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Discussion Starter #1
The car's drive system can be broken down into three components
1. power plant
2. electrical storage unit (ESU)
3. motor/generator

Each of these item should be swappable. Interface requirements are established such that changing out any given component has no effect on the performance of the other components. Those requirements need to be as generic as possible while still proving for a robust and focused design.

If someone designs a diesel generator, or a rechargeable fuel cell, or some other device that produces the right voltage, max current, power quality etc. as defined by the interface to the ESU, I can have it installed without breaking my car. And if I want to replace my 16kWh battery with a 100kWh ESU because of advancement in battery technology, I can.

I also recommend a "glass cockpit" design such that all relevant data (speed, available charge, current power consumption, etc) is displayed on a screen instead of a bunch of dials. This set of displays should be customizable using a nominal markup/display language. This interface can also be used by the mechanic who can have displays specifically designed to read diagnostic data coming from the various computers on board.
 

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I agree with nlh when it comes to the potential for swapping components (especially the battery pack.) I was reading the posts about the $48,000 price tag today and noticed more mention about how it's expected that the price will go down as the technology evolves. This got me thinking about when one should purchase a vehicle like this. It also got me thinking about what the best way to mitigate costs and losses would be.

Currently, with a typical automobile there is depreciation which comes as a result of time and use. What worries me about the Volt is talk about the price of the vehicle decreasing over time due to the growth and enhancement of the technology used within the vehicle. If the price were to fall each year or every "x" amount of time this would seriously affect depreciation and the value to an owner.

I think that being able to swap components could lower depreciation and I think that the battery pack could be the most depreciated aspect of the vehicle. I think this brings back the discussion about the option for purchasing or leasing a battery pack.

I think that with the development of this type of technology the vehicle architecture could change to a body style platform which the consumer purchases (which should last 20 years if cared for properly) and a powetrain (battery pack) which could be upgraded based on the consumers consumption and range needs.
 

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Calgaryvolt- I agree. Please see my post here- Suggestions for GM/Dashboard, Instrumentation- OPEN SOURCE
Also, since battery packs are >$10,000, it would be nice if the system could monitor individual #'d batteries by BatteryLife %. That way it may be possible to swap out only the failing battery, and not the entire pack. Perhaps something we could do in our garage in 5 years like an oil change.
 

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Absolutely. The battery pack should be able to be approached like an engine overhaul. Sometimes the valve seals just need replaced, other times it's the whole rotating assembly. There should be a way to monitor each individual cell, then easily replace if it should go defunct.
 
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