Sep 27

Bob Lutz to consult with VIA Motors

 

Yesterday, Bob Lutz, the “father of the Chevrolet Volt,” announced he will be consulting with VIA Motors as it seeks to build extended-range electric trucks, vans and SUVs.

The new role for the “car guy” with a heart for electrification should be right up his alley, and Lutz enthusiastically praised the 4WD-capable vehicles VIA has been developing.


Bob Lutz

“In my long career working with GM, Ford, Chrysler and BMW, I considered the Chevy Volt the most important car we had yet made,” Lutz said. “I am now pleased to join VIA Motors to expand the vision of extended range electric vehicles and help build the next generation of electrified trucks, vans and SUVs. I believe VIA’s extended range electric trucks will be a game changer, and drive the standard for clean, high performance, utility vehicles around the world.”

According to David West, VIA’s chief marketing officer, Lutz, 79, will help the Orem, Utah company get its foot in the door with automotive partnerships and fundraising.

West told Automotive News there will be no conflict for Lutz who is also contracted as an adviser with GM. Earlier this month, GM hired Lutz on a part-time basis to assist with product development, marketing and communications.

GM agreed that Lutz’s newest gig with VIA will not affect their relationship, although Lutz is otherwise limited in which companies he can consult with.

With the exception of Lotus, for which he has been a part-time adviser, Lutz said earlier this month that his contract precluded him from consulting with most automakers.

Not VIA’s first former GM hire

Lutz has been privy to a wealth of knowledge about GM’s extended-range vehicle program, and indeed he was signed up in no small part because of his GM ties.

Among former GM employees, his hiring now puts him in the company of VIA’s COO Alan Perriton, who ran GM Korea and is credited with creating the supply chain for the now-shuttered Saturn brand. Further, a lead engineer from the Volt development team, Nick Zielinski, is VIA’s chief engineer.

“His main role will be to help move this along, particularly with GM, but also with other OEMs,” West said of Lutz. “This kind of thing needs a lot of high-level buy-in.”

A Volt-like GM E-REV truck

VIA’s plug-in electric powertrains are fitted to Chevrolet Silverados purchased from GM.

Its E-REV pickup travels a Volt-like 40 miles on a charge before the small gasoline genset kicks on.


VIA E-REV platform.

Yesterday Lutz emailed Automotive News, saying the extended-range concept “makes even more sense, economically, in large vehicles” than in smaller cars like the Volt. The goal, he said, is to “duplicate the Volt proposition for pick-ups and large SUVs. This will get these popular vehicles into the 100-mpg range.”

It would appear as ALTe is doing for Ford-based trucks, VIA is doing for GM-based trucks.

Similarly, VIA will be testing about 35 of its plug-in vehicles with fleet customers – most being utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric.

VIA’s Web site says it will begin fleet sales this year, with retail sales planned for 2013.

“Trucks have been notorious for poor fuel economy in the past,” said VIA COO, Perriton, “but when electrified, they can have a much greater impact on reducing oil consumption and emissions than smaller vehicles, while offering a much faster payback.”


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 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: 56


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (7:54 am)

    “Yesterday Lutz emailed Automotive News, saying the extended-range concept ‘makes even more sense, economically, in large vehicles’ than in smaller cars like the Volt. The goal, he said, is to ‘duplicate the Volt proposition for pick-ups and large SUVs. This will get these popular vehicles into the 100-mpg range.’”

    I’ve ALWAYS agreed with Lutz’ comment from today’s timely and well-written topic, although it has always seemed most EREV “experts” have argued otherwise. Voltec achieves fuel savings in the Volt of roughly 5:1 —in trucks we should expect fuel savings on the order of 10:1 or more! Bravo for an outstanding article on the application of the Voltec concept to larger vehicles, Jeff!


  2. 2
    Jim I

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (8:09 am)

    The vision we have all been hoping for is here!!!!!

    We all know there will be a market for this type of vehicle. It will make nasaman happy! He will have a voltec type vehicle and be able to haul his boat around.

    But I am surprised that GM is letting another company do this for the trucks and SUV’s.

    OT:

    My car is built! I got the code 3800 notice this morning!!!! It won’t be long now. :)


  3. 3
    kdawg

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (8:35 am)

    “Further, a lead engineer from the Volt development team, Nick Zielinski, is VIA’s chief engineer.”
    ————-

    So that’s what happened to Nick Z. Remember this interview in 2007 by Lyle?
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/06/07/gm-volt-exclusive-part-2-interviews-with-nick-zielinski-chief-vehicle-engineer-of-the-volt-and-gary-smyth-director-powertrain-systems/
    and
    http://gm-volt.com/2007/08/09/exclusive-interviewpodcast-with-chevy-volt-chief-engineer-on-current-state-of-volt-development/

    I got some chuckles out of the comments.


  4. 4
    Schmeltz

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (8:40 am)

    A Silverado EREV…Don’t tease us Bob! A 100 mpg Silverado would truly be a dream machine for a lot of people. The down side would be very few people being able to afford this unless batteries became extremely inexpensive.


  5. 5
    Mark Z

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (9:09 am)

    Cadillac buyers could afford an E-REV Escalade. I’d even switch to the Silverado SUV version if offered. As the Volt becomes more popular, the E-REV technology will sell itself for trucks and SUV’s. Thank you GM and VIA Motors!


  6. 6
    theflew

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Jim I:
    The vision we have all been hoping for is here!!!!!

    We all know there will be a market for this type of vehicle.It will make nasaman happy!He will have a voltec type vehicle and be able to haul his boat around.

    But I am surprised that GM is letting another company do this for the trucks and SUV’s.

    I would be surprised if GM isn’t working on this, or VIA will be on their short list of companies to purchase/partner with. Maybe that’s why Lutz is there to evaluate the technology.


  7. 7
    Bonaire

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:09 am)

    Fleets like the utility trucks will benefit from business-rate electric power to recharge – typically a few cents/kWh less than residential. Hopefully they will recharge at night as well. All the better. We know they don’t get discounts for business-rates at the fuel pump. Long term economically good for keeping costs down if EREV design is embedded in such vehicles.

    Instead of 10mpg utility vehicles, you may see 55-70mpge for their typical daily routes. Converting one utility truck doing 30-50 mile routes a day is like converting 3 commuter vehicles doing 40 mile commutes per day. Sounds great especially considering the pollution these trucks can end up putting out over time especially in city traffic w/ stop and go driving.

    I bet their CS-mode will be more like 15mpg than their original 10mpg using ICE (assuming the truck was at 10mpg to begin with).

    Down the road, I hope they address what I see are the biggest polluters of all and those who can really benefit from electric conversion – cement mixer trucks. They sit and idle and have a short-delivery run of 90-minutes max from the cement plant. When they do drive, they billow a large amount of smoke. The torque from electric motors would surely benefit the weight of these big utility trucks. Trouble is, though, their load is heavy but the dollars made per load is relatively small compared to say UPS or FedEx so they’ll be the last to convert, most likely.


  8. 8
    flmark

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:23 am)

    [Comment Edit after looking closer at 'towing' in literature]: It states ‘payload’ capacity. This makes it a little confusing, as tongue weight is usually about 10% of towed load. Perhaps they do have decent towed weight capacity, but the literature describing towing capability should definitely make it clear. ['Ample' is not a specification; if they are quoting numbers in one place, it would have made sense to say 'up to xxx lbs towing'].

    I hope someone for Via Motors reads this comment…


  9. 9
    kdawg

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:30 am)

    Schmeltz: The down side would be very few people being able to afford this unless batteries became extremely inexpensive.

    Lots of poeple spend well north of 50K for trucks. If the batteries cost 10K, and you get $7500 back in taxes, it wont take very long with gas savings to recoupe the cost. Compare a 14mpg truck to 100mpg. They should add an EREV truck to Kiplinger’s Calculator.


  10. 10
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:31 am)

    Whoa,

    Seems like a great idea up front. but just some thoughts.

    1) This is a GREAT Fleet truck.

    Perfect for PG &E but not so great if NASA man wants to drive 400 miles to a lake pulling a heavy boat uphill. With only 150 KW of generator he will have to have a pretty LIGHT boat to make it work,,,,so again, it’s great around town but it is not a cross country hauler

    2) Why isn’t GM doing this.????

    Seems like they could do this truck EXACTLY the way they did the Volt. You start with the existing big 2 mode transmission and you mod it to work the same way as the Volt so you get mechanical assist on the highway. This way Nasaman can pull his big boat all the way to lake Havasu and back and have the power and fuel consumption required to get the job done.


  11. 11
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:35 am)

    Bonaire:

    I bet their CS-mode will be more like 15mpg than their original 10mpg using ICE (assuming the truck was at 10mpg to begin with).

    I’ll take the bet. Since it is pure series it would get WORSE mileage in CS mode not better.


  12. 12
    Schmeltz

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:45 am)

    theflew: I would be surprised if GM isn’t working on this, or VIA will be on their short list of companies to purchase/partner with. Maybe that’s why Lutz is there to evaluate the technology.

    I thought of this too. If you remember recently, Ford’s Alan Mulally ran into Akio Toyoda at an airport, got to talking, and formed a loose gentlemen’s agreement to co-develop hyrbrid set-ups for trucks and SUV’s. So if GM is choosing NOT to work on ultra efficient trucks such as this arrangement by VIA, then they could be hugely shooting themselves in the foot several years down the road. As much as Dan Ackerson appears to be behind the Voltec idea, I hope he and the other folks at the top realize the golden opportunity they have in front of them here.


  13. 13
    Schmeltz

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:55 am)

    kdawg: Lots of poeple spend well north of 50K for trucks. If the batteries cost 10K, and you get $7500 back in taxes, it wont take very long with gas savings to recoupe the cost. Compare a 14mpg truck to 100mpg. They should add an EREV truck to Kiplinger’s Calculator.

    All good points. I guess I think of GM’s foray into the 2-mode hybrid and how expensive they are vs. realized fuel savings. Then again, this isn’t a 4 or 5 mpg improvement we are talking about here…this is potential for 100 mpg from a pick-up truck! I would be interested to know what the final cost of vehicle like this would be.

    One question, the name “Raser technologies” was brought up in the video. Are Raser and Via separate companies? Are they affiliated with each other or co-developing drivetrains? I’m a little confused about this since I thought Raser was already doing the exact same thing Via is proposing.


  14. 14
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:55 am)

    flmark:

    My Tahoe Hybrid offers 6000 lb towing capacity

    Way to go. Nice SUV!


  15. 15
    Loboc

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:58 am)

    George S. Bower: 2) Why isn’t GM doing this.????

    They are. The existing two-mode transmission could work if they also do eAssist on the ICE side (engine stop and other efficiencies).

    The problem is the cost of these alts just don’t work for an individual. Especially when you can only get them in a high-end truck.

    I’m hoping that Ram will do a CNG pickup for individuals soon. CNG is less costly than EREV and saves almost as much in fuel costs. They all tried this a while back, but, gas was just too cheap then. It’s a whole new ball game now.


  16. 16
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:04 am)

    theflew: I would be surprised if GM isn’t working on this, or VIA will be on their short list of companies to purchase/partner with.Maybe that’s why Lutz is there to evaluate the technology.

    GM has no need for any of VIA’s technology. GM already has all of it and more. They need to get serious about their 2 mode and start offering it in a package that gets the price down…..and offer a plug in version of it. If they don’t Ford is going to whip their butts w/ Ford’s tieup w/ Toyota.

    Come on GM!! What are you doing???


  17. 17
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:07 am)

    Loboc: They are. The existing two-mode transmission could work if they also do eAssist on the ICE side (engine stop and other efficiencies).
    .

    Loboc,
    the existing 2 mode already does everything that e-assist does so adding e-assist would not improve it.


  18. 18
    stuart22

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:18 am)

    This is fantastic news. I need a truck for what I do, in fact my truck is my all purpose driver. $79k is pretty steep price to pay but are there are any govt. incentives that will be available?


  19. 19
    DonC

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:19 am)

    Loboc: I’m hoping that Ram will do a CNG pickup for individuals soon.

    The note about a truck for individuals suggests maybe you’d be interested. I can’t believe “Mr. Power” would want a wimpy CNG truck. You do realize that a CNG delivers less substantially less HP than a gas or diesel equivalent? :-)

    Loboc: The existing two-mode transmission could work if they also do eAssist on the ICE side (engine stop and other efficiencies).

    Two-mode already incorporates start stop so long as temperature permits.


  20. 20
    Tom W

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Couldn’t GM build a much less expensive EREV VOLT (as well as other SUV, Pickups etc) by doing the following
    - start with the volt 16 kwh battery
    - put a much smaller / lighter / cheaper onboard ICE generator
    - display remaining charge and remaining range
    - let the driver decide when to turn on the onboard generator (runs at one speed only). If Range says 10 miles and i have 20 miles to go driver from experience would know when to turn on the generator.
    - For this car it may require pulling over and charging a while to go up pikes peak but I would opt for this car to save money and deal with occasional pulling over on long trips to let it charge. Thats more convenient then stopping for an electric charge.

    Just seems like they already have the technology to make these cars a great value buy, but I keep thinking they aren’t in a hurry to make $28,000 cars when they can make $40,000 cars until their $7500 credit runs out.


  21. 21
    DonC

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    nasaman: I’ve ALWAYS agreed with Lutz’ comment from today’s timely and well-written topic, although it has always seemed most EREV “experts” have argued otherwise. Voltec achieves fuel savings in the Volt of roughly 5:1 —in trucks we should expect fuel savings on the order of 10:1 or more!

    A BEV truck would be the most efficient but, once you need a hybrid, a parallel hybrid is more efficient than a serial or an EREV. Lutz knows this. In fact if you read his book “Car Guys Versus Bean Counters” he talks about how the engineers continually presented this fact as a reason NOT to do the Volt as an EREV.

    Ultimately Lutz understood that the Volt was not about efficiency but about delivering an electric experience. I’m not sure the calculus is the same with a truck like this. IOW the existing two-mode system, or a derivative plug-in one, is probably a better platform for this application as a general matter. But for specific companies, like electric utility companies, there may be PR value in having an electric vehicle.


  22. 22
    Anthony

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Schmeltz: One question, the name “Raser technologies” was brought up in the video. Are Raser and Via separate companies? Are they affiliated with each other or co-developing drivetrains? I’m a little confused about this since I thought Raser was already doing the exact same thing Via is proposing.

    Raser Tech had two groups of technologies – geothermal power production and EREV cars. They split the company and Raser got the geothermal power part and Via Motors got the electric cars part.


  23. 23
    Loboc

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:56 am)

    DonC: would want a wimpy CNG truck.

    CNG tuned correctly (use 12:1 compression ratio) makes as much power as gas.


  24. 24
    BLIND GUY

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:57 am)

    #15 Loboc I’m hoping that Ram will do a CNG pickup for individuals soon.

    I can easily imagine a competition between CNG vehicles and EVs in the near future. With the current NG boom; sorry, happening now; I could see some people choosing CNG because of cost and much less complex to fix than EREV IMO. CNG needs to be available for the public much more then it currently is for people to consider switching to them. I still have my doubts about companies fracking responsibly. I would rather not have to acquire a NG compressor at my home; especially since we don’t have NG at home now.


  25. 25
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    DonC: A BEV truck would be the most efficient but, once you need a hybrid, a parallel hybrid is more efficient than a serial or an EREV. Lutz knows this. In fact if you read his book “Car Guys Versus Bean Counters” he talks about how the engineers continually presented this fact as a reason NOT to do the Volt as an EREV.

    I am looking for a new book to put in my kindle. Just got done w/ “The Wave”. Car guys sounds interesting.
    Thx,
    GSB


  26. 26
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Schmeltz: One question, the name “Raser technologies” was brought up in the video. Are Raser and Via separate companies?

    #13

    “The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” – Jack Webb/Joe Friday.

    Good catch. LOL. +1


  27. 27
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:19 pm)

    George S. Bower: GM has no need for any of VIA’s technology. GM already has all of it and more. They need to get serious about their 2 mode and start offering it in a package that gets the price down…..and offer a plug in version of it. If they don’t Ford is going to whip their butts w/ Ford’s tieup w/ Toyota.

    Come on GM!! What are you doing???

    #16

    Amen. +1


  28. 28
    pjkPA

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    Electric truck… that would be great…
    I’m still waiting for the Chevy Amp Voltec… I hope that’s in the works right now?
    Wonder why nothing is being said about the Chevy Amp?


  29. 29
    Noel Park

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    The argument that a hybrid truck saves more gas than a hybrid car was the argument GM put forward from the beginning for doing the hybrid pickups/SUVs instead of a Prius fighter. We all know how that turned out. Sales are invisible.


  30. 30
    Schmeltz

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    Anthony: Raser Tech had two groups of technologies – geothermal power production and EREV cars. They split the company and Raser got the geothermal power part and Via Motors got the electric cars part.

    Thanks for that explanation Anthony. I was really confused when I saw “Raser” on the side of the Via trucks.


  31. 31
    Schmeltz

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    Noel Park: “The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” – Jack Webb/Joe Friday.

    Good one Noel! LOL!


  32. 32
    kdawg

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    Tom W: Couldn’t GM build a much less expensive EREV VOLT (as well as other SUV, Pickups etc) by doing the following
    - start with the volt 16 kwh battery
    - put a much smaller / lighter / cheaper onboard ICE generator
    - display remaining charge and remaining range
    - let the driver decide when to turn on the onboard generator (runs at one speed only). If Range says 10 miles and i have 20 miles to go driver from experience would know when to turn on the generator.
    - For this car it may require pulling over and charging a while to go up pikes peak but I would opt for this car to save money and deal with occasional pulling over on long trips to let it charge. Thats more convenient then stopping for an electric charge.
    Just seems like they already have the technology to make these cars a great value buy, but I keep thinking they aren’t in a hurry to make $28,000 cars when they can make $40,000 cars until their $7500 credit runs out.

    If you reduce the generator too much, it will not be able to provide enough power to drive the car. Basically, you would have to pull over every 40miles and recharge. I like the fact the Volt turns the generator on for me automatically when the charge drops low, but I would also like the option to force the generator to come on, to save my battery charge.


  33. 33
    Jackson

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:50 pm)

    Tom W: Couldn’t GM build a much less expensive EREV VOLT (as well as other SUV, Pickups etc) by doing the following
    - start with the volt 16 kwh battery
    - put a much smaller / lighter / cheaper onboard ICE generator
    - display remaining charge and remaining range
    - let the driver decide when to turn on the onboard generator (runs at one speed only). If Range says 10 miles and i have 20 miles to go driver from experience would know when to turn on the generator.
    - For this car it may require pulling over and charging a while to go up pikes peak but I would opt for this car to save money and deal with occasional pulling over on long trips to let it charge. Thats more convenient then stopping for an electric charge.

    I’ve long been a fan of this idea; it’s what I hoped the Volt would be when I came to the site. Unfortunately, as I came to realize, there is a real engineering limitation which prevents this — for now. The problem is the existing Volt 16kwh pack; or more specifically, the cells.

    In order to make the Volt as we know it today a reasonable proposition, the pack needed to be capable of a certain lifetime (while being light, small and cheap enough). The need for overall lifetime means carefully husbanding the current cells’ limited number of overall cycles. To achieve this, the current generator/engine must vary it’s speed to match driving load as closely as possible; depending on the pack to make up the remaining small difference in a “buffer” mode.

    To use a smaller, constant-speed generator, the existing pack would be buffering deeply all the time, using more of the cells’ cycles. This would quickly expend it’s overall lifetime: unacceptable for a general-purpose automobile.

    I have much hope that the small, constant-speed generator version you describe will someday become a reality; but it will have to wait for the battery cells with enough available cycles to ‘burn’ in a deep-cycling buffer.*

    *These cells would also allow more (if not all) of the 16kwh to be actually used on the road, not the restricted 10kwh or so which also helps to preserve overall pack life.

    EDIT (sorry, missed your comment):

    kdawg: If you reduce the generator too much, it will not be able to provide enough power to drive the car. Basically, you would have to pull over every 40miles and recharge.

    I believe that if the engine/generator is sized to provide average driving load requirement, and/or enough to match load at highway speeds, this “pulling over every 40miles [to] recharge” situation would be pretty rare. It would be necessary only in a “Pike’s Peak” situation. The software could easily be designed to turn the fixed speed unit on and off just as transparently as in today’s Volt (this would happen more frequently, of course; this would be another design consideration).


  34. 34
    DonC

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (12:58 pm)

    George S. Bower: I am looking for a new book to put in my kindle.

    It’s a fun quick read. For something more meaty try Yergin’s “The Quest”.

    Loboc: CNG tuned correctly (use 12:1 compression ratio) makes as much power as gas.

    You’re right it could be done but it won’t be done. Case in point the Honda Civic GX. You’ll have a wimpy truck!


  35. 35
    Jackson

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    Bonaire: Down the road, I hope they address what I see are the biggest polluters of all and those who can really benefit from electric conversion – cement mixer trucks. They sit and idle and have a short-delivery run of 90-minutes max from the cement plant. When they do drive, they billow a large amount of smoke.

    What if a moderately sized pack were used only to turn the drum and pump (and whatever other gizmos are required) to keep the concrete fluid and deliverable at the job site? I imagine 16 kwh could keep the actual mixer turning for hours. This could add up to a lot of fuel savings.

    I don’t think all-electric propulsion for a concrete truck is in the cards. Biofuels or CNG will likely be used instead. A propulsion hybrid system limited only to start-and-stop operation would still be a big plus, but a concrete-truck-size battery pack for this would need to be capable of very large surges of energy; not currenty possible. Eaton has a hydraulically-based regeneration system which may be better in these large-scale start-and-stop applications, and it can be used now:

    http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/ProductsServices/ProductsbyCategory/HybridPower/SystemsOverview/index.htm

    (blurb at lower right)

    This could do much to greatly reduce the billows of black smoke, since this mostly occurs when the trucks start off through their lowest gears.

    The electric drum-turner and Hydraulic Launch Assist combination would use each technology in the place(s) they work best; to save significant amounts fuel overall.


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    Randy

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (1:28 pm)

    I could use 10-20 AER in my truck so that would 1/2 the battery price. ALso i think conversions would be popular as some are doing it already. SInce truck and SUVS are half of new vehicle out sales it only makes sense to go there.


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    Jackson

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (1:54 pm)

    Randy:
    I could use 10-20 AER in my truck so that would 1/2 the battery price. ALso i think conversions would be popular as some are doing it already. SInce truck and SUVS are half of new vehicle out sales it only makes sense to go there.

    The bigger the vehicle, the more energy is required to move it; the existing Volt pack would likely provide only 10 – 20 AER. To get 40, you’d need the equivalent of at least two. Nor could you halve battery storage without harmful consequences; the greater the power requirement, the more load is applied to the individual cells. Without enough cells, the lifetime of a smaller truck pack could also be halved, or at least greatly reduced. The EREV truck isn’t going to be a cheap proposition, regardless of any value tradeoff.

    While I believe that EREV trucks are a good idea, there are nowhere near as many people who can afford one verses a smaller car like the Volt. Only the wealthy Country Cadillac crowd, and serious truck users are likely to spring for the premium. I think GM is doing the smart thing by attempting the more attainable platforms first, and moving to the larger ones later. Once EREV is a known quantity for more buyers, an EREV or Plug-In truck will be an instantly-recognized proposition for those who want one.

    Then, there is the case of available cell volume to consider: A bigger vehicle will use more of the limited supply; you can get more units out the door if they have smaller packs. There are many who will judge EREV’s success by number of units sold. A supply of EREV trucks and SUVs intended for consumers may wait for increased battery production capacity, if for no other reason.


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    Anthony

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (3:39 pm)

    Jackson: The bigger the vehicle, the more energy is required to move it; the existing Volt pack would likely provide only 10 – 20 AER. To get 40, you’d need the equivalent of at least two

    Sort of. The diagram above says a 24kWh pack. They might use close to double the capacity (18kWh instead of 10kWh for a Volt), and just live with a higher depth of discharge (95% to 20%). Especially if these don’t enter production until 2013 it seems likely they’ll be able to get a choice of better performing batteries than GM had to choose from in 2009/2010 when the Volt started risk and full production.


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    kdawg

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (3:52 pm)

    What’s the most battery (kwh) for the buck (not counting lead acid)? You can somewhat toss size/weight out of the equation when you’re dealing with big trucks. Seems like there would be lots of spare room to install batteries. Even if you used up 1/3 of the truck bed. If the batteries were more exposed, or had heat sinks exposed, maybe you could get away with air cooling. Just thinking of how to cheapen the design.


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    N Riley

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (4:34 pm)

    EREV trucks! Now we are talking!!!


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (4:56 pm)

    Very exciting news. Many of us have been saying this for years.


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    nasaman

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (5:26 pm)

    How ’bout a little comic relief, folks?

    …Here’s a 45 sec recording of a Magnum Hemi for Volt or Leaf owners waitng for “Green” that should raise eyebrows in a windows-down-stop-light derby alongside other drivers :) :) :) :

    Click & pretend: http://www.classicchambered.com/sounds/Magnum_Idle-PS.mp3


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    WVhybrid

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (6:59 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    I am looking for a new book to put in my kindle. Just got done w/ “The Wave”. Car guys sounds interesting.
    Thx,
    GSB

    You should get it, George. It is a great book. Gives you a great perspective on an old fighter pilot and how he did business at GM.

    One particularly interesting passage was what happened to the “visioning” group, who often sat around in bean bag chairs.

    I could write a lot more, but it might spoil your fun.

    Get the book.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (8:48 pm)

    nasaman:
    How ’bout a little comic relief, folks?

    …Here’s a 45 sec recording of a Magnum Hemi for Volt or Leaf owners waitng for “Green” that should raise eyebrows in a windows-down-stop-light derby alongside other drivers :

    Click & pretend:

    Thx Nasaman, that was a good one!!


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (8:52 pm)

    kdawg:

    What’s the most battery (kwh) for the buck (not counting lead acid)?

    A cheap azz CHINESE copy of an Fe A123 battery.

    Thx Cpn Jack.


  46. 46
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (8:59 pm)

    What is Bob driving.
    A Saturn??


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (9:52 pm)

    George S. Bower: I am looking for a new book to put in my kindle. Just got done w/ “The Wave”. Car guys sounds interesting.
    Thx,
    GSB

    If you want to start with a free read, check out (VerticalScope’s) Truth About Cars’ recent write-up on Bob Lutz. Eddie Niedermeyer met with him, and I’m told they hit it off pretty well …

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/the-ten-myths-of-bob-lutz/


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    At_Liberty

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:13 pm)

    Oh Yea ! This is wot we ben talkin’ ’bout …..


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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:14 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    What is Bob driving.A Saturn??

    I think it’s a Pontiac Solstice .


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:24 pm)

    At_Liberty: I think it’s aPontiac Solstice .

    Rings a bell.


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    Tom W

     

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    Sep 27th, 2011 (10:25 pm)

    Jackson: In order to make the Volt as we know it today a reasonable proposition, the pack needed to be capable of a certain lifetime (while being light, small and cheap enough). The need for overall lifetime means carefully husbanding the current cells’ limited number of overall cycles. To achieve this, the current generator/engine must vary it’s speed to match driving load as closely as possible; depending on the pack to make up the remaining small difference in a “buffer” mode.
    To use a smaller, constant-speed generator, the existing pack would be buffering deeply all the time, using more of the cells’ cycles. This would quickly expend it’s overall lifetime: unacceptable for a general-purpose automobile.
    I have much hope that the small, constant-speed generator version you describe will someday become a reality; but it will have to wait for the battery cells with enough available cycles to ‘burn’ in a deep-cycling buffer.*
    *These cells would also allow more (if not all) of the 16kwh to be actually used on the road, not the restricted 10kwh or so which also helps to preserve overall pack life.

    Thanks Jackson – Perhaps you are correct, I would think software could handle this bufferring as you describe it – I.E. the driver turning on the smaller generator with 10 miles range left knowing that with the generator running and recharging cells at half the rate they are being depleted, then after 20 miles the car has to stop. Instead of stopping to charge, the generator idles and charges the battery while the driver takes a break. Or the car goes into a half power state?

    Anyways my point is as a driver and planning my trips, I’d rather have that if it saved a few thousands dollars on the purchase of the car because I need a car with a lower cost of operation a lot more than I need convenience for the few times a year it is an issue.


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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:05 pm)

    DonC: A BEV truck would be the most efficient but, once you need a hybrid, a parallel hybrid is more efficient than a serial or an EREV. Lutz knows this. In fact if you read his book “Car Guys Versus Bean Counters” he talks about how the engineers continually presented this fact as a reason NOT to do the Volt as an EREV.

    Ultimately Lutz understood that the Volt was not about efficiency but about delivering an electric experience. I’m not sure the calculus is the same with a truck like this. IOW the existing two-mode system, or a derivative plug-in one, is probably a better platform for this application as a general matter. But for specific companies, like electric utility companies, there may be PR value in having an electric vehicle.

    i’m not a big fan of bob lutz; i saw one of his interviews in which he talked about his book “car guys…” and i found his comments to be very self-serving. lutz attempts to blame the problems of detroit on “the mba’s” and make it seem like the “car guys” are the heros. what lutz fails to mention in his rather self-serving remarks is that a lot of the problems in detroit were due to a lack of vision among the “car guys” and their tendency to get mired in conventional wisdom. assuming that you have accurately reported the “car guys” vision for the volt, that sounds like a perfect example of a lack of vision.

    the “vision” should be toward a new mode of vehicle transport – namely *away* from internal combustion. what you are suggesting is that the “car guys” viewed the task as being one in which you continue to tweak in internal combustion concept by using electric motors as a means for improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines.

    the erev should be viewed, in my opinion, as stepping stone toward a bev. it should be theoretically possible to build bev’s with a driving range of around 1,000 miles on a single charge, but the technology is nowhere near that today, so driving range on a single charge is the key limitation to the bev concept today.

    one of the limitations in the volt traction motor is that the torque tends to fall off when you approach highway speeds. instead of going into parallel hybrid mode (as i understand the plug-in prius does) the volt employs a continuously variable transmission to vary the effective gear ratio faced by the traction motor – that’s what happens when the generator motor engages the sun gear. so by refusing to buy into the serial hybrid concept, “the mba’s” may have forced the “car guys” to discover a new, and possibly better approach instead of trying to continuously tweak the parallel hybrid approach.

    i would think that some of the volt concepts would carry over to a truck pretty well in theory, but there would be a lot of challenges in developing a reasonably practical vehicle. for example, i would imagine that the driving range in charge depletion mode would be very limited in a heavy duty truck. i would also imagine that you would need a much bigger internal combustion engine to generate a lot more power or else the IC engine would be spending a lot of time engaged in the drive train in charge sustaining mode.


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    Sep 27th, 2011 (11:17 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    What is Bob driving.A Saturn??

    if you look over lutz’ right shoulder in the photo, you will see a pontiac logo. that tells you that the possible candidates are 2-seat cars made by pontiac. to me it looks like a pontiac solstice.

    the crazy thing about pontiac (and gm in general) is that pontiac was making dowdy-looking cars, but right before they shut down the line, pontiac came out with a series of pretty well-designed cars; i thought that the g6 and g8 were pretty well-designed cars. likewise, when gm was on the ropes, they started turning out better designed cars; the volt is not the only example.


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    Sep 28th, 2011 (12:09 am)

    kdawg: If you reduce the generator too much, it will not be able to provide enough power to drive the car. Basically, you would have to pull over every 40miles and recharge.I like the fact the Volt turns the generator on for me automatically when the charge drops low, but I would also like the option to force the generator to come on, to save my battery charge.

    i understand why california does not want people to have the option to force the ICE to turn on. what california wants to achieve is less pollution/gasoline consumption. if you were to, say, turn on the ICE to “bank” charge with the intention of turning off the ICE later, you might forget later. then you have unnecessarily used gasoline.

    furthermore, many of the readers in this forum seem to think of themselves as the “tinkering” type, but the vast majority of drivers aren’t the tinkering type – they just want to get in the car and drive, they don’t want to turn it into an experience like flying an airplane. but ask yourselves if you *really* are the tinkering types that you think you are…at present, if you are driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you have the option to “override” the automatic transmission by shifting the transmission into whatever gear is available. i suspect that most of you put the car in “drive” and leave it. if you’re that way with your transmissions now, what makes you think that you really are going to be doing all of this “mode switching” if the option were available in the volt? instead, i think that for most of you, it will be like a toy; something that you will play with for a while and never use again after the amusement has worn off.


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    HaroldC

     

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    Sep 28th, 2011 (12:38 am)

    no comment,

    three comments for no comment…….but good comments
    l agree wholeheartedly with you on all three…
    +3…amen


  56. 56
    Darius

     

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    Sep 28th, 2011 (3:27 am)

    The leaflet tells ’150 kW generator can power entire home’. Not only home but entire vilage.
    Why they are avoiding diesel engines? They are more efficient especialy when used as generators.