As part of the massive media blitz being rolled out today by General Motors in preparation for the new 230-mpg Chevy Volt and some B20 biodiesel trucks (more on these later), we finally got to see the two chargers that will come with the Volt when it becomes available in November 2010.
With each Volt purchase you'll get one of these two chargers – either a portable 120V charging unit that can plug into any outlet in the house (or, more likely, the garage) and can also be carried along in the vehicle, or a dedicated 240V unit (seen above) that will require installation into a more powerful connection, just like a dryer. Of course, the 240V unit will charge up the Volt quicker than the portable unit, but GM knows that customers will have different needs and so wants to offer options. That coiled orange cord on the 240V unit might also be an option, along with a regular straight cord by next November. Read all about these chargers after the jump.
GM engineering specialist Gery Kissel explained that the 120V unit (seen right) has two charge rates. The normal rate is 12 amps, but if this causes circuits to break or other problems in the house, there is a user-selectable 8 amp charge option. The 240V charger has a 16 amp output, which is just over what the Volt's 16 kWh battery is suited for. The charger has three lights to indicate that the unit is receiving AC power, if there is a fault, like a ground fault circuit interrupter indicator, and whether or not there is a ground present.
The now-standard J1772 connector had plenty of safety features built in. Kissel said that it will survive being driven over if it's left on the ground, for example. Another very useful feature: The Volt won't move if you leave it plugged in. This disabling feature is not dependent on whether there is current coming in or not. The car itself detects if the handle is plugged in, eliminating the possibility of a bright orange tail.
One extra that GM is adding to the J1772 is a flashlight that will light up whenever the release handle is depressed. Water and weather and sunlight won't be a problem for these chargers, either. Both chargers can be mounted outdoors, if needed, and the female connectors can be dipped in water or sprayed clean.
While the near-production units that GM displayed today are functional and have been used to charge up actual Volts, another step in the process will happen sometime next year when the first units are installed in GM employee homes for testing purposes.
You can listen to Kissel's presentation by clicking play below:
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sebastian Blanco / Weblogs, Inc.
You can check out the Home Charging 101 slideshow gallery below.