siai47
Posts: 367
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:54 pm

2017 Volt Impressions

Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:34 am

I finally got some seat time in a 2017 Volt. I know this doesn't qualify as a pure "electric" vehicle such as an I-MiEV but it shares a lot of common traits. The dealer in question really wanted me to get some miles in it to see how it would work in my driving routine. In essence (after nearly 1600 miles in the demo) very well. As most of you know, the Volt is a sub-compact hatchback that seats four (and a fifth very tiny person) and has a PHEV style drive system. This was one of the things that most impressed me. The electric drive range of the Volt is listed at 53 miles. However, if you drive it like you would drive a I-MiEV to get maximum range, it matches or exceeds the total range of the I-MiEV on battery power alone. It's almost too close to call. The important part to note is that you can drive to the maximum range without range anxiety because there is a backup plan under the hood. Level 2 recharge times are similar to the I-MiEV as the Volt has a 3.8 KW internal charger similar again to the 3.3 charger in the I-MiEV. The biggest difference is high speed operation between the two cars. The Volt drives fine at freeway speeds, very quiet, stable and at a lower KW per mile rate than the I-MiEV above 50 mph. There are also a lot of gee whiz bells and whistles in the Volt. On the downside, the Volt is not as good a car in a tight urban environment as the I-MiEV. Size matters and in that case the Volt isn't as easy to maneuver as the I-MiEV. Turning radius, parking ease are superior in the I-MiEV. It also packages four adults better than the Volt. Entry and exit of all passengers is easier in the I-MiEV. Also the Volt suffers from large "A" pillars at the windshield and a narrow area for rear vision due to the slope of the hatchback. The I-MiEV excels in these areas. Finally, the Volt will never be able to carry a full size washer or dryer in the back like (I have pictures) I could with the I-MiEV. A final note, the money paid for a new loaded Volt will net you about 2 I-MiEV's along with 2 tax credits. The Volt is a really, really nice car and if you are a one car family that ventures out of the city than it really deserves a look. On the other hand, if you already have a ICE for those long trips to Grandmas once a year, than the I-MiEV could be the perfect choice for your daily driver. I know this is an I-MiEV forum but if (Mitsubishi Forbid) the I-MiEV goes by the wayside it is a viable alternative that doesn't cost a Tesla and should be considered even if it not a pure BEV. Disclaimer---as some of you know, I no longer have my I-MiEV's but still really enjoy the time I spent with them. I currently have a Tesla Model S and after the demo of the Volt, I placed one on order.

PV1
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Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:35 am

I recently tracked one down in my area. I think the newer body style looks much better than the original. I still don't understand the T-shaped battery pack (worked great in a two-seater like the EV1, though) in a sedan where interior space is important, but glad to hear the range is boosted to near i-MiEV level. The 2015 Volt owned by my work is driven 47 miles one-way everyday by the employee who's driving it, and he gets a max of 40 miles on the charge before falling back to gas. Test driving it when they first bought it made me feel like I was driving a tank with the short but wide windshield and thick pillars vs. the i-MiEV's tall windshield.

I feel the same, it's great for a one-car house, but for multi-car houses, a pure BEV is the way to go for at least one of the vehicles. Of the three cars driven regularly by my family, two are i-MiEVs and the other is a C-Max hybrid. I put on the most miles with Bear (now over 32,500 miles), followed by the C-Max for all of our longer trips and most grocery getting, and Koorz getting the least miles, but driven 4 days a week for commuting (6 mile round trip).
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC
"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC
"Photon" - 2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC
Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

Life with Electric Vehicles: https://lbry.tv/@PV1

Phximiev
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Location: Phoenix

Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:49 am

I came away with similar views about the 2017 Volt after a test drive; it's a great car and the parking assist is great, but expensive, see viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3103&p=27641&hilit=Parallel+parking#p27641

We still believe in the ride sharing philosophy, see: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3042

At this point, we use the 'Miev for everything in town and Turo (or other) for everything else.
2012 iMIEV ES
2014 Chevy Volt

JoeS
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Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:56 am

siai47, thanks for your review. I had suggested the 2017 Volt to a recent widow who did not want to be bothered with keeping two cars.

For myself, I'm happily keeping my i-MiEVs for all our daily driving and the Tesla only for those long trips (which we will now be inclined to take more often).
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

pbui19
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Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:57 am

I bought the Volt for my wife, as she can't handle the range anxiety. For such a larger vehicle, with much more power and a lot more bells & whistles, I am quite impressed that it's as electrically efficient as the i. I really wish that the Volt has DCQC.

JoeS
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Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:33 am

A recent widow in my Jazzercise class wants to go green but presently has two large ICE vehicles. I had tried to get her to save one of her ICE cars for long trips and simply get a BEV like the i-MiEV, which would cover 99% of her driving needs (she just drives locally almost all the time and only occasionally takes long trips). No, she wants to have only one car, so I had suggested the Volt. She visited a dealer and likes it, and understands how it works and will probably get it.

Question I wasn't able to answer: when the Volt's ICE kicks in, in addition to powering the car does it simultaneously recharge the traction battery? It would seem logical to me that with all that excess power available that would be the case, but…
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

PV1
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Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:41 am

I think it operates like a conventional hybrid until it is recharged by plugging in or a lot of regen. I haven't had the opportunity to experience a Volt in range extender mode.

If it works like the i3, then the range extender kicks in at a set SoC %, it will run to maintain or bring the pack back up to that point, then shut down.

These are now for sale in PA, so I may take one for a test drive.
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC
"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC
"Photon" - 2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC
Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

Life with Electric Vehicles: https://lbry.tv/@PV1

mdbuilder
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Location: Great Mills, Md.

Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:59 am

Primary mode is to spin the generator, charge the battery and draw power from there. There is a tertiary path through the planetary gearbox for motor power to reach the wheels but it's not primary. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt
2015 Nissan NV200
2012 I-Miev SE Premium
2009 Mazda 5
2017 Toyota Prius Prime

iwatson
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Location: Bartlett (Memphis), Tennessee

Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:57 am

JoeS wrote:Question I wasn't able to answer: when the Volt's ICE kicks in, in addition to powering the car does it simultaneously recharge the traction battery? It would seem logical to me that with all that excess power available that would be the case, but…


I'm speaking from the perspective of owning a Gen1 Volt, but I've read nothing that indicates that the Gen2 Volt is any different.

When the generator fires up, initially it comes on at a gentle rpm to warm-up. The powering of the wheels is still performed by the electric motor using energy from the pack. Once warm-up is complete the engine throttles up to charge the pack to replace any energy used below it's set-point (comfort zone). Sorry I don't remember the exact SOC (somewhere around 20% sounds right), but I know it's higher than the 8% of the BMW i3. While driving the engine will throttle up to charge the pack anytime it falls below it's setpoint and throttle down or shut-off completely when it's at or above it's comfortable area. During highway driving when the computer is happy with the SOC and the car is cruising at a somewhat efficient speed, engine power is sent to the wheels as GM engineers determined this was more efficient under this load than to charge (or discharge) the pack. If while cruising in this mode, you suddenly decide to floor it to pass another vehicle, the electric motor takes over drawing energy from the battery and of course the engine revs to replace that power. After returning to your cruising state the engine will rebuild this lost energy in the battery until it once again reaches it's safe zone at which time the engine power goes back to driving the wheels directly.

There is a mode called "Mountain mode" which raises the set-point to a higher SOC (for grins, lets say it's 35%). The purpose is to create a higher buffer in the battery to deal with mountainous terrain, where energy may at times be consumed faster than the generator's ability to replace that energy.

A long way around for your answer, but no the engine will not recharge the battery fully. Once it reaches either of it's two set-points it will either shut-off in the case of stop and go traffic, or divert power to the wheels in the event of highway cruising.
2012 Raspberry imiev SE Premium
2017 Cajun Red Chevrolet Bolt EV
2011 Viridian Joule Chevrolet Volt
2008 Cadillac SRX
2002 Forest River Sunseeker 3100
2001 Buick LeSabre
1997 Chrysler Town & Country

Vike
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Re: 2017 Volt Impressions

Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:52 pm

pbui19 wrote:I really wish that the Volt has DCQC.
I really wish it won't, for a couple of reasons.

First, from the Volt owner's perspective, it's completely unnecessary. DCQC is really a tool for occasionally extending the range of a BEV beyond the norm, either for a busy task list or a longer trip. Volt can handle those situations with its on-board REx, and really should. Unlike L2, DCQC isn't cheap to provide, so usually comes with a meter of some kind or other. The Volt's fairly efficient running on gasoline, so you're usually going to be ahead of the game just running on gas once you've depleted the charge from your home EVSE. There's nothing wrong with some free opportunity charging at a retail establishment, but paying for DCQC would just be silly. Add to this that the REx needs to run from time to time anyway to keep everything in working order, and use of DCQC seems an even worse idea.

Second, from the community perspective, it's already irritating enough to look for a L2 charger and find it "Volted" (as noted above, they don't need it since they've got that REx). We certainly don't need them tying up DCQCs that are, as noted, critical to enhancing the capabilities of BEVs that may otherwise be unable to complete a desired itinerary. It's no big deal if there are no BEVs waiting, but I've learned from a number of conversations that there are Volt owners who like to pretend they're BEV owners and treat running on gas as some sort of personal failure. Those jokers will definitely pay to use a DCQC, and just as definitely affect indignation if asked to make way for someone that actually needs it.

So GM, please, while CCS is fine on the Bolt (indeed, why the heck isn't it standard?), please do not offer CCS on the Volt! More broadly, I really don't want to see DCQC on any PHEV, the BMW i3 REx excepted (since, judging from the lawsuits, an i3 runs on its REx about as well as your house does on a basic backup generator).
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

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