever it takes to maximize efficiency is a good thing.

    GM had a need to keep some details of this groundbreaking drive train secret….even from it’s admirers. I wish our government had the ability to keep some secrets from our enemies.

    GM has made some horrible mistakes in the past….I dont think any reasonable person would deny that. But they obviously have some of the best engineering people on the planet…..and ultimately, if GM is to survive, it’s incredible products like the Volt that will allow that.

    I trust Lyle’s opinion on this matter far more than the opinion of some dope in the media.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:16 am)

    herm: A pure series configuration is insensitive to high weight.

    “:A pure series configuration is insensitive to high weight.”

    Herm,

    I can understand that an electric (serial/hybrid/BEV) would be slightly less sensitive to weight, but no matter if you series, parallel, or pure EV, weight will still come in as a penalty. The theory that you recapture energy with regen is true, but you only recover a fraction of this energy. I have heard numbers in the range of 10-40%, based on your driving habits.

    Are you aware of something that I am not?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:19 am)

    Sorry Lyle, but this is not going to go away.

    From an engineering point, this is an incredible job, and it appears to be the best way to combine efficiency to get optimum performance. I really have no problem with that. And for me personally, since the majority of my regular daily driving will be in CD mode, it makes no difference.

    The problem is going to be in marketing. This is a $41K+ car that Toyota will say is not all that much different from their new plug in model, at a significantly lower cost. By not telling us this much earlier, GM has gone from being in a position where they had appeared to leapfrog into new technology, to a position where they now have to defend their decisions. And that is something that could have been avoided.

    To us here, who understand that 90+ daily driving can be in EV mode, we will accept that. To the average person, that has NOT spent the last three years watching this car develop, there will be a hard time understanding why they should spend the extra money. And they may decide that if they can do 90% of their driving in EV mode anyway, maybe they should go with a BEV, again at a lower price point, and deal with that other 10% by making small changes in their lifestyles.

    IMHO, this is now a huge problem for marketing this vehicle. The first two years of production are sold, that is not in question. But unless Gen-2 is able to implement some real cost savings, there will be a problem trying to sell millions of these cars.

    Plus the fact that writers of the articles for the car magazines are already having a field day with this. Do you really think that will stop? Finally, and in my opinion the worst thing of all out of this, is that these “revelations” will be heavily exploited by Toyota, don’t you think?

    I am still a believer in Voltec, and EREV, but this should have been handled much differently……


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:20 am)

    JEC: GM engineers made a engineering decision, based upon engineering principles. Nice call GM engineers!  

    Perhaps the engineers wanted a pure serial configuration but the bean counters intervened.. how would you know?

    In any case dont forget this transmission has one big disadvantage over a classic Volt serial configuration.. it uses several clutches and those will be wear points, by contrast the Prius does not have any clutches at all and we know how tough and durable it is.. the new generation does not even use belts.


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    IQ 200

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:20 am)

    nasaman: I THEREFORE STRONGLY URGE THAT WE AVOID TRYING TO CLASSIFY VOLTEC AS A HYBRID AND BEGIN CALLING IT AN “EREV” DRIVE TRAIN

    I beg to differ.

    hybrid defintition: “anything derived from heterogeneous sources, or composed of elements of different or incongruous kinds”

    The Volt has both electric motors and a gas engine working together.

    This ain’t exactly rocket science or brain surgery.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:20 am)

    “In extended range mode the Volt is powered by either a 1-motor series or 2-motor combined mode. The vehicle will select the most efficient mode for the driving condition: 1-motor series – for operations almost exclusively below 30 mph; 2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph. At speeds in between 30-70 mph, the Volt will select the most optimally efficient drive mode amongst the two.”

    I don’t think you are ready this right. Doesn’t the Volt have TWO electric motors in aditon to the ICE?

    When GM talks about a “2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph.” I think they are talking about ELECTRIC motors. In fact, I don’t call an ENGINE a motor at all. Any gas-powered engine, is just that: an ENGINE. It is not a motor. MOTORS are electric.

    Thoughts?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:25 am)

    Let us all remember this is Gen I of the Volt. GM had to make specific decisions to deliver Gen I on time (which they are doing) and will provide additional refinement and design improvements in the Gen II and Gen III of the Volt. It makes since that the Gen I of Volt has some 2-mode transmission logic, since they already had that design worked out and refined. It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the future as next generations of the the Volt come out. Just because this is the design of Gen I, it does not mean that future Volt cannot change and improve.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:26 am)

    Hi Nasaman,

    How does the Saturn Vue Green Line differ from the 2 mode you speak about?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:30 am)

    Bob:
    “In extended range mode the Volt is powered by either a 1-motor series or 2-motor combined mode. The vehicle will select the most efficient mode for the driving condition:1-motor series – for operations almost exclusively below 30 mph; 2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph.At speeds in between 30-70 mph, the Volt will select the most optimally efficient drive mode amongst the two.”
    I don’t think you are ready this right.Doesn’t the Volt have TWO electric motorsin aditon to the ICE?
    When GM talks about a “2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph.”I think they are talking about ELECTRIC motors.In fact, I don’t call an ENGINE a motor at all.Any gas-powered engine, is just that: an ENGINE.It is not a motor.MOTORS are electric.
    Thoughts?  

    Yes, my understanding is there are 2 electric motors. The second smaller electric motor is for regen, and can be used to assist the power train.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:33 am)

    Imagine the disappointment if GM had not simply engaged a clutch to increase efficiency in CS mode by 10 – 15% just to remain “pure” to some sort of ideology? I say hats off to them for this great piece of engineering. The thing for everyone to remember is this doesn’t happen unless the car is already running the combustion engine because the battery has been depleted. Why in the world would you care what happens in between the engine and the wheels other than that it is done in the best way possible?

    I think if you strip out the pure EV’ers, who couldn’t stand the idea of the range extender in the first place, the amount of Volt fans upset by this is a very small minority.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:34 am)

    JEC: I can understand that an electric (serial/hybrid/BEV) would be slightly less sensitive to weight, but no matter if you series, parallel, or pure EV, weight will still come in as a penalty. The theory that you recapture energy with regen is true, but you only recover a fraction of this energy. I have heard numbers in the range of 10-40%, based on your driving habits.
    Are you aware of something that I am not?  

    You are right, I should have written LESS sensitive to weight. First, if regen was 100% efficient and GM used superconductors in their motors then the Volt could fully (almost, tire drag) ignore the weight.. but once you stick an ice in the drivetrain you lose SOME of that advantage.. it is true the big electric motor will remove most of that penalty. BTW, there are reports from the service training manuals that the Volt can recover 80% of the braking energy during regen.

    The new plug-in Priuses Toyota is testing gained about 200lbs (I think) and in the process lost about 3 mpg once the battery is depleted. The Prius is much more dependent on the ICE than the Volt so it makes sense. It would be much worse if the Prius was driven aggressively, but Toyota discourages that with their suspension and steering tuning.. pretty smart people those Toyota engineers.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:34 am)

    herm: Perhaps the engineers wanted a pure serial configuration but the bean counters intervened.. how would you know?

    I do not know, but I can presume that the cost of a pure serial would be less, for the exact reasons that, the addition of the more complex transmission, would likely result in higher costs. So if the decision was made based purely upon cost, the serial would have won.

    I suspect that the decision was made for good engineering reasons, and of course good engineering decisions are also weighted on cost. So, either way, I believe that GM engineers made the right decision for the right reasons, which are a blend of performance and cost.

    The price of Volt is already a known issue, and for GM engineers to say “We want a pure serial electric, damn the price” would have been the wrong choice.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:37 am)

    I said in the comments of Tuesday’s article: “What I don’t understand is why not use some ICE mechanical connection to power the wheels in charge-sustaining mode BELOW 70mph?” So it makes sense to me when I hear they actually do.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:37 am)

    I’m not crushed, or mad, or disillusioned at all with these revelations. In fact, I had hoped that GM was doing the drivetrain exactly this way. Once I read all the posts in the engineering section, I came to the realization that the ICE *could* supply power if allowed by the software.

    This is a good thing. It means that the Volt SS and other variants can use a larger ICE for towing and other high performance applications until pure electric is fully viable. The Volt was always a ‘bridging’ technology and having one foot more firmly in the ICE camp is not a bad thing.

    The design motivates me more to give up the Hemi and go with some electricity instead. For mainstream owners, this flexibility is key for Voltec drive-train success.

    GM needs a Karma-like variant (possibly Buick or Cadillac) for more high-end performance-oriented customers. I’m a hand-raiser GM! Once my three-year lease is up, what’s up your sleeve for a replacement in 2015?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:40 am)

    Eco_Turbo, post #47: Hi Nasaman,How does the Saturn Vue Green Line differ from the 2 mode you speak about?  

    Saturn discontinued use of the Green Line badge as a marketing decision. The VUE 2 mode I reference in post #33, which they referred to simply as a “2 mode Hybrid” would have been an extremely successful vehicle (IMO), able to tow 3500lbs, with 5x the Volt’s cargo space yet a predicted hwy mileage of ~70mpg. I would have bought one if they’d survived.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:43 am)

    JeremyK: I bet GM is really kicking themselves right now for not going with direct injection on this engine family (family zero). That’s a 10-20% efficiency gain they left on the table. They’d also have the side benefit of increased torque AND they would have been able to use low octane fuel.

    DI costs about $1400, which one do you think customers would choose?.. shiny wheels or DI?.. leave something for next years version of the Volt and Cruze :)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:44 am)

    On the other hand, those who in the earlier stages kept saying they’d get a Volt and tear out the range extender now need to really look at a Leaf, because there is a lot more going on than just a wire connection to a generator. I want a Volt, but I will be using it in both modes.

    I wonder how hard it will be to repair at a normal shop?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:45 am)

    Bob: “In extended range mode the Volt is powered by either a 1-motor series or 2-motor combined mode. The vehicle will select the most efficient mode for the driving condition: 1-motor series – for operations almost exclusively below 30 mph; 2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph. At speeds in between 30-70 mph, the Volt will select the most optimally efficient drive mode amongst the two.”I don’t think you are ready this right. Doesn’t the Volt have TWO electric motors in aditon to the ICE?When GM talks about a “2-motor combined almost exclusively above 70 mph.” I think they are talking about ELECTRIC motors. In fact, I don’t call an ENGINE a motor at all. Any gas-powered engine, is just that: an ENGINE. It is not a motor. MOTORS are electric.Thoughts?  (Quote)

    When you are discussing internal combustion heat pumps you are free to interchange the words “motor” and “engine” in any way you like. There are those who disagree but society has already decided. Thus we have “Motor Trend” not “Engine Trend” etc. How may auto dealerships have “Motors” in their name? 1000′s. How many have “Engines” in their name? I can’t think of even one. However when you are talking about a system that has both a device that turns thermal energy into kinetic energy (an engine) and a device that takes electrical potential and turns it into kinetic energy (an electric motor) then it is time to get anal about it and strictly refer to the electric devices as motors and the thermal devices as engines.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:45 am)

    bitguru: I said in the comments of Tuesday’s article: “What I don’t understand is why not use some ICE mechanical connection to power the wheels in charge-sustaining mode BELOW 70mph?” So it makes sense to me when I hear they actually do.  

    I recall you post. At the time I read it, I also began to wonder more whether the Volt would be more dynamic in its application of the “ICE-To-Wheels” (ITW) {I love acronyms!).

    Good call BitGuru!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:47 am)

    Loboc: This is a good thing. It means that the Volt SS and other variants can use a larger ICE for towing and other high performance applications until pure electric is fully viable. The Volt was always a ‘bridging’ technology and having one foot more firmly in the ICE camp is not a bad thing.

    I am thinking that a bigger engine will improve mpg for high performance driving in the CS mode.. the current generation may have been optimized for a lower level of performance, 60-70mph on the hwy.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:49 am)

    Eco_Turbo: How ’bout a moment of silence for Saturn?  (Quote)

    How about the Saturn. The Ion, which I happened to own for 5 years, turns out, was a test bed for the electric power steering, and the electric AC motor, that I believe are used in the Volt.
    Am I correct, or all wet?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:50 am)

    Rob Peterson: Matthew B: Even in electric mode there probably is a bump in the curve due to the generator kicking in and providing assistance. (Quote) The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.

    I believe Mathew B is referring to the generator acting as a motor at speeds over 70mph, not the ICE turning on.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:55 am)

    One of the main reasons I haven’t purchased a currently available hybrid is because I love the idea of driving totally on electric until the battery is depleted. Another reason is that in a standard hybrid the ICE is constantly started and shutdown in stop and go traffic. Seems to me that this would cause excessive wear and you would run into durability problems down the road. I’m not an engineer and have never owned a hybrid, however this just seems logical to me. Does anyone have a prius or civic hybrid with close to 200K miles and never have had to replace major components in the trans-axle?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:56 am)

    IQ 200: I beg to differ.
    hybrid defintition: “anything derived from heterogeneous sources, or composed of elements of different or incongruous kinds”
    The Volt has both electric motors and a gas engine working together.
    This ain’t exactly rocket science or brain surgery.

    Does that mean a Corvette is a hybrid? Based on your defintion I could make a case for it.
    Ahhhh semantics

    PS: I vote for EREV because it describes the Volt’s operation more precisely and conveys more information then just slapping “hybrid” on it.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (7:56 am)

    So the Volt’s 4ET50 transmission will have 4 modes:

    1) CD mode, 1-motor (for most driving situations)
    2) CD mode 2-motor (for higher speeds)
    3) CS mode series (1-motor, ICE/generator producing electricity only)
    4) In infamous mode 4; with the ICE providing torque to the drivetrain

    First, I don’t believe that mode 2 will be on/off at 70 mph. There needs to be some deadband (or the Volt would constantly switch from mode 1 to 2 and back at 69-70 mph). So maybe it’s 70 mph for mode 2 to activate, but the Volt may have to slow to 60 mph before it returns to mode 1.

    The next interesting discussion will be how the ICE operates in mode 4. In mode 3, this seems somewhat straight forward, as the engine genset is free to operate at any rpm or load. It can just adjust, depending upon the vehicle’s needs. However, this mode seems to be used mostly at lower speeds.

    Now comes the more dynamic mode 4. Where do you operate the ICE? From the MT data (I believe) they recorded the engine vacuum over a range of CS mode operation, and essentially the vacuum was zero, meaning the engine is not throttled, but runs with no intake air restriction. Therefore, there are a couple of ways to regulate power output of the ICE, speed and valve timing.

    The speed can be regulated by the M/G’s, and the amount of power they provide/consume. Also, by changing the valve timing, GM can reduce the airflow through the engine, but this may have negative effects on the engine efficiency.

    So let’s look at mode 4 at 60 mph. The ICE is operating at some rpm (I’ll assume 1800 rpm, and 20 kW). On a level road, the Volt may only need 12 kW, so the generator is absorbing 8 kW and sending it to the battery. As the Volt encounters a hill, it needs about 5 kW extra for every 1% of uphill grade. So a 5% grade means the Volt needs 12 + 5*5 or 37 kW. For a short period of time, the Volt may pull this extra power from the battery. But at some point, it needs to increase its speed to provide more power. This means that the ICE and MG/A increase rpm, but MG/B must decrease rpm (provides same output speed to final drive).

    Now comes the opposite scenario of going downhill. The Volt still needs 12 kW to overcome drag, however, descending a 5% grade puts 25 kW back into the wheels. Power to the wheels is 20 + 25 or 45, with 12 kW needed. So now the ICE and MG/A will need to reduce rpm and both MG/A and MG/B may need to act as generators to absorb the excess energy.

    So I think there is more interesting information on mode 4 yet to be discovered.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:02 am)

    Patents and Secrecy? Yes. The first rule of patent pending is don’t go blabbing about your invention to the press-in detail. This can affect the scope of your patent. You want your patent application to be judged on the spec and claims, not by off-the-cuff statements made by some communcations major.

    Once you have the patent in hand, let them blab away.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:03 am)

    herm, post #59: Loboc: This is a good thing. It means that the Volt SS and other variants can use a larger ICE for towing and other high performance applications until pure electric is fully viable. The Volt was always a ‘bridging’ technology and having one foot more firmly in the ICE camp is not a bad thing.

    I am thinking that a bigger engine will improve mpg for high performance driving in the CS mode.. the current generation may have been optimized for a lower level of performance, 60-70mph on the hwy.

    You’re both absolutely right! Remember, the 2 mode VUE used a CTS-derived powerful V6 (3.6L vs the Volt’s 1.4L). I sure hope, BTW, that the GM guy who hosted one of the journalists was right when he said, a (Voltec) Caddy is coming “fo sho”!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:04 am)

    The Fisker Karma and Mercedes BlueZero E-Cell Plus also have the ICE drive the wheels, and I would call both of those EREVs.

    If anything, I would care more about whether GM is using induction electric motors. With this latest information, it seem more like they’re using permanent magnet motors, which are more expensive, have worse average efficiency, but are easier to design and more available.

    In any event, the main problem with the Volt is it’s price. At $41,000 it’s a niche car, and that won’t really do much for energy independence. Hopefully, someone will make an affordable EREV soon. If not, maybe the plug-in Prius is the way to go, since it will likely be around $8000 less after tax credits.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:05 am)

    Echoes: Does anyone have a prius or civic hybrid with close to 200K miles and never have had to replace major components in the trans-axle?

    I can’t speak on the civic, but yes there are plenty of 200K priuses with original major components. Many of them are taxicabs.


  69. 69
    Adam

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:06 am)

    Jim I: Sorry Lyle, but this is not going to go away.From an engineering point, this is an incredible job, and it appears to be the best way to combine efficiency to get optimum performance. I really have no problem with that. And for me personally, since the majority of my regular daily driving will be in CD mode, it makes no difference.The problem is going to be in marketing. This is a $41K+ car that Toyota will say is not all that much different from their new plug in model, at a significantly lower cost. By not telling us this much earlier, GM has gone from being in a position where they had appeared to leapfrog into new technology, to a position where they now have to defend their decisions. And that is something that could have been avoided.To us here, who understand that 90+ daily driving can be in EV mode, we will accept that. To the average person, that has NOT spent the last three years watching this car develop, there will be a hard time understanding why they should spend the extra money. And they may decide that if they can do 90% of their driving in EV mode anyway, maybe they should go with a BEV, again at a lower price point, and deal with that other 10% by making small changes in their lifestyles. IMHO, this is now a huge problem for marketing this vehicle. The first two years of production are sold, that is not in question. But unless Gen-2 is able to implement some real cost savings, there will be a problem trying to sell millions of these cars.Plus the fact that writers of the articles for the car magazines are already having a field day with this. Do you really think that will stop? Finally, and in my opinion the worst thing of all out of this, is that these “revelations” will be heavily exploited by Toyota, don’t you think?I am still a believer in Voltec, and EREV, but this should have been handled much differently……  (Quote)

    You know, I’ll give an Amen to that.. It would be better if the car had a 100 mile battery in it for the money GM wants from it, then the IRS to not credit the taxpayer on taxes, but to directly apply the money toward the car. So $41,000-7500=$33500. That would be an easier nut to crack.


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    Schmeltz

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:10 am)

    A lot of fuss over something of little consequence IMO. If the Volt were a college thesis, the title would be “Optimized for Efficiency”. Efficiency is the whole point of the car. Those other whiny publications would be doing a better service to the world by buying a Volt than wasting valuable ink and time on splitting hairs on what name to call a car.

    Just my opinion.


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    Mike D.

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:11 am)

    Completely off topic, but I just saw this quote from a facebook user in a comment on the Chevrolet Volt page:

    “GM LIED! This car is more capable than they advertised!”

    I had to laugh. Great line.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:11 am)

    I know this isoff subject but GM is missing a big part of the market by not electrifying an SUV or pickup truck. TOyota will getr a big part of that market when they come out with the RAV4-EV again. Not everyone want to drive a phonebooth on wheels. Id take a SUV with 20 AER before i would a small sedan with 100AER.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:14 am)

    The revelation that the ICE assists the batteries in certain circumstances doesn’t surprise me, but I guess it makes the design concept seeme more complicated. The “as-advertised” design concept, all electric with an on-board generator to recharge the batteries, seemed simple and looked to be low maintenance.
    Now that we know that the ICE will assist the battery to drive the wheels it seems, at least to me, to be more complicated and consequently higher maintenance. At least that’s my perception and marketing this car will be all about perception. That being said, I still can’t wait to get one. I’m in a small town in N.H. and won’t see one for years, but I did stop in to look at a Cruze the other day. I was pleased with the size of the car.


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    drivin98

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:14 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    lousloot

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:15 am)

    Yikes! Still sadness about the drive setup… Sorry to hear that.

    I was wondering how the Volt was going to use the motor/generator in tandem with the main motor to drive the wheels without including the engine. There had to be a link between the motor/generator and the wheels for regen braking, and a link between the motor/generator and engine…

    Economy for steady-state cruising for 1xxx miles is improved.

    The Engine can help for performance, lessening excessive current draw.

    A more flexible setup — but not like a Diesel Electric train — but thats ok.

    Sorry, not seeing the downside.

    Good times ahead!


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    Starcast

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:16 am)

    “So let us have a moment of silence and allow this controversy to die a natural death”


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    Bob

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:22 am)

    I watched the video and read the post and I do not see where GM is saying the ICE kicks in below 70 mph to DIRECTLY drive the wheels.

    What the heck am I missing?


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    Nelson

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    Well this information is surprising but not discouraging. I will still enjoy driving my Volt every day to work without using a drop of gas. By the way Lyle when you get your Volt in 10 days could you drive it around with a half tank of gas please. That’s how I intend to drive mine around. Half a tank of gas should give me 150 extra miles of peace of mind. Now for the interesting question. How will the Tesla Model S, which if I’m not mistaken will be an EREV, use its ICE? Will it use its ICE to solely generate electricity and heat or will it also be coupled to the electric motor to assist at times?
    http://www.teslamotors.com/models
    I think the answer to that question could be a compliment or embarrassment to GM Engineering.

    NPNS!


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    StevenU

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    It may be silly, I will say that I am disappointed… I have been dreaming of driving an EV for a long time, even considered converting several of my past vehicles. To me, the Volt is no longer an EV but a plug-in hybrid. This is not to say it is not a good car with great engineering, but the compexity of the converter is worrying me. I liked the originally explained design because of the simplicity, traction motor <- battery <- generator. I am now considering whether I need to wait a bit longer for a longer range BEV before I jump on board.

    In my case, GM would have been better off not being so open about the development of the Volt. I feel betrayed and unable to trust what they are telling me. Even watching the video after reading the update, I would have believed the engine only contributes after 70MPH (the only time in the video that mode is shown).


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    One of the most predictable characteristics of human behavior is making mountains out of molehills! Hello–Yes, in the CS mode the Volt uses a gas engine to keep the car running. It matters that GM engineered the car to use gas in the most efficient way? I thought the whole point was to use as little gas as possible at those times when you need to exceed the EV range. Get a life trolls!


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    Hmmm

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:27 am)

    I’m just glad they did it right, rather than keeping it in serial mode just for the sake of being in serial mode. Fuel efficiency is all that matters in CS mode.


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    neutron

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:28 am)

    I asked this question before but never read any feedback.
    If the ICE is used in some circumstances to provide direct power to the drivetrain will this put the 7500 dollar tax credit for an “electric’ car in jeopardy?


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    bt

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:28 am)

    I totally get the disillusionment of those who feel ‘lied’ to.

    And in fact, I am still anxiously awaiting the day when a pure EV will do everything I need. Everything.

    But it’s not here yet(with kudos to Nissan, and Coda, and Mitsubishi, and Think, and BMW and Tesla, etc. for starting us down that road).

    Until that day arrives when an EV has a 300 mile range and a 15 minute rapid charge ‘fill up’ at the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, I believe many are hoping for the most fuel efficient vehicles the auto companies can possibly produce.

    I believe even some at GM have remarked that the Volt is a bridge to the EV future.

    And as some have already remarked, lest us not forget that this has always been advertised as an EV with a gas engine–the difference being that the engine was to act as a generator.

    It appears that is what GM has done, with some tweaking for the sake of efficiency. I will add, however, that it is, IMHO, incumbent on GM to make perfectly clear that this linkage is as a boost to its EV propulsion, and nothing more.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:30 am)

    Eco_Turbo: Hi Nasaman,How does the Saturn Vue Green Line differ from the 2 mode you speak about?  

    The Green Line Vue was a Belt-Alternator-Starter (BAS) mild hybrid and was actually built & sold. The 2-mode was never built. It was believed it might be built and released as a Buick after Saturn was put out to pasture, but no sign of that yet.

    Check out the “Green Line and 2-Mode Hybrid” section on the Vue in its wikipedia article for more info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Vue#Green_Line_and_2-Mode_Hybrid_models


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    Schmeltz

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:30 am)

    Randy: I know this isoff subject but GM is missing a big part of the market by not electrifying an SUV or pickup truck. TOyota will getr a big part of that market when they come out with the RAV4-EV again. Not everyone want to drive a phonebooth on wheels. Id take a SUV with 20 AER before i would a small sedan with 100AER.

    I like that idea too for what it’s worth. The Equinox hits the right tone in size, styling, and package. I think that vehicle would be a great place to start by either making an EREV, EV, Plug-in Hybrid, or how ’bout all 3?


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:32 am)

    RonR64: I say hats off to them for this great piece of engineering.

    Not to mention having the guts to withstand the inevitable arrows they must have known they’d soon be receiving. Even from some of us Volt-heads!


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:34 am)

    On a good day, the Prius can do 71 MPG. Real world driving with the Volt has produced 127 MPG. Yep. I can see now how these two systems are EXACTLY the same. (wink. wink.) And let me point out that all of this ‘horrible news’ (wink, wink again) had not caused my phone to ring with anyone wanting to cancel their “Sold Orders”. In fact, I have a stack of deposit orders ready to go for when the tv ads get started.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:35 am)

    Loboc: GM needs a Karma-like variant (possibly Buick or Cadillac) for more high-end performance-oriented customers. I’m a hand-raiser GM! Once my three-year lease is up, what’s up your sleeve for a replacement in 2015?

    The return of the Converj, perhaps? Or, dare I say it, a Corvolte?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:35 am)

    I find it interesting that below 30mph a series design is more efficient.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:36 am)

    It makes me wounder why mountain mode is necessary with an additional
    85 horse to pull this up hill in cs mode.
    Tom


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    Jim I: Sorry Lyle, but this is not going to go away.

    …From an engineering point, this is an incredible job,…

    The problem is going to be in marketing. This is a $41K+ car that Toyota will say…

    You’re partially right. Toyota has turned into a foreign concern that has let quality slip lower than what is acceptable to the consumer. And they will surely be jumping up an down in an effort to slow the wave of positive remarks and at’ a boys which GM is garnering on the innovative Voltec system. High tech features, near silent operation, and impressive handling characteristics of the Volt are evident and often discussed.

    Toyota should attempt to produce a better car. The latest review of the plug-in Toyota reveals that it is a raw product which may turn out to be satisfactory in later incarnations. As with the Honda Insight, the faithful will buy the brand. This is a good thing in the big picture as it helps lower oil use gluttony.

    There is a lot to love about the Volt. Americans, Canadians, Europeans (Ampera) and the rest of the world are receiving an efficient and well balanced technology. Seems the more we learn about the Volt. The more the effort and determination of the GM Volt crew comes forward.

    =D-Volt

    volt%20progression.jpg


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:39 am)

    Dave G: Hopefully, someone will make an affordable EREV soon

    .
    Or maybe the Leaf battery will hold more energy (or the battery in the gm BEV), and the EREV will fade into history as an interesting but short-lived transitional vehicle.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:40 am)

    Nelson: …How will the Tesla Model S, which if I’m not mistaken will be an EREV, use its ICE?…

    You are mistaken. The Tesla Model S will be 100% electric.

    Perhaps you should consider the engineering behind a true E-REV, the Fisker Karma, to compare with the Volt.


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    JCook

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:40 am)

    I have discussed here before that storing and recapturing from the battery while the ICE runs at consistent rpm’s would be the most inefficient part of the process and took hell and got neg votes for it. If going direct drive at times removes these inefficiencies than the engineers have done there job correctly. If you ask me it sounds like the GM marketing team and upper management didn’t lie they just didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. As an engineer I have been in this situation. Upper management is talking about how a new design will work and the engineers (true engineers not those in management never having used there engineering background) are shaking there heads going it won’t work that way you moron. To the real Volt engineers job well done to the management and marketing department please pull your head out of you’re a$$ before GM goes belly up and I can’t get my Volt in the future. All though if GM goes belly up what does the upper management care they’ll still get there golden parachutes.

    Good article by the way Lyle! Thanks for the honest reporting even during the tough times!


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:41 am)

    drivin98: Vote down in 3-2-1…..  

    How prophetic.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:43 am)

    Nelson, post #78: ….Now for the interesting question. How will the Tesla Model S, which if I’m not mistaken will be an EREV, use its ICE? Will it use its ICE to solely generate electricity and heat or will it also be coupled to the electric motor to assist at times?
    http://www.teslamotors.com/models
    I think the answer to that question could be a compliment or embarrassment to GM Engineering.

    Unless Tesla’s dictatorial CEO, Elon Musk, comes to his senses, their Model S will remain a BEV.


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    itsmel

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:44 am)

    There sure is a lot of talking going on for a “moment of silence.” Just sayin’.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:44 am)

    Mike-o-Matic:
    The return of the Converj, perhaps?Or, dare I say it, a Corvolte?  

    A ‘Chevy’ version of the Converj could only be called “Stingray”…!!!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:44 am)

    drivin98: You are mistaken. The Tesla Model S will be 100% electric.Perhaps you should consider the engineering behind a true E-REV, the Fisker Karma, to compare with the Volt.  (Quote)

    You don’t know the Karma will be a true E-REV yet! That’s just what they say. Remember it uses a GM ICE, who knows maybe also the same trany system.


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    N Riley

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:49 am)

    “So let us have a moment of silence and allow this controversy to die a natural death.”
    ———————————————

    As far as I am concerned there is no controversy, Lyle. Good luck with your Volt. Just remember, there will be thousands of us along with you as you experience your Volt. Having thousands of us “looking over your shoulder” should be nothing new to you after four years of it. Thanks for all the hard work and now I hope you can enjoy some of the rewards for that hard work.


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    ClarksonCote

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:51 am)

    I still want my Volt. End of story.

    join thE REVolution


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:53 am)

    neutron: I asked this question before but never read any feedback.
    If the ICE is used in some circumstances to provide direct power to the drivetrain will this put the 7500 dollar tax credit for an “electric’ car in jeopardy?  

    There is no chance of the government canceling the credit on a Volt since our current president approved the money to save the company that’s building it. Without ‘green cars’ his legacy is a total failure. The money will be there as long as he is in office.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:53 am)

    I don’t agree with you, I’ve been following you for at least a year , every single day/ I am NOT happy with this. to me, it is a lie, from an 40 miles electric to a hybrid, which does take gas , in some circumstances even during these first 40 miles. The point , to me is to get rid of the oil addiction not just to minimize the oil intake.

    To me it IS a big turn off. Sort of a prius after all. Yeah, not 50 mpg , maybe , what 80 mpg.

    I always thought that the voltec holds more promise , for now, then the BEV. Not anymore. Besides the mpg posted by you yesterday were just sad. A very good diesel gets close to a Volt.
    I am really turned off.

    GM did it again, unfortunately.

    Nissan, Renault, Ford will win, unless gm decides to follow them. for now, they just pulled a better hybrid, nothing revolutionary.


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    RedHHR

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:54 am)

    What my foggy mind remembers GM saying is
    “Stay Tuned”
    Glad I did!


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    JeremyK

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:54 am)

    GeorgeB: The revelation that the ICE assists the batteries in certain circumstances doesn’t surprise me, but I guess it makes the design concept seeme more complicated.The “as-advertised” design concept,all electric with an on-board generator to recharge the batteries, seemed simple and looked to be low maintenance. Now that we know that the ICE will assist the battery to drive the wheels it seems, at least to me, to be more complicated and consequently higher maintenance.At least that’s my perception and marketing this car will be all about perception. That being said, I still can’t wait to get one.I’m in a small town in N.H. and won’t see one for years, but I did stop in to look at a Cruze the other day.I was pleased with the size of the car.  

    Despite the warranty, a GM powertrain is designed and tested to last 150,000 miles. This transmission is not that complicated, it’s just more complicated than a typical “press release” type of description would suggest.

    Some have suggested wear on the clutches…These clutches are automated and transitions are pretty much instantaneous. Materials are carefully selected and the designs are tested for things like wear. I doubt these clutches are considered “wear items”. They are designed to last the life of the car as are the other powertrain components. Change the oil, check your fluid levels, and you should be OK for a VERY long time.


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    neutron

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:54 am)

    RonR64:
    When you are discussing internal combustion heat pumps you are free to interchange the words “motor” and “engine” in any way you like.There are those who disagree but society has already decided.Thus we have “Motor Trend” not “Engine Trend” etc.How may auto dealerships have “Motors” in their name?1000’s.How many have “Engines” in their name?I can’t think of even one.However when you are talking about a system that has both a device that turns thermal energy into kinetic energy (an engine) and a device that takes electrical potential and turns it into kinetic energy (an electric motor) then it is time to get anal about it and strictly refer to the electric devices as motors and the thermal devices as engines.  

    As was stated in an old commercial “Hold it you are both right” I was taught the “difference” between motors and engines but common usage has blurred the terms to make them interchangeable as noted. :+]


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:56 am)

    CorvetteGuy: And let me point out that all of this ‘horrible news’ (wink, wink again) had not caused my phone to ring with anyone wanting to cancel their “Sold Orders”. In fact, I have a stack of deposit orders ready to go for when the tv ads get started.

    Speaking of sold orders….I read Phil Lebeau’s blog at CNBC recently that there are 120,000 people interested in buying Volts so far. I don’t know where he got that number but I was impressed when I read that. Are you seeing great demand for the Volt? Forgive me if you posted this already, I’ve been busy lately and unfortunately don’t have as much time to be here as of late, (good problem to have). Here’s the link:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/39614260


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    Matt B

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:57 am)

    Delighted.

    Been wondering for days why GM would wait until >70 before enjoying the effeciency benefits of a mechanical drive contribution from the ICE. Best of several worlds in an elegant package!

    Wondering how the pricing will turn out here in the UK, and whether I could bear to part with my LPG-powered BMW Cabrio when the time comes.. ;-)

    Matt


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    steve

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (8:58 am)

    I don’t mind that it turns out that its a hybrid. No big deal. I think the 230 mph fiasco was much worse.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:00 am)

    neutron: I asked this question before but never read any feedback.
    If the ICE is used in some circumstances to provide direct power to the drivetrain will this put the 7500 dollar tax credit for an “electric’ car in jeopardy?  

    The rebate is based on the size of the battery pack. (i.e. 16kWh to receive the whole $7500). As long as the Volt has a battery pack of that size and can operate as an EV, I see no reason why this news would affect the rebate.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:00 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    There is no chance of the government canceling the credit on a Volt since our current president approved the money to save the company that’s building it. Without ‘green cars’ his legacy is a total failure. The money will be there as long as he is in office.  

    Thanks for the info.


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    Spin

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:00 am)

    Well, I bought a Prius. I could just not justify the initial cost vs operating cost between the Volt and the Prius. No doubt the Volt would be more economical to use on a daily basis, but after 5 years I would only be able to recover about 25% of the extra cost of the Volt. Another factor is the unknown reliability of the Volt. For me, at this time, the Prius is a better choice. My hope is that next time a plug in serial hybrid will be a viable option


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Having thought about it I think I was more upset about the low CS mode MPG numbers that first came out, but after reading about Lyle’s drive I am feeling better about it.

    However, if it’s more efficient to drive the wheels with the ICE, do diesel locomotives do that as well, or are they pure serial hybrids? Seems the railroad industry would be going with the most efficient use of fuel since it is literally money out of their pocket. Just curious.


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    neutron

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:01 am)

    JeremyK:
    The rebate is based on the size of the battery pack. (i.e. 16kWh to receive the whole $7500).As long as the Volt has a battery pack of that size and can operate as an EV, I see no reason why this news would affect the rebate.  

    Thanks for the information. Just wanted to make sure there would not be a surprise down the road


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    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:02 am)

    Echoes: One of the main reasons I haven’t purchased a currently available hybrid is because I love the idea of driving totally on electric until the battery is depleted. Another reason is that in a standard hybrid the ICE is constantly started and shutdown in stop and go traffic. Seems to me that this would cause excessive wear and you would run into durability problems down the road. I’m not an engineer and have never owned a hybrid, however this just seems logical to me. Does anyone have a prius or civic hybrid with close to 200K miles and never have had to replace major components in the trans-axle?  (Quote)

    I can answer the question from the respect of the Honda hybrids. They use the electric motor directly coupled to the Gas engine to restart the gas engine. The is no starter motor in the vehicle as we traditionally know one. There is no wear and tear on a 7 HP electric motor to restart the gas engine. Yes I know of at least 1 person who owns a Honda Insight with over 2ooK miles on it.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    Dave K.

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:10 am)

    Just a thought…

    The Volt delivers 40 miles of pure battery power per charge. This is with no premium gasoline generator running at all. GM engineering incorporated a feature to periodically run the premium gasoline generator to in order to keep it lubricated. Perhaps 2 or 3 times a year for 10 minutes each cycle. The result being 12,000 miles on one gallon of premium fuel.

    12,000 mpg?

    NPNS


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    doggydogworld

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:10 am)

    bitguru: I said in the comments of Tuesday’s article: “What I don’t understand is why not use some ICE mechanical connection to power the wheels in charge-sustaining mode BELOW 70mph?”

    Amen. In fact, I went even further, saying:

    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?

    I’m glad to hear GM’s engineers are sane and that I would have won money on my bet had anyone taken me up on it. GM’s marketing people deserve huge pay cuts for bungling this entire issue. The original premise was the Volt could run as an EV for a typical daily commute but also run like a hybrid for long trips. This entire “engine only generates electricity” detour was completely unnecessary and served no purpose whatsoever except to confuse the customer base and create damaging “GM Lied” headlines. It’s a case study in how not to do marketing/communications.


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    JeremyK

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:12 am)

    kdawg: I find it interesting that below 30mph a series design is more efficient.  

    I think it’s more efficient for a couple or reasons:
    1) M/G-B is in a sweet spot for efficiency at those speeds
    2) At 30mpg, the Volt only requires about 130 Whrs/mile to go down the road. If the ICE were to start, it would begin producing an excess of power (even at low rpm). This excess power would have to be dumped to the battery, which would begin charging the battery, not maintaining the state of charge (which is the goal).

    Once speeds increase or acceleration is required, there is finally enough load to engage the ICE and fully utilize the torque produced while it is running, but without charging the battery.


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    flmark

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:14 am)

    Bruno: … which does take gas , in some circumstances even during these first 40 miles.

    Tibor: Next thing they will tell is “BTW the engine can sometimes help even in those first 40 miles”.   (Quote)

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO and shall I say NO…

    I normally don’t provide insults in response, but anyone still saying this is a moron.

    People keep writing it over an over. Lyle wrote it. READ THE FREAKING TEXT. In the first 25-50 miles, you have a 100%, no strings attached, ALL ELECTRIC ride. Are you so filled with blind rage that NO amount of information will trigger rational thought? I am suddenly reminded of when the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner. A room fool of people SWORE that the aircraft was diving when all data showed it was ascending. At least those people were in fear for their lives. What is your excuse for ignoring the facts?


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    doggydogworld

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:15 am)

    RonR64: Thus we have “Motor Trend” not “Engine Trend” etc. How may auto dealerships have “Motors” in their name? 1000’s.

    Well put. Also note the very company which makes the Volt calls itself “General Motors”, not “General Engines”.


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    drivin98

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:15 am)

    Mike-o-Matic:
    How prophetic.  

    I think it was because of my typo. What the heck’s a “baolout” anyway?


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    MarkA

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:16 am)

    I do remember them putting out things that implied the motor would be connected to the drive shaft in some way, even years ago. But, again, who really cares how the car works in CS mode? As long as it works and gets decent mileage.


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    Jeff N

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:18 am)

    Flaninacupboard: So, just like Prius, it’s free to choose serial, parallel or even ICE only operation (MG-B spins but supplies no torque, while MG-A powered by the ICE supplies torque) as demand requires. so why, given the same flexibility and a smaller engine, is it less efficient than Prius in CS mode?  

    Atkinson cycle?


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    Loboc

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:21 am)

    Dave G: In any event, the main problem with the Volt is it’s price. At $41,000 it’s a niche car, and that won’t really do much for energy independence. Hopefully, someone will make an affordable EREV soon. If not, maybe the plug-in Prius is the way to go, since it will likely be around $8000 less after tax credits.

    Don’t forget about tax credits and leases. The GM lease may end up being less than a PiP lease because of their new lowball credit agency.

    There is a movement in Congress to increase the tax credit to $10,000 and make it a front-loading credit. Meaning, you get it up front, but, still need to file as a tax credit.

    A lot of local governments are also making electric drive credits (even refunds) available.

    The fat lady didn’t sing on this one yet. Nobody has actually signed their lease or purchase papers.


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    mikeinatl.

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:22 am)

    GM has invented a totaly new kind of automobile which capitalizes on the advantages of lithium batteries combined with the utility of an internal combustion engine in a manner which optimizes performance and gasoline efficency to provide the car owner with a comfortable, if not exceptional, “normal car” driving experience.

    For most Volt owners, gas mileage ranging from 100 to 200 mpg will be the norm, without any of the compromises ordinarily associated with electric cars.

    There is no other car like this in the world, at any price.

    This is an extraordinary accomplishment. Why appologize for anything?


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    JeremyK

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:22 am)

    Spin: Well, I bought a Prius. I could just not justify the initial cost vs operating cost between the Volt and the Prius. No doubt the Volt would be more economical to use on a daily basis, but after 5 years I would only be able to recover about 25% of the extra cost of the Volt. Another factor is the unknown reliability of the Volt. For me, at this time, the Prius is a better choice. My hope is that next time a plug in serial hybrid will be a viable option  

    To me, the Volt seems like a much more upscale car, which is what I’m in the market for this time around. A Buick Regal GS is a close second to the Volt right now, for me.

    I totally understand those who will not purchase a Volt if what they’re looking for is
    1) Cost
    2) MPG
    3) Styling, new technology, etc….

    My priorities are probably the other way around:
    1) New Technology, Styling, Performance, Etc.
    2) MPG
    3) Cost


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    ProfessorGordon

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:28 am)

    Well said Lyle! You nailed it on all 3 counts–3 reasons to smile. For most driving, it will be fueled only by electricity (drive by gas station smile). It always gives the electric drive quietness and feel (electric smile). And who cares if the engine adds mechanical torque in CS mode if it saves gas (smile)! This optimization is like having a Gen 2 feature provided in Gen 1.


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    kForceZero

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:35 am)

    As I’ve been reading the endless chatter WRT the Volt’s EVT and the controversial engine assist mode, it occurred to me that perhaps the reason  GM decided to go this route was time and space constraints.  How do I figure that?  Well, first of all I understand the system, I know that they decided to assist the traction motor at high speeds to improve efficiency at high RPM, etc.  But then I thought, why didn’t GM just use a lower gear ratio for the traction motor? Motors are certainly capable of it.  In fact I originally was imagining the gear ratio being closer to 1:1. But even with just half the current ratio and the car would be able to max out (at 100MPH) without the motor surpassing 6500RPM.  Then there wouldn’t have been a need for the EVT and the inevitable engine assist mode which all the purists are crying fowl at.  The only possible explanation I could come up with is that the traction motor can’t handle the torque requirements needed at a lower gear ratio, which means it’s probably too small.  Why? Well I remember being mentioned on this site that GM was struggling to fit all the components in the space they had to work with so maybe they had to downsize the motor to make it all fit.  The result? Assistance from the generator/motor and/or engine through an EVT.  The only other alternatives would have been to make the car body larger and ruin its style and aero-drag coefficient or spend more time developing a custom genset which they could have made smaller to accommodate a larger traction motor.  But they’ve repeatedly said they weren’t willing to compromise the car’s look or original schedule, which is why they went with an off-the-shelf engine which was probably bigger than they would have liked and not the ideal shape either.  Given these limitations, I think they made a very reasonable compromise, more than reasonable in fact.  That the engine assists the traction motor only above 70MPH and only in CS mode is a minor quibble, it could have been a lot worse.  I also believe that in future generations they will put in a custom engine and larger motor(s) and do away with the EVT and satisfy all the purists at the same time.

    But all people like to do is complain.  They don’t realize what’s involved in projects like this.  I’m an engineer myself (software not mechanical, but the principles are the same everywhere) and I know how these things play out.  You have no idea how many times features get cut and issues get deferred in the interest of shipping the product on time.  Sometimes it gets to a point that is ridiculous, you’d think how can they ship this thing like this? In my business issues like this are stamped “Design Limitation” at which point the QA (quality assurance) engineer is powerless to stop it.  But the fact that GM managed to work around the limitations they had and still come up with such a minor compromise is nothing short of a miracle.  Imagine that instead they’d had given up on the whole EREV idea and just turn it into a regular hybrid and have the engine assist the motor at all times – because that’s how these things usually play out.  So before you start bitching, complaining, crying that  you’ve been lied to and stomping your feet on the ground like a little kid followed by “But they pomised!!! [sic]“, give a little consideration to the engineering that made this vehicle possible and the things that the engineers had to go through.  It’s not easy for engineers to make compromises, in fact – speaking from experience – making compromises is often the hardest on the engineers who always want the perfect design.


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    doggydogworld

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:43 am)

    BTW, I think it’s silly to say the Volt is not an ER-EV. Plug it in and the Volt will go 40ish miles completely on batteries and electric motors. The ICE will not run regardless of speed, driving style, weather, etc. For typical commutes the Volt operates as an EV every bit as much as the LEAF. Unlike the LEAF, however, the Volt eliminates range anxiety by adding an extended range mode. It does not matter how the power gets from the ICE to the wheels in this mode, all that matters is a gasoline engine extends the range. This is the ER part of the definition. Pure EV operation in most scenarios plus ER operation available when you need it equals ER-EV. That’s GM’s definition and it is entirely sensible.

    I have a question for anyone who thinks the method of connecting ICE to wheels matters. Do you consider diesels locomotives to be EVs? They have no mechanical connection between ICE and wheels, the ICE only generates electricity and the wheels are driven solely by electric motors. If you call these trains “EVs” then I will give you credit for consistency, even though I don’t think you make much sense.


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:45 am)

    : #23 Rob Peterson Said:

    The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.

    Eco_Turbo: Hope springs eternal!

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are questioning GM *and* Lyle’s veracity. If so, that’s just wrong.

    Tagamet


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    crew

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:46 am)

    Everything in this process is dependent on battery storage/output efficiency.
    The closer to 100% efficiency, the better a serial hybrid works and a less complicated transmission would be in use.
    I’m not so much concerned about the parallel operations of the tranny, GM has a 2 mode transmission in production and is ready to go to gen 2 there, but the addition of yet another series of moving parts above a single reduction gear. Aside from the tranny, the only real letdown I have is the needed decrease in battery reserve to offset the weight of the car.

    As an EV, this setup is a step backwards. Anti simple.

    As a vehicle for non purists, it is a godsend. It is far and away the best hybrid on the market today. Not only has GM dove into these waters but has scored a ten above companies that have been trying so hard to eek out more miles out of a gallon of petroleum. The Volt is giving you the opportunity to NOT use any petroleum, no other hybrid can say that.

    Back to the battery. GM has already let us know to what extent it is spending money on in house battery development. I’m curious to see just what directions the battery guru’s are finding viable for production in the next ten years. Just as the lithium batteries in ambient temperature cars are crapping out the Volt batteries will still have the original usable range. This level of protection helps avoid a let down in performance until the next level of better performing batteries are ready to go to production.

    What GM has done in putting this car into production isn’t so much to put an electric vehicle in every driveway but to prove just how good of a car any BEV can be and go one step better.

    Buy a Volt, take the neighbors for a drive, demand more.


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    Loboc

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:47 am)

    doggydogworld: …create damaging “GM Lied” headlines. It’s a case study in how not to do marketing/communications.

    When the smoke clears, GM got a bunch of free press. Nobody will remember that they withheld information (which was their choice) about this little engineering tweak.

    When I see this much controversy over something so small I gotta ask myself if it was intentional. How many people are now going into a Chevy showroom to see the mixed-up car called Volt and also looking at the other offerings?

    I see this as a case study for how to market a new product effectively! They raised viral marketing to a new bar.


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    Unni

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:51 am)

    So its good : GM invented a hybrid system using PSD and Volt became one application by calibration of software. This is why toyota said ” we dont need to re-invent PSD , we will make plug-in prius ” and i can imagine how true it became.

    The volt system can be now used for a cruze hybrid or a malibu hybrid or mpv5 or HHR hybrid or equinox hybrid …

    Where are they ?


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:52 am)

    Schmeltz:
    Speaking of sold orders….I read Phil Lebeau’s blog at CNBC recently that there are 120,000 people interested in buying Volts so far.I don’t know where he got that number but I was impressed when I read that.Are you seeing great demand for the Volt?Forgive me if you posted this already, I’ve been busy lately and unfortunately don’t have as much time to be here as of late, (good problem to have).Here’s the link:http://www.cnbc.com/id/39614260  

    The phones are starting to ring with 2 questions:
    When can I test drive one?
    How does the Lease Program work?


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    Timaaayyy!!!

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:55 am)

    “I don’t feel betrayed, or frankly really care at all.”

    Same for me, personally. However, negative press is not good, nor is this experience going to help GM continue to be open with their vehicle development. They got the government money, some free press, and some experience with being open. Now, expect that to end (GM has already said as much regarding >=Gen II Volt, I think). A darn shame.


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    Adam

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:55 am)

    Lyle:

    Congratulations on getting your Volt! I have enjoyed your work these last few years and appreciate all of the hard work you put into it. Hope you had some fun along the way. Happy gas free motoring!


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    bookdabook

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:56 am)

    Well it since this car has such quality computer tracking of everything and electric and gas usage are displayed on the control screens at all times then there may be some sort of readout or graphic on the monitor indicating the ICE is engaging the wheels to increase efficiency when in CS mode and running at 30 mph. This could be relevant to achieving maximum efficiency, i.e. keeping the leafy green ball in the middle.

    Maybe one of the insiders here can answer whether such a readout exists. If not, now I have my question for the Volt Spokesperson when I test drive it here in San Diego next Weds. Can’t wait!

    -Book


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (9:59 am)

    # 130

    Tagamet Said:

    : #23 Rob Peterson Said:

    The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.

    Eco_Turbo: Hope springs eternal!

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are questioning GM *and* Lyle’s veracity. If so, that’s just wrong.

    Tagamet

    I just mean that someday maybe it will operate in EV mode, not that it does now.


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    crew

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:01 am)

    bookdabook: Well it since this car has such quality computer tracking of everything and electric and gas usage are displayed on the control screens at all times then there may be some sort of readout or graphic on the monitor indicating the ICE is engaging the wheels to increase efficiency when in CS mode and running

    I like that thought!!
    That kind of graphic wouldn’t be needed in any other hybrid since you can both hear and feel when the ICE helps out. Otherwise, why bother? The operation is seamless and it works. The better indicator is just what is there now. EV or ICE modes of operation. Still, again, I got a chuckle out of the thought!!


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    Jaime

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:06 am)

    Its great being a fanboy, evangelist, whatever you want to call it for a product. But at some point you have to step back, take off the rose colored glasses and look at a situation objectively. I think this is a disappointment for many of us. Whether or not its a dealbreaker is up to you. For me the deal breaker was the price. At $40k+ I was out. If they price was lower and I was still thinking of buying it probably wouldn’t change my mind, but it’s still troubling.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    Lyle said:
    “The gear-heads among us, myself included, want to know exactly how the Volt works, and for that reason these details are important. In the big scheme of things, though, and to most consumers, it really doesn’t matter. The car will carry you for 40 miles without gas. That’s the promise.”

    I agree. Gearheads (and elitists) may want to continue to debate this horse to death, but in the greater scheme of things IT DOESN’T MATTER!.

    Be well,
    Tagamet
    (Aside to loboc: Puleeeeze don’t get the govt support through taxes issue started again)


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:18 am)

    Eco_Turbo: # 130Tagamet Said:: #23 Rob Peterson Said:The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.Eco_Turbo: Hope springs eternal!
    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are questioning GM *and* Lyle’s veracity. If so, that’s just wrong.TagametI just mean that someday maybe it will operate in EV mode, not that it does now.  

    Did you miss the part where the ICE never operates while the Volt in in CD mode? Or do you just not believe it?

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Timaaayyy!!!

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:19 am)

    Jaime: For me the deal breaker was the price. At $40k+ I was out.

    For only $33,500 or $350/mo, and with extremely limited production, your Volt will quickly go to another buyer.

    Will be interesting to see how much the price comes down for >=Gen II.


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    Tim in SC

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:20 am)

    Now it’s down to 30 mph? Thanks Lyle for calling this car what it correctly is: an electirc car for 40 miles, and a hybrid after that. Now, I wonder what the news will be next week…. incrementally changing the story to lessen the green value of this car is a poor marketing strategy. Lyle is right in stating that this car is a great, eco-friendly car; afterall, 40 miles of electirc and a 35 – 40 mpg hybrid after that isn’t bad… in fact, I think it’s fantastic. The problem is that GM did not state upfront that this car is a hybrid after 40 miles. Instead, they chose to raise expectations by calling the Volt a completely electric car with a back-up ICE generator as well as stating the 200 mpg-plus fuel economy number as well. Once they set expectations so high, they were then held to those expectations. Now, with news leaking out that this car, which wasn’t a hybrid, now is, but only at 70 mph, then 30 mph, etc. it feels like one disappointing piece of news after another. We must remember that the disappointment stems from the expectations that GM set earlier in the life of the Volt, and GM only has itself to blame for the waves of negative publicity that it has NOT been receiving lately, but instead that is has been CREATING lately.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:21 am)

    JeremyK: My priorities are probably the other way around:
    1) New Technology, Styling, Performance, Etc.
    2) MPG
    3) Cost

    If mpg was the highest consideration, more Prii would be sold than Corollas.

    My priorities put mpg even lower on the scale. You start out with a price range in mind. Look at all the cars and all the features available. Then decide on the one you really can’t afford anyway because it’s more cool than the others. This more cool car usually has worse mpg than the rest.

    In the case of Volt, more cool = better mpg.

    But I don’t care about mpg, so, I want a Volt for the other features such as smooth, quiet power and not stopping at smelly, dangerous gas stations every couple days.


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    Norm Barker

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:23 am)

    I went to San Francisco for my volt test drive yesterday. All I have to say is the GM has done a remarkable job in making the Volt feel like the normal car we are used to. Without, as far as I can see, compromising the intent of an electric vehicle. The only thing the I could detect in my drive that would make me think that I was not in a very quiet smooth running gas engine car was the brake petal going down some when the Start button was pushed. I assume this was the function of the brake petal going to the position where the mechanical braking was applied. In driving the braking felt seamless going thru the regen to friction braking. Nice!!!. I live in the foothills a northern CA and think the volt will be a real joy to drive up and down the hills.

    The test drive was not overcrowded, altho the 4 or 5 test cars were kept busy. That allowed an unhurried examination of one car with a test drive around the parking lot cones. Then a full street test drive of another car up and down SF hills and flat streets. Then lunch afterwards.

    Thanks GM for doing this function right and delivering a beautiful vehicle.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:24 am)

    drivin98:
    I think it was because of my typo. What the heck’s a “baolout” anyway?  

    LOL! I’m sure that was the reason… :D


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    Tim in SC

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:25 am)

    Loboc: When the smoke clears, GM got a bunch of free press. Nobody will remember that they withheld information (which was their choice) about this little engineering tweak.When I see this much controversy over something so small I gotta ask myself if it was intentional. How many people are now going into a Chevy showroom to see the mixed-up car called Volt and also looking at the other offerings? I see this as a case study for how to market a new product effectively! They raised viral marketing to a new bar.  (Quote)

    You’re absolutely right… case in point, no one mentions the EV-1 anymore. Oh, wait a sec…


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    stuart22

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:25 am)

    The only loss anybody had in this whole brouhaha was with their feelings, not their wallets. A big HTFU to those whose tears can’t stop falling.

    It’s an EV for 40 miles, and then an Electric Hybrid for another 300. The current Prius is a Gasoline Hybrid. Bottom line with any – how much freedom from petroleum will it provide, and how easy is it to live with. The Volt is at the cutting edge right now.


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    Tim in SC

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:28 am)

    flmark: Bruno: … which does take gas , in some circumstances even during these first 40 miles. Tibor: Next thing they will tell is “BTW the engine can sometimes help even in those first 40 miles”.   (Quote)NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO and shall I say NO…I normally don’t provide insults in response, but anyone still saying this is a moron.People keep writing it over an over. Lyle wrote it. READ THE FREAKING TEXT. In the first 25-50 miles, you have a 100%, no strings attached, ALL ELECTRIC ride. Are you so filled with blind rage that NO amount of information will trigger rational thought? I am suddenly reminded of when the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner. A room fool of people SWORE that the aircraft was diving when all data showed it was ascending. At least those people were in fear for their lives. What is your excuse for ignoring the facts?  (Quote)

    Yes, that is what they are saying now, just as they said that the ICE will never directly aid in the propulsion of the car… GM is ruining its credibilty with this slow leak of disappointing information.


  151. 151
    Eco_Turbo

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:28 am)

    This was one of the happier of my weeks I’ve had on this site. Now I know for sure that this drive train can help out most any FWD car GM sees fit to put it in.

    LJGVoltecWOTR


  152. 152
    Tagamet

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:29 am)

    Timaaayyy!!!: Jaime: For me the deal breaker was the price. At $40k+ I was out.

    For only $33,500 or $350/mo, and with extremely limited production, your Volt will quickly go to another buyer…

    Thank goodness.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


  153. 153
    Shock Me

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:29 am)

    It’s like LBJ used to say “If I walked across the Potomac, the next day’s headline in the Washington Post would be ‘President Can’t Swim’.”


  154. 154
    Dave K.

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:30 am)

    Tagamet: The gear-heads among us, myself included, want to know exactly how the Volt works…

    My goal is to drive as efficiently as possible. Ordered my Volt the first week of August.

    But… the Voltec system makes one wonder where this technology could lead. Example: Install a 200hp electric main drive motor. With a beefier version of the Voltec transmission. Mate this with a relatively small Kawasaki zzr 600 engine producing 111 HP. Add a light 7 mile range battery buffered at 80%.
    This will produce a 3000 lb vehicle which will provide 5 miles of gas free driving along with 30mpg CS when operated at a moderate throttle. And will easily rival acceleration numbers of German 6 and 8 cylinder gasoline vacuums when run WOT. The Audi killer?

    =D-Volt


  155. 155
    Kent

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:31 am)

    I had received an invitation from GM to attend the Volt-unplugged tour at the Presidio in San Francisco and was fortunately able to attend yesterday. Finally, I was able to receive a test drive of the Volt. As Lyle, and many of you, have already commented on, the Volt is truly remarkable. Unfortunately, the test drive was only about 15 minutes, and not enough time to take it out on the highway. However, my personal observations are:
    1) I was allowed to “floor” the accelerator on a short stretch of road and the torque was instantaneous. There is plenty enough power to accelerate and pass.
    2) I did not notice at all when the car switched into CS mode.
    3) There is plenty of room for the driver and front seat passenger, however, if the seats are moved back somewhat, the rear passengers’ legroom is constrained. I am only 5′ 8″ and my wife, who is only 5′ 2″, was in the back seat and she commented that it was barely enough room for her.
    4) The Volt is very quiet, both inside and out.
    5) After seeing many pictures of the Volt, and reading many articles/blogs, I never realized that the Volt was a hatchback. I always thought that it had a closed trunk. This was the only negative comment my wife had but not bad enough to change our minds about buying one.
    6) The car drove very nice and smooth. Handled very well in the closed section of the course. Very stable and did not sway back and forth during sharp turns.

    That’s about all I can provide for a 15 minute test drive. Bottom line: I’m impressed. However, I was “sold” on the Volt even before taking the test drive.


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    neutron

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:31 am)

    Eco_Turbo: # 130Tagamet Said:: #23 Rob Peterson Said:The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.Eco_Turbo: Hope springs eternal!
    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are questioning GM *and* Lyle’s veracity. If so, that’s just wrong.TagametI just mean that someday maybe it will operate in EV mode, not that it does now.  

    You sound like the folks on “Mad Men” If you do not like the current story talk about it in another way.. or … maybe an attorney … change the argument. :=}
    Or we could think of it as one of the rental car commercials “well it is not exactly” …. :+} Just having fun..


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:35 am)

    Darius: I still have feeling that there is possibility to make it different. As I see video – ICE, gearbox and electric motors practically one unit. I expect some time range extender will be completely separate and produced on OEM basis by numerous competitors like GE, Caterpilar, Siemens, or even Bosch. The same applies to electric motors and converters. Is Voltec going work in this direction? Let us see.

    The EREV concept is all about the batteries. If the batteries improve to the point where buffering is able to provide all power from averaging the load requirement, I think we will begin to see exactly that (under license agreement from GM’s patents, that is).


  158. 158
    Paul Stoller

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:35 am)

    nasaman: Regular readers here will recall that several GM people have made references to the FWD 2 mode transmission originally intended for and extensively road tested in the now-defunct Saturn VUE, including the control electronics & software it used. In fact, our own Lyle Dennis actually drove a 2 mode VUE while at the GM test grounds to drive an early Volt. The Volt EVT is actually a derivative of that FWD 2 mode. Here are excerpts from an October 2008 road test of the 2 mode VUE written by John Matras in the Auto Review Examiner.* (I’ve highlighted a few key items in bold text):“The (VUE’s) two-mode transmission combines two electric continuously variable modes with four fixed mechanical gear ratios. The system turns the engine off at idle and cuts fuel flow to the engine on deceleration, but the system’s official two modes of operation are:First mode (low speed, light load): On moving away from rest, the Vue 2 Mode Hybrid can operate on electric power from the two 55-kW electric motors incorporated into the transmission at up to about 20 miles per hour (under light acceleration). The gasoline engine provides power for more acceleration and higher speeds and can operated in conjunction with the electric motors. The effect feels something like a continuously variable transmission, with a virtuously stepless sensation, the engine hardly ever sounds like its revving.Second mode: The electric motors shift to boosting the gasoline engine during heavy acceleration, towing or climbing steep grades. The transmission will also “lock up” for efficient power transfer while cruising at speed.“The magic (of the 2 mode FWD transmission) is in the software and careful calibration that provides no sensation of changing modes.”See anything familiar? I see the Volt EVT as very similar, including an on-axis planetary gear train and 2 concentric electric motors (one even has the same power, 55KW/74Hp); the 2nd EVT motor is twice that size at 111KW/149Hp. There are clearly several similarities, but we may never know exactly what other improvements or differences exist between the Volt EVT and the VUE 2 mode. But we know the Volt EVT has FOUR distinct operating modes, not two, and that in its 2 CD/EV modes it uses both MGA & MGB (but never the ICE), whereas in its 2 CS/ER modes it uses the ICE …but only for a power/torque assist at higher speeds. My point is that, while I agree the 2 mode VUE application was clearly a hybrid drive train, I do NOT see how the Volt EVT application can be easily classified as a hybrid, since for its primary modes the ICE never operates.
    In other words, although in the VUE (as well as in Prius, Fusion, etc) the ICE is used in a primary role, the Volt’s ICE is used only in a very different secondary role. I THEREFORE STRONGLY URGE THAT WE AVOID TRYING TO CLASSIFY VOLTEC AS A HYBRID AND BEGIN CALLING IT AN “EREV” DRIVE TRAIN —as GM has consistently done— to avoid the kind of confusion I see many readers/
    posters express, as well as to recognize its distinct improvement over all existing hybrid systems./*From http://www.examiner.com/auto-review-in-national/road-test-2009-saturn-vue-2-mode-hybrid-car-review-full-measure  

    I’m really curious what will come of the FWD two-mode system, with this many commonalities between the two mode and Voltec drive train I would expect there is a large amount of component overlap. This has large potential costs savings for both systems. I’m wondering if we will see the FWD two-mode system showing up in some vehicles soon. I can’t wait for the Detroit autoshow.


  159. 159
    rhellie

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:36 am)

    CorvetteGuy: The phones are starting to ring with 2 questions:When can I test drive one?How does the Lease Program work?  (Quote)

    Here is one more question. Do you have owners manuals for the Volt available today? I noticed this on the helminc.com site listing them as being available today for sale.

    “2011 Chevy Volt Owner Manual
    Price: $25.00 Item not yet released to Helm from manufacturer. The item will be available on 10/15/2010. Click here if you would like to be notified when this item becomes available. ”

    First I’ve heard of these being available. I don’t find them listed on the chevrolet.com manual listing. It would be nice to see the specs listed in this manaual.


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    Open-Mind

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:36 am)

    I wonder why GM couldn’t just use four 50HP wheel motors, eliminating the weight and expense of this much much more complex drive system. Seems the reduced weight and drive losses could offset the need for a direct-drive linkage to the engine. This would be similar to Jaguar’s recent concept, but with 1/4 the HP.


  161. 161
    Tagamet

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:37 am)

    Dave K.: Tagamet: The gear-heads among us, myself included, want to know exactly how the Volt works…

    That’s a quote from Lyle, not from me. I couldn’t care less.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


  162. 162
    Timaaayyy!!!

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:37 am)

    Tagamet: Thank goodness.Be well,Tagamet  (Quote)

    Thanks, goodness. 8^)


  163. 163
    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:38 am)

    Tom: It makes me wounder why mountain mode is necessary with an additional
    85 horse to pull this up hill in cs mode.
    Tom

    Fuel efficiency. Maximum use of American-made electricity.
    Why build another Prius-styled hybrid engine system when you can do better?
    GM certainly did.


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    BLIND GUY

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:38 am)

    I am glad that GM decided to use the serial/parallel configuration instead of only serial, which I advocated for using serial/parallel quite some time back btw. So it would seem that with todays motors, BEVs would be more efficient if they used a 2 motor EVT configuration, especially for higher mph. My only concern with GM’s EVT is how long will the clutches last and how much will it cost to replace?


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    Tall Pete

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:39 am)

    Volt Sucker: Enjoy your ride because I will enjoy passing every one of you in an emission free manner around your 40 mile mark in my superior Nissan LEAF.

    Well, sir, thank you for leaving one more Volt for us and choosing a different car. One that will leave you on the side of the road if you ever need to exceed 100 miles or so of range.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:40 am)

    So in a nutshell, when Loboc is dragging for “Pinks”, the computer calls “ALL HANDS ON DECK!” and the ICE, MG1 & MG2 joins forces to blow off the line.

    /i’m cool with dat…..


  167. 167
    Tagamet

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:42 am)

    neutron: Eco_Turbo: # 130Tagamet Said:: #23 Rob Peterson Said:The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.Eco_Turbo: Hope springs eternal!
    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are questioning GM *and* Lyle’s veracity. If so, that’s just wrong.TagametI just mean that someday maybe it will operate in EV mode, not that it does now.

    You sound like the folks on “Mad Men” If you do not like the current story talk about it in another way.. or … maybe an attorney … change the argument. :=}
    Or we could think of it as one of the rental car commercials “well it is not exactly” …. :+} Just having fun..

    I understand that you’re just joshing, but you totally lost me. That’s not difficult though.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


  168. 168
    Frank D

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:44 am)

    All this is very disappointing…time to look at the car companies that are really embracing the electrification of the auto. Ford Focus due out late 2011, Nissan Leaf, Tesla/Toyota Rav4.


  169. 169
    Jackson

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:46 am)

    Flaninacupboard: So, just like Prius, it’s free to choose serial, parallel or even ICE only operation

    No “ICE only operation.” The most that the ICE can do is substitute for the generator (which would act as a motor in CD mode) to reduce the rpms of the main traction motor. It’s a taste of parallel which comes beyond serial when it makes sense for efficiency. At a guess, I’d say that the ICE cannot mechanically contribute more that 33% of the traction power (and probably much less, say 15%).

    Flaninacupboard: No, but when MG-A engages and starts to spin (and MG-B speed reduces) you will maybe feel it.

    This has not been reported so far, from Lyle or anybody. Keep in mind that a planetary gear set has the ability to gradually shift the ‘balance of power,’ in a manner similar to the way a differential smoothly shifts mechanical power from one wheel to the other. This, and precise control of the main traction motor, should eliminate any user-perceptible “bump.”


  170. 170
    Van

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:47 am)

    (click to show comment)


  171. 171
    Tall Pete

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:49 am)

    Flaninacupboard: No, but when MG-A engages and starts to spin (and MG-B speed reduces) you will maybe feel it. I expect you will, (…)

    Just wait and test drive the Volt. Then you can see for yourself if GM engineers did as good as we hope.

    I, for one, don’t believe they were much inspired by the Toyota technology. They were aiming to leapfrog the competition. And I strongly believe that when you set the engineers free, they will amaze you.


  172. 172
    Loboc

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:50 am)

    Tim in SC: …GM only has itself to blame for the waves of negative publicity that it has NOT been receiving lately, but instead that is has been CREATING lately.

    I see this as a brilliant move on GM’s part to engage viral marketing.

    I more I think about it, this revelation about “‘indirect’ mechanical linkage” was deliberate so that they could get more free publicity. Everybody keeps using words like ‘fiasco’ and ‘negative publicity’ when in fact it’s all BUZZ. Nobody will remember what the buzz is about, just that there is some.

    Yeah, a couple of followers will be upset for a while (like the $40k, the 230mpg, and the other ‘fiascos’), but in the end it’s BUZZ. All buzz counts as a good thing.

    People are talking that didn’t even known what a Volt was last week. It’s all good.


  173. 173
    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:51 am)

    Tibor: I’m already ashamed of I told so many people I know that “Volt is a strictly serial hybrid”.

    Why feel stupid? You told them what you were told. This sort of thing happens all the time. Rumors abound. Feeling bad about spreading information that’s not quite correct shows you have a conscience. But you shouldn’t feel stupid about it. You’ll get over it and all your friends will forget the whole thing.

    Be Well! As Tagamet frequently says.

    Happy trails to yo ’til we meet again.
    P.S. Read or say the Serenity Pray”

    “God, grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And wisdom to know the difference. ” etc.

    And I don’t understand why so many poeple gave you a negative vote.


  174. 174
    Texas

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:51 am)

    Dear GM, I don’t care about having the Volt go pure electric until the battery is run down. I wish to sometimes use the configuration that is most efficient. For example, If I’m going to be driving around town all day and going to be using the highway, I want the ICE to be used on the highway parts so I can enjoy pure EV when I get off the highway.

    In other words, I don’t want to run down the battery on the highway. That’s a waste of energy to me. I want to be able to select Combined Efficiency mode where as soon as the speeds are high enough to switch to the more efficient mechanical mode, the Volt does so.

    The only time I don’t want that is when I’m sure I can reach my destination before I need the ICE to turn on because the battery hits the low limit. Thus, I would like to be able to choose the mode.

    I’m sure more modes like this will emerge as time goes on and more software updates are put out. The Volt should increase its efficiency as each software update is uploaded. It’s a gift that keeps giving!

    Possible Modes:

    1) Maximum EV Mode – the Volt will not turn on the ICE no matter what until that battery is at the lower set point. Of course, that excludes the need to keep the ICE (and the gas in the tank) fresh. But hey, why not do that maintenance when the Volt is above 50 mph where you can actually use that improved mechanical efficiency?

    2) Maximum Combined Efficiency Mode – The Volt will bring on the ICE when speeds and loads allow for maximum energy efficiency. This will give drivers reserve battery energy to tool around town once they come off the highway. So basically: low speed EV, high speed ICE connected to the wheels.

    3) Maximum Performance Mode or Super Sport Mode – The Volt will use all resources (2 electric motors and the ICE) to deliver the maximum power when desired, even when the battery is fully charged and the speeds are slow. Imagine hitting the pedal and wanting maximum combined hp delivered to the wheels.

    The possibilities are almost endless! I look forward to all the new and interesting ways GM engineers (and the mod crowd) will utilize Voltec.


  175. 175
    Tall Pete

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:52 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: I am pretty sure I will use only the gas to maintain my Volt’s fuel tank freshness

    I am pretty sure you will use gas to bring your Volt home in the first place :-)


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    Jackson

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:52 am)

    Open-Mind: I wonder why GM couldn’t just use four 50HP wheel motors, eliminating the weight and expense of this much much more complex drive system. Seems the reduced weight and drive losses could offset the need for a direct-drive linkage to the engine. This would be similar to Jaguar’s recent concept, but with 1/4 the HP.  

    That would be a good Jaguar solution, but a poor Chevrolet one. I’m sure we’ll begin to see this some day, but the current cost would be prohibitive. Keep in mind that each motor needs it’s own inverter, or controller; and the motors themselves aren’t cheap either.

    Maybe keep an eye on the Cadillac brand moving forward.


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    kent beuchert

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:53 am)

    It’s obvious, at least to me, that this issue would never have garnered a single drop of ink
    in any media sheet had it not been associated with the Volt, which for perhaps many irrelevant reasons, has become a lightning rod of sorts. Lyle is entirely correct when he notes that the
    goal is not to use gas, and any strategy that furthers attainment of that goal should be applauded, not criticized. Everyone always knew that gas would be required for this vehicle. Whether it is used to help drive the wheels or a generator is obviously an irrelevant issue : you’re still using gas for power at that point. I hope this all teaches a lesson about the media and how something of little to no importance takes a back seat to the desire to find corporate deception. That was what motivated the whole thing and kept the story alive. GM chose to not explain the mechanism in detail and, unfortunately, one of theirs apparently flatly stated that
    “under no circumstances does the engine drive the wheels,” a silly thing to say if, indeed, it
    was said. My advice to GM is that if you say something, make sure it’s entirely accurate, else
    don’t say anything at all. An accurate statement would have been that “While in charge-depleting mode, the engine NEVER, EVER supplies power directly to the wheels, since it never
    runs during that operating mode. End of statement. As to what happens during the other
    operating mode, we have no comment at this time, but will explain it in detail in the future. “


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    ECO_Turbo

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:54 am)

    # 168 Frank D said:

    All this is very disappointing…time to look at the car companies that are really embracing the electrification of the auto. Ford Focus due out late 2011, Nissan Leaf, Tesla/Toyota Rav4.

    In the meantime, I’ll try to convince everybody that will listen that Voltec is the best way to end our dependence on foreign oil.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:55 am)

    Van: Note how Honda cannot compete using a truly different system.

    Wellll….
    I wouldn’t say that. Their IMA just needs some tweaking. IMA is just an electric motor connected to the output shaft of the ICE. Now all Honda really has to do (if they want to) is double (tripple?) the power of the small electric motor and engage/disengage from the ICE via a clutch and BINGO, you get AER. Then engage/disengage when necessary.


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    ClarksonCote

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:55 am)

    Kent: 5) After seeing many pictures of the Volt, and reading many articles/blogs, I never realized that the Volt was a hatchback. I always thought that it had a closed trunk. This was the only negative comment my wife had but not bad enough to change our minds about buying one (Quote)

    Glad you were able to get a test drive in!

    I actually dislike the look of hatchbacks, but not the utility. The fact that the Volt is a hatchback but pulls off the look of a normal sedan is a big plus for me.

    join thE REVolution


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:56 am)

    Dave K.: My goal is to drive as efficiently as possible. Ordered my Volt the first week of August.But… the Voltec system makes one wonder where this technology could lead. Example: Install a 200hp electric main drive motor. With a beefier version of the Voltec transmission. Mate this with a relatively small Kawasaki zzr 600 engine producing 111 HP. Add a light 7 mile range battery buffered at 80%.This will produce a 3000 lb vehicle which will provide 5 miles of gas free driving along with 30mpg CS when operated at a moderate throttle. And will easily rival acceleration numbers of German 6 and 8 cylinder gasoline vacuums when run WOT. The Audi killer?=D-Volt  (Quote)

    Performance and luxury car designers have to be thinking that electric propulsion will soon be changing the game for their cars. Lots of $ room to absorb a $10k battery and get instant full-on torque, better mpg and coolness cred all at the same time. One thing to do it for a mid-priced car like the Volt, economically easier to do it to a high-pricer–especially where gas prices are much higher and commutes are shorter than they are here. I hope GM and Ford are going to be all over this–but if recent-ish history is any guide, the Germans and Japanese will dominate. The Germans because they need to maintain their engineering cache and the Japanese because the economies of scale they’ll get with their regular cars will help their high-priced divisions.


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    Van

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:57 am)

    As to advocating it is ok to mislead folks, I completely disagree. If you cannot trust a company to tell the truth about its products, you would be foolish to buy that product. Clinton claimed it was ok to lie to “protect his family” and so, if the means can be justified by the ends, anything goes.
    When GM does polling or focus groups to find out what would be an attractive product, they do not want to by lied to. Thus they flunk the do unto others as you would have others do unto you test.
    Needless to say the chances of getting a corrupt product from a corrupt culture are good.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:58 am)

    CaptJackSparrow: Wellll….I wouldn’t say that. Their IMA just needs some tweaking. IMA is just an electric motor connected to the output shaft of the ICE. Now all Honda really has to do (if they want to) is double (tripple?) the power of the small electric motor and engage/disengage from the ICE via a clutch and BINGO, you get AER. Then engage/disengage when necessary.  (Quote)

    Honda’s IMA could also use some small firmware mods. I have a friend that has an Insight. He drives into a parking spot and his engine is off. He puts it in Park, and that immediately causes the engine to start up just before he turns it back off. The engine is also always on for Reverse. Seems like small issues like these could be refined for better overall fuel economy.

    join thE REVolution


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    Tom W

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (10:58 am)

    Lyle: “What it is about is having the most people use the least oil as possible, without compromising their lifestyles in a car that’s good looking, high tech, and fun to drive. And to that mission the Volt holds true in a big way”

    +1,000,000,000


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    JCook

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:02 am)

    Bruno: I don’t agree with you, I’ve been following you for at least a year , every single day/ I am NOT happy with this. to me, it is a lie, from an 40 miles electric to a hybrid, which does take gas , in some circumstances even during these first 40 miles. The point , to me is to get rid of the oil addiction not just to minimize the oil intake.To me it IS a big turn off. Sort of a prius after all. Yeah, not 50 mpg , maybe , what 80 mpg.I always thought that the voltec holds more promise , for now, then the BEV. Not anymore. Besides the mpg posted by you yesterday were just sad. A very good diesel gets close to a Volt.I am really turned off.GM did it again, unfortunately. Nissan, Renault, Ford will win, unless gm decides to follow them. for now, they just pulled a better hybrid, nothing revolutionary.  (Quote)

    From what we know the first 40 is still all electric. Read more carefully before you post things like this.


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    Jaime

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:02 am)

    Timaaayyy!!!For only $33,500 or $350/mo, and with extremely limited production, your Volt will quickly go to another buyer.

    No doubt they will have no problem selling the alloted production of Volts. Some people are so emotionally invested now in this car that absolutley nothing will shake their support of it. They could announce the price is now $80k and it gets 10MPG in CS mode and 2 mile EV range and people would still support it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still am hoping to buy a gen 2 if the price comes down, but this first model is too rich for my blood.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:03 am)

    Frank D: All this is very disappointing…time to look at the car companies that are really embracing the electrification of the auto. Ford Focus due out late 2011, Nissan Leaf, Tesla/Toyota Rav4.

    I think what most people are missing is how quickly charge stations will be available everywhere. In Lyle’s test drive he stopped for a while and plugged in and got more electric range.

    There is likely soon to be laws that companies with over 100 employees must have charging stations for at least 5% of their parked cars.

    With the volt if you can charge at work, charge at the mall, you can just keep piling up the AER miles.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:03 am)

    BLIND GUY: I am glad that GM decided to use the serial/parallel configuration instead of only serial, which I advocated for using serial/parallel quite some time back btw.So it would seem that with todays motors, BEVs would be more efficient if they used a 2 motor EVT configuration, especially for higher mph.My only concern with GM’s EVT is how long will the clutches last and how much will it cost to replace?  

    I have also had this concern, but suspect that service life will be similar to that of an automatic transmission (which also contains planetary gear sets and clutch bands). It should cost less than an auto tranny to fix because of reduced complexity, but there won’t be many tempted to do this themselves.

    I wonder if the gearset and clutch system is submerged in oil like an automatic?

    My question for GM is that little tidbit from the video which whipped by so fast without comment: the clutches in the Volt transmission are actuated by hydraulics. Since some clutching occurs in CD mode, what is the source for hydraulic pressure?


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    Eric

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:05 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:06 am)

    In a recent motor trend article they state that the volt uses about 12.8 kW-hr of the possible 16 kw-hr of battery capacity. I have been hearing that the volt uses between 8.8 – 9.6 kw-hr of battery capacity. Can anyone tell me what is the actual amount? just curious.


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    Timaaayyy!!!

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:07 am)

    Jaime: No doubt they will have no problem selling the alloted production of Volts. Some people are so emotionally invested now in this car that absolutley nothing will shake their support of it. They could announce the price is now $80k and it gets 10MPG in CS mode and 2 mile EV range and people would still support it.  (Quote)

    If true, that would be a marketer’s dream. Not many recent american cars have produced that level of customer passion. I’m not sure GM really knows what to do about it. I’m sure, though–keep it coming, boys and girls! Let’s see a string of break-through products, not just one.


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    JohnK

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:07 am)

    I have not waded through all of today’s comments yet. I’m just going to stick my two cents in. I appreciate all of the analysis and passionate feelings for purity of EV and serial mode and all of that. But I think we need to get the big picture. The American public loves cars that give decent performance and a feeling of luxury or at least some sense of it. The Volt is going to allow millions of people to travel in a green manner and still experience that performance and feel of quality without huge sacrifices (well, other than paying a bunch of money) — and the price will come down. The Volt is the beginning of something really wonderful. Let’s first agree to that.

    We now take you back to your regularly scheduled cat fight…


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    JCook

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:09 am)

    Bruno: I don’t agree with you, I’ve been following you for at least a year , every single day/ I am NOT happy with this. to me, it is a lie, from an 40 miles electric to a hybrid, which does take gas , in some circumstances even during these first 40 miles. The point , to me is to get rid of the oil addiction not just to minimize the oil intake.To me it IS a big turn off. Sort of a prius after all. Yeah, not 50 mpg , maybe , what 80 mpg.I always thought that the voltec holds more promise , for now, then the BEV. Not anymore. Besides the mpg posted by you yesterday were just sad. A very good diesel gets close to a Volt.I am really turned off.GM did it again, unfortunately. Nissan, Renault, Ford will win, unless gm decides to follow them. for now, they just pulled a better hybrid, nothing revolutionary.  (Quote)

    What part of the first 40 all electric do you not understand and how important this is. As I stated before 91% of all drivers will get >100 mpg based on national records of driving habits and 76% will use no oil at all. The major benchmark was still hit 40 AER. Name another company that has done this with a flexible platform. Still thinking?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:09 am)

    Tom W: I think what most people are missing is how quickly charge stations will be available everywhere.

    I must disagree. Charge stations will appear quickly in isolated pockets, but it will take decades for the capability to appear everywhere.

    That’s not to say that there won’t be more 110V opportunity charging made available by businesses who can write off the initial cost and the electricity from their advertising budgets (to appear ‘green’); but they will wait until there is a significant number of EVs on the road. I expect this will spread out slowly from the initial EV-friendly pockets until the zones begin to merge. More universal ‘pay to plug’ stations will eventually follow.


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    Tom W

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:10 am)

    Jaime: No doubt they will have no problem selling the alloted production of Volts. Some people are so emotionally invested now in this car that absolutley nothing will shake their support of it. They could announce the price is now $80k and it gets 10MPG in CS mode and 2 mile EV range and people would still support it.

    I still think the Volt will pay for itself for me. Even at the Gen 1 inflated price I strongly believe i’ll be at least breaking even.

    First of all I can’t even get the car for another year in Ohio. I think in another year the floor on gas prices would be $4, and when hurricanes hit the gulf or war in the mideast happens again the floor will be way higher than that.

    With daytime charging I expect to be driving at least 1600 miles a month AER and possibly more.

    At $4 gallon and saving 50 gallons a month thats $200 a month saved.
    At $5 gallon thats $250 a month saved.

    I feel that having one car thats electric is like an insurance policy against gas price spikes or gas shortages in the case of mideast oil supply problems that will certainly happen over life of the car.

    Don’t think it is hard at all to justify this car even at initial price.

    Good luck trying to get a hold of one the day after the next mideast war starts.

    And think how great it would be if we didn’t even care if oil supplies were threatened.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:10 am)

    Texas: Dear GM, I don’t care about having the Volt go pure electric until the battery is run down. I wish to sometimes use the configuration that is most efficient. For example, If I’m going to be driving around town all day and going to be using the highway, I want the ICE to be used on the highway parts so I can enjoy pure EV when I get off the highway.

    Use the “HOLD” mode for this. I forget where I learned this, over the past few days, but it’s already in the Volt and does exactly what you’re describing.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:10 am)

    JCook: From what we know the first 40 is still all electric. Read more carefully before you post things like this.  (Quote)

    HBO has been showing the movie Bruno. Is this him/her?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:12 am)

    bookdabook: Well it since this car has such quality computer tracking of everything and electric and gas usage are displayed on the control screens at all times then there may be some sort of readout or graphic on the monitor indicating the ICE is engaging the wheels to increase efficiency when in CS mode and running at 30-100 mph. This could be relevant to achieving maximum efficiency, i.e. keeping the leafy green ball in the middle.
    Maybe one of the insiders here can answer whether such a readout exists. If not, now I have my question for the Volt Spokesperson when I test drive it here in San Diego next Weds. Can’t wait!

    Hmmm, then again, 10-1 odds the spokesperson won’t be able to comment regarding a monitor for ICE wheel engagement. (I almost wrote “won’t have a clue” but I stepped back from that abyss).


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:12 am)

    Jackson:
    That would be a good Jaguar solution, but a poor Chevrolet one.I’m sure we’ll begin to see this some day, but the current cost would be prohibitive.Keep in mind that each motor needs it’s own inverter, or controller; and the motors themselves aren’t cheap either.Maybe keep an eye on the Cadillac brand moving forward.  

    The matter of unsprung weight is often overlooked when wheel motors are brought up. Handling is negatively impacted by unsprung weight. Perhaps somebody with expertise in this area will speak up…


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:13 am)

    One more thing…

    If the ICE has to turn on, I want it engaged to the wheels as soon as the system determines it’s more efficient that running pure serial hybrid.

    I just don’t care that it’s running pure serial or parallel hybrid. Since the transmission is there, let’s use it to the max.

    Of course, if there are those that have an ego problem and only want serial hybrid mode, even if it burns more energy (because it will) then give them that mode:

    Maximum Serial Hybrid Ego Mode – It will only use the ICE as a genset, no matter what, even if it’s getting horrible gas mileage. Maybe they have a date (for once in many years) and need to boast that it’s not a hybrid. It just has a generator. Then so be it, give it to them.

    What, like 99 percent of things we Americans buy are not wasteful? Right…

    Designer clothes, McMansions, anything other than a Geo Metro or VW bug, prepackaged food, etc.


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    Lawrence

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:15 am)

    Dave G: The Fisker Karma and Mercedes BlueZero E-Cell Plus also have the ICE drive the wheels, and I would call both of those EREVs.

    The fisker has no direct transmission between ICE and wheels. It’s a pure EREV. 1 Generator, 2 Electric-motors on the drivetrain and a battery pack. Only Thick wires binds them.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/01/fisker-karma-brochurespecs-stealth-eco-chic-solar-power/

    You can see it on their main website as well (wtach the video). The ICE is in front, and the car is a rear-drive.

    However, the battery pack isn’t able to deliver the peak power required on Sport Mode (both at CD and CS mode). When Sport mode is activated, this ICE kicks in to deliver the missing power to gain the full 400hp. The good thing is that it remains a drivers choice. Stealth mode on CD is pure Battery mode, where power will be limited to battery power capacity.

    If I had the $$$, I would go Karma. Not only because it’s a beatiful car, but because it’s a not an implementation of a distorted EREV.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:15 am)

    Randy: I know this isoff subject but GM is missing a big part of the market by not electrifying an SUV or pickup truck. TOyota will getr a big part of that market when they come out with the RAV4-EV again. Not everyone want to drive a phonebooth on wheels. Id take a SUV with 20 AER before i would a small sedan with 100AER.  (Quote)

    I agree with you, and I am waiting for the Voltec powered Equinox.

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:19 am)

    Schmeltz: I like that idea too for what it’s worth. The Equinox hits the right tone in size, styling, and package. I think that vehicle would be a great place to start by either making an EREV, EV, Plug-in Hybrid, or how ’bout all 3?  (Quote)

    I agree with you, too. See my prevous post.

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:20 am)

    #35 JeremyK I bet GM is really kicking themselves right now for not going with direct injection on this engine family (family zero). That’s a 10-20% efficiency gain
    they left on the table. They’d also have the side benefit of increased torque AND they would have been able to use low octane fuel.

    I work for GM in an area unrelated to the Volt and when I heard internally that this would not be a direct injection engine (a couple years ago) I was a
    little crushed. Not only because I knew GM was holding back on engine technology for the Volt, but because this also meant that DI wouldn’t be available
    in the Cruze. I wouldn’t be surprised if the turbo 1.4L in the Cruze Eco could have gotten 45 mpg hwy if they would have gone with DI.

    Hopefully this is something “we” choose to correct in Gen II. That’s actually my one of my biggest gripes with this design. I love the beauty and the simplicity
    of EVT transmission, however.  
    (Quote)

    Ford will be using more of their Eco boost type engines and Cruise would have been at it’s best with SIDI and more of a competitor with the new Focus coming out.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    Tom W: I think what most people are missing is how quickly charge stations will be available everywhere. In Lyle’s test drive he stopped for a while and plugged in and got more electric range.

    … at a really spiffy solar-powered charger on the grounds of a GM testing facility, where they are exploring future EV trends.

    Actually, I would like to have had more information about that charger. Something like this might be the only way to charge without burdening the electricity grid in the daytime.

    That said, can you imagine what it cost to build? Extensive solar array, a structure to park under, actual charging electronics. Who is going to pay for something like that anywhere else? Uncle Sam? These days?!

    GE does a good job in their commercials of depicting a world with charge stations everywhere, but behind this is the unspoken problem of who pays to achieve that future vision, and how.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    Rob Peterson: Matthew B: Even in electric mode there probably is a bump in the curve due to the generator kicking in and providing assistance. (Quote)

    The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.

    No, not the engine kicking in.

    The “generator” is what they are calling the second motor only engaged at high speed. When the “generator” kicks in as a second motor adding to the power of the first, there will be a bump in performance.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:23 am)

    Just received an email invitation to demo drive the Volt in L.A. this Sunday. Will get back with feedback. The good news keeps coming.

    NPNS


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:23 am)

    Flaninacupboard: No, but when MG-A engages and starts to spin (and MG-B speed reduces) you will maybe feel it. I expect you will, as you can feel it in the Prius when the ICE goes from 0rpm to 800rpm(not injecting any fuel, just spinning) and MG1 drops from ~9,000rpm to ~3,000rpm, though in the prius it doesn’t effect MG2 speed, which remains constant.

    Yeah, what he said ^^^^^


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:27 am)

    Tibor: Sorry, but this last info made me loose confidence in GM and the Volt.
    Next thing they will tell is “BTW the engine can sometimes help even in those first 40 miles”. Why should I believe them now, when they have told different stories over the years?

    You don’t have to believe them. People are driving it as we speak and are telling us that this is not the case.

    Tibor: I’m already ashamed of I told so many people I know that “Volt is a strictly serial hybrid”. We had discussions before where they heared Volt is some kind of a hybrid (as in parallell hybrid), and I told them over and over again they are wrong. Now I look stupid. I don’t like that feeling.

    Well, that’s your own doing. GM never said that the Volt was strictly a series hybrid. They’ve always maintained that it was an EREV and that’s still true to this day.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:27 am)

    Dave: the Trolls are going to have a “field day” with this latest revelation.

    Just wait until the Left Coast wakes up, in a few minutes. Get your neg-clicking finger ready with some calisthenics:

    one two click, one two click:-)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:31 am)

    CorvetteGuy: A ‘Chevy’ version of the Converj could only be called “Stingray”…!!!  (Quote)

    Yes, bring back the Stingray, one of my favorite cars of the 1960′s! When I was in high school, all the guys were dreaming for our own Corvette (my dream car was in Metallic Blue).

    Now I can’t afford a new Corvette, but I still dream about them. If GM does produce a 300+ HP Voltec-powered Corvette, and I was lucky to win the Lottery, then I will buy it!

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:31 am)

    drivin98: Volt is actually a re-engineered plug-in Prius hybrid.

    Japanese are well known for their ability to copy american technology. Not the other way around.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:34 am)

    Van: Just like the EV-1, they made a product that is not cost competitive and expected people to pay more for less because it is made in America under socialism. Time will tell but I think GM’s future looks bleak. The answer is blowing in the wind, but the dust will settle in June 2012.

    Gee what can I say? Who p!ssed in your coffee anyway? The first Prii were pretty expensive compared to other cars at the time. This is NOT a Prius. It is a whole new thing. New things cost more – at least until the development costs are paid for. The first IBM mainframe sold for over a million dollars. IBM thought that the most they could sell was 6. So they divided the development cost by 6 and added it to the unit price. Little did they know that thousands would buy it – and at the price of the original 6! I don’t think that the Volt will sell millions of copies at $41K, but I’ll bet a dime to a donut that if it sells well the Voltec drive train costs will get VERY attractive.
    Yes, isn’t it ironic that there are strong elements of socialism creeping (running) into our society, while in a “Communist” country like China the spirit of capitalism is bringing them prosperity like never dreamed of? That is a whole set of issues NOT related to the Volt or to EV’s. And I’m glad that you care about those issues.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:34 am)

    Mike-o-Matic: The matter of unsprung weight is often overlooked when wheel motors are brought up. Handling is negatively impacted by unsprung weight. Perhaps somebody with expertise in this area will speak up…

    Neither of us mentioned in-wheel motors, which would be an added cost and engineering dimension. There is no reason why a car could not have four inboard motors connected to the wheels with half-shafts (though this would still require an expensive four-channel inverter, and demonically complex software to pull off).

    Before anything like this appears in a non-exotic car, I would expect to see something like the Volt transmission for the front wheels, with a smaller unit integrated with a differential for the rear wheels. For reasons of space utilization, this would also have to wait for better batteries, which would take up less room; and would be more likely for an EREV or Serial configuration than with pure EVs, since fewer of the batteries would be required.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:34 am)

    Lawrence: distorted EREV

    Distorted series hybrid you mean. It’s still a perfectly legit EREV.

    Lawrence: If I had the $$$, I would go Karma. Not only because it’s a beatiful car, but because it’s a not an implementation of a distorted EREV.

    Yeah, when it comes out. By then GM will be on a new generation of the Volt which will also likely be a pure series hybrid.

    Why not go with a Jaguar CX75 instead? It looks even nicer than the Karma.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:36 am)

    BillR: Now comes the opposite scenario of going downhill. The Volt still needs 12 kW to overcome drag, however, descending a 5% grade puts 25 kW back into the wheels. Power to the wheels is 20 + 25 or 45, with 12 kW needed. So now the ICE and MG/A will need to reduce rpm and both MG/A and MG/B may need to act as generators to absorb the excess energy.

    So I think there is more interesting information on mode 4 yet to be discovered.

    I agree with most of your post… except the last bit. What I will suspect will happen is that MG/A will speed to maximum slowing the engine down do reduce engine power.

    After a short period I think the engine is going to de-clutch and stop, putting the car in mode 3. No reason to keep it running when the car is in regenerative braking.

    A question I have is if the engine will stop in CS mode above 70 MPH during regen? If the engine shuts down and then needs to restart above 70 MPH it will be by engaging the clutch on a stopped engine. If the car is going under 70 then MG/A should be able to bring MG/B to a stop and then the clutch can engage without torque. Once the clutch is out then the engine could be started back up by varying the two motors speed. I guess it wouldn’t be too bad, sort of like restarting a stick shift car at full speed in high gear.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:37 am)

    Jackson: Just wait until the Left Coast wakes up, in a few minutes.

    Hey, that could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t encourage them (too much). :)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:38 am)

    bitguru:
    I can’t speak on the civic, but yes there are plenty of 200K priuses with original major components. Many of them are taxicabs.  

    Not only original major components; 200K taxicabs with ORIGINAL BRAKES!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:39 am)

    Tom:# 90

    It makes me wounder why mountain mode is necessary with an additional
    85 horse to pull this up hill in cs mode.
    Tom  

    Tom, once you are in CS mode there is no additional anything, EVERYTHING is coming from the 74hp engine.. and as you can expect its hard to cruise at 80mph going up a mountain in a 4000lb car with that small an engine.. thats why you store a buffer of energy in the battery a few minutes before you get to the uphill road.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:41 am)

    Van: The answer is blowing in the wind, but the dust will settle in June 2012.  

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

    OK, the world is supposed to end in December, 2012, but what happens in June????

    :-)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:41 am)

    Bruno: The point , to me is to get rid of the oil addiction not just to minimize the oil intake.</P A very good diesel gets close to a Volt.;(Quote)

    You are writing contrasting points. How would “A very good diesel” be better if “The point , to me is to get rid of the oil addiction not just to minimize the oil intake.”

    If you don’t like what the Volt does, get a BEV, and forget about the diesel. You either save money but keep your addition to oil with a diesel, or spend more and burn less with the Volt (or none with a BEV).

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:42 am)

    As many here may realize, I am a follower of Focus Fusion. I got to this link through their site. The link there shows a shortened version. This one is the full version and allows using full screen. Its a long video but well worth taking the time to watch!

    http://fora.tv/2010/06/16/Ed_Moses_Clean_Fusion_Power_This_Decade

    Once you get beyond the beginning where the sponsors tell there story, Ed Moses gives us an overview of where man has been for the last 10,000 years before NOW and where we might be in the next 10,000 years! It is a story of man’s use of fossil fuels.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:46 am)

    Spin: Well, I bought a Prius. I could just not justify the initial cost vs operating cost between the Volt and the Prius. No doubt the Volt would be more economical to use on a daily basis, but after 5 years I would only be able to recover about 25% of the extra cost of the Volt. Another factor is the unknown reliability of the Volt. For me, at this time, the Prius is a better choice. My hope is that next time a plug in serial hybrid will be a viable option  (Quote)

    Good luck with the Prius. And thank you for making a Toyota VP richer.

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:46 am)

    “Neither of us mentioned in-wheel motors, which would be an added cost and engineering dimension.”

    Oops-y. Just looked back at “open mind’s” original comment, and he did say “in-wheel motors.” My bad.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:48 am)

    Jim I: OK, the world is supposed to end in December, 2012, but what happens in June????

    The beginning of the end.
    It takes a while. :-P


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:48 am)

    Dave G: # 67
    If anything, I would care more about whether GM is using induction electric motors. With this latest information, it seem more like they’re using permanent magnet motors, which are more expensive, have worse average efficiency, but are easier to design and more available.

    GM has said the big motor is an AC induction machine, they have not said anything about the 50kw generator motor.. GM would not lie about this.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:49 am)

    This one is for carcus1,2,3….etc…

    http://web.me.com/mjrickard/contest.html

    Or for anyone gutsy enough to tackle a DIY EV build. It’s a free EV components giveaway.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:50 am)

    Randy: I know this isoff subject but GM is missing a big part of the market by not electrifying an SUV or pickup truck. TOyota will getr a big part of that market when they come out with the RAV4-EV again. Not everyone want to drive a phonebooth on wheels. Id take a SUV with 20 AER before i would a small sedan with 100AER.  

    You can do pretty good in a SUV the size of a RAV-4 or an Escape. The hybrid system is maybe 25% to 50% bigger with pretty good performance.

    The problem becomes when you have to do a full size SUV or pickup. A pickup the size of a Toyota or Nissan “full size” truck needs a hybrid system 3X bigger than a car. A full size Silverado 1 ton or F350 needs a hybrid system 5X better to have an improvement of significance. The costs just won’t fly. Instead GM made a hybrid Silverado that has WAY to little battery and hence they couldn’t cut the engine enough. Unfortunately it will be a long time before wide adoption of large hybrids. The real savings is simply to get people to quit using such large vehicles for transporting a single person on a daily basis.

    The one heavy vehicle that does succeed with a hybrid option is the transit bus. The bus never has to climb mountain long passes at full speed; the battery only needs enough to get the bus to highway speed at the most. Even then, the premium for a hybrid bus is over $100K, but the fuel savings still pays off.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:53 am)

    Whenever GM does begin to offer pure EVs (and with the Volt, why should they hurry?), they will benefit greatly from the performance and electrical economy this two-motor transmission (with no cs-mode or engine, it is still a winner). By this time, it will have also racked up a lot of real-world miles. Available just in time, perhaps, for the first wave of disgusted LEAF owners … :-P


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:55 am)

    Matthew_B: You can do pretty good in a SUV the size of a RAV-4 or an Escape. The hybrid system is maybe 25% to 50% bigger with pretty good performance.

    I think Ford should take the Plugin Prius design and plop it into an Escape. It’s almost the same HSD right?
    If they can get a 12 mile AER Escape and get 45mpg, sh|t man, they’ll be sittin pretty.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:57 am)

    This story will be dead and gone by November 10th. The only thing that bugs me about it now is how it ties in with ‘what appears to be’ the official Volt tag line…

    Sitting on my desk is a large postcard-sized handout with the title: “What Everyone Needs To Know About Volt” – - – It was given to everyone who attended the dealer training and test ride. The tag line reads: “2011 Chevrolet Volt – It’s More Car Than Electric”

    Now I understand that the message is supposed to be that the Volt “drives like a regular car” and is not like the Nissan Leaf which is an all-electric car. But I don’t like that tag line now. I think the emphasis SHOULD BE that the Volt is “The Electric Car with Extended Range”, which I believe is just as important as how it drives.

    All of this techno-crap (“the engine is connected to the… leg-bone”) puts a gray shadow over this particular tag line. And I think the competition will use it against GM. If it is “more car than electric”, then I don’t think customers will appreciate the total value of the car at $41,000 – - – but a customer even mildly interested in new technology would understand that an “electric car” (including the Leaf) is going to be more than a regular hybrid and definitely more than a conventional economy car like the Cruze.

    There is a LOT of standard equipment and gee-whiz features included in that $41,000. Here in the hottest part of Southern California, a leather package is not a high priority. I hope that GM will focus the ad campaign a lot more about the electric range and how THAT is “anxiety-free”.

    But I’m just trying to sell the things for whatever that’s worth.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:58 am)

    That picture at top is a good illustration of the power train’s relative simplicity and economy of design, considering all it achieves. Compare it to just the drive-line of any other car; and remind yourself that the thing on the left is the engine.

    HEY! WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO THE ‘VOLT MONKEY?’


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (11:59 am)

    JeremyK: Some have suggested wear on the clutches…These clutches are automated and transitions are pretty much instantaneous. Materials are carefully selected and the designs are tested for things like wear. I doubt these clutches are considered “wear items”. They are designed to last the life of the car as are the other powertrain components. Change the oil, check your fluid levels, and you should be OK for a VERY long time.

    I agree. “Clutch wear” is a canard.

    In the 60′s and 70′s the automatic transmission was a 3 gear affair that lasted 150K+ miles most of the time. In the 80′s a fourth gear was added as was a clutch to lock the torque converter. Complication went up but barring some stupid design mistakes on specific models, life of the transmission went up.

    Starting in the mid 90′s through today most transmission have gone to 5 or 6 gears. They did this not by adding more gear ratios, but by cycling through different combinations of the 3 planetary sets in the transmission. Every time the car goes through a accelerate / stop cycle going through the gears, each of the clutches engages and disengages several times to make up these combinations. On top of that the extra gear ratios mean that there are more times it will shift. An old three speed would stay in 3rd on the freeway all the time; now a 6 speed will pick from 4th, 5th or 6th just on the freeway.

    And what has happened in all this time? The lifetime has extended to where most people will completely wear out a car without ever doing anything to the transmission save for a couple of fluid flushes.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:01 pm)

    Jackson: Actually, I would like to have had more information about that charger. Something like this might be the only way to charge without burdening the electricity grid in the daytime.

    2 Things
    1) Because the vast majority of charging of EV’s will be done at night, the reality is day time charging by those on vacation trips or the few with very long commutes, will be a small percentage of EV charging. Further those charging at work might just be topping it off, so to speak, and this charging would be mostly complete in the early morning hours long before peak air conditioning. Further the charging done at night will do much to even the load. So charging during the day is not a problem as it will be mostly early morning hours and very small compared to night time charging.
    2) There are already bills in the works to require work place parking lots to have EV chargers installed beginning with 5% of the parked cars, though it is up to the property owner to decide what to charge. See http://www.pepstations.com for more info:

    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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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:04 pm)

    Jackson:It should cost less than an auto tranny to fix because of reduced complexity, but there won’t be many tempted to do this themselves.

    Why? It is simpler than an automatic.

    The only thing you have to be careful about is the permanent magnets.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:04 pm)

    Tim in SC: Yes, that is what they are saying now, just as they said that the ICE will never directly aid in the propulsion of the car… GM is ruining its credibilty with this slow leak of disappointing information.  (Quote)

    While none of us can see inside the transmission and know when things connect and disconnect (and it probably isn’t on the display either). LOTS of (independent, third party) people have now test driven the Volt and NO ONE contradicts that the first 25-50 miles is all electric. Or are you now becoming a conspiracy theorist?- ‘the panels inside the car lie too!’ ‘It says all electric, but I know it’s not’. When will it end? Is GM the antichrist for you? I guess you won’t be happy until you burn off ALL gas, then charge up the car and drive it- those 25-50 miles when no gas is in the tank. While this certainly isn’t SOP, it may the only way to shut you up!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:05 pm)

    Matthew_B: I agree. “Clutch wear” is a canard.

    In the 60’s and 70’s the automatic transmission was a 3 gear affair that lasted 150K+ miles most of the time. In the 80’s a fourth gear was added as was a clutch to lock the torque converter. Complication went up but barring some stupid design mistakes on specific models, life of the transmission went up.

    Starting in the mid 90’s through today most transmission have gone to 5 or 6 gears. They did this not by adding more gear ratios, but by cycling through different combinations of the 3 planetary sets in the transmission. Every time the car goes through a accelerate / stop cycle going through the gears, each of the clutches engages and disengages several times to make up these combinations. On top of that the extra gear ratios mean that there are more times it will shift. An old three speed would stay in 3rd on the freeway all the time; now a 6 speed will pick from 4th, 5th or 6th just on the freeway.

    And what has happened in all this time? The lifetime has extended to where most people will completely wear out a car without ever doing anything to the transmission save for a couple of fluid flushes.

    Yeah, that’s what they said about my 2002 Ford POS Explorer. They said the tranny was good for xxxmiles and therefore it’s a sealed tranny. 2 Trannies later I got rid of the MUTHAF@#$.

    Tell that story to a transmission specialist and you’ll see him drive off laughing in his Porsche.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:06 pm)

    If you want to see the same video presentation without people’s heads in the way just click on the link below. Once it starts you can advance the frame slider to around 20 minutes in if you want to get to the section dealing with the topic of this discussion.

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


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:07 pm)

    herm: Perhaps the engineers wanted a pure serial configuration but the bean counters intervened.. how would you know?

    I’m thinking the marketing people wanted pure serial and the engineers wanted something different. Seems to me that focusing on whether we have a serial/parallel nature of the drive train is misplaced. I think the issues are more related to the efficiency of the vehicle and the generator.

    There are 35k kWh of energy in a gallon of gas. The engine is roughly 37% efficient. If the generator was 90% efficient then we’d end up with 11.66 kWh. Send that to the battery, assuming you have a 90% conversion electrical to chemical, and you end up with 10.49 kWh back in the battery. If the generator was 85% efficient we’d end up with 9.9 kWh. Since this is more or less exactly the number of kWh the battery needs to power the vehicle 40 miles, if you assume the generator is 85% efficient, you can approximate that the AER range should equal the MPG number in CS Mode.

    How do these numbers fit with what we now know about the AER and the MPG in CS Mode? GM has now said the AER will be between 25 and 50 miles. Given what test drivers are reporting let’s say 38. GM has also said that the MPG will be between the mid to high 30s. Let’s say 37 MPG. These numbers are consistent with what you’d expect.

    In my mind the big issue is the basic efficiency of the car. We were told repeatedly that the Volt would use 8 kWh to go 40 miles. If this ended up being the actual case, then, without changing a single thing about the CS Mode setup, the Volt would be getting 49.5 MPG in CS Mode. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is exactly what GM said the range and MPG is CS Mode would be at the outset of the development process — an AER of 40 miles using 8 kWh of battery and 50 MPG in CS Mode.

    What I find amusing is that everyone is screaming about being mislead about the gearing and whether the Volt is a pure serial hybrid — irrelevant in my mind — but missing the “Big Lie” which is that the Volt would be able to go 40 miles using 8 kWh. It’s hilarious. (I’m not BTW saying GM lied. Numbers at the beginning of development are always aspirational and they invariably turn out to be over optimistic. That’s life.) All these journalists are running around with goofy story lines while missing the actual one.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:08 pm)

    Jackson: I wonder if the gearset and clutch system is submerged in oil like an automatic?

    In an automatic transmission the gears are not submerged. The oil sits in the pan at the bottom and the pump delivers oil to the bearings and gears.

    Even a manual doesn’t “submerge” the gears. Only a part of the lowest gears dip into the oil. The motion of the gears carry the oil up to the rest of the transmission. There is usually a gutter that catches thrown oil to deliver oil to the bearings.

    Jackson: My question for GM is that little tidbit from the video which whipped by so fast without comment: the clutches in the Volt transmission are actuated by hydraulics. Since some clutching occurs in CD mode, what is the source for hydraulic pressure?

    GM two mode hybrids have a 12V powered oil pump. I’d suspect the Volt uses the very same part.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:08 pm)

    I went to the Volt test drive in San Francisco yesterday. I drove 2 cars. The first car’s battery was fully depleted so I drove it only in the range extended generator mode. As expected, the gas engine kicks on as soon as I drove the car.

    The second car I drove was only used on a short, closed test track, so it still showed ~9mile EV range remaining. I assumed I was going to drive the car without any generator assist. II got in, pressed the power button, and shift to drive, and proceed to paused for about 1 min to ask the GM rep in the car with me some questions. During that 1 min, I was really surprised to observe the generator motor actually turned on. I asked the GM rep about it and he said it was conditioning the battery. This was very unexpected as I thought based on Lyle’s report that it would only happen at higher speed. I don’t understand why the engine will kick in while the car not moving and still had charge remaining.

    My observation of the Volt during my 2 test drives: the car’s handling was clearly superior to the Prius due to the low center of mass. The car also feels more solid during the drive, and the interior trim is less “plasticy” than the Prius. We own a gen3 Prius, and my wife definitely preferred the Volt.

    However, I have to say that I agree with many others’ assessment. The Chevy volt is much more like a Hybrid (Prius) than I thought it would. I’m a bit disappointed that during the pure EV mode the gas engine would kick in. If you think you can not use any gas because because your commute is under 40 miles, you may be disappointed. I think for a typically family with 2 cars, a combination of a Prius (50mpg) and Leaf may be a better bet. The Prius will be our road trip car, and the Leaf will be the commuter. This should be the combination that minimize gas consumption in my household.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:09 pm)

    Raymondjram: Yes, bring back the Stingray, one of my favorite cars of the 1960’s! When I was in high school, all the guys were dreaming for our own Corvette (my dream car was in Metallic Blue).
    Now I can’t afford a new Corvette, but I still dream about them. If GM does produce a 300+ HP Voltec-powered Corvette, and I was lucky to win the Lottery, then I will buy it!
    Raymond

    Here you go: 2011 Corvette Stingray
    http://www.corvette2011.org/2011_corvette_stingray.html


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    Thanks for the video, GM needs to put that on youTube!

    I’d suggest that Volt proponents start talking about ‘gallons per year’ rather than ‘miles per gallon’.

    We know that for many, probably most owners Volts will get around 100 miles per gallon in typical use cases, closer to 200 for the hypermilers, and close to infinity miles per gallon for folks who only drive within a 25 mile radius of a charger.

    The PR problem is caused by FUD spread by Toyota and this weird collation of Obama Haters, American Car Haters, and Prius fanboys.

    After they finish poo-flinging about ‘lies’ about esoteric transmission modes or trying to argue that a car that runs on electricity isn’t a an electric car they will throw only one real argument:

    “It’s too expensive, besides my Geo Metro/Prius/Fit gets better mileage on my 200 mile commute and is way cheaper!!”

    GM needs to shift the argument away from MPG towards gallons per year. There are small cars that will get better MPG over long distances, but very few cars that can drive long distances but still use a very small number of gallons per year.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    rhellie: Here is one more question. Do you have owners manuals for the Volt available today? I noticed this on the helminc.com site listing them as being available today for sale.“2011 Chevy Volt Owner ManualPrice: $25.00 Item not yet released to Helm from manufacturer. The item will be available on 10/15/2010. Click here if you would like to be notified when this item becomes available. ”First I’ve heard of these being available. I don’t find them listed on the chevrolet.com manual listing. It would be nice to see the specs listed in this manaual.  (Quote)

    Thanks for reminding me. I’ve been checking in with my Parts Manager every couple of weeks to see when they can be ordered. And what the price is. I’ll get back to you on that.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:12 pm)

    yoyo: I went to the Volt test drive in San Francisco yesterday. I drove 2 cars, one was fully in the range extended generator mode, so the gas engine kicks on as soon as I drove the car.
    The second car I drove was only used on a short, closed test track, so it still showed 9mile EV range remaining. When I got in, pressed the power button, and shift to drive, I paused for about 1 min to talk with the GM rep. during that 1 min, I noticed the engine actually kicked in. I asked the GM rep about it and he said it was conditioning the battery. This was very strange. I don’t understand why the engine will kick in while the car still had charge remaining.
    overall on my 2 test drive, the car’s handling was clearly superior to the Prius due to the low center of mass. The car also feels more solid during the drive, and the interior trim is less “plasticy” than the Prius. We own a Prius, and my wife definitely preferred the Volt to the Prius.
    However, I have to say that I agree with many others’ assessment. The Chevy volt is much more like a Hybrid (Prius) than I thought it would. I’m a bit disappointed that during the pure EV mode the gas engine would kick in. If you think you can not use any gas because because your commute is <40 miles, you may be a bit disappointed.

    What was the weather like that day?
    Did the engine turn off after 2 minutes?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:13 pm)

    Jim Howard: I’d suggest that Volt proponents start talking about ‘gallons per year’ rather than ‘miles per gallon’.

    Boo-YAH! I’ve been saying that for a year now!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:13 pm)

    Jackson: … at a really spiffy solar-powered charger on the grounds of a GM testing facility, where they are exploring future EV trends.Actually, I would like to have had more information about that charger. Something like this might be the only way to charge without burdening the electricity grid in the daytime.That said, can you imagine what it cost to build? Extensive solar array, a structure to park under, actual charging electronics. Who is going to pay for something like that anywhere else? Uncle Sam? These days?!GE does a good job in their commercials of depicting a world with charge stations everywhere, but behind this is the unspoken problem of who pays to achieve that future vision, and how.  (Quote)

    If you read my post on the past topic, you will read that in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, one very similar charging station was built. Here is the full article about it from our local newsparer (in Spanish):
    http://www.elnuevodia.com/bayamonenbuscadesuautonomiaenergetica-782325.html

    If you don’t understand Spanish, you can find someone who does. Remember, more than 90% of the American part of the world (North and South Americas) speak Spanish, even the President of the United States.

    If I can find some spare time, I will visit this station, take pictures, and post them here. All I need now to use it is my own Volt!

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    kdawg: Here you go: 2011 Corvette Stingray

    They need to bring back the Opel GT. Full EV…
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Opel_GT%2C_Bj._1973_am_16.07.2006.jpg


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    Jackson: Neither of us mentioned in-wheel motors, which would be an added cost and engineering dimension. There is no reason why a car could not have four inboard motors connected to the wheels with half-shafts (though this would still require an expensive four-channel inverter, and demonically complex software to pull off).

    Fair enough — never occurred to me you might be talking about four inboard motors. There’s a middle ground too. If you have to have half-shafts, CV joints, etc., you could just use two inboard motors, one each aft and fore, with differentials. Reduces the complexity somewhat… just an idea.

    EDIT: D’oh! I posted before reading your second paragraph. In other words, “Uh… yeah, what HE said!!”


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    Jackson:
    I have also had this concern, but suspect that service life will be similar to that of an automatic transmission (which also contains planetary gear sets and clutch bands).It should cost less than an auto tranny to fix because of reduced complexity, but there won’t be many tempted to do this themselves.I wonder if the gearset and clutch system is submerged in oil like an automatic?My question for GM is that little tidbit from the video which whipped by so fast without comment:the clutches in the Volt transmission are actuated by hydraulics.Since some clutching occurs in CD mode, what is the source for hydraulic pressure?  

    There are built-in pumps in most transmissions…simple gerotor pumps usually and perhaps other types of devices that can press on fluids to do work. If the gears are spinning and there is fluid in the case, you’ve got all the basics to do some hydraulic pumping.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:15 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Yeah, that’s what they said about my 2002 Ford POS Explorer. They said the tranny was good for xxxmiles and therefore it’s a sealed tranny. 2 Trannies later I got rid of the MUTHAF@#$.

    Tell that story to a transmission specialist and you’ll see him drive off laughing in his Porsche.

    There are certainly examples where it doesn’t hold true. Mostly they are a few specific models that the design sucks on so they will continue to fail.

    My experience is the opposite.

    I had an F150 4 speed that the automatic transmission went 244K before the engine died. Nothing on it ever was done beyond oil changes. That beats my stick shift car that had a bearing fail at 218K.

    Wifey had a Caravan that went 180K before we sold it. It had a speed sensor changed (from outside the case) that cost me $29 at 155K.

    My F350 has 189K on it. I had to replace one seal. Many of those miles were with a large camper and/or a trailer. A buddy has the identical truck that went 220K before the transmission went.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:15 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: All of this techno-crap (“the engine is connected to the… leg-bone”)

    roflmao


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:15 pm)

    Jackson:It should cost less than an auto tranny to fix because of reduced complexity, but there won’t be many tempted to do this themselves.

    Matthew_B:
    Why?It is simpler than an automatic.The only thing you have to be careful about is the permanent magnets.  

    I only said there won’t be many. I know some of you gear-heads won’t be able to resist voiding the warranty (hope you aren’t leasing!!) ;-)

    Um, are there any permanent magnets? The main traction motor is AC (we can’t be 100% sure about the generator). I’d be much more concerned by those fat orange HV cables …


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:17 pm)

    Jim Howard: Thanks for the video, GM needs to put that on youTube!
    I’d suggest that Volt proponents start talking about ‘gallons per year’ rather than ‘miles per gallon’.
    We know that for many, probably most owners Volts will get around 100 miles per gallon in typical use cases, closer to 200 for the hypermilers, and close to infinity miles per gallon for folks who only drive within a 25 mile radius of a charger.
    The PR problem is caused by FUD spread by Toyota and this weird collation of Obama Haters, American Car Haters, and Prius fanboys.
    After they finish poo-flinging about ‘lies’ about esoteric transmission modes or trying to argue that a car that runs on electricity isn’t a an electric car they will throw only one real argument:
    “It’s too expensive, besides my Geo Metro/Prius/Fit gets better mileage on my 200 mile commute and is way cheaper!!”
    GM needs to shift the argument away from MPG towards gallons per year. There are small cars that will get better MPG over long distances, but very few cars that can drive long distances but still use a very small number of gallons per year.

    That would be an interesting conversation to hear. Two co-workers at the water cooler, one drives a Prius and one drives a Volt. The Prius guy would say his car gets better mpg than the Volt. The Volt guy would say, “I dunno about MPG, but I only bought 4 gallons of gas in 2011, how much did you buy?” At this point the Prius guy just walks away.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:17 pm)

    yoyo: However, I have to say that I agree with many others’ assessment. The Chevy volt is much more like a Hybrid (Prius) than I thought it would. I’m a bit disappointed that during the pure EV mode the gas engine would kick in. If you think you can not use any gas because because your commute is <40 miles, you may be a bit disappointed.

    No it doesn’t.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:18 pm)

    Jackson: Um, are there any permanent magnets? The main traction motor is AC (we can’t be 100% sure about the generator).

    They are both AC. What is unclear so far is whether they are induction machines or permanent magnet machines.

    The magnets in the permanent designs are dangerous because they are strong and big. I work for a windmill company and our 12kW generator can generate 14 tons of pull when separating or inserting the rotor. We install and remove it using a hydraulic cylinder in a custom jig.

    Jackson: I’d be much more concerned by those fat orange HV cables …

    Just turn the power off ;-)

    I’m sure there will be a service procedure that ensures that the power is killed.


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    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    Jackson:
    Oops-y.Just looked back at “open mind’s” original comment, and he did say “in-wheel motors.”My bad.  

    No worries, lots of interesting ideas flying about as a result. :D


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Jim Howard: We know that for many, probably most owners Volts will get around 100 miles per gallon in typical use cases, closer to 200 for the hypermilers, and close to infinity miles per gallon for folks who only drive within a 25 mile radius of a charger.

    I still think blending miles traveled in EV mode with CS mode is wrong. That just mucksup the real fluid mpg.

    It’s like resetting and counting the miles going downhill and coasting at the bottom with the engine off then start the ICE and count that as part of OPEC juice used.


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    Spin

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Raymondjram: Good luck with the Prius. And thank you for making a Toyota VP richer.Raymond  (Quote)

    Thank you. My decision was based on my own financial situation, not anyone from Toyota or GM for that matter.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Matthew_B: In an automatic transmission the gears are not submerged. The oil sits in the pan at the bottom and the pump delivers oil to the bearings and gears.

    Even a manual doesn’t “submerge” the gears. Only a part of the lowest gears dip into the oil. The motion of the gears carry the oil up to the rest of the transmission. There is usually a gutter that catches thrown oil to deliver oil to the bearings.

    Oops-y.

    JeremyK: To most people a transmission is a “black box”

    I guess that would include me, lol. How do they keep the oil off of the clutch bands, or do they operate “wet?”

    Matthew_B: GM two mode hybrids have a 12V powered oil pump. I’d suspect the Volt uses the very same part.

    Thanks, guys.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:21 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: The only thing that bugs me about it now is how it ties in with ‘what appears to be’ the official Volt tag line…

    This would be so funny if it weren’t so sad. You’re right on. Seems that if you make it “just a car” then you end up trying to sell someone on a $41K Cruze. The Volt is appealing because it’s an EV. In fact it’s the only reason I can think of to buy one. So why would you downplay that and emphasize the ordinary car part?

    It’s hard to imagine anyone else being so stupid. It’s like telling people that a mobile phone is “more phone than mobile”. Mobile phone companies would never do that cause if that’s the case then why not just use a landline phone? OMG


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:22 pm)

    Jackson: Um, are there any permanent magnets? The main traction motor is AC (we can’t be 100% sure about the generator). I’d be much more concerned by those fat orange HV cables …

    My SWAG is their both AC induction.


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:23 pm)

    Tibor: I’m already ashamed of I told so many people I know that “Volt is a strictly serial hybrid”. We had discussions before where they heared Volt is some kind of a hybrid (as in parallell hybrid), and I told them over and over again they are wrong. Now I look stupid. I don’t like that feeling.

    A lot of poster here owe an apology to Andrew English. He was right all along.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:23 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: The tag line reads: “2011 Chevrolet Volt – It’s More Car Than Electric”

    Now I understand that the message is supposed to be that the Volt “drives like a regular car” and is not like the Nissan Leaf which is an all-electric car. But I don’t like that tag line now. I think the emphasis SHOULD BE that the Volt is “The Electric Car with Extended Range”, which I believe is just as important as how it drives.

    You are SO right about this! That “more car than electric” slogan REALLY makes me cringe.

    Personally I would not want to be whomever signed off on that. Ultimately, I think it’s got high potential to be a “career limiting move.”


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:23 pm)

    ECO_Turbo: # 168 Frank D said:All this is very disappointing…time to look at the car companies that are really embracing the electrification of the auto. Ford Focus due out late 2011, Nissan Leaf, Tesla/Toyota Rav4.In the meantime, I’ll try to convince everybody that will listen that Voltec is the best way to end our dependence on foreign oil.  

    Voltec could have been. It’s too passive. I’m tired of going to gas stations.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:24 pm)

    Spin: Thank you. My decision was based on my own financial situation, not anyone from Toyota or GM for that matter.

    Just curious, why didn’t you wait for the PHV Prius?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:26 pm)

    kdawg: Here you go: 2011 Corvette Stingrayhttp://www.corvette2011.org/2011_corvette_stingray.html  (Quote)

    I like the design except that it doesn’t have the V-shaped “boat” tail behind the rear windows. GM should have brought that back. And I do remember seeing it in the Transformer movie, but only when the Autobots are on the road, together with the blue Volt.

    Bring back the boat tail Stingray, put in a high powered Voltec system, and I will start saving my money to get one.

    Raymond


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:26 pm)

    Mike-o-Matic, post #196: Texas: Dear GM, I don’t care about having the Volt go pure electric until the battery is run down. I wish to sometimes use the configuration that is most efficient. For example, If I’m going to be driving around town all day and going to be using the highway, I want the ICE to be used on the highway parts so I can enjoy pure EV when I get off the highway.

    Use the “HOLD” mode for this. I forget where I learned this, over the past few days, but it’s already in the Volt and does exactly what you’re describing.

    The “HOLD” mode is mentioned by Dave K in a discussion with CorvetteGuy (post #227, yesterday). In it he says….

    “Hold Mode is the 3rd setting beyond Econo Mode.

    1> Econo
    2> Sport
    3> Mountain
    4> Hold

    “In a recent video a GM rep mentions that in places like England there are driving zones for EV only. The reason “hold mode” was added to the Volt (and Ampera) is that at any given time, even with a full charge, hold mode will reserve your battery range. You could drive 80 miles from the country to the city and engage econo mode at the start of the EV zone. And continue 40 miles (or more) under pure battery power. A pleasant surprise from the engineering/software team.”

    I find this alleged “Hold” feature intriguing. And it is possible that in London, for example, it might save a Volt/Ampera driver money if it allows him to avoid the “congestion fee” of approx $12/day in Central London*, which I think is waived for EVs. I’d be interested in it as a way to hold my Volt’s charge level at a few miles before battery depletion so it could then switchover to CS mode to allow demonstrating the transition, CD-to-CS, to anyone. It would also be “cool” to drive thru my gated community late in the “wee” hours, right up to my home, in absolute silence (“stealth” mode). ;o)

    ATTN Rob Peterson or anyone from GM: Could you please verify whether a “Hold” feature exists in the Volt and/or the Ampera?

    /* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:28 pm)

    JeremyK: If the gears are spinning and there is fluid in the case, you’ve got all the basics to do some hydraulic pumping.

    I don’t think it could just be driven off one of the shafts. Unlike a conventional automatic where the pump is engine driven, there is no shaft that is always turning.

    You’ve got to have hydraulic pressure all the time when in “gear” with this car. Without pressure the sun gear to case lock clutch won’t hold, making the car not move until one of the MG’s started spinning and built pressure. If the motor spins first without the clutch on, the car would slip the clutch at every start. I don’t think they want to do that.

    An independent motor drive pump makes more sense.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:29 pm)

    Jackson: I must disagree. Charge stations will appear quickly in isolated pockets, but it will take decades for the capability to appear everywhere.

    Where is Dave G. when we need him? But we will know soon enough. Where I live we are getting 1200 charge stations and something like 80 fast charge stations. Very few people will ever use any of them and the vast majority will never be used. IMO fast charging stations are a solution in search of a problem.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    nasaman: ATTN Rob Peterson or anyone from GM: Could you please verify whether a “Hold” feature exists in the Volt and/or the Ampera?

    If the “Hold” mode is not offered presently, could it not be ‘patched’ in with software (to both the GUI interface to allow it’s selection, and to the background control software?) This should cost GM nothing more than software design time and validation to do.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:32 pm)

    So I’m wondering if GM will use 2 electric motors in a EVT set-up or will they use 1 motor without any transmission when they come out with a BEV?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    DonC:
    Where is Dave G. when we need him?

    He was done with us when the Volt’s price was announced. Besides, we’ve heard what he has to say.

    But we will know soon enough. Where I live we are getting 1200 charge stations and something like 80 fast charge stations. Very few people will ever use any of them and the vast majority will never be used. IMO fast charging stations are a solution in search of a problem.  

    I am happy for where you live. In the Deep South we’ll be lucky to see anything before the first manned mission to Mars.

    I wasn’t actually talking about fast charging, or even level 3 charging. That would come way, way later in my theoretical timeline (and may well never come).


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    I don’t think the EPA would allow the “hold” button.

    In Europe, they like the hold button because it allows for poluting in the countryside to save from poluting in the city.

    Unlike Europe, the EPA does not take location of the pollution into consideration. The hold can actually raise total emissions. This is because an engine pollutes the most from a cold start. If the hold button is used more than once per trip, then there are several cold starts.

    In a hybrid sold in the US, once the engine starts it is not allowed to cool down. This ensures that the catalytic converter kicks back in very quickly. I think Volt owners will find this same behavior…. as will the hackers come up with a defeat that improves fuel efficiency.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    Jackson: If the “Hold” mode is not offered presently, could it not be ‘patched’ in with software (to both the GUI interface to allow it’s selection, and to the background control software?) This should cost GM nothing more than software design time and validation to do.

    I highly doubt that. *I* think it’s already there and it’s a Boolean TRUE/FALSE Bit in the Code and it’s set/enabled by the destination “Country Code”.

    /lol…..yeah, my money is on that it’s already there.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:35 pm)

    Jackson: DonC:
    Where is Dave G. when we need him?

    He was done with us when the price was announced. Besides, we’ve heard what he has to say.

    Yeah, I was disappointed and left for a while… I won’t be buying a 2011 but I’m still thinking of getting a 2012.

    That doesn’t change that I’m really rooting for the car and I’m excited for people here to get one.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:36 pm)

    usbseawolf2000:
    A lot of poster here owe an apology to Andrew English. He was right all along.  

    A few posters owe this site an apology on principle, for consistently bringing a skunk to a dog show.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:37 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow:
    I highly doubt that. *I* think it’s already there and it’s a Boolean TRUE/FALSE Bit in the Code and it’s set/enabled by the destination “Country Code”./lol…..yeah, my money is on that it’s already there.  

    … so the software patch is even simpler than I thought; cut the mode out of the loop which looks for “country code.” ;-)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:39 pm)

    Jackson:
    If the “Hold” mode is not offered presently, could it not be ‘patched’ in with software (to both the GUI interface to allow it’s selection, and to the background control software?)This should cost GM nothing more than software design time and validation to do.  

    If it’s already available in the Ampera, why would it cost *anything* to make it available in the USA? VERY late last night, didn’t you say that it *was* available in the USA Volt?
    OOPS, CJS already answered it.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:39 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:40 pm)

    herm: Tom, once you are in CS mode there is no additional anything, EVERYTHING is coming from the 74hp engine.. and as you can expect its hard to cruise at 80mph going up a mountain in a 4000lb car with that small an engine.. thats why you store a buffer of energy in the battery a few minutes before you get to the uphill road.  (Quote)

    Ummm no
    Herm you obviously havnt quite grapsed this drive unit yet.
    The ICE cannot be the only driving member, otherwise the planetary arrangment would just “freewheel” like an old-school pencil sharpener.
    In CS the ICE, AT TIMES provides the reactionary member driving the ring/internal/annulus gear to permit the speed of the sun gear (driven by MG2) to be decreased significantly. At that point BOTH are exerting torque on the gearset, and the carrier reacts accordingly in a reduction depending ont the speed of the ring and sun.
    WopOnTour


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:41 pm)

    Bottom Line: the Volt can go 40 miles without ever turning the engine on. The Prius can’t.

    One may now argue that they’re both parallel hybrids, but the simple fact is that the arrangement of the planetary gears vis-a-vis the engine and the electric motors is inverted; this enables the Volt to run essentially as an electric car. Once the ICE kicks in, all bets are off, and from my perspective, GM made the right decision: to make the car as efficient as possible in the extended range mode.

    Oh, and do you know what is getting my goat? Journalists and pundits who have no engineering or physics background opining that the Prius and the Volt are essentially the same. For people who claim to be so nuanced in their thinking, they sure have a lot of difficulty understanding the plain difference between the two cars.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:42 pm)

    Matthew_B: I don’t think the EPA would allow the “hold” button.In Europe, they like the hold button because it allows for poluting in the countryside to save from poluting in the city.Unlike Europe, the EPA does not take location of the pollution into consideration.The hold can actually raise total emissions.This is because an engine pollutes the most from a cold start.If the hold button is used more than once per trip, then there are several cold starts.In a hybrid sold in the US, once the engine starts it is not allowed to cool down.This ensures that the catalytic converter kicks back in very quickly.I think Volt owners will find this same behavior…. as will the hackers come up with a defeat that improves fuel efficiency.  

    I don’t follow this logic at all. When you reach the end of your all electric range, the CS mode engages under exactly the same scenario. “Hold” only gives the driver a say in when that occurs. If you’re saying that people would turn it on and off frequently, perhaps a minimum time would be built into the system (though frequent use during a trip would kind of defeat the purpose of the mode).


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    Car and Driver just posted their ‘full first test’ of the Volt:
    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q4/2011_chevrolet_volt_full_test-road_test?zeta_mid=HFM2_101501&zeta_rid=80666139

    It starts out political, then reviews what we already know, then ends with info on the new EPA stickers.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:45 pm)

    Jackson: … so the software patch is even simpler than I thought; cut the mode out of the loop which looks for “country code.”

    You’ll have to add some blank codespace so the “Checksum” enumerates to the original hash value.

    /not that I have ever did anything like that….lol, i’m an “Angel”. :-P


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:45 pm)

    Tagamet:
    If it’s already available in the Ampera, why would it cost *anything* to make it available in the USA? VERY late last night, didn’t you say that it *was* available in the USA Volt?Be well,
    Tagamet  

    I said that I’d missed some comments which made this claim, not that I had any other information.

    A comment further up supposes that the mode is buried within the base code, and only appears when a “Country” flag is selected by the dealer. If so, it would certainly cost very little to implement here.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    Jackson: I guess that would include me, lol. How do they keep the oil off of the clutch bands, or do they operate “wet?”

    All of the clutches and brakes operate wet.

    A key part of the makeup of automatic transmission fluid is its ability to have low “stiction” and the ability to have grip. Regular gear oil has almost no static grip.

    Stiction is the difference between static friction (not slipping) and dynamic (sliding) friction. In an automatic you want the gears to shift with a gentle end to the slide. This prevents harsh shifts. So the fluid is specially formulated to have a low and controlled stiction.

    Just feeling automatic transmission fluid vs. gear oil between your fingers can show the difference. Gear oil just glides; automatic fluid has a noticeable but small drag.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:51 pm)

    Jackson: If you’re saying that people would turn it on and off frequently, perhaps a minimum time would be built into the system (though frequent use during a trip would kind of defeat the purpose of the mode).

    Exactly. You could use it more than once per trip.

    Mountain mode allows for the same thing… perhaps even worse considering mountain mode will recharge to 40% using gasoline.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:53 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Yeah, that’s what they said about my 2002 Ford POS Explorer. They said the tranny was good for xxxmiles and therefore it’s a sealed tranny. 2 Trannies later I got rid of the MUTHAF@#$.Tell that story to a transmission specialist and you’ll see him drive off laughing in his Porsche.  (Quote)

    Cappy
    The difference is the Volt transaxle (and 2-Modes for that matter) use SYNCHRONOUS shifts.
    In a conventional automatic when a clutch applies there is a significant speed difference between the rotating members and applied torque is gradually passed from one element to the next. During the shift there is slippage and this slippage is the primary contributor to friction surfacing wear on t he clutch discs.

    On the Volt the shifts are “synchronous” in that there is no relative motion between the halves of the clutch when it is applied. So there is really no “shift” taking place instead the halves are synchronized and coupled prior to applying any torque to the unit.
    Only loss of oil pressure to the clutch due to a failure could result in any significant slippage.
    The good news is in this event various diagnostic algorithms would immediately detect the occurrence and take failsafe actions that would prevent serious damage from occurring.
    HTH
    WopOnTour


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    Van

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:54 pm)

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:57 pm)

    Jackson: Um, are there any permanent magnets? The main traction motor is AC (we can’t be 100% sure about the generator).

    Matthew_B: They are both AC. What is unclear so far is whether they are induction machines or permanent magnet machines.

    I recall being told that the primary traction motor is AC induction. No one is willing to commit on the generator. It makes sense to me that the generator might have PM field magnets, since it is used primarily as a generator (and only occasionally as a motor). I’ve also heard that the smaller motor becomes primary during re-gen (relieving the controller from the need to generate field power with coils).

    Imagine the size of the permanent magnets which would be needed for the primary motor! I think it would be much larger than it appears in the pics we’ve seen.

    I have messed around with (tiny) neodymium-iron-boron magnets, and know just what you were talking about. Giant ones could jerk a screwdriver or wrench out of your hand, and end up smashing the magnets (or your hand, if it doesn’t slip out). Even here, I would expect that the field would be well shielded from the outside, if only for making maximum use of the expensive magnets, inside the device.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:59 pm)

    WopOnTour: Cappy
    The difference is the Volt transaxle (and 2-Modes for that matter) use SYNCRONOUS shifts.
    In a conventional automatic when a clutch applies there is a significant speed difference between the rotating members and applied torque is gradually passed from one element to the next. During the shift there is slippage and this slippage is the primary contributor to friction surfacing wear ont he clutch dics.

    On the Volt the shifts are “syncronous” in that there is no relative mostion between the halves of the clutch when it is applied. So there is really no “shift” taking place instead the halves are syncronized and coupled prior to applying any torque to the unit.
    Only loss of oil pressure to the clutch due to a falure could result in any significant slippage.
    The good news is in this event various diagnostc algorithms would immediately detect the occurance and take failsafe actions that would prevent seriou damage from occcuring.
    HTH
    WopOnTour

    Ahhh, OK, Gotcha now.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (12:59 pm)

    Van: Hi Jim I @ 220, the Volt clone – the Prius PHV – will hit the market.If it sells for $29,000 ($12,000 less than Volt) and has an AER of 20 + miles, and gets 50 + MPG in charge sustaining mode, Volt sales will dwindle.But all this Prius PHV performance is speculation, i.e blowing in the wind, but actual performance and price will be known by June 2012.  

    The Volt is not a Prius clone by any stretch of the imagination. Much of the difference in performance is already known by people who have tested them side-by-side; many on this site.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:00 pm)

    Maybe GM could sell a “purist option” where the software disables the ICE-to-wheel coupling mode for those who feel “betrayed” by this aspect. It could come with a disclaimer: “WARNING: Reduces CS mode gas mileage and performance.” To boot, they could charge extra for this “deactivation” (de-optimization) feature.

    Personally, when I find myself in the mood for reduced gas mileage, I’ll activate Sport mode instead!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:03 pm)

    Matthew_B:
    All of the clutches and brakes operate wet.A key part of the makeup of automatic transmission fluid is its ability to have low “stiction”and the ability to have grip.Regular gear oil has almost no static grip.Stiction is the difference between static friction (not slipping) and dynamic (sliding) friction.In an automatic you want the gears to shift with a gentle end to the slide. This prevents harsh shifts. So the fluid is specially formulated to have a low and controlled stiction.Just feeling automatic transmission fluid vs. gear oil between your fingers can show the difference.Gear oil just glides; automatic fluid has a noticeable but small drag.  

    … and what this whole automatic transmission discussion shows is that people whining about Volt complexity are actually “pots” calling the kettle “black.”

    Thanks for answering my questions!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Jackson: I recall being told that the primary traction motor is AC induction. No one is willing to commit on the generator. It makes sense to me that the generator might have PM field magnets, since it is used primarily as a generator (and only occasionally as a motor). I’ve also heard that the smaller motor becomes primary during re-gen (relieving the controller from the need to generate field power with coils).

    Ohhhh, that would be very smart!

    The downside to a PM machine driving a car is that an induction motor is more efficient at part load since the magnetic field strength can be reduced, cutting eddy current and hysteresis losses. By using them as you describe, each is optimized for the application.

    Jackson: I have messed around with (tiny) neodymium-iron-boron magnets, and know just what you were talking about. Giant ones could jerk a screwdriver or wrench out of your hand, and end up smashing the magnets (or your hand, if it doesn’t slip out). Even here, I would expect that the field would be well shielded from the outside, if only for making maximum use of the expensive magnets, inside the device.

    We’re using 3.5″ x 7″ 1 Tesla magnets. Everything we do with them is done with tools and jigs because they are so dangerous to handle by hand. I’ve briefly played with a few rejects and decided that I shouldn’t mess with them anymore.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (1:08 pm)

    GM – as any IP (intellectual property) owner – may protect its security concerns in any manner. If that takes the form of misleading competition – so be it.

    Attention GM PR: This is not a good time (IPO) to psss off every major motor pub.

    Q. Will the turbo 2.0 L ecotec engine Fisker’s installing in its Karma sports car utilize VOLT’s tranny?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:08 pm)

    yoyo: The Chevy volt is much more like a Hybrid (Prius) than I thought it would. I’m a bit disappointed that during the pure EV mode the gas engine would kick in.

    When I saw this in other posts made in response to the clipped portion, I wondered where you came up with this statement. But after reading your whole post, I now see that you are just one more Prius troll.

    Happy trails to you as you troll along in life.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    Amen Lyle. RIP “controversy”.

    BTW, I saw my first Mitsu MiEV yesterday. It was doing 75 mph down the eastbound 91 freeway on the back of a flatbed tow truck, LOL.

    Range anxiety? We don’t got no stinking range anxiety. Just keep your AAA extended range towing card up to date!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:13 pm)

    kdawg: yoyo

    It was a normal fall day in San Francisco, about 75 degree sunny. The engine did kick off very quickly, after ~10s. During the 30s closed course drive it was all in EV mode.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:14 pm)

    Streetlight: GM – as any IP (intellectual property) owner – may protect its security concerns in any manner. If that takes the form of misleading competition – so be it.
    Attention GM PR: This is not a good time (IPO) to psss off every major motor pub.Q. Will the turbo 2.0 L ecotec engine Fisker’s installing in its Karma sports car utilize VOLT’stranny?  

    The electric motors and planetary transmission system seem to be integrated into one assembly. The internal combustion engine is coupled to the second electric motor in that assembly and is a separate item, so your question might better be “Is GM selling them the whole Voltec system?”

    Don’t think so but then, you never know until you see it.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:19 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:22 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: Car and Driver just posted their ‘full first test’ of the Volt:

    #284

    Excellent. Thanks. +1


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:28 pm)

    WopOnTour: Herm you obviously havnt quite grapsed this drive unit yet.

    I think he understands it just fine. He’s talking about energy not torque.

    The question was why you ever need Mountain Mode since you had the battery and the 84 HP engine available. He was just explaining that once you reached CS Mode there wasn’t a lot of energy left in the battery to draw from. I interpreted what he was saying as: “Tom, once you are in CS mode there is no additional source of new energy and there is not a lot of stored energy in the battery, ALL NEW ENERGY is coming from the 74hp engine … and as you can expect its hard to cruise at 80mph going up a mountain in a 4000lb car with that small an engine.. thats why you store a buffer of energy in the battery a few minutes before you get to the uphill road”.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:31 pm)

    This vehicle was ALWAYS a hybrid:

    “In January 2007, GM unveiled the prototype of the Chevrolet Volt, which was expected to feature a plug-in capable, battery-dominant series hybrid architecture called E-Flex.[45] Future E-Flex plug-in hybrid vehicles may use gasoline, diesel, or hydrogen fuel cell power to supplement the vehicle’s battery. General Motors envisions an eventual progression of E-Flex vehicles from plug-in hybrids to pure electric vehicles, as battery technology improves.[46] General Motors presented the Volt as a PHEV-40 that starts its engine when 40% of the battery charge remains, and which can achieve a fuel economy of 50 mpg-U.S. (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp), even if the vehicle’s batteries are not charged.[47]” wikedpedia


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:36 pm)

    I do not consider myself a troll.

    But, I followed the Volt for years and was excited about the ER-EV concept.

    However, this latest revelation tells me that the ER-EV concept as originally posited by GM is flawed. Or maybe GM’s approach to it was flawed such that they had to modify their strategy mid stream and now all their pronouncements that the “gas engine never drives the wheels” is no longer true and either was a lie, a misrepresentation or GM changed directions mid-stream and kept silent.

    I am still amazed that people have put down payments on this car without even a basic understanding of how it works.

    Yes, the Volt is a great engineering accomplishment. Yes it works like the Prius but in reverse, (mostly electric drive with some ICE assist), but in the end it’s just another implementation of a plug-in hybrid.

    This was handled badly. If GM was going to be open maybe we should have heard years ago that Yes, the Volt has a transmission, yes the ICE is coupled to the wheels under certain conditions. That would have been open and honest. This latest revelation puts all their statements in question.

    I feel cheated.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:39 pm)

    yoyodyn: However, if it’s more efficient to drive the wheels with the ICE, do diesel locomotives do that as well, or are they pure serial hybrids? Seems the railroad industry would be going with the most efficient use of fuel since it is literally money out of their pocket. Just curious.

    The issue for trains is that rolling resistance is so low that you can’t apply a lot of force without spinning the wheels and burning them up. You have to accelerate very slowly and precisely set power to the wheels. That’s a lot easier to do with a motor than with an engine.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:48 pm)

    yoyo: I’m sorry that you feel the need to label me as a troll. I’m just reporting what I observed during my test drive, and comparing with my experience with the Prius. 

    The thing is, the Volt doesn’t work the way you’re describing. No big deal. When dealing with something new it’s easy to misunderstand what you’re experiencing. But here are a couple of issues:

    1. No one has ever reported the engine coming on when the Volt is in CD Mode except when Mountain Mode was turned on.
    2. Others have said they couldn’t detect the engine coming on at high speeds but you say you could detect it at low speeds.
    3. Assuming the engine did come on, why would it have come on for 10s since that isn’t enough time to do anything.

    My guess would be that Mountain Mode was turned on and then off. Something like that.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (2:53 pm)

    Wow, for Car and Driver that is an extremely positive review! I have been a C/D subscriber for years, and can attest that those guys are hard to please — especially when presented with new-fangled “green” technologies (and I agree with them on some of those fronts, such as ethanol).

    I expected them to butcher the Volt. This positive review can be considered a huge win for GM and the Volt!

    CorvetteGuy: Car and Driver just posted their ‘full first test’ of the Volt:
    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q4/2011_chevrolet_volt_full_test-road_test?zeta_mid=HFM2_101501&zeta_rid=80666139It starts out political, then reviews what we already know, then ends with info on the new EPA stickers.  


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:01 pm)

    Why wouldn’t they want the “efficiency” levels to happen at a more “normal” speed. 70mph is basically our national speed limit. Why clutch-in Generator or Motor at 70mph when in fact they say 70mph is not efficient for the Electric motor? Since I drive 55-60mph on 55mph roads, sometimes 65mph, I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of these efficiency shifts unless I went 70mph?

    I’d like to hear of GM/Chevy dealers offering tunables into the performance matrix to allow for maybe 60 or 65mph being the kick-over rather than 70mph. I figure if they say “it’s worth 2-3 more miles EV to do the kick-over at 70mph, why wouldn’t it be so at 65mph where most of our highway speed limits are posted?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:03 pm)

    jscott1: Yes it works like the Prius but in reverse, (mostly electric drive with some ICE assist), but in the end it’s just another implementation of a plug-in hybrid.

    I feel cheated.  

    No one can argue about how you feel. You feel like you feel. However, that doesn’t mean your feelings are justified. With respect to your notion that you never thought the Volt was a plug-in hybrid, the Volt has always been a plug-in hybrid. It has a plug and a gas engine. That’s kind of the definition of a plug-in hybrid, and the reason GM used the SAE J1711 standard for plug-in hybrids when they announced the 230 MPG number. If you thought the Volt wasn’t a plug-in hybrid then that’s your fault for not paying attention.

    With respect to your notion that the Volt “works like the Prius but in reverse” you’re just plain wrong. Not even close unless you can drive 40 miles in the Prius without using a single drop of gas. What you could say is that after those 40 miles the Volt will use a gas engine and a battery as will the Prius (though in completely different ways and for different reasons). It’s not really possible to lay out the differences because everything is so different you’d have to understand how each one works. And really, if you never figured out that the Volt was a plug-in hybrid, it would probably not be easy to explain this (I apologize if this sounds insulting. Not trying to be insulting it’s just reality).


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:12 pm)

    But once up to speed could a locomotive engage the engine like the Volt does and get better efficiency?

    DonC: yoyo


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:13 pm)

    See Lyle?

    I told you this was not going to go away……………

    311 posts and it is only 4:12 PM EDT!!!!!

    Now I am going to read the C/D article.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:16 pm)

    Ric Barline: If you want to see the same video presentation without people’s heads in the way just click on the link below. Once it starts you can advance the frame slider to around 20 minutes in if you want to get to the section dealing with the topic of this discussion.http://vxlive.feedroom.com/feedroom/http/4000/5172/6999/7438/Archive/default.htm  

    I just viewed this whole presentation (about 38 minutes), which does an excellent job of describing these various technical issues.

    The EREV concept we all expected was explained to be a “weak series,” followed by a semi-parallel mode where warranted. That sounds bad, but consider it this way: We’ve gone from assist hybrids to weak hybrids to strong hybrids, to plug-in hybrids, to weak series. Can strong series be very far behind?

    The video did leave me with a question, however: During the presentation detailing the battery reveal, an “Auxiliary Power Unit” was shown (near the rear of the car, behind the battery). It was showed receiving electron flow during charge and discharge. What the heck is this APU, what does it do, how does it work?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:38 pm)

    If anyone’s interested, here’s some very random pictures I took yesterday during the Volt Unplugged Tour in San Francisco:

    http://gallery.me.com/macmancubed/100041


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:38 pm)

    jscott1: I am still amazed that people have put down payments on this car without even a basic understanding of how it works.

    People buy/use things all the time without having a friggin clue how they work. Cars don’t really need a hood anymore since the owner never opens it.

    Do you know how a refrigerator works?
    A cell phone?
    A laptop computer?
    The public telephone system?
    An LCD tv?
    A blu-ray player?
    A nuclear power plant?

    Could you fix any of these things if they stopped working?

    Good for you if you can. Most people just pay for the service without knowing or caring ‘how it works’.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:44 pm)

    Carl S: If anyone’s interested, here’s some very random pictures I took yesterday during the Volt Unplugged Tour in San Francisco:http://gallery.me.com/macmancubed/100041  

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

    Carl:

    Great Pictures!!

    Now give us a review!!! Or did you already post it, and I missed it?


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:45 pm)

    Carl S: If anyone’s interested, here’s some very random pictures I took yesterday during the Volt Unplugged Tour in San Francisco:http://gallery.me.com/macmancubed/100041  

    Finally. Some real Volt stuff instead of talking about locomotives! Brilliant!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:46 pm)

    I really don’t care if the gas engine helps to drive the wheels of the Volt, if this is more efficient it is the right decision. The Volt needs to be able to drive 40 miles on electricity and after that should use as less gas as possible, 50 mpg would be nice hopefully the second generation with a specialized ICE and lighter batterypack can do this. Furthermore it should be fun to drive in EV and ER mode, reliable etc. etc.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:55 pm)

    Hi John K @213, the cost is too high for the Volt because the company could not bring it to market “comfortably under $30,000.” There is no evidence the “quick rinse” reduced the production cost of the Volt. Maybe the whole $12,000 cannot be laid upon work rules, pensions, health care, and the like. Certainly inept management is responsible for poor decisions that added cost.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:55 pm)

    John: Why wouldn’t they want the “efficiency” levels to happen at a more “normal” speed.70mph is basically our national speed limit.Why clutch-in Generator or Motor at 70mph when in fact they say 70mph is not efficient for the Electric motor?Since I drive 55-60mph on 55mph roads, sometimes 65mph, I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of these efficiency shifts unless I went 70mph?I’d like to hear of GM/Chevy dealers offering tunables into the performance matrix to allow for maybe 60 or 65mph being the kick-over rather than 70mph.I figure if they say “it’s worth 2-3 more miles EV to do the kick-over at 70mph, why wouldn’t it be so at 65mph where most of our highway speed limits are posted?  

    Um… See title of the thread you just posted in.

    “Clarification: Gas Engine Can Help Drive the Chevrolet Volt Starting at 30 MPH


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (3:57 pm)

    Loboc: People buy/use things all the time without having a friggin clue how they work. Cars don’t really need a hood anymore since the owner never opens it.

    Do you know how a refrigerator works?
    A cell phone?
    A laptop computer?
    The public telephone system?
    An LCD tv?
    A blu-ray player?
    A nuclear power plant?

    Could you fix any of these things if they stopped working?

    Good for you if you can. Most people just pay for the service without knowing or caring ‘how it works’.

    Hmmm. Lets see how I do:

    Do you know how a refrigerator works?
    # Yes. I have repaired several and have NEVER had to call a service person.

    A cell phone?
    # Basically, but the only thing you might fix on a cell, would be a bad battery connection or maybe a defective key, but w/o precision tools, a schematic and some high end BGA removal equipment there is not much regular Joe can do.

    A laptop computer?
    # Yes. Software wise anything can be fixed. Hardware wise, most parts are available and fairly easy to repair. Other then replacing motherboards, most others parts of a laptop are fairly easy to repair.

    The public telephone system?
    # Well I understand RU’s and wiring of phones. Not a whole lot to go wrong.

    An LCD tv?
    # I have never owned one, but I grew up with a father who used to repair TV’s back in the 70′s and 80′s. I used to love the Motorola “Works in a drawer” TV. You just slid out the front right side with the tuner and all the circuit boards, and could just shotgun.
    So, I would think I could figure out most problems, but again the main controllers are basically toss away items, and even the TV’s are nearly never economical to repair if the main controller is bad.

    A blu-ray player?
    # Do not own one. Probable just a throw away item at $60 new.

    A nuclear power plant?
    # Oh boy, I think I might be tempted to call Nuclear Boy on this one. Causing another 3-mile island event is not on my list of things to do.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:10 pm)

    Rob Peterson: The engine does not operate at all during electric mode driving.  (Quote)

    I think MathewB meant to refer to the generator as just the generator motor kicking on in CD mode without the ICE running.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:27 pm)

    Jim I:
    =======================================Carl:Great Pictures!!Now give us a review!!!Or did you already post it, and I missed it?  

    Thanks, Jim I! I did post a review yesterday at post number 218, as did stuart22 at post number 210. :)

    Loboc:
    Finally. Some real Volt stuff instead of talking about locomotives! Brilliant!  

    Should I have put an “OT” at the beginning of my post? ;) Glad you like the pictures.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    Wityh Volt coming out why wud someone buy Prius [sure some cost diffrential] but consumers will save on gas, repairs & drive the best tech driven car …Just look at the goodies inside the Volt ..


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    rhellie: “2011 Chevy Volt Owner Manual
    Price: $25.00 Item not yet released to Helm from manufacturer. The item will be available on 10/15/2010. Click here if you would like to be notified when this item becomes available. ”

    First I’ve heard of these being available. I don’t find them listed on the chevrolet.com manual listing. It would be nice to see the specs listed in this manaual.

    I clicked on the “click here” link and entered my name and address. Haven’t gotten an email yet. We’ll see.


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    usbseawolf2000

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:37 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:40 pm)

    JeremyK: I bet GM is really kicking themselves right now for not going with direct injection on this engine family (family zero). That’s a 10-20% efficiency gain they left on the table. They’d also have the side benefit of increased torque AND they would have been able to use low octane fuel.I work for GM in an area unrelated to the Volt and when I heard internally that this would not be a direct injection engine (a couple years ago) I was a little crushed. Not only because I knew GM was holding back on engine technology for the Volt, but because this also meant that DI wouldn’t be available in the Cruze. I wouldn’t be surprised if the turbo 1.4L in the Cruze Eco could have gotten 45 mpg hwy if they would have gone with DI.Hopefully this is something “we” choose to correct in Gen II. That’s actually my one of my biggest gripes with this design.   (Quote)

    +10

    If someone wants a legitimate axe to grind with GM and the Volt, this is one of the few areas they could choose. It’s certainly OK for Gen1 though. If GM doesn’t come up with a significant improvement (in 15-25KW efficiency, cost, and weight) for future generations, I will be greatly disappointed.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:45 pm)

    yoyo:
    I’m sorry that you feel the need to label me as a troll.I’m just reporting what I observed during my test drive, and comparing with my experience with the Prius.  

    I oppologize for labeling you a troll. Your summation at the end certainly sounded like what the trolls have been saying over and over again. I suggest you do a review of how the Prius works and then the same for the Volt. The two vehicles are so different that to many people here, you sound uninformed or misleading. The positive things you said about the Volt at the beginning gave me an indication that you may not be a troll. And reporting about the ICE being on at the beginning while still having AER left is just good reporting on your part if backed up by others who notice the same thing. Otherwise you will get a lot of strange looks.

    I am sure once you do a thorough and honest Volt to Prius comparison, you will change your mind on which purchase to make. If Toyota comes outs with a Plug-in Prius that gives the owner the same benefits at a comparable price and quality, I would still by the Volt as it’s good for America.

    We’ll be watching what you say in the future. ;)

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:51 pm)

    Jackson: I just viewed this whole presentation (about 38 minutes), which does an excellent job of describing these various technical issues.The EREV concept we all expected was explained to be a “weak series,” followed by a semi-parallel mode where warranted. That sounds bad, but consider it this way: We’ve gone from assist hybrids to weak hybrids to strong hybrids, to plug-in hybrids, to weak series. Can strong series be very far behind?The video did leave me with a question, however: During the presentation detailing the battery reveal, an “Auxiliary Power Unit” was shown (near the rear of the car, behind the battery). It was showed receiving electron flow during charge and discharge. What the heck is this APU, what does it do, how does it work?  (Quote)

    12V subsystem with AGM battery for accessory loads and startup/emergency shut down


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:53 pm)

    Jim I: See Lyle?I told you this was not going to go away……………311 posts and it is only 4:12 PM EDT!!!!!Now I am going to read the C/D article.  

    Me too!

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:55 pm)

    John: Why wouldn’t they want the “efficiency” levels to happen at a more “normal” speed.70mph is basically our national speed limit.Why clutch-in Generator or Motor at 70mph when in fact they say 70mph is not efficient for the Electric motor?Since I drive 55-60mph on 55mph roads, sometimes 65mph, I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of these efficiency shifts unless I went 70mph?I’d like to hear of GM/Chevy dealers offering tunables into the performance matrix to allow for maybe 60 or 65mph being the kick-over rather than 70mph.I figure if they say “it’s worth 2-3 more miles EV to do the kick-over at 70mph, why wouldn’t it be so at 65mph where most of our highway speed limits are posted?  

    This has already been stated: “At speeds in between 30-70 mph, the Volt will select the most optimally efficient drive mode amongst the two.” ( from the article today)!?!

    After reaching a constant high speed, the ICE won’t be needed to cruise.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:57 pm)

    yoyodyn: But once up to speed could a locomotive engage the engine like the Volt does and get better efficiency?

    Sure, you’d be able to avoid the mechanical–>electrical conversion losses, but you’d have a clutch, and being in the middle of nowhere and needing a clutch replaced is not a recipe for making money.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:58 pm)

    yoyodyn: However, if it’s more efficient to drive the wheels with the ICE, do diesel locomotives do that as well, or are they pure serial hybrids? Seems the railroad industry would be going with the most efficient use of fuel since it is literally money out of their pocket. Just curious.

    Diesel locomotives are not a hybrid. They are an electric drive, but do not posses batteries to store traction energy.

    Energy efficiency is not their greatest concern. It is already the most efficient way to move freight. The reason they do electric drive is because it is the only reliable way to do such a wide range of gear ratios.

    Consider the power to weight ratio of a complete train: It is only 2 HP per ton. That is like a suburban with a 4HP engine! The reason they can get away with so little is because they have such a low rolling and aerodynamic losses. But because of the low power, they must gear down very low to get it starting. To do a conventional transmission would require dozens of gears that would be shifting all of the time. The electric transmission is step-less (well, almost…) so there isn’t the lag of shifting. The electric transmission is also very heavy; but that is OK because the extra weight helps with the traction in the locomotive.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (4:59 pm)

    usbseawolf2000: They said they won’t be transparent for Gen2 Volt.

    Copying Toyota once again …


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:01 pm)

    Loboc: Carl S: If anyone’s interested, here’s some very random pictures I took yesterday during the Volt Unplugged Tour in San Francisco:http://gallery.me.com/macmancubed/100041

    Finally. Some real Volt stuff instead of talking about locomotives! Brilliant!

    Ditto! VERY nice pics, taking me back to the times I’ve been within touching (on so many levels) distance of a Volt. I’m not sure how I’ll manage to wait for Gen II, when I’m just anxious for a dealer near me to get one that I can take for a spin!

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:06 pm)

    yoyodyn: But once up to speed could a locomotive engage the engine like the Volt does and get better efficiency?

    Theoretically it would help, but it would be quite a feat to add it to a locomotive as they are designed.

    The engine is in the body with the crank lying fore and aft; the generator end is facing forward.

    Each axle has its own drive motor immediately adjacent to the axle shaft. There is a single reduction gear from the motor shaft to the axle shaft. The motor is rigidly connected to the axle and the whole motor-axle assembly is then sprung to the truck.

    To do a direct drive there would have to be drive shafts & gearboxes that don’t exist and would add greatly to the number of wear and service points.

    Summary: not going to happen.


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    Timaaayyy!!!

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:15 pm)

    Just trying to get the posts past 400, unintentionally like a lot of posters today. Looking forward to more of your test drive reviews, Lyle, but not anymore drivetrain semantics/CS mileage threads. Same points over and over and over. Booorrriiiinnnngggg!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:18 pm)

    Spin: Thank you. My decision was based on my own financial situation, not anyone from Toyota or GM for that matter.  (Quote)

    …but those decisions have effects on everyone else whether you realize it or not


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:30 pm)

    WopOnTour: #281

    herm: Tom, once you are in CS mode there is no additional anything, EVERYTHING is coming from the 74hp engine.. and as you can expect its hard to cruise at 80mph going up a mountain in a 4000lb car with that small an engine.. thats why you store a buffer of energy in the battery a few minutes before you get to the uphill road.  (Quote)

    Ummm no
    Herm you obviously havnt quite grapsed this drive unit yet.
    The ICE cannot be the only driving member, otherwise the planetary arrangment would just “freewheel” like an old-school pencil sharpener.

    You misunderstood what I meant, where does the electricity to turn the motors come from?.. if you have been driving for a while in CS mode it all came from the ICE.. yes I know about regen.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    herm: I am thinking that a bigger engine will improve mpg for high performance driving in the CS mode.. the current generation may have been optimized for a lower level of performance, 60-70mph on the hwy.  (Quote)

    How does bigger = more efficient with everything else being the same, escpecially when 90+% of the ICE consumption will be for 10-25KW loads. IMO, it needs to be: 1. cheaper, 2. lighter, 3. more efficient for the design loads. The LAST thing I would want GM to do is look into larger engines. It is not a Prius, they don’t need 120HP from the engine. Larger traction motor and PEM, absolutely. More options, absolutely. But not a bigger ICE.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    Loboc:
    Finally. Some real Volt stuff instead of talking about locomotives! Brilliant!  

    That first piclture in his gallery looks more like the original design before drag became an issue. CarlS, Nice morph job! ;)

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:51 pm)

    The Car and Driver review was interesting. Lots of high praise in there. I *did* learn a new factoid – it’s somehow more efficient to charge by 220, as opposed to 120V(?) I’m pretty sure that I’ll be fine sticking to 120V for my needs, but if it’s somehow less expensive to charge by 220 than 120, I’ll need to look into that (when the time comes).

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Rick

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:55 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (5:59 pm)

    DonC:
    Where is Dave G. when we need him? But we will know soon enough. Where I live we are getting 1200 charge stations and something like 80 fast charge stations. Very few people will ever use any of them and the vast majority will never be used. IMO fast charging stations are a solution in search of a problem.  

    Just curious DonC. Do you live in one of the five Nissan deployment areas of the US? If your in the Seattle area for example, some of those level 3 chargers will end up along the I-5 corridor.

    “There still are plenty of details to work out, like the exact locations and how consumers would pay for the power. There will be at least one charging station between Olympia and Portland and another between Everett and Bellingham. WSDOT also plans to install a charging station at a rest stop just south of the Canadian border and another one at a rest stop just north of the Oregon state line. The “gateway” sites will be equipped with Level 2 charging stations, which take 2 to 8 hours to fully recharge a battery, said Tonia Buell, communications manager for WSDOT’s public/private partnerships.” – http://blog.seattlepi.com/transportation/archives/212847.asp

    You will find Nissan Leaf owners traveling the stretch from Canada down to Oregon!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:00 pm)

    Looking at this issue from a distance, it would appear that the Voltec system (strong electric drive with limited ICE support) is a hybrid drive train that is at the opposite end of the typical hybrid spectrum where most hybrids have a strong ICE with limited battery support.

    The Volt gives the driver the impression that you are driving a pure electric car while most hybrids give the impression that you are driving an ICE/Transmission system. This makes the Volt new and unique even though it is technically a hybrid drive.

    What is a little disappointing to me (now that I know the system a little more) is that the mileage in CS mode is low. I was expecting 35 to 40 mpg all along for the Volt in this mode and I have been trying to argue that point here at GM-Volt. At that time, I had no idea that the motor could add torque directly to the drive train. Given that the motor is inline and can add torque when needed, I would have guessed at higher mpg numbers. Without the motor helping, the mileage is less so clearly the motor support is a good idea. At this point it would appear that the serial approach is just not as efficient as a pure ICE or hybrid design. I hope there are efficiencies to be picked up in future designs.

    Overall the Volt is still a great car. It is still the electric car that can go 40 (and now we find out 50) miles and then kick on a gas engine to get you the rest of the way to your destination or next charging station. It gives many the ability to drive around using mainly grid or solar power. From a wide perspective, not dealing with the minutia, the Volt does what it was intended to do (albeit with slightly lower CS mileage (which is my mind is made up for with slightly higher CD miles)).


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:00 pm)

    Lyle – can you ask about the rumors that are now out there now, that the ICE engine will indeed come on even if the Volt has a full 40 miles of battery left? If the battery needs conditioning / or kept at certain state of charge (decided by the on-board software and sensors) for a while when starting out on a drive?

    Regards,
    Steven


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    LRGVProVolt

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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:14 pm)

    Rick: Take me off your mailing list.GM lied.It’s a Prius in disguise…and that’s what I’ll buy.I want my tax dollars back NOW!  

    Well Rick, I guess that I’m more patriotic than you. If the Volt is a Prius in disguise, I still buy the Volt because it’s “American Made”. But the plain truth is that the Volt is far more than the Prius will ever be.It will take an all out effort for Toyota to develop a plug-in Prius that will compete with the Volt. Surethey may be able to modify the HSD again but they need to change their attitude again. They changed their mind about lithium ion batteries and now they need to change and commit to an EREV with more than a paultry 12 miles AER.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:16 pm)

    Spin: Well, I bought a Prius. I could just not justify the initial cost vs operating cost between the Volt and the Prius. No doubt the Volt would be more economical to use on a daily basis, but after 5 years I would only be able to recover about 25% of the extra cost of the Volt. Another factor is the unknown reliability of the Volt. For me, at this time, the Prius is a better choice. My hope is that next time a plug in serial hybrid will be a viable option

    You’re pathetic but amusing. If you go to a Nikon forum you always find one or two jerks posting something like “Decided to Switch to Canon”, which gives a bunch of useless and absurd reasons why they’ve decided to switch to Canon. Then if you switch to the Canon forum, you find one or two jerks posting something like “Finally Decided to Switch to Nikon,” which gives a list of useless and absurd reasons why they they’ve decided to switch to Nikon. I’ve always found these posts hilarious because (1) against all reason the poster seems to think that anyone in the forum actually cares what they’ve decided; and (2) it’s so clear to everyone but the poster that they have some significant psychological issues they need to work on.

    So from the bottom of my heart all I can say is: Thank you for sharing. Now please go away. Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    Tagamet: but if it’s somehow less expensive to charge by 220 than 120, I’ll need to look into that (when the time comes).

    Nope. No diff in price. Utilities will charge you by KWh.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:22 pm)

    Tagamet: Jim I: See Lyle?I told you this was not going to go away……………311 posts and it is only 4:12 PM EDT!!!!!Now I am going to read the C/D article.

    Me too!

    Whatever get’s that hitcounter up!!
    YEEEEHAAW!!!
    It’s almost Miller time!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:23 pm)

    Not sure what these people are worried about , I’ll be driving my VOLT in Electric mode 95% of the time. I actually prefer that the engine engages the wheels for a 15% gain for the 5% of my driving time when I’m on the highway and making demands on the car that make it necessary for the clutch to engage the engine to the drivetrain. Give me a break negative people! Your talking about a rare event to start with.

    The Volt was my idea and GM built it for ME.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:24 pm)

    This is what happens when business cases and executive go-forward build decisions are done in lieu of following a strict design/viability process. It’s highly likely that marketing/bravado got way ahead of the product viability checkpoint (as originally vocalized by Lutz). Other auto manufacturers have considered serial hybrids before and evaluated the benefits vs trade-offs. GM was attempting to leapfrog Toyota and thought the serial hybrid approach would bear fruit and serve as a differentiating engineering feat.

    Before people start marking me as a troll, is it not possible that the outlined scenario could be true? The GM engineers found clever ways to make this product unique and met many of the original goals. Different cultures approach engineering challenges in different ways. Toyota would probably see the GM approach as very risky and GM would see Toyota’s approach as not being being creative and challenging the norm.

    The positive comments from those who have driven the Volt indicate that GM has produced a viable/competitive product. However, because GM chose to be more transparent than normal as the Volt went from a concept to a production vehicle, the point at which it was determined the original “blueprint” could not be met as originally conceived probably put everyone on the Volt development team in an uncomfortable position. A) Be 100% transparent about the need to alter the original powertrain plan and risk the perception that a mistake had been made OR B) work hard to make the Volt powertrain stay as close to the original spirit of the Volt concept but resolve the limitations.

    I submit B was chosen; the Volt will be a good product; GM will have to spend more time than originally planned reshaping public perception as to how the Volt is not a clone of a Toyota Prius (which it is not).

    jscott1: I do not consider myself a troll.But, I followed the Volt for years and was excited about the ER-EV concept.However, this latest revelation tells me that the ER-EV concept as originally posited by GM is flawed.Or maybe GM’s approach to it was flawed such that they had to modify their strategy mid stream and now all their pronouncements that the “gas engine never drives the wheels” is no longer true and either was a lie, a misrepresentation or GM changed directions mid-stream and kept silent.I am still amazed that people have put down payments on this car without even a basic understanding of how it works.Yes, the Volt is a great engineering accomplishment.Yes it works like the Prius but in reverse, (mostly electric drive with some ICE assist), but in the end it’s just another implementation of a plug-in hybrid.This was handled badly.If GM was going to be open maybe we should have heard years ago that Yes, the Volt has a transmission, yes the ICE is coupled to the wheels under certain conditions.That would have been open and honest.This latest revelation puts all their statements in question.I feel cheated.  


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:26 pm)

    DonC: You’re pathetic but amusing. If you go to a Nikon forum you always find one or two jerks posting something like “Decided to Switch to Canon”, which gives a bunch of useless and absurd reasons why they’ve decided to switch to Canon. Then if you switch to the Canon forum, you find one or two jerks posting something like “Finally Decided to Switch to Nikon,” which gives a list of useless and absurd reasons why they they’ve decided to switch to Nikon. I’ve always found these posts hilarious because (1) against all reason the poster seems to think that anyone in the forum actually cares what they’ve decided; and (2) it’s so clear to everyone but the poster that they have some significant psychological issues they need to work on.

    So from the bottom of my heart all I can say is: Thank you for sharing. Now please go away. Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Then there’s the guy that doesn’t buy neither cuz he’s azz broke but still hangs around…..like me!!!
    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!

    GO EV!
    GO VOLT!
    Go to hell OPEC!!!


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:27 pm)

    koz:# 341

    herm: I am thinking that a bigger engine will improve mpg for high performance driving in the CS mode.. the current generation may have been optimized for a lower level of performance, 60-70mph on the hwy.  (Quote)

    How does bigger = more efficient with everything else being the same, escpecially when 90+% of the ICE consumption will be for 10-25KW loads.

    Well people do drive it at 80mph on the hwy, and it is a heavy car, all I am saying that perhaps the ICE is working too hard at that power level and a bigger engine may actually increase the mpg.

    A bigger engine can actually be lighter.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:30 pm)

    Steven R: If the battery needs conditioning / or kept at certain state of charge (decided by the on-board software and sensors) for a while when starting out on a drive?

    Well we already know the answer to the first part of your question since it has been said early on that in cold weather the ICE will come on at startup if the Volt has not been plugged in to recharge.

    All that remains is state the specific conditions under which conditioning of the battery is needed! How it works and what is needed and when it is needed.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:31 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: Do you live in one of the five Nissan deployment areas of the US? If your in the Seattle area for example, some of those level 3 chargers will end up along the I-5 corridor.

    I’m in a roll out area. In the interests of full disclosure I’ve ordered a Leaf and I’m part of the Ecotality Project. (Free charger, $5000 state rebate, HOV lane access, free DC fast charger, what’s not to like). But I can’t see stopping every hour or so at a fast charging station which, even if open and working and unoccupied, will juice up my car in half an hour or forty minutes.

    Not seeing this as attractive.


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    Oct 15th, 2010 (6:32 pm)

    herm: Well people do drive it at 80mph on the hwy, and it is a heavy car, all I am saying that perhaps the ICE is working too hard at that power level and a bigger engine may actually increase the mpg.

    A bigger engine can actually be lighter.

    Would a turbo charger help?
    Isn’t that what the “Cheshire Car” has?…..The Fisker Karma?
    It’s a turbo charged something….


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