2011 Chevrolet Volt
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The Detroit News is reporting that General Motors will replace the 120-volt power cords on the majority of Chevrolet Volt models the company has sold since 2010. The new charge cords are said to be more durable than the old hardware and should provide "more consistency in charging," according to the report. GM has sold around 10,000 Volt units since the plug-in hybrid went on sale two years ago, and while some of those vehicles have already shipped with the new charge cords, most still use the old design. GM's Randy Fox told AutoblogGreen that all 2011 model year and most of the 2012 model year Volts will get the updated cords. The new version has a thicker AC plug cord (the short end of the charge unit, from the charger to the wall) and a new design that relieves some strain points on the longer end of the unit, the side with the J1772 connector.

Fox said that the new cords are not related to the overheating problems we heard about last year. Instead, some Volt customers returned their units for replacement last fall, and GM engineers saw the update as something that could be done to "enhance the customer experience." In the cases where overheating was reported, Fox said, GM found most of them were caused by a worn or damaged AC wall outlet. Fox would not disclose how much this replacement program would cost GM, but extra 120V cords cost between $360 and up.

Fox added that, since many Volt owners need to contact their Chevrolet dealers to begin scheduling appointments to have additional crash structure enhancements added around the vehicle's battery packs, they can be given the new cords when they come in for the repair. The additional steel is designed to protect against severe side-impacts. Technicians are also expected to add a new sensor to monitor battery coolant levels. The changes are in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into unlikely vehicle fires. GM will reportedly continue to sell Volt models without the new structure and sensor, saying neither poses a safety issue.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 63 Comments
      Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just lease a VOLT The first test drive and I was sold The steering is Porsche like quick and the acceleration is not fast but deceptively QUICK I had to look twice to realize that I was travelling at over 70 mph on the 15 freeway under battery power and there still seemed to be plenty more left 100mph should be no problem I'm the last person to ever buy a Chevy but this VOLT is very very good (2 very) 20 miles to work plug in run to dry cleaners bank and lunch 20 miles home plus in run to Von's Best Buy and Walmart Once back at home plug in GAS used NONE I kinda feel guilty in a strange way
      • 3 Years Ago
      Woop tee doo. What is that, a few thousand cords at best? Not like a big deal or anything. 33/5 for a car with a cord that might melt in your hand so they toss you another free. Free,heh, 33/5 for the luxury of free replacement defective parts. Bargain I say.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      The LEAF also had a "recall" (not really a recall, but a mandatory firmware update) to change the display on the dash because people were running out of juice unexpectedly. It was just an indication problem, no fault of any other sort.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Leaf had start-up problems early on. "Nissan has recently become aware of an issue on a small number of Nissan LEAFs with a sensor in the air conditioning system. If this sensor is activated it will illuminate a warning light on the instrument panel and may cause the vehicle to not restart once it has been turned off. We are actively investigating to determine the root cause and what action is necessary to address the issue." http://green.autoblog.com/2011/04/11/nissan-leaf-start-up-problems-affecting-unknown-vehicles-us-japan/ The Leaf also had a combo of operator error compounded by poor gauge understandability, that resulted in drivers running out of charge. "Like most new car issues the problem at hand is only effecting a small amount of users thus far, but several reports of the cars simply running out of battery with little to no warning have occurred in the 2011 model year." http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-years-nissan-leaf-battery-issues.html Not to mention lots of other issues noted by drivers in the Leaf forums. http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewforum.php?f=30
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Poor old GM, attacked by friend and foe alike! The essence of this story is that GM is using the opportunity created by the completely unnecessary safety recall to upgrade a component from satisfactory, to excellent! Pretty great service! If this was Nissan, Renault or Tesla , the ABG comments section would be full of praise for performing such an upgrade, and no cost! But because it's GM, you'd think they were surreptitiously replacing cardboard brake linings! Well done GM, just keep building that satisfied customer base! Word-of- mouth will slowly discredit Volt's critics!
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        I love recalls! Yay, free sh*t! My beloved Ford Ranger is well into six figures n miles. Ford can recall it for anything they want. Everything on the car except two sensors are original.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        marcopolo Agreed. For the first time in history (ok I'm exaggerating a little), GM takes a long-term approach to customer satisfaction and brand image. It's the little things like these, along with exceptional products, that builds the reputation of a company.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Sometimes even a 'loved' company deserves criticism, to keep it 'loved'.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Good point. I could kick Ford upside the head for halting the Ranger in the USA, and pretty much kick Honda for nearly everything for the past 10 years.
      DarylMc
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's probably not a fair comparison but I bet your average fighter jet has more recalls than a modern automobile.
      noevfud
      • 3 Years Ago
      The LEAF cord for 120V is 12G on both ends and the Volt is 16G for up to 12A on both ends. Replacing the cord on the input side is not going to solve the heat issue form the 16G wire which is undersized. The Volt cable is not UL listed and is cheaply made. If they wanted to do it right they would have spent the extra few dollars for 12G wire like Nissan did. The LEAF unit is also much better quality and highly durable which is why so many Volt owners buy upgraded LEAF cords for 240V Volt charging form evseupgrade.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @noevfud
        WOAH, it's 16 gauge? what the hell?!?! my little 700w eBike charging rig ( runs off 120v ) initially ran off that gauge of wire. It was totally inadequate, got warm, and basically wasted power, making the watt usage go way up to over 1000w af the plug. I know the amps aren't so high at 220-240v, however i bet it is basically like having a space heater between your car and the plug. Can any Volt owners speak on this?
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          The charger is UL listed. It certainly does have problems though. Maybe I'll get a chance to check the AWG today, the long cable doesn't look 16AWG, but I could be wrong.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          No wonder the induction charging boys are saying that the losses on their systems are no worse than on some of the chargers, if the heat loss from this would be so bad.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          16 gauge was a bad choice. I can't believe they sell the car for $40K but then go 16 gauge on the charger cord. C'mon.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          noevfud, I don't have one here. I can't show you the UL listing. I can't verify the cord gauge, I'll check it first chance I get. It doesn't look like 16AWG when you look at it, but I wouldn't know for sure until I get a proper look. 16AWG is not written 16G. I looked, there is no GM statement on a lack of UL listing for the EVSE.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          UL listed.. okay. As long as it has a label on it, let's forget that it has the same wire gauge as your 400w computer cord.. right? ;)
          noevfud
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @ Rotation. PLease show me the UL listing on the early units in question. I have seen many and they do not have a UL listing. Even GM has stated this publicly and there are actual stickers to show otherwise. Where do you get your facts? The cable is 16G, looks do not determine wire size but you can check it out yourself.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Hi DaveMart "No wonder the induction charging boys are saying that the losses on their systems are no worse than on some of the chargers" It would go a long way towards explaining it. If GM has sold poorly designed anything they deserve to be pulled up for it but they seem to be doing the right thing by the customer which is good.
        MTN RANGER
        • 3 Years Ago
        @noevfud
        Yes the Leaf Panasonic L1 EVSE is higher quality. It also costs over $700 vs $360 for the Volt EVSE. While 16G is pretty weak, my unit has always run cool for the last 4 months.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          It is also probably much better for the battery to charge up at a slow rate anyway.
      megapotamus
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aren't these essentially extension cords that plug at both ends? How can six or eight pounds of copper lie around on the street overnight in this age of copper thievery? Also, curious spin abounds. marcopolo below is especially transparent in his shilling. Word of mouth? You know what word is coming out of those mouths? FIRE! Per mile or hour of operation the Volt has to be the most hazardous product Detroit has ever produced. Yes, the raw numbers are tiny but so are the sales. And spontaneous fires in brand new vehicles? That is nearly unknown. No, GM is not unfairly maligned. Like Obama it is unfairly propped up. Hello to the Emperor, marcopolo.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      > 120V cords cost between $360 and up. Are these monster cords with gold tips?
        noevfud
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        It is not just a cord, it has the J1772 connector, GFCI, and pilot signal, as well as other bits.
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        "120V cords cost between $360 and up." That's a good point. A relative bargain compared to some AV cables but I am sure it costs GM much less.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Gosh, you could rig together a nice high-amp 120v or 240v cord using 10 or 8 gauge wire using parts from home depot and/or an auto parts store for about $75. For $360, it better be gold tipped, and signed by Bob Lutz himself.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Yeah... I suspect that the Volt cord really costs less than $120 to build... but like I said. It is a market demanded item that is usually purchased only when somebody NEEDS it badly... hence the 300% markup.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Just a standard 300% markup for an item considered to be an OEM replacement for negligence.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why did UL labs approve them if they were so crappy? It sucks that something as simple as wire gauge mistake is going to be another thing used to tar this vehicle.
        noevfud
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        They did not. But they still could have and it would still be crappy.
          noevfud
          • 3 Years Ago
          @noevfud
          Oops, meaning UL listing....
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I'm starting to note that trivial as these issues are, AFAIK there have been none at all for either the Leaf or the Mitsubishi.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Spec, i 100% agree. I work with multi-kW DC and i just can't believe this at all. I'd get laughed at if another electric bike hobbyist saw me put together a cord like that for the application at hand. I just can't believe it.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Depends on the type of 12 gauge. If we're talking about multi strand copper, no problem. You could also go with a really high gauge aluminum w/ fairly thin strands. It's not overkill when you are pumping 12-20 amps through a long distance for a long period of time. I bet the 16ga. wastes so much power that people will see their power bills go down quite a bit after the switch, lol. Probably wasting 100-200 watts as is.
          noevfud
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          It called being cheap. It was certified but not by UL but that is not relevant. This is about saving on materials and I think it is made by Leer. Save a few on copper and cheap and poorly designed packaging. Nissan used Panasonic with 12G wire, quality build and a compact case that one could literally drive a truck over with no harm. Just drop the Volt EVSE once and see what happens.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I always get the feeling that there are some great engineers at GM, but even more than most they are subject to the whims and fashions of whatever gang of efficiency experts or auditors that management can decide to thrust on them at any time, with panic budget cuts and so on. One wonders what else they have cheaped out on, although of course all mass car producers work to a budget.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Hi 2WM Aluminium is absolutely not suitable for the job of a flexible cord. Does anyone know the actual maximum current flowing in the Volt charging cable on 110V. Or the actual conductor size. God bless USA with your gauge sizing instead of millimetres squared but depending on the insulation 16G should be able to handle 15A as far as I can figure and you would expect it to get warm. Google tells me that's the standard oultet rating in USA and if experience here tells me anything it's that you would not want to load it to it's maximum for any length of time. Until someone spits out the actual current and cable size specualtion is worthless.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Thanks Rotation That's it AWG.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Good point. I immediately thought of 12 gauge romex and that is stiff. 12 gauge stranded should be perfect. $40K for the car and the cut a few bucks off the charger cable? Bad move.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Rotation Thanks for the info too.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Could have spent maybe $10-$20 more to get 12 gauge instead.... that's pretty hard core bean counting right there.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          That makes me wonder what else is compromised :P
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          wouldn't 12 gauge be overkill? Kinda hard to wrap the cord up . . . 12 gauge is pretty stiff.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          No, 16AWG wouldn't waste so much power that you would see your electric bill go down quite a bit after a switch. 16AWG is 0.0132Ω per foot. At 10 feet you are talking about 0.132Ω. At 12A (that's the max of the charger), you would lose 1.58V. that's about 1.2% of your electricity. 1.58V*12A = 21W. You would save about $0.10 per 50 hours of charging, $0.25 per week tops. $1/month. 12AWG is just over half this resistance, you would only lose $0.50/month to losses, saving you about $0.50 per month or $6 per year versus 16AWG.
        megapotamus
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        "tar this vehicle"? Why is the Volt some kind of special case? Aren't consumers allowed all info and to make informed decisions? It's a car, not a sacrament. Start treating it like the former.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh wait, I see Letstakeawalk covered that further down below.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      LTAW: Fair enough. Thanks for the info.
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