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  (Source: Motive Magazine)

Chevrolet Volt spied on the "Transformers 2" set.  (Source: Autoblog)

Shots of the Volt's interior leak onto the web

Everyone wants to talk about the Chevy Volt these days. General Motors' revolutionary new car is just a few years away, but details have been slowly leaking out to the public.

A few weeks ago, GM revealed some teaser exterior shots of the Volt. While they didn't provide much insight into the overall final design of the vehicle, they at least gave an idea of what the front light cluster/grill will look like on the production vehicle along with its softer lines -- a break from the sharp angles of the concept vehicle.

Today, however, it appears that an interior shot of the Volt was leaked online. If the shots are indeed of the production Volt, it's quite a departure from the traditional center stack we are used to seeing in modern vehicles. The center stack is almost iPod-esque with flush, touch-sensitive buttons within a shiny white housing. HVAC and audio controls are all housed within the white center cluster.

The main cluster is topped by a flip-up LCD display which shows powertrain/battery status. In the end, the interior -- or rather, what we can see of it -- looks to be high-tech without going completely space age like the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid.

And if the shots of the interior weren’t enough, has now posted pictures of the Volt from just about every angle. The vehicle was spotted on the set of “Transformers 2” and was quickly caught by spy cameras. While the exterior images are quite blurry, it’s very easy to make out the shape of what is most likely GM’s most significant vehicle to come to the market in years.

The Chevy Volt can travel 40 miles on battery power alone thanks to its large lithium-ion battery pack. Once the battery level drops below a pre-determined level, a gasoline engine takes over to charge the batteries and keep the vehicle moving. The Volt can also be plugged into a household outlet for overnight charging.

Updated 8/29/2008
Here's a video of the Volt in motion on the set of "Transformers 2".

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Plugging it into your house outlet
By Naviblue on 8/29/2008 9:08:21 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how much your electric bill will be extra each month after buying a volt. I mean would it still be less than "paying at the pump"? are you really saving any money?

RE: Plugging it into your house outlet
By Spivonious on 8/29/2008 11:13:04 AM , Rating: 2
I figure it might add $5-$10 a month. Much cheaper than gas.

RE: Plugging it into your house outlet
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 11:30:54 AM , Rating: 2
Based on figures used in another thread, I would pay and extra $50 a month (summer rates) to plug this in. (CA resident)

By Alexvrb on 8/29/2008 9:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
Even at the worst rates, at peak hours, i'd bet its still much cheaper than gas. But of course, you should generally be charging it at night.

RE: Plugging it into your house outlet
By Hafgrim on 8/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Plugging it into your house outlet
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 11:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
Who cares what the electric bill will be as long as im not financing the terrorists anymore
LOL! So your power company doesn't use oil at all?

RE: Plugging it into your house outlet
By Hafgrim on 8/29/2008 3:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
Thats right in southern florida millions of people are run by clean nuclear power plants. With two new nukes soon to be built here.

So yes I wont be using oil hardly at all while very happily driving my new American Chevy Volt. =)

By John Ryan on 9/1/2008 5:03:36 PM , Rating: 1
soon to be built ????????? 2020 is soon ?

By JustTom on 9/20/2008 3:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Oil is very seldom used in electricity production.

By Chiisuchianu on 8/31/2008 1:43:40 PM , Rating: 1
Same here Hafgrim!

RE: Plugging it into your house outlet
By pauldovi on 8/29/08, Rating: -1
By Hafgrim on 8/29/2008 4:05:51 PM , Rating: 1
Lol pulling numbers out of thin air are you, pauldovi?
Haha 20k for batterys, lmao! Dont confuse total retrofitting with simple battery swapping.

By clovell on 8/29/2008 5:20:13 PM , Rating: 1
It's roughly equivalent to paying ~$1 a gallon for gas on a comparable ICE-only vehicle at current rates

Tacticle feedback
By Belegost on 8/28/2008 9:59:17 PM , Rating: 5
Am I the only one who thinks this looks like a human factors nightmare?

When I'm driving, and I want to change the volume on my stereo, I reach my hand to the approximate location on the console, and feel for the right shaped button. This way I can keep my attention on the road, and still manipulate the audio. Similarly with other functions such as the climate control dials. When everything is one smooth piece of plastic, and with touch sensitive regions ... well, then I have to look over to make sure I only hit the area I want.

The lack of tactile response, coupled with the immediate nature of touch sensitive controls sounds a lot like a serious annoyance, rather than a nice feature. Annoyance issues aside, I rather think it has some safety problems as well.

RE: Tacticle feedback
By Houdani on 8/29/2008 12:10:30 AM , Rating: 3
I completely agree. That center console is utter rubbish both aesthetically and tactilely.

And tell me that rocker switch in the bottom right corner of the console isn't for the door lock/unlock!?! That's just not where I would want it, simply from a traditional or logical point of view. Call me old fashion.

RE: Tacticle feedback
By RonnieJamesDio on 8/29/2008 9:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
I agree as well. GM will be making a serious mistake if this makes it to production with touch sensitive controls.

Volt rock! GO USA!
By Hafgrim on 8/29/2008 8:31:03 AM , Rating: 1
I LOVE IT ALL! Cant wait to buy one. Who cares about the interior center console, The outside looks great! I will be laughing at every gas station I pass everyday. THANK GOD to be free of Arab oil. As for the techno dash, whoop-ti-do im sure their will be many options for more traditional dashes too, thats probably just and early mock up for the movie.. Like anyone keeps the stock stereo anyway. =P I bet the little LCD looks like that becuase its detachable and lets you set it in your lap for extra handy touch screen GPS programming functionality. AWESOME!


A W E S O M E!

RE: Volt rock! GO USA!
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 11:35:03 AM , Rating: 2
You do know that there is STILL a gasoline engine in the car and the plastics used in the interior are made from oil. Not to mention GM uses oil in the construction and delivery of those cars, right? You know this, right?

RE: Volt rock! GO USA!
By Hafgrim on 8/29/2008 3:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, but thats where it ends unless I go over 40 miles in a day which is a rarity for lots of Americans. So unlike other cars that will always continue to fund wasteful big oil no matter how short your trips. Keep our oil for construction and plastics where it belongs not wasted on burning. IT is a win win for America!

RE: Volt rock! GO USA!
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 3:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
Keep our oil for construction and plastics where it belongs not wasted on burning.
LOL! This sentence makes no sense at all. Do you also know that, airplanes, trains, boats, your Walmart's backup generator, etc use gas also, right? Do you know the process to make plastic from oil?

RE: Volt rock! GO USA!
By Hafgrim on 8/29/2008 5:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yup I do. Everyone knows oil is used to make plastics. Oil is also used to make stretchy bras for women aswell. Your point? But Like I said the days of oil being burned in "cars" as fuel for motion are coming to an end. And rightfully so. Oil is simply to valuable for all its other purposes then to be archaically burned away in cars for simple motion. Keep it for its high energy uses such as jets and all other exotic fueled vehicles where high energy fuels matter most, not wasted in cars..

Go go Chevy Volt! ^^

And American auto manufacturers wonder...
By cparka23 on 8/28/2008 9:48:56 PM , Rating: 1
...Why don't new American cars sell? Because they're fugly. If the car is supposed to look soft or girly, they've successfully castrated their car buyers market.

What a cheap interior. If designers think LCD displays that look like they came from Toys 'R' Us will get me to sell my import, they shouldn't be in the American auto market. Take that trash to Europe where cute cars sell better.

By TerranMagistrate on 8/28/2008 10:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
What are you looking at?

The Volt in the posted pictures here actually has some aesthetic quality with its rather sleek and futuristic design. A rarity in the American automotive industry though unfortunately.

By psychobriggsy on 8/29/2008 5:18:48 AM , Rating: 3
I read somewhere that the vast majority of car buying decisions are made by women.

Basically, getting married or having a long term girlfriend already castrated you, and the car designers are pandering to the people who have the power to choose what they want.

By djc208 on 8/29/2008 8:10:50 AM , Rating: 2
You have to be kidding right? Europe may have a pretty good hold on sleek and sexy designs, but then for what a Lamborghini or Porsche costs it better be a good looking car.

Otherwise the Japanese are no better than most American designs. In fact I'd say they were the kings of bland "appliance" type designs. Problem is interesting designs are polarizing and no auto maker wants to turn off half their market because someone thinks it's ugly.

In a specialty market like full size trucks or sports cars it's easy to pick the design theme. For something as "common" as a midsize sedan it's much harder. I give you the PT Cruiser or Scion Xb as a prime example. There are devout fans of those cars, but there are quite a few who think they're hideous.

Not bad but flawed...
By matt0401 on 8/28/2008 11:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
I like the external look of the car! I'm glad they decided to smooth out the harsh look the original concept had.

As for the interior, though, it's not bad but there would be a few things I'd like to see changed. I think that the glossy white looks unprofessional, and that the entire console should be black instead. Also, the LCD screen looks a bit strange and cheap jutting out of the console with that thick plastic border. It would probably look more professional (and, admittedly, more Prius-like) for it to be embedded in a uniformly-shaped console so that nothing sticks out. As for the touch-sensitive buttons, I agree with a previous poster who mentioned the inconvenience of not having physical shaped buttons. I think that traditional plastic buttons would probably be a better idea for convenience. It may also slightly lower than production cost.

Still despite these flaws I think the project is going along fantastically! Here's hoping this car will be able to compete with Toyota's PHEV offerings in 2010, Competition is always a good thing! :)

RE: Not bad but flawed...
By FITCamaro on 8/29/2008 1:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
The LCD is a popup screen. You can push it down to where it is flush with the rest of the dash.

RE: Not bad but flawed...
By shuyin on 8/29/2008 12:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
All they need to do for the center stack is make it aluminum instead of white gloss. It would look more like the interior of the current CTS.

Scion tC exterior + CTS interior + great MPG = great new car!

RE: Not bad but flawed...
By clovell on 8/29/2008 5:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
I like the aluminum idea - that would make it look a thousand times better.

Sure 40 miles but how about with the A/C on?
By jimbojimbo on 8/29/2008 2:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
And how about with the radio that's always on in my car?
And then how about with the headlights on?
Wind shield wipers on?
Will people never use their turn signals in order to maximize mileage now?
Rear window defogger?
Air vents?

RE: Sure 40 miles but how about with the A/C on?
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 4:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
I read that the range can go anywhere from 13 to 130 miles depending on speed, load, and environmental factors.

By jimbojimbo on 8/29/2008 4:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just guessing but I was thinking the 40miles is based on optimum circumstances like a 90 pound female driving on a closed indoor track with windows up and absolutely nothing on and at a constant speed.

I've always suggested this but how come they don't cover the top panels with solar panels? I know they sold an addon for the Prius where you glue a panel on the roof. It'll give you supplemental power so when your car is sitting outisde while you're at work you get a few more miles out of it. I'd like a car with all panels basically be solar panels.

By foolsgambit11 on 8/30/2008 1:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well, people use all of those things now, and that power comes from burning gas - i.e. it reduces gas mileage, increasing the amount of gas they have to buy.

With the Volt, it will reduce their 'gas-free' range, and... increase the amount of gas they have to buy. But they still come out ahead in money spent on fuel (gas+electricity), because they're getting some of their range on electricity, which is cheaper than gas.

Notice I'm ignoring whether the overall economics of the Volt make sense, and focusing only on this part of the equation.

New Prius
By Brandon Hill on 8/28/2008 5:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
For reference, prototype of the new Prius interior:

RE: New Prius
By Some1ne on 8/28/2008 9:38:45 PM , Rating: 3
Is the laptop included as a basic option, or does it require upgrading to the "deluxe" package?

Interior Leaked ?
By phazers on 8/28/2008 6:59:52 PM , Rating: 5
And here I was thinking we'd see pix of battery acid eating away at the dashboard & passengers, fumes and guts spewing everywhere...

By AmishElvis on 8/29/2008 2:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's white and glossy, and I'm sure they meant to make look iPody, but I think they kind of missed the point. The iPod user interface is popular because it's simple and elegant. This thing has over 30 buttons, all bunched together, and mostly identical except for their small text labels. This is neither simple nor elegant. Also, vehicle controls need to be tactile, so you can manipulate them without taking your eyes off the road. Most of those buttons are sitting flush against the console. It looks like it would be impossible to distinguish between them by touch alone. I think they need to keep working on it. The outside of the vehicle looks hot though.

RE: Ipodesque
By AmishElvis on 8/29/2008 2:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
Huh. It turns out two people already made this exact same point. I'll shut up now...

By Blacknewyear on 8/29/2008 9:09:56 AM , Rating: 2
To me, this looks like a Scion Tc

RE: Scion?
By shuyin on 8/29/2008 12:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, as soon as I saw the exterior photos I thought it looked like the tC (the glass roof and jelly bean body gives that impression).

As for the interior, it looks like Steve Jobs went and redesigned the inside of the current CTS.

Oh god no
By FITCamaro on 8/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: Oh god no
By Spuke on 8/28/2008 9:56:56 PM , Rating: 1
I don't like it either but I'm sure it will be available in other colors or none at all. Shit, why do I care, I'm buying it. Hate away all.

RE: Oh god no
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 11:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
I meant to say, I'm NOT buying it.

TF 2
By Diesel Donkey on 8/29/2008 1:25:09 AM , Rating: 2
Is anybody else more excited about the movie being shot where these pictures were taken than about the car itself?

By AlmostExAMD on 8/29/2008 3:38:58 AM , Rating: 2
Exterior = thumbs up but in black or silver for me
Interior(console) = Thumbs down, Fisher price ring any bells. rest of interior i cant make any judgement from this pic.

4-door Cobolt
By whirabomber on 8/29/2008 8:11:34 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like a 4-door Cobolt. Due to bizzarre IE crashing script errors from I couldn't look at more than a few of the photos for the new "Volt."

For those folks complaining about the turn around time for new cars, usually cars run 4-5 years from concept to production. Cars exploiting new technology I would venture to say may take a few more years.

I just hope GM doesn't Obama and never release the volt.

I wonder?
By BB33 on 8/29/2008 11:27:32 AM , Rating: 2
So Joe volt owner is cleaning his nice new shiny volt with the key in and listening to music, comes to the toutch sensative part just cleaning away and inadvertantly activates the battery pack self destruct then BOOOOM! acid, aluminum, steel and plastic rain showers with scatered volt owner. Ok so that well realy should not happen lol but I like to keep my cars clean and toutch sensative would be anoying for me.

looks like the tC
By shuyin on 8/29/2008 12:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
Is it just me or does this car look like a Scion tC with an ipod interior.

Quick question about this technology
By Davelo on 8/31/2008 1:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
What happens to the 40 mile range when you turn on the air conditioning or heater? I assume both of those would run from the batteries? Would an electric motor turn the AC compressor like a home refrigerator? Would the heater utilize simple heat coils like an electric range? Sounds like a major power drain.

By clovell on 8/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: White?
By someguy123 on 8/28/2008 6:02:15 PM , Rating: 5
sorry fellas. everyone has "ipod gloss" fever these days. soon everything will be plastic and glossy, including the gloss on your gloss.

RE: White?
By Hare on 8/29/2008 3:13:11 AM , Rating: 2
Try Audi, BMW or Mercedes. Style never goes out of fashion.

RE: White?
By retrospooty on 8/28/2008 9:24:33 PM , Rating: 1
A GM car look cheap? NOOOO, it cant be. LOL

Show me a semi affordable one that doesnt.

RE: White?
By Cobra Commander on 8/28/2008 9:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
Show me one that doesn't regardless of cost.

RE: White?
By GlassHouse69 on 8/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: White?
By Samus on 8/29/2008 4:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
The 99-2004 Focus interior is still the class-leading interior for an entry-level car in my book. It fit together tight, looked astonishingly good and most importantly, didn't squeek and feel cheap!

Every GM vehicle (although they have improved) has always felt cheap on the inside. The ride quality of their cars has greatly improved, not just work on the inside where the driver spends their time and more people will take you seriously. My 90 Accord had better interior than my friends new Envoy.

RE: White?
By DrKlahn on 8/29/2008 2:42:16 PM , Rating: 3
Any Cadillac, Corvette or Buick. GM has done a lot recently to upgrade the interiors of their vehicles. Even the cheaper ones look much better than in years past.

RE: White?
By glitchc on 8/31/2008 5:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
Cadillac STS FTW

RE: White?
By Spuke on 8/28/2008 9:53:59 PM , Rating: 5
I like it!! I really thought it would look like another Prius cantelope car but I was really wrong. I'm really shocked.

P.S. - Since when does a concept car make it to production without ANY changes. No one does that and to expect GM to do it is naive and silly. Besides, you guys don't like American cars anyways. Why even comment?

RE: White?
By cparka23 on 8/28/2008 10:09:16 PM , Rating: 3
How about making a hybrid or electric vehicle that doesn't look like a toy?

cantaloupe car??

RE: White?
By daftrok on 8/29/2008 12:09:29 PM , Rating: 2

RE: White?
By Hiawa23 on 8/29/2008 1:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
Darn, looks like the same devs who designed the PS3 & PSP, & it's hard to tell but that looks very different than the early pics that were shown. Looks like a typical Ford, but I think some are missing the whole point of the car which is....

RE: White?
By SLEEPER5555 on 8/30/2008 1:01:10 AM , Rating: 1
you me cuntelope?

RE: White?
By SLEEPER5555 on 8/30/2008 1:02:46 AM , Rating: 1
you mean cuntelope?

RE: White?
By SilthDraeth on 8/28/2008 11:33:00 PM , Rating: 2
Since when does a concept car make it to production without ANY changes. No one does that and to expect GM to do it is naive and silly.

Toyota FJ Cruiser.

RE: White?
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 12:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Ok, that's ONE. Anymore?

RE: White?
By SLEEPER5555 on 8/29/2008 2:27:43 AM , Rating: 3
dodge challenger
ford mustang
chrysler 300c
dodge viper
many many more

this volt to me looks nothing like the concept it looks more like an acura or something cheezy like that, its unfortunate because the concept looked like a nice ride

RE: White?
By Topweasel on 8/29/2008 9:33:18 AM , Rating: 2
Actually The concept of the 300C was a convertible 300M with a Hemi inside it. Though for the most Part all Chrysler Concepts that they ever intend to produce (most of them) Tend to be at the final year or so of development so changes are small if any.

RE: White?
By therealnickdanger on 8/29/2008 9:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
The Challenger changed somewhat with both interior and exterior styling accents, but nothing a non-LX/LY enthusiast would notice.

The 300C actually did change a lot from its initial concept. In fact, the Magnum, Charger, and 300C all spawned from this vehicle:

The Mustang has never changed... LOL

The Viper doesn't need to.

All in all, every concept changes at the showroom. It could be chrome on the doorhandle, smaller rims, reshaped fascia. Usually the crazy interiors are substituted for standard interior pieces from other cars.

RE: White?
By Maharajamd on 8/29/2008 9:44:59 AM , Rating: 2
Acura is cheesy?! :/

RE: White?
By zshift on 8/29/2008 10:14:24 AM , Rating: 2
actually, the original mustang concept had most of the interior colors matching the exterior of the car. the production cars didn't have anywhere near such an expression of color on the interior as the early concepts did (for current gen at least).

RE: White?
By shuyin on 8/29/2008 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Acura?? Please, the closet thing this car resembles is the Scion tC.

RE: White?
By Cappadocious on 8/29/2008 2:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
I have to disagree,

is a far cry from what was put into production.

RE: White?
By SLEEPER5555 on 8/29/2008 5:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
no one said charger pay attention! and while i cant see the img you linked to my guess is it was the 1999 charger concept which was not the basis for the 2006-2010 production model. the 2005 concept was the basis for the 06 charger

RE: White?
By Spoelie on 8/29/2008 3:42:28 AM , Rating: 2
new honda civic, at least the one in europe

production model

concept car

I don't know if it holds true for the models sold abroad.

RE: White?
By RonnieJamesDio on 8/29/2008 9:54:50 AM , Rating: 1
The Pontiac Solstice. Made by...wait for it...GM.

But this is beside the point. The Volt is nothing but an exercise in marketing. Thus all the changes. The potential market for a truly sporty and cool looking car that is also a plug in hybrid is much smaller than a direct competitor to the Prius. A 50 mpg people-mover will move way more units than a niche sport coupe.

RE: White?
By Jedi2155 on 8/29/2008 12:24:40 AM , Rating: 3
I like it a lot more than the concept version my super interest in this vehicle has been boosted to fanatical levels!

RE: White?
By clovell on 8/29/2008 5:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
P.S.S. Since never - I didn't say anything that simple. The concept Volt had aggressive, stark, bold lines that made a distinct and deliberate statement. I like the layout, I like the features, but the color and the styling (roundness), seems a bit more like something out of a William Gibson novel than the concept (and I enjoy and respect Gibson - that's not a knock on him or his writing).

I personally don't have anything against American cars. I've owned several and am currently driving one. My next car may be another. I've been psyched about the Volt since it first leaked, hence the comment. I know I'm not the only guy you directed that at, but sheesh whatever happened to different strokes?

RE: White?
By fuser197 on 8/29/2008 2:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
You're talking about the interior right? Yeah, white doesn't shout expensive in a car.

I thought exterior looked pretty good, sufficiently slippery and space agey.

RE: White?
By Alexvrb on 8/29/2008 9:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
As you said yourself, its not final. Also, there will likely be color options for the interior. Some people will prefer this gloss white, I would of course prefer black.

RE: White?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/30/2008 9:44:04 AM , Rating: 1
Of course its cheap. Have you seen a GM interior besides Corvettes and Cady's that didn't look like shit ?

Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Brandon Hill on 8/28/2008 9:39:48 PM , Rating: 5
40 miles on battery power alone? Zero emissions when running in battery mode? Can be plugged in at night into an outlet meaning if your daily commute is less than 40 miles, you'd never need a drop of gas?

No, not revolutionary at all...

By cheetah2k on 8/28/2008 10:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember when you're charging those Lithium batteries.......

Pfffffssssssssssssssssssssssssst = overcharge

Black smoke & flames = RUN FAST!!

lol ^.^ just joking. I'm sure they make them really safe these days, so long as Sony's not involved..

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By winterspan on 8/28/2008 11:50:19 PM , Rating: 3
I hope you are being sarcastic because the only alternative is stupidity.

Suggesting that the Volt has a "simple traditional powertrain" is ludicrous. It's the first plug-in/"extended range" gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle sold in the United States by a major auto manufacturer.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By danrien on 8/29/2008 12:17:42 AM , Rating: 4
it's dumb to use an incredibly efficient (~95% is what I've heard) electric motor as your drive train and relegate the inefficient gas engine to being a generator, where it is taken away from the stresses put on a motor?

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/2008 9:26:56 AM , Rating: 1
Electric motors are not 95% efficient. Good ones reach peak efficiencies of 85%, but not in real usage.

Regardless, there are tons of energy losses on the Series hybrid powertrain that are not present in the parallel powertrain. In series hybrid energy starts out as gasoline (chemical energy) and is converted to mechanical energy in the ICE. From there it is converted into electrical energy in the 1st electric motor. Then the energy is converted back into chemical energy in the batteries. From the batteries it is again converted into electrical energy. Finally the energy is converted into mechanical energy by the 2nd electric motor. This results in huge efficiency losses and a large loss in available power to the wheels as you have 3 engines present on the vehicle and only 1 engine actually driving the wheels.

A parallel hybrid powertrain is far better than the series hybrid. It affords you all the power on the car to the wheels, and the flexibility of power the vehicle with either the gas motor, electric motor, or both. It is at a particular advantage as it is cheaper to produce and typically is more compact.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By randomly on 8/29/2008 2:39:30 PM , Rating: 3
Electric motors can certainly reach 90% efficiency even in 'real usuage'.

You say there are tons of energy losses in a series hybrid power train, it would be more accurate to say there are multiple places where energy losses can occur in the powertrain. What you gloss over is that most of those conversions are very high efficiency, so the actual energy lost is not that great.

There are also many of those same conversion steps in a parallel hybrid car.

Start with the first one, the gasoline engine converting fuel to mechanical energy. This occurs in both systems, however with the series hybrid you can design and tune the engine to run at constant speed/constant load. This can almost DOUBLE the efficiency over an engine that has to drive a load at varying rpm and load as it has to with the parallel hybrid car. This is a HUGE advantage that more than makes up for additional losses elsewhere.

Then the energy is converted by the generator into electrical energy at about 95% efficiency. You like to call this a motor but in this case it's more equivalent to the transmission that the parallel hybrid has to use to convert power from one form to another, with about the same efficiency I might add.

Then the energy is stored in the batteries, but this step is more than 99% efficient so the losses are almost negligible. However if the generator is running, the electricity to drive the car goes directly from the generator to the electric motor so this step is skipped in that case. Only the excess power that the generator produces is stored in the batteries. Energy produced at over +30% efficiency because of your optimized gas engine. When energy is drain from the batteries again it's at an efficiency of around 99%. So where exactly are all these 'Huge' losses you are talking about?

There are no 'Huge' efficiency losses, there are a number of smaller losses that are more than made up by the efficiency gains made possible to the gas engine.

Pointing out that there are '3 engines' on the vehicle is just a red herring. The gas engine is smaller than that required by a parallel hybrid, the generator is roughly equivalent in weight and efficiency to the transmission the parallel hybrid uses, and the over all weight of the system (excluding batteries) is roughly the same. So what if you can label it as having 3 engines if it gets the job done with better efficiency and comparable weight and size?

Of course the serial hybrid also has the advantage that it can be recharged from an electrical source and avoid any gas consumption if operated within it's electric only range.
This can be from the mains where efficiency is in the 50% range well to wheels, compared to 30% range for a parallel hybrid well to wheels. Or you could just charge it up with photovoltaics if you want.

The downside is of course cost, mostly because of the large battery pack. But the system certainly can be more efficient than a parallel hybrid. The series hybrid architecture is used by large cargo ships and they achieve up to 56% efficiency with them. That doesn't sound like huge losses to me.

Remember a parallel hybrid also has battery losses, generator losses, and electric motor losses just like the serial hybrid. But without the advantage of optimizing your gas engine for constant rpm/load efficiency.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/2008 4:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
I strongly disagree with this. The electric motor we use on our hybrid vehicle at my university (PMG-132) peaks at around 91% efficiency on paper. However, this peak efficiency that was determined under ideal conditions in a laboratory is never reached in reality (often efficiency of 75-80% is achieved). Granted this electric motor is much lower voltage than what is found on the HV systems in full size cars, it is important to note that the efficiency is quite a bit lower in reality than advertised.

The point I see among series-hybrid advocates is that the engine can be tuned to operate more efficiently. This is nonsense. With modern EFI engine that incorporate variable valve timing and other technologies, the efficiency of the engine is fairly consistent across the RPM range. If we were still in the carbureted days of late, then yes, this would be a huge advantage. However you will never see the engine efficiency double.

I don't know why you think that series hybrid's don't have a transmission. They do... a CVT.

Batteries do not charge at 99% efficiency, nor do they release energy at 99% efficiency. You are out of your mind if you think they do.

Parallel hybrid does not require a large gasoline engine. It can utilize a large electric and a small gas, a small electric and a large gas, or 2 medium size engines. It is all up to how the powertrain is designed. Honda incorporates large ICE's with smaller electric motors. Toyota uses electric and gas motors that are near equal in power output. The series hybrid does not get the job done better. It weights more, it costs more, and it is larger.

Another point I see made by Series advocates is the large battery and "plug in" feature. This is not inherent to Serise hybrid. You can put any size battery pack on a Parallel hybrid that you want. You can also charge parallel hybrid from the wall.

Ships are completely different from cars. A car is far more dynamic than a ship. Cars don't use propellers to push them around now do they?

My point is this:

Parallel hybrid can do everything series hybrid can. It can do it cheaper, lighter, smaller, and more efficiently.

By randomly on 8/29/2008 5:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
Electric motor efficiency improves with higher voltage windings and higher RPMs. Since the majority of losses in an electric motor are I^2R losses in the winding which increase by the 2nd power of the motor current, higher voltage windings reduces current and thus reduces the losses. That's why GM and Tesla use fairly high voltage motors and why you are getting lower efficiency with your motor. Tesla motors quotes an average efficiency for their 248 HP motor at 90%. A real world example.

Even with modern ICE technologies mitigating the poor efficiency of gas engines under varying load and rpm there is still a lot of efficiency that can be gained from optimizing an engine for a constant rpm/load. Not least of which is elimination of the pumping losses by running at or near full throttle so the engine isn't working against negative intake manifold pressure. Although this is something that diesel engines avoid. At any rate you can get a lot closer to the theoretical limit of 37% than the current average of 20%.

A serial hybrid does not have to have a transmission, or it's probably more accurate to say that it only needs a 1 speed transmission, essentially just a gear box.

Maybe the batteries you use don't have charge/discharge efficiencies of 99% (lead acid are notoriously bad), but the GM volt is using LiFePO4 chemistry from A123 that does have charge and discharge efficiencies around 99%. Go look it up.

A parallel hybrid does need a larger gas engine than a serial hybrid, since the serial hybrid engine only needs to be sized to the maximum Average power loads and not the peak power loads required by the parallel hybrid.

Both the Honda and Toyota hybrid cars use gas engines much larger than the serial hybrid GM volt.

There is definitely a cost penalty for series hybrids which is mostly in the much larger battery pack required. The benefit though is gaining the all electric range and ability to run without any gas within the all electric range.

Different approaches with different strengths and different costs. Both serial and parallel hybrid approaches can be quite efficient and there is no huge advantage one way or another.

Yes you can add a larger battery pack to gain an all electric range with a parallel hybrid, but in that case you also need to size your electric motors and electrics to be large enough to power the car without the aid of the gas engine. You've essentially added the cost penalties of the serial hybrid without gaining the advantage of using a constant rpm/road optimized gas engine.

I brought up the ships as a real world example that a serial gas-electric system can achieve very high thermodynamic efficiency, and that your claims of 'HUGE' losses in the system compared to a parallel hybrid were spurious. If you replaced those props with wheels on the ships you'd still have the overall thermodynamic efficiency.

"My point is this:

Parallel hybrid can do everything series hybrid can. It can do it cheaper, lighter, smaller, and more efficiently."

Obviously the engineers at GM believe you are wrong.

These technologies are in their infancy, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the market in the years to come. Battery technology is going to make or break all these different approaches so lets hope for the best.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 12:19:33 AM , Rating: 3
The Honda Insight was the first series hybrid car sold in the United States.
Um no. The Insight is a parallel hybrid just like ALL of the other hybrids out there. The Volt will be the first serial hybrid in production as well as the first plug-in hybrid.

Honda aiming for 60 mpg and actually getting it are two different things plus the 60 mpg target is a rumor and not reported by Honda itself.

I guess being able to drive 40 miles without a drop of fuel is not impressive to you. LOL! No matter, people will be lined up around the block for the latest and greatest "green" toy.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Jedi2155 on 8/29/2008 12:26:40 AM , Rating: 2
Not just that, but it was more of an assist hybrid that had a really weak electric motor coupled with a weak combustion engine.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/08, Rating: 0
By Spivonious on 8/29/2008 11:11:49 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 11:42:01 AM , Rating: 2
Granted it was only a 2 seat car, but it does prove the point, parallel is better than series.
It weighed 1887 lbs. It better get good gas mileage. The Volt is a real car that holds real families and their stuff and will get nearly the same gas mileage. PLUS the added benefit of 40 miles on the battery only !! If your commute is less than 40 miles, you don't have to use a drop of gas. The Insight can't do ANY of that.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 1:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
LOL! The next Prius will have Lithium Ion batteries too! They're more expensive but are lighter and hold more juice. The Volt's battery pack is estimated to cost between $5k and $10k from what I read. A used Prius costs more than that let alone a new one.

And why would I need to buy a new car every year because my commute is more than 40 miles? You keep diggin yourself into that hole. LOL!

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/2008 5:43:37 PM , Rating: 1
You clearly missed my point. A Prius with only 30% of its original energy storage is no big deal. A Volt with only 30% of its original energy storage means you got one slow car after about 10 miles.

You are going to need to buy a new car because the energy accumulators are worn out and only holding a fraction of their original capacity.

By Jedi2155 on 9/1/2008 1:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
This was one of my biggest concerns with the new lithium packs, and I still have no found out what they are doing to increase the life span to last the life of the vehicle. However I do know for sure that GM is aware of the potential life problems and are designing the battery pack for a minimum of about 10 years of useful life or 150k miles.

So the idea that it will lose a lot of capacity within a few years is unlikely as they are pumping a lot of R&D into fixing this potential problem with the batteries.

By clovell on 8/29/2008 5:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
That's assuming GM paid out an expensive 3 year contract for development of a Litium-Ion battery that currently exists. That did not happen.

By clovell on 8/29/2008 5:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
In comparable vehicles, a parallel drivetrain involves more moving parts, which equates to more transmission losses and more weight, which does not increase power. Running a generator in its optimum powerband and relying on a continuous-duty electric motor is a far more elegant, efficient, and responsive solution.

By GreenEnvt on 8/29/2008 9:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
No previous production car, other then the EV1, had 100% of it's motion powered by electric only. All the other designs have had electric assisting the gas engine, or running on electric only at low speeds.

This car is only ever moved by electric motors. the gas engine is not hooked up to the wheels at all. It simply recharges the batteries.
This also means it's much more simple to make upgrades down the line. Once fuel cells become better, you could pull out the gas engine and have a fuel cell to charge the batteries, or a diesel, or mr.Fusion, whatever.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By BruceLeet on 8/29/2008 12:01:52 AM , Rating: 4
I expect this from fitCAMERO, but not from you.

*walks away with disappointed face*

By FITCamaro on 8/29/2008 1:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
Its spelled CAMARO b*tch.

By KingofL337 on 8/29/2008 11:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it's not a traditional powertrain. The car doesn't have a multispeed transmission so it doesn't have all the losses of a manual or automatic tranny. It doesn't use the electric motor to help the ICE. The ICE backs up the battery which powers the electric motor. Hopefully rev two of the Volt will just have wheel motors. According to Bob Lutz GM may even let the car run down the batteries a little further if you are close to home. Plus the modding community for this car is going to be unbelievable.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By psychobriggsy on 8/29/2008 5:54:01 AM , Rating: 2
They should market this car in London, which has a congestion charge which this car would be exempt from, yet it would have the power to be decent outside the city.

Still, 40 miles is good, but not quite enough - 60 would be better. Lots of people have commutes over 20 miles each way. Never mind that in the real world it might be 35 miles range. However it's a great start - imagine what a few years later will bring.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Visual on 8/29/2008 7:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
A problem with this "imagine a few years later" line of thought is that the years pile up too much already...

The Volt itself will not be entering mass production for 2 more years, and you're basically saying that even once it comes, we'll still have to wait a few more years for the good version...

There are already all-electric models offering as much as 200 miles on electric charge - Tesla Roadster. Even GM themselves, more than ten years ago, had the EV1 generation 1 doing 60 miles, generation 2 doing 120 miles and up, all with the older NiMH batteries. This is why it is disappointing to see GM take so much time working on the Volt and li-ion batteries while decreasing the range to less than what it achieved 10 years ago.

The Volt's idea for combining a decent all-electric range with an efficient 600mile "range extender" conventional engine is surely good, and if it shipped now it would be unique and sell well. But they are delaying it so much I expect by the time they ship, better alternatives will be available from competitors.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spivonious on 8/29/2008 11:18:16 AM , Rating: 2
Comparing the ~$40,000 Volt to a $100,000+ Tesla Roadster is just silly.

40 miles on a charge would get me to work and back with zero gas used. That would drop my monthly gas bill by about $60. That's $720/year. If I was in the market for a new car in 2010 (and I probably will be), then why wouldn't I get the Volt?

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By jimbojimbo on 8/29/2008 2:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
And electricity is free?

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spivonious on 8/29/2008 4:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
I pay roughly 11 cents/kWh. According to the Wikipedia article on the Volt, it has a 16 kWh battery.

So, if I use the car only for my commute, that's about 12 miles each day, so I'd be charging it every other day.

16kWh * 183 days = 2928 kWh for the year. That will cost me $322.

My current car gets about 28mpg on my commute.

28mpg / 12mi * 365 = 851.67 gallons

At $4/gallon, that's $3407.

Electricity may not be free, but if I only ever use the batteries it will save me over $3000 per year.

(someone let me know if my math is off)

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spivonious on 8/29/2008 4:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I know what I did. I only drive to work and back 5 times a week, not 7.

Here's the real numbers:

Volt: 2080 kWh = $228
Current: 606 gallons = $2427

Still almost $2200 in savings.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By randomly on 8/30/2008 2:48:34 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt only uses 8 kWh of that 16 kWh capacity to go 40 miles, or about 5 mi / kWh. Say 4 miles / kWh worst case including charger losses at $0.11 per kWh will cost you $0.33 a day for your commute, or $82.50 for a year of commutes.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Jedi2155 on 9/1/2008 1:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get those numbers?

By randomly on 9/3/2008 3:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
The volt battery data was from some Engineering blogs on the volt over at GM.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spuke on 8/29/2008 12:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
The Tesla nor any other pure EV car will do its rated mileage range in all conditions. How you drive, where you drive, and your environment all play a heavy role in your range. See the following link on a Tesla owner that gets 125 miles on a quick charge and 160 on a regular charge.

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Reclaimer77 on 8/30/2008 10:22:52 AM , Rating: 2
40 miles on battery power alone? Zero emissions when running in battery mode? Can be plugged in at night into an outlet meaning if your daily commute is less than 40 miles, you'd never need a drop of gas?

Oh Brandon...

Theres nothing revolutionary about the Volt at all. It could have been build 5 years ago easily. There just was no reason to because gas was cheap and nobody would buy it. So there wasn't the push for alternative vehicles.

The Volt will fail like any " new " thing from GMC has failed. Especially when we get Republicans back in the white house and Senate and gas goes back to a reasonable price.

Nobody wants a car you have to plug into an outlet man. Get a clue.

By someguy743 on 8/30/2008 1:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer said:

"Nobody wants a car you have to plug into an outlet man. Get a clue"


The Volt is going to be a huge hit. Wait and see. Volt 1.0 is just the beginning. The E-Flex powertrain is going to be with us for a LONG time.

In a few years, I bet there will be WIRELESS charging of Chevy Volts. This technology is very safe and has low losses. They are already using it to charge up cell phones and power tools, so why NOT charge up car batteries? It won't quick charge kilowatts in a few minutes ... yet. But it might someday. Todays wireless chargers just slow trickle it like a wired charger. If wireless charging systems are safe for power tools, it'll be safe enough for cars.

Just pull your future Volt 3.0 or whatever into the garage and it automatically starts charging now or when it is programmed to start charging ... like at night when the rates will be cheapest. An indicator light and text will pop up on your touchscreen in the car or on your dash ... saying "set to charge" or "charging now". Wireless charging will eliminate the objections of people that are too lazy to plug in an extension cord before they go to bed at night. Check out this website:

RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By pauldovi on 8/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Does someone mind telling me....
By Spivonious on 8/29/2008 4:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
No experience with either, but you can't deny that for short distances, running totally electric in a series powertrain would demolish running a mix in a parallel powertrain, plus it's a lot simpler to build, since there's only one motor generating drive.

By pauldovi on 8/29/2008 10:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
A parallel system can run exclusively on the electric motor as well.

By excrucio on 8/28/08, Rating: -1
By Totally on 8/28/2008 11:38:23 PM , Rating: 1
as far as looks go yes I agree.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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