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Volt sales continue to grow

General Motors has been pushing the Volt for well over a year as sales continue to rise and fall depending on the month. In March of 2012, GM suspended production of the Volt due to weak demand. Production of the Volt was started back up in April of 2012, earlier than expected, thanks to an uptick in demand for the extended range electric vehicle.
General Motors has now announced that in June 2012 it sold 1,760 Volts, which is double what it sold in June 2011. So far in 2012 General Motors the sold 8,817 Volts, which adds up to more than three times the 2,745 Volts that it sold in the same period of 2011. In fact, so far in 2012 GM has sold more Volts than in all of 2011. Total Volts sales in 2011 were roughly 7,600 units.
General Motors continues to outsell its closest Japanese rival, the Nissan Leaf by more than 3 to 1. That is no surprise considering the Leaf is a pure electric vehicle whereas the Volt has an onboard generator that allows for a much longer driving distance than the Leaf.
Compared to the Volt, sales of the Nissan Leaf plummeted 69% for June to 535 units. Nissan has only been able to sell 3,418 Leaf EV's so far in 2012, a decline of 19% over the same period 2011.

Nissan maintains that will sell 20,000 Leaf EVs in the US this year, but that seems far-fetched. Nissan would need to sell 2763 Leafs each month for the remainder of the year, which is more of the vehicles than Nissan has sold all year.

Source: Detroit News

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RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By acer905 on 7/5/2012 12:26:32 PM , Rating: 2

Technically the Volt is a double hybrid. It is a hybrid gas-electric vehicle that operates as either a serial or parallel hybrid depending on the situation. Basically, they designed it as a full serial electric, where any power source will charge the batteries and power the wheels. However, because they were going to use a gas generator anyway, they created a totally new transmission that will allow it to either directly supply rotary motion to the wheels from the generator, or use the generator to create electricity to recharge the system or power the electric drivetrain.

The only reason that the wheels are driven by the generator is because the computer decides it would be more efficient. You could always reprogram the computer, and it would always be a serial hybrid.

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By NellyFromMA on 7/5/2012 1:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't realize that was the way the drive-train (specifically the transmission) was designed. That's great engineering forethought...

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By Shig on 7/5/2012 2:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone here realizes the versatility of the Volt's power train. You can pair the generator with *any* kind of engine that can produce power, not just an internal combustion engine.

It should also be taken into account that the Opel Ampera and Vauxhall Ampera (European Volts) are built in the same factory as the Chevy Volt. These 'siblings' to the Volt have already sold out in Europe. GM is projecting 10,000 units for this year for just the Ampera.

Ironically GM cancelled some production times for the factory, now they might not be able to make them fast enough.

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By twhittet on 7/5/2012 3:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
You can pair the generator with *any* kind of engine that can produce power, not just an internal combustion engine.

That's the dumb part about attaching the engine to the wheels - you can't attach *any* kind of engine. Because it is no longer just a generator ("range extender") - it needs to provide proper torque and be hooked to the transmission, rather than just wired to the batteries.

If the Volt can be paired with *any* kind of engine, than so could a prius or a Fusion hybrid (2013 model).

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By Solandri on 7/5/2012 3:47:33 PM , Rating: 2
it needs to provide proper torque and be hooked to the transmission, rather than just wired to the batteries.

At that point, you're just using the batteries as a transmission. That's only superior if the energy losses and weight of the engine -> battery -> electric motor -> wheels are less than the energy losses and weight of the engine -> transmission -> wheels.

In particular, batteries tend to drop in efficiency (both charging and drawing) at higher current. That is, the more quickly you charge or draw power from the battery, the greater then percentage of energy which gets converted into waste heat. So aside from the low-torque regime of mechanical motors, batteries will tend to be an inferior solution any time you're demanding high power output.

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By twhittet on 7/5/2012 4:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
Once again, everything you wrote is pointless, and partially wrong (when talking about the Volt specifically). See Dr. K's explanation for further details.

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By twhittet on 7/5/2012 3:03:04 PM , Rating: 1
You could always reprogram the computer, and it would always be a serial hybrid.

And it would be a gimp at interstate speeds. The double hybrid actually limits its flexibility (see an above post of mine), and makes it nothing more than an overcomplciated hybrid.

The extra engineering and components make it more expensive, and not necessarily more efficient than a regular plugin hybrid. I hope someday it will pay off, but I'm not seeing the ROI with the current Volt.

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By Masospaghetti on 7/5/2012 3:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
And it would be a gimp at interstate speeds.

Have you driven one?

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 7/5/2012 3:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
LOL don't bother asking, the dude's talking out of his @$$.

The only place anyone would see a loss of propulsion speed would be on a fairly constant incline at "0%" battery (think Pike's Peak or approaching the Rocky Mountains), because on level ground the engine generates enough power to propel the car at highway speeds. This is why GM put in a 'mountain mode' for such situations (which can also be used to set aside a certain amount of charge for use later, a poor-man's equivalent of the European market's Hold mode).

BTW, the decision to go with a liquid cooled active TMS for Volt is looking pretty smart this summer, particularly in Arizona, with Leaf batteries losing chargeability due to overheating (pavement can get to 140F or higher, right next to the air-cooled battery), and presumably in traffic with poor airflow conditions are just plain unfriendly..

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By twhittet on 7/5/2012 4:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
Dr K - so far you've been the only one I would say was 100% correct. Have you heard much about efficiency in cold climates? Normal energy loss from cold batteries would be the first question, but just as important - how well does the Volt heat up the interior?

When it's -20 out, it's annoying that I have to run my normal car 20 minutes before it's warm enough to sit in, let alone defrost the windows.

By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 7/7/2012 4:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt heater's not too bad, but it uses a lot of power. More power than the AC actually! It also has heated seats which use rather less power. The worst climate combo for Volt is in chilly, wet/humid weather, in which you end up running the heater, the AC (for defogging) and the rear defroster all at the same time, plus heating for the battery. Range in colder conditions on electric I've seen go down to 26mi or so, and that's in a Texas winter, while for the other 3 seasons 38mi is more common, and stretchable out to the mid 40s if driven like a Prius.

HOWEVER, if you leave the car plugged in to 240v Level 2 and do a remote start, you can warm it up without discharging the battery, and with 120v Level 1 you can offset some of the heater drain. Leaf's heat pump setup is more efficient, but possibly less effective in more extreme climates.

Also, in extremely cold climates (below 10 or 20 F) the Volt will run the engine in order to heat up the cabin and the battery as there are heat exchangers between the cooling systems, but it'll still get a charge off of that running time.

(Volt will also run the engine in a 'maintenance mode' if it hasn't run in like 6 months, in order to purge fuel lines and make sure the engine gets exercised.)

RE: Ford Fusion FTW!
By kamk44 on 7/5/2012 3:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
The ROI is not there yet but that doesn't matter. The current Volt is not for the masses, it is for the early adopters -- like those who bought flat screens TVs when they first came out at huge prices. If they keep the demand at a minimal level, the product does not die and progresses toward that magical point where technology and price meet to make it ready for mass consumption.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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