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Of course I'm not talking real zombies, (though people who've not been able to feed their family for several days can be just as dangerous). I'm talking about a collapse of society due to any number of factors: natural disaster, economic collapse, natural resource collapse, pandemic, EMP attack/solar flare, asteroid strike, nuclear war, or just simply peak oil (which has already occurred).

I'm a prepper (aka survivalist, though I don't like that term). One of the reasons we purchased our Volt was to be prepared for the day when gasoline just simply isn't available for an extended period of time, possibly forever.

Our societal infrastructure is more fragile than most would like to believe. As a society, we've become hyper specialized, and for the most part that's a good thing. Allows technology to foster and societies to become more comfortable than they've been in the history of mankind. Unfortunately, the downside is that any number of events could lead to a tipping point that sends life as we know into a tailspin.

So we put solar panels on our home (to charge our Volt and supply power to our home), we stockpile food and guns, and we even bought an army truck that runs on just about any liquid fuel available (deuce in a half in case you are curious).



And most recently we bought our Volt.


Now I recognize the Volt is complex technology, and if any of it fails it's going to be difficult to fix without societal infrastructure, but until that happens, I love the idea of being able to get around when few others can.

My question to the forum is, how long will the Volt run with NO gas. I understand the car likes to run the engine every so often in order to keep things lubricated. But what if there simply isn't any gas to put into the car? Is there a hidden mode where we can override the Engine Maintenance function? If not, does the car simply stop working until I can find some gas to put in it? If so, I'd like to petition Chevy to add a Zombie Apocalypse mode somewhere in the menus, just in case we need it.

In the mean time, I'm going to stockpile some stabilized gasoline.

As a side note, our family is going to be featured on the National Geographic show "Doomsday Preppers" sometime this spring, unfortunately they filmed us before we got our Volt, but we are supposed to have a follow up, and in it we plan to demonstrate charging out Volt from the solar panels.
 

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I'm not yet convinced this "mode" of life will happen. Most likely candidate would be a sizeable meteorite and it would come like the proverbial thief in the night. We get hit with something sizeable every 100 years. Tunguska, Russia was apparently the last one and only an air-burst. Canada was hit during the Ice Age about 15,000 years ago and they've found glass droplets from that impact down in Carolinas. It's an active solar-system, still.

If we get to the level of The Colony (tv show if anyone wonders what that is), the best vehicle choices will be bicycles or electric motorcycles/scooters if you have working solar to charge them. A good stockpile would probably have 5-10 good bicycles for family and friends, tools and lots of spare tires and knowledge of how to repair them. The renewable of choice might not really be solar but micro-hydro and access to a hillside river, stream or reservoir.

Just hope it's not another Toba. I wouldn't want to live in that aftermath.
 

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You are WAY cool

Of course I'm not talking real zombies, (though people who've not been able to feed their family for several days can be just as dangerous). I'm talking about a collapse of society due to any number of factors: natural disaster, economic collapse, natural resource collapse, pandemic, EMP attack/solar flare, asteroid strike, nuclear war, or just simply peak oil (which has already occurred).

I'm a prepper (aka survivalist, though I don't like that term). One of the reasons we purchased our Volt was to be prepared for the day when gasoline just simply isn't available for an extended period of time, possibly forever.<snip>

As a side note, our family is going to be featured on the National Geographic show "Doomsday Preppers" sometime this spring, unfortunately they filmed us before we got our Volt, but we are supposed to have a follow up, and in it we plan to demonstrate charging out Volt from the solar panels.
Dude, you are seriously cool.
My wife would never let me go that way (make our entire life a Zombie-apocalypse proof approach).
But I trust you have a fallout shelter?
I would strongly advise you research into heavy electromagnetic pulse shielding for a multi-level fuse-isolated tech-equipment garage (preferably subterranean). I would definitely advise you park your Volt inside this EMP-shielded garage.
EMP, in my humble opinion, is a significant risk to advanced civilization where everything we do depends so much on delicate electronics.

Realistic concern? Probably not. A LOAD of fun to prepare for doomsday? OH YEAH.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_bomb

Edit: I just noticed I missed that you had mentioned EMP in your OP. So do you have an EMP-shielded garage? And have you done the actual physics to confirm it truly is EMP shielded, and to what degree?
 

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My question to the forum is, how long will the Volt run with NO gas. I understand the car likes to run the engine every so often in order to keep things lubricated. But what if there simply isn't any gas to put into the car? Is there a hidden mode where we can override the Engine Maintenance function? If not, does the car simply stop working until I can find some gas to put in it? If so, I'd like to petition Chevy to add a Zombie Apocalypse mode somewhere in the menus, just in case we need it.
I'm pretty sure it won't stop the Volt. It's actually remarkably fault tolerant as designed... When the car runs out of gas, it allows you to continue driving on battery until you reach the ~15% SoC hard limit (if you weren't in mountain mode, that is about 1 kWh from the ~22% it likes to keep in CS, so around four miles.) I believe that if the computer disables the engine based on fault codes, it does the same thing.

The most likely case in my opinion is that the car will throw some codes, light the MIL, and keep operating normally on battery as long as it has charge.
 

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One of my highly educated relatives thought for months about the ideal things to stock up on to be prepared for anything. He decided the best answer was lots of booze, and enough guns to defend the booze. Booze can be traded for anything.
 

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One of my highly educated relatives thought for months about the ideal things to stock up on to be prepared for anything. He decided the best answer was lots of booze, and enough guns to defend the booze. Booze can be traded for anything.
Thanks, I needed a good belly laugh :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm pretty sure it won't stop the Volt. It's actually remarkably fault tolerant as designed... When the car runs out of gas, it allows you to continue driving on battery until you reach the ~15% SoC hard limit (if you weren't in mountain mode, that is about 1 kWh from the ~22% it likes to keep in CS, so around four miles.) I believe that if the computer disables the engine based on fault codes, it does the same thing.

The most likely case in my opinion is that the car will throw some codes, light the MIL, and keep operating normally on battery as long as it has charge.
That's what I'm hoping, but it would be nice to have some confirmation.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Dude, you are seriously cool.
My wife would never let me go that way (make our entire life a Zombie-apocalypse proof approach).
But I trust you have a fallout shelter?
I would strongly advise you research into heavy electromagnetic pulse shielding for a multi-level fuse-isolated tech-equipment garage (preferably subterranean). I would definitely advise you park your Volt inside this EMP-shielded garage.
EMP, in my humble opinion, is a significant risk to advanced civilization where everything we do depends so much on delicate electronics.

Realistic concern? Probably not. A LOAD of fun to prepare for doomsday? OH YEAH.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_bomb

Edit: I just noticed I missed that you had mentioned EMP in your OP. So do you have an EMP-shielded garage? And have you done the actual physics to confirm it truly is EMP shielded, and to what degree?
I've always been prepping minded, (being from Utah, that's mostly a given), but after reading the book One Second After, which was about the aftermath of an EMP attack, that was when I got really serious. It made me truly realize how dependent we are on our fragile infrastructure.

That being said, I'm not terribly concerned about an EMP attack. By my logic, if a terrorist group or rogue nation manages to get their hands on a nuke, I think they are going to go for the certain destruction of blowing up a city rather than the less than certain destruction of an EMP attack. Plus they'd have to get the nuke well into space, which is challenging in and of itself. On the other hand, North Korea's nukes seem to be well tuned for EMP damage, so you never know. (I did buy an EMP proof army truck after all...)

More recently I discovered Chris Martinson's "The Crash Course" and that convinced me a collapse of some kind is inevitable, and sooner than we think (thanks to all the exponential curves we are up against). It also made me a true believer in Peak Oil.

It took about a year of nagging my wife and talking about it before she got on board. Now she's almost more into prepping than I am. I think the turning point for her was watching the show After Armageddon on the History Channel.
 

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I'm not yet convinced this "mode" of life will happen. Most likely candidate would be a sizeable meteorite and it would come like the proverbial thief in the night. We get hit with something sizeable every 100 years. Tunguska, Russia was apparently the last one and only an air-burst. Canada was hit during the Ice Age about 15,000 years ago and they've found glass droplets from that impact down in Carolinas. It's an active solar-system, still.
Another event that would pretty much end the U.S. would be the inevitable eruption of the super volcano at Yellowstone National Park.

http://www.earthmountainview.com/yellowstone/yellowstone.htm
http://blogs.survivalistssite.com/blog/canuck.php?itemid=46
 

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My wife would love to have solar panels on the house. I wanted the Volt first. :)

Biofuels are an option. Alcohol from whatever biomass can be accumulated could get the ICE back online for longer drives. It probably would lower the long-term life of the engine. But in this world view, longevity would likely take a back seat to having the ability at all...
 

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Given the degree of abuse and controversy that G.M. and Volt owners have been subjected to, it is best that the Volt is not a part of the National Geographic show "Doomsday Preppers".

James
 

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Based on your requirements, why not a leaf? Simpler air cooled batteries, no ice complexities, longer EV range.
 

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Thanks for posting! Really fascinating stuff, and I'm glad some people are preparing - if you don't know whether you are a Morlock or an Eloi, then you're an Eloi - mmmmmmmm, lunch. Please let us know when your story airs on TV.

I agree it's best to have an electric pedal-assist bicycle - if there is electricity, great, if not, you can still get around. You should have lots of canned goods, canned meats / tuna, and that special milk that lasts 6 months in those sealed cans (best tasting milk in my opinion). Those seed cannisters are also a good thing to stock up on, so that you can grow more food for yourself:

http://www.survivalseedbank.com/?gclid=CPPVwqzh9q0CFQyc7Qod-xFytQ

Make sure you have plenty of utilitarian clothes - extra boots, shoes, windbreakers, head-coverings. Definitely have a few pair of prescription eye-glasses (if you need them). Stockpile hygiene products - add a beday hose to your toilet, so that TP isn't a necessity. Buy hair trimmers to groom down like a marine. Buy insecticides and lice powder / shampoos, as filthy hordes migrate to your area. I also recommend an ozone generator or gaseous hydrogen-peroxide unit to keep mold, mildew and other health / home destructive microbes out of your house. Water filtration and storage systems are essential (ozone generator works there too). Lots of batteries. If you can afford solar panels, great, but Honeywell also makes a 6 foot diameter wind turbine that starts generating electricity at 2 mph. AM/FM radio, CB radio, Hamm radio - good for passive scanning, or interaction. Keep plenty of reading materials - encyclopedias, almanacs, textbooks, local statutes, constitution, seminal political works - John Locke, DeTocqueville, etc. Guns / ammo, of course.

If I think of more, I will add it.
 

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Y'all are hilarious (in a sort of good way...I think it's cool to be totally capable of self sustenance but, well, I am not a survivalist).
But whether the modern world as we know it grinds to a chaotic halt or not, two doomsday considerations for you:
1) Kindness and caring will always matter
2) So, buy a large tract of aerable land and be prepared to grow large crops. You can set up a work for food system. (For the first year you will be relying on your cache. So you will have to set a limit (say, 20 families) that you will take on. Essentially then you will become a feudal lord and they will become your peasants. They will not only work your land, but can also provide you full time security. In fact, among people you know, you could already arrange "pending doomsday" work for food agreements. (people who are not themselves preparing but care enough to agree to it.)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Given the degree of abuse and controversy that G.M. and Volt owners have been subjected to, it is best that the Volt is not a part of the National Geographic show "Doomsday Preppers".

James
Hrmm... not quite sure how to take this. Maybe in your neck of the woods preparing for the unexpected is considered weird, but around here it's smart. Having an innovative car as a part of that seems like good press, not bad. And my GM rep agreed, he was pretty excited about the idea of the free publicity.

Perhaps you are thinking this is going to be reality TV drivel, where they make fun of the subject. But keep in mind this is National Geographic, and that isn't their MO. If you saw the pilot, which was aired last year, they treated the subject and those featured in it with respect.

Yes the word "Doomsday" makes it sound sensationalist, but in fact they originally just wanted to call it "Preppers", but not enough folks knew that word and it sounded too much like other more common words, so they added "Doomsday" to the title just to help people understand what it's about.

I myself don't think there will be a single day of doom (thus Doomsday isn't really a representative term for me), but a gradual, or maybe surprisingly fast decline to a more simple, localized way of living. And I think in many ways that might just be a good thing.
 

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When I was in the Navy, we used to say you could print submarine escape procedures on a 3x5 card. In other words, catastrophe in a sub was not considered survivable.

Our modern world is so dependent on its infrastructure, it is very hard to imagine a survivable apocalypse. It really is a joke to think about farming your way to survivability without (currently) fossil fuel powered tools, as well as fertilizers, again, very much dependent on petro-chemicals. Modern farming feeds massive populations in ways that agrarian times could NEVER have accommodated. All the guns in the world will not save your precious crops when the MASSES invade and forage your carefully tended grounds. You would need ‘pill boxes’ and machine guns and they would still keep coming.

In our case, my wife has a marketable skill that would still hold value in this environment- she is a dentist and teeth will continue to rot. Our dental office is solar powered and we collect ALL our water needs into cisterns at home. We could easily barter for food- until we ran out of all those fancy restorative resins and precious metals used in modern dentistry. And while people think George Washington had wooden teeth, they were actually much more sophisticated- even two hundred years ago.

But what skills do others hold that retain value in a post-apocalyptic environment? From aircraft engine mechanics to insurance salesman to Walmart greeters, most people have nothing to barter- and you don’t have enough land or enough skills to entertain the thought of hundreds of millions of farmers and blacksmiths and carpenters suddenly popping up around you.

Between our water, solar (& Volt) and bartering opportunity I give us a fair chance at survival in this ‘prepper’ context. However, the prospect of hundreds of millions of people starving around you makes me revert back to that 3x5 card for submarines. I will say it again, there will not be enough ammo in the world to protect yourself in such an environment. I don’t want to burst your bubble; but, realistically, preparing for doomsday is pretty much a fool’s errand.

One basic thing I will say is that (assuming you don't live in a desert), you can put a metal roof on your house, bury tanks in the ground and collect your rainwater (as we do). You don't need to purify rainwater. Filter it maybe, but with a metal roof, it doesn't need further treatment to keep you alive. While I put in our cisterns for non 'prepper' reasons, they certainly put me way ahead of the curve in surviving a collapse of civil infrastructure.

...and I did watch that original prepper special. It discussed everything from the backwoods farm to the abandoned missile silo families. I was intrigued, but I saw the flaws in most everything they did. It was a consuming pursuit. No prepper had every alternative covered and heaven help you if you spent all that time and money only to end up not having the proper scenario played out. I did find it interesting that toilet paper was at the top of the list of items to stockpile.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for posting! Really fascinating stuff, and I'm glad some people are preparing - if you don't know whether you are a Morlock or an Eloi, then you're an Eloi - mmmmmmmm, lunch. Please let us know when your story airs on TV.

I agree it's best to have an electric pedal-assist bicycle - if there is electricity, great, if not, you can still get around. You should have lots of canned goods, canned meats / tuna, and that special milk that lasts 6 months in those sealed cans (best tasting milk in my opinion). Those seed cannisters are also a good thing to stock up on, so that you can grow more food for yourself:

http://www.survivalseedbank.com/?gclid=CPPVwqzh9q0CFQyc7Qod-xFytQ

Make sure you have plenty of utilitarian clothes - extra boots, shoes, windbreakers, head-coverings. Definitely have a few pair of prescription eye-glasses (if you need them). Stockpile hygiene products - add a beday hose to your toilet, so that TP isn't a necessity. Buy hair trimmers to groom down like a marine. Buy insecticides and lice powder / shampoos, as filthy hordes migrate to your area. I also recommend an ozone generator or gaseous hydrogen-peroxide unit to keep mold, mildew and other health / home destructive microbes out of your house. Water filtration and storage systems are essential (ozone generator works there too). Lots of batteries. If you can afford solar panels, great, but Honeywell also makes a 6 foot diameter wind turbine that starts generating electricity at 2 mph. AM/FM radio, CB radio, Hamm radio - good for passive scanning, or interaction. Keep plenty of reading materials - encyclopedias, almanacs, textbooks, local statutes, constitution, seminal political works - John Locke, DeTocqueville, etc. Guns / ammo, of course.

If I think of more, I will add it.
All great advice. I agree, an electric bike is a great idea, and I plan to add an electric assist to our bikes, but I sure don't want to have to haul multiple 5 gallon water jugs up our mountain road to our home to water our gardens. An electric car, powered off of our solar panels sounds just like the ticket. (Unfortunately we don't have access to gravity fed water, a big no no in the prepping world, but I gotta work as best I can with where I live for now.)

Another great item to have for barter is water purification powder. It's incredibly cheap right now, and compact to store, but could be highly valued and easy to divide down the road.

I also loaded up a Kindle with hundreds of books on survival, gardening, permaculture, medical advice, etc, and I store it in a rubber lined ammo container, just in case of EMP. I also downloaded the entire text of wikipedia and and SurvivalBlog.com put them on a thumb drive in the ammo can along with an old laptop. Don't forget your geiger counter, just in case all the nuclear power plants lose power for an extended time and their supplies of diesel fuel for their backup generators fails to be delivered, causing their cooling ponds boil off ala Fukushima.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Based on your requirements, why not a leaf? Simpler air cooled batteries, no ice complexities, longer EV range.
Cause it's ugly. Oh and I want to enjoy my car in the mean time without range anxiety. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I did find it interesting that toilet paper was at the top of the list of items to stockpile.
Yeah, I agree and I thought the same thing. Toilet paper is a huge waste of space and money. Billions of people get by all around the world with out it, I'm sure we can figure out a way. I vote for some kind of bidet.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Our modern world is so dependent on its infrastructure, it is very hard to imagine a survivable apocalypse. It really is a joke to think about farming your way to survivability without (currently) fossil fuel powered tools, as well as fertilizers, again, very much dependent on petro-chemicals. Modern farming feeds massive populations in ways that agrarian times could NEVER have accommodated. All the guns in the world will not save your precious crops when the MASSES invade and forage your carefully tended grounds. You would need ‘pill boxes’ and machine guns and they would still keep coming.
That is one possible scenario, even the likely scenario depending on the type of collapse we are talking about. But some of the other forms of collapse (nuclear war, pandemic, asteroid strike), will, sadly, thin the herds quite a bit. Even in the more subtle forms of collapse, I think most folks are going to stay put in the big cities, hoping for a solution that never arrives, and then by the time they try to trek to more prepared parts of the country, they are going to be pretty weak and most won't make it. Organized gangs will be a big problem everywhere though... hence the guns and training.

I'm not looking forward to any of the scenarios frankly. I really like the world I live in now, so comfy and interesting and frankly fun for a technology geek like myself... did I mention I LOVE my Volt!
 
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