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What Upgrades are Coming for the Volt?

  • More Compact Battery/5 Passenger Seating

    Votes: 25 23.8%
  • Direct Injection/More Efficient Range Extender

    Votes: 56 53.3%
  • Sport Model/More Powerful Motor

    Votes: 19 18.1%
  • Solar Roof (For Accessories, A/C)

    Votes: 14 13.3%
  • Longer Electric Range (50-100 miles)

    Votes: 63 60.0%

  • Total voters
    105
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Discussion Starter #1
Just thought I'd do some armchair-quarterbacking and predict some of the features or changes that may be coming within the next few years for the Volt. I've posted my predictions in a poll, but I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.
 

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2012-2014 will likely be incremental refinements.

All substantial improvements in the Volt will be battery related. Lower cost and smaller are the most important needs. Smaller = 5-passenger seating. Smaller and cheaper would also allow GM to sell a choice of EV range.

They will probably improve the engine to allow higher CS-mode MPG, but that will only be true if it doesn't impact the costs much. You just can't afford to invest money in an engine that doesn't get used much.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree. I think changes to the size/configuration/capacity of the battery will probably be most likely short-term changes. The DI engine could be coming relatively soon. Seems like GM is heading in the direction of an all-DI lineup in the near future. A DI engine would probably increase fuel economy, as well as increase range-extender output, possibly facilitating a more powerful electric motor. Although, from my brief test-drive in L.A. I certainly didn't think the Volt was under-powered. But more power is never a bad thing. :) After all, Tim Allen IS the new voice of Chevy...AARGH!! AARGH!!
 

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A hard drive that sorts songs by track order? :)

I think more potent/cheaper/smaller batteries are likely, and a more efficient engine will be investigated (but won't be as likely).
 

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Why don't they put a small diesel in the Volt. That would be far more fuel eficient than this gas thing? I think they have everything else right at this time. This car is a nice balance, but a diesel generator engine would help a lot. I think they should re-badge this car and put 3 portholes on each front fender. This new car would be a Buick and should be called an Electra. That would revive the old name. Remember the Electra deuce and a quarter,(225). Oh heck...maybe this crowd is too young.:) Maybe that old 225 had 4 portholes a side; I guess I don't remember. I do know that your girlfriend had to kiss you when you spotted a 4 hole Buick. Am I dating myself?:)
 

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I believe that the Buick with four portholes was much bigger, and was the Roadmaster. My neighbor had one and traded it for a Volkswagen SUV. The Volt already has a Buick twin which is the 2011 Regal. The Electra was larger, so I recommend that the LaCrosse body be converted to Voltec, and given the Electra name. I have a 1995 Buick Regal, and I plan to keep it until I can buy my own Volt or Electra.

Raymond
 

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Engine options would be good. I would choose cheaper and sacrifice performance. Diesels do add cost to a vehicle though and emissions controls are a big pain (e.g. expensive).
 

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No DI or turbos, too expensive and noisy, not useful for an engine that does not need to be responsive.. but an atkinson cycle makes lots of sense, probably using the larger 1.8L sister engine to compensate for the reduction in torque.

Note the Prius does no have DI or a turbo.
 

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Until Fuel Cells are more economical, I think using a diesel engine would be a good option. One reason is that the current engine does get a little noisy when it uses the higher revs to generate more electricity. Having the engine rpms not directly related to pedal location is a bit distracting as well. I believe a diesel engine would be able to produce more energy at lower rpms and result in a significant reduction in noise generation.
 

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Gah, accidentally hit tab, then without thinking hit backspace to delete the tab from my word processor - oh cr*p I'm in FF not Word. :( Lost a nice long post...

For 2012 I expect nothing to change - maybe some minor software tweaks. Hopefully an ICE enhancement (though still with the 1.4L). I hope for (but don't expect) flexfuel.

For 2013 I expect a redesigned battery, probably a new range extender ICE (or at least major improvements - DI and/or Atkinson cycle, etc.). With the redesigned battery we may get 5 passenger seating. I expect some body tweaks as well - maybe more back seat headroom & legroom, etc. For this year they may reduce some of the luxury features to bring down price. I'm guessing battery redesign will save a couple $k and maybe luxury loss will bring base price near $35k before tax credit (but luxury loss may wait until 2014).

For 2014 I expect nothing. Probably the year a second voltec is released - maybe a small SUV (EREV Equinox?)

For 2015 I expect a Gen 3 battery.

For those other things:

Longer range: If battery power density is increased, you may see longer range. Probably not much - enough to get EPA to 50 miles max. And only if density increases a lot. First thing will be to reduce battery weight. ( I want a longer range - I have a 53 mile round trip daily with no office charging).

Selectable range: Only aftermarket, IF GM allows it, and only if battery technology advances a lot. Tech. isn't there yet. It just doesn't make sense for a large company to make this a factory option. Now, if it was an EREV Van (full size) or Silverado 2500, then an 'add a battery module' option makes sense. Otherwise, the cost of the option isn't worth it - it'll either cost so much very few will use it, or it won't make money if priced so it is useful.

Diesel or Fuel Cell: Not at this time. They're just not high enough demand in the case of diesel and not nearly advanced enough in the case of fuel cells. I see fuel cell in the future, but probably not this decade.

More Power (Volt SS): Possibly in the Gen 3 release, an option for a 150kw traction motor - possibly the same motor used in the EREV SUV/Crossover that was released the year before. With obvious suspension and handling changes of course.

Truck/Van: That would likely be the 3rd Voltec vehicle.

Mike.
 

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I'd like to see a heated steering wheel. This should make the drive more comfortable driving in cold weather and remain in ECO mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fingerprints are starting to accumlate on the center stack. Perhaps back to buttons or maybe a textured surface?
Seems like that's what happens with a lot of these smooth touch surfaces. I noticed it the most when I got my iPad. Every now and then, I wipe it down with some Windex and facial tissues. Problem solved. :)
 

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Old thread but now might be a fun time top open up the speculation again since we have a peak at what 2012 will offer.

I still think DI will be a must have in the next Gen Volt. If GM is going to market the car as "More car than electric", then it needs to perform as well or better than any compact car in the compact segment while driving in CS mode. DI will increase power, increase torque, eliminate the need for premium fuel, and provide greater fuel efficiency overall. With proper tuning and development the Volt should get 40 mpg or greater in CS mode. This is critical for marketing if nothing else.

Another thing I think we'll see tweaked by 2014 is aerodynamics. The car is still pretty conventional looking, which means to me that there GM left a few points of aero efficiency on the table. Tire technology will have improved by 2014 as well, so look for marginal decreases in rolling resistance there.

I really feel like GM will find a way to get a 5th passenger seat in the car, but if the battery has to be modified, then look for 2014 or later. That's a major redesign of the vehicle structure and battery pack...not something they're going to slip in there as a mid-year change.
 

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I still think DI will be a must have in the next Gen Volt.
I agree DI is a must (or some other forms of engine efficiency improvements). Not for more performance, but for better fuel economy.

DI will increase power, increase torque, eliminate the need for premium fuel, and provide greater fuel efficiency overall.
Agree with all of the above, except eliminating the need for premium fuel. I think the #1 driver of the need for premium fuel is fuel stability stranded in the gas tank. Period. If they could get 1 year life out of regular unleaded, they'd OK it in a heartbeat IMHO. I honestly think that's the E85-be-gone too. It wouldn't surprise me if the solution to the E85 problem is that if the software detects E85 in the tank (and has a way to do so) it'll burn it off in N months, instead of a year.

In any case the increased power and torque per unit of gas simply applies to less gas used during CS, improving efficiency.

BTW in most situations I'm finding, it's already not difficult to get greater than 40 MPG CS mode driving. There are some things GM could do to make it easier (like showing the true SOC during Mountain Mode), but unless you're doing 100% city CS driving it's easy to beat the EPA numbers.
 

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I agree DI is a must (or some other forms of engine efficiency improvements). Not for more performance, but for better fuel economy.

Agree with all of the above, except eliminating the need for premium fuel. I think the #1 driver of the need for premium fuel is fuel stability stranded in the gas tank. Period.
"Premium" gas does not have additional fuel additives that increase shelf life over the standard grade sold at the same gas station. Premium, mid-grade, and regular are simply a measure of the octane number, which is defined as the fuel's ability to resist detonation. The higher the octane rating the higher the resistance to detonation.

Efficiency is increased by raising the compression ratio of the engine and/or increasing the spark advance. This increases the cylinder pressure and hence torque and horsepower (horsepower is a calculation based on torque and rpm).

The Volt engineers clearly determined that they needed more torque at a lower rpm than they were getting with 87 octane gasoline. Specifying premium fuel was probably a highly debated topic between the engineers and marketing people at the time.

If GM engineers were truly worried about fuel stability, they would have specified 87 octane gas and just had the engine cycle more frequently to burn it off more quickly. A simple software tweak.

If you can sight some sources regarding premium fuel an increased shelf life, I'd happily read them.
 

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If you can sight some sources regarding premium fuel an increased shelf life, I'd happily read them.
I'm no expert, and am simply reciting from memory my recall of several posts on the increased stability of premium over regular. I'd be happy to see someone who knows chapter and verse again recite the tale.

Just burning off the tank more often, as you suggest, has other marketing and image issues concerned. My suspicion is they'll have to bite that bullet for E-85.
 
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