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May 14, 2007



again, its funny to read about generations this or that of the technology ( or tekmology as Ali G would have it .. ) but where did they ever sell the previous generations ?
also, any hints on when could we see a real running ( walking wont do ) prototype ?

Joel L. Lewis


"GM has not revealed a production date for the Volt, but they generally need about 36 months to bring a vehicle to production once the design is frozen which could mean that the Volt could appear as soon as 2010."

From the above article, and probably the best we're going to get at the moment.

Joel L. Lewis

Now that I think about it, 'to production' doesn't say that much about when a running prototype may appear, so...no, no news on that yet? :./


Looks to me that the 71 hp (53 KW) ICE is an overkill. You would not need it for acceleration/deceleration or for hill climbing/descending. That is the job of the battery.

You will only need it for steady state highway driving to compensate for aerodynamic drag and assorted friction. I will venture to guess that 40 hp (30KW) or less engine is sufficient for steady state moving the Volt at 80 to 90 mph on a level road without dipping into the battery.

Looks to me they had to appease the mechanical boys with make work, or face a revolt or something?


I'll believe it when I see it.

In the meantime, Phoenix motors looks like they will be the first out the gate with a consumer extended range electric vehicle.


Why the Hub motors? More flash than substance so far...

Michael Lawson

Yawn. I'll believe it when I can drive it. Or maybe GM will produce a few hundred cars, offer only leases, not true ownership, and crush the remaining cars in the desert, out of fear of litigation.

I truly feel this is GM saying "Me, too!" when Tesla, Toyota, and Phoenix are actually doing something about getting real, drivable cars on the road.

The future of transportation truly is electric-powered; I hope GM can handle the sea change this will entail.

greg woulf

You guys are way off. This is the first car that will get to a large number of people, see if I'm not right.

The 3 cyl engine doesn't drive anything ever, or compensate for it. It generates electricity at a steady RPM. 630 mile range is going to blow people away, I'm still not sure how they're going to pull that off.

Wheel motors work well enough. The unsprung weight might take a bit away from handling, but this isn't a sports car like the Tesla.

They have a lot of flexibility in the platform, the experience to make a good car, if they remember how and a lot of experience in electrics that will apply here.

Tesla didn't build their roadster, and Phoenix didn't build the truck. How do you think all those little things that go together inside a car will be for companies with no experience.

They're going to have trouble with knobs and doors and everything once they ramp up production. GM knows how already, they just have to apply it and this is the right way to do it.


Yes Greg serial plugin hybrid is the right design. But this is aimed at the wrong market. Intentionally in order to kill it, like the EV1? Maybe GM imagines itself a corporate citizen to such a degree it has developed schizophrenia?

the volt is a sportscar, sportscar buyers will buy ICEs. Gas saving, gHG saving conscious consumers want economy cars. With half the hp drivetrain of the Volt.

And the hydrogen fuel cell version is ridulous. It is virtually un-refuelable everywhere in the world.

Meanwhile the Vue is a paralell plugin hybrid? Already obsolete technology.

GM is pathetic. But it is the only mass production automaker proposing a serial plugin hybrid drivetrain, and they did build the EV1, even though they intentionally killed it later.

The EV1 with one quarter of the batteries and a 30kw ICE generator. That's what the planet needs.

2010 date now? The blurb I read recently on the GM site said 2009. Could GM's boardroom be nationalized like the coal mines during the coal strike? Send in a few national guard generals to get things going.

This endless strike by corporate boards to get moving on serial plugin hybrids is killing the planet with GHGs and extending these oil wars into one long continuous war. moving from Iraq to iran..where next?


::The EV1 with one quarter of the batteries and a 30kw ICE generator. That's what the planet needs.

This was already done by GM, in 1998. It was called EV1 Series Hybrid prototype. Four doors, long range, the generator was a turbine. Look it up on wikipedia under EV1.
For some reason, they arent talking about it as loudly as they promote Volt right now.

Sky King

OK, now that we're all done with our usual diatribes of GM bashing, let's get on with the discussion...

DrX: The Volt is NOT a sportscar. It will be a compact sedan, somewhere between a Cobalt and a Malibu. Midstream America will drive this, not hollywood celebrities.

GM goes back even farther than the EV1 with an experimental Opel Serial Hybrid using a Sterling engine. Their years of electric experience will help to make the Volt a reliable contender in the flood of electrics and PHEVs all to come out around the same time.

The Volt will be a 2010 year model with SOP in September of 09. With the E85 ICE, it would help if all of us would become active locally and help get a Cellulosic Ethanol distributiopn network going so when we did have to run the ICE it wouldn't be with foreign oil.


Let me see it in the dealerships. Let me touch it, drive it.......Until then, it's so much vaporware.


Typical Detroit-mind set...a 'family car' for who?

Emerging designs are:

....a one or two person commuter like the TESLA/EV1...plug it in, recharge, zip off to work, come home, recharge it again.

.....A village car like the new generation of solar golf carts, i.e. SUN RAY suitable for campuses, retirement communities, and if enhanced up to 35mph, for low speed village road systems.

.....a pickup/panel truck for service people like the Phoenix & REVA.

Maine's highways are filled with huge SUV's running at 80+ mph. Tesla meets Tahoe...brrr!

PREDICTION...$4.00 gas by July Fourth; higher by Labor Day. now what?


I, for one, am hopeful that GM pulls this one off.

Sure, GM has a pretty bad track record on stuff like this, and Lutz is not exactly an eco-visionary, but the domestic auto industry is in such a bad position (DCX had to give Chrysler away; Ford is in deep in the red, there but for the grace of Lutz goes GM), they might actually commit to something radical.

And if you want a car in 2010, don't be such perfectionists! Developing a car like this for mass production is not trivial. If the Volt has a reasonable design with reasonable performance and a decent price, I'll buy my 1st American car.


The delta platform means something like a Saturn ION, Chevy Cobalt or Opel Astra. These are practical compact cars, not high performance sports cars (though there is a high performance Cobalt SS). It's exactly the size/shape of electric car I want to own.

If they actually pull this off, I will find a way to buy one of the first ones on the dealer's lot. Big "if", but my fingers are crossed.


"it would help if all of us would become active locally and help get a Cellulosic Ethanol distribution network going so when we did have to run the ICE it wouldn't be with foreign oil."

Hehehehey. Good luck with that. There aren't any so-called "cellulosic ethanol plants". Ethanol is nothing but an agribizz bribery scam to get big corporate welfare by kicking back 1% of the take to politicians.

Serial plugin hybrids like the Volt, but different in that they would need to be real, would reduce average fuel consumption to 10% of present levels. Plenty of oil left to power them for a couple decades until better batteries and quick charging infrastructure are invented that make liquid fuel unecessary.

A 160 hp car is not a family sedan. A 120 hp car maybe, but most families would be fine with 80 hp. That means around a 50 hp electric motor with a 20 kw backup generator.

How may families ever use 160 hp? only teens use the full hp of a "family" car like this. And that is just plain idiotic. The aging "teens" who run GM need to grow up.


40kw electric motor and 20kw generator?

The generator you're thinking of is completely insufficient for the task. The generator needs to be able to power the car by itself when the batteries are nearly depleted. Given that long-distance cruising may take you in and out of city traffic, it's a near certainty that owners will need "normal" performance from the generator alone. IMHO, the 71hp that's currently specified for the Volt is marginal for that job. Which means it's probably just about perfect for my needs (small without being too small).

But there is no way on this green earth that the 27hp you suggest is going to be good enough. You'd barely be able to get moving up any hill in the Bay area with that. Let alone charge the batteries while moving.

Also, did you forget that this is a completely electric drivetrain? If you want 80hp output, the motors have to be able to handle 80hp. Go back to the specs and you'll see that the motors are only continuously rated for 41kw or 55hp. Peak output is 140kw, but that's just the nature of electric motors (to have a momentary power output completely disproportionate to their continuous power output).

Basically, you can't directly compare ICE max output and electric motor max output because they're such different beasts. Continuous power output makes a lot more sense for comparison, and the 41kw rated continuous output from the Volt's motors means it's got the motors to perform like a sporty compact car (Toyota Celica), not some performance powerhouse.

So far, this is the first EV* that is practical for both commuting and traveling. Still have to see about the price, but I'm willing to pay a decent premium for the utility the Volt can provide me. Substantial reductions to the power output will markedly effect it's utility and the price I'm willing to pay.

* I explain "serial hybrid" to friends a family as: an electric car with a range-extending fuel generator. 90% of my use will have the Volt acting like a pure electric car, with only the occasional rare day that requires the generator.


I prefer to call SPHEVs, "EREVs"
Extended Range Electric Vehicles
Extra Range Electric Vehicle

Gets the point across, and "E Rev" sounds pretty cool :P

Kinda like Electric Revolutions.


But as for electric cars on the way, I would probably look first towards the Miles Javlon and the Phoenix SUV model for affordable commuter transportation.


Phoenix already has plans to make an EREV model of their car :P


Ahh wrong, the backup only needs to provide the average power. Peak acceleration is augmented by batteries. On a longer trip than battery electric will take the vehicle, the backup will kick in a bit before the batteries are completey dead.

The battery could go down to the point where the backup generator 20kw and the remaining charge in the batteries provide enough peak acceleration power. As braking power and generator power recharge the batteries while driving the peak power will always be there for maximum power output for short periods.

The bigger the generator the more of the battery capacity that could be drawn down. It would be a weight and cost balancing consideration only, no real problem. Maybe 30 kw backup would be better in many applications. it would depend on driving conditions and driver preference. For slow cruising drivers 20 kw would be fine. performance drivers would want maybe 50 kw backup.


> Ahh wrong, the backup only needs to provide the average power.

Check your assumptions. Specifically, your assumptions about how much the batteries can "always" contribute imply a specific approach and strategy for EV/ICE balance. That balance, which may be right for you, is not what everyone is going to want.

> performance drivers would want maybe 50 kw backup.

I think I see the problem: we have different expectations for car performance. What I think of as a marginal econobox (1994 Saturn SL1 with 85hp ICE), you probably perceive as a somewhat overpowered vehicle. You probably would like to be able to "pulse and coast" to squeeze every last Joule of efficiency from the system.

Admirable, but not for me.

The 50kw generator currently spec'ed for the Volt is going to be close to a minimum backup for me. With the batteries nearly drained, I still expect to be able to accelerate up a good sized hill from a complete stop. 71hp will mostly get the job done, but will not have a lot left over for battery charging while driving that load.

This will be a sporty performer, much like the EV-1. It will have range like the EV-1 never dreamed of, and it will hopefully have four seats (all "delta platform" cars so far have four seats), but the EV-1 was no slouch on acceleration. Electric motors are like that.

GM is planning to build a sporty compact EV with enormous range. And that's exactly what I want. The only missing datapoint is how much it will cost.


I think what Dr. X is saying is that a 20 or 30 KW generator willl probably generate enough power for a steady state highway travel (at 80+ MPH) and then probably have an extra 5 to 10 KW(included in that 30) to recharge the batteries. Once the batteries are charged, the 5 to 10 can be used at the wheels to go even faster.

So Ross, when is it that you would need 50 KW? Before you get to the hill, your batteries are fully charged. When you get to the traffic stop, the regeneration is charging your batteries. Unless you are doing a mount Washington (2000 feet to 6000), you may not need more than 30 KW. Even there, you cannot go faster than 30 MPH due to the road condition.

All you need is steady state plus a little extra for your batteries. My guess is that 30 KW generator is more than enough. In fact it can fully charge your batteries in 1 hour, which is amazing.

The best is to leave it to the customer, just as you can order different engine sizes. I think most people will discover that the larger generators will not significantly improve performance, and that they are a waste of money. It is better to invest in a larger battery.


My main concern is the price. $25k is about my limit and that's if the battery life is > 10yrs.
I know GM has been in contact with Altair. I believe A123 is the leading contender. Not because of battery performance but because of product ramp up and GM's vested interest in A123. I think by 2009 there will be more than 40MPC (Miles/Charge) and more like 100MPC capability in the specified size and weight. Cost will be the factor. If Tesla, Phoenix and whoever else brings Ev’s to the market prior to GM, the costs may well be sufficiently lowered to bring out cars in the mid-$20K range which will push the battery costs even lower. Leading to under $20k vehicles. Gasoline cost may trigger a massive market for these much lower use cost vehicles. With Tesla now funded for building charge stations I foresee the "ICE" disappearing from all but nostalgic vehicles in the not too distant future.


Take the Pledge

All Presidential Candidates should make pledges like those below. If they refuse, then you should refuse to vote for them.

1. No More Oil Wars.

2. Work for independence from foreign oil on day one.

3. No more wars for corporate profit.

4. No more secret deals for $4 per gallon gas.

5. No more Chicken Hawks promoting wars of choice when they themselves avoided combat.

6. Make government green--if you can't make what you have the most control over green, I don't care about your plans to make the country green.

7. No more torture.

8. No more lying about torture.

9. No more re-defining torture.

10. No more drunken hunting.

11. No more secret deals with big corporations to divide up the spoils before the war even starts.


Coming late to this, but Ross writes:

With the batteries nearly drained, I still expect to be able to accelerate up a good sized hill from a complete stop.
That's a function of energy, not power.

Accelerating a 1500 kg car to 20 m/sec and carrying it up a 100 m hill requires 1.77 megajoules, or just 492 watt-hours.  Compared to the Volt's specified 16 kWh battery capacity, it would have to be almost completely flat to need much assistance from the sustainer engine.


EP, the Volt's generator will probably kick in before those last few kwh's left in the battery can be used, as the battery management system has to protect against full discharge. But even if the battery can take 100% DOD it's still better not to allow it full discharge as the generator will then have a buffer left to work with, making it virtually impossible to run out of juice.

If a driver does manage to fully drain the battery, either something's broken or the driver has been racing like a maniac. In the former case it's just bad luck, in the latter, that driver should not be allowed on public roads anyway...


I don't understand all the GM bashing!?!?!? I mean honestly, so they killed the EV1 so what. That was back in a time where Oil was cheap and more plentiful, now they've no choice but to begin to adapt if they wait much longer they may well become extinct, because of other car companys that are small now, but could get much bigger. GM knows how to survive. Sure they've slumped because the imports are whats hott now, but if they succeed with the Volt, they'll be on the right track for going on and once they see that America will buy up these rides because they do have a little extra power and nice appeal to the exterior. Then they'll know that they need to pursue more options and designs. I think this car will make it. Why? Some may ask me. Simple. They do it now or risk losing an entire company. We've seen already how much demand was curbed because of Oil prices as of recent. Hybrids sales are going up and up, while truck sales are going down. In fact here in Texas, we have a truck month every month to keep saleing these things. But I'm telling you folks, GM will make good this time around, not so much for us, but for their survival in a new world of energy. They are by contrast starting a bit early as far as bug auto companys go. This could be because they want a strong presence in the market. Just think about it. "GM THE CAR COMPANY WHO REVOLUTIONIZED THE AUTO INDUSTRY" or how about this one "GM THE AUTO COMPANY WHO REVOLUTIONIZED THE ENERGY REVOLUTION OF TRANSPORTAION: AN AMERICAN REVOLUTION" They see the potential of this, that fact alone will get them more sales. And they'll be ahead of the other auto giants. GM can see big oil going down, only they aren't going down with big oil, no they've got other plans I think. Anyways just my two cents.


It's good to hear BP & GM talk about alternative fuels, but 50 years to implement is too long.


Perhaps this link will spark more attention:


It is GM's electric concept car the Chevy Volt. If more people begin to demand alternative fuel cars, we should be able to speed the rate at which the technology is developed.

We have started an Investor Forum where Investors can meet and discuss topics like this:



I am surprised that in all of posts, I have not seen mention of a most important development, the advancement of the gasoline reformer as a source for hydrogen. The gasoline reformer that produces hydrogen needed to power a hydrogen fuel cell is about a cubic foot in size, ready for production, and consumes about 75 watts. It is also true that the cost of fuel cells will be equivalent to the cost of internal combustion engines by 2010. I suspect that the next generation Volt will be powered by an electric motor driven by Lithium Ion battery bank that will be charged by a fuel cell that gets its hydrogen from the reforming of gasoline....and has no internal combustion engine! This should give the Volt about 80 miles/gal gasoline, low emissions, and get us on well on our way to the hydrogen powered future car. This path gets us to a hydrogen powered fuel cell car using existing gas stations to deliver the hydrogen via gasoline. I'd buy one.

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Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles