Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Volt Knows All. At least more than I do.

     Scouring the net for breaking Chevy Volt news these days is like trying to find a music video on MTV (really really old joke).  What is out there however are lots and lots of reviews.  From the way the car drives to how it's drag efficiency thrives.

     The latest review I read was posted at 3:14 p.m. yesterday and comes from Naureen S. Malik, a blogger at The Wall Street Journal.  Her review focused on the Smart Phone Apps that are companions to the new electric cars.  In actuality it was based solely on the Chevy Volt's OnStar App.  Her piece was positive overall and I found a couple parts humorous, such as her surprise at a ten second lag from phone to car.

"Meanwhile, some of the other functions on the OnStar app require a bit of patience. It takes 10 seconds from when you press a command to unlock a door or warm up the car before the car reacts.  

The command is sent to OnStar, which relays the commands to the Volt. I didn’t realize there was such a lag so I kept pressing buttons in rapid succession. I accidentally cancelled my request to start the engine to warm the car"

     Perhaps many of us would make this mistake.  Being so used to pressing the lock/unlock buttons on our key-chains and having instant gratification.

     What I did find very interesting in the review was the Volt instantly knowing, even before the car was started, the outdoor temperature and how the battery's range would be affected.

"The night before, I kept checking the status of the 240-volt fast charge, which took about four hours, on the Droid. I got status updates emailed to me. You can choose text messages as well.

The car was ready by the time I left my apartment the next morning. The app informed me that I had 24 miles on the charge. That’s more than 10 miles below the Environmental Protection Agency estimate, and because of the cold weather and engine idling I barely got 23 miles."

    I can't say I'm happy with her mentioning the engine idling without informing her readers that this is only necessary in sub freezing weather as to condition the battery for a long life span.  Moving past that, I'm wondering if the Volt uses an outdoor thermometer to adjust it's range forecast?  Does it remember the range of the last charge and the temperature in which it was driving?  Or could the Onstar system possibly locate the car, send the car the weather forecast and base it's future range off that?  Ok, that last one is probably a stretch.

     I know it's the job of the journalist (myself) to find the answers out.  I guess that's what I'm doing, in a lazy you tell me kind of way.  So if anyone who has a Volt reads this, or just knows the answer to how this technological VooDoo works, let us know!

To read the Blog by Author Naureen S. Malik in it's entirety here's the link.


  1. Good morning.
    To say I am shocked by the 10 sec lag, would be an understatement. Is there a 20 second delay when an owner sends a request for information? For instance, 10 seconds from phone to car, another 10 seconds from car to phone. Or is this strictly a FOB issue?

  2. My GOODNESS we are a "rushed" society. We're the ones who pace back and forth in front of the *microwave* (lol).
    As an aside, I like generally like the WSJ, and even *gasp* Fox news, but they both are very biased against the Volt - I believe, because of GM's bailout.

    Best of luck on the new blog site.

    Be well,

  3. Please omit one "like" from my previous comment.

    Be well,

  4. Tagamet, It's an honor to have you visit! You're the man. Rashiid, I can't answer your question, hopefully someone else can. I'm still waiting to hear some info on how the Volt can guess it's range before the car even starts. Thanks to everyone for visiting. GO VOLT!

  5. With ten million lines of code I would imagine that the Volt is pretty danged smart when it comes to estimating electric range to match environmental conditions.

  6. Tagamet said...

    "My GOODNESS we are a "rushed" society. We're the ones who pace back and forth in front of the *microwave* (lol)."

    Reminds me of the Stephen Wright joke: "I put instant coffee into a microwave oven ... I almost went back in time."

  7. Tagamet said...

    ...but they both are very biased against the Volt - I believe, because of GM's bailout.

    If Rush Limbaugh would try a Volt he'd get rid of his Maybachs. Electric is so much smoother than 12 cylinders.