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Does the Green Ball help maximize your battery range?


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I drive a Volt and also BMW's ActiveE. The ActiveE's speedometer style "Charge-Ready-Discharge" dial is extreemly useful in maximizing regenerative braking. By watching that dial in conjunction with the accelerator I can increase my range from 3 to 3.5 and even 4 miles per KWh. The Volt's Green Ball simply spins in the middle of the dial and only moves down in a sudden stop or up if you "stomp" on the accererator. I would strongly recommend the Green Ball be reprogrammed to provide the driver with a "live-time" indication of whether the driver's accelerator use is charging or discharging the battery like my ActiveE does. In stop-and-go Manhattan traffic I can tell from this ActiveE "regen" dial that there's virtually NO battery depletion if I accelerate and slow-down correctly. I think my Volt would act the same way IF i had this kind of information - not merely a floating Green Ball! My wife and I love the Volt and really want to see it succeed AND improve!
 

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I drive a Volt and also BMW's ActiveE. The ActiveE's speedometer style "Charge-Ready-Discharge" dial is extreemly useful in maximizing regenerative braking. By watching that dial in conjunction with the accelerator I can increase my range from 3 to 3.5 and even 4 miles per KWh. The Volt's Green Ball simply spins in the middle of the dial and only moves down in a sudden stop or up if you "stomp" on the accererator. I would strongly recommend the Green Ball be reprogrammed to provide the driver with a "live-time" indication of whether the driver's accelerator use is charging or discharging the battery like my ActiveE does. In stop-and-go Manhattan traffic I can tell from this ActiveE "regen" dial that there's virtually NO battery depletion if I accelerate and slow-down correctly. I think my Volt would act the same way IF i had this kind of information - not merely a floating Green Ball! My wife and I love the Volt and really want to see it succeed AND improve!

If you turn the middle console onto power-flow mode (image of the car) you can see if you are doing regen or using power.

The green ball has a range of subtle clues. it will reduce the speed of spinning as you do less efficient things, it will loose its leaves (just about when friction brakes come on). It moves up if you accelerating too hard, down if you are braking/regen too often.
 

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The green ball

If you turn the middle console onto power-flow mode (image of the car) you can see if you are doing regen or using power.

The green ball has a range of subtle clues. it will reduce the speed of spinning as you do less efficient things, it will loose its leaves (just about when friction brakes come on). It moves up if you accelerating too hard, down if you are braking/regen too often.
Wow, I guess I should go back and RTFM! Never knew the subtile info displayed by the Green Ball. But would personally like to see Green Ball move up and down showing regen in real time. However, don't understand how you can ever "regen too often" !
 

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Wow, I guess I should go back and RTFM! Never knew the subtile info displayed by the Green Ball. But would personally like to see Green Ball move up and down showing regen in real time. However, don't understand how you can ever "regen too often" !
If you accelerate aggressively then regen, you could have gone slower and coasted a bit rather than overly aggressively doing regen. Regen only recovers a part fo the power you put into it.

I'd like a geek mode where I could see instand kWh usage..
 

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The vast majority of folks here would probably like more information but the green ball gets the job done in a very small space in an easy to understand way. People who take a test drive seem to take to it immediately. Plus there is something to be said about paying attention to the road rather than the dash.

I'd leave the green ball and put the more detailed information for power flow on the center console.
 

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I find the "green ball" to be very sensitive, and when coupled with the center LCD power flow display I can see kWh used reducing during regen braking. That's so cool, if this were an old fashioned car that would be like someone running along side the car with a can of gas adding some every once in a while.

But to be honest, I find I'm driving in SPORT mode more frequently and have stopped worrying about my kWh consumptuion.
 

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I think the green ball works well enough, but what's surprising is how confusing it seems to be to the average person, and by that I mean the automotive journalist. A few times I have read articles where they are interpreting the movements of the ball incorrectly, particularly when it comes to braking.
 

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never pay attention to the green ball. i just like to have fun in my car. but it catches the attention of anyone who drive my car though.
 

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That green ball can be very sensitive if you pay attention to the minor edge of the green ball, keeping in the center is not enough for me, i like to keep it dead center with no movement at all around the edges, try it and you will see the difference...coasting also adds regen as well, I use the L shift as I would a standard transmission for slowing, works great for me...
 

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I don't pay attention to the green ball anymore. I drive how I want, when I want. Worst case is usually only a couple of miles hit to my range. It's more fun to have fun than worry about eeking out 1 more mile.

Same goes for Air Conditioning, Comfort all the way :)
 

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mhoepfin thinks like me. I began to think that no one here wanted to enjoy this car! Green ball is out never to return. I just get in and enjoy the car!

Air, heat, who cares? Still a great car with fantastic mileage and comfort.
 

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I suppose the green leaf-spinning ball is better than the Ford's EV flying and dying butterflies. I'd also rather have an optional geek mode. It should show the status of the drive-train components individually such as motor/generator mode for MG1 and MG2, motors and engine RPM, clutches 1,2, and 3 state, when friction brakes are applied, coolant temperatures, valves, heaters and pumps state. I would like a variable time interval histogram combined with a trip computer showing time/distance traveled, time stationary, average/max. speed, duration, kWh used, kWh used by HVAC/auxiliary systems, kWh re/generated, gallons used, etc. And for the $200 - $300 a year that OnStar costs, I would like to be able to reliably download all this information and at some point selectively stream measurements to a mobile device.

I would like the navigation system to show me the GPS satellite constellation, signal strength and lock state for each identified satellite, heading in degrees, altitude, solar and lunar positions/rise/set/phase and the tide. I would like a "locate my car in real time" feature (I am sure it is already there, just not accessible by the owners). I would like a Go Home button and address book/recent destinations security. I would like separately selectable units for speed/distance, and temperature. I would like a GPS/cellular auto-setting time of day clock with an automatic time zone change.

I would like the radio to have a signal strength indicator, a stereo indicator, and the ability to turn the stereo decoder off (i.e. for stations with poor reception), I would like longer RDS/metadata text fields so it doesn't jerk-scroll 8 characters, and would really love to have an HDRadio and ATSC receivers.

I would like a cabin humidity indicator and setting (i.e. 30 to 60% RH) and separate heat and AC on/off buttons that actually work. I would like a programmable by time of day/cabin temperature ventilation (A/C and heat when plugged) when the car is sitting outside. I would like three independent buttons for HVAC airflow adjustment (low, medium, high) as the Ampera has. I would like to be able to fully adjust the HVAC and use the navigation without having to turn on the radio. I'd love to have a particulate sensor for triggering auto-recirculation and a HEPA/active carbon cabin filter included with the car. I'd love to see rain-sensing wipers and auto lights on when wipers on.

Having these would definitely maximize battery range, and more importantly as some are mentioning, our knowledge and enjoyment of the car.

You think the Cadillac ELR would have any of these? Does Santa GM exist? I'm not holding my breath.
 

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The Green ball is a reasonable driver training tool for someone like my wife, who has no clue about trying to save energy. It seemed to help her a lot.

However I have learned that this display only montitors use of the pedels and dosent take into conciteration driving conditions or actual energy use, so I just find it distracting and turn it off.
 

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I think it would be the best of both worlds to embed an instant kWh/mile number inside the green ball.
 

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I think it would be the best of both worlds to embed an instant kWh/mile number inside the green ball.
Yeah it could be super-geeky encoded in the texture with little dots for each binary bit,maybe a BCD , and then most people would just ignore it.
Something like a binary clock, e.g.
 

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Well, as we've found out the Volt is not a car for most people. Most people that do drive a Volt are interested in more data on the performance of their car, and I am not talking about nonsense like a binary clock, which does not present more information than a decimal one. I am also not advocating for overwhelming the driver, however with the existing platform in place the DIC can (optionally if you wish, just like the green ball) be far more informative than it currently is.
 

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My Volt was dead last week. You could put it in Drive then step on the accelerator, and nothing would happen... e4xcept, the little green ball would move. So this shows the green ball is a calculated display, or I was putting a massive amount of power into a controller that was not operating.

I'd prefer an actual amp display showing the actual current usage like the Tesla, or like the amp meter I installed in my Prius. Those displays showing flow going to and from the battery do not do any justice to whats actually happening.
 

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Does the ball ever spin the other direction ?
Does rate of spin give any extra information ?

Is using a leaf in the ball a bit over the top. Does the number of leaves have meaning ?
 

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Ever wonder why the speedometer has a near real-time numerical reading rather than a spinning ball? How about the odometer? Imagine the face of the service advisor when they ask you how many miles the car has and you make a gesture with you hands and say "Yay much".

Remember Pam Fletcher's Voltec "deep-dive" from 2009?
http://www.plugincars.com/exclusive-video-want-know-exactly-how-chevy-volt-powertrain-works-95344.html

What is presented there, and especially the RPM bar indicators for the MG1, MG2 and the ICE stimulation part 3 needs to be indicated with a numerical readout of the RPM and the power input/output of the MGs.
 

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Ever wonder why the speedometer has a near real-time numerical reading rather than a spinning ball? How about the odometer? Imagine the face of the service advisor when they ask you how many miles the car has and you make a gesture with you hands and say "Yay much".

Remember Pam Fletcher's Voltec "deep-dive" from 2009?
http://www.plugincars.com/exclusive-video-want-know-exactly-how-chevy-volt-powertrain-works-95344.html

What is presented there, and especially the RPM bar indicators for the MG1, MG2 and the ICE stimulation part 3 needs to be indicated with a numerical readout of the RPM and the power input/output of the MGs.
Well, I'd say those two (speed and odometer) are quantitative because you need to know those for legal reasons; I think a better analogy is the battery, fuel, and efficiency meters - not critical, but nice and entertaining to see. I'd love to see that sort of display.

However, it's not something you can keep glancing at because it would be mentally distracting (at least at first) to process what all that means in terms of fuel efficiency - so the green ball still has a place.
 
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