Summer AC average range.

I finally got to test this Volt in really hot weather with the AC climate control on ECO.  Previous gas cars that I have had without climate control, there would be no difference between really hot or just warm weather.  Turn on the AC and watch your gas tank empty faster.  With the Volt climate control, the range will vary.  In moderately warm weather up to low 80’s, I see about a 10% lower range, right around 45 miles, instead of the 50 miles I easily get in the summer.  In really hot weather in the 90’s and blasting the AC in ECO steady, there is about a 25% lower range, all the way down to 38 miles, where I would normally get 50 miles or more.

Last summer I did not get to test it much in really hot weather, plus this year for some reason I need more AC.


Chevy Volt, an Electric Hybrid or EREV?

It seems people just don’t know what a Chevy Volt is.  Some people say it is a hybrid, others an electric vehicle.  GM calls it an EREV.  Well, it is not a regular hybrid.  Calling it just a hybrid does it an injustice to the expensive cutting edge technology in the Volt.  An “Electric Hybrid” would be more accurate because it is primarily an electric car with an on-board gas generator motor that creates electricity for the electric motor after you use the electric range in the battery, which is the hybrid part.   A regular hybrid is primarily a gas car that uses an electric motor for assist or for very limited acceleration for very short periods.  For me, a regular hybrid like a Prius is not much different than a regular gas car.  You will be stopping at gas stations regularly to fill up just like any other car.  It will use less gas but with gas prices high, they still get to pick your pockets.  With the Chevy Volt, I can use all electric and no one can steal from my wallet again.  Sure they can raise electric rates, but that will just prompt me to add more solar panels to my house to compensate.  No one can steal from me again.

So I am good with “Electric Hybrid” or EREV.  When someone calls it just a hybrid, I take it as a put down.

Gear shifter in L for more regeneration warning.

A warning about keeping the gear shifter in L, on Chevy Volts.

I keep hearing people using their Chevy Volts in L for more regeneration.  I even hear of engineers suggesting to always keep it in L for more efficiency.  Trying to put this in perspective for efficiency.  I can see the typical driver that is not disciplined on braking and stops the last minute.  L will be more efficient for them.   If on the other hand you already slow down easy and not at the last minute, then L will actually be less efficient.  I am not talking about crawling to a stop either, or pissing off cars behind you.  Just a normal flow for deceleration.  Let me explain.  If you are already using the brake pedal to capture all of the available regeneration, and you also take advantage of coasting and preserving momentum when you can (without disrupting traffic of course), you will be more efficient than driving in L.  In this case, for L to be more efficient, it would need to regenerate more than 100% of the energy.  We know that is impossible, and we actually know there are losses.  The energy regenerated by slowing down from 40 mph to 30 mph will not be enough to bring the car back up to 40 mph.  So why not just keep coasting at 40 mph.

Now for the warning.  Do not drive your Volt in L.  I finally got around to testing it to see if the brake lights come on.  Nope.  The brake lights do not come on, and the deceleration is quite aggressive.  I do not know how this is even legal, but regardless.  Unless you want to get hit in the rear by some idiot, do not do this.  I already got smacked in the rear pretty hard by some idiot driving a stupid Nissan and I drive in D.   So just think how much more likely you will be to get crashed into by driving in L.   It nearly killed me to see my car get hit.  Actually there was only an abrasion on the rear bumper, and I rubbed it out already.  Good as new.  But I love my car so much, I do not want it getting hit.  That stupid Nissan on the other hand, had the whole front bumper bent and totally off alignment with the hood and front fender.  It was a hard hit that pushed us 10-15 feet.  Everyone ok thankfully, and this car is strong.  Chevy Volt is built right.

Got a Chevy Volt and a Tesla Model S

I am posting this here for reference.  In direct response to my questions to someone who owns both a Chevy Volt and a Tesla Model S.  Here is the owners response.

(David Noland Posted: 4/17/2013 5:42am PDT

The Volt holds up very well in comparison to the Model S. In fact, I like the accelerator mapping of the Volt better than the S. In normal around-town driving, at low speeds and moderate accelerations, the Volt in Sport mode actually feels a bit peppier than the S. (Press harder, of course, and the S blows it away.)

In terms of steering smoothness and response, the Volt is right up there with the S. I typically drive my S in comfort mode.

Sound-wise, the two cars are similar–virtually silent.

Driving the S has confirmed to me what a great car the Volt is. When I take my daughter on a 200-plus mile college visit this weekend, I’ll be driving the Volt (no Superchargers in that direction yet), and I won’t feel all that deprived.)

Getting closer to going all electric.

I am selling my last gasoline car.  I already sold my gas lawn tractor and replaced it with a battery electric lawnmower.  The only gas motor vehicle I have left, (not including the range extender in my Volt) is a black Kawasaki Ninja 250.

The Ninja is a screamer, very reliable, powerful, and gets 75-80 MPG.  I increased two notches on the final drive gear, so it drives like a bigger bike.  Higher top speed, and more useable power.  Well, I plan on selling the Ninja in spring 2014.  Even though it gets 75-80 MPG, it is a gas guzzler compared to the Chevy Volt.  It is going to hurt to sell the Ninja.  I figure if I ever want another motorcycle, I will get a Zero EV motorcycle, or preferably a future eNinja.  Now that would be awesome.

It hurts selling the Ninja, but it feels good going all electric.

BTW  My lawnmower is a Black & Decker 36V cordless mower.  Works awesome.   This is the 3rd summer I have had it.  No battery degradation yet.  I am able to cut my lawn in 2 charges.  When the grass is shorter I can do it all in one charge.  I have a 1/2 acre lot, though there are a lot of landscape islands that have removed lawn.  In fact my whole front is mostly landscape, only a strip of grass around it.  My rear has a lot of grass though.  I recommend going battery electric.  I sold my lawn tractor to avoid gas.  Now I am walking behind a mower and like it better.  More room in my garage also.  No gas container sitting in my garage either.

Sarah Palin

Just about the last Republican I had respect for was Sarah Palin, until now.  She included the Volt and the Tesla as losers in a statement.  I lost all respect for her.  I don’t think there’s any republicans left.  Well George Bush bought his son a Volt, but I am talking about republicans currently in office or possibly running.

After voting republican going all the way back to Reagan, the republicans will never get my vote again.  You want my vote?  Don’t put down my car.  My Volt is my baby.  Best car on the road, not including a Tesla.


Winter cabin heating

Ok, we all know residual heat from the gas motor is used as free heat in the winter.  So long as you keep climate control on fan only and set your desired temperature.  If you set it on Eco or Comfort, you will be using electric heat together with any heat from the gas motor.

What about the electric motor?  Does it give off any free heat?  This morning the temperature was in the upper 30’s.  I set climate control to fan only, hoping to stay nice and cool for my trip to work.  This time I was driving more aggressive than I normally do.  All of the sudden I start getting warm.  The vents are blowing warm air, with fan only and gas engine never turned on.  Could it be that because of my very aggressive driving, that the electric motor created some waste heat energy that was sent in the cabin?  This is the first time I noticed this.

Lots of unanswered questions.  I almost need to sit down with Bob Lutz and go over everything:)