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I'm wondering if the Volt will come with a disclaimer not recommending it for extended mountain driving. I can envision a scenario during an extended uphill climb after the intial 40 miles has been used up where the ICE can't recharge the battery fast enough and the battery gets drained.
 

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40 miles uphill

... In the snow no less.

Seriously, where are you gonna go where you can drive for 40 miles and its all uphill. you will regen on the downhill sections so a lot of the climbing power will be recoved. and the hugely oversized genset will take care of the rest.

You probably wouldn't want to try and win the Pike's Peak hill-climb in the volt (even though you wouldn't suffer the tremendous power loss due to altitude that the other cars would be dealing with).

The specs on the Volt seem like it will work just fine for driving in any part of the county you could think to drive it on.
 

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I have been a Pruis owner for 5 years and I can tell you the amount of battery recharge going coasting and downhill is pretty small, and if the Volt ICE is only supposed to idle at a fixed RPM to keep the battery at a 30% charge I can easily imagine the rate of energy drain needed to make it up long mountain passes could exceed the replenishment rate from the ICE. I doubt there will be many folks in that situation but it would make for bad headlines if a family of 4 were stranded on a Colorado vaction in their brand new Volt. It seems like they could engineer the ICE to run at higher RPM to match the recharge rate with the rate of drain.
 

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I have been a Pruis owner for 5 years and I can tell you the amount of battery recharge going coasting and downhill is pretty small, and if the Volt ICE is only supposed to idle at a fixed RPM to keep the battery at a 30% charge I can easily imagine the rate of energy drain needed to make it up long mountain passes could exceed the replenishment rate from the ICE. I doubt there will be many folks in that situation but it would make for bad headlines if a family of 4 were stranded on a Colorado vaction in their brand new Volt. It seems like they could engineer the ICE to run at higher RPM to match the recharge rate with the rate of drain.
The Prius is as similar to the Volt as it is to a plain old ICEmobile. Look closer at the Volt specs and you'll see it should do fine in normal highway driving. You could have a problem on a long freeway climb going 80+mph but you won't get stranded, just 53KW power limited worst case.
 

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54kW is plenty of power to climb even the steepest hills, unless the Volt weighs significantly more than expected.
 

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kubel wrote: “54kW is plenty of power to climb even the steepest hills…”

54kW is 72HP. Do you think this is enough for a 3500Lb car? As I mentioned elsewhere even the smallest GM model Aveo (2531Lbs) is rated at 103HP. The Volt is for short-distance city commuting on stored electricity and this concept is good. If you try to make it a general-purpose vehicle, it will become an impractical heavy monster.
 

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kubel wrote: “54kW is plenty of power to climb even the steepest hills…”

54kW is 72HP. Do you think this is enough for a 3500Lb car? As I mentioned elsewhere even the smallest GM model Aveo (2531Lbs) is rated at 103HP. The Volt is for short-distance city commuting on stored electricity and this concept is good. If you try to make it a general-purpose vehicle, it will become an impractical heavy monster.
Electric hp is more efficient than gas hp. You can multiply electric hp
by 4 to get equivalent gas hp, so 72 electric hp is equivilant to
288 gas hp.
 

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The orginal late 50's VW Beatle has a 40 HP engine and managed to get people anywhere they wanted to go. You may not climb the Grape Vine at 90 MPH, but you'll climb it non-the-less.
If you try to make it a general-purpose vehicle, it will become an impractical heavy monster.
My Volt will be my generqal purpose vehicle. I may climb the Cascade range from time to time or even drive south on I-5 over the many summits that you have to go over in that direction. I'm not worried about it at all.
 

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hlreed wrote: “Electric hp is more efficient than gas hp… ”
??? Where did you get this idea? I would suggest that you Wiki HP (or horse power).

Although there are two major definitions of horsepower;British (BHP) and French or metric (ps or Pferdestärke), it is OK to use 750W (0.75kW) as 1 HP for everyday conversational purpose. If you are talking about the efficiency of heat-to-mechanical energy conversion of ICE (about 20 percent) and the efficiency of electric-to-mechanical energy conversion of motor (better than 90 percent), it is an entirely different subject
 

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HP is rated at maximum, usually at a very high RPM. Even an Aveo at 103HP won't be putting all 103 horsies to the wheels when climbing.

Maybe someone can actually run the numbers and walk us through the physics, but I don't think the Volt will have a problem climbing even the toughest hills.
 

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Mountains Should be No Problem

Check this previous post where I described a long range driving scenario from Kansas City to Denver to San Francisco, with the ICE in operation.

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=133

The ICE will probably operate at 3 or 4 load points (from what we heard at VoltNation), and it now appears that it will operate over a speed range (1500 to 3200 rpm, just a guess).

The power from the ICE should be adequate to handle mountain driving.
 
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