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Discussion Starter #1
What kind of future is there for the Volt range extender power train? It could work in various vehicles with minor changes. What are the latest rumors - and speculation? With 250 mile batteries, is it obsolete ?
 

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If they don't put the Voltec system into a Trax or Equinox soon they're going to lose me to either the Niro PHEV or the upcoming Crosstrek PHEV.
 

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If they don't put it in the Buick LaCrosse I will just keep the Volt forever and buy used Gen 1 Volts to replace them.
 

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What kind of future is there for the Volt range extender power train? It could work in various vehicles with minor changes. What are the latest rumors - and speculation? With 250 mile batteries, is it obsolete ?
Owning a Volt has renewed my confidence in what GM could do in the future. Hard to imagine that future vehicles aren't going to be even better. The Volt and the Bolt are just the beginning.
 

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I imagine that in five or ten years, any vehicles that aren't pure EVs will likely have a power train that looks a lot like the Volt - or the Volvo T8 range.
 

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My service department frowns at me because at 108,000 on my 2011 all I needed was an oil change and wiper blades. My Volvo V70XC (great car by the way) at 110,000 needed all fluids changed, timing belt, spark plugs, brake pads and rotors all the way around, a suspension spring was found broken, stabilizer links, all at the cost of about $2,500. The Volt drivetrain seems flawless and the car rides and drives just like it did at 58,000. I’m seeing used Gen 1 Volts for sale under $10,000 and advised friends to look into it. Has to be the best value around.
 

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I sat at a light last week next to a new Buick Encore and thought to myself that putting the Volt drivetrain into one of those probably wouldn't be a big deal for GM. Nearly the same size and specs show about 300lbs lighter than the Volt (which would certainly be used up by the Volt battery). I would certainly test drive one. More trunk space than a Volt. Keep the Volt and replace the old diesel VW we still have as the second car.
 

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The Voltec transmission could easily replace any automatic transmission. It would cost roughly the same. The big cost increase over a conventionally powered vehicle is the battery and all the things needed to support the battery. GM came up with a brilliant idea with the Volt, use a battery large enough to support the vast majority of trips driven by most people but small enough that it can be charged up overnight at home. What this does is virtually eliminate the need to find a public charger both for short and long trips, the latter of course by quickly filling up at readily available filling stations. To us, this may sound like nothing new, but the extended range concept put forth by the Volt is a game changer because it allows electrification of vehicles with minimal need for change. It cuts down greenhouse emissions, lowers operating costs and provides reliability almost as much as a battery only EV without making great demands on its owner to change their driving habits. With battery costs quickly falling the cost penalty of the Volt concept is diminishing quickly. For this reason I think the future of the Volt powertrain is very good. I think most of The vehicles GM will produce in the future will have some variation of this propulsion system. in the future the Volt may disappear but it's DNA will live on in just about everything GM makes .
 

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I have to disagree larry4pro, as much as I love my volt, it is a GREAT car afterall, I think that most people just don't get it or want to get it. I still think that the plug in market is limited in the USA by mindset, and no one can change mindset. I think that the first place that we will painfully see this in sometime in mid 2019 when we are looking back at the last 18 months Tesla new car registrations.... wish it wasn't so, but that's' what I think no.
 

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Voltec future

I think you have put forth a fabulous case for the Voltec configuration, and if more people understood it Paulacton84's comment would not have any validity. Let us go forth and change mindsets!
 

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The 2016 + Volt power train is very near the same as the 2016 Malibu Hybrid. The Malibu powertrain is only a little different, non plug in, 1.8L engine, and battery is only 1,5KW instead of 18.4KW.
 

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I'm looking at a solid state battery that will be lighter, can be charged quicker, and store more electricity per pound. I would imagine that just keeping the weight the same as the current Volt gen. 2, the range would be somewhere around 100 miles or so. GM engineers could also tweak the current 1.5 engine to be more fuel efficient which could bring up the EPA mpg's to 45+ avg. MPG.

Also I would like to see a more sportwagen type Volt which would hold more stuff, and with a flat battery set up not intrude on the passenger and cargo area as much as the current Volt.

We had a 2014 Volt which we traded for our current 2016 Volt Premier. What a change, I don't think any car had such a dramatic change for just one model year, (2015 to 2016). More range, and a fuel efficient gas engine that runs on 87 octane and gets, a least in our 16 Volt, 10-15% better fuel economy when running on gas.

I would imagine a Volt model change from lets say a 2019 to a 2020 Volt should also see a positive dramatic change.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Does the Volt power train have future with battery range now approaching 250 miles? Obviously it could be used in a variety of vehicles with minimal modifications. Maybe it will live on for a time in larger, heavier vehicles that could make use of it's longer range until battery technology catches up.

Is GM giving any clues on what to expect over the next few years? I'm happy with my '17 Volt but curious about the future. For my uses the "range extender" concept is the way to go.
 

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I think the general Voltec system will continue for awhile. Not sure what GM has in mind down the road, but until infrastructure can support total electric vehicles (it is nowhere near that level now and will not be for years), battery technology supports higher capacity, lower price and faster charging, a combination of electric and gas is the only viable "1 car" solution for most people.
I do see cars like the Volt gaining electric-only range and shifting the balance of gas/electric mix. However, all-electric vehicles will remain a niche market until most of the improvement above become reality. No time soon, I think.
 

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Seeing that Chrysler adopted the same sort of technology in their Pacific Hybrid, I would say yes, Voltec has a future. As long as there is a supply of reasonably cheap gas, there is no reason not to take advantage of it. In the future, it will be about becoming more and more reliant on alternate fuel and away from OIL and keep OIL for what really needs its concentration of energy. In other words, if electric/battery will do the job, use it first and use gas last. If your daily commute and normal travel patters are supported via battery with a decent charging network, then that is what people will buy.

Interestingly, the size of North America and its vast road systems is what requires gas. In many other countries, that is not in play.
 

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not until the recharge rate is acceptable and even the best in the business Tesla takes an hour if not more. Plus 250 isn't squat and its far less in winter
 

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As we've entered winter I've come to the conclusion that the range for a completely satisfactory BEV needs to be closer to 500 than to 300 as I previously thought. The problem is that the winter range is half of the summer range if you use the heater. In the summer I'm getting 145MPGe in the Volt for non-highway trips, now it's closer to 80 and more like 60 if I use the heater when running on the battery. With the Volt I switch to Hold if I need to defrost my windshield because the ICE generates free heat so it's MPG isn't degraded by the heater, that's not an option in a BEV. My guess is that we won't have the battery tech to give that range at a reasonable price until at least 2025, maybe longer, so there is room for another generation of Voltec cars.
 

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Any FWD can be converted by exchanging the automatic for a Voltec transmission and a suitable sized battery. The latter is problematic due to finding suitable space which means a new chassis is required.

How about a beefed up Voltec transmission on a full sized pickup coupled with a transverse mounted 250 HP 2 liter turbo 4-cylinder driving the front wheels and the rear wheels driven by a 200 HP electric motor from the Bolt? The electric motor only used during acceleration and for 4WD, steady state chores handled by the Voltec driving the front wheels. A battery good for 50 miles AER, CS mileage in the 30's and a price tag on the low $50Ks. No drive shaft, no transfer case, no space issues to house the battery and a much shorter engine compartment with the space saved used to lengthen the bed without having to extend the overall vehicle.
 

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As we've entered winter I've come to the conclusion that the range for a completely satisfactory BEV needs to be closer to 500 than to 300 as I previously thought. The problem is that the winter range is half of the summer range if you use the heater. In the summer I'm getting 145MPGe in the Volt for non-highway trips, now it's closer to 80 and more like 60 if I use the heater when running on the battery. With the Volt I switch to Hold if I need to defrost my windshield because the ICE generates free heat so it's MPG isn't degraded by the heater, that's not an option in a BEV. My guess is that we won't have the battery tech to give that range at a reasonable price until at least 2025, maybe longer, so there is room for another generation of Voltec cars.
A BEV needs to use extra energy to warm up, but then the amount of additional energy needed reduces as it just needs to maintain the temperature. On longer trips there is a high proportion of the trip already warmed up, because the car will either be driven or charging. In addition, pre-conditioning can be used to reduce the warm-up penalty on range.

The big challenge for BEVs in very cold weather is where there's a day return trip, with the car getting a cold soak in between. Those are the trips where the additional range will make a significant difference.

But, people don't all have to deal with very cold conditions, they drive less in winter than in summer, drive longer distances less in bad conditions than in good, and don't typically long distances much. In addition, most households in the USA are multi-vehicle, which would allow for a BEV, especially a long-range BEV.

I think there's definitely room for at least one generation of Voltec, but I don't expect that there'll have to be one.

In 2022 the CARB ZEV requirement will be 14.5% of which at most 4.5% can be TZEV.
The Bolt is a long-range BEV that gets the maximum 4 credits. 3.625% of sales being long-range BEV would suffice.
The Volt is a TZEV that has just enough range to get the maximum 1.3 credits.
Given the relative credit value of the cars and the need for over 2/3 to be ZEV by 2022, and an increasing proportion needing to be ZEV through to 2025, and given the relative efficiency ratings of BEV v PHEV, unless GM can lobby CARB hard enough to change the BEVx rules to allow some Volt sales to count towards ZEV, they'll not much incentive to push Voltec sales. Bolt's already outselling the Volt and any improvements in PEV techonology is only likely to favor BEV over PHEV even more.
 
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