Sep 01

Driving impressions: Fisker Karma vs. Chevy Volt vs. Nissan LEAF

 

By nasaman

Yesterday I drove a gorgeous “Eclipse Black” Karma production prototype along with my 19-year-old grandson Blake (who had also driven a Volt and a LEAF with me previously). The following comments reflect his observations as well as mine.

The car is even more impressive in person than in the best photos I’ve seen. The paint is smooth as glass. You’d expect to see a Playboy centerfold climb in and drive off silently (“stealthily,” Fisker would say). I wouldn’t expect anything less from Scandinavian Henrik Fisker!

The Karma, like the Volt, is an extended-range electric vehicle – a fact which Fisker used to make a publicity splash with by saying the Karma is “the world’s first,” disregarding the Volt in the process. Its rationale was the assertion that the Karma is truer to the EREV concept in that the genset never mechanically powers the wheels.


Fisker Karma.

Aside from that contention which GM never commented on, what can be factually said is the Karma is much larger, heavier, and definitely more expensive than a Volt.

It rides on a long 124.4-inch wheelbase on huge 22-inch wheels. Two 201-horsepower electric motors drive the rear wheels. The aforementioned generator is a GM four-cylinder that is turbocharged to produce 260-horsepower.

The 20-kwh battery is by A123 Systems, placed in the center like the Volt’s battery is, and also like the Volt – and LEAF – it has an 8-year warranty.

Driving impressions

On our first attempt to start driving, the car would not go into Drive from Park or Neutral – Fisker factory people had to do a total reprogramming of its software, not merely some kind of reboot.

As soon as we hit the road, our Fisker host said, “slam the accelerator hard to the floor” and I did just that …

In Stealth mode it feels faster than the Volt, much faster than LEAF – specs are 0-60 in 7.9 sec & 95mph top speed. In Sport mode it’s MUCH faster than either the Volt or LEAF – a real “back slapper.”

Fisker says actual specs are 0-60 mph in 5.8 sec and 125 mph top speed. All-electric range is said to be 50 miles (80km) with efficiency at 100 MPGe (2.4L/100km). Its total combined range is 300 miles (483 km).

“The EPA data has not yet been developed,” said our Fisker host, “but the car averages about 40 mpg in Sport mode.”


Sleek interior.

Likes
(Styling/Build):

• Karma’s highly-distinctive, almost exotic styling – very impressive in person
• Use of a Lightweight Extruded Aluminum Spaceframe
• Lightweight Aluminum and Composite Body Panels
• Four very comfortable, sporty bucket seats (comparable to Volt’s plus they power adjust)
• Interior finish on a par w/ any Rolls or Jaguar I’ve been in
(Functionality):
• Excellent road feel, handling & cornering even better than Volt or LEAF
• A Start button located where Volt & LEAF place theirs on the dash
• Traction control that can be disabled
• Forward “creep” from a stop like Volt (but non-defeatable, I think)
• When started, Karma defaults to “Stealth mode” (battery only)
• “Sport mode” is always available using a paddle on the steering wheel
• Maximum braking regeneration is available by switching to “Hill mode”

Dislikes
• The Karma is unbelievably low slung, making entry/egress very awkward
• The trunk is TINY – barely large enough for a golf bag & a small suitcase (hatchbacks Volt & Leaf have vastly more hauling/luggage space)
• There’s a bad blind area when looking rearward over your right shoulder
• The center display is “washed-out” compared to Volt or LEAF (see above photo to compare it to the bright/clear driver’s display; it’s more noticeable in person)
• Karma has even more touch-screen controls than Volt or LEAF (good for iPads, but dangerous in a car)

Conclusion

As you can see my likes outnumber dislikes by more than two to one. The Karma’s MSRP ranges from $95,500-$108,900. Options are a solar roof, navigation system, and paint choices.

I’ve also embedded a video (above) with an evaluation by Autocar which tested the Karma two weeks ago. For more info besides that, here is a 40-page brochure, and Fisker’s spec page.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 90


  1. 1
    waniair1

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:33 am)

    The first comparable car to the Volt and it’s not really comparable…. in that would you compare a compact GM car to an Austin Martin GT car. I’m amazed at the commonalities between the Volt and the Karma. They have obviously come to allot of the same conclusions as GM did in the best way of doing things. I was surprised to hear in the video that the reviewer thought the engine was “noisy in the wrong way”. I like the Volts idea of not hearing the motor at all. All said would I have a Karma over a Volt, if I had the means? Probably, it’s one damn sexy looking car but ultimately I’d have both. I think the Karma won’t be as reliable as the Volt because it hasen’t got the might of GM’s R&D behind it and there proving budgets. So when the Karma was being “reprogrammed” as in the article I could still do what I want in my Volt!!


  2. 2
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:41 am)

    Note regarding the 40-pg brochure link in the last line of the article: Just since yesterday, Fisker has “pulled” the brochure off their main site. However, I still find it at the following site:

    Fisker Karma 40-pg pdf brochure: http://www.fiskeraustin.com/fisker_brochure.pdf


  3. 3
    Raymondjram

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:43 am)

    I am glad that a new EV is on the road, and it is another sports car. I like the technology they put into the Karma. I hope GM is studying this vehicle (maybe they have begun to reverse-engineer one?) and design a future EREV version of the Corvette, probably for 2020.

    Meanwhile, we normal humans need to see when the other vehicles (pickups, SUV, trucks, more sedans, etc.) will be arriving, so the roads will be filled with EVs, EREVs, and hybrids.

    Raymond


  4. 4
    Roy_H

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (7:51 am)

    I am not at all surprised, The Karma is built with “off the shelf” parts, that is the electric motors are big and heavy compared to the extensive development that Tesla and GM went through to develop their motors. This is why the trunk is tiny. One of the main reasons GM went with LG Chem for batteries is that they were considerably lighter than A123. However A123 claims their batteries are more robust and do not require the active heating and cooling the Volt has. I believe the GM engineers were not willing to take that chance for extreme weather conditions. Does Fisker use liquid temperature control of the batteries? We know GM built about 400 pre-production Volts and beat the hell out of them in testing to make the car reliable, even little Tesla made 20 Roadsters and did the same. How extensive was Karma testing?

    GM and Nissan DO NOT have the same 8 year warranty. GM warrants the performance of the battery, Nissan specifically states that they do not and the battery is expected to degrade over time. Nissan’s warranty is against “workmanship”. Nissan also stated that all LEAFs returning from lease would be outfitted with new batteries before being sold.

    I like the styling of the Karma, but do not believe for an instant that it has had anywhere near the engineering effort that has been put into GM or Tesla products.


  5. 5
    Roy_H

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (7:59 am)

    Raymondjram: I hope GM is studying this vehicle (maybe they have begun to reverse-engineer one?)

    The Karma has nothing that GM engineers couldn’t do in their sleep. To base a Corvette on the Karma would be a huge step backwards.


  6. 6
    Mark Z

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (8:55 am)

    Thank you Nasaman for sharing your experience with the Karma. You both have explained the details very clearly. A visit to their web site and viewing the brochure gives the reader an idea of what is behind the scenes. No question that design and performance are at the top of their list. The UK reviewer got it right that the Karma is perfect for the daily commute. Trunk size is important as well as the ease of entry and exit. Tesla failed to provide both with the Roadster.

    Tesla has invited Model S purchasers to ride in a Model S in October. While there will be more changes before production, it will be enjoyable to experience the ride, comfort, ease of entry and cargo space. Now if only there were some fast charge stations to help power Model S between major cities of interest. That is what the Volt and Karma are for, cross country adventure!


  7. 7
    CorvetteGuy

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (8:59 am)

    I’m very jealous about your test drive Nasaman! I wasn’t clear though, does switching to Sport Mode turn the generator on? If the ICE does not turn wheels like the VOLT, why did they go with 260-HP?


  8. 8
    lousloot

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:02 am)

    Nice Article, Thanks!

    Karma is Cool!

    If I was a 40 something entering my first midlife crisis… This I would like.. The x gets the kids and the
    house and the need for a big trunk…

    N, you didn’t like the improved acceleration? I bet the takeoff with 2 201 hp (EEP — should be neutons or (anything else –hp is so 1800s)) motors driving the back wheels must HurT! (but in a good way)

    Did you get a wiff of hot electronics after a few 100+AMP 300+Volt power drain cycles?
    For me, a major selling point of an electric car is Max torque at 0 RPM.

    Is the generator setup to run at a constant RPM, turn off when battery has recharged — or reached 80% or (whatever)

    As for GM engineers… They are not known for innovation — or sportyness or much of anything. I would put a few top engineers against the group-think that happens at a mega-corp like GM any day.

    Why do people think that off the shelf parts mean crappy? I would rather think of them as tested, and easy to find spares/replacements.


  9. 9
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:18 am)

    nasaman:
    Note regarding the 40-pg brochure link in the last line of the article: Just since yesterday, Fisker has “pulled” the brochure off their main site. However, I still find it at the following site:

    Fisker Karma 40-pg pdf brochure: http://www.fiskeraustin.com/fisker_brochure.pdf

    Thanks for finding that new link so quickly nasaman. I updated the text so the link is now the new one for “brochure.”


  10. 10
    Shock Me

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:34 am)

    Although I can’t currently afford either of these rides, I find it funny that the more expensive Karma is the first to appear for sale in my area. When both are out on the lots I’ll take a day to go ogle them.

    Moves small stack of cash to Volt pile and then stares grumpily at much taller student loan pile.


  11. 11
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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:38 am)

    CorvetteGuy: I’m very jealous about your test drive Nasaman! I wasn’t clear though, does switching to Sport Mode turn the generator on? If the ICE does not turn wheels like the VOLT, why did they go with 260-HP?

    Thanks, CorvetteGuy and those are good questions! Yes, the genset always runs in sport mode as well as after battery depletion and in both cases it charges the 20KWh battery. The difference is that a substantial fraction of the genset’s current in sport mode is available to supplement the battery’s drive current to the 402hp drive motors. I think they used the 260hp turbo-charged engine to make sport mode REALLY a “wall-banger” —they told me the car is limited to 125mph electronically, but if the speed limiter is disabled it’s capable of reaching 158mph! [Let's see, 402hp + 260hp = Holy Moley!]

    /One of Fisker’s “target” vehicles was apparently a 440hp Maserati Quatroporte (see next post)


  12. 12
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:47 am)

    Maserati_Quattroporte_2010_4.jpg
    Maserati Quatroporte —see any similarities to the Karma?


  13. 13
    Eco_Turbo

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:07 am)

    Great article Nasaman, I’ve always liked reading anything you write. I also like “back slappers”, just wish I could afford one like the Karma.


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    volt11

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:10 am)

    I’ll wait for the EPA rating before making any efficiency comparison to the Volt.

    I hope the Karma succeeds. Let’s see how many morons call the Karma a “golf cart”, which seems to be the default dismissal of EV haters.


  15. 15
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:18 am)

    Roy_H: GM and Nissan DO NOT have the same 8 year warranty. GM warrants the performance of the battery, Nissan specifically states that they do not and the battery is expected to degrade over time. Nissan’s warranty is against “workmanship”. Nissan also stated that all LEAFs returning from lease would be outfitted with new batteries before being sold.

    I like the styling of the Karma, but do not believe for an instant that it has had anywhere near the engineering effort that has been put into GM or Tesla products.

    Thanks for clarifying that Nissan doesn’t actually warranty their battery life as 8 years (or for ANY specific time limit). And “workmanship” defects would be hard for a Leaf owner to prove.

    Regarding engineering, remember that the Karma drivetrain was designed by Fisker’s California partner, a military vehicle supplier, which has extensive experience designing electric propulsion systems for the US military. My guess as to why we don’t hear much about the partner is that
    at least some of their most advanced work is probably classified.


  16. 16
    Jackson

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:22 am)

    Thank you, Nasaman, for this excellent article!

    Between Jeff and the members, this site has the firmest grasp of this rapidly changing field!


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    Jackson

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:25 am)

    nasaman:

    Maserati Quatroporte —see any similarities to the Karma?

    If you had size 108, EE x 11 feet and stepped on the Maserati, it might resemble the Fiskar. ;-)

    35mqhsm.jpg


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Except for the front grille being a bit to large, the nose of the Fisker would make a nice replacement for the Corvette.


  19. 19
    nasaman

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:35 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    Except for the front grille being a bit to large, the nose of the Fisker would make a nice replacement for the Corvette.

    Wouldn’t you rather focus on convincing GM that, like the Tesla Roadster convinced them they could produce the Volt …the 0-60mph, 5.8sec / 158mph Karma makes a strong case for an EREV 200mph Stingray?!?


  20. 20
    KUD

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:36 am)

    Shock Me: Moves small stack of cash to Volt pile and then stares grumpily at much taller student loan pile.

    Boy, do I know that feeling :( . I am in the Beach Boy mode “I saved my pennies and my Dimes, Giddy up …..’

    Still whenever my current rides need replacing it’s gonna have a plug.


  21. 21
    mfennell

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:41 am)

    volt11: I’ll wait for the EPA rating before making any efficiency comparison to the Volt.

    Indeed. Fisker claims 250 miles of range in “Sport mode” (ie: using the gasoline engine). It has a 9.5 gallon tank, suggesting 26mpg.


  22. 22
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:06 am)

    Thx for the article Nasaman,

    Did you get to drive it in Sport mode?? Was it loud when the ICE came on??

    Any details on the battery TMS.? Is the pack water cooled??

    Thx ,
    GSB


  23. 23
    crew

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:07 am)

    What a beautiful car. A simple engineering concept and beautiful body combination rolled into an elegant package.

    Does it outdo the Volt?
    Absolutely not.
    Not even close.

    From the genset to the capacitive touch console to the ICE trasition smoothness, the Volt completely out engineers the Karma. Any engineer and most of the contributors to this site can see the strength of the GM team above any other car on the market today!

    When we put the engineering aside, an obvious flaw of the Karma is the fuctionality of the sedan layout. No trunk.
    Just as the Leaf is oxymoronic in that it can take 5 people and their gear to the beach but not back, the Karma can take 4 people anywhere, but not their gear. The Volt can do both (but without that 5th wheel tagging along)

    The Volt can also boast space efficiiency, telematics and, believe it or not, value. The price of the Karma is boutique. The Volt is upper middle class. If large format batteries ever become cheap commdities (as Nissan is banking on) then Fisker and Tesla are out of business. No way will they compete, nor should they try to, in the automotive market dominated by GM and Toyota. BMW will easily cover the upper end of the scale above anyone else.

    The Karma, however, is the best example of applied aesthetics. The most obvious example, away from that gorgeous body, is where the Volt may claim an iPod influence on the center console, the Karma is an exercise in simplicity hiding technology. The Volt console is more HP than iPod. That body of the Karma is pure sex appeal versus a Volt that looks like a mean jellybean.
    Oh, well.

    Now, I am really curious of what the Converj will be under it’s own beautiful body and how much money GM will get from us to have one.


  24. 24
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:16 am)

    crew,

    Crew,
    Yes I was asking Nasaman on pack details and as you point out the A123′s are probably cylindrical format batteries. I would assume though that they (A123) will have Volt shaped batteries in the future as GM would probably require that.


  25. 25
    Jackson

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:16 am)

    crew: Now, I am really curious of what the Converj will be under it’s own beautiful body and how much money GM will get from us to have one.

    Much less than what Karma will get, I predict. ELR (formerly Converj) will appeal to a somewhat higher economic class than the Volt, but the Karma is solidly in near millionaire – millionaire territory (lack of practicality will mandate that this is a second (or higher) car; for which $100K is a heck of a lot). At that, the Volt will be superior in many ways to Fiskar (and ELR is sure to be more so).


  26. 26
    nasaman

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:28 am)

    George S. Bower: Thx for the article Nasaman,

    Did you get to drive it in Sport mode?? Was it loud when the ICE came on??

    Any details on the battery TMS.? Is the pack water cooled??

    Thx ,
    GSB

    You’re welcome George —I always enjoy your comments. Yes, I drove it in both stealth & sports modes (2 separate runs). And I also “slammed the accelerator hard to the floor” as instructed by the Fisker host in sport mode. The genset was undetectable (as was the Volt’s) when it kicked in after battery depletion and still very quiet when running normally. But when I floored it in sports mode, it “grunted” loudly as it kicked me in the back (kinda like the high school bully would when he hit from behind). The Fisker guy said production cars will use silencers to reduce exhaust sounds —the dual exhausts exit under the front door rocker panels, not at the rear.

    I asked if the battery was cooled or heated and the answer was “I’m not sure”, which I take to mean “no”, since A123 batteries are supposedly almost immune to thermal effects or damage.


  27. 27
    crew

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Jackson,

    To get EREV technology to pay off the development costs, it seems that the market will go upscale before it goes middle class. If the ELR adds to the till better than any other car would at this time, bring it on. But how many luxury EREV’s will be sold in such a small category?

    The real challenge comes down to seeing who will create the best line of cars at the low end of the price scale and do so at a profit. We know from this this site, above any other site, that GM has the patents, engineers, Universities, and money to go forward full steam ahead well above any other company. If Toyota ever gets its head out of it’s butt and puts an American market sized battery into a plug in, then they can compete with GM and the Voltec line up.

    Until then, enjoy the Volt, get everyone and anyone behind the wheel. Demand more.


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    T 1

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:35 am)

    Congrats to Fisker for trying to fill a hole in the mkt. And doing it with a new biz model. But like most experiments…


  29. 29
    Jackson

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:45 am)

    crew,

    ELR, not EVR; got it (and I edited my comment). I also should have said:

    “ELR (formerly Converj) will appeal to a somewhat higher economic class than the Volt, but the Karma …”

    I didn’t mean to say that ELR would be a narrow-appeal vehicle like the Karma (though necessarily it will be somewhat narrower than Volt).

    We are essentially in agreement, I think. ELR will still sell in enough quantity to speed repayment of EREV development. However, many of us will have to wait until the technology goes downscale; and no one is likelier to do that right than GM. I can only hope that they will do both.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:46 am)

    crew:

    GM has the patents, engineers, Universities, and money to go forward full steam ahead well above any other company.

    Totally true. They have more tools at their fingertips than any other mfg. Also true that GM needs to concentrate on a slightly more affordable plug in (of some kind). I think we will see A123 bats in a pure EV so GM will have : an EV, e-assist and Voltec to offer. e-assist will be the most cost effective from a consumer initial price POV but then there is a gap in price between e-assist and the Volt.

    The 24 thousand dollar question is: What will fill that void. …a cheaper Voltec ??? a plug in 2 mode???


  31. 31
    James

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:48 am)

    OT Info: Costco stores are removing all of their EV charging stations. It’s ironic that they were on the cutting edge years ago when they installed them ( mostly in California, AZ and CO ) yet only a few RAV4 EV users and homebuilders ever used them. They stated nobody used them, but today, with many Leafs and some Volts on the road, with Focus EV, Fisker, RAV4EV2, EVTransit Connects, PIPs, Mitsu i’s and C-Max Energi’s on their way – is THIS the time to REMOVE THEM?!

    Costco’s home base is in my state, I called them and told them the nation’s leading Leaf seller, Campbell Nelson Nissan is right across the street from one of their Costco outlets here! I told them I see Leaf near my home in ever increasing numbers and Volt is on it’s way.

    Please contact your local Costco manager and tell him you’re surprised at Costco’s decision to nix charging stations right at the point in history when folks will actually start using them to top off their new EVs and PHEVs! Note that Plug In America, Coloumb, the Green Car Council and others have contacted Costco and told them they’d modify their charging stations to J1772 for free. Costco told me their assessment was that they would all have to be replaced.

    Plug In America met with Costco here at their Issaquah, WA headquarters last week and I was told the meeting didn’t go well. I think this is a situation where Costco was way ahead of their time back in 2005, and today is out of touch. A business with a charging station would get my business every time over any competitor without one.

    Here is Costco’s information: Costco Corporate Office | Headquarters
    999 Lake Dr. Issaquah, WA 98027
    (425)313-8100

    toll free:Costco Wholesale 800-774-2678

    by email: https://costco.egain.net/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1000&PARTITION_ID=1&CMD=STARTPAGE&USERTYPE=1&LANGUAGE=en&COUNTRY=us

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  32. 32
    Jackson

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:54 am)

    James: OT Info: Costco stores are removing all of their EV charging stations.

    I joined Costco at the first location in my State. It had the rechargers, but they long ago disappeared (later locations never had them); so they’ve been thinking about this for awhile. I believe also that the chargers were of the inductive paddle type, which wouldn’t be useful for the next generation of EVs.

    Unless they tear up the pavement, the power cables will still be there; it’s possible that they would install newer charge stations if encouraged (since installing the cables would be a wasted expense otherwise). Someone like GE (trying to build a market for it’s Watt Station), might offer them a deal for the volume purchase, especially since it would greatly increase visible penetration for the units almost overnight.

    EDIT:
    Here is my email:
    “This is more a comment/suggestion than a question:

    I have learned that you intend to remove all remaining electric vehicle charging stations from your locations. With a new resurgence (if not renaissance) for EVs, this seems like a poor decision.

    I expect that the chargers are an older type, and that you won’t be removing the cables which powered them (which would require you to tear up the pavement). I would suggest that these cables could drive newer charge stations compatible with the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF (and probably others which will appear over the next 5 – 10 years). Someone like GE (trying to build a market for it’s Watt Station), might offer you a deal for the volume purchase, especially since it would greatly increase visible penetration for the units almost overnight. These stations could bill drivers for the current, so you wouldn’t be out for the electricity cost.

    Alternatively, if you wish to build business from these initial adopters, you could simply offer outlets for these spaces. All of the new cars will conform to a standard which allows a low-level charge from a 15 – 20A, 120V socket.

    The Volt should be available in most places by the end of the year or early next, and Toyota is working on a plug-in version of it’s Prius which should follow shortly thereafter. Ford is fielding a Battery-Only vehicle soon which will increase penetration, and other manufacturers around the world are working hard to make electric offerings. I can certainly understand if you want to wait a couple of years, but the time to think about it is NOW.”


  33. 33
    Steve

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:09 pm)

    Looks to me that if I had to choose regardless of price, I’d still buy a Volt. Same seating capacity, less cargo space, and higher acceleration is what the extra cost seems to buy. Karma seems overkill and at the point of not getting enough more for the money. At least for my lifestyle and needs. Not saying it’s bad. Just saying it’s not for me.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    Roy_H,

    How about style? The Karma is one of the best looking cars out there. volt…just another sedan/wagon


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:17 pm)

    lousloot,

    I’ve been driving the Volt since March, and it is my favorite new car ever, including the RX400h.

    Those GM engineers thought of almost everything. It is a terrific car and drives more like a sports car, but stealthy.

    The problem at GM was never with the engineers, but with the corrupt bean-counter executives who Obama fired!


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:20 pm)

    James,
    Sort of as off topic as the Costco charging stations. Many in the Northeat are still without electricity as a result of hurricane Irene. So in addition to the electric range issues there is currently even more limited recharging ability. The Volt is still mobile on plan B.


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    crew

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:27 pm)

    Jackson,

    We agree.
    Downscale is the way to go. The next generation of batteries already has patents and GM will be using them. The cells (not the entire battery) should cost 60% less for the same output and at a smaller physical size, if I can recall. I believe that GM is wrestling with the idea of either downsizing the battery and keeping the range to sell at a better price or increasing the range for the same size battery we have now.
    That’s for the Volt and not another EREV.

    The Karma is, and will be, in a class of it’s own. Jeez, it’s beautiful.
    Unfortunately, it will be obsolete before we know it. Any other manufacturer using the series drivetrain with an ICE had better think twice.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    Steve,

    Now if only the Range Extender could be used to provide emergency power on-site …


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:31 pm)

    The reason the Karma needs a bigger Gas engine than the Volt is because it doesn’t have that mechanical drive train. On long highway trips, the mechanical gear will lose about 10% of the engine’s power, but sending that power thru a generator and electric motors will lose about 30%.
    There are huge mechanical and design benefits to a real serial hybrid (with no mechanical connection between the ICE and the wheels), but efficiency isn’t one of them.

    I’m guessing Chevy discovered their Volt would get worse highway milage than a Prius unless they made the change. The Volt’s mechanical drive train only seems to operate at high speeds after the 40 miles electric range is depleted, although I sometimes put the car in “mountain mode” to preserve more electric charge for stop&go city driving once I get off the highway. Mountain mode starts the engine after 25 miles or so. But the normal mode of the car is still very nice for city driving with a depleted battery- the ICE comes less than half as often as on a Prius and is very quiet.

    I wouldn’t bother to put my Volt on a charging station away from home, except maybe if I had a regular commute > 40 miles then I would charge at work also. No reason to charge in a strange place or for extended highway trips. It is just too easy to buy gas once in a while, and you don’t need much because it gets > 45mpg as a hybrid once the battery charge is depleted. And buying gas is quicker than charging which is probably key for an extended highway trip.

    I think Volt owners should band together and offer emergency charging to Leaf owners who are stranded. :-)


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:35 pm)

    Roy_H: The Karma has nothing that GM engineers couldn’t do in their sleep. To base a Corvette on the Karma would be a huge step backwards.

    I think they could do it in that weird state between waking and sleeping where nothing ever seems to go right.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    Great article! I saw on of those Fisker Karmas at the New York auto show, and I agree, it’s an absolutely beautiful car. And I’m not easily impressed.

    That said, even if the price were the same, based on that list, I would go with the Volt. It’s just a more functional car. Yes. The Fisker Karma has more bells and whistles. But the blind spot, and the extra touchpads and the reduced storage all matter a lot more than how smooth and and pretty and high tech the car is, IMHO.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    Jackson: especially since it would greatly increase visible penetration for the units almost overnight.

    Visible is the key word, since they not only don’t want chargers, but they don’t even want to be associated with charging. It has been pointed out to them that existing chargers could be upgraded for free. Their response – to remove all chargers.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    Steve,

    Emergency use is a big deal. This one storm, less powerful than expected, still knocked out electricity for 2.5% of Americans. Imagine what we will see when climate change accelerates, as it will substantially in the next 10 years.

    When Katrina struck, the only car that actually could flee the storm was the Prius. It was the only car that can drive 2mph for 4 hours and not run out of gas. Mega traffic jams are the future and having a car that can get through that might be key to your family escaping a hurricane or other disaster.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    nasaman – You lucky dawg!…..Driving a Fisker, good job!

    I have a question re: Fisker’s “Tron Sound”. Did you find it strange-sounding when they drove off? Was it loud, and did you think it was cool? From videos I’ve watched of Karma test drives, it sounds very weird to me.

    What was your impression of the Fisker touchscreen interface? To me, it’s black and white display, low dash position and fussy design make it look confusing and hard to read while driving.

    I’m glad the Fisker is here. The car industry certainly has a traditional “trickle down” mentality. Features that appear to the upper income buyer in cars costing far more than we’d pay normally appear in only a couple years in mainstream models. Aspirational buyers can buy a Karma and be seen as cutting edge, and the car is downright gorgeous, be it for an otherwordly looking wheelbase-to-height ratio. Porsche Panamera hybrid or Lexus LS hybrid buyers can now have a better option that certainly wins on a basis of exclusivity. GM certainly has taken notice as the Converj now has a green light.

    I think the oft-quoted adage: “Win on Sunday sell on Monday” to justify millions carmakers spend in racing applies well to building “halo” models. Tesla always said it’s plan was to spin the Roadster into the Model S, and from that – build a $25,000 everyman car. This volume seller is where the money is – and today we see Toyota hopping in bed with Tesla to make this happen.

    It’s the best sign when cars like the Karma and Model S are coming out. These are not the cars for the mainstream consumer, but ones they all dream about. It’s my opinion that GM did a better job of packaging with the Volt – but it is good for Volt that Fiskers are out there. Remember that the Tesla Roadster is oft quoted as the inspiration for Volt, and for that we can all be thankful.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTECS! ,

    James


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    sue jones:

    ..Imagine what we will see when climate change accelerates..

    ..Mega traffic jams are the future..

    Lol. We have a prognosticator in the group.

    Can you tell me what the TX lottery numbers will be for Saturday’s drawing? Heck, just give me the Two-Step numbers for tonight’s. I’m not greedy.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:21 pm)

    Good job on the piece, Nasaman!

    Is that an analog (or at least ersatz analog) gauge on the dash? I love the very clean look and lack of buttons and distractions in this car.

    Just give me a speedometer and a gas (um, electric?) pedal. Everything else is window dressing. Heck, with my speeding record, the speedometer is optional as well. lol.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:21 pm)

    Almost everything you need to provide on-site emergency power is already on board the Volt:

    1) Generator and engine (the range extender). This is most of the cost of a stand-alone generator.

    2) The controller necessary to assure 60hz output (the controller for the motor could substitute a phase-locked loop oscillator; this would have to be added along with a switch to disconnect the motor).

    3) Connectivity for load (well, OK; this part would have to be largely optional: The actual wire which plugs into the J1772 socket at one end, the user outlets on the other (with overload protection, and filtering to protect the controller. Reprogramming of the socket would be a matter of software).

    The inherent value of using the Volt’s RE instead of a stand-alone unit include:

    1) Improved readiness (the RE runs on a regular schedule, a small stand-alone engine sits for months, and is often a pain to start).

    2) Cleaner operation (unlike the stand-alone unit, the RE has an EPA-rated emission control system).

    3) Quieter operation (bigger engine runs more slowly through a bigger muffler).

    4) Commensurate cost (shouldn’t be more expensive than stand-alone unit, could be cheaper).

    Disadvantage (perhaps others can think of more):

    You would be limited to the amount of current which the J1772 could supply through that socket. Question for the electrical engineers: Can you split 220V into two 120V circuits at the far end, while retaining a 220V circuit? Obvious answer is “yes,” but unbalancing of the load on the various circuits may make this inadvisable. If so, the ‘far end’ will need an expensive transformer.

    Note what is missing from this list: the battery pack. GM is justifiably cautious about the strain on the Volt’s batteries; however, this approach keeps them safely out of the loop. V2H (Vehicle to Home) is a separate, later proposition; awaiting batteries with many more available cycles, and greater general ruggedness.

    GM, please consider.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:29 pm)

    crew:
    Jackson,

    Any other manufacturer using the series drivetrain with an ICE had better think twice.

    That’s what I always thought also, but in this case I kind of like it. If you have the money then the lower CS mode MPG won’t matter to you. Also, the bigger the pack the less concerned about the CS mode MPG you have to be. So on a higher AER EREV you could downsize the ICE and just go series.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    crew:
    Jackson,

    I believe that GM is wrestling with the idea of either downsizing the battery and keeping the range to sell at a better price or increasing the range for the same size battery we have now.

    They will hold 40 AER and use the difference of the cost of the battery as profit margin and/or lower the price of the car. JMG


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    sue jones: Prius. It was the only car that can drive 2mph for 4 hours and not run out of gas.

    A Hummer H1 can roll off-road at 40 miles an hour with all 4 tires flat while towing a Prius. The diesel version can run on any kind of vegetable oil, so, you don’t need a gas pump either.

    A Prius is not the ‘only’ car that can get you away from a hurricane or an insurrection. It wouldn’t even be on my top-100 list.

    I’d probably go with a ’53 Willy’s for an Armageddon ride.

    /well the towing a Prius thing was a slight exaggeration, but, the rest is true.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:34 pm)

    George S. Bower: [...]on a higher AER EREV you could downsize the ICE and just go series.

    … Which is part of why I like to advocate for an EREV100. If based on the Volt, you could even retain it’s “weak serial” mode with the smaller engine for even better efficiency, but you’re right; it probably wouldn’t be worth it for a mode which would be used less often.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:35 pm)

    sue jones,

    Sue,
    We need a light on the dash so we know when we are in “mechanical link” mode.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    T 1: Congrats to Fisker for trying to fill a hole in the mkt. And doing it with a new biz model. But like most experiments…

    #28

    Actually you are a lot more generous than I am, but I do agree with your assessment. +1

    It’s only a matter of time IMHO.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    Nasaman,

    Did you tell them you were going to publish on GM-Volt ???


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (1:52 pm)

    George S. Bower: We need a light on the dash so we know when we are in “mechanical link” mode.

    How about a “percentage of mechanical power” display, to help bludgeon home the fact that very little of it is ever used? (This could be integrated into a general percentage-of-use display; battery would stand at 100% until it’s capacity is used up, then CS mode would show mostly power from the generator (with a little from the batteries every so often), then maybe 6% from the mechanical link while accelerating above 60 mph). Just a suggestion …


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (2:57 pm)

    Loboc: A Hummer H1 can roll off-road at 40 miles an hour with all 4 tires flat while towing a Prius. The diesel version can run on any kind of vegetable oil, so, you don’t need a gas pump either.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be that confident I could find vegetable oil in a crisis. My vehicle of choice would be the Volt. Can use gas. Can use electricity. And it doesn’t require as much of either as the hummer does. It would be even better if it had a larger gas tank. Or could use ethanol. But you can’t have everything.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (3:04 pm)

    sue jones,

    LauraM,

    Two women commenting on one gm-volt thread … isn’t this some kind of record? ;-)

    Welcome, ladies!

    nasaman, you old devil!


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (3:09 pm)

    Jackson: How about a “percentage of mechanical power” display, to help bludgeon home the fact that very little of it is ever used?(This could be integrated into a general percentage-of-use display; battery would stand at 100% until it’s capacity is used up, then CS mode would show mostly power from the generator (with a little from the batteries every so often), then maybe 6% from the mechanical link while accelerating above 60 mph).Just a suggestion …

    Ah yes,

    The power split info would be fascinating.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    Jackson: sue jones,

    LauraM,

    Two women commenting on one gm-volt thread … isn’t this some kind of record?

    Welcome, ladies!

    nasaman, you old devil!

    Sounds good to me. Maybe you guys (and Ladies) could have a global warming discussion. Those are always fun to watch!!

    The best one so far was between Altazi and pdt. It was a hard fought battle but I thought pdt won. He was one of the old timers. I kind of miss him. He always had something intelligent to say. Sort of like Herm.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    OT

    1972 Datsun, all electric and street legal. 0-60 in 1.8 seconds….yes one point eight…

    watch it SMOKE an Audi Quattro…(and throw out the butt before the Audi even crosses the line…)

    http://dsc.discovery.com/cars-bikes/worlds-fastest-electric-car-is-a-72-datsun-does-0-60-in-1-8-seconds.html


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (4:15 pm)

    I have a suggestion concerning the OT discussion of making the Volt more usable under disaster conditions, and have placed a treatment of it in the forums:

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8876

    All are invited to take a look, make suggestions, or leave comments. ;-)


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (4:16 pm)

    George S. Bower: sue jones, Sue,We need a light on the dash so we know when we are in “mechanical link” mode.

    Actually, I would like to see the efficiency ball change color when the engine is running, like from green to blue, and could maybe change to purple or something when the link mode is engaged. I don’t like having to go to the power display in the center console to see when I’m running on battery only while in CS mode.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (4:32 pm)

    James: I have a question re: Fisker’s “Tron Sound”. Did you find it strange-sounding when they drove off? Was it loud, and did you think it was cool? From videos I’ve watched of Karma test drives, it sounds very weird to me.

    What was your impression of the Fisker touchscreen interface? To me, it’s black and white display, low dash position and fussy design make it look confusing and hard to read while driving.

    Loboc: Is that an analog (or at least ersatz analog) gauge on the dash? I love the very clean look and lack of buttons and distractions in this car.

    Jackson: Two women commenting on one gm-volt thread … isn’t this some kind of record? ;-)

    Welcome, ladies!

    … nasaman, you old devil!

    George S. Bower: Did you tell them you were going to publish on GM-Volt ???

    James, the “tron” sound wasn’t too loud, distracting or “weird” to either Blake or myself —but after hearing it for months or years, who knows? And as I said in the article, “The center display is “washed-out” compared to the Volt or LEAF (see above photo to compare it to the bright/clear driver’s display; it’s more noticeable in person)”. It actually is a color screen, but the color & contrast is way too dim. However, its position on the dash was OK.

    Loboc, the excellent sharp, clear driver’s display was “ersatz analog” as you say, not digital. And Fisker should get the guys who designed it to redesign the disappointing center display!

    Jackson, you can rest assured that —if I attract the ladies— it’s because they realize I’m harmless at my age. ;o) (At least I try to make them think I’m harmless!)

    Yep, George I told the Fisker guy that I’d been asked to write up our test drive for gm-volt.com. He had no comment.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (4:49 pm)

    LauraM:

    Loboc: A Hummer H1 can roll off-road at 40 miles an hour with all 4 tires flat while towing a Prius. The diesel version can run on any kind of vegetable oil, so, you don’t need a gas pump either.

    LauraM: Personally, I wouldn’t be that confident I could find vegetable oil in a crisis. My vehicle of choice would be the Volt. Can use gas. Can use electricity. And it doesn’t require as much of either as the hummer does. It would be even better if it had a larger gas tank. Or could use ethanol. But you can’t have everything.

    A Volt would be a good choice because of the built-in generator. I’m not so sure about toughness in an Armageddon situation. Vegetable oil is in every kitchen and mini-mart along your route exiting the disaster area. Gas (or diesel or ethanol) would not be available without power.

    Anybody know how much power it takes to run a gas pump? A V2GP hookup would be handy in an emergency.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:00 pm)

    The Karma is obviously a great car but it annoys me every time someone suggests that direct connection of the ICE to the wheels is a bad thing. The Volt parallel hybrid mode is said to increase efficiency by 10-15 percent. A serial hybrid is less efficient for obvious reasons. The unique Volt drivetrain also makes the car more efficient in EV mode because of the way the power from both electric motors are combined through the planetary gearset at highway speeds. I predict the Karma will be significantly less efficient in both EV mode and charge sustaining mode compared to the Volt when the official EPA numbers are released for the Karma.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:17 pm)

    George S. Bower: Sounds good to me.Maybe you guys (and Ladies) could have a global warming discussion.Those are always fun to watch!!

    The best one so far was between Altazi and pdt. It was a hard fought battle but I thought pdt won. He was one of the old timers. I kind of miss him. He always had something intelligent to say. Sort of like Herm.

    How’s this for the start a global warming discussion.

    Fact: Each year 30 billion tons of CO2 enters the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels
    Fact: Volcanoes emit 1/135 as much CO2 as the burning of fossil fuels
    Fact: The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is higher than it’s been in the last 650,000 years
    Fact: The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing extremely rapidly and will be double the highest natural peak by the end of this century if nothing is done.
    Fact: CO2 absorbs and reflects electromagnetic (EM) radiation (light) in the infrared region of the EM spectrum
    Fact: Satellites are measuring a decreased amount of energy radiating into space exactly in the region of the EM spectrum characteristic of CO2 absorption
    Fact: The average global temperature is rising ten times faster than in any natural cycles of the past 650,000 years
    Fact: When average global temperatures increased this rapidly in the distant past due to catastrophic events like meteor impacts the result was mass extinctions.
    Fact: The pH of the ocean is falling rapidly as CO2 is being absorbed in the ocean
    Fact: Changes in ocean pH resulted in mass extinctions in the distant past

    (The health of the ocean is especially important when you consider that 97% of the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from green algae in the ocean)

    These facts are easily verified. NASA, NOAA, The Nation Academy of Sciences, The US Department of Defense and countless other organizations have examined the facts and agree with the science presented in the IPCC fourth assessment report. The only argument left for AGW deniers is the existence of a global conspiracy.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    Loboc: /well the towing a Prius thing was a slight exaggeration, but, the rest is true.

    True if you’re on an actual dirt road or maintained trail. Any thing not maintained and you’ll have to slow down. Likely way down. Certainly not 40. So the Prius thing and the off road at 40 thing all create great rhetoric. Can a hummer burn straight veggie oil, or does it have to be saponified?

    Loboc: Lol. We have a prognosticator in the group.
    Can you tell me what the TX lottery numbers will be for Saturday’s drawing? Heck, just give me the Two-Step numbers for tonight’s. I’m not greedy.

    Maybe you could just…Imagine them.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:19 pm)

    I expect much more appreciated input here from women since they do purchase more cars than men, according to statistics. Also so many women were involved in Volt’s engineering and development.

    Sue Jones’ opinions and observations are right on and it’s refreshing to hear them on gm-volt.com.. I always gag at how transfixed many of us guys are at 0-60 and top speed figures. There’s a lot of scratching and posturing going on when men sit around and discuss cars. When I talk auto with guys in my family or friends at the ballpark – you would think the local highways and byways were race tracks and that we all can safely screech around burning rubber everywhere and not spend time in traffic school – or in jail.

    People who buy Volts really think about the purchase and believe their car says a lot about their priorities. It’s what I like about Volt best – you can have a cool looking car that handles like a car should feel, yet be consciencious about the state of our country and our world at the same time!*

    RECHARGE! ,

    * and it’s also a chick magnet! – ( scratches himself ) :)

    James


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:31 pm)

    volt11: Actually, I would like to see the efficiency ball change color when the engine is running, like from green to blue, and could maybe change to purple or something when the link mode is engaged. I don’t like having to go to the power display in the center console to see when I’m running on battery only while in CS mode.

    Good idea.

    Did you copy on that GM.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:33 pm)

    nasaman:

    Yep, George I told the Fisker guy that I’d been asked to write up our test drive for gm-volt.com. He had no comment.

    They are probably lurking.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (5:50 pm)

    jim1961: How’s this for the start a global warming discussion.

    Here’s a good one about how all the arctic ice melt is opening up more shipping lanes and how Canada is increasing it’s military presence in the arctic.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903327904576522720456663588.html?KEYWORDS=Canada+military+melting+ice+shipping

    So it’s pretty hard to deny that global warming is happening……but that is not why I am posting the link to this wsj article:

    It is the ultimate irony:

    The fact that these arctic areas are now more accessible due to global warming means::

    MORE OIL!!!

    Look at the bright side!!


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:07 pm)

    jeffhre: off road at 40 thing all create great rhetoric. Can a hummer burn straight veggie oil, or does it have to be saponified?

    Yes, an H1 can do 40 mph on dirt (or sand) with flat tires. The tires and rims are specifically designed so the tires will not not come off the rims easily when flat. Anyone that has been to the middle east in a uniform can confirm.

    Yes, vegetable oil can burn directly in an H1 diesel (and most diesels) as long as you don’t leave the fries in there. New oil from a store wouldn’t even need to be filtered.

    http://www.greasecar.com/


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:14 pm)

    jim1961: Fact: The average global temperature is rising ten times faster than in any natural cycles of the past 650,000 years

    This one in particular is pretty hard to prove since there is only global data for the last 30 years or so.

    I love folks that spew all these ‘facts’ without one shred of backup other than ‘go find it yourself’. As some of the climate scientists have found, credibility is key. If one of your ‘facts’ is in dispute, then, they all are.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:51 pm)

    Loboc: This one in particular is pretty hard to prove since there is only global data for the last 30 years or so.

    I love folks that spew all these ‘facts’ without one shred of backup other than ‘go find it yourself’. As some of the climate scientists have found, credibility is key. If one of your ‘facts’ is in dispute, then, they all are.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/index.html


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (6:55 pm)

    Loboc: This one in particular is pretty hard to prove since there is only global data for the last 30 years or so.

    I love folks that spew all these ‘facts’ without one shred of backup other than ‘go find it yourself’. As some of the climate scientists have found, credibility is key. If one of your ‘facts’ is in dispute, then, they all are.

    Here’s an in depth treatment of abrupt climate change from NOAA and how they can determine temperature in the distant past. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/index.html

    Let’s just say for argument’s sake that temperature is not changing rapidly (it is). Are you not concerned about the change in pH of the ocean?


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:14 pm)

    I have to say I really like Andrew Frankell’s Video…… the way he is so into it he doesn’t even look into the camera.

    Great Video!!
    and the British accent really helps!!


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    LauraM

     

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:14 pm)

    Loboc: A Volt would be a good choice because of the built-in generator. I’m not so sure about toughness in an Armageddon situation. Vegetable oil is in every kitchen and mini-mart along your route exiting the disaster area. Gas (or diesel or ethanol) would not be available without power.

    True. But I wasn’t planning on Armageddon. It was more–what I would want to have in my garage if I were in the suburbs during something like hurricane Irene? The Volt could use gas, and therefore get me out of there. But I could plug it in if there were a gas shortage afterwards.

    On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t have access to any of those kitchens or mini-marts. Leading up the storm, they’d have other things on their minds than selling me used vegetable oil.


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    DonC

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:21 pm)

    Very interesting test drive. Yours is one of the first ones I’ve seen. I’m also impressed it’s as smooth and refined as you found it. I was expecting something less. Not for the car or the interior but with the drivetrain.

    Thanks!


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:34 pm)

    George S. Bower: Sounds good to me. Maybe you guys (and Ladies) could have a global warming discussion. Those are always fun to watch!!

    The best one so far was between Altazi and pdt. It was a hard fought battle but I thought pdt won. He was one of the old timers. I kind of miss him. He always had something intelligent to say. Sort of like Herm.

    I thought people wanted to avoid those?

    But if you want a graphic visualization of melting glaciers…

    http://asiasociety.org/onthinnerice


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (9:54 pm)

    LauraM: I thought people wanted to avoid those?

    But if you want a graphic visualization of melting glaciers…

    http://asiasociety.org/onthinnerice

    The whole subject is a moot point. If you just concentrate on energy conversion efficiency you can kill 2 birds w/ one stone.


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    Adarondax

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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:40 pm)

    $108,900 is kind of pricey. Does it qualify for the $7,500 tax credit?


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (10:45 pm)

    volt11: Actually, I would like to see the efficiency ball change color when the engine is running, like from green to blue, and could maybe change to purple or something when the link mode is engaged. I don’t like having to go to the power display in the center console to see when I’m running on battery only while in CS mode.

    what would you actually do with this information?

    my reaction to this suggestion is that it would be a bad idea; the point of the ball is to encourage the driver to drive in an energy efficient manner. that determination is made based on input based on your driving actions. the software enables the on-board processors to decide when, and to what extent, to engage the ICE. if you were to modulate your driving actions based on whether you did, or did not, want the ICE to operate in some fashion, then you would probably end up making sub-optimal decisions from an energy efficient perspective. that would seem to defeat the whole purpose for the energy ball.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:39 pm)

    jim1961,

    If you look at thus study correctly, it is showing that AGW is wrong. Abrupt climate changes occurred naturally before “A” even existed!


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    Sep 1st, 2011 (11:44 pm)

    jim1961: Let’s just say for argument’s sake that temperature is not changing rapidly (it is). Are you not concerned about the change in pH of the ocean?

    Nope. Another ‘change’ that cannot be documented. An affirmation is faith not science.


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    Sep 2nd, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Yes I agree the Volt is something special. I also think the Fisker Karma is a specialty car that doesn’t compare to the Volt. Completely different customer, specialty — toy — Flippen Cool but… how dependable can it be?

    If I had a Karma, I would break something doing jack-rabbit starts and emergency stops. Hopefully nothing biological but I’m not a young man.

    I also believe the “coroprate oversite” the Volt engineers worked under has hurt the final product.
    I also love the thought of the Torque from 2 large electric motors vs 1.

    Since both cars are overpriced (imo) I may as well go with the Karma. Dreams are free.

    Now, does someone plan to buy out thier lease and resell thier Volt? I suppose I have some time before I can pick up a nice used one.

    sue jones,


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    Sep 2nd, 2011 (10:01 am)

    I prefer climate chane over global warming. If some of the models turn out — its going to be followed by rapid cooling. Some also predict some areas will cool — so if it happens, it won’t be “global”


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    Sep 2nd, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    sue jones:

    I wouldn’t bother to put my Volt on a charging station away from home, except maybe if I had a regular commute > 40 miles then I would charge at work also.No reason to charge in a strange place or for extended highway trips. It is just too easy to buy gas once in a while, and you don’t need much because it gets > 45mpg as a hybrid once the battery charge is depleted.And buying gas is quicker than charging which is probably key for an extended highway trip.

    I think Volt owners should band together and offer emergency charging to Leaf owners who are stranded.

    I would charge away from home if I were to park for over an hour. A movie, sporting event, or mall shopping trip for example. It doesn’t make sense to charge for two minutes while going to an ATM.

    As far as offering emergency charging to stranded EV owners, check out the plugshare.com website and app. You can put your home charging station “on the map” for just that purpose.


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    Sep 2nd, 2011 (2:29 pm)

    Loboc,

    Traffic jams are a big concern for anyone who has ever been to DC, Atlanta, LA, Cairo, …. you name the big city.
    They recently had a 9 day 100km traffic jam in China.
    London fixed it with a congestion tax.
    All big cities are constantly on the verge of gridlock.

    Perhaps we will all need to buy Tango EV”s to get thru traffic. Youtube that if you want to see something that is at once the sillyest and most practical car imaginable. Who doesn’t need a drag racer 2 passenger 4 wheeled motorcycle sized car with bucket seats?
    But the tango isn’t as family friendly as the Volt. You have to choose between a 2nd passenger or a bag of groceries.


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    Sep 2nd, 2011 (4:19 pm)

    George S. Bower: The fact that these arctic areas are now more accessible due to global warming means::

    MORE OIL!!!

    Look at the bright side!!

    Using OIL is creating a problem so let’s use more of it because it becomes more accessible because of OIL. Hum…


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    Sep 5th, 2011 (8:09 pm)

    Loboc: Nope. Another ‘change’ that cannot be documented. An affirmation is faith not science.

    Here is a detailed article on ocean acidification http://www.skepticalscience.com/docs/OA_not_OK_Mackie_McGraw_Hunter.pdf