• Feb 16th 2010 at 7:47PM
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2011 Chevy Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Olympics aren't the only interesting and noteworthy event currently taking place in Canada. General Motors says it has shipped its fleet of 2011 Chevrolet Volt test vehicles to the cold and snowy climes of Kapuskasing, about 500 miles northwest of Toronto. Current temperature? A frigid 23-degrees Fahrenheit, or -5 Celsius.

This latest test session comes just months after The General ran its fleet of Volts through Death Valley (about 100 degrees F) and the mountains of Tennessee. Not surprising, really. After all, every new vehicle goes through a rigorous set of test cycles, and, as the first mass-production, mass-market extended-range electric vehicle ever attempted, it's of the utmost importance that GM gets this vehicle right the first time.

In addition to "hours opening and closing all hinges, including doors, trunk, glove box and interior consoles," GM's testers will surely be monitoring the performance of the Volt's engine/generator and lithium ion battery pack to be sure that all is well with the system before putting the car into the hands of paying customers.

[Source: GM FastLane]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow, autobloggreen has mentioned metric units!
      Now, that is what i call progress!
      • 5 Years Ago
      What they forgot to mention was that GM has a long established permanent cold weather test facility in Kapuskasing. It is complete with a large number of environmental cells that can refrigerate a car down -40. So even if the ambient is only -5C, they can can test cold starts at whatever temperature they want. If the ambient gets down real cold as well, all the better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah, daily Volt story, how i missed you so ;)

      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope they publish the results from this testing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Burning up all that oil has warmed up the climate so we can now have EVs up at higher latitudes. ;-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      They could test them down here in the south in NC... our highs are in the 20s here lately as well...
      • 5 Years Ago

      How about 45 degrees colder? We see -22F here in Minnesota from time to time and sub-zero routinely.

      Heater draw will reduce driving range. One random drive Lutz took Volt on last month reduced the 40-mile potential to just 28. What's a typical expectation for winter?
      • 5 Years Ago
      How come I don't hear any of these extreme testing conditions for nissan leaf?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Upon reading "-5 C" and "frigid" in the same sentence I nearly doubled over laughing. This isn't even winter...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I live in Quebec and once broke off the latch on my glovebox because it was so cold. I've also had the metal rivets on jeans give me frostbite on my skin. One of the things I've always said about electric cars is that winter is something that breaks even the strongest machinery, and Canadian winters can be the worst. Cars in 1961 had an average lifetime of SEVEN years here. That means cars lasted between roughly 14 years and three and a half years, making seven the average. Add to that the prodigious amounts of salt and snow on the roads and what works beautifully in 90% of the US won't work here at all.

      Just look at those spirelly neon ecobulbs that are going to replace the regular bulbs. Inside the house, in the warmth, they're fine; but outside they don't work at all when it's too cold. You click them on between -10C and -20C (the average temp here in winter) and you'd think they were broken. Might as well just light a candle. It'd throw more light.

      So what I'm most worried about is battery life. Cold affects it, and it's very cold here. The idea of wasting energy just by having a car sitting in the cold is a bit repugnant to me. Call me a dinosaur, but at least with a gas powered engine you waste energy MOVING. Not sitting still.

      Quebec, at the moment, is hellbent in bringing electric cars into the province as fast as possible, but if it's just going to make MORE greenhouse gases in a different way, then screw it. Might as well just MOVE while we burn it, instead of wasting is. Wastefulness is what got the world in the mess if I recall correctly.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "at least with a gas powered engine you waste energy MOVING. Not sitting still."

        I thought the problem with a gas powered car WAS energy wasted sitting still (idling); EVs don't have this problem.

        The only additional energy you waste in EVs is warming up the batteries to operating temperature, but some engines you have to do this too. In cold weather, the drop in capacity you see isn't a loss of energy, but rather the battery not being able to release the energy, since it is out of optimal operating range; if you warm it back up to operating temperatures, it should release the same amount of energy as before (minus what you used to warm it up).

        This cold weather performance is purely an engineering issue. Using a fully insulated and liquid cooled/heated battery pack should go a long way to address this. There are also cells that have wider operating temperature ranges.

        And doesn't Canada use a lot of hydro-electricity? I calculated on the average US electric grid (which has slightly less than 50% coal so it isn't the cleanest grid) and the emissions of a BEV came out to be better than a hybrid factoring in grid losses.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Minus 5 degrees? Fridged? are you kidding me? We've had the warmest winter in years, they should be in the yukon or somewhere further north to really test it. -30 are the temperatures i want to see test results from.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "hours opening and closing all hinges, including doors, trunk, glove box and interior consoles"

      I understand that they want to test stuff, but after 110 or so years of building cars, don't we at least have these items figured out yet?
        • 8 Months Ago
        do you really think they have the same hinges they used 100 years ago? or that the hinges are all fitted to the same pieces of body work that they were being fitted to 100 years ago? or that they are put together using the same production methods as 100 years ago?

        using your logic they might as well stop crash testing cars
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yes, actually they have figured out a few things.

        They've figured out that you need to *test things in the real world* before you sell them. And you need to test everything, because you know, a loose floor mat can really ruin your day when it catches on the accelerator...
        • 8 Months Ago
        They do. But you need to talk about SOMETHING to fill all those paragraphs :p
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