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The 2011 Chevy Volt at CES 2010

The Volt's warranty matches that of industry leader Toyota's Prius warranty in most states.  (Source: GM)

The Volt undergoes shake testing.  (Source: GM)
Claims that the competitors don't come close

IPads, laptops, or cell phones typically come with at best a one-year battery warranty.  The Tesla Roadster comes with a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty.  However, GM is going to offer and unprecedented eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the advanced lithium-ion battery found in its upcoming 2011 Chevy Volt electric vehicle.

The Volt will launch later this year, priced somewhere north of $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit.  Initial launch markets will include Michigan, California and Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, and New York City (New Jersey, Connecticut and the rest of Texas will received Volts in early 2011).  

GM's Volt Battery packs have seen vigorous testing, including 1 million miles total miles of road tests and 4 million hours of validation testing.  They have also been subjected to an array of tests including corrosion, impact, water submersion, short circuit, crush and penetration, dust and extreme temperature changes.  Aggressive drive cycles, also known as "Shake, Bake, and Roll", were also tested.  The battery can reportedly withstand temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vice Chairman of Global Product Operations Tom Stephens says that the warranty -- three years longer than the standard GM powertrain warranty -- is a sign of the company's satisfaction with its finished product.  He states, "This is really a major statement of our confidence."

The warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, plus the vehicle's thermal management system, its electric drive system, and its charging system.  The

The 100k warranty is similar to the 100k mile warranty offered with the Toyota Prius.  Much like the Prius, whose warranty is bumped to 150k in California to meet California's Air Resources Board's standards, the Volt may receive an even longer warranty in California and other states that have adopted its standards.  California Air Resources Board has not yet specified what warranty GM would need to score partial zero-emission vehicle credits.

Other competitors also offer similar warranties -- the Honda Insight comes with a 100k, eight-year warranty (10-year, 150k in California) and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids come with an eight-year 100k warranty, as well.  However, the battery packs used in those hybrids are nowhere near as large as the one used in the Volt. Nissan so far has announced no warranty yet on its 2011 Nissan Leaf EV vehicle.

The Volt gets 40 miles on a fully charged battery under ideal conditions.  However, this can dip lower in hot or cold weather.  The gas engine should provide a steady 300 mile range, under almost any weather condition, when the tank is full.  GM initially plans to produce 10,000 Volts in 2010, bumping production to as many as 30,000 in 2011.

GM has scored $241 million in federal grants, including $106 million for its new battery pack assembly factory, to help with the cost of developing its electric vehicles.



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Temperature Range
By Zerovoltage on 7/15/2010 9:48:59 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The battery can reportedly withstand temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit.


It was -34 degrees Fahrenheit near Chicago two years ago. I remember because I drove by a bank temperature display and wanted to find a corner to curl up in and die.

I don't see how they can market this in the Midwest if the batteries only work to -13.




RE: Temperature Range
By wuZheng on 7/15/2010 9:54:59 AM , Rating: 2
Probably have some kind of temperature control system to make sure the battery doesn't reach EITHER of those extremes. You know, proper engineering... thats key. Although, seeing as its GM... we'll see how this goes... Don't be an early adopter.


RE: Temperature Range
By DanNeely on 7/15/2010 9:55:25 AM , Rating: 2
Instead of just selling you a block heater they also sell you a battery pack heater.


RE: Temperature Range
By Gungel on 7/15/2010 9:58:30 AM , Rating: 3
That's why they have a heater installed that keeps the battery temperature at a workable level. It is only possible because the combustion engine can keep the heater running. This is a problem for an all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf.


RE: Temperature Range
By mmntech on 7/15/2010 10:14:50 AM , Rating: 1
Just thinking out loud here but they could cycle coolant from the engine block to keep the batteries warm. Assuming this is what they did, I don't see cold batteries being an issue.


RE: Temperature Range
By RealTheXev on 7/15/2010 11:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
This isn’t really about the operating time of the vehicle; it’s about the parked time. I don’t see why reliable block heating technology, like that used in diesel engines for years, couldn’t be applied to battery packs.


RE: Temperature Range
By Dr of crap on 7/15/2010 10:00:09 AM , Rating: 4
Yep this car won't make it here in St Paul. We alway go under -13 in the winter - keeps the lazys from moving here!


RE: Temperature Range
By bobcpg on 7/15/2010 10:30:55 AM , Rating: 2
I as just thinking the same thing. We easily get below -13 at least one day here in Minnesoooota.


RE: Temperature Range
By Wy White Wolf on 7/15/2010 4:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
I do...

What about when the car is parked and you can't plug it in? Like at work or the store.


RE: Temperature Range
By stimudent on 7/15/2010 11:14:55 AM , Rating: 2
Up in norther Alaska and Canada, the temps will get down to -40F and -60F on a regular basis during the winter.
A car with a battery like that would be good enough for central and western New York state. We might get into the single digits F on occasion while going into the negative temps is infrequent.


RE: Temperature Range
By HakonPCA on 7/15/2010 11:20:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit


In Phoenix its going to be 115 today, and tomorrow, and the next day, which means my car will be about 130+.

Volt not for use in Phoenix? in the summer, in the city?


RE: Temperature Range
By Redwin on 7/15/2010 1:57:12 PM , Rating: 5
Pretty sure driving with outside temps outside of operating range just make the car expend extra power to cool or warm the batteries. That will definitely reduce your all-electric range, but will not result in the car breaking; just the gas motor kicking in sooner.

I think that's why a while back we heard about GM saying it will have reduced range in very hot or very cold climates... More of the driving energy has to be diverted to battery temp control. It'll still work but it might not be as fuel efficient as you might have hoped reading the marketing literature.


Prediction...
By chunkymonster on 7/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: Prediction...
By frobizzle on 7/15/2010 1:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I predict that the Volt will see significant sales upon release but will ultimately not be a long term success

I doubt it. You see, GM has already announced first year production will be limited to just 10,000 vehicles. For a nationally distributed car, that is a drop in the bucket. An equal distribution throughout the 50 states would be just 200 cars per state. (I realize that is theoretical and that it is not practical to have an equal distribution.)

Apparently GM has little confidence in potential first year sales.


RE: Prediction...
By Spuke on 7/15/2010 7:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apparently GM has little confidence in potential first year sales.
Who knows what they're thinking. IMO, 10k units per year is probably about right for a niche vehicle like this.


RE: Prediction...
By marvdmartian on 7/15/2010 1:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
I just think it's hilarious that they're going to sell it in Texas.

With a 340 (maximum) mile range between the battery and gasoline engine, you're still going to have to fill up TWICE to get across the state! Hopefully the drivers of these things take that into mind, and gas up before they hit a lonesome area.....


RE: Prediction...
By crimson117 on 7/18/2010 9:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
If you need to drive across Texas frequently then no, the volt is not for you.

If you have a short commute, however, it may be a good choice - assuming you don't mind paying the premium for the novelty of an electric car.


RE: Prediction...
By mellomonk on 7/15/2010 1:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM does not deserve any commendations for the Volt, at best they are only duplicating what Toyota, Nissan, and Ford have already accomplished.


The Volt is a series hybrid , and hence unlike anything currently on the market. Essentially and electric vehicle with a combustion engine to charge the batteries. Every other manufacture is producing parallel hybrids, combustion engined cars with electric motors attached to their transmissions to provide additional torque and regenerative braking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivet...

The series hybrid car tech will take a while to perfect. Toyota had to swallow many years of losses on the Prius while perfecting the tech and selling the concept to the general public. But ultimately the series hybrid tech makes more sense, and is potentially more efficient and much more flexible. In fact you are far more likely to see a diesel series hybrid then diesel parallel hybrid. I have to give credit where credit is due and kudos to GM for taking on the challenge. I think ultimately the issue is not going to be perfecting the technology, but getting the marketing right.

The failure of diesel cars in the US, to this point, is largely the fault of the American public's ignorance. The benefits are well known to enthusiasts and the drivetrains are ready. We just have to get the average walmart shopping John Q to see the benefit. When the demand is there, the cars will be.


RE: Prediction...
By usbseawolf2000 on 7/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Prediction...
By mellomonk on 7/15/2010 6:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, series hybrids are old news. Old as in well proven and efficient, unlike the kludge parallel system Toyota created due to the limitations of battery & motor tech at the time. Series hybrid diesel electric power plants are well understood in rail and sea going applications. It was a matter of getting the tech small and light enough for auto applications. By it's very nature a Series hybrid will be far more efficient for you can run the combustion engine at a narrow range of rpms where efficiency and power are optimal for generating electricity, it's only job. The overall efficiency per amount of power produced is the whole point . Plus the series layout allows for much more design flexibility in packaging and power plant choice. Diesel, Gas, and even fuel cells can easily be adapted to the Volt drive train as it exists now.

The instantaneous torque of the electric motor is far more important in auto applications. Passing power is a factor of the motor, battery, and when present, transmission specs, which for the Volt is aimed more at efficiency and stoplight to stoplight acceleration. The Tesla Roadster for example has no such problem with fantastic instantaneous acceleration, and more then acceptable at speed. The final performance figures for the Volt are very much up in the air due to software and hardware changes in the pre-production examples.

It is well known in the auto engineering community that Toyota is working on their own series as well as plug-in parallel designs. Many others are working on improving pure electric drive trains. There will be many options to choose from in the near future.


RE: Prediction...
By Spuke on 7/15/2010 7:23:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The Tesla Roadster for example has no such problem with fantastic instantaneous acceleration
The Tesla's acceleration is ok. It's a fast car but no where near otherworldly. There are MUCH quicker cars right in its price range. Not to mention, everyone touts max torque at 0 rpm but EVERYONE forgets that there is no tire on the planet that can take even the Tesla's measly 246 lb-ft at 0 rpm. Electric cars like gasoline one's will have some form of traction control to reign in torque therefore eliminating that little feature.


RE: Prediction...
By usbseawolf2000 on 7/16/2010 1:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
By it's very nature a Series hybrid will be far more efficient for you can run the combustion engine at a narrow range of rpms where efficiency and power are optimal for generating electricity, it's only job. The overall efficiency per amount of power produced is the whole point

You assumed Prius can't pick optimal RPM due to your lack of understanding in HSD. Google Prius' operating line in the BSFC graph. Even modern TDI engine's operating line can't touch it.

Prius' ICE can extract 1kWh from 220 gram of gasoline (220g/kWh), making it the most efficient production gas engine. Remember Prius can output 72% of the gas engine torque directly to the wheel without going through the generator conversion loss. Prius is 40% tank-to-wheel efficient.

What is Volt's gas engine BSFC and its tank-to-wheel efficiency in CS mode?


RE: Prediction...
By joe4324 on 7/21/2010 2:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
Your numbers are way out, there is no way the prius or any ICE for that matter is pulling 18Kwh of usable electricity out of one gallon of fuel especially gasoline. Please show me some kind of documentation explaining this to me.

There is only 36.6 Total Kwh of energy in a single gallon of gas (+/- 5% for blends) Or 125k BTU. If your numbers are correct the prius ICE is nearly 50% efficient at converting gasoline into pure electricity. 18Kwh into 36kwh?

The most efficient motors in the world are ultra-low speed (1-300rpm) Giant stationary/ship based diesel motors. The best ever being 155g per 1Kwh, Roughly 53-54ish percent efficient? This is using fuel that is richer and more dense than regular gasoline as well.

My 1929 Liser cs 6/1 600RPM motor is known for its fuel consumption and economy and I can pull about 8-9(avg) Kilowatts plus about 48-55k BTU's of hot water from a Gallon of waste cooking oil. And these numbers may be a little high.

I just don't think there is any way the gasoline engine in the prius is this refined. I could be wrong but I need to see it first.


RE: Prediction...
By usbseawolf2000 on 7/16/2010 1:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
unlike the kludge parallel system Toyota created

You are trying to discuss a system that you don't fully understand. Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive is a split hybrid. 72% of gas engine's torque goes through the Parallel path and 28% through the Series path. In term of the actual power split, it really depends on the operation. At full throttle, Prius is 57% Series and 43% Parallel. At highway speed, the situation is reversed (Parallel dominates). This ability allows HSD to inherit the best traits of both Series and Parallel hybrids.


RE: Prediction...
By usbseawolf2000 on 7/16/2010 1:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Passing power is a factor of the motor, battery, and when present, transmission specs, which for the Volt is aimed more at efficiency and stoplight to stoplight acceleration.

Volt is 3 seconds slower than Prius in passing from 62-79mph despite having more horsepower (160hp vs 134hp). Series hybrid has the disadvantage because the gas engine's torque can't turn the wheels.

I am sure Volt has V6 like torque below 50mph. Well, it needs to.... since it weights 3,900 lbs. That's very heavy for a four seater.


Did they?
By pcfxer on 7/15/2010 9:25:17 AM , Rating: 2
Did they just compare a car to cheaply made consumer electronics? With all due respect on the CE devices; they are not "OVER" engineered by any stretch of the imagination.

General Motors - Do we compete against the competition? NO! They are too good so, we compete against cheap chinese electronics!




RE: Did they?
By quiksilvr on 7/15/2010 9:43:37 AM , Rating: 1
Lol, it's pretty sad that they are bragging about this when the top hybrid sellers have the exact same warranty.

They should have said "Our warranty is as good as Toyota and Honda!" Instead of "We're number 1! USA! USA!". Comes off as a bit obnoxious.


RE: Did they?
By Dr of crap on 7/15/2010 9:59:10 AM , Rating: 1
You forget this is GM - of course they will over play this.
And the more funny thing is people will buy it!
Why, because the majority of the buying public is to stupid to understand what GM just said!!


RE: Did they?
By puckalicious on 7/15/2010 10:17:34 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, because imports NEVER hype up their products... give me a break. Comparing the warranty on a tiny battery like in a hybrid to the Volt is just silly. This is a huge win for GM in marketing the Volt. No other electric vehicle (yet) has a warranty this solid, look at Tesla - only 3 yrs/36k miles. I doubt Nissan will be able to do this for the Leaf and sustain a claimed 100 mile range.


RE: Did they?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/15/2010 11:08:18 AM , Rating: 1
Imports aren't ran by their governments though. GM can afford to offer any warranty it wants, the taxpayers will just foot the bill.

I'm not impressed. Nothing they do will impress or please me again. GM is dead to me. They sell fools gold.


RE: Did they?
By Kombaji on 7/15/2010 11:50:45 AM , Rating: 2
GM isn't RAN by the government. They are owned by the government. If they were run by the government, the Volt would not be coming out for another three years and would cost $120K.


RE: Did they?
By tastyratz on 7/15/2010 12:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
Great idea, I can see it now.

Dailytech article 8 years from now:
"GM Asks for bailout after honoring extensive poorly thought out battery warranty. Owners average 3 times per car bankrupts the corporation"


RE: Did they?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/15/2010 2:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM isn't RAN by the government. They are owned by the government.


You're trying to make a distinction where one barely exists. The administration effectively fired one CEO and hand picked another. If that's not enough intervention for you, I don't know what is.

This is what happens when big business marries big government. It's not pretty, and it's not good for us.


RE: Did they?
By wiz220 on 7/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: Did they?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/15/2010 6:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
There is no "good" way to bail out private business with the public's money. It shouldn't have been done, plain and simple. It's legally, ethically, and Constitutionally wrong at every turn.

quote:
the government has not been involved in day to day operations.


Right. Suddenly the king of truck and SUV manufacturers, soon after taking Government money, sinks their entire future into an electric/hybrid car and kills off several SUV brands etc etc. I'm sure it was just a big coincidence that they just so happened to shift their entire operation to support the Presidents agenda. Right after taking the money and having the Administration pick their CEO... Right. You believe that? Just because Obama himself isn't working on the assembly lines doesn't mean the "day to day" operation hasn't been dictated to them.


CA Warranty Different?
By tng on 7/15/2010 12:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
Did you notice that Toyota, Honda and GM are all adjusting the warranty time and mileage to meet the CARB requirment?

The question that raises for me is outside of CA is the warranty the same? If it isn't, do these companies just inflate the number to meet the CARB standard or is it really a different battery that last longer, or are they just giving California Air Resouces Board the lip service they want?




RE: CA Warranty Different?
By fleabag on 7/16/2010 8:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The question that raises for me is outside of CA is the warranty the same? If it isn't, do these companies just inflate the number to meet the CARB standard or is it really a different battery that last longer, or are they just giving California Air Resouces Board the lip service they want?

It's the former not the latter... Meaning that there is no difference in the vehicles except warranty length due to regulations..the costs are passed down to the consumer. The warranties on these vehicles are as long as they are due to government regulations, not because the manufacturers actually want to warranty these vehicles for this long. It can be said this is a benefit because it's demonstrating to the public that Hybrid vehicles can last just as long if not longer than conventional vehicles so in the end it could benefit them.


Actually
By laweijfmvo on 7/15/2010 1:46:58 PM , Rating: 2
here's what's going to happen. joe schmoe is going to buy a volt for whatever reason and not recharge it every night, because joe schmoe is not ready for an electric car.

let's say joe uses a quarter tank of gas between charges:

40 miles (electric) + 0.25 * 300 miles (gas) = 115 miles per charge. 100,000 miles / 115 miles = roughly 870 charges per 100,000 miles, during which the battery will be responsible for, (wait for it), close enough to 36,000 miles.




By KIAman on 7/15/2010 2:17:03 PM , Rating: 2
I mean, give me a break, of course they can offer a costly 10 year warranty on the most breakable and expensive part on a hybrid when they don't have to worry about their spending.




Warranty Marketing Spin
By jah1subs on 7/15/2010 9:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
I sold Ford Escape Hybrids for two years. IIRC, the battery warranties were due, at least in part, to some influence from state regulators. It is no accident that all of the warranties have the same length.

Currently, Ford and Toyota batteries are NiMH. I believe that the Volt battery is either Li or Li Ion. Not sure the impact of the change in battery technology.




source of energy
By RivuxGamma on 7/15/2010 9:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
Does anybody else just love that most power in the U.S. is provided by coal?




By jediknight on 7/17/2010 4:45:26 PM , Rating: 2
if the rest of the car doesn't last that long.
C'mon.. we're talking GM here :->




Not impressed
By YashBudini on 7/16/2010 11:23:23 PM , Rating: 1
Now if only the paint on their vehicles lasted so long.




Vaporware
By Smilin on 7/15/10, Rating: -1
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton














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