• Aug 18, 2010
Chevrolet Volt testing at Pikes Peak - Click above for video after the jump

General Motors continues to test the Chevrolet's Volt capabilities at Pikes Peak, a location well known for its daunting corners, dramatically changing altitude and grueling driving conditions. This time around, an amateur videographer caught a long line of Volts – six, to be precise – as they headed down from the 14,110-foot summit. The 38-mile round trip from base to summit can be challenging for any vehicle, but the Volt is apparently handling this rigorous testing with relative ease.

Inside Line got in touch with GM spokesman Rob Peterson and questioned him about the Volt's real-world testing. Via text message, Peterson wrote that the Volt's testing is going well and notes that the vehicle has spent a considerable amount on time on Pike Peak. Peterson's text message reads:
It is probably around 800 miles on Pikes Peak. At this point, our development engineers are focusing on real-world miles, putting the vehicles through their final paces.
During a phone interview, Peterson told Inside Line that the ranger on duty at the mandatory brake checkpoint had to point his laser gun at the Volt's brakes not once, but twice. Apparently, the ranger was shocked by the unbelievably low brake temperatures. Peterson said, "By the time the Volts made it off the hill, they had recaptured double-digit miles of energy."

To date, the Volt has racked up not only those 800 miles on Pike Peak but also thousands of additional miles in other grueling locations such as Death Valley. Follow the jump to watch the Volts make their way down the rain-drenched roads at Pikes Peak.

[Source: Inside Line]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 9 Hours Ago
      I figured I'd throw this in about the potential energy.

      The peak is what, 8000' over the Colorado plains. I like metric so I'll call it 2600m.
      The Volt weighs something like 4000# (including driver and fluids)... 1800kg or 16000 Newtons.
      So the potential energy gained in the ascent is 41E6 Newton-meters... 41E6 Watt-seconds. 11.4 kWh.

      So despite being only 19 miles to the top, the ascent should have drained the battery and required the generator.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Well, I rounded up... Also, I'm about 230#, and isn't everyone exactly like me?

        The Volt battery is nominally 16 kWh, but the BMS only permits it's use between 30 and 80% SoC (or some such numbers 50% apart), so you only get to use 8 kWh.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        interesting calc - I believe you are correct, since the engine will kick in before 100% empty battery.

        Fine points:
        a) isn't the Volt 16 kWh?
        b) road is listed with a 7,400ft gain - small savings there
        c) curb weight is: 3,500lbs, so + two fat, overweight americans = your weight
        • 9 Hours Ago

        About the down hill part they mentioned in the article, all I can say is the Volt does much, much better than Jack Rickard's EV in capturing regen power as Rickard's says regen power is none existent in calculating range. Wonder what percentage of range is increased with the Volt via the use of regen braking on a 40 mile drive?

        "By the time the Volts made it off the hill, they had recaptured double-digit miles of energy."
        • 9 Hours Ago
        19 miles of intense hill climb? a gas car gets 2-10mpg doing that!! It could be even worse than your calculation ( you're not adding in aerodynamics )

        I think that being able to go 19 miles uphill on that battery is very optimistic :)
      • 9 Hours Ago
      not to drive it RALLY STYLE with big stupid rear spilers
      • 9 Hours Ago
      The Volt seems to be a better engineered and tested vehicle than the Leaf. Of course, it does cost $8K more. But perhaps "you get what you pay for" as the saying toes.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Spec "The Volt seems to be a better engineered and tested vehicle than the Leaf."

        It just seems that way. Remember those companies not in need of government bailout don't publish every bit of of detail about new car development. They'd like to keep a lot of things as trade secrets.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        "Lots of hype on the Volt, and the IPO was just announced. Amazing coincidence."

        Not at all. We have known about the Volt's development for several years now, and the IPO has likewise been widely discussed.

        Anyone paying attention to GM knew they were both happening.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Well, we do know that GM has a liquid-based thermal management system for the battery whereas the Leaf will rely on air-cooling only. The air-cooling is probably adequate (Nissan warranties as such), but I suspect one would be better served by the GM system if you have to deal with hot or cold temperatures extremes.

        And those batteries are damn expensive, so it is probably a good idea to treat them well.

        But if air-cooling is enough, Nissan made the better decision since it probably really helps keep the cost down.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Ehh, i just think they talk more about the testing than the Leaf :p

        GM has been puffing up this car for a while now.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        I understand they have some mountains in Japan.......
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Lots of hype on the Volt, and the IPO was just announced. Amazing coincidence.
      • 9 Hours Ago
      He has a radar detector?

      I think that's a statement right there.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        The radar detector was on the dash of the car that filmed the Volts, not the Volt. This was a video from a tourist on Pikes Peak that happened to see a convoy of Volts filmed from inside said tourist's car.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Laser = IR thermometer. Not a speed gun.
      • 9 Hours Ago
      I hate to be negative but after waking from a sound sleep after viewing this video, I thought immediately anyone who buys the Volt is an idiot except for the rich who are already idiots anyway!
      Why?
      GM has always been just like most Americans arbitrary polluters & now so called reformed polluters as well as they are outright wasteful like packing all that Lithium into one car when technology has already been provided to make a normal vehicle of any kind into a conversion that uses very little Lithium to run by.
      So called AFS Trinity has already approached Big auto & they've rejected AFS so this means the Big auto companies haven't changed an iota on it's plan to continue to sell Big Autos again over EVs & the Volt is just another faint on the idea of revoluting.
      They want the Volt to succeed as a faint that draws dumb asses into simply laid trap of believing GM has repented! ha!
      They haven't changed a bit from oil to batteries! They love gas gusslers & are hooked on em! Don't you end up fooled by 'em!
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Where's the news? All I hear is "blah blah Volt blah blah Peaks blah blah regenerative braking blah blah low brake temperature blah blah". Everybody knows that EV can handle peaks. You could drive EV in Mount Everest if there were a road there. Cheap PR again. Tell obvious like it was a great breaking news.

      Well, maybe it was a news to GM. If they continue to make such tests it could be that eventually someone there actually realizes that BEV is a good idea and ICE should have been in museum for decade now and makes actual car and not PR project.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @anoldbikeguy; I'm not talking about video. Videos about EV:s are cool. I'm talking about this so called "news". There is no news. Text is presented like it were a surprise that Volt managed to handle Peaks. Maybe it was a surprise that Volt managed to do that, but for any other highway-capable car in the market, EV or not EV it would not have been any surprise.

        Leaf should not have any problems, that climb isn't that high. Like GoodCheer calculated it is only about 11.4kWh extra loss which is problem for Volt battery (needs to run that ICE generator to cover that), but not to Leaf 24kWh battery for 19mile trip. Roadster has been driven in mountains with no problem what so ever.

        So in short: there were no news.

        The fact that this was filmed by someone else than GM doesn't change the "cheap PR" claim to anything. It is cheap. If it was made by someone else than GM the better for them.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        So many people were concerned with how the Volt would perform in range-extended mode and on long ascents. Testing on Pikes Peak would bring out any of those issues since it's a fairly solid climb for the entire 19miles. It's more demanding than what a Volt would see over 90+% of its life. Sure, you might have more sustained climbs, but not at the grade at which Pikes Peak is at. There's a reason they have brake test stations on the way down. Remember, you had to first climb that grade before you had to stop to check the brakes on the way down.

        To me it's a bit more telling that you don't see a true EV like the Leaf attempting the same. I'd be interested to know how that 100mi range would be affected by a climb such as Pikes Peak.

        Also, as anoldbikeguy mentioned, the video was shot by a tourist, not GM so what's the big deal?

        I'll have to keep an eye out for these Volts though, I live in the shadow of Pikes Peak and haven't seen any around. I see lots of other mules in the high country during winter though, but no Volts.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        I'm well aware that there have been EV's that have raced up Pikes Peak, I've seen them in person.

        Big difference between an EV built to race the mountain and a production EV though. The race version can be optimized for the course. That sort of like saying that since Monster's Suzuki can drive up Pikes Peak in nearly 10 minutes, so can any average Joe is his Suzuki SX4. It's apples to oranges really.

        I made no mention of performance in terms of the altitude. Of course an EV is not going to suffer due to the altitude, that's not the issue. Additonally, the altitude isn't really going to affect the Volt either. It's an EV too remember, the ICE is simply there to recharge the batteries and rarely, if ever, will 100% of the ICE power be needed, even on Pikes Peak.

        I'm simply wondering what effect such a drive would have on the range of an EV like the Leaf? It has a 100mi estimated range, but I wonder what the length and constant grade of Pikes Peak would do to that range? That's my only question and I've not seen any similar test to use as comparison. It's not as though it has a range extender to fall back on. So, would it make it all the way to the top or stop at some point along the way? Simple questions really. Perhaps once both are available some magazine or website will perform just such a test?
        • 9 Hours Ago
        "To me it's a bit more telling that you don't see a true EV like the Leaf attempting the same."

        http://www.slideband.com/slide/8671_EV-Sports-Concept-HER-02-sets-new-Pikes-Peak-record.html

        The LEAF was developed in Japan, they have their own mountains. It is like saying the Volt is not well engineered because it wasn't tested on the Yokohama test track. The LEAF will have no problem leasurely driving up and down Pike's Peak like the Volts in that video. Remember that pure electric vehicles do not lose power with altitude, unlike the gasoline engine in the Volt.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Tim uprated you.

        montoym, the Leaf would do Pikes peak just fine, it is only 38 miles round trip. I bet you could punch it up it and when you got to the top you would still have 50 miles range left. Ah but then you come back down and push the eco button for more utilization of regen braking and presto when you reach the bottom you are at 70 miles range left. For most hills their is a up and a down so hill do not produce that many problems for EV's with high tech lion batteries.

        • 9 Hours Ago
        @ Timo -

        What in the world are you going on about?

        A video was taken by someone who was there likely as a tourist, posted online and repeated on many websites. How is this GM going after cheap publicity?

        Really, some of you are so anti-GM you look for any opportunity to knock them, then make up something when you can't find something you can twist to your liking.

        I think the program is very cool, I have rode in several both in all electric and range extending mode and am very impressed. I work for a supplier and have been involved with GM's engineering staff for many years. There are a ton of exceptionally talented engineers working on this program and the many other hybrid, fuel cell, advanced powertrain and other vehicle components who, if you met them, would quickly change your attitude to one of admiration.

        Like GM or not, no one can deny that in most market segments, they have the leading fuel economy; in those they don't lead, they are still among the top two or three.

      • 9 Hours Ago
      Cool! Now do it in the snow...
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