: Fast charging!



DJWilson2
12-14-2011, 10:10 AM
How did this critical feature get dropped by the GM Engineering team?

We must now consider charging to handled in 30 minute increments (due to Leaf and Tesla support), the 4 hour public charge is neither viable nor courteous. So the Volt takes up to 8 slots to charge up which as a EV owner is unacceptable!

This means that Volt owners may be shunned from using any public chargers (as most will probably be set to fast charge only to offer the maximum number of users the ability to charge and charging 8 cars is much more efficient than charging 1 car over the same time.

I can see where some would say that since the Volt has a ICE charging is not so vital to it's use but as a driver I prefer to drive on battery rather than the ICE.

GM Engineers need to perform a bug fix and get this issue resolved, as well as back fit all present Volts to support it.

tboult
12-14-2011, 10:17 AM
Trying to keep costs down, I think they GM folks made the right choice. Public charging is not going to be very cost effective even with fast chargers. Fast chargers need more significant infrastructure (non-standard power installed), so you can expect to need to pay more for them.

If the Volt needs power it can just run the ICE which is likely going to cost less than a charging station refill for 40 miles. If people fill up at work, it might be an issue but then the Volt really just needs a 120v plug, not a special charger.

scottf200
12-14-2011, 10:32 AM
How did this critical feature get dropped by the GM Engineering team?<snip>
GM Engineers need to perform a bug fix and get this issue resolved, as well as back fit all present Volts to support it.It is not a critical feature as the battery size and ability to recharge overnight on 120v (standard garage) fit in the ~40 daily needs per various studies. Besides there was not a L3 charging standard at the time. The one in the Leaf is not a standard and is mainly available in Japan. You need to do a lot more research if you think this is a 'bug fix' from both a hardware, software, and business sense stand point before you talked about GM "dropped" and "back fit".

mike1
12-14-2011, 10:47 AM
Level 3 charging is far, far more complicated than Level 1/2 charging. The average cost for a L3 charging station (as speculated in the media, not sure if it's totally accurate) is $20,000...vs $500-1000 for level 2. Good luck convincing someone to install one of those for free public use, not to mention the inevitable costs to beef up their electrical wiring to support the load. Level 3 charging with today's battery technology can also shorten the life of the battery. Even Nissan in the LEAF owner's manual specifies that frequent L3 charging can damage the battery, and I believe it will even void your warranty (though there are debates about whether they can enforce this or not).

I think you might have a valid point in regards to 3.3kW Level 2 charging. The level 2 charging specification supports far more than 3.3kW. I wonder why the Volt can't charge at 6.6kW? My understanding is that exceeding 240V at 40A is where you generally need to beef up wiring, but most 240V circuits are good for 30-40A. I couldn't disagree more though that this is a bug with the Volt. The fast charging that you refer to for Leafs and Tesla doesn't really exist. I'd be shocked if there are more than a dozen of those stations in the entire USA. The Volt does charge slower than the Leaf and Tesla at Level 2...but not by much! Perhaps there is room for increasing and at most doubling the Level 2 charging speed, but I don't think you'll see a Volt (or any other EV for that matter) in the next 5 years that can be charged fully with absolutely no ill effects to the battery in less than 2 hours.

Steverino
12-14-2011, 10:58 AM
Given the pricing models I have seen to date, I have no interest in public charging as the ones I have seen are more expensive than driving the Volt on gasoline. Of course, the exception is free charging.

Every car is the result of a series of trade-offs in cost, performance, style, reliability, and market need. Many people preferred the styling of the concept car, but it was a failure in the aerodynamics department for example. Some would prefer the Volt's ICE be allowed to make a lot more noise for more fuel economy. The list is long. But the choices that were made were between one correct answer vs. another correct answer. Those are choices, not bugs.

stephent
12-14-2011, 11:34 AM
This means that Volt owners may be shunned from using any public chargers (as most will probably be set to fast charge only to offer the maximum number of users the ability to charge and charging 8 cars is much more efficient than charging 1 car over the same time.

This paragraph to me indicates you are confused about public charging stations. They aren't "set to fast charge", they are either one type or another, they can't be "set" to anything. Of a given type, the car informs the EVSE how many kw it can draw. There are 3 different types of public charging available; L1 (120v, usu just a normal socket you can plug your portable EVSE into), L2 (240v, most common, J1772 connectors going forward), and L3 DC fast charging. The Volt can only use the first two types, as it doesn't have the connector for the third type like the premium model Leaf (optional on 2011 premium Leafs). There isn't even an agreed upon std among all car makers for L3 charging yet, Leaf is using CHAdeMO and is pushing to get that out, but Tesla has their own different connector, and the SAE is pushing a modified J1772 connector.

There are very, very few L3 chargers out there compared to L2. For the L2 chargers, the Volt charges just as fast as current Leaf at 3.3 kw. For the L3, Volt isn't "shunned", rather it can't use those at all. It's going to be awhile before L3 is in enough strategic spots to be useful. Besides, would you really want your long trips to consist of 30-35 minutes of driving followed by 15 minutes of charging? Instead of just driving straight there? Even for Leaf, with 60-70 minutes of driving followed by 30 minutes of charging, I think only the most EV-dedicated owners will want to do this, vs. just taking their 2nd ICE car for long trips. I for one would not put up with 50% longer driving times. I signed up to use EV when practical, not EV whenever possible.

I think destination charging, rather than in-route, is just far more practical, and L2 charging is enough for that. Probably next gen Volt should support 6.6 kw, but I don't think L3 is worth the expense to support it.

bonaire
12-14-2011, 11:41 AM
Until gas is $10/gallon, I think Volt owners will be fine burning a little gas. If you really are against burning gas and want to drive an EV - really do consider a BEV with enough capacity to meet your expectations. Volt is for more of the masses and fits many needs but also allows for gasoline (which is not evil and wrong) to handle longer distances.

While L3 is not as bad an idea as Hydrogen filling stations or even CNG solutions - it's not going to be as widely developed as we hope it is. So, L2 will grow in demand, will have some spots here and there where it is useful but really, the idea of the Volt is nearly perfect in its current form. Maybe a lighter 20kWh battery with larger capacity available to use (maybe 80%) would be better for more AER, but so be it.

Buying a Volt and driving "always" on electricity is almost a bad idea.

EZ Volt
12-14-2011, 12:32 PM
I think just having the L1/L2 charging capability in the Volt was probably a good decision by GM. As rare as L2 stations are at this point, L3 are even rarer. L2 stations are "relatively" inexpensive to put in at a standard building, but DC Fast-Charging is a major expense. If you look at the target Volt market and application, they probably anticipated (correctly) that most charging would take place at home and at work. Are you're normally parked at those locations for multiple hours at a time. So L2 is fine. Yes, I'd like to top-off at shopping malls, movies, restaurants, etc with L2 chargers. But there is just not justification for widespread L3 at this point, and it was probably a good idea to keep the added cost out of the vehicle. With the battery thermal management system and L1/L2 only charging, I hope GM is setting us up for "good" battery life, at least as much as today's technology allows.

MTN Ranger
12-14-2011, 12:34 PM
Level 3 charging is probably in the works for a Gen 2 or 3 model since the standard is still in its infancy. I bet 99% of all EVSEs you see out in the public are Level 2 chargers, which the Volt supports.

However I feel it's not necessary for the Volt. GM just needs to install a 6.6 or 7.2 kWh charger inside the Volt to support faster charging. This will bring a full charge down to 1.75 hours or so.

(posted in poll thread, but pertains to this too)

DJWilson2
12-14-2011, 12:50 PM
Ok, I admit I am in error.
I presumed (without prior research) that the public charging stations would be L3 only which would make the Volt nonviable to use public charging. However based upon comments made here and my own research it is apparent that the feature is not yet in widespread public use.
I did not know that the Leaf used a proprietary fast charge system, so I guess 4 hours is more than adequate for charging since it is apparent best we can get right now.

While I do feel that this feature needs to be incorporated into the Volt in the future as more L3 public chargers become more available, it is not required at this time. Though it would be icing on the cake if when they do upgrade the Volt they backfit all sold Volts as well.

scottf200
12-14-2011, 01:28 PM
Ok, I admit I am in error.
<snip>
I did not know that the Leaf used a proprietary fast charge system, so I guess 4 hours is more than adequate for charging since it is apparent best we can get right now.

The GM Spark may get the J1772 combo/QC L3 charger.

See this post and a few prior post.

GM-Plans-To-Market-Pure-Electric-Car-in-US
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?9454-GM-Plans-To-Market-Pure-Electric-Car-in-US&p=92099#post92099

volt11
12-14-2011, 01:57 PM
I am also hopeful that the Volt and ELR will support the 6.6 kw charging standard for L2 soon. A major reason I went with the Coulomb 240V charger for my garage, rather than the Voltec unit, is that it's less prone to obsolesence and can provide a 6.6 kw charge. My crystal ball shows a Cadillac ELR getting a fast 6.6 kw charge in my garage in 2014. :)

jeo
12-14-2011, 02:25 PM
If one prefers to drive EV only, then one should buy pure electric vehicle. The Volt is not intended to be an electric only vehicle in the sense that it was targeted for long range as well as 25 mile commutes. GM took a different route and is going after a different market than pure electric vehicles (at this stage at least).

Robinpdx
12-14-2011, 08:33 PM
On "electic avenue" here in Portland there are many level 2's and one big Eaton level 3. http://pdx.edu/electricavenue/

The level 3 has a huge plug that only fits a leaf. In checking I found its the "Japanese spec" plug issue and that the US Is still developing a standard for the level 3 plug in, which is why the Leaf has two receptacles. Seems that one that is settled we should be able to use it with an adapter.

The thing is without it nobody is going to stop on a major freeway to recharge for four hours. But I do agree, that is why I bought a volt and not a Leaf.