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70 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The following was an email written to Mark Hanson by Lawson Huntley,
telling of a test drive in the Chevy Volt.

Volt Meeting and Test Drive:
Pam Fletcher, chief powertrain engineer for the Chevy Volt, was in
Charlotte with the Chevy Volt to give a presentation to the engineering classes at
UNCC. Pam gave an excellent presentation; more that just the standard PR.
She delved into some of the finer engineering aspects of the Chevy Volt
powertrain, including the power split device and clutches used to couple
various power outputs to the drive wheels.

The following day a friend and I had an opportunity to meet with Pam and
drive the Volt. I was very pleased with the car, the performance, handling,
and the styling. The GM engineering staff certainly went all out, similar
to the EV-1 design, to make the car a success. Marketing and top management
seem on board with the success of this car also. The days and attitude that
led to "Who Killed The Electric Car" seem to be a thing of the past.

I've seen several pictures of the Volt, but I always like to see a car on
the street to get a real feel for the size and styling. The Volt styling
blends into contemporary automotive design quite well. While a unique design,
it still shares Chevrolet family traits, especially in the front body
work. The rear of the car maintains style traits of the original Volt concept
car. It appeared the outside rear view mirrors were made in a way to
decrease frontal area, but rear visibility was still very good on both sides.

Hybrid Drive - Series or Parallel?
Earlier in the month a very negative article came out about the Volt, and
particularly about GM, saying GM had lied about the Volt's drive train --
that the engine actually helped turn the wheels. While it is true that the
4-cylinder gasoline engine can help turn the wheels, the negative article
was very misleading. GM has coupled the engine to the drive wheels via a
power split device somewhat similar to that of the well-proven Prius and Ford
hybrid designs. Unique in the GM power split device is that 3 clutches are
used, each controlled by computer and driver programmed desires (Normal
Mode, Sport Mode, Mountain Pass Mode). But GM has done all of this for a good
reason: It is more efficient overall to use engine power via the power split
device (as a parallel hybrid) at higher speeds such as one might encounter
on the interstate.

Its can still operate as all electric vehicle - even at 100 mph
However, one never has to use the engine at all, if one so desires. That
was the premise of the original Chevy Volt announcement, and that premise
still holds true today. Depending on driver desires, the Volt can still do 10
0 MPH on electric alone, and never needs the engine as long as there is a
predetermined minimum level of energy in the battery. Power steering, power
brakes, air conditioning, and essentially everything on the Volt is powered
by electric. Like in the original EV-1 design, the battery pack has its
own heating and cooling system. In short, if one desires, the Volt can still
be driven entirely in electric mode. GM intends for every driver to plug in
at night, and get the bulk of operating energy from the wall socket as
opposed to gasoline. I like the fact that GM has coupled the engine to the
wheels as this makes the car more versatile, and more efficient if one chooses
to use the car on longer trips.

For those drivers operating in full-electric mode, the computer is set up
to ask the driver once per month if the engine may be turned on and brought
up to operating temperature as a means of maintaining the lubrication
seals, etc. The driver has the choice of pushing a touch screen that says "yes"
or waiting until a more opportune time. (An opportune time would be
defined as cruising along in the country or suburbs, vs. in the city during rush
hour traffic on a high smog day.)

If the car has not used a tank of gasoline (9.8 gallons) in a year, the
computer is programmed to ask the driver if the engine may start up and
consume some of the old fuel so that fresh fuel might be supplied to the tank. If
the driver answers yes, the engine will then run until about 1/2 the fuel
is consumed, and then the computer alerts the driver to tank up, and in
that way lowers the average fuel age to 6 months.

Price: $41,000
Each Chevy Volt is fully optioned, meaning all cars have leather interior,
a full color navigation system, a 30 GB hard drive, blue tooth
connectivity, and a very high-line dash display. Also included is 5-years of free
OnStar. You can even unlock the car with your cell phone. About the only
options include paint upgrades and polished wheels. Considering that a fully
optioned Prius (with leather interior and navigation and the solar roof) costs
about $32,000-$34,000, depending on your location, the $41,000 price of the
Volt, with a $7000 Tax Credit, is right in line. If Toyota sold the Prius
in this country as a plug-in, and with a similar sized lithium pack, it
would be about the same $41,000 price.

One might argue that $41,000 (or even $34,000 after the credit) is a lot
of money for a vehicle. I'm neither making or taking that argument. What I
am saying is that the Volt, with it's lithium battery pack and ability to
operate as full electric at any speed, or as a parallel hybrid, is priced
very comparably to the Prius if it were similarly equipped. That is a
worthwhile comparison as the Prius has certainly proven to be the "flagship" of
hybrids over the last several years.

In short:
I certainly enjoyed my test drive. Having followed the Volt development
over the past nearly 2-1/2 years, I was pleased to see that GM has brought
the design to market on what for them is certainly a very tight schedule. It
would be nice to see GM succeed with this car, and in succeed in general.
The overall success of GM, the growth of our nation's economy, a lesser
dependence on oil (foreign or domestic), and cleaner air/global warming
implications, all hinge upon the success of vehicles like this. The Volt may very
well play a significant and pioneering role in our future transportation.
It has certainly raised the bar for other hybrid manufacturers.

Mark, with your pioneering experience with several pure electric vehicles,
your Honda Insight, and a fully-optioned 2010 Prius, I believe you would
certainly enjoy and appreciate all the effort and engineering innovations
that have gone into the Volt. Those are my thoughts on the matter, and I
wanted to share them with you as you have certainly been a pioneer in these
areas, even before there was an EV-1.

Lawson

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Registered
Joined
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70 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
It sounds like it is very nicely engineered, from this review - alot more
details than I'd heard before.... from everything I have heard, he EV1 was
quite advanced for it's time as well though.... so the engineering is not
the argument against it. Why you would buy a car that the manufacturer
might recall and destroy, is the question.

Z

<[email protected]> wrote:

> The following was an email written to Mark Hanson by Lawson Huntley,
> telling of a test drive in the Chevy Volt.
>
> Volt Meeting and Test Drive:
> Pam Fletcher, chief powertrain engineer for the Chevy Volt, was in
> Charlotte with the Chevy Volt to give a presentation to the engineering
> classes at
> UNCC. Pam gave an excellent presentation; more that just the standard PR.
> She delved into some of the finer engineering aspects of the Chevy Volt
> powertrain, including the power split device and clutches used to couple
> various power outputs to the drive wheels.
>
> The following day a friend and I had an opportunity to meet with Pam and
> drive the Volt. I was very pleased with the car, the performance,
> handling,
> and the styling. The GM engineering staff certainly went all out, similar
> to the EV-1 design, to make the car a success. Marketing and top
> management
> seem on board with the success of this car also. The days and attitude
> that
> led to "Who Killed The Electric Car" seem to be a thing of the past.
>
> I've seen several pictures of the Volt, but I always like to see a car on
> the street to get a real feel for the size and styling. The Volt styling
> blends into contemporary automotive design quite well. While a unique
> design,
> it still shares Chevrolet family traits, especially in the front body
> work. The rear of the car maintains style traits of the original Volt
> concept
> car. It appeared the outside rear view mirrors were made in a way to
> decrease frontal area, but rear visibility was still very good on both
> sides.
>
> Hybrid Drive - Series or Parallel?
> Earlier in the month a very negative article came out about the Volt, and
> particularly about GM, saying GM had lied about the Volt's drive train --
> that the engine actually helped turn the wheels. While it is true that the
> 4-cylinder gasoline engine can help turn the wheels, the negative article
> was very misleading. GM has coupled the engine to the drive wheels via a
> power split device somewhat similar to that of the well-proven Prius and
> Ford
> hybrid designs. Unique in the GM power split device is that 3 clutches are
> used, each controlled by computer and driver programmed desires (Normal
> Mode, Sport Mode, Mountain Pass Mode). But GM has done all of this for a
> good
> reason: It is more efficient overall to use engine power via the power
> split
> device (as a parallel hybrid) at higher speeds such as one might encounter
> on the interstate.
>
> Its can still operate as all electric vehicle - even at 100 mph
> However, one never has to use the engine at all, if one so desires. That
> was the premise of the original Chevy Volt announcement, and that premise
> still holds true today. Depending on driver desires, the Volt can still do
> 10
> 0 MPH on electric alone, and never needs the engine as long as there is a
> predetermined minimum level of energy in the battery. Power steering,
> power
> brakes, air conditioning, and essentially everything on the Volt is
> powered
> by electric. Like in the original EV-1 design, the battery pack has its
> own heating and cooling system. In short, if one desires, the Volt can
> still
> be driven entirely in electric mode. GM intends for every driver to plug
> in
> at night, and get the bulk of operating energy from the wall socket as
> opposed to gasoline. I like the fact that GM has coupled the engine to the
> wheels as this makes the car more versatile, and more efficient if one
> chooses
> to use the car on longer trips.
>
> For those drivers operating in full-electric mode, the computer is set up
> to ask the driver once per month if the engine may be turned on and
> brought
> up to operating temperature as a means of maintaining the lubrication
> seals, etc. The driver has the choice of pushing a touch screen that says
> "yes"
> or waiting until a more opportune time. (An opportune time would be
> defined as cruising along in the country or suburbs, vs. in the city
> during rush
> hour traffic on a high smog day.)
>
> If the car has not used a tank of gasoline (9.8 gallons) in a year, the
> computer is programmed to ask the driver if the engine may start up and
> consume some of the old fuel so that fresh fuel might be supplied to the
> tank. If
> the driver answers yes, the engine will then run until about 1/2 the fuel
> is consumed, and then the computer alerts the driver to tank up, and in
> that way lowers the average fuel age to 6 months.
>
> Price: $41,000
> Each Chevy Volt is fully optioned, meaning all cars have leather interior,
> a full color navigation system, a 30 GB hard drive, blue tooth
> connectivity, and a very high-line dash display. Also included is 5-years
> of free
> OnStar. You can even unlock the car with your cell phone. About the only
> options include paint upgrades and polished wheels. Considering that a
> fully
> optioned Prius (with leather interior and navigation and the solar roof)
> costs
> about $32,000-$34,000, depending on your location, the $41,000 price of the
> Volt, with a $7000 Tax Credit, is right in line. If Toyota sold the Prius
> in this country as a plug-in, and with a similar sized lithium pack, it
> would be about the same $41,000 price.
>
> One might argue that $41,000 (or even $34,000 after the credit) is a lot
> of money for a vehicle. I'm neither making or taking that argument. What I
> am saying is that the Volt, with it's lithium battery pack and ability to
> operate as full electric at any speed, or as a parallel hybrid, is priced
> very comparably to the Prius if it were similarly equipped. That is a
> worthwhile comparison as the Prius has certainly proven to be the
> "flagship" of
> hybrids over the last several years.
>
> In short:
> I certainly enjoyed my test drive. Having followed the Volt development
> over the past nearly 2-1/2 years, I was pleased to see that GM has brought
> the design to market on what for them is certainly a very tight schedule.
> It
> would be nice to see GM succeed with this car, and in succeed in general.
> The overall success of GM, the growth of our nation's economy, a lesser
> dependence on oil (foreign or domestic), and cleaner air/global warming
> implications, all hinge upon the success of vehicles like this. The Volt
> may very
> well play a significant and pioneering role in our future transportation.
> It has certainly raised the bar for other hybrid manufacturers.
>
> Mark, with your pioneering experience with several pure electric vehicles,
> your Honda Insight, and a fully-optioned 2010 Prius, I believe you would
> certainly enjoy and appreciate all the effort and engineering innovations
> that have gone into the Volt. Those are my thoughts on the matter, and I
> wanted to share them with you as you have certainly been a pioneer in
> these
> areas, even before there was an EV-1.
>
> Lawson
>
> _______________________________________________
> | REPLYING: address your message to [email protected] only.
> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
> | UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
> | OTHER HELP: http://evdl.org/help/
> | OPTIONS: http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>
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