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GM tosses the turbocharged three cylinder engine out in favor of a naturally-aspirated four cylinder

Ever since the Chevrolet Volt was first announced in early 2007, it has garnered a lot of attention due to its radical design and unorthodox approach to vehicle propulsion. The Volt's main source of power comes from a lithium-ion battery pack which can provide enough juice to power the vehicle for 40 miles. When the battery pack's charge dips below 35%, a 1.0-liter, turbocharged three cylinder engine was commissioned to charge the batteries back to 100%. Alternatively, the Volt can be recharged using a household electrical outlet.

According to GM's Executive Director of Hybrid Powertrain Engineering, Larry Nitz, the Volt will be ditching the complex turbocharged three-cylinder engine in favor of a more conventional naturally-aspirated 1.4 liter four cylinder engine. For its given application in the Volt, Nitz says that the four cylinder engine provides better fuel economy which is key in a eco-friendly vehicle like the Volt.

Another advantage to going with the four cylinder engine is in refinement. While four cylinder engines aren't always known for smoothness or utmost refinement, they are much better in these respects than three cylinder engines. "The objective is to keep the engine off and when the engine comes on, you don't want to know it's on," said Nitz. "You want it really smooth and four cylinder is smoother than a three."

When it comes to packaging, the naturally-aspirated four cylinder engine doesn't have to accommodate the turbocharging or its requisite plumbing; thus it's lighter than original three cylinder engine envisioned for the Volt. The four cylinder engine, however, is still slightly longer than the three cylinder engine with its attachments, so changes to the vehicle packaging had to be made.

Nitz went on to say that the Volt's 16 kWh battery will provide the best range of performance for the vehicle when operating at a 35% to 85% charge. Once the four cylinder gasoline kicks in at below 35% charge, it will provide 50 kW to power the vehicle instead of the usual 100 kW provided by the lithium-ion battery pack.

Even when operating in this reduced capacity, the Volt will still be able to respond on command when a surge of power is needed. "Zero to sixty, passing maneuvers, you'll be fine, the ability to actually use more than about 50kW doesn't exist very frequently," explained Nitz.

The Chevrolet Volt has made the news quite frequently over the past month. Most recently, GM announced that it would work with utility companies to provide the infrastructure necessary to support electric charging facilities for electric vehicles like the Volt.

Earlier this month, it was reported that GM reduced the capacity of the fuel tank from 12 gallons to 7.2 gallons -- this cut the estimated driving range from 600 miles to 360 miles. Finally, GM Vice Chairman "Maximum" Bob Lutz in mid-June expressed his confidence that the Volt will arrive in showrooms in 2010.



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Compromises to bring it to market?
By Darkskypoet on 7/27/2008 6:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
Is this just to bring it to market on time? Or are these compromises in place to lower the price? Or perhaps the fuel cap, and engine length are directly related in a design sense, thus its the simplest way to make the engine change. Either way, the drop in power from the engine, anybody following the volt enough to know if this is cause for concern performance wise?




RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By MisterChristopher on 7/27/2008 6:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know, but hopefully it will reduce total vehicle costs.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By DigitalFreak on 7/27/2008 7:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt it. They just recently raised the expected price from $30k to $40k.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By phxfreddy on 7/27/08, Rating: 0
By Jim28 on 7/27/2008 9:03:17 PM , Rating: 1
Been there, done that, got the wrinkles in my dick to prove it. God does it hurt!


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By shabby on 7/27/2008 7:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
Add some options, taxes, freight and its 50k out the door.
A fuel efficient 50k car... good job gm. I think i'll buy a 15k kia rio and swim in the 35k i just saved.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By GlassHouse69 on 7/28/2008 1:11:21 AM , Rating: 2
yeah but your kia is a laughable piece of shit.

ill be riding around in my supercharged mini with driving lamps and style.

the volt has style.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 306maxi on 7/28/08, Rating: 0
By StevoLincolnite on 7/28/2008 5:02:28 AM , Rating: 2
Style can be brought in through Aerodynamics.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By afkrotch on 7/28/2008 5:51:54 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think either the Mini or the Volt have style. Unless you're a woman.


By foolsgambit11 on 7/29/2008 2:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
I guess with an name like afkrotch, we should expect sexism like that.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Samus on 7/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Noya on 7/28/2008 7:13:56 AM , Rating: 1
Touche.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Chaser on 7/28/2008 8:28:55 AM , Rating: 5
Um not Touche. As demonstrated by the Prius this is more than just gas mileage savings. The Volt is a significant step away from volatile gas price fluctuations. As the article indicates it can be plugged in to be recharged. A noteworthy option for many car owners.

And this "they don't do anything exceptionally well". My suggestion for your broad stroke, baseless dribble is to speak with your wallet and buy your exceptionally well Kia. Volt is a major undertaking for GM. And they are doing a fairly good job at responding to the market. Lets let the car make it to the market and then let the judging begin.


By teldar on 7/28/2008 5:01:01 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, that sounds far too rational. What are you doing posting after a little thinking?

T


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 8:52:30 AM , Rating: 4
While it would be easy to bash GM on thier reluctance to actually promote fuel efficiant vehicles, in terms of quality they rank up their pretty high. Their luxury brand easily competes with any of the others out there, even if it does come in a drab grey with oversized buttons.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 9:51:33 AM , Rating: 3
Just another GM basher who hates American cars.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 67STANG on 7/28/2008 11:04:10 AM , Rating: 2
I love american cars, but lets be honest with ourselves... what car (other than the Corvette-- I love the C6) is actually an all-around decent competitor to anything else in its class?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Aloonatic on 7/28/2008 11:41:53 AM , Rating: 2
Just a couple of quick questions.

When people on here (mostly Americans I assume) talk about American cars they seem to ignore Ford. Why is that?

They are very popular over here in the UK and have been for a looooong time.

The Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo all sell very very well and compete nicely with anything from the Far East and Europe.

Are these models not available in the states?

I know that (traditionally) the markets have been very different with America having more of a liking for large engined cars to carry loads and for cruising, which is not something that we need to do much in the UK but with the times a-changing there must be a market for these cars that do well in the UK in America too?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By DFranch on 7/28/2008 12:12:03 PM , Rating: 3
Of the 3 cars you mentioned only the focus is available in the US. I think the reason why ford is not mentioned much is while their trucks are thought highly of and have been for a long time, their cars really kind of sucked for a long long time. That said their cars have been getting better for several years, but it takes many years before general perceptions change. When I was growing up Ford stood for "Found on Roadside Dead" or something like that.


By Chudilo on 7/28/2008 12:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
In addition, Ford focus that is sold in Europe is on par with other semi luxury cars. It is available with all sorts of niceties. Not so in the US. Up until now the Focus is considered an econobox and is thought to be competing with KIA and Hyundai. Wit the quality of everything on the inside being relatively similar. With oil prices at their current levels, this may change rather quickly.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 67STANG on 7/28/2008 12:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ford is actually advertising that they now "match Toyota in quality". Whether or not that's true, I don't know. What I do know is that the only Fords I've owned have been Mustangs and F-150's and I've never had a single problem. Not really saying much I guess, as I rarely keep a vehicle longer than 2 years.


By Aloonatic on 7/28/2008 4:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
My first car was a Ford (don't laugh) KA.

It was OK for what I needed to do which was mostly short journeys and the only problem I had was a suspension problem shortly after a load of rather aggressive speed bumps appeared on my route to work, which disappeared within a few months (no doubt with a lot of claims for other similarly broken cars flooding their complaints department) and the repair work was carried out under warranty, so I don't blame Ford.

It had air conditioning (turned off when you needed to accelerate of course as the engine was ~70bph), leather seats and even an air bag but that was about it really, but did the job very well.

Then I got my Toyota corolla (which I am pretty happy with) and within the first 3 years the water pump and air pump both broke, luckily just within warranty period.

I would at least put them on a par with reliability from what I have seen and heard from friends and family.

More importantly I would put them both way ahead of any French built car. My cousin's Peugeot 307 literally fell apart (inside) and hasn't lasted long. It has (essentially) been scrapped after 5 years. She's gone back to Toyota again.

it seems strange to hear that Ford treat a car like the Focus as they do in the States, offering it as a cheap/budget option.Hopefully that'll change as they are a pretty good car.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By adiposity on 7/28/2008 12:37:24 PM , Rating: 3
Fix
Or
Repair
Daily


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 67STANG on 7/28/08, Rating: 0
By Screwballl on 7/28/2008 4:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
Ford - 90% of our vehicles are still on the road today (the other 10% made it home)

F**ked on race day


By Xenoterranos on 7/30/2008 8:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot:
Ford
Only
Rolls
Downhill

The best thing about this acronym is that it's recursive :D


By LordanSS on 7/28/2008 6:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
The Ford Fiesta (and KA) are popular here in Brazil, mostly their 1.0L Flex engine version. Some people even add a vehicular gas modification kit to it too, allowing people to use natural gas as well.

Being able to use gasoline, ethanol or gas is pretty neat. Filling up your tank with $5 (if gas) and going a long ways is even better. =)


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 1:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
Cobalt?
New Malibu?
Silverado?
Tahoe?
Suburban?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 67STANG on 7/28/2008 2:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Try again...


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 2:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
Nice quip,
But just choosing one example, the Suburban, is hands down better than anything else in it's class. That might be due to the fact that it's the only vehicle like it in it's class. It's only competition was the Excursion, which is long gone. Expedition or Durango don't even come close.

Nice try yourself.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 67STANG on 7/28/2008 11:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sad, perhaps if you knew anything about vehicles, you'd know that the Expedition EL is the direct competitor to the Suburban. And oh yeah, here's how bad the Suburban loses to it...

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suv/112_0611_f...

Please, do some reading and get back to the rest of us.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Aloonatic on 7/29/2008 4:10:55 AM , Rating: 2
Just looking at that link (as I have no idea about the cars that you are on about because they aren't available or at least well marketed in the UK) and it seems that both of those are American cars.

So whichever one you think is the best it's an American car which

quote:
is actually an all-around decent competitor to anything else in its class

it just happens to be that there are 2 American cars competing with each other in that class.

After some (admittedly limited) research with my above comments it seems strange that some American companies (well, Ford) seem reluctant to compete in some classes even though they have successful vehicles already out in the wild all over the world.

The marketing of American cars seems a little strange.

Over here in the UK it would seem that Chevy are trying to make inroads into the market but are going down the value route and that (IMHO) will not be successful.

If you want a value for money car then there are KIAs,Daewoos, Hyundais etc. Usually with 7 year warranties and such, which people (in the UK) will go for and the perceived quality and status of these vehicles is no more or no less than a cheap Chevy, so why get one?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By stryfe on 7/29/2008 1:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
Some of the cheap Chevys are Daewoos anyway, Aveo, Optra...
I see no problem in competing with Korean cars by selling rebadged Korean cars.


By Aloonatic on 7/29/2008 5:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to ask if Chevy were doing that after seeing a little Chevy Matiz today and remembering Daewoo made a small car of the same name.

It's a pretty competitive market place but using re-badged Korean cars makes sense, in the short term anyway.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/29/2008 8:17:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And oh yeah, here's how bad the Suburban loses to it...


I think your exagerating a tad.......from your own link. Did you even read the article?

quote:
Both of these SUVs are orders of magnitude better than their predecessors in comfort, capability, and civility. In the end, the Expedition EL's edge in price, performance, and interior trim/features/space utilization earned it a split decision. Like our sole dissenting judge, we suspect few dedicated Suburbanites will even consider switching allegiances from what's long been viewed as the de facto king of this hill.


Split decision? So that's a bad loss. Car and Driver rated the Suburban higher, albeit not by much either. Overall, still pretty close and could go either way. Hardly a slam dunk.

quote:
Pretty sad, perhaps if you knew anything about vehicles,

Please go back to your carborated 30+mpg 400+hp stang, you know the one where the sky is pink and lollipops grow on bushes.


By 67STANG on 7/29/2008 11:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I read the article, the one where they gave the Expedition EL first place. Strange considering nothing comes close the the Suburban... Did you even read the article? How about the vehicle specifications comparison on the next page?

I'm not sure what "carborated" means, but if that's some sort of new way getting fuel into an engine, I'd like to learn more. Please share. By the way, I've got your lollipop right here.


By djc208 on 8/2/2008 8:57:06 AM , Rating: 2
The 300/Charger/Magnum/Challenger are still solid competitors in their respective classes. Yes I know they're based off MB designs but the sheet-metal, interiors (atitude), engines, and tuning are all Chrysler.

The Malibu has gotten wonderful reviews from all the automotive press, almost reluctantly so, and is shown as an example of what GM needs to do more of.

The new Cadillac's are also seen as very competitive with their siblings. They may not be first but they're not an also-ran any more either.

While people are moving away from full-size pickups the big three still are very competitive with the newer Toyota (the Honda doesn't really count here). Even if only due to the arms race they're in with each other.

And on the "forgotten vehicles" end of the spectrum the Dodge and Chrysler mini-vans are still well respected in their (admittedly small) class, even if only for feature content and practicality.

Besides the C6 is actually a competitor to vehicles well above its "class" in many respects. And the Viper will still beat the pants off cars costing far more as well, just not comfortably.


By Polynikes on 7/30/2008 10:04:23 AM , Rating: 2
If saving the planet is your plan, and you can afford it, the Volt is a better option for many people, since it can theoretically never use gas (as long as you have a short commute.)


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Hiawa23 on 7/27/2008 9:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
sounds cool but looks like it will be out of most peoples price range. Since most of us are not maving away from gasoline engines, I hope these vehicles get the price of oil down for most of us, that's all we will ever have, which are 100% gasoline engines. I have two cars & not buying another anytime soon, for most of us the hope is that gas prices will fall.


By stryfe on 7/29/2008 3:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you think the entire population is 60+ years old so we'll all be dead in the next 20 years your view is incredibly short sighted.

As alternative fuel technologies develop and economies of scale bring their cost down, more and more people will buy them. Driving this is the fact that gas prices are never really going to go down. They may very well fluctuate and drop 10-15% at times but they'll head back up again. If you were to graph them the trend would be ever upward.

You may not want to replace one of your gas engined cars now, but how about in ten years? What if gas is $6/gallon then? How about if it's $10?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By The0ne on 7/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Ringold on 7/27/2008 9:55:51 PM , Rating: 5
You hope GM fails because it gave people what they really wanted for so long? Yeah, serving markets, how dare they.

No, if they fail, they'll simply do so because, asides from labor unions and the related legacy costs, their poor management and a bad roll of the dice will have landed them there. No need for moralistic BS to explain the success/failure of a company.

I doubt they'll "fail," though. They're too big. Even if it went belly up and its component parts were sold off, much of the same business would still exist. Just the name may change. In fact, the name might even stay the same -- people don't buy Cerberus Capital Management trucks, they still buy Dodge trucks, made by most of the same people as when Daimler owned the brand.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By JAB on 7/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By Spoelie on 7/28/2008 3:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
Sure! A high revving (15k rpm), inefficient (fuel consumption wise, not power-to-weight/displacement) low torque motorcycle engine in a day-to-day commuting vehicle, that would be the best!


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By JAB on 7/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 7:36:03 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
But they had no back up plan and no effort to improve effecency- until the bottom fell out of the market.

GM has always been AHEAD of the market. Too far ahead for thier own good.

Guess what they used to make in the 80's? Turbo charged cars. Way before they became mainstream. The turbo Buick Grand Nationals are some of the most coveted collector cars and most are still going strong.

Guess what GM made in the 90's? That's right.....the Geo brand. Small cars with high fuel efficiency. They were pretty good little cars (most were licensed re-brands), but nobody bought them. GM had the highest mpg car in the 90's, the Geo Metro.

So what do you want a company to do? They did make those fuel efficient products, but were spurned by the market. So those designs were shelved, in favor of trucks and SUVs, which the market wanted. The only thing they were unprepared for was a complete market shift in only 1-2years. That's enough to make almost every company gag. That includes Toyota too, since they have more trucks/SUVs than any other foreign automaker, and were heavily invested in them. The Tacoma's and Sequoia's sales have dropped sharper than the F150's or C/K1500's. Only thing propping up Toyota was thier wise investment into the Prius, and thier Apple like mystique that they are somehow better.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 8:48:36 AM , Rating: 1
GM didn't market the GEO brand worth crap. They were basically rebadged Toyotas and Suzukis, which came out first. How many GEO Prism commercials have you seen say versus any of their other cars, trucks, or Corvettes?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 8:53:53 AM , Rating: 3
I did see pleny of GEO prism commercials, but all were at the end of GEO's lifespan.

I don't think I've ever seen a commercial for the Corvette (I have 3 vettes, so trust me, I'd be paying attention), except the one that was banned for glamorizing "underage driving". (BTW, excellent commercial!!!).


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 9:50:01 AM , Rating: 1
You have to remember the Corvette brand isn't just marketed by conventional commercials, but magazine covers (care to guess how many marketing pieces exist within magazines on the Corvette... you probably looked a few when you bought yours), Nascar events, F1 racing events, etc.


By stryfe on 7/29/2008 3:37:59 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Isuzus. The Geo Storm was an Isuzu Impulse


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 10:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
I would kill for a GNX. A buddy has a Grand National though.

The turbo TA beat the Corvette of its day. I've even seen videos of GNs eating Vipers for breakfast on the stock bottom end.


By Alexvrb on 7/28/2008 10:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I love turbocharged 3800s. They prove that the Buick 231 (in transverse form) still responds incredibly well to being turbocharged. Although the centrifugal supercharger kits are pretty nice too. The stock blower on the L67s... not so much. But the turbo and centrifugal SC setups are sweet.


By stryfe on 7/29/2008 3:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
The Turbo Trans Am ranks amoungst the least reliable cars of all time thanks to it's engine and the Corvette of it's day was completely casterated thanks to new emissions regulations and the oil crisis.

Before you go discounting me as a "hater" I have to say; I love both the Corvette and Trans Am, they were objects of boyhood fantasy and I'd still love to have one of either as a second car to take out on the weekends. It's just the particular versions of them you're talking about are some of the worst of the breed.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 67STANG on 7/28/2008 11:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
Umm turbocharged cars in the 80's doesn't make GM ahead of their time... Mopar and Ford also had turbo cars in the 80's... In fact, Mopar had and sold more turbo cars than the other two... As far as fuel efficient cars, again, the big 3 all made fuel effiecient cars... remember the original Ford Fiesta for example?

The problem is, gas prices were down and demand for big V8 torque was up. Car manufacturers always shift to the market. The market right now says, we want fuel efficient cars, so that's what they're trying to make. 10 to 1 says that if gas prices dip down below 3 bucks a gallon again, you'll see a lot of these fuel efficient cars die. Of course, we'll probably never see sub-$3 gas again.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 3:06:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
As far as fuel efficient cars, again, the big 3 all made fuel effiecient cars... remember the original Ford Fiesta for example?

Yes, another example was the Dodge Colt.

quote:
Car manufacturers always shift to the market.

My point exactly. Yet major shifts don't happen overnight and it will take some time to come out with new designs.

I just don't like the monday morning quarterbacks here thinking that American car companies were out of touch. They produced EXACTLY what most buyers were looking for. Large powerful trucks/SUVs. When that market disintegrated overnight, they were totally caught off-guard.

And some may say they were gun-shy about pulling the trigger on fuel-efficient/turbo'ed designs, partially because they invested into them 20-30 years ago, and didn't get a return. If you were burned doing something years ago, would you elect to try it again?


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By foolsgambit11 on 7/29/2008 2:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When that market disintegrated overnight, they were totally caught off-guard.

That's why they should have been diversified. My investment portfolio isn't entirely tech stocks, or manufacturing, or even stocks. And large companies should do the same. Even if it was the worst selling car, having a fuel efficient sub-compact in their lineup would have enabled them to respond to changing demand quicker by simply ramping up production, instead of having to start production on a variant of a European model that needs to be adapted for US safety and emissions standards. Maybe they lose a little money, but it's an insurance policy.


By djc208 on 8/3/2008 7:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
None of the auto manufacturers were missing from any of the segments. They all have a dog in the hunt. Problem is the competition, and therefore the engineering resources are concentrated on the models that sell the most. That used to be trucks and SUVs, now it's small cars and cross-overs.

It takes time to shift those resources, and the results take even longer to reach market. If part of your portfolio became heavily de-valued over night it would still take a while for you to re-evaluate and re-distribute that portion and future investments. There's no difference here.

To continue the analogy if the auto makers have a problem it's lack of diversity within each sector. They have a small car but they only have one or two models. Same as you having tech stocks but only in computer companies. They were heavily diversified in trucks and SUVs, now they're trying to re-diversify into cars and cross-overs. At the same time trying to branch out into hybrids and alternative technologies, all while dealing with reduced sales and lower profits.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By JAB on 7/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 1:23:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Rebranding a Suzuki is not exactly innovation at least adapt it to the American market.

The '89+ model years were all designed in the US.

quote:
Again just because you put a turbo on an American car doesn't make you some kind of oracle.

Potentially a bad example, since GM had turbocharged cars in the 60's as well. My point was they had an internal push to convert ALL thier cars to turbos in the 80's, yet market conditions and perceptions of turbos back in the 80's (heat/oil bake) caused a shift of product. I find it ironic now that the average DT readership is now clamoring for Turbos. That was the point I was trying to make.

quote:
How is this some stroke of genius they did not control the weight or bother working on the suspension just think of the car it could have ben if they dropped some weight and made it handle.

You act like this is some revelation. Take some weight out, simple. Not quite.

For starters, over the last 20 years, every car has increased in weight. Even Honda Civic's are pushing upwards of 2900lbs! Yet I don't hear you calling them out.

Safety standards demanded that cars gained weight.....or.....meet structural requirements by going to exotic materials (read that as expensive/difficult to manufacture). Since all automakers didn't have the luxury of trippling prices, weight was increased. Aluminum and Carbon Fiber are still thought of as exotic and only available on the highest priced cars.

quote:
A complete market shift in 1-2 years is common it is almost clockwork.

Not even in your wet dreams. Electronics industry, maybe. Automotive industry, no.


By stryfe on 7/29/2008 3:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Potentially a bad example, since GM had turbocharged cars in the 60's as well. My point was they had an internal push to convert ALL thier cars to turbos in the 80's, yet market conditions and perceptions of turbos back in the 80's (heat/oil bake) caused a shift of product. I find it ironic now that the average DT readership is now clamoring for Turbos. That was the point I was trying to make.
It's not ironic, it's simply that turbo technology in the 80s simply wasn't ready for prime time. They were unreliable, expensive to repair, and mostly had bad lag thanks to heavy materials being needed for the compressor wheel to make them even remotely reliable.

The reason people want them now are the huge advances in the technology. Reliability has been improved with better design that prevents the oil baking in the turbo during cool down, stronger materials, better bearings, etc. Lag has all but disappeared thanks to light yet strong composite materials in the compressor wheel and turbos with variable geometry making compromises in maximum boost/spool up no longer necessary. Costs are coming down thanks to economies of scale as well as years of experience in building them.


By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 1:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
So had GM. In the 70s they were putting turbos on Trans Ams. Before that the 1962 Oldsmobile Turbo Jetfire had one.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By The0ne on 7/28/2008 4:40:01 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry to burst your bubble but in fact I am very much aware of the quality, management problems, unions issues and so forth that has and is going on. I'm not simply stating that I like them to fail, although I hadn't backed it up in detail except for the EV1 comment.

Here's a hint, I'm a Test, Instrumentation, Design (electronic) and most importantly I'm a Manufacturing and Quality person. So spare me your comment as though I know not what I've said. I've simply choose to say what I've said in short.


By The0ne on 7/28/2008 4:42:48 AM , Rating: 2
And that goes for what I've noticed most of the readers here as well. Most are well educated readers and posters that IF each were to go into details of their experience and expertise there be no end to discussions. Sometimes it's just best to just say what you have to say, in your own opinion, and just let it go without too much he-haw.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By fenderkb76 on 7/28/2008 12:40:45 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with you whole-heartedly about GM. Way to go, let's help the environment and lower our dependence on foreign oil by bringing a car to the "masses" that can make daily commutes on electricity alone. Too bad that only the well to do will be able to afford it, practically guaranteeing a failure. Sure, Ed Begley, Jr. might bite, but let's get realistic, not that many people who care have $40-$50K to do their part. Look at the current economic situation. Most people who can afford this thing can also afford cars like BMWs, Mecedes, Escalades, Hummers, etc. and couldn't care less if they have to pay $100 per week for gas.

GM should have used their leading market position to be innovators starting in the 1970s and 1980s instead of buying up all the patents that would put them out of business only to sit on them and maintain the status quo. My dad drove a 1980 VW Rabbit for years that got 40+ MPH. My mom drove a naturally aspirated 1.6L diesel 1985 VW Jetta that could get 50+ MPH on long trips. These were not expensive cars. Obviously, with today's technology, we should be able to do even better while even boosting performance a little.

Way to go GM, wake up and smell the 90s if you can pull your head out of your arse long enough to get a wiff. I'm all for buying American, but look where GM is now. This has been a long time coming, prepare to reap the whirlwind gentlemen.

American car companies cry about the upcoming environmental regulations on fuel economy and add that the prices of cars will have to go up by $5000. You should have thought of this 20 years ago! Our culture of excess and instant gratification has not helped things. We all need to take a page out of the book from foreign countries where they've been paying the equivalent of $10 a gallon for some time now. </rant>


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 7:41:37 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
You should have thought of this 20 years ago!

They did!!!

They offered the GEO Metro with over 50mpg as early as the late 80's. It was the cheapest car on the road, and got the best fuel economy. Didn't sell enough to justify keeping them. If you want to point fingers, the other ones are pointing back at you (the public masses). GM made the cars that people bought. Period.

Oh, how soon you media lemmings forget truth and start believing your own version of events.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By 4play on 7/28/2008 11:23:42 AM , Rating: 1
The Geo Metro was a piece of crap. People aren't buying the Cobalt either, even though it has great fuel economy. Yet MINI's and Honda Fits are selling quite well.

Aveo? Yeah GM is really ahead with small cars...


By jmmcc691 on 7/28/2008 2:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
People aren't buying Cobalts? Are you kidding. Cobalt was Chevy's 2nd highest selling vehicle in 2005, was in the top 10 of all vehicles sold the last 2 years and will probably do the same this year.

As far as a hybrid releasing us from the clutches of foreign oil... No company will allow their profits to drop regardless, so if oil profits start to drop then the same people who have control of oil will just up the cost of natural gas, which in turn increases electricity costs for any area with gas power plants as well as increases the cost of natural gas use in the home. So where you may see a savings in gasoline costs (nix the 42k more the car costs than say a 12K 4 cylinder base model, that you could never make back on gas savings even in a 10 year span) you will definately repay it in the cost increase of natural gas, plus the cost of electricity everytime you plug that 100Kw beast into your house.

I love our capitalist society but people seem to forget that corporate shareholders will not accept lower yields regardless of what's good for the economy or whether or not we are funding both sides of a war.


By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 10:11:46 AM , Rating: 1
The government regulations are nothing more than a push by environmentalists to force us to use less fuel. The price of gas should be the main drive in the economy of cars. As it is now completely independent of those regulations. Of course the cost of oil is also being manipulated by the same environmentalists who won't let us drill.

These new EPA standards will only punish those who wish to have a choice in what they drive. And those with large families who need larger vehicles will be punished threefold. Once in trying to find a vehicle for sale that will fit their large family. A second time in trying to afford the vehicle. And again at the pump because of the inflated price of fuel because of environmentalists not allowing us to increase supply. But environmentalists don't care about people. They hate the idea of large families because that means even more of the "blight" of humanity upon the world.

People should be allowed to get as poor mileage as they can afford. Air quality standards are one thing. But our air is typically cleaner than parts of Europe where they drive higher efficiency cars. These new mileage standards do nothing for air quality.


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By StillPimpin on 7/28/2008 12:27:44 PM , Rating: 3
WOW! That was a load of crap.

quote:
Way to go, let's help the environment and lower our dependence on foreign oil by bringing a car to the "masses" that can make daily commutes on electricity alone.


News flash, THIS IS NOT A MASS MARKET AUTOMOBILE!!! It is GMs entry point into electric/hybrid vehicles, (and yes I know this is not a true hybrid.)

quote:
Sure, Ed Begley, Jr. might bite, but let's get realistic, not that many people who care have $40-$50K to do their part.


Come on people; let’s get real about a few things. Let’s use our high school economics for a few seconds. In the real world there are two forces which determine the price of goods and services. Come on every body, say it with me S____Y & D____D. Changing either one of these variables has an effect on price.

GM knows that when the price of their product goes up, demand for said product goes down. They also know that because of availability of materials, their supply will be constrained. This is what's called a "compound Effect" which causes prices to rise even further. There are also R&D costs to be recouped from this project which need to be figured into the price. Combine ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 3-4 year and you have a $50K science project.

quote:
GM should have used their leading market position to be innovators starting in the 1970s and 1980s instead of buying up all the patents that would put them out of business only to sit on them and maintain the status quo.


Prove it. Not with a conjecture and conspiracy, but actual proof that GM purchased patents and did not use them just to keep status quo. Go ahead, I'll be here all week.

quote:
My dad drove a 1980 VW Rabbit for years that got 40+ MPH. My mom drove a naturally aspirated 1.6L diesel 1985 VW Jetta that could get 50+ MPH on long trips. These were not expensive cars. Obviously, with today's technology, we should be able to do even better while even boosting performance a little.


So, by your own reasoning and logic we should all be driving 60+ and 70+ MPG VW Rabbits and Vettas right now. *GHASP* Where are they? Not even their diesels are up to that standard. As a matter of fact, any of their vehicles would be doing EXCELLENT to be pushing that kind of gas mileage today. So what did VW do with all their excellent technology patents? Are they just sitting on them just to keep the status quo? Will they release next year the 90+ MPG "SuperBunny" and totally destroy the investment that GM, Toyota, Honda and all the others have in hybrid and alternative technology? Go ahead, I'll be here all week.

quote:
Way to go GM, wake up and smell the 90s if you can pull your head out of your arse long enough to get a wiff. I'm all for buying American, but look where GM is now. This has been a long time coming, prepare to reap the whirlwind gentlemen.


And you sir should be ready to reap the whirlwind of one of Americas largest corporation collapsing. I can think of only 1 good thing to come from the demise of GM and that is the severe weakening of the automotive union, and maybe other unions, in America.

quote:
American car companies cry about the upcoming environmental regulations on fuel economy and add that the prices of cars will have to go up by $5000. You should have thought of this 20 years ago! Our culture of excess and instant gratification has not helped things.


So 20 years ago "American" car companies should have known that oil speculation would be out of control, no new oil refineries would be built in the US in that 20 years, liberals in congress would castrate our ability drill for oil in our own country, we would be importing almost 70% of all petroleum consumed, and India and China would become major players in the world economy and would have just as insatiable appetite for oil as we do? Yeah, I'm glad you had that foresight 20 years ago.

quote:
We all need to take a page out of the book from foreign countries where they've been paying the equivalent of $10 a gallon for some time now.


So we should impose massive taxes on gas for what reason? So people will consume less? So car companies will be forced to make more fuel efficient automobiles? So the price of everything that you use in day to day life will skyrocket as well? And use the extra tax money for what? Hey, how about decrease the tax burden on working people so they can afford to by gas to go to work and buy groceries and maybe go on a vacation every 10 years or so?

Listen people, this country is in an "Energy Pinch", not Crysis, yet. And the car companies didn't get us here all by themselves, so let's stop using GM, Chrysler and Ford as whipping boys. If your going to beat up on car companies, at least be fair and line them all up and dish out punishment equally because there is more than enough "Blame" to go around. IMHO, we should start with VW for not continuing to supply us with all their might uber gas mileage Jettas and Rabbits. Hell, if they had continued we would be driving 100MPG cars, trucks, and SUVs right now with no need for 35-50MPG hybrids, or plug-in electrical vehicles. Yeah, let’s start with the Germans, eFing FARFEGNUGEN!

Ford Lover, Out


RE: Compromises to bring it to market?
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 1:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, cars like that Rabbit don't exist anymore because they wouldn't meet the crash test standards of the modern day. Cars have been getting heavier and heavier due to safety standards. A muscle car used to weigh a little more than 3000 pounds. Now they're near 4000. If not over. But they still get better mileage. And make more horsepower. And pollute less.


By StillPimpin on 7/28/2008 3:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
And that is exactly my point. There is no way to compare gas mileage of vehicles today with vehicles of 20+ years ago. Cars today have to operate under much stricter emissions and safety controls. All the technology that goes into said controls adds weight to the vehicle, reducing its fuel economy. Hell, most compacts today are almost porkers compared to full size vehicles of yesterday.

Cars have gotten a lot better over the years, stronger faster and safer. This is the point that a lot of people miss in this debate.

If I were to present you with 2 cars, the same make and model. Both cars styled exactly the same on the inside and out. One got 30MPG and the other 40MPG. The only differences were the 30MPG car was safer, performed better, and gave off less pollution, which one would you drive?


By Calin on 7/28/2008 6:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
Overall, the 1.4l 4 cylinders engine will prove cheaper and require less maintenance than the turbocharged one. Taking everything into account, the 4 cylinder is better at everything here: cheaper, probably lighter (no need for extra resistance due to extra boost), with less maintenance. As for the use of a turbo charged unit, this (with variable geometry turbo) gives you better power and torque distribution - but this is useless as the electric motors drive the car. As such, an gasoline engine optimized only for efficiency at high power (for loading batteries) is quite enough


By Alondor on 7/28/2008 6:33:00 AM , Rating: 1
Most of things are difficult.
First, most People are afraid changing things.
For instance in her privat, her Job, her friends and others.
So for manufacturers of cars where build the same system since 100 years, it will be a massive impact to change the direction.
Especially people where stay behind such new decisions are living very dangerous in case of loosing thier job if the new way don`t work.
(o.k. in case of not leaving the way they are using since jears and they are loosing everything, the are loosing their job as well)
It is the game that plays every where.... no pain no change.

Everything has to be checked. The weight of a car has to be reduced first, and an electrical engine with the right sized batterie pack can drive the car as well as it can do with old models.
The biggest problem in a old big car manufacturer like GM is, how much people don`t wont to leave the old way.
Here in europe we pay the double price for gasoline since years and now people having much more pressure because a lot can not pay it.
Eurpoean car manufacturer have learned in the past that tey have to build smaller cars and smaler engines to save peoples money.
The oil industrie has to learn that they can not supply the western hemispehere with oil if the arabians stop to deliver it.
I read the related artikels since month and there are some manufacturers on the market, where offer new batteries for electric cars. most of them are based in the states, like A123 and others.
Of course, companies like tesla show the market how it works
and if the big ones can not change fast egnought, they will die.


50mpg combined, not bad
By joex444 on 7/27/2008 6:41:24 PM , Rating: 5
In the US, we're a little unfamiliar with the kW unit for power. 50kW = 67hp, 100kW = 134hp. Go look at a power curve for your car, most of the time you get nowhere close to what your engine is rated. All cruising is done under 80hp.

I understand that electric motors can go to much higher revs (12k or so), so does this mean it can operate with say, a light-weight 3 speed automatic, or perhaps a CVT? I can't imagine that they'd consider running it with 1 gear.

Speaking of, does the gas engine have like a 2 speed transmission to help charge the battery faster? Suppose the Li-Ion battery gets weaker over time, will the gas engine still be able to charge it quickly enough after your 40 miles are up?

The quoted ranges work out to 50mpg, combined. Will this get better mileage in the city or the highway, as the Prius gets better city mileage.

Is there any regenerative braking?

If they used a diesel engine, which we all know operates more efficiently at a single speed, and they used it at a fixed RPM to charge the battery, they could easily boost their MPG from 50 to ...? My guess would be around 80mpg, maybe higher. Even with gas at $4, and diesel at $5, that makes diesel cheaper. And even though 1 gal of diesel produces more greenhouse gases than 1 gal of gas, when that gallon of diesel is burned over a longer distance, it has fewer greenhouse emissions than the gas.

I'm kind of interested to see how this turns out. I think its a unique idea, and is a step forward from hybrids. Realistically, a 360 mile range is more than I would need. I fill my tank about once a month, and get about 280 miles off it.




RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Solandri on 7/27/2008 9:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
Usually engines in these applications are hooked up to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) so the engine can always be run at the most efficient RPM, whether it's gas or diesel. The only reason CVTs aren't used in regular cars (they are used in hybrids) is because they can't yet handle the 150+ hp available in today's engines efficiently.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By sprockkets on 7/28/2008 12:07:33 AM , Rating: 2
It's a torque issue, not a HP issue. And you forget there are CVTs in Audi's, Nissan's and even Fords. The Murano has a CVT option, and is a 245hp engine.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Solandri on 7/28/2008 2:17:49 AM , Rating: 2
power = torque x rpm. That is, torque is how much energy is generated per cylinder firing. Power is how much energy is generated over time (energy from cylinder firing times how many cylinders fire in a second). So torque, power, RPM, and efficiency are all interconnected.

Each engine reaches peak efficiency at a certain RPM. It also reaches peak power at another RPM. That's actually part of the reason why diesels are more efficient than gasoline engines. When you design a car engine, you have two conflicting design requirements - efficiency at cruise (low power), but power on demand. With a gasoline engine, the peak efficiency is at a low RPM, but peak power has to be at a high RPM. So you're trying to optimize the engine at both high and low RPMs. A diesel tends to reach its power peak at a lower RPM, so there's less separation between peak power and peak efficiency. So it's easier to optimize a diesel engine's design than a gasoline engine's.

A CVT mitigates this problem for the gasoline engine. With a CVT you can design it so its peak efficiency is at a higher RPM (if you can stand the engine noise), making it easier to optimize. The same holds for a hybrid. The electric motor provides most of the peak power, so you can just concentrate on optimizing the gasoline engine near its peak efficiency RPM.

And I hadn't been following CVT advancements for several years. Thanks for the update. It's good to hear they've managed to get one working on an engine that powerful.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Calin on 7/28/2008 6:34:32 AM , Rating: 3
Power is how much work is done over a time unit. Torque is how much force (like weight pulling) is at the end of a bar with a 1-unit length connected to the engine shaft.
If my engine has 200 Nm torque, it will maintain its rpm if I attach a 1 m rod to its crankshaft and apply on its end a force of 200N (or connect it to a capstan 2m in diameter pulling up a 20 kg mass). In imperial units, a 250 pound-feet torque engine will maintain its rpm while pulling up a 250 pounds mass on a capstan with a 1 foot radius.
What is the power used to do so?
Power is force multiplied by distance - so in our metric case, the engine pulls its 20kg mass (200N force) 6 meters and a bit per engine revolution. If the rpm is 100/s (6000 rpm), it will pull 600m of 200N force every second (or 120 kW). If the engine is only making 10 rotations a second (like, let's say for a big diesel engine at idle, 600 rpm) it will only make 12 kW.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 7:54:34 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Power is force multiplied by distance - so in our metric case, the engine pulls its 20kg mass (200N force) 6 meters and a bit per engine revolution.

Technically incorrect. Power is force multiplied by distance (aka Torque), divided by time . You forgot the time factor, but you do include it later as "per engine revolution".

Power (hp) = Torque (ft-lbs) x RPM/5252

Simple as that. Problem is that a torque curve for an engine is non-linear, requiring most commonly the use of a torque curve to calculate power. While germaine to use on normal cars, it is completely irrelevant on serial hybrids such as the Volt. That engine will run one speed and one speed only. Maximum power. We don't have to be concerned with any sort of torque or curves, only final power numbers.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Calin on 7/28/2008 8:42:07 AM , Rating: 2
Divided by time, certainly - forgot about that (but mentioned in the opening of the post, per unit of time).
Thank you


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By ziggo on 7/28/2008 1:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
The engine could be run at maximum power, but if I were designing it I would run it at the torque peak for the majority of the charging. This is where the volumetric and thermal efficiency is maximum. That way you get more charge in your battery for a given unit of fuel.

Ie battery power falls below 35%, charge at torque peak, falls below 10% charge at power peak.

If someone from GM reads this I expect to be reimbursed. 5$ shall do.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Solandri on 7/28/2008 3:05:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Torque is how much force (like weight pulling) is at the end of a bar with a 1-unit length connected to the engine shaft.

Correct, except this shaft is rotating. Force x distance = work = energy, so torque in this case is proportional to the energy produced.

And someone else has already explained that power is energy / time, and how the torque output varies with RPM to alter power output. Multiplying by RPM is the same as dividing by time (with pi and some other constants thrown in for unit conversion). If you multiple the torque curve x RPM, you'll find it matches the power curve like I said. They're all really describing the same thing.


By slashbinslashbash on 7/28/2008 3:13:12 AM , Rating: 4
AFAIK, all of the electric vehicles that have made it into production have had very simple transmissions or no transmission at all. E.g. the Tesla has a 2-gear transmission that is manually actuated. I think that a non-performance-oriented electric vehicle could get by without a transmission. E.g. the GM EV1 had no transmission, or a single-speed transmission if you care to look at it that way. I think the Tesla only has 2 gears so that it can reach illegally high top speeds.

The reason for this is that electric motors have pretty much the same torque throughout all of their RPM range. If you just want to to cruise an electric vehicle through a parking lot at 5mph, there is no problem with running the electric motors at 10RPM or whatever is necessary to do that.... if you are parking and you want to move 1 foot forward to pull into the space, the engine goes from 0RPM to 0.5RPM or whatever it is with no problems. Obviously a gasoline engine could not possibly run that slow, and if it did, it would not generate enough power to move the vehicle.

As long as the final drive ratio is low enough to transmit sufficient torque to the wheels at low RPM's, and high enough to reach a reasonable maximum speed at the maximum motor RPM's, there is no reason to include a transmission at all.

The gasoline/diesel/whatever "charging" engine in the Volt will almost definitely run at constant RPM's to maximize its efficiency, much like any other generator.... they usually have a single set RPM. Look at the ones at Home Depot or wherever and you will find that they run at 1800, 2500, 3600RPM. The ones that power diesel-electric locomotives run at a constant set RPM. The ones that provide backup power for buildings have a constant set RPM.

One of the nice things about designing a generator engine (as opposed to a normal auto engine) is that constant RPM. A normal engine is a huge set of compromises.... if you alter something to get more horsepower at higher RPM then you might make it harder to breathe at lower RPM. This is because a standard engine needs needs to generate its power over a usable band of RPM's, given the existing transmission technology. An engine designed to run at a constant RPM can have all of its components tuned to run smoothly and efficiently at that RPM. This is the case whether it uses gasoline or diesel or natural gas or anything else.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Hoser McMoose on 7/28/2008 3:21:23 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I can't imagine that they'd consider running it with 1 gear.

Last I heard they are indeed planning on running this with no transmission at all, just straight gearing. Electric motors not only rev higher but they also have a MUCH wider power band, they develop almost 100% torque at 1rpm.

This car is quite a different beast than what we're used to.

quote:
Speaking of, does the gas engine have like a 2 speed transmission to help charge the battery faster?

Why bother? Just charge at peak efficiency 100% of the time. It'll only cause problems if you try to take the thing onto the race track for more than a few laps.

quote:
Will this get better mileage in the city or the highway, as the Prius gets better city mileage.

Probably city, though there shouldn't be much difference.

quote:
Is there any regenerative braking?

Yes, most definitely.

quote:
If they used a diesel engine [...] they could easily boost their MPG from 50 to ...?

Diesel engines are roughly 30% more efficient (on a per volume basis), all else being equal. This would translate to about 65mpg of the current 50mpg number is accurate. Diesel would still be cheaper, but not by much.

Another interesting option would be an HCCI engine, something that GM is working on (not necessarily for the Volt). This uses standard gasoline but boosts economy up by about 15%. Normally they're tough to use due to the rpm range required, but if you're running almost exclusively at a single, ideal rpm point then this limitation disappears.

quote:
when that gallon of diesel is burned over a longer distance, it has fewer greenhouse emissions than the gas.

On a per kilometre basis, diesel engines typically produce about 15% less CO2. However they tend to produce a LOT more air pollution. Newer 'clean' diesels are fixing this though, bringing them at least into the same ballpark as gasoline engines.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Nik00117 on 7/28/2008 3:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agree they need to use a diesel engine. For example my friends car which is a reg size sedan gets 50 MPG and its just a plain old diesel. Well the American verison gets like 30. Thats a 20 MPG performance difference. Less assume reg gas runs you $4 and disel runs you $5 to do the diesel you pay .10 cents a mile, with a gas you get .13 cents a mile. Theres a big difference. Over the course of lets say 20k miles in the year that diesel will have just saved you 660 bucks.


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By Calin on 7/28/2008 6:43:42 AM , Rating: 2
You should take into account the increased cost on maintenance for diesel cars, AND the increased cost in insurance (at least in Europe), as diesel cars are considered riskier (as they tend to be driven more)


RE: 50mpg combined, not bad
By ElFenix on 7/28/2008 4:08:03 AM , Rating: 2
the ford flex was reported at using single digit horsepower for cruise at highway speed. so, not much power will be required by the motors and most of it will go to the batteries. the only thing that will change with the decrease in engine power is the charging time, i'd imagine.


1.4L
By Sureshot324 on 7/27/2008 6:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
1.4L still seems very large just to charge the battery. Most economy gasoline cars have 1.8 to 2L engines, and even they are much more powerful than they need to be 99% of the time. Since the Volt's engine is just charging the battery, it won't need to have any extra power available for the odd time when you need it, so it seems to me they could get away with a much smaller more efficient engine.




RE: 1.4L
By ajvitaly on 7/27/2008 7:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the car is still getting >40 mpg when using the engine to charge the battery, that seems efficient to me.


RE: 1.4L
By 16nm on 7/27/2008 7:48:01 PM , Rating: 3
If I understood the article, the 1.4L engine is not just for charging the batteries. It is attached to a 50,000 watt generator which can power the vehicle AND charge the batteries. It's not simply a battery charger.


RE: 1.4L
By Doormat on 7/27/2008 10:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
No, you read that wrong. It is a battery charger, thats all the engine does.

The amount of power the 1.4L engine can put out is 50kW. However the issue brought up in the article says that the volt, at peak times like passing another vehicle the electric engine that turns the wheels can peak at 100kW power. Obviously, this is more than what the engine can generate. However GM says that its nigh impossible to run a volt at more than 50kW for an extended period, which means that there will be no way for the battery to essentially become empty, where you'd have to pull over and let the gasoline engine run to recharge before you could go again.


RE: 1.4L
By Calin on 7/28/2008 6:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
The 1.4l engine won't be connected to any drive shaft - but it will recharge the batteries AND send electricity to the electric motors at the same time, so the grand parent is somewhat correct.
As for the power use, I think one would need to go 100 mph or higher to use all those 50 kW of the gasoline engine (certainly, passing can use much more than that).

As an anecdote, my brother's 87 HP, turbo diesel Clio uses some 4l of fuel per 100km, and I've seen it use 12+l/100km while accelerating up hill. That would suggest he uses most of the time about a third of its max power (or 30 HP, or some 22kW. While the Volt might be larger and heavier, it will have enough excess power in its gasoline engine for any kind of normal driving, while at the same time recharging its battery pack.


RE: 1.4L
By Doormat on 7/28/2008 1:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
I read the post a few more times and yea, the post I replied to is sorta correct - in the average situation, the motor can charge the battery and power the engine at the same time, but at other times, the motor can put out less power than the motor is demanding.


RE: 1.4L
By Davelo on 7/29/2008 2:51:13 AM , Rating: 2
I don't like the sound of this thing. What if you have to go up a long steep grade such as the Grapevine in so cal? Sounds like this Volt won't make it.

I used to have a Honda Civic that could move like a scalded dog and got 50 MPG on the hwy. It only cost, I think it was less than 15k brand new.


RE: 1.4L
By Spuke on 7/29/2008 3:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What if you have to go up a long steep grade such as the Grapevine in so cal?
I'm sure it won't have a problem performing normal driving tasks.


Hybrids
By Titanius on 7/28/2008 3:08:05 AM , Rating: 1
Gas/Electric Hybrids are a folly in my opinion... Diesel/Electric Hybrids would be a better alternative as the Diesel engine (once running) does not require electricity, hence can charge the batteries more efficiently than any Gas/Electric Hybrid can. And it isn't something new, Germans used this technology back in WW2 in their U-Boats. So why not make Diesel/Electric hybrids? Think about it, the amount of energy saved from running an engine that doesn't require electricity would cancel the heavy brake pad generators (the generators attached on the wheels of the car so when you break it charges the batteries through regenerative charging) and more, so less weight.

Or better yet, bring back the fully electric cars, they performed great and people that owned them where very satisfied by them but the EV1 and others weren't available to purchase, only to lease hence why no one has them anymore (except museums...but they aren't running them of course). Such a new tech and it ends up in a museum, we should be riding those things! But that is the reality of today's world, oil companies run everything (governments included).

Back to the Diesel/Electric Hybrid I was talking about, lets say they put in a 4 cylinder Diesel in the Volt instead, the car will perform better, charge the batteries faster (hence run less and be a lot more efficient than with a Gas/Electric Platform) and it will weight less (assuming they do remove those wheel generators. And let's not forget that a Diesel engine nowadays is very quiet and for those who want a turbo well this engine could have one for even more performance.

But that's only my opinion.




RE: Hybrids
By piroroadkill on 7/28/2008 4:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
The Opel Flextreme concept is based on the same platform as the volt, and it is.. you guessed it, a series Diesel-Electric, using a 1.3l diesel


RE: Hybrids
By juuvan on 7/28/2008 7:18:03 AM , Rating: 2
well maybe the diesel engines from the 40's can be run without electricity, but the modern commonrail diesels are dead without it. More radical approach would be gas turbine coupled with a generator. One can run those with nearly any fuel and their efficency is quite good nowadays. And on the side note, turbocharging the ICE improves its efficency so it seems to bit comical to argue against it on basis of fuel consumption. Naturally aspirated engine will be simple and cheaper to manufacture, but not more efficent. For example VAG doesn't offer any NA I4 engines for their European models as they all are turbo or twin charged and most of them are also direct injected.


RE: Hybrids
By ziggo on 7/28/2008 5:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
Turbocharging an ICE increases power density and as such can increase the efficency of the total package in terms of MPG by reducing weight, but from a pure thermal standpoint it doesn't increase efficiency.

If you are familiar with the thermal cycle of a gasoline engine running on the Otto cycle, you will notice that turbocharging increases the work that must done during the exhaust stroke, reducing the over thermal efficency of the engine. TINSTAAFL strikes again, even in thermodynamics.

In terms of thermal effiency the only things you can do to increase thermal efficiency are increase the compression ratio and reduce parasitic losses.

Also, because the "k" value for air is always above 1, an otto cycle (gasoline) engine can always be designed to be more thermally efficent than a diesel cycle when parasitic losses are ignored. If the losses due to the throttle can be ignored by running at WOT, and you use a high octane fuel such that you can run a compression ratio above ~13.5 then you will be more thermally efficient than a diesel. At equal compression ratios (necessitates very high octane fuel) and ignoring parasatic losses, a gasoline engine is ~40% more efficient than a diesel. (k for air = ~1.4, varies with temperature)


RE: Hybrids
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 10:14:49 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you never travel outside your home city. But many Americans do. A fully electric car is useless to the majority of Americans. Because they can't afford to have 2 high priced electric cars for commuting and a 3rd car for longer trips.


RE: Hybrids
By pauldovi on 7/28/2008 12:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
Heavy brake pad generators? What kind of hybrid car has brake pad generators? I have never heard of this car! Diesel engines weigh more than gasoline. However, disiel engines provide better effeciency than gasoline, so I too would like to see them implemented. Your reasoning just doesn't make much sense.


I had a 3 cylinder naturally aspirated Chevy...
By utaka95 on 7/27/2008 8:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
that got 37-42 mpg back in 1989. No turbo, no environmentally unfriendly battery packs, just a 1.0 liter 3 cylinder. It cost less than $6000 new in 1986, but alas no one imports such a vehicle now, why not? The Volt is the same kind of feel good environmentalism as most hybrids, and is made to sell to people with more money than brains. It'll probably cost more to manufacture than they'll sell it for, but they will be able to tout themselves as being THE "environmentally friendly" car manufacturer. Bring back the small cars that are still sold in Europe, but not here.




By puckalicious on 7/27/2008 9:03:53 PM , Rating: 3
And no semblence of structural safety that today's cars must meet. This leads to much more mass, which leads to more powerful engines to propel this mass, which leads to worse fuel economy. Overall the CAFE for all OEM's combined has been pretty stagnant (but increasing) since 1988 due to new safety regulations that made cars heavier in order to meet them. (and cheap gas).


By Solandri on 7/27/2008 10:19:09 PM , Rating: 3
The point of the Volt is the 40 mile range on electric from an overnight charge. Some people with them are going to be saying "I haven't been to the gas station in X months". I suspect many of them will calculate a faux mpg too. If you've got a 25 mile one-way commute, the 50 real mpg would be stretched out into 250 faux mpg with nightly charging, and you'd go 1800 miles before refueling.

But I agree it's for people with more money than brains. Money savings from fuel is inversely proportional to efficiency, so the more efficient your car the less money you can potentially save. e.g. With the above 25 mile one-way commute, switching from a 12.5 mpg SUV to a 25 mpg sedan will save you 2 gallons per day. Switching from a 25 mpg sedan to a 50 mpg hybrid (or European econobox) only saves you 1 gallon per day. And switching from the 50 mpg hybrid to a 250 faux mpg Volt would save you only 0.8 gallons per day. The biggest money-saving change you can make is ditching the SUV for a regular sedan; getting a hybrid or Volt or small European car is will yield half the savings of that change or less.


I'm sorry
By 1prophet on 7/27/2008 6:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Even if it meets GM's performance/economy criteria this doesn't look like a car for the average middleclass Joe/Jane.

How much is it going to cost and will it be serviceable by the independent garage after the warranty expires or will everyone be forced to go back to the dealer?




RE: I'm sorry
By shabby on 7/27/2008 7:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
You trade it in for a new one with warranty, thats the american way!


RE: I'm sorry
By Penti on 7/27/2008 9:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the Opel Flextreme plattform will be better for family cars. But it's not like the GM Volt is any more then a technology plattform with looks of a concept car. That is true for the Flextreme too, both are concept looking cars for developing the e-flex plattform (electric drivetrain and such). It will probably be available in the US under the Saturn brand though. It's really the future cars that will be based of those that will be more mainstream friendly.

However they won't be cheap like a small car, even if it just got a 16 kWh battery pack it will still cost a lot just for the battery. But the GM Volt aren't planed to be sold with any profits either, the original target price was $30k USD but it looks like it will be closer to $40k USD (see http://gm-volt.com/2008/04/28/how-much-will-the-ch... ).

Like earlier all electric vehicles it will be subsidized. Even when subsidized from both GM and the government it will still cost more then a Prius and it will not be produced at high numbers at first, an estimated 10 000 cars the first year according to http://www.leftlanenews.com/chevy-volt-hybrid-to-s... .

It's too bad they make it so expensive though. Even the Prius got a more powerful battery for example even if it's a NiMH battery. But i guess the electronics for the electric drivetrain will cost a lot. As will the Li-ion battery. It got a more powerful engine then the Prius, it aren't as easy/cheap to build the control electronics for it then and it got a generator too which aren't free.

No idea about serviceability, it's as I said basically a concept car in limited production. However after a few years I'm sure theres a lot of people out there that know how to service it. As there's people today that can convert Priuses to plugins and such. But if you pay 30-40k for the car it should have pretty good warranties like the Priuses 150k miles or then years. And I really don't expect it to be worth changing dieing batteries and such after the warranty is gone. Cars aren't made to be running for 50 years. (economically unfeasible at least.)


Why?
By afkrotch on 7/28/2008 6:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
I don't understand. Why can't they just hook up a like 400cc motorcycle engine to this and constantly charge the battery. Give it like a 3 gallon tank and you should be good for a while.




RE: Why?
By juuvan on 7/28/2008 7:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
Because the motorcycle engines are optimised for pure performance, not for extreme volumetric efficency. BTW, have you ever wondered why the F1 engines have a displacement of 300cc times the number of cylinders? I give you a hint: volumetric efficency...


RE: Why?
By afkrotch on 7/28/2008 8:28:00 AM , Rating: 2
And going from an turbocharged 3 cyclinder to an NA 4 cyclinder just decreased that volumetric efficiency. But none of that really matters. The gasoline engine is not making the car move forward. It's there just to charge the battery. Or they can use a wankel engine.

It's some weird take on the electric vehicle, where the car is propelled forward by the electric motors and the gasoline engine powers the batteries and isn't used to propel the car.

So you shouldn't need some 100hp engine to accomplish such a feat. We don't know much about the car. An 18 hp engine can produce 9.7 KW.


3 Cylinder vs 4 Cylinder
By Brutus1234 on 7/27/2008 8:54:52 PM , Rating: 3
The change to a 4 cylinder is probably based on economics. You might have seen the latest announcement about 20% headcount cuts at GM and engineering budget restrictions...

The 1.4L 4 cylinder will be off the shelf in 2010, going into virtually all of the small cars. No development money that way.

As far as comments made about the utility of this car, you can't argue that. There's a Saturn Vue in the development pipeline coming within a year of the Volt with the same plug-in drivetrain. It's a lot more practical but I don't think it would have been given the same media attention if it were brought to market 1st.

The Volt is for publicity. It will last 1 model cycle at best. The real goal is all the other vehicles coming right behind it.




RE: 3 Cylinder vs 4 Cylinder
By Hoser McMoose on 7/28/2008 3:38:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The 1.4L 4 cylinder will be off the shelf in 2010, going into virtually all of the small cars. No development money that way.

I agree. GM already makes 1.4L engines for several models sold in basically every country outside of North America. It's almost always cheaper and easier to make slight modifications to something you've already got rather then to develop from scratch.

That being said, it doesn't really matter much what engine they use, it's the end result that matters. If they can get better fuel economy with a 1.4L naturally aspirated I4 then go with it.

quote:
The Volt is for publicity. It will last 1 model cycle at best.

While the Volt certainly is all about publicity, I think it will have a lifespan of much longer than just a single model, even if it evolves significantly after it's release. The car has good potential to be fairly iconic, much like the Prius is for current generations of parallel hybrids. That tends to make for good sales, at least after a few years.


Chevy Volt
By ereilad on 7/28/2008 9:41:42 AM , Rating: 2
With my experience in the military with generators, I always got more reliable performance with a diesel generator than a gas one. Also, if the vehicle just uses the motors to generate electricity and is propelled by electric motors, why not have two generators in stead of one. When both are not needed it would offer fuel savings would it not?




RE: Chevy Volt
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 9:59:02 AM , Rating: 2
Space and weight restrictions.

But I agree a diesel would be better. I think they didn't want to do diesel because of the extremely high price right now. Here diesel is around a dollar more than regular. So you have to weigh better efficiency over cost of fuel. Plus then they'd not only have to worry about keeping the battery warm in extremely cold weather, but also possibly need a block heater for the diesel engine.


Why the Chevy Volt is a big Joke!
By pauldovi on 7/29/2008 12:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt has a 16kwH battery pack. If you charged it from your wall at reasonable 80% charge rate you would use to $2.13 for 40 miles of driving (using the national average of 10.65 cents per KwH). The Prius at a combined 46 MPG can go 40 miles on approximately .87 gallons of gasoline, or about $3.48 (at $4 per gallon). At an MSRP of $21,500 the Prius would be a cheaper car to operate until you traveled 548,148 miles (using $40,000 for the Chevy Volt). That is assuming that you only drive 40 miles at a time so you never have to tap into that gasoline engine and that is assuming your lithium ion battery pack lasts you those 550,000 miles!

Math:

Volt: $40,000
Prius: $21,500
Difference: $18,500

Cost per 40 miles of Volt: $2.13
Cost per mile of Volt: $.05325
Cost per 40 miles of Prius: $3.48
Cost per mile of Prius: $.087
Difference (in cost per mile): $0.03375

.03375*x = 18,500
x = 548,148

Driving 40 miles per day and recharging the Volt at night you will have yourself a money saver after 38.5 years!

Remember, that is assuming you only go 40 miles at a time on the Volt so you never touch that expensive to operate gas engine and that is also assuming your battery pack goes 550,000 miles! Which isn't going to happen.




By djc208 on 8/2/2008 10:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
But the Prius was no different upon it's debut either. A high premium for the "privledge" of being green.

Didn't matter that it was cheaper to buy and fuel a 4-cylinder civic 5-speed for the life of the vehicle than to buy and fuel a Prius. It still almost is, only this $4/gallon gas has started to make the Prius an economical choice, and that's assuming you can buy one at sticker price, let alone compared to the deal you'll get on a civic or equivalent.

The Volt isn't about fuel efficiency for saving money, it's about looking good and getting to brag about "saving the planet", even to all the Prius owners. It's the iPhone of the green car world.


Er....
By A5un on 7/28/2008 3:00:01 AM , Rating: 2
How about GM makes one of these with a high-revving straight 6 and full independent suspension and rear wheel driven? What got GM in their situation now probably isn't mpg, though that did helped. It think it's time GM improves its entire line of cars in quality, reliability, and finish.

The Malibu is a nice start. Let's just hope it's not a disappointment like the previous ones.




RE: Er....
By andrinoaa on 7/28/2008 4:58:07 AM , Rating: 1
Why are you thinking about a free reving 6. You guys wouldn't know what that was...pushrods and all!
Just change the motors to more powerfull ones and your free reving 6 eats shit! Haven't you been listening?


Its all about your commute...
By Doormat on 7/27/2008 11:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
If you have a commute over 50-60 miles per day it wont be worth it. Maybe by 2014 when they can get more efficient batteries (Li-ion tech increases capacity by about 5-7%/yr) and get 60-75mi/charge it'll be worth it for the longer-range drivers (or if you can persuade your company to put in a recharging station for you).

But I think of it this way, I drive 35mi round trip. Maybe once every 2 weeks I'll drive somewhere after work that isn't on my way home.

The math works as follows:
8kWh/day, 6 days a week (I usually stay at home Saturdays) - $350/yr in energy costs at 12c/kWh and .85 charging efficiency (meter to car) + $323 for 1,000 mi of 40mi+ driving at 17mpg on E85 at $5.50/gal, assuming 30% ICE -> battery efficiency = $673/yr in fuel costs

vs

22mpg in my Escape at 12,000 mi/yr = $3273 at $6/gal

(note: I use $5.50 and $6/gal because thats what I'm estimating what the average price to be in 2011 when they actually start to sell these in volume at around $40K minus I'd assume some $3-5k tax credit)

So the difference is about $2600/yr, or $13,000 over 5 years.

The answer about whether or not its worth it is all dependent on gas prices. If prices stick between $3-4/gal, the yearly savings goes down to about $1500/yr ($7500 over 5 years). If they continue to escalate (which is my bet, regardless of whether or not we start drilling domestically), then it becomes worth it.

IMO, I'm a hell of a lot more interested in the fact that on a per car basis with the driving pattern I described above and using E85 fuel (hopefully cellulose based and not corn) the Volt will use 98% less gasoline than a regular car (545 gal vs 8.85 gal of gasoline in the 59 gal of E85).




GM makes *#!$ cars.
By royalcrown on 7/29/2008 3:37:50 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone who owns a 10 year old Honda or Toyota can tell you it beats the hell out of a 2 year old Chevy. Let's not even get into squeaks and rattles and electrical probs.

I hope the volt shows improvement in GM's crappy quality.




Less cylinders= more efficent
By perzy on 7/29/2008 7:02:44 AM , Rating: 2
It' a scientific fact that effenciency of an otto or diesel -engine increases with larger cylinder radius. To a limit of course. But for a small engine like 1,4 liter it should have 1 or maybe 2 cylinders to have good combustion. Think Harley Davison engines!
Unfortunatly the car industry have gotten the idea that people can't deal with a little vibration.
I even love the sound of HD's (dont we all?) so why don't they make them for cars?




Engine change makes perfect sense
By skrappy on 7/29/2008 4:59:32 PM , Rating: 2
GM is planning a brand new 1.4 turbo for a replacement of the Chevy Cobalt, currently referred to as the Chevy Cruze.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2045147/p...

It makes economic sense to use a non-turbo version of this same engine that will be available in huge quantities rather than sourcing a relatively specialized engine in smaller volumes.

Smart move if this is the actual part swapping plan. Quicker road to lowering the cost to translate into more vehicles sold, that then lowers cost even more.




By someguy743 on 7/28/2008 11:01:17 AM , Rating: 1
I just saw an interview on one of the 24/7 news channels where the guy said that Ahmadinejad isn't happy about high crude oil prices ... he said they were "unrealistic" or something. The commentator said the REAL reason why Ahmadinejad doesn't like crude prices this high is because he is AFRAID of huge numbers of 150 mpg cars like the Chevy Volt coming onto the market.

Ahmadinejad would probably like all these hybrids to NEVER get a foothold in the marketplace. Once they are on the market, people will KNOW they have a very potent weapon to use when oil prices are ridiculous. I LOVE the fact that soon we're going to have a CHOICE. We won't just have to "sit back and take it" ... and pay the fatcat oil shieks big money every month.

We'll be depriving the oil shieks of getting private jets for everyone in their family you know. That's horrible! They won't be able to build more 5 star hotels or enjoy their manmade islands with huge houses on them or have manmade snow ski slopes in the desert! They want nuclear bombs and other expensive military gear too you know. Don't you feel sooo sorry for them? Ahmadinejad and his middle east oil buddies would much rather keep us addicted to oil and driving our guzzlers that get under 30 mpg in order to keep their gravy train going. 150 mpg cars and all electric cars probably freak him out. I LOVE IT.

It's not going to be just the Chevy Volt. GM has a new "regular 2 mode Saturn Vue" coming onto the market later this year. It's a crossover/small SUV similar to the Honda CR-V. A "PLUG-IN 2-mode Saturn Vue" is coming to market in 2010 that is rumored to get 70 mpg. This is all bad news for the Middle East fatcat oil sheiks. I'm sure the rest of the auto industry will have similar cars coming soon also ... especially Toyota.

We won't NEED their steaanking oil. Not near as much anyway. The new hybrids that are coming will start causing a LOT of "demand destruction" like they say on CNBC ... all over the world by the end of the 2010s.

Israel is planning on going to mostly electric cars with their "Project Better Place" plans in the next 5-10 years. Same thing with other countries like Denmark.

I think a lot of island places like Hawaii might be going with mostly electric cars in the future. That's all they need. 100% electric cars (BEVs) are perfect in situations where cars only need a certain amount of range.

Extended range electric vehicles (ER-EVs) are perfect for people that need to take occasional long trips. You get the best of both worlds with the Volt ... cheap 100% electric driving for driving around town and the ability to fill up with gasoline or E85 on interstates for those longer trips.

By the way, I think the new 1.4 non turbo engine is a good idea. It'll actually weigh less and get better mileage than the 1.0 liter turbo. It should be QUIETER, smoother running and less complicated than the turbo (fewer potential repairs). It should be cheaper too because they can get more "economies of scale" since they will use the 1.4 engine in a LOT of different GM cars around the world. The only downside is that it is slightly larger in size in the engine bay. That's not a problem for the engineers I hear.




The Volt in Unimpressive
By pauldovi on 7/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By A5un on 7/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Hoser McMoose on 7/28/2008 3:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the electricity, which originates mostly from coal-fired power plant, used to charge the car

Roughly 50% of electricity in the U.S. is generated from coal. However even with 100% coal you're still better off from a greenhouse gas perspective on a per-kilometre driven basis.

For air pollution it depends on whether the coal plant has scrubbers or not. If it does, electric drive vehicles will generate less air pollution per kilometre driven. If the coal plants do not have scrubbers (and sadly ~2/3rds of those in North America do not) then the gasoline engine will probably be better.

In my mind scrubbers should have been mandatory for 100% of coal plants 25+ years ago. The extra cost is small, EXTREMELY small as compared to the $50B+/year in health care costs that coal air pollution causes... but that's another story.

Of course, for all methods of electricity production other than coal (ie the other 50% of electricity generated in the U.S.) electric drivetrains are a flat out win.

quote:
the eletricity, which originates mostly from coal-fired power plant, used to make the battery

And what about the electricity to make a conventional engine, or body panels, or transmissions, or any other component of a vehicle.

It takes a lot of energy to make any vehicle, the Volt is no exception. Simple rule of thumb is that energy taken will be roughly proportional to curb weight. The Volt might take a bit more energy then the convention drivetrain vehicle, but the difference won't be much.

When you add everything up in a 'dust to dust' comparison, the most environmentally vehicle sold in North America is probably something like a Toyota Yaris. Small, light and fuel efficient. However as compared to vehicles with similar size and performance, I'd say that the Volt should be pretty darn good on the environmental front.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Spuke on 7/29/2008 4:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the most environmentally friendly cars in the US are used one's that get good gas mileage. A used car doesn't require any "new" energy to be used.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 9:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
You also have to take into account all of the additional maintenance a standard combustion engine requires, like oil filters, transmission fluid, engine oil. While the Volt conceivably only gets rid of one of these it's an additional savings versus parallel systems.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By pauldovi on 7/28/2008 1:07:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You also have to take into account all of the additional maintenance a standard combustion engine requires, like oil filters, transmission fluid, engine oil. While the Volt conceivably only gets rid of one of these it's an additional savings versus parallel systems.


The Volt (as a series hybrid) also has an ICE. So I don't how you are removing these maintenance issues from the equation. Regardless, you are introducing far more complex maintenance in the battery pack and sophisticated charging circuits.

quote:
Wrong, wrong, and wrong.


I guess you don't care to provide any reason for this? The Volt is expected to get what 40MPH? Parallel system from Toyota and Honda already trump this, at about 1/2 the cost. So I guess you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

quote:
I guess that's why Toyota is investing billions in creating their own serial hybrid. Serial hybrid is far superiour to parallel.


Just because Toyota invests billions into series hybrid (I don't know that they are) doesn't imply that it is a better solution. Look at Honda, they are investing a lot of money in hydrogen despite every powertrain expert telling them it is foolish.

quote:
Please explain to me how an engine like that in every production car right now which has to operate in a wide RPM range is more efficient than an engine that is tuned to optimally run at a single RPM range.


There is more to it than the RPM that it operates at. With a series hybrid system you are converting chemical energy (gasoline) into mechanical energy (output shaft of ICE), you then convert the mechanical energy into electric potential energy (electric generator), you then convert the electric potential energy into chemical energy (again, this time into the battery), then you convert the chemical energy from the battery back into electric potential energy and feed it to the electric motor to power the car when then converts the electric potential energy into mechanical energy. At each energy conversion stage you lose energy, the sum of which trumps and gains from operating your ICE at ideal conditions. Not to mention the increased weight, cost, and complexity of the vehicle due to 3 engines (1 ICE, 1 drive electric motor, 1 charge electric motor) and significantly more complex electrical system.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 5:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
I only said one. I didn't say all. Do you really want to compare an electric motor's routine maintenance with that of a combustion engine??


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By pauldovi on 7/28/2008 5:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
ICE = Internal Combustion Engine. Not sure what you mean by this comment other than the chance that you thought the ICE was the electric motor?


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 9:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm talking about the transmission fluid. Because the ICE within the Volt doesn't actually drive the wheels there is a very good chance that the electric motor will not have a transmission.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Spuke on 7/29/2008 4:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
So, to avoid having to replace transmission fluid, you add a couple of electric motors? We're talking $30 for a 12 pack of automatic transmission fluid. I think the electric motors cost a bit more than $30.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 8:49:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
They weight more, they cost more, they give you less power, and they have less efficiency.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

quote:
They are fundamentally inferior to the parallel hybrid power train found in Toyota cars.

I guess that's why Toyota is investing billions in creating their own serial hybrid. Serial hybrid is far superiour to parallel.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2008 9:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
Please explain to me how an engine like that in every production car right now which has to operate in a wide RPM range is more efficient than an engine that is tuned to optimally run at a single RPM range.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Jim28 on 7/28/2008 10:06:38 AM , Rating: 2
Magic and some pixie dust! Not only that, a willful lack of understanding.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By pauldovi on 7/28/2008 1:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
To add to what I said in the above post modern ICE are well equiped to operate optimally at all power ranged because of fuel injection and DOHC systems. With carburated engines you had to essentially choose a RPM to get peak efficiency sustaining losses at all other RPMs. This is because an ICE is a harmonic system, with difference resonances at difference RPM's. But this is a not issue with fuel injection and DOHC.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By ziggo on 7/28/2008 5:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
I woulnd't mess with acronyms you don't understand.

DOHC - Dual Over Head Cam

Main Benefits - Higer Rev Limit, More valves/cylinder.

Perhaps you ment VTEC, which means Variable Timing Exhaust Cam. Much different and helpful but still doesn't get you there.

Even with all the technology we have today the torque curve for an ICEs are not linear. Which means they are more efficient at one RPM than another. So even the current "perform everywhere" engines would benefit from only running at one RPM in terms of thermal efficiency

Desiging an engine from the ground up to perform well at one or two specific points a HUGE advantage in efficiency. There are tons of things that can be done to tune an engine into a specific rev range. Most engines spread these out to try to improve effiency everywhere. High performance turning sacrifices drivibility to merge these things into one. Due to these enhancements they operate with peak thermal efficiencies nearing 40% or about 15% more than the standard "everywhere" design.

Beyond ALL of that, an serial hybrid allows the engine to be run at WOT, which is, in terms of thermal efficiency, its most efficient point. I think we can all agree that most engines spend most of thier time at partial throttle, and throttle is the key word here as you are throttling your thermal efficiency with pumping losses and this is the primary reason why deisels are more thermally efficient.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By pauldovi on 7/28/2008 6:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
Just because an engine produces peak torque at a specific RPM does not mean that it also produces peak efficiency there. Because of DOHC and technologies like VTEC engines can operate at high efficiency throughout the torque curve. Fuel injection also greatly improves fuel efficiency of an engine across the power curve as well as across the "maintenance" curve. Fuel injection allows a car with a dirty air filter or dirt spark plugs to still maintain higher fuel efficiency (although it does not maintain power).

No car engine is achieving 40% thermal efficiency, not even close! However, with your series hybrid you are losing a massive amount of energy through all of the energy conversions (chemical -> mechanical -> electrical -> chemical -> electrical -> mechanical). Any conceivable efficiency increases from running the engine at an optimal output is negated by these losses and by the cost of the additional electric motor, charge circuitry, wiring, and batteries.

quote:
bollocks. The way the fuel is delivered to the combustion chamber does nothing to the harmonics of the engine. You are on the right track though. It's the variable valve timing and lift which have everything to do with the flow dynamics of the combustion chamber. The direct or in-direct fuel injection contributes only to the quality of the air-fuel mixture. Series hybrid is already in use in Lexus 600H, so Toyota does have such a system. The series hybrid is better for the high power systems as the electric motor/generator is integrated into the automatic gearbox. You don't need to change the design and construction much to equip a rwd luxury saloon with the hybrid power train. You get the best of the both worlds, phenomenal acceleration, reasonable fuel consumption and virtually silent city cruising.


Completely wrong, in many ways.

For starters the Lexus LS600h uses a parallel hybrid power train. The GS450h is also a parallel hybrid power train.

Second of all, your statement that series hybrid is better for high performance applications is nonsense. Hybrid Power trains will be allowed in the 2009 Formula 1 season and several teams have already confirmed to be developing parallel power trains, not one is working on a series. Not only do parallel system allow you to achieve higher total power output (peak), but they allow for higher average power output. For example, Formula 1 cars cannot go full throttle until they are going around 100MPH because of traction. That means that the time between 0 and 100MPH means their total power output is less than what the engine is capable of performing. With a parallel hybrid system, the car can run at full power output with the power than cannot go to the wheel uses to charge capacitor banks. As the vehicle builds up enough speed and traction to go full throttle it can also employ the electric motor to boost the vehicle further. Another example would be cornering, where the vehicle has to slow down and cannot use its engine at peak output. Entering a turn the vehicle can charge the capacitor banks with the vehicles forward motion (regenerative braking) as well as use the excess engine power to charge the capacitors. As the vehicle departs the turn it can use that stored engine as boost, giving it very rapid acceleration. Parallel hybrid power trains allow race cars to utilize near 100% of their engines power for the entire race, increasing not only the average speed but also increasing fuel efficiency.

Parallel hybrid power trains are far more robust than series. They can do everything a series hybrid can do and more. Their only advantage is that they are easier for GM to design and they can have the PR appearance of being more eco-friendly. Both of these reasons are nonsense.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By ziggo on 7/28/2008 8:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
"Just because an engine produces peak torque at a specific RPM does not mean that it also produces peak efficiency there."

Um, thats exactly what it means. Maximum amount of output per stroke. Hold all other inputs constant and vary RPM. The engine will be most thermally efficient at its torque peak. This isn't just about controlling the quality of the burn (which FI helps alot) its also about minimizing pumping losses.

I could care less about serial vs parallel vs whatever. The fact is, an engine that is tuned for one RPM is going to be much more efficient than one that is tuned across the whole rev range. Those harmonics you mentioned, they didn't magically disappear. If you are designing for one rev range you line them up as best you can and reap the benefits.

DOHC is just the method of actuating the cams. It has NOTHING to do with high efficiency across the rev range. The DOHC cams are still tuned to a specific rpm range.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Jim28 on 7/28/2008 8:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
How is reverse engineering an existing technology (parallel hybrids) more difficult than designing and deploying the first series hybrid? Gee it is only the first of its kind but it is easier to make than something that has been on the market for years!

Most of you arguments don't make sense.
Those conversion losses you harp about are not near as great in magnitude as you think. They do not trump the increase in efficiency gained from the ICE engine running in a tuned single rpm setting. (Even better if the engine was a diesel of course)
You save weight because you have no transmission, which more than makes up for the generator weight.
You have charging electronics and motor controller on both hybrid types, and the weight is in the same ballpark.
Granted you gain weight with the batteries, but the batteries are only big because of the 40 mile range on batteries only.
Series hybrids have the potential to be the most robust power train we have until pure electrical cars come out. The series hybrid is similar in concept to almost all turbo-electric drive ships. It is a well understood concept and is based on a mature technology. The only questions marks are the batteries.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By juuvan on 7/29/2008 4:39:30 AM , Rating: 2
Apologies. I stand corrected with the serial vs. parallel hybrid. I mixed the terms. Just replace the terms with each other and my comment makes sense again.

this forum is btw **** I tried to recover my forgotted passwd and it changed my id... And this replying...

Parallel hybrids spell a new renessace for RWD cars, and as you mentioned the main bonus here is the seamless co-operation of the transmission, elctric drive and ICE. The example you gave about the F1's is a bit of of mess. If I have understood it right the main goal of the _parallel_ hybrid is to keep the power output of the combined system in equilibrium and create the dynamics by variating the target of the power output to the energy storage or to the drive train. Speed vs torque is then determined by the transmission.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By jive on 7/28/2008 5:09:19 PM , Rating: 2
bollocks. The way the fuel is delivered to the combustion chamber does nothing to the harmonics of the engine. You are on the right track though. It's the variable valve timing and lift which have everything to do with the flow dynamics of the combustion chamber. The direct or in-direct fuel injection contributes only to the quality of the air-fuel mixture.

Series hybrid is already in use in Lexus 600H, so Toyota does have such a system. The series hybrid is better for the high power systems as the electric motor/generator is integrated into the automatic gearbox. You don't need to change the design and construction much to equip a rwd luxury saloon with the hybrid power train. You get the best of the both worlds, phenomenal acceleration, reasonable fuel consumption and virtually silent city cruising.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Spuke on 7/29/2008 4:21:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Series hybrid is already in use in Lexus 600H,
No one has a serial hybrid in production including Toyota.


RE: The Volt in Unimpressive
By Penti on 8/2/2008 5:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yes no one has one.

If they had it on the 600H they wouldn't need a V8 engine :)

http://www.lexus.com/hybridbrochure/ls_600h_l.html

It's just a full hybrid just like the Prius. Mild hybrids don't have anything more then an oversized starter engine, that's the difference compared to full hybrids.

There are some other differences though see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_Hybrid_Drive . They are both "series-parallel hybrids" or combined hybrids ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivet... ), it only means you can use both an electric motor or the ICE. Series hybrid means you just use the electric motor. The engine isn't hooked up to the drivetrain.


By aeroengineer1 on 7/27/2008 8:03:30 PM , Rating: 5
Justin,

I graduated about the same time that you did, though now I am an engineer, and while I have learned that Wikipedia is a good source of first round information, if I was ever to quoted it in any report while in school, I would get points taken away.

It seems that your main argument is two fold, first that we are using technology that is over 100 years old since it was first used, and second, that Lithium based batteries are worse than any NiMh composition. There is one thing that you learn in engineering, and that most things are a trade-off. NiMh batteries do not have the power density as Lithium based batteries. This lighter weight translates in to better fuel efficiency because you do not have to carry around the weight. The other thing to consider is that there have been many, many advancements in the chemistry of Lithium based batteries including the use of nano structures to stabilize the battery so as to not corrode the terminals internally of the battery, while maintaining the same chemistry. (http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?... note must register to read, but registration is free).

The other contention was that these internal combustion engines are based upon technology that is over 100 years old. If you want to extrapolate this argument, then the wheel is a technology that is a few thousand years old and hence we should not be using cars. if you propose flight, the recognize that flight is a technology that is older than the internal combustion engine that is used in cars. Hence engineering and technologies are all based "upon the shoulders of those that preceded [it]" and hence all things have old technology. The new engines that are used are very modern in controls and materials, all attempting to reach their ideal Carnot efficiency. That is the way it is.

Adam


By bpharri2 on 7/27/2008 8:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
While a good post, more research should have been done instead of relying on outdated studies.

1. The research done to determine this is over 7 years old. Think that technology has gotten better in those 7 years? A123 Systems (the provider for batteries on the Volt) have greatly increased power and temperature capabilities of the batteries, which was one of the reasons capacity did not last long. A couple of companies have used nanotechnology to increase longevity by a factor of 5.

2. If NiMH is so good, why is Toyota working on them for their next generation Prius?

3. Once again this has been mostly solved by newer technologies

While I agree that a lot of "promised" technologies have fallen by the wayside, I think we need to get behind some of these incremental increases to show the companies we support change. It is easy from the consumer side of things, where we will usually by one at a time to want drastic change. From a company stand point, it is very risky to go away from proven technology and money to something new, no matter the potential upside.

Large leaps in the consumer market are usually brought on by the little companies who have less to lose rather than the entrenched companies.


By FITCamaro on 7/27/2008 10:18:24 PM , Rating: 1
Want some cheese?


By pauldovi on 7/28/2008 12:53:20 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
2. They should switch to NiMH. Sure, you need to be a tad more careful about when to charge and when not to charge those batteries but they are still using them in Toyota Prius cars.


Nickel Metal Hydride battery are far simplier to charge (and safer) than Lithium Ion. Lithium Ion requires complicated charging circuits and is prone to temperature damage. NiMH is considered to be a more "rugged" battery compared to Lithium Ion but has considerable less energy density and a low charge / dicharge efficiency.


By Penti on 8/6/2008 4:27:03 PM , Rating: 2
They are better, in fact the Prius NiMH pack is probably a lot better then the GM Volts lithium ion-pack and it's not only 16 kWh it's bigger it's 21 kWh and it doesn't cost 16k USD as the Volts 16 kWh Li-ion is expected to cost.

NiMH are cheaper and reliabler. It has it's drawback but it's more mature. I don't expect the Volts battery to live a day longer then the warranty. Not really that it should, neither governments or car companies likes it when we drive old cares. However it's a big innovation (made by A123/LG CHEM) if they are able to keep working for like 10 years. Most li-ion batteries made today doesn't need to work that long. Anyways 16k is to much the hole car should be able to cost that. And it's not a huge battery pack anyways like the 50 kWh ones that are in electric sports/enthusiasts cars.


I want more TURBOS!
By wingless on 7/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: I want more TURBOS!
By SiliconAddict on 7/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: I want more TURBOS!
By danrien on 7/27/2008 6:48:23 PM , Rating: 5
From what I understand, a turbo engine would have done nothing for acceleration, speed, etc., since the engine ran completely off of an electric motor - which will be fun enough to drive, trust me.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By Alias1431 on 7/27/2008 9:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
[That’s right folks, according to Lutz, the electric Chevrolet Volt hybrid will do 0-60 mph around the same time it takes high-performance cars like the BMW 335i or Inifiniti G37. If that were true we would’ve taken 2 Volts.

However, GM contacted the folks over at gm-volt.com and told them that ‘Bob misspoke, and the 0 to 60 time will actually be 8.5-9.0 seconds.’]

Or not.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By Noya on 7/28/2008 7:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, so it's slower than a 4-cyl Accord or Camry, closing in on the Prius's 0-60mph time. Let's not forget, the Prius gets 45mpg+ in the city, about 50mpg if you drive it like a true economy car (slow).


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By MADAOO7 on 7/27/2008 7:01:52 PM , Rating: 1
I find it interesting that many of you are more concerned about the performance rather than the quality. Performance (and I mean this in a MPG sense, not HP) is not what drove GM into the hole it's in, it was the quality of their vehicles. What will make or break this vehicle for GM is it's fit, finish, and quality of components.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By phxfreddy on 7/27/2008 7:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah and the first year of this buggy is a coin flip...it could be a real problematic car the first year or two since its radically different.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By theapparition on 7/28/2008 8:40:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Performance (and I mean this in a MPG sense, not HP) is not what drove GM into the hole it's in, it was the quality of their vehicles.

Err....you mean percieved quality problems. Kinda like how Apples are percieved superiour to PCs. When if you go by facts, GM vehicle repair rate is one of the lowest in the industry, and they've won numerous quality awards. To make a blanket statement that GM cars are problematic is incorrect at best, typical biased-media leeming mentality at worst.

BTW, the car with the absolute worst repair record. Mercedes. Audi, Volkswagon and BMW aren't much better. Where's the call that Germany can't make reliable cars?

Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Isuzu, and Mazda all have repair records worse than GM per 1000 autos. Only Toyota has a better repair record.

Stick to facts, you'll go further in life.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By kc77 on 7/28/2008 9:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
Becareful "fit - n - finish" / quality of the materials isn't the same as reliability. You can have Zembrano wood / Coach seats yet have a reliability record worse than any U.S automaker ala Mercedes.

People often confuse the two. Although I do agree that the reliability perception is wholly crafted from the media. I had a friend that was trying to buy a VW until I showed him the reliability record of them ... needless to say he was astonished.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By Ryanman on 7/27/2008 8:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
wow, his sarcasm was COMPLETELY lost on all of you.


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By 4wardtristan on 7/28/2008 12:21:07 AM , Rating: 2
Sarcasm? on the internets!??!


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By stlrenegade on 7/28/2008 12:09:08 PM , Rating: 3
So, since the gas engine just charges the batteries, I can assume it won't be used as much as an engine that propels the car.

Does this mean maintenance on the engine (oil changes, tune-ups) will also decrease dramatically? Will we be able to go 15,000+ miles before needing to change the oil?


RE: I want more TURBOS!
By roadrun777 on 8/3/2008 1:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
You guessed right.
They plan on keeping you going in to maintenance shops other ways, like using batteries that self-expire, and electronics that force you to receive check ups. I just hope that foreign auto makers embrace the radical idea of building cars that are less complicated and more modular, that would force local transportation producers to change their model.
The reason they lowered the available voltage was to slow the acceleration down. They don't want this vehicle competing with their top gas only vehicles. They definitely don't want an electric vehicle to "appear" sporty or to appeal to the big spenders. Why they continue to raise the price in 10,000$ increments, put it in the price range of luxury and sport, and cripple it so it only appeals to hard core environmentalists.

While I love turbo, and the idea of air compression boosting the RPM and power, current turbo designs have a tendency to break after a few years. The seals on the compression mechanisms constantly need replacing. On the other hand, compressing air into the combustion chamber improves explosive force by a decent magnitude, increasing power and RPM for the same amount of fuel.

We all know that these cars can go a lot faster than they are "governing" them for. I am sure there will be drive train mod kits for these things.


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