We had a great turnout today at Sport Chevrolet in Silver Spring, Maryland. About a dozen owners showed up with their Volts. Sport Chevrolet had a battery out of a Volt that being serviced for the battery structure upgrade. The battery was on the special stand that's used when the battery's removed and we were able to walk around under the car while it was up on the lift, checking out all of the details that we normally can't see.
Sport Chevrolet also showed an impressive video that GM has provided dealers to show the details of the battery structure upgrade. This upgrade involves many more steps than I would have imagined and is unbelievably thorough. Sport has already completed five battery upgrades, and given the complexity of this job, I want to entrust my Volt to a dealer that has experience with it. Four of us signed up for appointments with Sport Chevrolet for precisely that purpose.
First, here's our group gathered around the removed battery. GM has designed a special wheeled stand for lowering the battery out of the car and moving it out of the way while the upgrade is made under the car. The battery assembly has a metal flange around the bottom edges that bolts to the chassis. The flange is visible in all of the photos of the battery.
The business end of the battery with all of the connections and the Sport GM explaining it all:
Here some of our group check out the underside of the car where the battery mounts. Although it doesn't show in the photos, the whole underside of the car is sheathed with a stiff plastic liner that keeps dirt and debris from fouling the works.
One of our group inspecting the black brace that's been epoxy glued, riveted, and bolted to the chassis. GM provides all of the parts, glues, glue applicators, etc. that are need to do the job. The brace is the key part of the modification and requires drilling over 20 holes. The battery coolant system is also upgraded and a special protective device attached to the filler to prevent unauthorized persons (read do-it-yourself mechanics) from messing with it.
Here's a shot of all of the connections from the car to the battery. All of these have to be disconnected and reconnected when the battery is removed and reinstalled. The technician told us it takes about 90 minutes to remove the battery. It weighs about 500 pounds he told us. The special stand braces the battery as the mounting bolts are removed then safely lower it down so it can be rolled away.
Here were all watching the GM training video it provides on the battery structure fix to dealers. It's about 30 minutes and provides great detail. We were all amazed about the thoroughness of this upgrade. Given what the dealers have to do, it's not surprising that the fix takes at least a day. Sport Chevrolet asks that owners leave their Volts for two days and provides a free loaner for the duration.
Sport Chevrolet had four Volts on the a showroom floor dedicated to the Volt. They told us they've sold 86 Volts. This is a very impressive dealer with a very impressive staff, and extensive experience with the car, which I think counts for a lot. Even though I live almost 40 miles away in Baltimore, I'm going out of my way to have my Volt serviced there.
After the event 6 of us went to lunch at a nearby restaurant at a mall with 6 new charging stations. While we ate lunch we all charged our Volts. Being good Volt citizens and marketers, we explained to the manager of the restaurant that she should advertise the presence of the charging stations, as it would result in business from people like us. As she was neither aware of the Volt nor the nearby charging stations, we also took her outside to check out our cars and the charging station set up.
In all it was a fantastic day, and a great experience to spend so much time trading information and stories with other Volt owners.