• Jul 8, 2008
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Chevrolet Volt concept.

One of the many things General Motors boasted about when it unveiled the Volt concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007 was its 600-mile range. This was achieved partially by the battery pack, which could sustain a (theoretical) charge allowing the Volt to run for 40 miles without reverting to the gasoline engine/generator, as well as a 12-gallon fuel tank. According to Kicking Tires, GM has shrunk the size of the tank by an unknown quantity and the result is a reduction in range from 600 to 400 miles – or 360 miles without the aid of auxiliary (read: grid-provided) power.

The General maintains that since most owners don't travel more than 40 miles in one day, it wasn't necessary to fit the Volt with a larger tank. That reduction in capacity will save some weight, but what will it cost in public perception? The hype surrounding GM's supposed savior and game-changer are based on two figures: range and cost. If GM can deliver on both counts, they might have a hit on their hands. If not, the Volt will be DOA the day it hits dealers.


[Source: KickingTires]


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  • 134 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      From an engineering standpoint it's a smart move. Why give the ability carry around 500+ miles of fuel (dead weight) when it will likely just sit in the car week after week, untapped, killing fuel economy.

      From a marketing standpoint, GM is hoping the public is smart enough to figure out that a vehicle's range has nothing to do with its efficiency. Anyways, I roll my eyes whenever I see a car ad showing how great the vehicle's range is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ tankd0g

        So if I change out my Tahoe's fuel tank from a 28 gallon unit to a 5 gallon unit, I decrease both the vehicles range and its fuel efficiency?

        Maybe a taking High School Physics class is something you might want to explore.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed Steven and Paul.

        Recall that this car is a plug-in, there may be days, even weeks when the gas engine is never used. If it has a 40 mile electric range and you drive less than 40 miles that day, you used no fuel. You get home, and plug in the car again giving you a full charge the next day to do it again.

        The range provided in the story assumes you drive the car all the way to empty. 340 miles(as shown in the headline) does not mean that you'll be able to drive back and forth to work for a week between fillups, It means that you can drive about 340 miles on gas alone.

        No sense in carrying around that extra fuel which may be there for a few months potentially, depending on the owners daily driving habits. Gas does go bad after some time, as short as a few months.

        I know if I owned this car with its 40 mile electric only range, I'd be able to commute to work every day with no fuel being used at all. I'd only use gas if I were going out of town or had to complete a number of errands which took me all over town. I'm not exactly sure how often I'd fill up the tank, but I know it would be significantly less than I do now. As it stands now, I only fill up about twice a month and that's at about 350 miles per tank.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If the public is at all smart they will realize that a vehicle's range has EVERYTHING to do with it's efficiency. I'm willing to bet they did not make the gas tank smaller, they never told us how big it was in the first place. They revised their estimate of what a full take of gas will get them. Someone from a high school physics class schooled them on how a series hybrid works, finally, and the numbers are starting to look more dismal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        NAILED it Steven. Most people do drive less than 40 miles a day. On top of that with 600 miles worth of gas it would be going bad in some vehicles. Additionally now a "full" tank of gas you are still paying what we payed for a full tank back in 2000. All very psychological. Good Move GM.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The more I read the article, the more I think of all the "Hybrid" SUV's like the Lexus LX and the Chevrolet Equinox/Tahoe. The Volt is just an apologist version of these cars, only as a sporty type of car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Come on People. This thing about this vehicle coming out in 2010 is just wrong. We all know that the Volt will be released at the middle or end of '09 as a 2010 model. I guess the knew thing with Manufactures is to release vehicles as year ahead model, I think its to help with the resale or something.
      • 6 Years Ago
      baffelsu,

      It is obvious that you absolutely possess no scientific training. Why are all eco-crazies so ignorant of Science?

      It is impossible to provide anywhere near enough energy by microbes liberating H2 from Hydrogen dioxide.

      The Second Laws of Thermodynamics says its impossible. I hope the government is not substantially funding this wild goose chase. You would have created a perpetual motion machine to break hydrogen dioxide in half and then recombine it to make hydrogen dioxide again, without usings lots more of the energy than you get.

      You haven't specified where the energy is to come from. Without specifying where that energy is to come from there is no magic microbes.

      You can do that with additional energy and accept the penalty if you had some. For example you can use nuclear energy and accept the waste, to provide heat and electricity to more than overcome the losses in breaking H2O into H2 and Oxygen and then burn it to make H2O, once again, in cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's entertaining to see you talk of the ignorance of science in others, and then refer to water as "hydrogen dioxide" which would be HO2, not H2O.

        Your eventual point is correct, and I've made it myself. For the time being we don't have a clean, efficient method for isolating hydrogen for large-scale use in transportation
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ah, good, this makes it look like this revolutionary hybrid car uses more gas than it actually does by making it neccesary to fill the tank about twice as much as any other car. Smart move, GM, y'all are marketing geniuses.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Uh, what? Twice more than other cars? Exactly which car gets 800 miles per tank? 400 miles on a tank is still ABOVE AVERAGE. My mainstream Honda Civic SI gets 320 on a tank and that's if I drive conservatively.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As was mentioned on here elsewhere, no one gets 600 miles per tank on the Jetta TDi doing the speed limit, you have to slow down to 50 or so.

        I don't think anyone out here has the expectation that under normal driving a car should do 600 miles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        800 miles per tank? Well a Golf TDI can hit around 600-650. Well over the normal 300 miles per tank most cars seem to hit
        • 6 Years Ago
        Jeremy Clarkson did 800mi on 1 tank in a diesel A8. But yeah, that was just barely, and 360 is not short. I barely break 300 in my compact car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        who cares how far it can go on one fillup. I mean this is not exactly a car built for road trips!! It is for commuting and for saving money while doing so. GM had better cut some irrelevant features to simply get the price down and make the thing easier to build. If they have to reduce the tank from 12-8 no big deal. All the Volt owners can now just talk about how filling to car up only costs $32 instead of $48.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone who has had to overhaul the fuel system on a gas powered mower or generator left dormant w/out fuel preservative knows about the limited shelf life of this fuel. I suspect that the best reason for shrinking the gas tank is to force owners to refuel more often - many people could go months on the 600 mile tank and that's too long.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually it's interesting calculating the the time between fill-ups. These numbers aren't real because the actual distances driven will vary from day to day but assuming that one drives the same distance every day here are the number of days between fill-ups if there is 7 gallon fill-up each time:

        • 6 Years Ago
        If motion and temperature variation will slow sludge formation in gas tanks then, indeed, this is less of a problem. Even so, fuel stabilizer could come to be a staple for gas powered generators in PHEV's for those that understand the issue and have the need.

        My thought is that GM has to worry about folks who have difficulty getting around to changing the oil (it ought to be a crime:-) who could not be expected to monitor the age of gas in their tanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And it's simple. So on Friday night after work you don't plug the car in. Go for a drive on Saturday, let that gas flow around a bit and run the engine a little. So I use 5 gallons a month in gas. Everything else is electric. If the US Gov gets off their butts and gives us the 5K on our taxes then we'll be that much better off too. There are just too many things that can change over the next two years to figure if the Volt and GM are going to be winners or not. I'm in their favor at this point. Barron's had a great report about a month ago on the potential of GM and risks too.

      http://setup2.barrons.com/article/SB121218756175534083.html?mod=article-outset-box
      • 6 Years Ago
      That golf battery/diesel thing is sounding pretty good right about now.

      Just hoping VW can somehow beat GM to the punch with the all-battery in-city 30-40 miles, with the small diesel for essentially highway trips where the diesel shines. I'd be all over that, especially with 4 doors and a hatch. ;)

      sorry, but the volt is gonna be just too big to be the city commuter they're making it out to be. Wish them the best though, and hopefully any lessons learned will be remembered for future development.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You do realize that the volt is to be built on the same platform as the Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Astra, right? E-Flex is a drivetrain design.

        The chassis itself will be a modified Delta. While not a Mini Cooper or Fiat 500, it is certainly not a Challenger either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I will buy the first good plug-in electric from whoever makes it. But I do think there is room for both a small VW and a larger GM (or whoever else comes out with one.) The larger GM will be for families, not just a small commuter car like the VW. Just like there are obviously many different sizes of regular gas cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can't you guys figure out the commercial?

      Two cars at gas pump, owners are pumping gas.
      Voice over: Today we drove both these cars 340 miles.
      Volt stops at 8 gallons and pump price show $36.
      Volt owner gets in and drives away.
      Competitor's driver keeps pumping... $40... $50... $60...$70
      Fade to black


      Quite effective if you ask me, it ain't about range, it's savings.


      • 6 Years Ago
      Someone stated that it's not a good idea to keep all that gas in a tank NOT being used for months, and I think that is a good point.

      I also think there is a hell of a lot of things that need to be accounted for that no one thinks of when someone tries to roll out a car like this, and I hope Gm takes there time in making sure it's done right. A smaller gas tank to reduce weight, and other potential problems is fine with me, because it means paying $33 per fill up vs. $50 per fill up (at current prices)

      And personally...if this car hits showrooms with the ability to go 40 miles per charge, then I will gladly pay $40K for it, because I imagine it would mean maybe 4-5 trips to the gas station A YEAR for me. And THAT...sounds pretty damn good.
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM has found issues with the fact that since most people do not drive more than 40 miles per day the gas would just sit in the tank for long peoriods of time.

      Gas sitting around is not a good thing so why have 12 gallons of old fuel vs 8 gallons. Also the less weight will increase the MPG.

      One GM's engineers said a few moths ago old gas was one of the toughest issues they had to deal with.

      In my daily drive I could go a whole year on this 8 gallons.

      Anyone ever have problems starting their lawn mower after a long winter?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Last time I checked the first generation Prius was a novelty. But it allowed Toyota to build the second and third generation Prius.

      The only thing you can fault GM for is talking too much about future product. But you know what, they are damned if they don't as everyone will think they are sitting there doing nothing.

      So I guess GM takes the road where at least some people will get behind them. Those of you who complain on boards like this about GM wouldn't buy a GM car even if it was the best car in the world. The badge must hurt your eyes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Shipey, I was at one of the Big 3 a few years back when we were getting nice profit sharing checks. I had friends at Honda & Toyota who also received those checks, but their checks were much smaller.

        Why? Honda & Toyota always put proper amounts of their annual budgets towards R&D. Honda always had a high MPG Civic along side the more performance oriented VTEC powered models. Toyota was working on Hybrid technology that became the Prius.

        When I would tell our engineers what Honda & Toyota were working on... they laughed & said "WHY? Gas is $1.10/ $1.30! Later when Toyota evolved the T100 into the Tundra & Honda launched the Ridgeline some of the same guys said the Japanese were late to the Big 3 money parade... Suckers! (they said).

        Who looks like the "suckers" now?
        • 6 Years Ago
        GM had the EV1... but they decided to make major $$$ making re-badged Suburbans as Cadillacs.

        The EV1 could have been their start & they would be getting the "green" press instead of Toyota.

        Sure GM has some good cars, but a lot of crap-boxes... these cars & their customer service record helped give them this negative image. Cars cost too much these days to give someone a 3rd & 4th chance to re-prove themselves.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Azzo,

        They made money on huge truck because people were buying huge trucks. That was not the problem. That was a good, profitable move. The bad part was not having a backup plan in case gas prices rose.

        I know what you're saying about the EV1... it definitely should have been the first step to something really ready for primetime. I see a lot of people on this board suggesting that GM scuttled the program for oil companies or some other conspiracy of the day. The simple truth is the EV1 was an experiment, and that's it. It was never meant to be a production car. End of story.

        It SHOULD have been the predecessor to one though, and the Volt very well may be it. It would have been nice to have it sooner, but I'll take what I can get.

        They ( along with Toyota) are pushing the capabilities of the auto forward. No one should be against this car. If it works it will be a huge coup for GM and should be a source of pride for all Americans.

        Even if it fails, it's a first step in the right direction for all of us.

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