Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Drive Chevy Volt in the Mountains

You could be in for a surprise - and not a good one. One More Chevy Volt Trick: Reduced Power - Automobile Magazine

While the Volt is certainly designed to be a commuter car, with its 50-mile-range on battery only, it does have a gas generator to take over when the battery runs low.
But stay on the throttle long enough or find a large enough hill and you'll hit GM's true floor for the battery charge, around 15 percent, that's there to prevent permanent damage to the pack. In this situation, the maximum power is limited to the amount of power that can be transferred directly from the generator to the traction motor. That's 74 hp. To move a 3700-pound car.
So find a long, multi-mile grade (say through the mountains) and you will be limited to 74 hp and about 55 MPH, according to says chief powertrain engineer Pam Fletcher.

And the Volt looks more like the Prius than the Nissan Leaf. Chevy Volt Surprise - Automobile Magazine THAT surprise is that a transmission connects the "generator" motor to the front drive wheels.

If all that is to make the thing more efficient, why can it be stuck going 55 miles per hour? Why not lose the automatic transmission and boost the size of the generator?

Throw in the 41,000 dollar price tag, and even with the 'tax incentive' this is an expensive car. All in all... very disappointing.


Rich E said...

I am surprised that you are surprised! Did you expect it to be good and cheap? All these hybrids and alternatives do not have a good economic roi but make the driver "look" good. Also they probably make little actual difference environmentally, but that could just be my morning cynicism.

Anonymous said...

Depends on the hybrid. My hybrid Ford Escape (fuel efficiency went from 18mpg to 28mpg) paid for the cost difference in about 2.5 years, and that's with gas at $2.75. When the economy comes back and gas goes back to $4 it will will be an even better deal. It also doesn't make me look good since, if you don't know what you're looking for, it's hard to tell it apart from the regular Escape.

Zendo Deb said...

To spend all the time Government Motors did talking about its ground-breaking electric-drive technology, and then debut something that Toyota had years ago is a bit of a flub.

If you want a hybrid, get the Ford or the Toyota. But I believe we haven't even begun to see the problems with that lithium-ion battery. But that's another story.

When the Volt Concept was introduced, it looked like a futuristic version of the Corvette. The actually car looks boring and tired.

Mike W. said...

This is about what i'd expect out of government motors...

Jerry said...

As a brake engineer, we routinely tested our truck brakes on the highway outside of Jennerstown, PA. On the Left coast, Grapevine Pass was something like 20 miles at a steep grade. Either might be a good place to do a road test of a Volt.