backtop


Print 113 comment(s) - last by etrading59.. on Dec 7 at 7:55 AM

Volt gains "Sport" mode and works out some of its noise issues

The 2011 GM Volt is generating unprecedented hype as the highest profile upcoming mass-market electric vehicle.  With the U.S. government and automakers worldwide all betting big on electric vehicles, General Motors has done perhaps the best job at promoting its upcoming vehicle.

The vehicle is currently in the pre-production testing phase, in which the final bugs in the prototypes are ironed out via minor changes, largely to the vehicle's software and mechanical settings.  A fleet of prototype Volts completed a long test-drive journey and engineers are now using the data collected to tweak the Volt.  They hope to minimize its problems in the process.

James Riswick, an editor with Edmunds.com, recently took one of the mules out for a test drive to measure their progress on this front.  He reports, "[The Volt] is sort of on the more fun to drive hybrid.  The suspension is a little firmer, than say, in the Prius, which is on the floaty, comfortable side.  This is not a sports car by any means, but actually the electric power steering is reasonably direct and well weighted."

In his opinion, the noise when driving under gasoline generator is minimal and seems like "white noise". However, when stopping, a more "rough" unpleasant sound was heard – GM says they're working on this issue.  Overall, Riswick says the car is "pretty darn normal" and that "It drives like a pretty nice car"

However, as many have noted a couple of pivotal unknowns remain -- the Volt's finalized real world gas mileage and cost.  The Volt will be available in all 50 states when it debuts, according to GM.  It will be available for around $40,000, plus a $7,500 federal tax credit, which brings it to approximately $32,500 (excluding additional hybrid tax breaks in certain states).  However, this price could be bumped significantly higher or lower still.

The vehicles will currently recharge in about 8 hours household 120-volt current, while special 240-volt charging stations can charge it in only 3 hours.  GM estimates the car's fuel economy to be 230 mpg, but this value has yet to be confirmed in real world independent testing.  One of GM's top priorities has been trying to tweak the gas mileage upwards during the testing cycle.

One detail that has not been widely publicized is the new vehicle's "sports mode".  Activated by a Sport button on the center stack, the feature makes the throttle more receptive and increases its ultimate limit, bumping 0 to 60 mph acceleration down to 9 seconds.  The Volt's urge to scoot increases in the mode, though.  Like most cars, the Volt also provides an electronic version of a "Low" gear similar to that found in normal cars, which allows faster deceleration.  GM recommends the Low mode for driving on slopes or in stop and go.

One disappointment is that the Volt and other Lithium-ion battery-powered electric vehicles may not be viable in hotter climates, such as some states in the American Southwest.  Despite the fact that Volts will be sold in these states, performance may be significantly undermined due to the heat.  Volt Chief Engineer Andrew Farah describes, "The Volt may not be right for everyone. If you live in the Southwest, depending on how you use your car, the Volt might not be right for you."



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Where can you use the Volt?
By jthistle on 11/30/2009 4:26:43 PM , Rating: 3
It is known issue that Li-Ion batteries perform poorly in cold weather. And now with the Volt they also perform poorly in hot weather. So, is there a particular band across the US where this car can be used?




RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 5:54:54 PM , Rating: 3
Sigh.

GM is going to use Active Temperature management. The Batteries will be kept in the correct temperature.

Its not the performance as much as the durability. Charging/Discharging in extreme temperatures results in the loss of total capacity. The Volt charging is designed more with a 40-100 F degree spectrum, but if your a doofus and park your Volt in the Sun at 110 F all day long without a plug (to provide the power to protect the battery) then the Volt's not for you.

Ideal Volt Owner. Someone who travels 30-50 miles per day with a Garage/Power Outlet at home and/or work. You know, like 60% or so of the US


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 6:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Ideal Volt Owner. Someone who travels 30-50 miles per day with a Garage/Power Outlet at home and/or work. You know, like 60% or so of the US"
Where did you get the 60% number from?


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 7:47:28 PM , Rating: 3
Well we already know that around 60% own their own "home". Some people live in Condos that wouldn't work for the Volt, but many rent homes that would.

78%+ people drive less than 40 miles a day on average.

Think the number is smaller than 50%? or greater than 70%? I don't.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By corduroygt on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By blowfish on 11/30/2009 10:17:30 PM , Rating: 3
You sir are an oaf!

It's as if you just have to have the last word.

As for your crazy idea that a parallel hybrid is somehow inherently better than a series hybrid - what utter twaddle! I believe that parallel hybrids are an out-and-out con. They are more complex than regular vehicles, and enable the motor manufacturers to retain a whole host of expensive and profitable elements - like transmission systems and engine accessories.

By contrast, a series hybrid, such as the volt, uses a more efficient, simpler and less expensive transmission.

Once series hybrids are in volume production, costs should fall significantly. The parts count will be far lower than for a Prius.

One thing you seem to have forgotten - the electric traction motor in the volt will likely have a much longer service life than the gasoline engine in the Prius. since the range-extender generator engine in the Volt will not have to cope with sudden and rapidly changing loads, it too should have a longer service life than the gasoline engine in the Prius.

One more thing you seem to have forgotten - battery technology is developing fairly rapidly. I would say the chances are that future batteries will achieve higher energy densities at lower cost than existing designs.

So, looking at likely improvements in batteries, which system offers the most potential?

Is it the "fake" parallel hybrid as per the Prius, with a weedy little electric motor and battery and many duplicated systems, or a series hybrid such as the Volt?

Within a few years, battery technology will get to the point where the series hybrid will transition to a pure battery electric vehicle, with no need for a range-extender gasoline engine.

I'm also a believer in modular battery packs - for someone doing a 5 mile commute each day, why lug around a 100 mile battery?


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 10:39:15 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
By contrast, a series hybrid, such as the volt, uses a more efficient, simpler and less expensive transmission.
quote:

A mechanical transmission is almost always more efficient than a generator+motor combo, this is a FACT.

quote:
One thing you seem to have forgotten - the electric traction motor in the volt will likely have a much longer service life than the gasoline engine in the Prius

Most IC engines today, unless they're total pieces of crap, easily go 200k miles with regular maintenance, IC engine life is not much different than the life of a battery pack.

quote:
One more thing you seem to have forgotten - battery technology is developing fairly rapidly.

Really? How often did you have to charge your cell phone 10 years ago compared to now? I bet it's either the same or you're charging more frequently today. You can argue today's smartphones are much more capable and power hungry compared to 10 years ago, but the same argument goes with cars of today having more features and being heavier compared to 10 years ago.

So, I don't know why all of you are salivating over the Volt, with its less efficient electric drivetrain and otto cycle engine. I guess it's the rooting for the underdog home team syndrome. The best GM cars are LSx powered, period.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By eddieroolz on 12/1/2009 3:50:52 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The best GM cars are LSx powered, period.


That is an opinion, a fairly biased one, but I can live with that. But the next one is just so wrong on so many levels;

quote:
A mechanical transmission is almost always more efficient than a generator+motor combo, this is a FACT.


Where did you pull this one out of? An electric motor has more than double the efficiency of a conventional gasoline engine.

Source: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/technical/1130-elec...

quote:
So, I don't know why all of you are salivating over the Volt, with its less efficient electric drivetrain and otto cycle engine.


Read the source above and also do a simple search for "electric motor efficiency" and "internal combustion efficiency" and you'll see the difference. As long as everything else is kept identical (i.e. same drivetrain, wheel bearings, tire surface, etc.) to minimize variables, an electric vehicle is perhaps twice as efficient as any LSx powered vehicles, if not more.

Also: next time, try to quote sources before you say it's a FACT.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By cvmaas on 12/1/2009 8:59:24 AM , Rating: 3
As an engineer I can tell you that efficiency chart is a crock under real world conditions. If an electric motor was 90% efficient they wouldn't need thermal controllers to shut them down when the core windings start to get too hot. An electric motor has a sweet spot at its designed RPM and torque output. As you move away from that point the efficiency drops like a rock and the motor starts to heat quickly. Thats why the acceleration ramp of the electric motor is so important.

As a comparison a small turbocharged gasoline engine is far more efficient, reaching nearly 90%.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By Ragin69er on 12/1/2009 10:36:04 AM , Rating: 4
Well surely as a fellow engineer you must know that the thermal efficiency of an internal combustion engine is related only to the compression ratio, and that turbocharging has no effect on the engines thermal efficiency. Turbocharging increases the density of air entering the engine, that is all. The maximum thermal efficiency of current internal combustion engines is closer to 30% under full throttle, and less when throttled. If you were referring to mechanical efficiency then you are closer to being correct, as at speeds below 40 rev/s its able to transfer 90% of the energy it has converted into useful work, but that drops off to 75% or so at higher revs.
However what they are comparing is the amount of energy inputted and how much work you can get out for that energy, which is thermal efficiency and electric motors are roughly 90% in that case compared with 35% max for ICE's.

Heywood, John "Internal Combustion Engine fundamentals". McGraw-Hill Toronto. 1988.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 12/1/2009 11:05:36 AM , Rating: 2
Actually a properly implemented turbocharger can increase the engine efficiency. This is because the back pressure that the exhaust turbine creates is not seen inside the engine due to critical flow conditions at the exhaust valves. The turbocharger recovers some energy from the exhaust stream that would otherwise be lost and feeds it back into the engine by raising the intake manifold pressure.

A reality check on this can be observed by the fact that the exhaust temperature is lower on the turbocharged engine than the normally aspirated engine. The difference in heat output of the exhaust is the energy recovered from the exhaust stream.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 12/1/2009 10:56:24 AM , Rating: 2
1) In the case of the motor systems used in vehicles like the Tesla and Volt you are wrong.

The efficiency only drops rapidly if there is no motor controller that controls the current into the motor. Those 'peaky' motor efficiency curves are only valid for simple motors running on a fixed supply voltage.

If you control both the rotor and stator currents you can achieve high efficiency over a broad range of torque and rpm. You are effectively changing the whole torque, rpm, efficiency curves on the fly allowing you to put the peak efficiency point where you want.

2) You are wrong again.
You would have to violate the laws of physics to get 90% efficiency out of a turbocharge gas engine. The maximum efficiency attainable under optimum conditions currently is in the mid 30 percent range.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By corduroygt on 12/1/2009 10:55:49 AM , Rating: 1
Perhaps next time you learn to read properly before you post useless facts like an electric motor being more efficient than a gas engine which everyone knows.

My post says a mechanical TRANSMISSION (a.k.a. a bunch of gears) is more efficient than a generator+motor combo. BOTH are connected to a gas engine in the case of Prius vs. Volt. I never compared an ICE to an electric motor, which we all know is more efficient.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By eddieroolz on 12/1/2009 3:48:54 PM , Rating: 3
First, I'd like to correct your assertion that I went offtopic.

quote:
The best GM cars are LSx powered, period.


That was your statement. Pretty irrelevant, but it was mentioned. So I'm not entirely at fault for going off-topic here.

In my defence: My reason in bringing up the comparison of Internal Combustion vs. Electric motor was not just to screw around with others. It had everything to do with the comparison of the overall efficiencies of two said vehicle types.

Consider this: Say an electric motor is 70% efficient, and internal combustion is 25% (real value for internal combustion is <20% as you know). If you were to compare the overall efficiency of the vehicle, the "bottleneck" here is the internal combustion engine - it is ~45% less efficient than the motor. Hence, even if a motor/generator combo was 10, even 15% less efficient than a simple transmission, the <25% efficiency of the engine should ultimately prove to be the biggest source of inefficiency, outclassing every other component.

In fact, I'm sure you'll agree that most cars out there - even the LSx powered ones - have an efficiency of <25% simply because it's limited by the inherently inefficient nature of the ICE. On the other hand, electric cars like the Volt can achieve perhaps double the efficiency of a traditional vehicle thanks to its motor-assisted drivetrain.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_hybrid#Series_...

quote:
At low or mixed speeds this could result in ~50% increase in overall efficiency (19% vs 29%).


Now I do realize that a mechanical transmission is ~98% efficient according to the source, and the motor/engine combination. So in that aspect, you do have a point.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 12/1/2009 12:12:17 PM , Rating: 3
You have lost sight of the overall picture.

This argument between the Parallel hybrid and Serial hybrid camps is silly. It's devolving into a religious argument and not a rational discussion.

Mechanical transmission can be more efficient than a generator+motor combo. But they can also be less efficient. The more stages in the mechanical transmission the more efficiency losses. It all depends on the application and implementation.
In the case of something like a prius a mechanical transmission is going to be more efficient on average than a generator+motor combo. It will also weigh less, and be cheaper.
On the other hand a generator+motor combo will allow you to optimize your ICE engine for efficiency since you can run it at constant RPM/Load. This is a huge advantage that can more than make up for the difference in efficiency in the 'transmissions'.
A big problem with gas engines is that although efficiency can be optimized into the mid 30% range this is only at a constant rpm/load. Under the varying load conditions required by car the average efficiency can drop to half that, in the mid teens.

One of the big advantages of serial hybrids like the Volt are the fact that they can take advantage of constant rpm/load optimization of the ICE. The other advantage is the large battery allows driving on electrical energy alone, and this energy can come from cheaper sources than gas, and also non-fossil fuel sources.

The disadvantages are a much higher cost than a parallel system, much of the cost being in the battery pack.

Which system is better? it depends on what your priorities are in terms of economics, alternative energy sources, etc.

Parallel hybrids win hands down on a cost basis. However if you want a car that can run on electric energy sources (which implies a large battery) then the serial hybrid is clearly the better approach, giving you a capability the parallel hybrid does not.

Which is the most efficient overall? It depends on the implementation. Both have the capability to be highly efficient. The difference is largely in the ICE technology. The constant rpm/load advantage of the serial hybrid gives it an advantage out of the gate but the use of diesel or gas engines with direct injection and compression ignition and other ICE advances can bring the parallel hybrid up to par or even beat out the serial hybrid.

Parallel hybrids bring high efficiency to cars at a reasonable cost.
Serial hybrids bring fairly similar high efficiency and also allow operation on electrical energy sources, but at a large price premium.

Anyone who says parallel hybrids are better than serial hybrids or vice versa is just chest thumping his party line. Both have pros and cons and it all depends on the specific implementation and what features are more important to you.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By corduroygt on 12/1/2009 1:12:59 PM , Rating: 1
Thank you for one of the few people who have the technical grasp in this discussion.

However, the prius transmission also always keeps the engine between 1000-4500 rpm depending on load, it ensures that the engine is running as efficiently as possible, along a curve that gives the maximum efficiency based on load. The transmission also doesn't have any gear ratios, i.e. it's single speed and very simple. The electric motors change their speeds instead of having gears or CVT's in the transmission so that the ICE can be kept at a speed range that's optimal.

I believe the new prius plugin will perform better than the volt in real world conditions and long road trips.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 12/1/2009 5:38:43 PM , Rating: 3
I'm familiar with the Prius engine/transmission topology. It's quite clever. Running the engine in the 1000-4500 rpm power band helps but the engine still loses efficiency from partial throttle settings and rpm changes. There is still an efficiency advantage to running constant RPM/load.

If you are designing for an all electric capability with a large battery where you have to size your electric motors big enough to provide the total power required the serial hybrid approach tends to have advantages over the parallel hybrid. Which is precisely why the GM engineers chose that approach. It's just a better solution under those designs constraints.
The thermodynamic efficiencies of the Prius and the Volt will be fairly close to each other when running off gas. The differences will probably be important only to those concerned with specmanship.

The big difference will be in price, and the ability to run off electrical power.

The Volt is only a 1st generation serial hybrid, I'll be curious to see how the topology is doing in 5-10 years when it has more of a chance to catch up to the parallel hybrid. A great deal will depend on how battery technology and economics advances.

Serial hybrids have a lot of potential and are a good first step away from fossil fuels.

Both types of hybrids are a big leap forward from the old engine technologies.

If I had to choose and I had the money I'd go for the Volt so I could put a huge bumper sticker on it that says

"I CARE MORE THAN YOU DO"

then I could feel superior to people I don't know.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By corduroygt on 12/1/2009 6:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
You also know that Volt ICE will run on multiple settings and not just one depending on how fast the batteries are being depleted. The optimum rpm/load is more like a curve than a single point. Not to mention the prius ICE is the most efficient gasoline powered engine out there, I recall reading that it's running at an optimum rpm/load combination most of the time, with only very few and short periods it spends running less optimally, and it can be mitigated by changing your driving style.

I say getting a little less efficiency 5% of the time is better than getting more drivetrain losses all the time...


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 12/1/2009 10:20:58 PM , Rating: 3
Originally the Volt was going to use a diesel but that was replaced with the 1.4L gas engine because of cost, noise and delivery schedule concerns. The variable speed ICE is mostly a result of engine noise concerns. People find it a little disconcerting having the engine running full throttle when you are only driving around slowly.

Remember this is only Rev 1.0 on the Volt. Ultimate efficiency is taking a back seat to delivering a good working vehicle on schedule. They are going to be making concessions to minimize risks.

Give GM 5 years or so to refine the design. I'm pretty sure you'll see the diesel engine get put back in and other optimizations. Just compare the first Prius with the current Prius and you'll see a large improvement.

quote:
I say getting a little less efficiency 5% of the time is better than getting more drivetrain losses all the time...


Not if you are only driving off your battery everyday, which is the whole idea behind the Volt.

You're focusing on comparing just the transmissions of the two cars and ignoring the rest of the systems.

The proof is in the pudding, lets reserve judgment until the pudding comes out of the oven.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 9:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Then you could count on your new car being keyed over and over till it looks like it has tiger stripes. Personally, I'd never do such a thing but give the kids a reason (excuse) and they will.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 12/2/2009 8:15:27 AM , Rating: 2
My fault, I should have used the [Sarcasm on], [Sarcasm off] flags.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By Spookster on 11/30/2009 7:08:46 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
by Keeir on November 30, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Sigh.

GM is going to use Active Temperature management. The Batteries will be kept in the correct temperature.

Its not the performance as much as the durability. Charging/Discharging in extreme temperatures results in the loss of total capacity. The Volt charging is designed more with a 40-100 F degree spectrum, but if your a doofus and park your Volt in the Sun at 110 F all day long without a plug (to provide the power to protect the battery) then the Volt's not for you.

Ideal Volt Owner. Someone who travels 30-50 miles per day with a Garage/Power Outlet at home and/or work. You know, like 60% or so of the US


So how are these doofus's as you call them suppose to keep their Volt out of the sun during the day while they are at work? I think unless your place of work provides covered parking or there is a parking garage near your work then that would drop your 60% down to a very small number.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 7:50:17 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, if you park outside 16 hours a day without a plug in 110+ degree weather for months at a time... thats not too smart with a car sensitive to heat. Especially if you already -know- thats what going to occur.

These Doofus's should buy a Prius or an Insight. Much better than a Volt for them.

To clarify, not Doofus's for parking outside. Doofus's for choose a car that obviously wrong for them.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By randomly on 11/30/2009 8:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
The adverse effect of High temperature on the lithium batteries is that charging at temperatures above 40C (104F) starts to increase the rate of loss of battery capacity. Every charge and discharge cycle causes the battery capacity to be reduced slightly. End of life is specified when the battery can only hold 80% of it's original capacity when new.

Charging at elevated temperatures accelerates this wearing out of the battery. At 40C (104F) this is only slightly more than at 20C (68F) but as the temperature goes up this effect increases rapidly. At 60C (140F) the capacity loss per charge discharge cycle is several times higher than at 40C.
Both the Tesla and the Volt actively temperature regulate their battery packs for optimum performance though. They are actively cooled to keep them from overheating. The places you might start having noticeable impacts on these cars are going to be places like Phoenix in the summer time with temperatures up to 120F. Parking the car in the sun under such conditions may start to have a noticeable degradation of the battery pack life. Conditions in most of the rest of the country are not going to be a problem.

It's not so much the car sitting in the hot weather as trying to charge the batteries when they are hot. This temperature effect is also one of the main obstacles to fast recharging. Some Lithium chemistries can be fully recharged in as little as 1 minute or less IF you can keep the battery from overheating during the charging. This is not easy to do when you are dumping such huge amounts of power into them as is needed for fast charging. Very fast charging can be done, but the price you pay is an increased loss rate of battery capacity.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By AmishElvis on 12/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 9:38:58 PM , Rating: 2
Don't feed the trolls.
Thank you!


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By jthistle on 12/1/2009 1:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Volt charging is designed more with a 40-100 F degree spectrum

Is this air temp or car temp. When sitting the sun the car temp can easily exceed the air temp by 40F or more (this is why its bad to leave kids and pets in parked cars). So even on temperate days the car temp can exceed the ideal range.

quote:
You know, like 60% or so of the US

Apartment and condo owners and renters may have indoor parking but it is very rare to have a personal outlet in your space. Suburban home owners will have garages and outlets at home but at work most suburbs have open uncovered parking lots and no outlets. Boy your 60% is getting a lot smaller when you actually stop and think about it.

The fact of the matter is while the Volt is a step in the right direction and it is nice to see automotive technology developing in this manner. It still has a ways to go before it is universally useful and economically sensible.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By steven975 on 12/1/2009 5:53:13 PM , Rating: 3
How much energy does active temperature managment use?

WHAT IS THE ELECTRIC RANGE WITH HEAT OR AC???


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By chagrinnin on 11/30/2009 6:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
There is a 5 mile band across the base of America's wang considered to be optimum. This band oscillates up and down but does so at such a high rate as not to interupt charge or discharge. :P


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By Calin on 12/1/2009 4:46:55 AM , Rating: 3
Also, air conditioning uses quite a bit of power from the battery, so this compounds the issue.


RE: Where can you use the Volt?
By gamerk2 on 12/1/2009 1:24:15 PM , Rating: 3
Hence, why Hydrogen Fuel cells are a better tech, but because electricity doesn't require Billions spent on a new infrastructure, we get electricity instead, powered by OIL based power plants and a cripple of a power distribution system.

In 10 years, we'll be in a power crisis because of the shoddy state of our power grid, and then we'll have to switch to yet ANOTHER replacement tech. Lets face it, the only renewable resources are water and solar.


Electric?
By ChrisHF on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Electric?
By Avatar28 on 11/30/2009 3:32:32 PM , Rating: 4
It sort of is electric, actually. Let me explain.

A normal hybrid uses an electric motor to supplement a gasoline or diesel engine that also provides power directly to the drive train. Some can run entirely on electric power up to a certain speed (eg the Ford Fusion can go up to 45mph on the electric motors alone). Others always require the internal combustion engine to be running to move the vehicle. The batteries are charged entirely through regenerative braking (and possibly through the alternator as well? not sure on that). In other words, to this point hybrids are basically normal internal combustion powered vehicles with an electric boost.

The volt is a different animal entirely. It is one of if not the first (mass production) plug-in hybrid. The car runs ENTIRELY on electrical power. There is an electric motor that provides ALL of the power to the drive train. The car has a much larger battery pack than traditional hybrids and it is charged by connecting it to a special charger in your home or business. There is a smallish onboard internal combustion engine that drives an electric generator. This is used to recharge the batteries as you near the end of their range (around 40 miles I believe) and doesn't even kick on until they are depleted to a certain point. It does not move the car directly in any way. In short, the Volt and other plug-in hybrids are electric vehicles with an onboard electrical generator to provide additional range.

On a related note, it should be interesting to see how the Volt competes with the new plug-in hybrid that Nissan is building. They are working to deploy a network of fast charge stations at gas stations and businesses (such as Wal-Mart) in Tennessee and a couple of other states (to start) where you could plug in your car to top it off in a short amount of time. It seems to me this is exactly where some sort of standard needs to be reached. If all of the auto companies would work together on this then they could greatly accelerate the deployment of these stations (and thus the adoption of the technology).


RE: Electric?
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 6:05:14 PM , Rating: 3
Its hard to see a future right now for fast charge stations. The fastest we have heard about, for the Leaf is 30 minutes for 80 miles. 2.7 miles of range per minute is... not that great.

For comparison, the typical gasser gets more like 40 miles of range per minute at a gasoline station. BEVS should be at least 10-15 miles per minute... or there will need to be -alot- of fast charge stations.


RE: Electric?
By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 6:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention gasoline is actually pretty safe. Certainly safer than trusting the average Joe with a plug that can deliver 50-100 amps at 480V!.


RE: Electric?
By FaaR on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Electric?
By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 7:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
We're talking about charging stations, similar to current gas stations, but with electricity, if electric is indeed the future. Tesla roadster has a 53 kWh battery pack, and with a 48kW charger, it'd take just about an hour to fill it up assuming it has 10% charge left when pulling into the station.

Still a very long time compared to getting gas in 5 minutes.


RE: Electric?
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 7:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
You can check out the offical chargers already

I think the 240V pulls around 12 AMPs and the 120V pulls between 8-12 depedning on a switch.


RE: Electric?
By mindless1 on 12/5/2009 2:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
People seem to overlook this is not so different from plugging in your toaster oven, clothes dryer, etc. Is it foolproof, no, but who wants to guess whether more people are killed on the road vs plugging in their applicances. That the current is a bit higher isn't really relevant till the outlets get degraded with age, at which point it's more of a fire hazard than direct electrical risk to the owner.


RE: Electric?
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 7:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not to mention gasoline is actually pretty safe. Certainly safer than trusting the average Joe with a plug that can deliver 50-100 amps at 480V!.


Ummm... nothing wrong with that at all.

Gasoline pretty safe? An extremely flammable/explosive liquid? Not to mention toxic.

A chord can be designed that will essentially elimate the possiblity to shock ones self. Water Detection (you know standard on all homes), pass off signals so circuit doesn't engage until properly pluged in, etc.


RE: Electric?
By Elementalism on 11/30/2009 9:52:45 PM , Rating: 3
Gasoline is actually pretty stable provided you dont light it on fire.


RE: Electric?
By Runiteshark on 12/1/2009 12:39:07 AM , Rating: 2
And if you don't make it aerosolized.

Then again anything can burn if its dispersed enough...


RE: Electric?
By JediJeb on 12/1/2009 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 3
Just watch the Myth Busters episode where they tried to get a car fuel tank to explode by shooting it. It would not explode no matter how much they tried. They even dropped a lit match into a half full tank and it just extinguished the match. The explosive concentration of air and gasoline is a very narrow range. If you don't believe that just try to start a carberated engine that is a little out of adjustment.

Most deaths from fire in vehicles come from a slow cooking burn from the spilled fuel instead of an explosion like you see in the movies. The Lower Explosive Limit for gasoline is 1.4% in air, the Upper Explosive Limit is 7.6% in air. If the concentration of gasoline if above or below this number then it will not explode when a flame is present. It will burn but not expolde. So really gasoline is much safer than what the movies would have you believe.


Sports mode
By bug77 on 11/30/2009 3:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
Quoting from the article: "makes the throttle more receptive and increases its ultimate limit, bumping 0 to 60 mph acceleration down to 9 seconds". This is meant to be sarcastic, right?

Anyway, I can't wait to get a car that I can fill up in "only" 3 hours. Yup, always dreamed to own such a car.




RE: Sports mode
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 6:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh.

GM hasn't released the final 0-60 times. Its hard to guess at them, since we the buying public are more used to gearing switchs and ICE power curves.

Autoblog.com believes the 0-60 time will be less than 9 seconds, close to 8 seconds.

GM has stated its goal is close to 7 seconds.

To compare, most 4-cylinder cars without Turbo are in the 9s range. Most turboed 4-cylinder cars are in the 7s. Diesels such as the Golf TDI are in the 8s-9s range.

And guess what? The Volt has a gasoline tank that means you can drive -forever- provided you purchase gasoline, just like you do now. You will have the option to use cheap electricity to replace expensive gas whenever convient!


RE: Sports mode
By brybir on 11/30/2009 8:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
You keep replying with "sigh" to everything as if this is some burden for you to make posts in this discussion. If it is hard work, or you feel somehow about the conversation, feel free not to post.

We do not need you here to clarify other's speculation with more speculation of your own. The car will arrive when it arrives, and it will either be compelling to enough people at a given price point or it will not.

In any event, the point many are wondering about is whether the volt, when operated like a Prius (i.e. gas only and no charging) can be worth the estimated price point given that without being a plug in hybrid, the Volt has the characteristics and performance of, well, a Toyota Prius.


RE: Sports mode
By bug77 on 11/30/2009 8:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
Drive forever? Maybe, if the gas engine can fill the battery faster than driving depletes it. Somehow I doubt that's the case.

It just hit me: what will happen with a fully-depleted battery and a full gas tank? Will the Volt run?


RE: Sports mode
By SunLord on 12/1/2009 6:30:08 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you drive around with the tank empty the generator will recharge the battery to 30% anytime it isn't under load plus you recharge the battery a lil every time you break.
So if you keep putting gas into the volt you would never need to plug it into the wall which would be stupid to do anyways.

I'm not sure if the volt will even let you run it's battery down the zero if you run out of gas or if it will shut off until you plug it in or add gas. Even if you manage to run the battery down to "0" it should still have enough power to fire up the generator to recharge the battery to 30%.


RE: Sports mode
By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 9:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
Define "0". I'll assume 0%...

No it will not allow running the battery down till it is completely depleted as this would damage it - and being under warranty they're not going to even give people the option ever, most likely.

For the battery to still be able to start the generator at 0% remaining, it would have to lack a cutoff circuit for low voltage, something it will have.

However, they could simply redefine 0% as not a percentage of battery capacity but as percentage of (what they allow you to...) usable capacity, but either way 0 is zero, becomes a matter of whether it's 0.0 or 0.4 rounded down then.


RE: Sports mode
By Old Man Dotes on 11/30/2009 6:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
I find your lack of facts disturbing.

As a charter member (membership card #100 to be precise) of the National Electric Drag Racing Association, I am well aware than an electric car can kick a gas-guzzler's butt on the 1/4. Tire slip is the big issue, and it affects both types of cars equally.

And seriously, where are you going to *legally* be able to punch it and squeal the tires except on the track? Everywhere I've ever lived (7 US States and several foreign countries), "breaking traction" will get you pulled over and ticketed.


RE: Sports mode
By bug77 on 11/30/2009 8:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
I was only saying that I find it hilarious to call 0-60 in 9s "sports mode".


RE: Sports mode
By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 9:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
You have a good point, but the same could be said for speeding and we know nobody every exceeds the speed limit, /right/?


Desert rats get screwed . . . again
By Bateluer on 11/30/2009 2:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
Dang, and I was all set to drop 40K+ for a Volt too. Oh well.




RE: Desert rats get screwed . . . again
By Souka on 11/30/2009 2:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they could put some spiffy solarcells on top that will help keep the battery packs cooler?


RE: Desert rats get screwed . . . again
By invidious on 11/30/2009 3:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe if you used that solar energy to air condition the engine compartment...


By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 9:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
... or filled the trunk with Popsicles!


RE: Desert rats get screwed . . . again
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 4:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm... no one said this except Jason Mick

Don't park your Volt outside in the direct sun if you live in the Southwest. That will lead to early battery failure. Else, "good to go".


By Bateluer on 12/1/2009 8:19:25 AM , Rating: 2
Err, there's not exactly a lot of places 'not in direct sunlight' in the valley of the sun. :p


Savings?
By AlfB on 12/1/2009 8:11:00 AM , Rating: 3
I did a little math just to see what real world savings might look like. I am not trying to say these numbers give a firm idea of the the savings, just a quick look to see what they might look like. I make many assumptions here as well as probably leave out some important details but this is a quick and dirty "how feasible is this car for me" calculation. I used conservative numbers for my situation.

Electricity: $0.10/KWh (some will be lower and some higher)
Gas: $2.50 (about what it is for me but may be higher)
Charge: 8 hours @ 15 Amps (amperage may be a little high)

Cost of 40 miles (time a charge lasts per reports):

(120V * 15A * 8 hours)/1000 = 14.4 KWh per charge
14.4KWh @ $0.10/KWh = $1.44 per charge
$1.44/40 miles per charge = $0.036 per mile

20 MPG car: $2.50/20 = $0.125 per mile

30 MPG car: $2.50/30 = $0.083 per mile

50 MPG car: $2.50/50 = $0.05 per mile

Payback for 15,000 miles per year:

20 MPG car (@$25,000): ($32,500 - $25,000)/$0.089 = $1335 per year or a 5.6 year payback.

30 MPG car (@$25,000): ($32,500 - $25,000)/$0.047 = $709 per year or a 10.6 year payback.

50 MPG car (@$25,000): ($32,500 - $25,000)/$0.014 = $210 per year or a 35.7 year payback.

A lot of factors such as comparable car cost will vary this but it looks to me like that based on savings alone it will be hard to justify replacing anything that gets more than 20 MPG which is not even a good payback.




RE: Savings?
By JediJeb on 12/1/2009 1:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
When gas went to $4/gallon last year I did a similar calculation in thinking about replacing my truck with a more fuel efficient car. If I went from my 18mpg truck to a 35mpg car, considering my truck is paid for, I would need to buy a car I could make $80/month payments on to even break even by the money I saved on gas. Since prices for gas dropped that number comes down to about $50/month payments. Just can't find a fuel efficient vehicle for that kind of money. A $25,000 vehicle at $80/month payments would take 26 years to pay it off. To get it on a 5 year loan that would only be a $4,600 car, not many fuel efficient cars for that price either.

Feel good factor for being more efficient has more to do with it than actual savings. Now that is to replace a working vehicle with a new one just to save money on fuel. If you really need to replace your vehicle then it will be a whole different set of calculation to see what makes the most financial sense to buy. Just don't get suckered into believing that because another car gets twice the fuel efficiency you are going to save money if you buy it.


RE: Savings?
By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 10:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
True, a whole different set of calculations but you bring up a point many don't mention when you wrote about monthly loan payments.

The point is about interest on money. Seldom do I see people adding in the difference in price of the hybrid/other car and calculating out how much interest that money would've drawn sitting in the bank.


So CA is limited then....
By The0ne on 11/30/2009 2:21:19 PM , Rating: 1
Considering I can cook eggs on the sidewalk in LA country my bet is the car is off limits too? Nice marketing of a $40k vehicle. Whomever made the comment about idiots being the sole owners of these are becoming more and more right each passing press release.




RE: So CA is limited then....
By chagrinnin on 11/30/2009 6:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Whomever made the comment...

should read:

"Toom whomever made the comment..." :P


By Shig on 11/30/2009 3:21:00 PM , Rating: 3
A lot more money being pumped into the battery industries. Cheaper and better batteries will help the grid and renewable energy deployment, in addition to electric vehicles.

I wouldn't be surprised if in 20 years GM doesn't even make cars anymore, just batteries. As far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't be making cars now...




By nofumble62 on 12/1/2009 12:12:04 AM , Rating: 3
Ooops. GM engineers just forget this little detail.




It is a start
By Elementalism on 11/30/2009 9:59:21 PM , Rating: 2
I am not entirely sure this technology will win out. But electric cars if they become economically feasible is pretty nice. But for the money Ill get an A3 TDI and get 50mpg.




I'd like to see...
By zsdersw on 12/1/2009 12:18:11 PM , Rating: 2
... some of you wankers create a viable replacement (and accompanying prototype vehicle) for the ICE. Let's see what you come up with, and then the rest of us will write up a bunch of inane armchair-engineer criticisms on various Internet message boards and forums.

Let's face it.. if you could get in the *really* good gig of being a professional critic (as in, "make a living") you would be already.. and wouldn't be wasting your time here. As such, most of you are a bunch of idiots.




I Live in hell
By ol1bit on 12/1/2009 10:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
I guess since I'm in Phoenix, where it hit's 120 in the summer.. the Volt is NOT for me. 8-D




By etrading59 on 12/7/2009 7:46:59 AM , Rating: 2
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas sales, there are exquisite gift, here are the most fashionable and most noble gift, please come to order.For details, please consult: http://www.sbbshoe.com

shoes,handbags.




By etrading59 on 12/7/2009 7:53:57 AM , Rating: 2
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas sales, there are exquisite gift, here are the most fashionable and most noble gift, please come to order.For details, please consult: http://www.sbbshoe.com

shoes,handbags.




By etrading59 on 12/7/2009 7:55:45 AM , Rating: 1
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas sales, there are exquisite gift, here are the most fashionable and most noble gift, please come to order.For details, please consult: http://www.sbbshoe.com

shoes,handbags.




Lease
By btc909 on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
Toom high a cost
By DarkElfa on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Toom high a cost
By FaaR on 11/30/2009 2:19:46 PM , Rating: 5
It's a first-gen product, what do you expect?

You think cars ("automobiles") were cheap, or even particulary viable, when they were first introduced? :)

The price will come down as the tech matures and spreads out amongst other marques and models, that's the natural order of things in a market economy.


RE: Toom high a cost
By bjacobson on 11/30/2009 2:59:41 PM , Rating: 4
*ahem* In a true "market economy" GM would not be around, because apparently enough people don't want their cars to justify GM's existence.


RE: Toom high a cost
By room200 on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Toom high a cost
By cscpianoman on 11/30/2009 3:45:14 PM , Rating: 3
Many companies would exist and thrive if the gov't would keep their hands off. The reason subsidies, tax breaks and bailouts exist is because the gov't is taxing companies and people out of existence and yet in return we are gifted with more and more regulations and a debt that, unless something were to change drastically, will put a not so good economy into utter failure. A true market is about balance and creating competition. Companies rise and fall in a true market and just like evolution, the strong will thrive and the weak collapse.

Now, don't get me wrong you have to have a stable gov't to allow a true market to exist and there has to be monitoring to make sure everyone plays by the rules. But when the gov't gets to the point of handing out tax breaks just to keep a company alive, then you know the gov't has gotten a little out of control in it's taxing, spending and regulating.


RE: Toom high a cost
By IvanAndreevich on 12/1/2009 4:04:26 AM , Rating: 3
I think many Americans may be happy about a company's demise because they respect the constitution, free market economy, and don't want to support failed businesses out of their pocket. Makes good sense to me.


RE: Toom high a cost
By room200 on 12/1/2009 2:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
You know, you guys trumpet this free market, constitution crap as if it makes you some expert on economics. There will never be a true free market economy. The higher ups will always find a way of making things unfair by manipulating EVERY situation or changing laws, or buying politicians, to their advantage. Yet, while suckers like yourself are trumpeting this free market, constitution garbage (because it sounds good and gets the flags a wavin'), big business is laughing all the way to the bank. Free market my ass.


RE: Toom high a cost
By Iaiken on 11/30/2009 3:16:53 PM , Rating: 1
Chevy made the mistake of not targeting a market where the price would not be a major factor.

http://www.teslamotors.com/models/index.php

The model S is going actually offer up some meaningful competition to BMW 330, Lexus IS350, Mercedes C, Infiniti G37 at a similar price point.

The biggest problem with the Volt is that it's competitors (civic, corolla, focus, accent, jetta TDI, prius) are all 1/2 the price (or less!). People just won't part with that kind of money unless there is actually $20,000 + interest of perceived benefit.

And almost as if to guarantee failure, most of that cost is labor. The first several rounds of Volts are currently hand-built in the same way that Corvettes are and current commitment plans don't have an automated production line up and running until 2011, so don't expect any drop in the ridiculous price until 2012 at the soonest. Had Chevy actually committed to the Volt the way they have with crossovers, they would have already had these plants up and running on existing properties in Michigan.

Ironically, the Tesla Model S will be built at a re-tooled Chevrolet plant in Flint.


RE: Toom high a cost
By Spuke on 11/30/2009 3:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
BMW 330, Lexus IS350, Mercedes C, Infiniti G37 at a similar price point.
Too bad none of those cars costs $50k (I think you meant 335i for the BMW). BTW, that $50k price for the Model S is after the tax credit. Since tax credits != cash, the Model S actually costs $57,400.


RE: Toom high a cost
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 3:51:00 PM , Rating: 2
Lets also not forget that the Model S will come with 160, 220, and 300 mile battery packs. Since these numbers use the same tests as the Volt's 40 AER, lets assume 120, 175, 250 RW values.

The 250 RW Model S will likely cost 70k+ MSRP (before Subsidy), which is a much more fair comparison to the Volt (or other gasoline cars) than the limited 120 (160 in testing) Model S, I am driving over 150 miles today... and this happens several times a month. I (and most Americans) would need at least 150 miles of daily range to feel comfortable buying a BEV.

The battery pack will likely wear out so within a decade (if similar to Roadster which claims 30% loss after 5-7 years is acceptable), your 250 RW Model S will become a 175 or less RW Model S as well


RE: Toom high a cost
By mcnabney on 11/30/2009 3:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt doesn't directly compete against anything. The closest would be a Prius or Fusion Hydrid, which it beats both in efficiency.

Both of those cars are in the mid-to-upper $20's, so $32k isn't a huge stretch.

The Tesla S is still two years off and is hardly comparable since it adds another $10-15k to the price. It might compete against the Corvette though.

All pre-production models (used for testing and demos) of every car ever made are assembled by hand. It would be far less efficient to tool-up an assembly line to only produce 30 or 40 cars and then turn around and modify the line for the final version.

I agree on the commitment issue. If GM hadn't killed the electric car (EV1) they wouldn't be in the trouble they are in now.


RE: Toom high a cost
By Slaimus on 11/30/2009 5:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
You're right about price. The Fusion Hybrid C&D tested was over 32k: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/08q4/2010_...


RE: Toom high a cost
By Bagom on 11/30/2009 6:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
Is the 40K price that I see thrown around the final price? Will the Volt have options or is it just a no option car? If options are available I am thinking Volts will start at 45K+ (don't forgot huge dealer markups for this low production car). The mid-to-upper $20's you are quoting are for optioned out cars. I think the base is more in the lower $20's.


RE: Toom high a cost
By mcnabney on 11/30/2009 10:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine the $40k price is a fairly basic price. Leather, upgraded stereo, and navigation will cost extra. It won't have an engine or transmission option though.

Also, the Tesla S is slated at $50k after tax rebate and at the lowest tier. The low tier has a very limited range (smaller battery) of 160 miles before stopping. At least the Volt can keep going.


RE: Toom high a cost
By gregpet on 11/30/2009 2:34:12 PM , Rating: 1
What part of $7500 tax credit do you not understand?


RE: Toom high a cost
By Spuke on 11/30/2009 2:40:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What part of $7500 tax credit do you not understand?
You still have to pay the $40k first and that $7500 is a TAX CREDIT, not cash.


RE: Toom high a cost
By therealnickdanger on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Toom high a cost
By chagrinnin on 11/30/2009 4:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
I always get that wrong too. Or is it toom. Someone else who/whom should have paid attention in English class. :P


Not interested
By Ammohunt on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Not interested
By thorr2 on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Not interested
By mindless1 on 12/1/2009 10:23:46 PM , Rating: 2
Two problems with your argument:

1) We're comparing the same thing - automobiles, not horses which would be much greener than electric cars.

2) The automobile provided an improvement in transportation, but electric cars do not!!! Merely using less energy is not an improvement fundamental to the task of transportation, rather being pushed on us by morons who are trying to make energy more expensive rather than building more power plants.

I say let's have electric cars but let's quit thinking about them as progress, rather a distraction from the real problem. Whether mankind exhausts all natural resources in 2200 years or 2211 is kinda irrelevant.


RE: Not interested
By thorr2 on 12/2/2009 6:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
1) Yes, EV's are still automobiles, but they are a revolutionary change from gasoline powered automobiles. Up until now, all automobiles were evolutionary design changes. EV's are a new technology designed to accomplish the same thing. Horses and automobiles still get you from point A to point B, but how that happens is different. I made the comparison to horses because of the revolutionary design changes that require time and testing to get right.

2) They don't improve transportation per se (unless you consider the Tesla Roadster perhaps), but if they end up costing much less to operate in the long run because oil is getting more and more expensive, then I would argue that that would be considered progress. I would rather spend my money on other things than energy consumption.


One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By corduroygt on 11/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By Spuke on 11/30/2009 3:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can buy a prius (for cheaper as well), not have to worry about recharging, and still get 50+ mpg, and all I have to do is put gas in it.
You don't have to charge the Volt either if you don't want to.


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By corduroygt on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 4:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, wrong wrong wrong

Volt has an electric drive train. The electric drive train will have a maximum of 110 kW availble at all times (roughly ~150 hp) with an impressive amount of twist.

The Volt has an automatic electric fueling system in an range extender. This range extender is powered by gasoline. Its true that the range extender can only provide around 53 kW of power (enough to travel 100 mph on a flat road) which might limit performance if not for the large battery that acts as a buffer. The Prius uses approx .5 kWh of its battery as a buffer. The Volt's 30% SOC should be 4.8 kWh! large. Enough to provide a similar buffer to the Prius or even larger for years to come.

Similar to the Prius, the Volt will have reduced performance when it runs out of its buffer. But similar to a Prius this will be relatively hard to accomplish


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By corduroygt on 11/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 5:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. Maximum right now is 4,000 rpm on a NA 4 cylinder? = Not audible over most HWY road noises. Heck, most cars with 4 cylinders at 1.4L require over 3,000 RPM for HWY speeds (Like the Civic). Is that engine really noisy on the HWY?

Nope. Electricity from the Generator goes right to the Wheels. No stop over in the Battery. GM has stated that the Generator alone is capable upto nearly 100 mph in testing.

quote:
Prius does this in a much smarter way with its revolutionary transmission that can efficiently connect two motive sources to the same set of wheels. Its always more efficient to convert mechanical energy to mechanical energy via gears then to first convert it to electricity via a generator, then back into mechanical energy via a motor.


Why bother commenting at all if you have a fundamental belief that doesn't accept argument? I'd be careful. Gears are not all that great you know? Ever do gear design? Even the finest machined gears lose power/efficiency. A planetary set of gears will especially lose something.

The Volt does the same thing as a Prius, but takes it a step further. The Prius also takes ICE engery --> Battery (buffer) ---> Motor ---> Mechanical Boost.

The Prius gasoline engine is still directly responsive to input loads as the Mechanical Boost provided by the Prius engine is a measily 27 kW (from the Battery). This is insufficient at higher speeds and more than .... turtle like acceleration. The Volt's generator is free to run closer to maximum efficieny all the time.

The Volt's ICE generator will have the potential to be more efficient than the Pruis engine. Its true in ER mode, the Volt may get less MPG than a Prius by a small smidge (after all the 1.8L Atkinson has a higher maximum efficieny point than a 1.4L NA Otto engine!) but guess whats the best part? For a normal driver, the ICE generator will run less than 25% of the time! (Where-as for the Prius driver, the ICE is always running)


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 5:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
Even with no stopover at battery, generator+motor, assuming 10% efficiency loss at each step, gives you 19% loss. A 90% electric motor is considered very good, and the generator is assumed to be as efficient as the motor.(100*0.10)+(90*0.10)=19%
FWD drivetrain (the inefficient gears that you mention) losses are about 10-12% with small cars that don't make a lot of power.

Furthermore, you are misinformed about the Prius, it can run in EV mode as well. All they need to do is enlarge the motor and the battery pack, connect it to the same wonder transmission, and all advantages of Volt are negated, whereas the drivetrain efficiency and the atkinson cycle engine efficiency advantages remain over the Volt.


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 5:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sure the Prius can run in EV mode

As long as more than 27 kW are not required. (More like 22 kW, because of the "magical" tranmission system. The Volt's 110kW goes through a fixed one gear with high high efficieny of transmission of power)

As noted earlier, the Prius entire battery is 0.5 kWh, so thats what? 1.2 minutes of full EV mode! or around 3 minutes at 40 mph. Oh yes, a wonderful EV mode.

"Furthermore, you are misinformed about the Prius, it can run in EV mode as well. All they need to do is enlarge the motor and the battery pack, connect it to the same wonder transmission, and all advantages of Volt are negated, whereas the drivetrain efficiency and the atkinson cycle engine efficiency advantages remain over the Volt. "

You mean. All they have to do is turn it into a Volt and the Prius is better than a Volt? A -fourth- generation product developed drastically into what would be its -fifth- or -sixth- product cycle is more efficient than a -first-?
Go back and look at the JDM Prius or even the first one that came to the US. Compare the Volt to that thing... The Volt has the potential in the 3rd or 4th generation that is something truely special. 60 mpg+ CS modes. 50 miles AER. 200 hp+ AWD. Prius? Not so much so, at least not without -becoming- a Volt.


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 6:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point.

It's not that hard to build a bigger electric motor, or a battery pack, only reason Prius doesn't have it is because it's designed to be sold in the 20k+ range unlike the Volt which is in the 40k range.

Generators, motors, and batteries have been around for years. Diesel electric locomotives use it due to the complexity/cost of designing a mechanical transmission that can withstand so much torque and the load of 100+ fully loaded cars. There's a reason why cars don't use the same propulsion system, and it's called efficiency.

Coming up with a transmission and hybrid system like in the Prius shows real ingenuity and impresses me much more. And mark my words, it will show its results in the real world fuel mpg when both don't have access to a plug.

Also, the "weak" Prius gets 0-60 around 9 seconds, same as the Volt, which is enough for a family car.


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By Keeir on 11/30/2009 7:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
errr... no your missing the point

The reason why cars haven't used the system is due to wieght and rolling resistence and space.

A train on proper tracks has incredibly small rolling resistence combined with relatively high volume.

Until Lithium Ion, Batteries have not provided the required Power, Capacity, and Density to be used in the Volt fashion.

Now that Lithium Ion is approaching a reasonable cost, every automaker is suddenly throwing together electric cars or plug-ins. Including Prius Plug-ins.

"Coming up with a transmission and hybrid system like in the Prius shows real ingenuity and impresses me much more. And mark my words, it will show its results in the real world fuel mpg when both don't have access to a plug."

Why in the world would you buy a Volt and not plug it in??????????? Maybe we should buy a Prius and use it as farm equipment?!? or a drag racer?!?

When used as intented, the Volt is much more energy efficient, operating cost efficient, and uses much much less critical resource (Oil more critical than Coal, NG, Nuclear, Wind, Solar, etc) than a Prius.


By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 9:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the study to prove that you are not that inclined in laws of physics:

http://www.railway-energy.org/tfee/index.php?ID=22...

The main energy saving effect of diesel-mechanic compared to diesel-hydromechanic and diesel-electric propulsion comes from better efficiency of transmission. According to DSB, mechanic transmission has an efficiency of ~ 95 % compared to ~85 % for the other two systems. This alone yields energy savings of about 10 %.

For less heavy commuter trains, the interest is actually returning to diesel-mechanical transmissions due to higher efficiency.

Prius is the best of both worlds right now, and can be easily modified to fend off the volt by adding a more powerful electric motor and a bigger battery pack. This will of course increase its cost.


By Old Man Dotes on 11/30/2009 6:21:12 PM , Rating: 3
"Its always more efficient to convert mechanical energy to mechanical energy via gears then to first convert it to electricity via a generator, then back into mechanical energy via a motor."

Yeah, that's why diesel-electric locomotives use direct drive from the diesel engine to the wheels on the rail, right? Oops. They don't do that. They run a generator and use electricity to drive the wheels.

Gears are inherently inefficient due to friction and gear slip. A train of 2 gear sets with 90% efficiency each result in only 81% efficiency at the output shaft, and that's ignoring everything *except* tooth friction losses.


By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 6:24:32 PM , Rating: 1
As I said above, a transmission that's robust enough to move a train is hard to actually fit into a train. If diesel electric was that efficient, you'd also see it used in trucks, instead of 18-speed transmissions.


RE: One detail always gets overlooked in the Volt
By NA1NSXR on 11/30/2009 6:01:46 PM , Rating: 2
"I can buy a prius (for cheaper as well), not have to worry about recharging, and still get 50+ mpg, and all I have to do is put gas in it."

What do you think putting gas into a car is? I don't really have a strong opinion on the topic at hand but this comment gave me my afternoon chuckle.


By corduroygt on 11/30/2009 6:19:12 PM , Rating: 1
"What do you think putting gas into a car is?"

It's the only realistic way to transfer stored energy into a car for many people, who don't live in single family homes with garages.


By ianweck on 11/30/2009 7:59:13 PM , Rating: 2

quote:
How efficient is the Volt when you Never/seldom have access to a plug, i.e. you live in an apartment.


It's pretty simple, really. If you don't have access to a plug, then this might not be the car for you.
If you do have access to a plug, then you have the potential to drive up to 40 miles on every charge, gas free.


By walk2k on 11/30/2009 8:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
The only detail that matters is it's made by GM. It's GONNA suck.


By zerocool84 on 11/30/2009 10:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
With the Prius you're paying a premium for hybrid. You can get a Civic or Corolla for thousands cheaper and still get 30+ mpg and pocket the rest of the money saved. If you haven't noticed, hybrids/electric vehicles aren't about saving money, they are about saving gas so your statement about the Volt goes to the Prius.


By foolsgambit11 on 11/30/2009 10:41:34 PM , Rating: 2
This may come as a surprise, but despite the inherent losses in charging and discharging batteries, a hybrid setup like the Volt can actually be more efficient than a direct drive engine. One of the problems with traditional cars is that the engine can't be tuned to peak efficiency across the entire driving range. There is one ideal load on the engine that is the most efficient for producing energy, and the further you get from that load, the less efficient the engine is. However, with a series hybrid, the ICE generator can work at peak efficiency all the time, more than offsetting the other losses introduced in the system.

Nigel Calder (for all you boat enthusiasts out there) wrote an interesting piece on why he switched from a Malo 45 with a standard engine-driven propeller to a hybrid Malo 45 with a hybrid system years ago, based on the efficiency gains he would get from the system. (Granted, the loads placed on the batteries are different between a boat and a car, and that system wasn't developed with any plans to power the boat off the batteries alone, but I think the general analysis of efficiencies still applies).


"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki