Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who has the highest MPG Volt?

     If you think you may have the highest mpg Volt in the world then let me know.  So far I'm gonna go with Dave K. who left a comment on GM-Volt.com saying his mpg is 600 miles per gallon.  I'm gonna have a full time front page section dedicated to the top 5 Volts in relation to mpg posted on this site for all browsers to see.  Forget about 230 mpg, let's see some 2300 ones!

Send an e-mail to JohnTCVB@Yahoo.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

Volt Gas Tank: Hot-Dip Tin-Zinc Coated Steel

     As a way of reducing weight, gas tanks in recent years have been made of lightweight plastic.  They also have been equipped with charcoal canisters to trap evaporating gasoline and then feed it back into the engine.  In the Volt, the engine may not fire up for extended periods of time, potentially building up hydrocarbons and a large amount of pressure.  This extra pressure meant the plastic tanks of modern vehicles had to be replaced with a lightweight steel tank in the Volt.

    "Gasoline readily evaporates at normal ambient temperatures and it also degrades over time from oxygenation and condensation," said fuel system integration engineer for the Volt, Jon Stec.  Engineers pressure sealed the 9.3 gallon steel fuel tank to contain the gasoline vapor.  This ensures that the gasoline in the tank doesn't hurt the Volt's performance or emissions when it is needed.  "Using a sealed tank limits this evaporation when the engine is off."

     "Volt engineers and supplier Spectra Premium Inc. developed the tank from 1.4 millimeter thick hot-dip tin-zinc coated steel to resist corrosion from both inside and outside. Despite the strength of the tank, it has a mechanical pressure relief valve that begins opening at 3.5 psi and a vacuum relief that opens at -2.3 psi, levels that are rarely exceeded.

     Even with a tank that resists fuel vapors escaping or humidity getting in, the gas inside still needs to be used up and replenished periodically. That's where the Volt's "maintenance mode" comes in.  If the engine hasn't started after six weeks, the powertrain controller sends a message to the driver telling him the engine needs to run for maintenance.

     Volt drivers can defer the engine maintenance mode for up to 24 hours, after which the engine will run for a while on its own to use up some of the gas and keep the internals lubricated and ready for use.  If a driver manages to go a full year between fill-ups, the fuel maintenance mode will run the engine until the old gas is used up or the driver adds fresh fuel."

     A driver who starts the year with a full tank of gas (9.3 gallons) and drives 15,000 miles on electricity, maintenance mode will use just enough gas to average over 1,600 miles per gallon.

This site is not affiliated with GM-Volt.com but the site as always and writer Jeff Cobb are doing a great job over there keeping all of us up to date on the Chevy Volt and other EV news.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Volt to launch before Ampera in Germany, Danke!


     Suprising news out of the Geneva Auto Show today.  Wayne Brannon,  Chevrolet Europe President announced that the Chevy Volt will soon go on sale in Germany,  Europe's most prosperous economy.

     "We believe the Volt is the best solution on the planet today for worry-free electric driving", said Brannon.  "Our price in Europe is based on the U.S. Volt price adjusted for transportation cost, import duties, exchange rates and homologation."  The Volt will be sold for Eur 41,950, VAT included.  The average car price in Germany is about 25,000 Euros.  The Volt will come with an 8 year 160,000 km warranty.  This translates to the same 100,000 mile warranty they have offered here in the states.

     Opel is a German automobile company founded by Adam Opel in 1862.  Opel has been building automobiles since 1899.  The company is headquartered at the Adam Opel Haus in Russelsheim, and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of GM since 1929.  Unfortunately, it hasn't had the best reputation for quality over the past few decades.  Perhaps this is the reason GM has decided to launch the Volt first.  Get the technology out there, then when you launch another brand with the same technology inside for a lower price perhaps the consumer will feel more at ease making the purchase.

     I've always believed E-Rev cars will explode in Europe far faster than they will in the States. Not only do Europeans not have the space to own additional automobiles, we all know gas over there is ridiculously high.  Although so is electricity.  Perhaps the Socialist European economies (and I'm not saying that in good or a bad way) will make it easy for electric car owners to finance the 7 or 8 solar panels necessary to charge their cars each day.  If we could do that in the States and our government could guarantee low or zero interest loans it would be far cheaper to have panels on your garage roof than it would to buy gas or even electricity. Also, there would be no additional drain on the electric grid.

     So, is this a good move or a bad one?  In our opinion here at the Chevy Volt blog, the more the merrier. The world has waited long enough for E-Rev's, so why wait a minute longer.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Bill Wallace "They Will Not Be Able To Outperform Us"

     "There's a new battlefield and certainly the technology's moving very quickly and everybody wants to say they're the best, there's variations. Some will be better than others. But in the end, any of the technologies that are out there are very limited in terms of their capacity."

     Those were the words of Jake Fisher, a senior automotive engineer at Consumer Reports.  He's the guy who tested the Chevy Volt, which Consumer Reports bought for 48,000 (7k Overpaid) dollars at a local dealer and then said "The financial payback is not there."  They also tested the Volt during the coldest week of winter, a time when the Volts battery would be at it's most limited range.

     On Tuesday Ford Corporate jumped on the magazines mis-informing range review by issuing a press release stating "Weather Climates No Problem for Ford Focus Electric's Liquid-Heated Battery System."

     But GM's director of Global Battery Systems didn't buy it.  "Nobody — Ford, Nissan or anybody — has anything better.  I'm certain that a year or two from now, when they're actually in the market and they're actually showing cars, they will not be able to outperform us."  Wallace says the negative electric range review was solely because it's the first one out there.  "It turns out batteries are like people. They love room temperature."  

     Thanks to the Volt's gasoline range extender if it's a cold day and your EV miles are cut a bit short the Volt will make sure you get to where you're going.

     On Thursday Ford seemed to be backing off a bit. Sherif Marakby, their director of electrification programs and engineering said,  "We're not seeing a big breakthrough in the next few years in terms of where you will suddenly be able to drive an electric vehicle and not have the battery be affected by temperature."

     Time will tell if anyone can make a better battery than what GM has brought to the table.  Regardless, can anyone make an electric that can drive you non-stop from Tampa to Tulsa?  Right now, only GM can.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Retired Texaco Executive Buys Volt

James Brazell spent 40 years working for Texaco, ultimately retiring from the oil company as the coordinator of its worldwide exploration and production activities. So what is he doing driving a Crystal Red Chevrolet Volt electric car?
“We know that the oil supply is a finite resource,” the 84-year-old retiree said. “We also know that oil will eventually become a scarcity, we just don’t know when.
“I believe electric vehicles like the Volt are an important step towards reducing our dependence on oil, while renewable sources of energy – like wind, solar, and hydrological power – will all play a role in producing clean energy for electric vehicles.”
Brazell placed a deposit for a Volt in 2008, more than two years before the car went on sale. When he learned the Washington D.C. area would be an initial launch market, he decided to purchase a Volt from Lindsay Chevrolet in Woodbridge, Va.
He said he felt it would be the best electric vehicle for his needs:
“About 90 percent of my driving is less than 40 miles a day, so I expect to use very little gas,” said Brazell, who recently audited a class on sustainable energy at the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s College for Seniors. “But the extended range of the gas engine is there if I want to take a drive to New York to visit my grandchildren.”
His first drive in the extended-range electric vehicle was the 500-mile trip from Virginia home to Asheville.
“The Volt is fabulous, and absolutely exceeds my expectations,” he said. “I was especially impressed with the transition from electric to extended range. It was completely seamless. We were watching for it, but got to talking and completely missed the changeover.”

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