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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello:

I am wondering if anyone has any hard information comparing NVH of a Volt driving on battery power only compared to a Rolls Royce or any of the luxury vehicles known to have particularly quiet low-NVH rides. Isn't there an elite Toyota luxury high end limo that is also known for low NVH?... I'd be curious as to how the Volt stacks up to that.

Edit:

Taking a quick look around, while the EV Powertrain is relatively quiet and vibration-free, I'm guessing that all the acoustic measures in this recent Rolls Royce make it indeed the quietest in the world. Maybe Cadillac can use a GM EV powertrain and some of its own engineering (and maybe even deaden the sound of the high-pitched EV-motor-whine?) and compete with this:

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/07/...tom-viii-is-the-most-silent-car-in-the-world/

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII Is The 'Most Silent' Car In The World
Andrew P Collins and Jalopnik
Jul 28, 2017, 3:45pm ⋅ Filed to:
2018 rolls-royce phantom
 

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That'd be one helluva feat if they could compete with cars where the price is listed in millions of (or at least fractions of a million) bucks on the quietness front. I doubt they are ever going to compete in the road noise or wind noise category with something like that. For me, I don't mind a little road or wind noise as that's more of a calming "white noise" thing and also gives you some feedback. I don't really mind a little high pitched spaceship-like EV acceleration noise either. The main thing that bothers me (now) is the droning ICE noise. Used to be music to my ears but these days, I prefer less "buzzing" on acceleration.

Mike
 

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During our trips to japan, I've been driven to the Otani in Tokyo in a Century more than once, and ridden in a score of RRs from new to vintage.

Love our Volt, and sure enough, it's a very, very nice, quiet car. No question.

But it ain't no Roller. It's not even a 7 Series or an S Class, and for sure not a Century. It is, however, more serene than my A8...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
During our trips to japan, I've been driven to the Otani in Tokyo in a Century more than once, and ridden in a score of RRs from new to vintage.

Love our Volt, and sure enough, it's a very, very nice, quiet car. No question.

But it ain't no Roller. It's not even a 7 Series or an S Class, and for sure not a Century. It is, however, more serene than my A8...
Thanks, good to get this perspective. I'd be curious if you've ridden in a Model S and how that compares.

I guess the next question is whether a beefed-up Volt or Bolt Powertrain, with its ability to make a vehicle much quieter (at least at times) could serve as the basis for a high-end Cadillac outfitted in all possible ways to compete with Century/RR/7-series/S-Class, etc. Clearly the quieter powertrain is only a portion of the equation on the path toward world-class low-NVH marks, but many other measures could surely be taken by GM Engineers, especially given that the powertrain already provides the step-change improvement in lower energy and lower carbon, so adding weight to the vehicle, while annoying, is more ok than it used to be.
 

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I remember riding in a first year Lexus LS400 (1989). Even that was incredibly serene (if not RR territory) and the Volt doesn't even compare. And don't get me started on the engine. The Volt is very buzzy.
 

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Thanks, good to get this perspective. I'd be curious if you've ridden in a Model S and how that compares.

I guess the next question is whether a beefed-up Volt or Bolt Powertrain, with its ability to make a vehicle much quieter (at least at times) could serve as the basis for a high-end Cadillac outfitted in all possible ways to compete with Century/RR/7-series/S-Class, etc. Clearly the quieter powertrain is only a portion of the equation on the path toward world-class low-NVH marks, but many other measures could surely be taken by GM Engineers, especially given that the powertrain already provides the step-change improvement in lower energy and lower carbon, so adding weight to the vehicle, while annoying, is more ok than it used to be.
Our two S Class MBs (2006, 2010) that we keep overseas are wonderful vehicles, powerful yet quiet at any speed. The '10 is the one we use to explore the continent most often, we just drove it this past summer with another couple from our home in Anzio all the way to Bruges and back, four leisurely days there and three for the return trip. Our Dallas area friends have some newer models, and they are similarly serene, even in our frantic traffic.

Most of the cost of the Volt was certainly dedicated to the wonderful drive train, but the rest of the vehicle is typical GM... Meaning the goals of production are geared more towards mass-production than better craftsmanship. Even the ELRs we briefly considered when they were released were nowhere near as well-assembled or as composed as any of the other luxury marques from across the pond, which was probably a factor in the lack of buyer enthusiasm. Take a ride in a 7 or an S sometime and you'll immediately see the difference. And a RR or a Bentley are in an entirely different orbit...

That's not to say I don't like our Volt. We had sort-of considered them over the years, as we've always been somewhat environmentally-sensitive (I have an original Insight that we bought new in 2000, we've experimented with LPG vehicles in our company fleet over the years, and our south roof is covered in 2000 ft² of solar panels). One of the guys in my office building bought a '15 brand new red Volt for his wife, who loved it, but when they went to trade it in, the dealer only offered them $12,000 for it. We were having lunch when he told me that, and I just blurted out, "hell, I'll give you that for it," and he took me up on it. Had my office manager cut him a check when we got back... At least he picked up the check for lunch. :D That's how we have our little runner in the garage, with all of 22,000 miles. And we're very, very pleased with it, and how well it rides and drives. But no way, no how will it ever compare to the other vehicles you've mentioned...
 

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Of course, the RR also come WITH an incredible umbrella in the holder... :) But no, at speed the Volt NVH is no better than most other cars, and not as good as some other 40K cars...
Of course the Volt does have an umbrella holder that is just like the RR :)
 

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Of course, the RR also come WITH an incredible umbrella in the holder... :)
What's incredible about it? Does it open serenely? :D

Also, on the topic of craftsmanship, to me, that's about more than the materials. Many will get in a car and start poking at the dash to see if it is "soft touch plastic". Why are you poking at your dash? Did you go for a button and miss? How often do you fondle your dash?

Mike
 

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Of course, the RR also come WITH an incredible umbrella in the holder... :) But no, at speed the Volt NVH is no better than most other cars, and not as good as some other 40K cars...
I had to buy my own umbrella. But it's pretty nice.
 

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For any long trip our 2009 MB CLK 350 is much more comfortable than our 2015 Volt Premium. The noise level may be a bit higher, but the overall comfort is incomparable.
 

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Also, on the topic of craftsmanship, to me, that's about more than the materials. Many will get in a car and start poking at the dash to see if it is "soft touch plastic". Why are you poking at your dash? Did you go for a button and miss? How often do you fondle your dash?
"Is your dashboard itchy?" Yeah, bugs the heck out of me. Some cars have a natural "petting spot" where a particular driver ends up touching a lot, and that's important to feel nice. But the rest of the car, I care more about the reflected sound acoustics even, than what the dash feels like.

( '78 Merc Marquis: driver side door just down from the window, almost even with the steering while. 92 Cavalier: power window buttons on the center armrest console. '05 PT cruiser: dimples on the driver airbag/horn cover. 12 Volt: wing mirror control rocker switch. The 92 Geo Metro didn't have such a spot that I can remember. )
 

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Some cars have a natural "petting spot" where a particular driver ends up touching a lot, and that's important to feel nice.
The Volt still fails in this regard. The sides of the console where your right leg contacts it are basically like a rock.
 

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The part of the Volt that really bugs me is the door panels. Yes there is some "soft touch" material on the front door panels, but not enough. And none on the rear panels. Quieter tires would also greatly help NVH, but of course at a cost of EV range.

Our low-rent 2006 C-Class is no panacea either. It is my daily driver during the week, as SWMBO commutes with the Volt. It is generally also our go-to car for road trips. But the drive train drives me nuts. It was the first year for their 7-speed tranny. Smooth shifting, especially when cold, isn't its forte. Can't wait for the Model 3 to show up...
 

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Our low-rent 2006 C-Class is no panacea either. It is my daily driver during the week, as SWMBO commutes with the Volt. It is generally also our go-to car for road trips. But the drive train drives me nuts. It was the first year for their 7-speed tranny. Smooth shifting, especially when cold, isn't its forte. Can't wait for the Model 3 to show up...
Even worse in the new C Class is the start-stop system. Talk about not smooth, I feel like I'm driving a golf cart.
 

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I have to agree with those on this thread saying (essentially) the Volt isn't even in the same universe NVH-wise as truly refined luxury cars (but fortunately, also price-wise!). On a cold day my 2016 Volt interior sounds like a wicker basket, with all its creaking, buzzing, and rattling! My take on it is that all GM vehicles are designed for quick click-snap-thump assembly by UAW workers, using plastic retainers and spring clips wherever possible. That just ain't gonna make for a quiet, solid interior!

I don't think the problem is limited to the cost-saving interior. The suspension could also use some more tuning and isolation so smaller bumps and road noise are transmitted less into that interior snare-drum. A properly tuned suspension "lowpass filter" can be designed to reduce road noise conduction without loss of driving dynamics, but that takes $$$ that the traffic won't bear (ELR anyone?)

Someday, somehow, I hope to find an up-market EREV produced by an established luxury automaker with a full servicing network. If GM had produced a Gen 2 ELR, I would probably have bought or leased one. But there really is no market for it, so I have to sit tight for now.
 

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What about the active "noise cancellation" of the ELR ?. I wonder if could be applied to the Volt to reduce tire road noise. In the meantime will wait for the New Continental Tires with internal foam for noise control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I have to agree with those on this thread saying (essentially) the Volt isn't even in the same universe NVH-wise as truly refined luxury cars (but fortunately, also price-wise!). [ ...]
Someday, somehow, I hope to find an up-market EREV produced by an established luxury automaker with a full servicing network. If GM had produced a Gen 2 ELR, I would probably have bought or leased one. But there really is no market for it, so I have to sit tight for now.
Thanks for the responses. Upon consideration, I also agree with the responses that the Volt is not in the same universe NVH-wise, and I'm the originator of the thread. A few things were on my mind, including a bit of projecting. I had 3 years to live with a Nissan Leaf and while it had many drawbacks, at least it had that EV quietness to it. When I got my Volt, and I opened the window and listened to the relative lack of noise while I was at low speed, I remembered, and thought, ah, at least here this is again.

Regardless of the fact that GM has failed to get something really good going with Volt NVH (and the slap-it-together approach may have a point) I also think the more important question hasn't been answered here, so I'm going to try to ask it (I'm not sure if it's for the first time, but I'll ask it):

Since EV powertrains, if well-executed, offer a step-change improvement in NVH (at least, at the powertrain level), does GM's strong present position in EV powertrains possibly afford them the opportunity to deliver the whole package in terms of a vehicle that has world-class NVH? Perhaps through Cadillac?

A further and separate question, as I mull over the issues:

Since EVs in general offer once-and-for-all zero-Carbon driving, then does light-weighting really matter that much any more? Does it matter that much if a vehicle gets 70 or 100 mpge, if all the miles are solar-powered? So, if there is some sort of rebound effect and some of the mpge is given back to adding weight in the name of a larger, more luxurious and lower-NVH ride, does that matter a great deal?

Further, might we eventually see the end of tiny econo-cars?

I don't know the answers, just kind of wondering out loud.
 

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Since EV powertrains, if well-executed, offer a step-change improvement in NVH (at least, at the powertrain level), does GM's strong present position in EV powertrains possibly afford them the opportunity to deliver the whole package in terms of a vehicle that has world-class NVH? Perhaps through Cadillac?
Perhaps. But I wouldn't bet on it from GM. What I would bet on is that Volvo, BMW, and MB will be all over this concept in the next couple of years when the start rolling out EVs en mass.

A further and separate question, as I mull over the issues:

Since EVs in general offer once-and-for-all zero-Carbon driving, then does light-weighting really matter that much any more? Does it matter that much if a vehicle gets 70 or 100 mpge, if all the miles are solar-powered? So, if there is some sort of rebound effect and some of the mpge is given back to adding weight in the name of a larger, more luxurious and lower-NVH ride, does that matter a great deal?

Further, might we eventually see the end of tiny econo-cars?

I don't know the answers, just kind of wondering out loud.
There will always be a market for econo-cars. Cheap is always in style and always sells because there is always someone willing to give up something to get it for less. This works for cars and just about anything else you can imagine.
 

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If the Cadillac division were smart they would use electrification as a tool to restore Cadillac's reputation as a premium brand. GM destroyed Cadillac in the 1980s by re-branding Chevy's has Cadillac's, even though today's Cadillac's are much better than that they haven't been able to shake that reputation. If you want a premium car today you buy from the Germans. GM has a lead in EV technology which they could use to shake things up. Unfortunately up to this point Cadillac has been repeating the mistake if the 80s by dropping a Cadillac body on top of a Volt, the result is a car with half the range of the Volt at twice the price, what sense does that make? Cadillac should be aiming at the Model S and Model X as their competition, they shouldn't be cheaping out by selling crippled Volts with nicer seats.
 
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