Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

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MEroller
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Back to the topic :-)
I found the article again in the German MTZ (Motor Technische Zeitschreift) 05/2011 theat discussed the Voltec Drive system of Volt and

Ampera and will try to translate the section dealing with the mode switch as well as possible:

"Volt and Ampera allow selection of different drive modes. The driver can choose between „Normal“, „Sport“ and „Mountain Mode“, respectively „Hold Mode“. In „Sport Mode“ the accelerator pedal characteristic results in a more direct power response.
In the „Mountain Mode“-setting the Volt adapts to the higher propulsion demands when driving in the mountains. The battery's state of charge level is modified to enable additional power output when required.
In the Ampera a „Hold“ function can be applied which allows saving the battery charge for the final stage of the journey."

This is further confirmation that there actually is this difference between Volt and Ampera, though of course Prof. Dr. Uwe D. Grebe (Executive Director for Global Powertrain Advanced Engineering) and Larry T. Nitz (Executive Director for Global Hybrid & Electric Powertrain Engineering, both from General Motors) do not state the reason for this discrepancy in their article...

But as has been stated before, a seasoned automotive hacker should not find it very challenging to enable this function in a Volt too :-)

My rides:
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW

HarryS
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Having a hold function would be very valuable. Many commuters in the US live in rural areas and commute to the city spending a good bit of time on the highway. It should be possible to start your journey on gas and switch to electric when it makes sense. This would also reduce air pollution in already polluted city environmens.

jdh2550_1
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Having a hold function would be very valuable. Many commuters in the US live in rural areas and commute to the city spending a good bit of time on the highway. It should be possible to start your journey on gas and switch to electric when it makes sense. This would also reduce air pollution in already polluted city environmens.

I agree, but unfortunately I think the "villain" in this piece are the CAFE regulations. I don't think they have the same sort of system in the EU (regulations intended to force companies to produce more efficient vehicles).

I'm personally pro CAFE standards. But this example is a case of unexpected consequences - a standard intended to help produce efficient vehicles is effectively blocking a user controlled efficiency improvement.

My thinking goes like this (and this is just my guess - I don't know for sure):

1) CAFE standards have to be based on EPA mileage standards
2) Those EPA mileage standards have to be achieved in rigorously defined conditions
3) Those conditions need to be defined in a standard way
4) There's no standard way to define whether a driver would or would not use the Hold button. Sure, the regulations could be updated - but regulations always lag innovations (because innovations are dynamic in nature and who here thinks that the legislation process is dynamic and nimble?)

So we're stuck. I also suspect that there's another reason that "all hell would break loose" if they allowed some form of efficiency device that is optionally engaged by the driver to drive up the efficiency numebrs. I'd expect that we'd see SUVs and sports cars with a button on the dash to run them on 3 cylinders when in "fuel saving mode". The manufacturers would love to then tag those vehicles with a better MPG figure even though the owners of such vehicles would likely never use that mode. (Current schemes to run on partial cylinders are, as far as I know, automatically controlled by the ECU not the driver).

This all stems from the fact that in the US we choose to have low pump prices. In Europe they use high taxes on fuels to put the economic incentive on the driver, not the manufacturer. Personally my favorite idea is to choose a "reverse tax": US government budgets the price of oil at above market rate and charges a variable amount of tax to bring it up to that value. Those taxes go into a fund. On April 15th the fund is then distributed as tax refunds (even if you pay $0 taxes you'd still get a check). A couple of things happen (1) the price of gas goes up but stays relatively steady (the tax varies); (2) with higher prices folks use less but at least can budget effectively; (3) demand goes down which drives price down; (4) folks might actually accept this given that the more we drive the price down the bigger the payout check we get. Everyone has an economic incentive to use less oil so as to drive the price down (well, apart from the oil companies - but they're busy telling us that they want to become alternative energy companies so I'm sure they won't mind...)

BTW, that's not my idea - I read about it at zfacts.com

Sorry - that's all a little off topic - but it's food for thought.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

moccasin
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Having a hold function would be very valuable. Many commuters in the US live in rural areas and commute to the city spending a good bit of time on the highway. It should be possible to start your journey on gas and switch to electric when it makes sense. This would also reduce air pollution in already polluted city environmens.

In my wife's case, it probably wouldn't matter a whole lot. She runs 13 miles on the highway, then 8 miles in city traffic to get to work, then 8 miles back to the highway and 13 more to home. If the Volt can do a solid 35 miles on battery, then the generator would kick in about the time she hit the evening highway leg of her commute. Not bad at all.

Now, getting her to give up her new Chevy Equinox COULD be a bit of a problem! HAHA!! ;-)

As for my own daily needs, I'd have to crank that generator every couple of months, just to make sure it still works! ;-)

HarryS
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

She would not need the engine at all. On my daily commute I do 33 miles of which 12 are highway, the rest are pretty hilly. I still have 17-20 miles range and 3.5kW left when I get home. You CAN actually do 45-50 miles on this vehicle. I bet in Florida you would go 55-60. I currently averag around 205 W/ mile

jdh2550_1
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Harry - what speeds do you sustain on the highway? It is refreshing to hear that it's living up to the range expectations.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

HarryS
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

On my commute I drive 60-65mph because of traffic. In theory you can go 100 mph electric. That's what the electronics limits the car to. I have not tried that out.

Aircon
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Ok...I've quadruple checked. I have a trip that's 20km. 1/2 80kph freeway and the rest 60kph suburban. If I charge at each end for one hour, I can do that trip endlessly. That is, I start and end with the same voltage each time if I maintain the same speeds on the trip and charge for an hour each end. Make sense?

One hour max charge costs me 25c. Current cost of standard octane fuel is $1.45 at the moment, so that mean my Vectrix is doing the equivalent of about 0.85l/100km or 332mp imperial gallon or 276mp US gallon.

Pretty hard to complain about, esp when I've done 10000km and still have original tyres, brakes and haven't needed an oil change!

Of course I only have a range of 40-50km, but let's keep this positive :)

HarryS
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Used the Vectrix again for a change on my commute. The difference at the end of the ride is stark. Immediate concern about temperature of the battery. Precharge delay, make sure the bike is in a cool environment. You know, for the $10,000 I paid it is aroyal pain in the butt to be tinkering with this beast all the time. For comparison, I put 200 electric miles on my Volt last weekend. Every time I pull in the garage it just charges all awhile the battery is liquid cooled and conditioned. No worries about what software is running and what ambient temperature is. Also, range estimates are spot on. Just this morning started my Vectrix commute with 45 miles estimated, dropped to 24 on the first mile, at mile 5 I was down to 17 mile range. Of course I know that I manage my 34 mile commute and did again today but why the inaccuracies. My conclusion is simple. If it needs to be a bike get a Vectrix, if it's all about electric get a Volt and just enjoy the trouble free ride.

Aircon
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Used the Vectrix again for a change on my commute. The difference at the end of the ride is stark. Immediate concern about temperature of the battery. Precharge delay, make sure the bike is in a cool environment. You know, for the $10,000 I paid it is aroyal pain in the butt to be tinkering with this beast all the time. For comparison, I put 200 electric miles on my Volt last weekend. Every time I pull in the garage it just charges all awhile the battery is liquid cooled and conditioned. No worries about what software is running and what ambient temperature is. Also, range estimates are spot on. Just this morning started my Vectrix commute with 45 miles estimated, dropped to 24 on the first mile, at mile 5 I was down to 17 mile range. Of course I know that I manage my 34 mile commute and did again today but why the inaccuracies. My conclusion is simple. If it needs to be a bike get a Vectrix, if it's all about electric get a Volt and just enjoy the trouble free ride.

Vectrix R&D compared to Chevrolet R&D? Not a very fair comparison, really.

Maybe by the time Vectrix has been making scooters for 100 years they'll get the hang of it :)

NullPointer
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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

Interesting thread, just catching up.

I am in a similar situation. I bought an 07 V four years ago. I now have almost 9000 miles on the clock, still on the original battery. I use the bike to commute about 100 days a year. My commute is 28 miles round-trip, mostly secondary roads, 30-50 mph with slight hills. I ride very conservatively in the V, more than I would like really, to avoid stressing the battery. My bike can still just barely handle this commute. I may load the Laird's software, and hopefully I will be able to charge at work soon which should ease using the bike. The bike typically takes about 4 kWh to recharge, +/- 10%, measured from the wall. More on EO charges.

Six months ago I bought a Nissan Leaf. I am very happy with the car. On the same 28 mile commute, the car takes about 8 kWh from the wall to recharge, +/- 10%. I drive more aggressively with the car, so am probably less efficient than I could be. I use the included Nissan 120V EVSE to recharge, which is about 75% efficient. At some point I may install a 240V EVSE, which I understand is about 85% efficient. The car weighs 3300 lbs, seven times more than a Vectrix.

A couple of points on the Leaf - it does have a 24 kWh battery but does not use all of it, the general consensus is that it uses about 21 kWh - still a greater depth of discharge than the Volt, but not 100%.

IMO the Leaf and Volt serve different needs. The Leaf has some advantages over a Volt; the Leaf is bigger, seats more people, is less expensive and less complex. I can fit my three kids in the back seat of my Leaf, I couldn't do that in a Volt. I think the Leaf is a great fit for multi-car households - it will handle 95% of our needs, and on long trips we will take our minivan. The Volt is a better fit for a one-car household.

I plan on keeping my bike - this way my wife can also drive electric, and I can still throw her on the back of the V!

Good luck in selling your bike.

Doron

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Re: Fun comparison Vectrix versus Chevy Volt

I too had purchased a 2015 Chevy Volt. Agree it is a technical marvel. I have put 10,000 miles on it already with a lifetime average of 142 MPG. Pretty awesome. The 9 gallon fuel tank does not bust my wallet when I refill. And when I do every other month or so it saves me big bucks. Comparing that to my Chevy Suburban. lol Hope you enjoy your Volt as much as I do mine. I am already leaning towards trading it in on a newer model in 2016.

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