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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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Prediction...
By chunkymonster on 7/15/2010 12:43:05 PM , Rating: 0
I predict that the Volt will see significant sales upon release but will ultimately not be a long term success. 40+/- miles on battery plus an addition 300 miles with the gas engine is not anything extraordinary. As far as I'm concerned, my tax dollars were wasted on bailing out GM as they continue to mis-manage their resources on "johnny-come-lately" products and fail to explore more viable alternatives.

Case in point, American car companies fail to embrace diesel technology as a result of antiquated perceptions and a lack of vision. A diesel-electric hybrid has the potential to achieve 70+ mpg and a range well over 700 miles. Today, I average over 40 mpg and 500 miles out of a 2005 Jetta TDI; mix of highway/city and a 14 gallon tank. The addition of a hybrid system to a diesel would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, significantly increase mpg and range. Add in the proliferation and popularization of bio-diesel, a diesel-electric hybrid truly has the potential to greatly reduce the need for fossil fuels while not putting any additional strain on the existing energy transmission and delivery infrastructure.

GM does not deserve any commendations for the Volt, at best they are only duplicating what Toyota, Nissan, and Ford have already accomplished.




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.


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