[ad#post_ad]Thanks to the watchful eye of astute GM-Volt reader Don O, a new information-filled Volt test drive video has been unearthed. The 8 minute segment appears on Aol Autos Tranlogic and includes in it some never before disclosed information.
The vehicle was test driven by an enthusiastic reporter named Bradley who seemed very psyched about the car. He got to take it around GMs Milford proving grounds and put it through some rigorous paces. It appears to be a near if not 100% calibration build, and GM let him check things we have never seen before. One was to let him time the 0 to 60 which came out at a respectable 8.53 seconds in Sports mode.
We also find out that the Mountain Mode keeps the battery state of charge at 45% instead of the 30% level when the generator goes on normally. GM had not previously disclosed that buffer level.
He was also allowed to drive the car through the transition into generator mode and beyond. At time 5:50 in the video he was shown a real data display on the car illustrating how that Volt performed from when it was first charged that day. Interesting figures to note was that it managed 43.7 miles before the generator came on, breaking the 40 mile goal range. The car then traveled an additional 16.1 miles using .59 gallons of gas for an average real-world MPG of 27.3 MPG.
Of course it isn’t fair to say that this will be the official average MPG in charge sustaining mode, but one could assume weather conditions were fairly good and driving fairly tame considering the car did get more than 40 miles of EV range.
We don’t expect GM to ever officially release charge sustaining MPG, but will report the ca’rs overall fuel economy including the 40 miles of EV range. For the drive in this test video, for example, the Volt got a combined 100 MPG over those 59.7 miles of driving.
The reporter appeared to come away quite happy about the Volt and having apparently also driven the Nissan LEAF found the Volt superior in interior room, handling and driving performance. The Volt “borders on sporty and is fun,” he said.
[ad#post_ad]The video below illustrates a safety test GM is putting Chevrolet Volt test cars through, called the flooded road test.
It takes place at GM’s Milford proving grounds and is headed by Engineer Rob Drexler. Concerns about putting large batteries in water is the rationale for the test which is done “to verify and confirm the customer is protected from any water intrusion into the battery,” says Drexler.
He notes the Volt’s battery system has three or four detection systems inside that will kill the power if water is detected inside. Development testing with a battery shell in the same trough, checking to ensure water did not enter it had been done six months ago.
The test demonstrated is an actual live battery in a Volt run through at various depths and speeds. It is both driven forward and in reverse multiple times. In between each run, engineers physically check the battery and the air induction system to make sure it passes specifications.
Whether water enters the pack is determined indirectly in between each run, and after the whole test the pack is physically completely broken down and visually checked by hand.
Drexel notes there are very stringent specifications for the allowance of any water into the battery and that the Volt is, of course, passing.
Previously, GM battery engineer Lance Turner described a test where GM fully submerged an EV-1 into a tank of salt water to simulate what would happen if a passenger accidentally drove into the sea.
I asked Turner if such a test had been done with the Volt. “I can’t confirm or deny,” says Turner.
[ad#post_ad]I had the chance to ride in the Chevrolet Volt prototype that GM staff drove from Austin Texas to New York City on July 4th.
This particular prototype, called “a golden IVer” due to its proximity to a final production car, had been built in December 2009, and had nearly 10,000 engineering miles on it. The software controls were more than 99% complete according to Will Handzel, the GM controls engineer who actually drove the car. Interior surfacing was still a bit rudimentary and there was a bit of wear and tear inside.
This was my first chance to ride in the Volt (I had the passenger seat) in real-world highway driving situations, though I have driven it for about an hour, sub-50 mph around around a test track. We took the car about 15 miles from Liberty Park in NJ to midtown Manhattan.
I found the car very cheerful, pleasant and bright. It was spacious and airy inside. Even though the day was bright and sunny, the LCD displays were very bright, crisp and vivid. I saw the OnStar navigation system in action and it worked perfectly, as did the handsfree phone and the capacitive controls, though Will felt they took a bit of getting used to.
When we started off in the car it had about 4 miles of EV range, and once again I missed the switchover to generator mode, never noticing it. The car was smooth and solid all the way. The only sound I could notice was from the fan from the air conditioning which worked terrifically, in comfort mode, on a day it was more than 95 degrees outside.
I specifically asked Will to demonstrate accelerating from 55 to 80 MPH, while we were on the highway. When I asked him, he said throughout his 1776 mile drive, and indeed all his Volt driving, passing on the highway was never a problem. ”We never had an issue,” he said. Acceleration from low speed and stop certainly wasn’t a problem, the car springs onto the highway with gusto.
Acceleration from 55 to 80 was strong and linear. There was no customary downshift effect people may be accustomed to in traditional vehicles, but, that really didn’t matter. The car swiftly made it to high passing speed in a constant and confident fashion.
Yes, this is different than a standard gas car, but in my opinion represented no trade off or loss of function. It worked wonderfully well.
It was also very quiet while driving. After getting out and standing aside it, while it was idling in the heat, the engine could be heard running.
Still no final word on final fuel efficiency numbers, as GM still says they are being negotiated with the EPA, but obviously will be finalized and made public soon. Expectations are that fuel economy will be somewhat above that of the best-in-class standard gas compact car.
In conclusion, there are no surprises here, the car handles capably in the highway setting.
You can check out my experience in the video below:
[ad#post_ad-1]General Motors has launched a new YouTube video they are calling How the Volt Works.
It is the latest effort in a series of short and simple videos that attempt to explain the virtues and values of the Chevy Volt to people new to the idea.
A previous video showed a cut out paper Volt travelling though a cartoon landscape, and tried to explain why an extended-range electric vehicle was better than a pure EV.
The Chevy Volt song and dance, as it came to be known thanks to, well this site, was a simple yet catchy tune and acompanying remarkably absurd dance routine targeted ast school age kids and played in the LA Auto Show.
So poorly received universally, that act will surely never be seen again, and it is speculated may have led to the re-assignment of the Volt marketing director who was responsible for it.
Now we have another neat 2:47 clean, simple and spartan video, showing the car and a cheerful clear-speaking female narrator. The basics of the car is explained.
Certainly for the regular GM-Volt.com reader the content of this video is nothing new, but we can analyze the effort. Though we realize the value of the Volt, it is critically important that GM succesfully explain this unique variety of vehicle to the average consumer suich that they can distinguish why it is superior to both hybrids and pure EVs. This education may be essential in enabling the mass adoption of EREVs.