Dec 27

Chevy Volt Handling in the Snow and Ice

 


[ad#post_ad]On Thursday, December 24th, I took delivery of my Chevrolet Volt. I opted for Cyber Gray Metallic with black leather and dark accents. Shortly after my delivery, I drove approximately 400 miles to northern New Hampshire to visit with family for Christmas. While I intend to write some future posts about my delivery experience and subsequent long trips (including a soon-to-come 375 mile trip to Central NY), I wanted to take a moment to write this review about the Volt’s performance in snow.

As I arrived to visit my family, I was greeted with about 2-3 inches of loose snow pack on all the roads. I was a little worried that I may be sliding around with the Volt’s low rolling resistance tires. As I started to drive around in the snow-filled streets, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Volt behaved more like a tank than a compact hatchback.

This particular town in New Hampshire has a fair amount of hills as well, and despite the snow and hills, the car seemed to accelerate effortlessly in anything I threw at it. I could get the traction control light to blink if I floored the car, but that was expected. Otherwise, I was able to accelerate as quickly as I wanted, and the car handled the conditions effortlessly. It was amazing. I have not had any experience in freshly fallen snow just yet, but so far I am very impressed. My previous vehicle, a Honda Civic, would’ve spun a fair amount in these conditions even with snow tires, and the same is true for my relative’s SUV and pick-up truck.

I also had my father and uncle both test drive the Volt within the past day or two. My uncle, who at first expected some sort of golf cart in the garage, commented, “it’s like a real car” after driving it. (Of course it is! Here’s a good example of how we can all help to dispel the electric car myths and show people what the Volt is really capable of.) When trying the vehicle on snowy hills and trying to accelerate faster than he expected the car to be able to handle, the Volt continued to perform effortlessly, and he then commented, “it’s as if there’s no snow at all”.

Needless to say, both my father and uncle were impressed with the Volt’s handling and ride quality, especially in the snow. I was consdering getting snow tires, but at this point I’m content in using the all-season tires and the Volt’s stunning traction abilities.

I’ve also posted a video below showing the Volt negotiating up a steep grade, stopping, and then resuming up a hill. The hills don’t look as steep in the video as they really are, but hopefully it helps get the points across.

I hope to have more posts about my Volt experience in the near future, here as well as in my forthcoming VoltNation blog.

Happy Volting!

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 27th, 2010 at 8:20 am and is filed under Performance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 92


  1. 1
    MichaelH

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    Good job. The handling is impressive. Great story about the relatives. Even with previous tales of experiences driving in the rain, I wasn’t prepared for your snow experience. Be safe and enjoy your holidays.


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    Barry252

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:29 am)

    We have snow here in Maryland today, but my Volt is snuggled in the garage. Someday, I hope to experience the Volt in the snow, but for now, I’ll let my Subarus do the job.

    Great report! Thanks for posting!


  3. 3
    Schmeltz

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:35 am)

    I’m impressed! I would have figured these to be terrible in the snow and treacherous roads…especially with the very low ground clearance. That’s a pleasant surprise. Perhaps the battery pack weight low in the chassis is helpful. Gives people like us Pennsylvanians some hope!


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    kdawg

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:50 am)

    I finally heard a little road/snow noise. Or was that in CS mode?

    What a strange intersection. Is it a 3-way stop? That’s begging for trouble. Maybe the don’t want people climbing the hill to have to stop.. but still.

    (Ok, now turn of the TC, and do some donuts/voltnuts in the snow or try some drifting (no pun intended))


  5. 5
    Tom

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:05 am)

    Our Prius is horrible in the snow.
    Tom


  6. 6
    nasaman

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:06 am)

    Barry252:

    We have snow here in Maryland today, but my Volt is snuggled in the garage. Someday, I hope to experience the Volt in the snow, but for now, I’ll let my Subarus do the job.

    Great report! Thanks for posting!

    Go ahead and try your Volt while the Nor’ Easter is still around, Barry! I promise you’ll be glad you did! I’d almost be willing to bet you that if you drove both your 4WD Subaru and your Volt to a huge, nearly-vacant parking lot covered with snow that 1) the Volt’s handling will surprise you, even when contrasted to the Subaru’s, if you try to “make donuts” in the lot and 2) you’ll be surprised at how the Volt won’t scare you or even surprise you under fast acceleration or hard braking on the snow. I clearly remember hard cornering & fast braking on the unusually smooth pavement of NYC’s Pier 92 parking lot in the rain last March (a day an NBC-TV anchor said was the nastiest NYC weather in 13 years). Any car I’ve ever owned or driven would have at least come close to skidding or spinning wheels on that icy-cold, slick, wet surface —but the Volt felt like we were riding on rails (wouldn’t swerve) and that the wheels were glued to the rails (wouldn’t spin or skid).

    ATTN GM: I think this uncanny handling on slick surfaces is due in part to 1) the new Goodyear tires, 2) to the car’s tight, predictable steering/handling, 3) to the extremely low CG, and 4) to the Volt’s significantly-improved stability/traction-control system. Could anyone at GM who knows (and happens to read this) please comment?
    .


  7. 7
    Dave G

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:13 am)

    Excellent post!

    Right now, there’s about 10 inches of snow outside, and a lot of wind causing drifts up to 2 feet. I’m waiting for the wind to die down before shoveling.

    It’s great to know the Volt handles well in the snow. A real car for real people. Can’t wait for the Chevy Amp announcement.


  8. 8
    john1701a

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:17 am)

    Tom: Our Prius is horrible in the snow.

    I suggest better tires. That hill in the video is quite similar to what I live on. My house is near the bottom of a valley. Climbing up it to leave is a daily routine. I rarely give it a second thought.
    .


  9. 9
    Mark Z

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:18 am)

    Thank you for the great video. The slight front wheel spin when accelerating from a stop is clearly visible. It’s the icy hard pack that’s awful compared with a fresh light fresh snow, and your video shows great results on keeping the Volt on the straight track with that acceleration.

    Today’s news videos of the snow on the east coast make this a timely subject. Above all, stay safe. For those who do venture out, please report your experience compared with your previous car. At what snow depth does the low front clearance cause concern? Any issues with snow clearing or using the window defogger? How much clearing of snow is necessary to keep any from falling into the interior when the rear hatch is opened? Can the wipers be positioned away from the windshield for an ice storm? Does the rear window stay clean while driving?

    Thanks in advance for the answers!


  10. 10
    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:23 am)

    This is great news for those of us in Florida. We worry alot about snow. No one here knows how to drive in it. Just kidding.

    Take Care,

    TED


  11. 11
    haroldc

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:29 am)

    nobody writing this morning ? are all the volt owners in their garages hugging their volts..lol..and llamas ?


  12. 12
    Texas

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:34 am)

    Don’t forget to tell people that a plug-in hybrid has enough fuel on-board to keep people warm for many hours, if needed. A pure EV would soon be out of juice because a battery has an energy density more than 40 times less than gasoline. This fact (feature) should be marketed.


  13. 13
    Seth

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:39 am)

    Are you still in NH? I have the same exact Volt on order in CT for March and would LOVE to see yours before I make the leap…just to sit in it and get a feel for the interior. I can meet you anywhere…please contact me…if you can…

    sethfiermonti @ me . com


  14. 14
    haroldc

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:40 am)

    Texas,

    anyone have any idea how long could you stay warm , waiting for help ,stuck in a snowstorm..if your volt was just idling and nearly full of gas ?


  15. 15
    Felix Kramer

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (9:57 am)

    I understand the Volt requires low-clearance “snow cables” for driving on road where travel is restricted to “chains or 4WD+ snowtires.” I hear an Italian company makes the best ones but haven’t com up with a spec/source. I’ll be driving up to Tahoe from the SF Bay Area in a few weeks and need to know!


  16. 16
    nasaman

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:00 am)

    haroldc: Texas,

    anyone have any idea how long could you stay warm, waiting for help, stuck in a snowstorm..if your volt was just idling and nearly full of gas?

    I’ll be bold and hazard a guess that with 9 gals of gas (& a discharged battery) the engine should keep running at an idle for at least 12 hrs. My reasoning? While driving at say 35mph, the Volt gets about 35mpg —i.e., uses ~1 gal/hour. So stopped with essentially no-load and idling, I would guess you’d use no more than 2/3rds gal/hour, which would give you 13.5 hrs, or 12 hrs with ample margin.

    And don’t forget that the Volt’s OnStar system functions in all weather conditions, so they should be able to get assistance to you in a maximum of about an hour, normally.


  17. 17
    Nelson

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:08 am)

    Nice post! I had a different Christmas Eve scenario.
    I had Christmas Eve dinner at the in-laws and as usual lots of cousins and relatives were there. All my relatives knew I was interested in the Volt but some didn’t know I had ordered one. Most were excited for me, but one cousin’s husband was very sarcastic and negative towards the Volt calling it an oversized gulf cart and ignoring its extended range capabilities. Even though I explained the car gets up to 375 miles total driving range with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas, he would say he was going to buy a tow truck and make a fortune recharging stranded Volts. After a while of his relentless criticizing of the car it dawned on me he was defending his livelihood as an ICE mechanic. He probably thought these new cars would always get repaired at dealerships instead of a small shop like his. I stopped arguing at that point and just told everyone they should wait to see and drive my Volt before deciding what they thought of the car. I guess I’d be threaten too if my job depended on ICE maintenance and repairs.
    This encounter made me start thinking about the many people in jobs that might feel threatened by the Volt or EV’s. Gas station attendants or owners.
    Gas truck delivery drivers.
    ICE mechanics.
    Oil change shops.
    AAMCO Transmission shops.
    Muffler and Brake shops.
    Some of the people in these professions might embrace the new technology but others will fight against it like their lives depend on it. It’s going to be an interesting next couple of years.

    NPNS!


  18. 18
    ClarksonCote

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    Mark Z: Thank you for the great video. The slight front wheel spin when accelerating from a stop is clearly visible. It’s the icy hard pack that’s awful compared with a fresh light fresh snow, and your video shows great results on keeping the Volt on the straight track with that acceleration.Today’s news videos of the snow on the east coast make this a timely subject. Above all, stay safe. For those who do venture out, please report your experience compared with your previous car. At what snow depth does the low front clearance cause concern? Any issues with snow clearing or using the window defogger? How much clearing of snow is necessary to keep any from falling into the interior when the rear hatch is opened? Can the wipers be positioned away from the windshield for an ice storm? Does the rear window stay clean while driving?Thanks in advance for the answers!  (Quote)  (Reply)

    The slight slipping in the video was likely because the person driving while I was filming gave it a little more acceleration than he should have. In reality, I’ve found the Volt not slipping in these conditions under accelerations where every other vehicle I’ve had does, truck or car. The good news is that, even with the little bit of slipping shown, the traction control kicks in, and shortly after it recovers it’s like there’s no snow at all once again.

    The defrost works well on both front and back from what I’ve seen to date. Auto climate control seems to be on the offensive in that regard at times, putting on the rear defrost when it’s not fogged up. I suspect it’s using the humidity sensor to predict and keep the window from fogging at all. The wipers lift up so you can keep them off the windshield during a storm, like most vehicles have today.

    join thE REVolution
    join thE REVolution


  19. 19
    ClarksonCote

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:16 am)

    kdawg: I finally heard a little road/snow noise. Or was that in CS mode?What a strange intersection. Is it a 3-way stop? That’s begging for trouble. Maybe the don’t want people climbing the hill to have to stop.. but still.(Ok, now turn of the TC, and do some donuts/voltnuts in the snow or try some drifting (no pun intended))  (Quote)  (Reply)

    The Volt was in CD mode, any noise was from the road and the cold crunching snow. It was about 0 degrees when I was filming that. The intersection is a three way stop, the hill is steep enough that they want any traffic to yield to people going up that hill. :)

    join thE REVolution


  20. 20
    ClarksonCote

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:18 am)

    Schmeltz: I’m impressed! I would have figured these to be terrible in the snow and treacherous roads…especially with the very low ground clearance. That’s a pleasant surprise. Perhaps the battery pack weight low in the chassis is helpful. Gives people like us Pennsylvanians some hope!  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I was very impressed as well, amazed is more like it for me. I suspect you’re right about the added pack weight and its low center of mass, but I’m not a mechanical engineer or expert with force analysis.

    I would still be concerned to venture out on roads with 6 inches of snow, but only because of the low clearance of the plastic piece underneath. We got over a foot here today, it’s still snowing and no plows just yet. My family lives on a side road without much traffic, so sometimes it takes a few hours before they get around to this area.

    join thE REVolution


  21. 21
    ClarksonCote

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:33 am)

    Nelson: This encounter made me start thinking about the many people in jobs that might feel threatened by the Volt or EV’s. Gas station attendants or owners.Gas truck delivery drivers.ICE mechanics.Oil change shops.AAMCO Transmission shops.Muffler and Brake shops.Some of the people in these professions might embrace the new technology but others will fight against it like their lives depend on it. It’s going to be an interesting next couple of years.NPNS!  (Quote)  (Reply)

    That kind of reminds me of the whole dawn of MP3′s, and how record companies opted to fight them tooth and nail. I think it you try to embrace new technology and stay on the forefront, your profession won’t suffer. Always hard to accept change though.

    join thE REVolution


  22. 22
    kdawg

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:43 am)

    Lyle still hasn’t updated his driving log. Do any other Volt owners have a driving log? What about posting the OnStar data?


  23. 23
    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:44 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: This is great news for those of us in Florida.We worry alot about snow.No one here knows how to drive in it.Just kidding.Take Care,TED    

    Ay ay ay, Ted. It’s bad enough being IN Wisconsin, which I am… you don’t have to rub it in that you’re not!!

    Cheers,
    Mike-o


  24. 24
    CorvetteGuy

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:53 am)

    If dad blows through a stop sign and there’s no one there to see it, is it still a traffic violation? ;)


  25. 25
    DonC

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:08 am)

    Schmeltz: Perhaps the battery pack weight low in the chassis is helpful.

    Interesting question. The weight distribution probably helps, I think the mass is fairly well balanced but there’s a bit more on the front of the car, which might help with a front wheel drive car. Plus the smoothness and low end torque of the powertrain may help as sell. On slippery roads the smoother the better and getting the tires moving too fast too soon is what you want to avoid.

    For whatever reason the Volt looked very solid on Lyle’s video.


  26. 26
    MichaelH

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:11 am)

    DonC: For whatever reason the Volt looked very solid on Lyle’s video.

    Uh, Don, where did you see a Lyle video? ;)


  27. 27
    Shaft

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:18 am)

    Great stuff to hear about the Volt.

    But drive carefully Lyle. Good traction can be misleading. It can lull you into a false sense of security. Almost any car can go out of control if conditions are right … especially ice.


  28. 28
    Loboc

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:22 am)

    Excellent report!

    /via my new iPhone


  29. 29
    Jay

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:23 am)

    Off topic and I apologize, but as an avid reader I just have to get this off my chest:

    Yesterday I am shopping in Northeast Ohio where I live and I saw a Volt pull into the shopping plaza. I swear it was like running into a famous celebrity! I couldn’t believe it – a Volt in Cleveland! By the time I found the car in the parking lot the owner had gone in to shop. Just in case that gentleman is reading this, YOUR VOLT IS BEAUTIFUL!!! It was so awesome to see this car on the road and I can’t wait to see more of them in the future, tucked away in the parking lot, gently replacing the ICE cars on the road… :-)


  30. 30
    Jackson

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:34 am)

    OT, but Significant News!!! (Well, to me for sure):

    Chevrolet Volt Electric Car Arrives at Atlanta Chevy Dealership:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20101224/bs_prweb/prweb8036611

    Mark Frost, General Manager of Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Atlanta, GA, announced today that the dealership has acquired one of the highly anticipated Chevrolet Volts.

    “We had so many customers inquiring about the Chevrolet Volt — and thinking it odd that such a highly-touted vehicle was not going to be available for a year – that we went to New York and purchased one. And drove it back 900 miles!” said Frost. “With a Volt, if you are using it mostly for commuting, you never have to use gas again! However, unlike the other electric vehicles on the market, with the Chevrolet Volt, you can still drive to Florida if you want to go on vacation. The gas engine generator kicks in to power the car. And of course, with vehicles like the Prius, you simply don’t have the option to never use gas,” Frost noted. “It’s nice to see that the latest, greatest in automotive technology is coming from Chevrolet, an American company,” Frost added.

    This Volt has been announced in a series of radio commercials, and I hope the line stretches back to the street. We shouldn’t have to wait a year in a region with such interest.

    Are you watching, GM?

    BTW, winter weather handling is more relevant down South than one might think. When we get winter weather, it generally comes with a lot of black ice. Frozen precipitation is so rare that there is no proper snow-removal equipment; and very few who know how to drive safely under these conditions (yes, we do tolerate a small number of Yankees; send your resume today)!

    .


  31. 31
    kdawg

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:35 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: This is great news for those of us in Florida. We worry alot about snow. No one here knows how to drive in it. Just kidding.

    That’s not the only thing FL people don’t know. My neice & nephew are visiting from FL and I had to teach them how to sled & build a snow fort. I don’t recall anyone teaching me these things as a kid, but it was fun to relive experience. They told me when I go to FL they will teach me how to build a sand castle.


  32. 32
    Tagamet

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:47 am)

    I suspect the current Nor’easter will give us some extreme test experiences (if the new owners are willing to get their new family member all snowy and salty.
    Our family tried to return a kiddo to NYC yesterday, but had to turn around in the Poconos due to the blowing and snow-packed roads. We would have been fine just slowing down, but it became clear that we’d never make it to the last train into the city in time. Our ancient Lexus (and matching driver) handled the roads just fine (the navigator, however, was a wreck)(g). Once we turned around and out-paced the storm, the roads were dry though the winds were still very strong. Hey GM! Still need any CAB drivers? I definitely would have a great sampling of driving conditions within which to gather data!

    Be well and stay safe,
    Tagamet


  33. 33
    Mike-o-Matic

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:54 am)

    CorvetteGuy: If dad blows through a stop sign and there’s no one there to see it, is it still a traffic violation?     

    No Cop?
    No Accident?
    No Problem.
    :D


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    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:57 am)

    Tagamet: Hey GM! Still need any CAB drivers? I definitely would have a great sampling of driving conditions within which to gather data!

    Hey Tag, I’m sure that ship has sailed into the sunset. They’re sure to get PLENTY of feedback from paying customers, now!


  35. 35
    coffeetime

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (12:03 pm)

    A few posts mention the Volt’s low CG as helping with snow driving. If you’re just creeping up a snowy hill, I would think that if the battery pack was slung low or ten feet in the air – the result would be the same. The low CG helps when you are turning under speed, not creeping along in a straight line. My guess is that the weight of the Volt helps in the snow, just as it helps when we load six bags of tube sand into the bed of our pickup truck when it is snowy outside.


  36. 36
    pjkPA

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (12:05 pm)

    Very good job on this post.
    Keep them coming. We have been waiting for these reports for a long time.
    I started my EV interests in the mid 90′s when I first heard about the EV1.
    It certainly is interesting to read these posts of actual owners experiences.
    Great!


  37. 37
    Tagamet

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (12:15 pm)

    Mike-o-Matic:
    Hey Tag, I’m sure that ship has sailed into the sunset.They’re sure to get PLENTY of feedback from paying customers, now!    

    Ahhh, but what about the ongoing adjustments they may be considering to make to the software via On*Star? They might need some guinea pigs willing to test them out before releasing them into the wild (to consumers). In fact, it’d be wise for them to have a CAB program that ran, say, 2 years per car. Just a thought.

    Be well and safe,
    Tagamet


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    ClarksonCote

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    For those that may be interested, here’s another short video I took just now of all the snow and the huge snow plow going by. Note the change in size of the snow banks from my video in the post! ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6tc7sTbpe4

    This is typical for northern NH though, but I thought some of you who aren’t as used to all this snow might get a kick out of it.

    Disclaimer: There’s no Volt in this video. :( ;)

    join thE REVolution


  39. 39
    BiodieselJeep

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:13 pm)

    Notice that the smart people of New Hampsire do NOT put a “stop” sign on the up-hill portion of the intersection.

    Tough environments seem to culture better-than-average crops of common sense.

    Now, how is it doing in some nice DEEP snow today, Lyle?


  40. 40
    DonC

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:30 pm)

    MichaelH: Uh, Don, where did you see a Lyle video?

    Yes I see that I completely missed that this wasn’t Lyle’s post. Ha ha. What’s weird is that the writing isn’t all the different — that’s usually the tip off for me. Anyway, it looked equally solid in ClarksonCote’s video. LOL

    Nice to see Lyle getting a day off. Coming up with something every day has to be incredibly hard.


  41. 41
    Matthew_B

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:32 pm)

    I made the same observation way back when the video about traction testing at GM was posted on the blog:

    GM is getting this right with a little bit of wheel slip! So many cars with traction control won’t let the wheels spin at all. On bad traction surfaces, no spin at all will leave you stuck. Moving in deep mud or snow requires a little bit of wheel spin.

    It is entirely possible to get good as good traction using wheel brakes and an open differential as it is with a limited slip. But in so many cases the engineers get the software wrong and they won’t let the wheels spin at all. In that case the limited slip differential and full human control of power is better.

    For a real good A/B comparison, drive an automatic and a manual Subaru. The automatics use computer control to control traction; the manuals use limited slip differentials. Subaru gets the computer control right and there is little difference between the two. One good example of really getting it wrong is the AWD Ford Fusion. Here is an AWD car that get stuck where some front wheel drive cars can keep going.

    Again, good job GM!


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:39 pm)

    BiodieselJeep: Notice that the smart people of New Hampsire do NOT put a “stop” sign on the up-hill portion of the intersection.

    Tough environments seem to culture better-than-average crops of common sense.

    I was recently noticing the lack of common sense about that when I was in Portland, OR two weeks ago. Portland has many hills that rival San Fransisco and I had to go through multiple intersections where the hill traffic had the stop sign and the cross traffic didn’t have to stop.

    They don’t get anywhere near the snow, but the hill is steep enough that it is easy to slip in the rain plus visibility is poor.

    One of the bad intersections I went through is two blocks further West (uphill) from this famous one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXFZMGddENA


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    Clinton F.

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:44 pm)

    Barry252,

    You should definently try it in the snow.


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    Jim I

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (1:54 pm)

    Tagamet:
    Ahhh, but what about the ongoing adjustments they may be considering to make to the software via On*Star? They might need some guinea pigs willing to test them out before releasing them into the wild (to consumers). In fact, it’d be wise for them to have a CAB program that ran, say, 2 years per car. Just a thought.Be well and safe,
    Tagamet    

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

    Tag:

    What a SHAMELESS attempt to get a Volt before PA is opened up as a Volt market!!!! :-) Actually, I am just mad I didn’t think of it first…………….

    Back on topic:

    At first, I thought this was a Lyle post, and I was going to write up a story about how the family might really be impressed that all this time on “that crazy blog site” was finally paying off!!!

    But then I realized that it was from ClarksonCote!!!

    In any event, I am really happy that it is performing this well in “weather”. It saves quite a bit of money when you don’t need a set of snow tires!!!

    And yet another reason the Volt Team did a great job!

    NPNS

    Have Outlet – Ready For EREV In Ohio! (Can We Please Get A Date When That Will Happen?)


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    Paul C from Austin

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (2:01 pm)

    Thanks for the post, Clark- very good real-world data!


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    shortale

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    Dave G: Excellent post! Right now, there’s about 10 inches of snow outside, and a lot of wind causing drifts up to 2 feet. I’m waiting for the wind to die down before shoveling.It’s great to know the Volt handles well in the snow. A real car for real people. Can’t wait for the Chevy Amp announcement.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I, too, figured there would be some posts today about handling-in-snow given the thunder-and-lightning Nor’easter that hit the Nor’east yesterday. Great to see that the news is positive. Low-resistance tires are usually but not always what you want. I’m sure the first adopters are well versed in the art of hyper-miling, but is there any advantage to letting a bit air out of the tires in weather like this? Or would that just mess up the traction control?

    I apologize in advance, but was the Chevy AMP named to counteract any resistance to the Chevy Volt?

    In keeping with the holiday spirit, I’ll spare you the one about a version targeted to practitioners of TM called the …


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    DonC

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (2:29 pm)

    Dave G: Right now, there’s about 10 inches of snow outside, and a lot of wind causing drifts up to 2 feet. I’m waiting for the wind to die down before shoveling.

    I know what you mean about bad weather. It rained on Saturday night and the high today will only be in the mid 60s. Brutal. Absolutely brutal. LOL


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    Baxter Hood

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (3:11 pm)

    On EBAY there is a VOLT on AUCTION! Starting bid is ~$48,000. It is VIN 1G1RC6E4XBU100625.
    The color is Gray Metallic, 17″ Painted Aluminum Wheels, Jet Black seats/ Ceramic White accents, Premium Cloth seat trim. Has 10 miles on it. It is in San Diego. As of now 12/27/2010 3:00pm EST there are 6 days and 6 hours left and 0 bids have been submitted.
    Someone must have bought it for the purpose of $$$ at auction. Not me, i’m from Tennessee.
    Let me know if you buy it. Keep the finder’s fee.


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    barry252

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (3:28 pm)

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I will take the Volt out the next time it snows. I washed it on the 24th, drove it to Grandma’s on the 25th and gave a half dozen test drives. Flawless! I put it back into the garage Saturday night and plugged in.
    It looks so beautiful sitting there, I just didn’t have the heart to go get it salted up just for the heck of it.
    I value other drivers opinions. I like the comments about the TC, about the weight distribution and low CG. I’ve found them true in dry and wet. Goodyear’s tires, the TC and amount of weight all add up to a very stable vehicle. At 4500 lb GW, 2500 lb of this upfront, handling is among the best I’ve ever owned.

    I’m happy offer test drives and meet up with other Volt owners. As far as I know, my Volt is the first to reside in Maryland. Please c/t me thru the forum.

    Peace out! Happy New Year Everyone!!


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (3:35 pm)

    Matthew_B: GM is getting this right with a little bit of wheel slip! So many cars with traction control won’t let the wheels spin at all. On bad traction surfaces, no spin at all will leave you stuck. Moving in deep mud or snow requires a little bit of wheel spin.

    In my last car, I could turn off the TC, which I had to do whenever I got stuck. Agreed, sometimes you need to spin the tires, or even to be able to rock the car.

    Can you turn off the TC in the Volt?


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    Loboc

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (3:55 pm)

    shortale: is there any advantage to letting a bit air out of the tires in weather like this? Or would that just mess up the traction control?

    I think the TPMS would go nutz if all 4 tires go flat at once.


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    Mark0

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (4:00 pm)

    Felix Kramer: I understand the Volt requires low-clearance “snow cables” for driving on road where travel is restricted to “chains or 4WD+ snowtires.”I hear an Italian company makes the best ones but haven’t com up with a spec/source. I’ll be driving up to Tahoe from the SF Bay Area in a few weeks and need to know!    

    Felix, here are the Konig K7 (for 7mm):
    http://www.konig.it/Products/Snow%20chains/Car/K7.aspx

    Here’s a video with the chains tested at hi-speed on asphalt, to show what they can do:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xmiyYuhUpM

    Hope this helps,
    Bye!


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    nasaman

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (4:00 pm)

    kdawg: Can you turn off the TC in the Volt?

    Volt Owner’s Manual, pg 9-37: “To assist with directional control of the vehicle, TCS comes on
    automatically whenever the vehicle is started and cannot be turned off.”

    My guess is that GM has refined the Traction Control/Stability Control system such that it handles snow, sand, mud better than is possible manually. ATTN GM: Is this true? Please explain.
    .


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    jacka$$

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (4:02 pm)

    I’m worried about the other drivers hitting a Volt. Remember not everyone is as smart as the people here. Keep the Volts out of the snow until there are enough to go around!!!!!! /still impressed.


  55. 55
    Dave G

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (4:30 pm)

    Ex Shell president sees $5 gas in 2012
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/27/markets/oil_commodities/index.htm?hpt=T2
    “The former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, says Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012.

    In an interview with Platt’s Energy Week television, Hofmeister predicted gasoline prices will spike as the global demand for oil increases.”
    chart_gas_101227.top.gif

    ——–

    It seems we’re already at peak. World oil output will never get much higher that it is now. When the economy picks up, world demand will rise, and oil prices will rise sharply. That will cause another recession, which will lower demand and cause oil prices to fall sharply, just like we saw two years ago. So until we get off of oil, the economy will continue this boom-bust cycle, and oil prices wil yo-yo wildly.

    During the bust periods, when gas prices fall below $2/gal, any significant investment in alternative fuel companies will go bankrupt. This is especially true if OPEC floods the market with cheap oil during the bust cycles, like they did before. That’s why we need a floor tax on oil. If investors knew for sure that oil would never fall below, say $70/barrel, then alternative transportation would take off like a rocket.

    Again, the idea of a floor tax is not to collect taxes, but rather to encourage investments in alternative transportation. If investors knew OPEC can’t pull the rug out from under them during periods of low demand, a lot more capitol would flow into alternative transportation.

    Some say we shouldn’t mess with the free market, but they forget that oil is not a free market. OPEC is a cartel, and together with Russia, they dominate the world oil market. So this is really a case of preventing a foreign cartel from messing with our free market.


  56. 56
    Dan Petit

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (4:47 pm)

    Nelson: Nice post!I had a different Christmas Eve scenario.
    I had Christmas Eve dinner at the in-laws and as usual lots of cousins and relatives were there.All my relatives knew I was interested in the Volt but some didn’t know I had ordered one.Most were excited for me, but one cousin’s husband was very sarcastic and negative towards the Volt calling it an oversized gulf cart and ignoring its extended range capabilities.Even though I explained the car gets up to 375 miles total driving range with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas, he would say he was going to buy a tow truck and make a fortune recharging stranded Volts.After a while of his relentless criticizing of the car it dawned on me he was defending his livelihood as an ICE mechanic.He probably thought these new cars would always get repaired at dealerships instead of a small shop like his.I stopped arguing at that point and just told everyone they should wait to see and drive my Volt before deciding what they thought of the car.I guess I’d be threaten too if my job depended on ICE maintenance and repairs.
    This encounter made me start thinking about the many people in jobs that might feel threatened by the Volt or EV’s.Gas station attendants or owners.
    Gas truck delivery drivers.
    ICE mechanics.
    Oil change shops.
    AAMCO Transmission shops.
    Muffler and Brake shops.
    Some of the people in these professions might embrace the new technology but others will fight against it like their lives depend on it.It’s going to be an interesting next couple of years.NPNS!    

    It’s really refreshing to read about the real world experiences of new Volt owners.
    It’s great to have arrived at this point in time where Volt owners can have their say.
    (I’m going to need to wait a year or two, as business model changes have had to come first, and, I’ll need the cost to come down as well.)

    I think that Voltec and CAN (controller area networks of 2006 and later) will have an adverse impact on the independent auto repair market if a “mechanic” (do what you visually see is needed), has not advanced into processor malfunctioning and also become proficient in L-1 advanced emissions systems.
    The Volt, as previously discussed here, will have software coding in the 100 million lines range.
    (IBM thread a few weeks ago).

    Even as we read this thread, the 2006 CAN systems have begun to degrade to the point of a
    a set of tight tolerance conflicts, putting *all* diagnosticians at great mental tasking.
    Teaching the clear answers and exact processes to properly correct these conflicted tolerances is now really an easier choice regarding who is going to “get it”, (a new thinking process).

    So you are right that the new technologies will displace many in the independent servicing workforce, but it has already begun right now with the 5 year old, 2006 model year Controller Area Networks.

    (This is the main reason I’ve been so busy and have had to change my business model).

    ( /.. back to work)


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    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (5:10 pm)

    Thanks Lyle,
    I was curious how those low-friction tires would work in the snow.
    No problem I guess.


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    CDAVIS

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (5:41 pm)

    __________________________________________________________________
    “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Volts from the swift completion of their appointed rounds…”

    credit: original inscription (sans “Volt”) from James Farley Post Office
    __________________________________________________________________


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    John

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (5:42 pm)

    I wish we had a nice news feed here to track stories like this:

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/27/markets/oil_commodities/index.htm?hpt=T2


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    Dave K.

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (6:00 pm)

    The rainy demo drives in NY City earlier this year produced several positive reviews for the Goodyear Assurance as well. With more than one driver reporting, “like it was on rails”. The 17″ Fuel Max tires are are a good fit.

    =D-Volt

    Voltmotortrend2.jpg?t=1293490710


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (6:01 pm)

    kdawg: Can you turn off the TC in the Volt?

    No.

    NPNS

    desktop wallpaper:

    volt_interior_jet_black_seats.jpg?t=1293491043


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    Fahrvergnugen Fanboy

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (6:37 pm)

    I’m looking forward to Spring and the report on the first Volt up Mount Washington.


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    kent beuchert

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (7:10 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    flmark

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (7:50 pm)

    kent beuchert: It’s obvious from the sound that the roads here were laden with hard, crunchy snow and ice, by far the easiest to drive on. Try driving on a road with ice in Georgia when its above freezing. That ice is typically 10 to 20 times more slippery than the hard crunchy variety. Folks in the North really don’t understand the difference between different types of snow and ice. The colder the temps, the easier it is to drive when the roads are covered.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I have lived in many places- at many latitudes. You prove yourself a fool when you claim to know what others experience when you can only imagine that experience. The crunchy snow phenomenon happens AFTER northerners have already gone through what you experience in Georgia when conditions are at their worst.

    I was stationed in Charleston, SC when they had a white Christmas in 1989- with 10” of snow. There is NO snow removal equipment in such locations and drivers have no choice but to let nature take its course. The only way you can make a claim for southern drivers having worse winter driving conditions is due to this condition- not ‘black ice’- which happens EVERYWHERE that freezing conditions can occur.


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (7:53 pm)

    Fahrvergnugen Fanboy: I’m looking forward to Spring and the report on the first Volt up Mount Washington.    

    I’m hoping to be that Volt :)


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    Loboc

     

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:02 pm)

    OT
    Lyle, your site looks and works very well on iPhone safari.

    Good job!


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    Tagamet

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:04 pm)

    Jim I: Tag:

    What a SHAMELESS attempt to get a Volt before PA is opened up as a Volt market!!!! :-) Actually, I am just mad I didn’t think of it first…………….

    Yes, “shameless” about covers it (lol). I actually *did* think of your (incessant) posts bemoaning the lack of Volts in Ohio (g).
    Patience, Grasshopper.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (8:49 pm)

    kent beuchert: Try driving on a road with ice in Georgia when its above freezing.

    Yup, that’s nasty stuff. But heavy & slushy is something tires with good channeling tread handle well. I found the HydroEdges cutting through that mess without trouble.

    Utah type is the extreme. It’s the perfect ski snow. Just a half-inch is all it takes to catch drivers totally off guard. If you hit the brakes rounding a corner, you’re a goner. That stuff is so slippery, you need to accelerate on turns for traction.

    So… what we need to hear about now is information about TC, ABS, VSC operation. (Traction-Control, Anti-Lock Braking System, Vehicle Stability Control) Each has a unique purpose, offering automated intervention for handling slippery conditions.
    .


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    America1st

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:22 pm)

    There’s little doubt to the price going to $5.00 a gallon. Timing is the only question and 2012 looks very realistic. The world’s demand for oil just hit another record, while supply is going in an oppposing direction. The world isn’t creating 88 million barrels a day we are currently pulling from the ground. About 5,000 barrels are being created in a day by the planet. My care of course for those who read any single one of my blogs is the oil resides in the Middle-East. One needs only to serve in the armed forces to see the calamity building.

    Go GM! Go Tesla! Go Toyota! Go Nissan! Go Ford! Let’s get off this poison.


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:23 pm)

    jacka$$,

    This has already happened, but not because of snow or ice, but because of a dropped cell phone, or should I say “distracted driving”.


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:29 pm)

    Great looking car – GM executed exceptionally at the project level and consumer level. And now, the timing looks as good as Bob Lutz used to recall to say the Volt will be a guaranteed hit. The $4 a gallon price was the reason for the 100,000 annual production run vehicles. Visit Europe where $5.00 a gallon gas is routine and the cars are awful. $100 to drive a little ways. For Lutz, the only knock came when the economies all collapsed and the price of oil shed brieflly not to mention the staggering drop in auto demand. Recover will now include a Volt. Good for America. Good for free nations.


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:36 pm)

    kent beuchert: Try driving on a road with ice in Georgia when its above freezing. That ice is typically 10 to 20 times more slippery than the hard crunchy variety.

    Maybe you’re talking about “black ice”. If the temperature of the road is below freezing and it rains, the rain freezes into a thin, clear sheet of ice. The ice has no color at all, and appears only slightly darker than normal pavement, so it’s very hard to see. My parents got into a bad accident on this many years ago. Nasty stuff.


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:46 pm)

    Dan Petit: The Volt, as previously discussed here, will have software coding in the 100 million lines range.
    (IBM thread a few weeks ago).

    Be careful here. The Volt program had a lot of code, but most of that ran on computers that developed and tested the Volt. There’s no IBM code in the Volt itself, and there’s certainly nowhere near 100 million lines of firmware code.


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:52 pm)

    Dave G: Maybe you’re talking about “black ice”. If the temperature of the road is below freezing and it rains, the rain freezes into a thin, clear sheet of ice.

    Interesting. I’ve never heard that southern definition. It’s quite different here in the north…

    The source of the water is vapor from vehicle exhaust. When temperatures are below 0°F, it freezes instantly creating a layer of ice caused by slow moving vehicles.
    .


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (10:53 pm)

    Dave G: Dan Petit: The Volt, as previously discussed here, will have software coding in the 100 million lines range. (IBM thread a few weeks ago).

    Be careful here. The Volt program had a lot of code, but most of that ran on computers that developed and tested the Volt. There’s no IBM code in the Volt itself, and there’s certainly nowhere near 100 million lines of firmware code.

    The Volt contains 10 million lines of code…by contrast an F35 fighter has 6 million lines of code.

    .


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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    Dave G
    “Some say we shouldn’t mess with the free market, but they forget that oil is not a free market. OPEC is a cartel, and together with Russia, they dominate the world oil market. So this is really a case of preventing a foreign cartel from messing with our free market.”

    And who hasn’t messed with our free market?
    How much does a VOLT cost in Japan? Germany? Korea?


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    Dave G

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    Dec 27th, 2010 (11:07 pm)

    Nelson: … This encounter made me start thinking about the many people in jobs that might feel threatened by the Volt or EV’s.
    Gas station attendants or owners.
    Gas truck delivery drivers.
    ICE mechanics.
    Oil change shops.
    AAMCO Transmission shops.
    Muffler and Brake shops.
    Some of the people in these professions might embrace the new technology but others will fight against it like their lives depend on it. It’s going to be an interesting next couple of years.

    You’re forgetting the elephant in the room – the big oil companies, and all of their employees.

    But this battle can be won, if we enlist the right help. For example, to fight big oil, you enlist the help of the power utilities and coal mining companies. To fight mechanics, you enlist local electricians.

    And to be clear, only local community gas station owners would be affected. Filling stations along interstate highways will still do fine.

    In the end, the total number of jobs will increase, since much less money is leaving our country to pay for foreign oil. With a booming economy, there are always new products and services that people want. Some people will have to find new careers, but the shift from one type of work to another will be gradual, so nobody has to panic.


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    Matthew B

     

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    Dec 28th, 2010 (3:04 am)

    coffeetime: A few posts mention the Volt’s low CG as helping with snow driving. If you’re just creeping up a snowy hill, I would think that if the battery pack was slung low or ten feet in the air – the result would be the same.

    When a car is headed up hill the weight is transferred off the front axle and onto the rear. The higher the COG, the greater the weight transfer. With a front wheel drive, not taking weight off the front will help.


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    Dec 28th, 2010 (3:21 am)

    john1701a: Interesting. I’ve never heard that southern definition. It’s quite different here in the north…

    Here in the Pacific NW we call it black ice when the temperature drops below freezing as it continues to rain. Unless you catch the light just right, you won’t notice the road surface has turned to ice covered with water.

    It is quite common to have places where valleys funnel cold air down from the mountain passes so the temps can drop from the mid 40′s to freezing in a few miles.

    john1701a: The source of the water is vapor from vehicle exhaust. When temperatures are below 0°F, it freezes instantly creating a layer of ice caused by slow moving vehicles.

    0°F ice isn’t in the same camp as wet ice. They are two totally different things to deal with.


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    Dec 28th, 2010 (6:02 am)

    The horror of black ice, is clearly shown in this short video. Notice the wheels are locked.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MPRmOUxRMY

    The author is right. Just stay home on days like this.


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    Larry McFall

     

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    Dec 28th, 2010 (7:23 am)

    No more than I would expect. The Volt is going to be a great winter vehicle in more than just one way. The new GM can go a long ways with the Volt if they keep it as their showcase product and keep making improvements i.e., the internal combustion engine.

    How about the heater system that you can keep on during the Cold, Cold nights when hooked up and charging and wake up, to a warm cap, ice free windows and ready to move.


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    Matthew B

     

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    Dec 28th, 2010 (10:16 am)

    Mark Z: The horror of black ice, is clearly shown in this short video. Notice the wheels are locked.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MPRmOUxRMY

    The author is right. Just stay home on days like this.

    The bulk of the bad weather we get here is just like that. It doesn’t happen very often, but that video shows what we get.

    Invariably smart mouth transplants will tell us about how we don’t know how to handle bad weather, and how they handled it so much better at home. Usually followed by them crashing in the next ice storm.


  83. 83
    Engineer

     

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    Dec 29th, 2010 (1:12 am)

    I would think that the Volt would be better in poorer weather just because of the electric drive-train. It will simplify the feedback loops for traction control, as well as the response to the feedback.


  84. 84
    Larry R

     

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    Dec 29th, 2010 (9:04 am)

    As a locomotive electrician, locomotives with A/C traction motors have more than twice
    the tractive effort ( pulling power) as the D/C traction motors.
    When D/C motors slip ( loose traction) the locomotive have to cut power to them.
    With A/C traction motors ( Chevie Volt) the armature has to be phased slightly ahead
    of the rotor ( 17%) so it can pull the rotor around.
    When the rotor ( wheel) slips the phase turns to (0%) and waits for the armature to catch up.
    Then then the Phase is (17%) again for more pulling power.
    We call this self correcting wheel slip.


  85. 85
    Niclas Hill

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    Dec 30th, 2010 (1:13 pm)

    Great handling in the snow? A joke right? That my friend is not even winter. I live in Finland and drive an Audi Quattro. We currently have 70cm of snow and I can tell you that an Audi Quattro has great handling in the snow. Honestly.

    I’m still waiting to get an all electric four wheel drive. Maybe in 2015?


  86. 86
    ClarksonCote

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    Dec 30th, 2010 (5:51 pm)

    Niclas Hill: Great handling in the snow? A joke right? That my friend is not even winter. I live in Finland and drive an Audi Quattro. We currently have 70cm of snow and I can tell you that an Audi Quattro has great handling in the snow. Honestly.I’m still waiting to get an all electric four wheel drive. Maybe in 2015?    

    Video opportunities are different than reality I suppose. I wanted to show a large hill, but I admit that was fairly cleared of the snow by the time I took the video a day later. We got another 14 inches the next day though, and I filmed the plow going by on that day. A few weeks earlier my town had a lake effect snow warning for 5 days straight; we received about 48 inches. I’m quite familiar with significant amounts of snow. :)

    I guess you’ll have to go out and get your own Volt to see what I already have concluded: The Volt handles better than both my family’s SUV, and my Honda Civic with snow tires, in snow… and both of those, I considered good in snow. ;)

    join thE REVolution


  87. 87
    Taylor

     

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    Jan 1st, 2011 (1:59 pm)

    coffeetime,

    The low center of gravity should keep the weight evenly distributed between the front and rear axles going up or down a slope. Going uphill with a high CG would shift the weight more to the rear axle.


  88. 88
    Don Davidson

     

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    Jan 2nd, 2011 (10:36 am)

    For those Volt owners that prefer to not drive during winter months-what are proper storage proceedures? Will the batteries be harmed from lack of use for several weeks/months? Should the car be left charging continuously for the duration that it is charged? Any damage from “over charging”?


  89. 89
    Felix Kramer

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    Jan 3rd, 2011 (7:15 pm)

    Following up on my posting #15, thanks #52 for reference–these are $200+ cables that may not even be available in the U.S. Here’s what I’ve found:

    For snow driving, the Volt needs tire cables, not chains. I checked around and it seems SCC (was Security Chain Company) is the leading manufacturer. For two front tires 215/55-17, get the Super Z6 size SZ135 (NOT the Shur Grip Z SZ335, which are higher-profile and not quite as good). http://scc-chain.com/Traction%20Pages/Trac_app_guide.aspx is SCC’s directory.

    I got them for $84 from Napa Auto (less 10% discount for AAA); $79 from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Security-Company-SZ135-Passenger-Pickups/dp/B000HZA2LA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1294099481&sr=1-1

    I may have the opportunity to try them in Tahoe around a week from today.


  90. 90
    Susan

     

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    Jan 10th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Hi,
    You answered my question! As a resident of upstate NY (Oneonta), I am curious about the handling in snow/ice conditions. I currently have a Jeep Liberty, and live on top of a hill. In a few years I’ll have it paid off, and was interested in getting a Volt, (planned on using the Jeep in the winter months), I may rethink this.
    Thanks for the info!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/omordah


  91. 91
    Jerry

     

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    Jan 12th, 2011 (2:50 am)

    Just search for this video on u-tube.

    “The Chevrolet Volt brake test”

    It shows the capability of Chevrolet’s Stabilitrack better than anything we can say.


  92. 92
    Charlie Brattain

     

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    Jan 17th, 2011 (3:46 pm)

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