GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As a student, I did an EV conversion for the University of Michigan Transportation Dept. back in 1995. The car was used by a lot of different people. One of the big feedback items was that people would get a shock when they got out of the car. They were concerned that they were going to die. Now, this is a pretty reasonable concern. The fact is that it was just static electricity buildup due to the use of low rolling resistance tires. But being an EV, there was a real problem of perception.

I would suggest that the Volt use low rolling resistance tires (because that makes a big difference in range), but that the tires be specified to have some minimum resistivity to allow static buildup to dissipate.

This has the added benefit of reducing the risk of gas station fires triggered by static electricity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
I'd never even considered this. It's common for this to happen in low-humidity conditions, but people who can't remember where they put their keys won't remember that the same thing happened in their conventional cars for years and will howl that the Volt is going to electrocute them. You're right that GM should try to get ahead of this and hopefully minimize that static charge or someone will sue for "emotional distress."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
My concern with this is how it would handle in snowy/winter conditions...heck even rainy conditions. I'm not sure what the makeup or design of "low rolling resistance tires" are, but my thoughts are on the traction these tires would have. :confused:

On another note...

Static build-up you say, huh? Sounds like potential to gather more "residual" charge for the system in general. I'm sure they could find (or already have) a way to harness this extra energy. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
One of the big feedback items was that people would get a shock when they got out of the car.
I've gotten static shocks from many vehicles over the years.
But in my experience the worst vehicle in terms of static electric discharge was & is the Ford Ranger.
It got to the point where I would actually anticipate the shock, kind of fun actually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
For decades they have sold static strips that people can install on their cars. It's just a little grounding strap that rubbed on the ground and was attached to the frame or metal bumper. If GM had to, they could go to this approach. Here's a sample picture.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
I've gotten static shocks from many vehicles over the years.
But in my experience the worst vehicle in terms of static electric discharge was & is the Ford Ranger.
It got to the point where I would actually anticipate the shock, kind of fun actually.
Haha, I know the feeling. I drive a 01 Ford Focus, and I pretty much anticipate a huge shock (this isn't just a little taking-a-wool-sweater-out-of-the-drier shock, it's a pretty good JOLT). When I don't get it, I'm almost disappointed that I braced myself for a shock and didn't get one. :)

This was actually on cartalk a few months ago. They suggested actually grounding the vehicle by running a piece of thin and flexible conductive material (very small chain perhaps) down so it scrapes the ground, discharging the vehicle before it discharges through you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
This was actually on cartalk a few months ago. They suggested actually grounding the vehicle by running a piece of thin and flexible conductive material (very small chain perhaps) down so it scrapes the ground, discharging the vehicle before it discharges through you.
I've also heard them suggest holding a quarter when you get out of the car so that the spark goes through the quarter first. I guess I'm looking for GM to do something a little better than this or having something scrape the ground.

On the other hand, if the OEM equipment is low rolling resistance tires with low electrical resistance, then as soon as the tires are changed, you'll have the same problem.

But the main problem is people who drive the car for the first time, and get a shock, and decide (perhaps subconciously) that they don't really want an electric car. So taking care of the problem when the car is new is most of the battle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
Not exactly something new. I had a 88 grand am when I was in highschool and during the low humidity winter months I sometimes saw an ark 1" long. It was pretty cool demonstration of a static discharge, but relatively painful. I have a woodturning shop and when it's dry and I'm cleaning the excess dust out of the saw or the lathe with the sawdust collection vacuum if you don't ground yourself you can feel it discharging though your shoes and see the dust traveling through the static field around the edges of the chute and the floor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,314 Posts
Automatic Grounding Rod.

How about a static discharger that automatically extends out a grounding rod as you unlock the door and then retracts as you close the door? One thing I love about American Cars is that it automatically unlocks when you open the door from the inside. It is one of the very user-friendly feature that makes excellent sense. So with the volt, simply extending a grounding rod as you open the door and then retracting as you close it would be really cool, unless you want shock therapy constantly.

Somebody patent this quick!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top