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Will the Chevy Volt Succeed?



  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Actually it is a little bit more complicated than that.

    You see from the specs: Volt Motor - 149 HP, Volt Gas Engine - 85 HP,
    Volt Generator - 74 HP, Volt Battery - 16 KWH.

    Now if the battery is depleted completely, one question that puzzled me was how do you drive a 149 HP motor at full power with only a 74 HP generator? The car it bound to lose power if that is the case.

    The answer lies in the complicated but sophisticated Volt battery charge management. The Volt battery has 3 charge zones:
    1. 10.6 kwh is normal EV driving zone
    2. 1.4 kwH is power boost reserve
    3. 4 kwh is unusable to keep battery sustainable

    This power boost reserve does the trick once EV drive is exhausted. You see even though the motor is 149 HP, you seldom need full power to drive the motor. Even when going at 80 mph on flat road, the Volt only needs about 54 hp to overcome friction and aerodynamic drag. When sudden bursts of power is needed for passing etc, the battery reserve supplies the rest of the power over the 74hp the generator can supply.

    When you go back to steady state, the extra 20 hp that the generator has over the 54 hp, is used to recharge the battery to top off the loss in the power boost charge.

    The above scenario works well in most cases until you need more than 74 hp in a sustained manner - like going up a long incline at high speeds. One example is the Grapevine area on I5 before entering LA. Another challenging climb is the Pikes Peak in Colorado.

    In such cases the power boost will be depleted in no time, the generator does not have excess power to recharge the power boost and car will ultimately lose power.

    To address this scenario, Chevy devised the "Mountain Mode". When you know you are about to climb a mountain, before the climb, you should switch the car to that mode by a button on the dash.

    In that mode the EV charge is reduced to 5.6 kwh and the power boost
    is increased to 6.6 kwh. The generator revs up to build up this extra reserve. This extra reserve is sufficient to carry the Volt over any extended climb in the US. This was experimentally determined by the Volt engineers by actually driving the car over those challenging terrains.

    The control circuitry for all these and fine tuning the parameters for best performance must have taken years but the Volt engineers pulled it off for which I am really in awe of them.

    Only one question remains - why not just use a 149 HP generator? It will
    be more bulky, will not fit inside a compact, and off course have much worse gas mileage. 74hp was sufficient with some clever engineering.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    If you own a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf, a reporter would like to talk with you. Email by Monday, May 14, 2012.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email,, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Miles traveled - 3127
    EV miles - 2720 (87%)
    Gas Used - 10.7 gallons
    Gas Only Mpg - 38
    Electric Only KwhM - 32Kwh/100 miles

    It is performing as expected so far, no issues.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,898
    edited June 2012
    news flash yesterday, volt outsells vette. this actually surprises anyone?
    Fwiw, GM offered me $3k off the top for a vette recently, plus my current/minimal GM card rebate. I wish I could do it but college tuitions are impending first...

    Along the lines of a previous/GM thread, if I could have any two GM cars, one would be a magna-ride vette/CTS-V/ZL-1 ... the other would be a Volt (I'd mod it by putting the AMPERA badge on it) .
  • cody1943cody1943 Posts: 7
    Great car. After researching for the last 30 days bought one last week. It is very hard to filter out all the haters of this car. There are so many untruths out there, like Eric Bolling of Fox news who seem to loath the car enought to not tell the actual elect. rates he was getting. But reviewing Edmunds and Volt forms on the net, true owners of the Volt, 99.9% of them love the car. I've got up to 46.3 elect miles and put 0 gas so far. Rides, drives and handles fine. After all the discounts, you can find them for close to $30,000. I was putting $250 a month in the gas tank and now can see close to zero. Drive one and talk to a owner of one before trashing this car. Ive had over 70 cars in my life time, and this is a GREAT car. Not just a economy car.
  • jimparrjimparr Posts: 9
    After 3 months of ownership, traveled 4400 miles, used 33.6 gallons of gas. The car is magic.
    Internal combustion is so uncivilized--costly,noisey,polluting!
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    70 cars? How is that even possible?

    If you started with your first car at age 16, and got a different car EVERY YEAR, you'd have to be 86 years old.

    70 cars?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    I take it he is my age. I had at least 8 different beaters before the age of 19. You also buy cars for wife and kids. 70 is a lot but not out of reason.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,141
    edited June 2012
    I'm at 1.23 cars per year of driving, and that's not including those in my name that my wife primarily drives. If I include hers, its 1.667.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,810
    Just a guess, but i take it that his birth year is represented by numbers in his user ID. If that's the case, 70 is not out of the question, particularly if you count those purchased and owned by you, but not primarily driven by you. If you're married, and/or you have children and buy vehicles for them, that ups the number as well.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I wasn't accusing the guy of lying, but merely just wondering about the logistics which would allow someone to own/drive 70 cars in a lifetime.

    Even at age 69, that's a lot of cars to have owned.

    Glad he loves his Volt !!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    1943 is my year, so that was what I noticed. Then some folks buy old beaters and fix and sell them. That can be profitable as well as run a lot of cars through your yard.

    Bottom line, he likes his Volt.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Maybe he is like me, been married for 33 years and we both enjoy new cars so one of us gets a new car each year and since I'm the one who makes the decisions most years equals a few cars plus a few motorhomes a jeep or two, or three for off roading while camping and it don't take long to add them up. I've had one totaled, and wife a couple wreaks where she didn't want to drive it any longer and you have a lot of vehicles :shades:
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,898
    great news re volt. i like hearing from owners. one pal of mine has one and i read about it on FB.
    as for # of cars, i'm 50 and have owned about 30 cars, 29 of them new. my vehicular consumption rate has lessened, so I'm probably not quite on pace for 70 cars ;).

    one highschool friend of mine got a letter from the state when he was 18 - telling
    him not to sell any more cars in the year - else he would have to register with the state as a car-dealer. (he had bought/restored/profited on >10 cars.)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    If you are looking for a Volt, most of the dealers in So CA have them ready to go. No waiting here. My favorite Chevy dealer Bob Stall has 10 in stock.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,810
    Thanks for trying to help, but that was just link spam disguised as a real post. :sick:

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    I figured it was and did not go to the link provided. Just wanted any prospective Volt buyers know it is still a buyers market. Plenty of them available for sale.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    AUSTIN, Texas — Maybe it should be renamed "Chevrolet Volt-ville." The largest concentration of Chevrolet Volts in the country will play a key role in helping Texas residents in a 700-acre planned community as they test the impact of "smart homes" and other green technology, like electronic vehicles. piece-of-smart-community.html
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    Chevy Volt sales drop in November, Nissan Leaf remains steady

    Plug-in sales dropped slightly in November with Nissan Lear's steady sales unable to make up for the drop in Chevy Volt sales, Voelcker writes. The Chevy Volt range-extended electric car, logged 1,519 sales. ember-Nissan-Leaf-remains-steady
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,845
    How long before they own the Volt and its parent GM?

    A Chinese car parts maker has won the auction for bankrupt US battery maker A123 Systems, in a further success in international dealmaking for Chinese groups.

    Wanxiang Group bid about $257m to win the auction for the battery maker, which supplies electric cars.
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