45 ways to improve the Chevy Volt

13 October 2011

(Odometer: 7,650 miles)

WILMINGTON, Mass.–Everyone who’s driven the Volt on our around-the-country innovation celebration tour enjoys the experience, and often someone will toss out a good future design consideration.

Analog Devices (ADI) took that idea to a whole new plane. When we drove to ADI’s facility on Oct. 5, we were greeted by a huge white tent, filled with tables bending under the weight of coffee, cookies and pastries. (Video excerpts from the event below). During the next five hours, hundreds of ADI employees came out to check out the Volt and another Volt that a local dealer brought, complete with someone to answer questions.

Part and parcel of ADI’s great welcome was a capital crowd-sourcing idea: write down on sticky paper ways in which the Volt should be optimized in future designs and place those ideas on the car.

We received scores of suggestions on colorful stickies stuck to the car (right), ranging from the practical to the whacky and wishful.

The one that made me laugh out loud that morning was “give one away today.” If it were only that easy. Sign up and you may get one at the end of this project.

In any case, here are some of my favorites:


  • Lower sticker price
  • More cup holders
    More leg room
    Same range as my gas-powered car
    A smart cruise control that does not attempt to maintain speed under heavy load (like a steep hill)
    More horses with same or more battery life
    Please make a station wagon version
    Five seats, Maybe?
    Full Electric
    More head room for back seats
    Tint windows to help regulate temp. inside car
    More head/leg room in backseat
    Fewer knobs
    Make one in a SUV.  I want to go 4 wheeling in my Chevy Volt
    High capacity > 4kw output for emergency home power (there are actually after-market kits for this).
    The auxiliary gasoline engine can be a much more efficient design.
    More ground clearance
    Improved tax benefits for EVs
    More traditional display—Analog speedometer, etc.
    Options to change display
    Built in GPS which actually shows “real” landscapes as you drive along
    More safety sensors
    Need a solar panel
    Electronic dashboard skins, to support personalization
    How about a sun roof?
    Longer battery life

A little R&D required

  • Use car’s paint as energy source instead of solar panels
  • Automatic body color changes.  Translucent?
  • Solar panels to charge batteries
  • Power the brake lights from solar panels on the roof
  • IR /MM-WAVE Radar Sensor fusion heads up display (augmented reality)
  • Self-adjusting space between the car in front of you on the highway

Nice to have

  • Piped-in coffee
  • Charge inductively w/o cable
  • Driver-installable extra batteries to trade off range and cargo
  • Change the window shading by season to improve cabin heating/cooling
  • Shorter charge time!
  • Brake lights come on when you take foot off the accelerator


  • High power magnets on the grill to draft from the car ahead (EMD–Electromagnetic drafting)
  • Vertical take-off for traffic jams
  • Add on battery pack for drag racing
  • Nuclear powered. Get home and power the house with it
  • Golf ball dimples on body
  • I would like to see a 6 tire option
  • Windmill on car to generate energy

Wishful thinking

  • Tom Cruise in passenger seat

Whether you’ve driven (or own) a Volt or not, given what you know, what suggestions would you make for optimizing the design in the future?


nherbw@gmail.com October 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

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Chevy should team up with the guys over at http://www.betterplace.com/. The ability to switch out batter packs on the go would be killer!

    jim October 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

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    Amen! Seems like an ISO-standard quick-change battery pack would alleviate more than a few problems getting electric vehicles accepted by the general public. In other words, make the expensive part a commodity. This would would result in much higher quantities in use which in turn would drive down the price, fast. Plus, the interface would become standard and drive down those costs. It’s all in design, folks.

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

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    Thanks for your comment nherbw. But why would I want to mod my Amazing Chevy Volt EREV to let some for-profit company convince me to swap batteries at a cost to me each time for another 30-50 mile range? Heck I am quite happy with the 379+ total range as it is! : )

    The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

Lawrence Foltzer October 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm

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Switch to “Temporal Mode” drive system. (Patent Pending)
Put generators on the front wheels, drive motors on the rear wheels. Use potential energy captured by front wheels due to the distance between front and rear wheels to drive rear wheels.
Maybe should draft Solyndra CEO to run company to make this happen. He was, afterall, a great salesman!

    Tony Rosa October 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

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    How about just selling the entire line to the Chinese Government, maybe the entire company, and get the US government out of the car business. The Chinese are so smart I’m sure they can figure it out by themselves and we won’t have to waste US tax dollars on something that doesn’t work. And maybe, just maybe, the Chinese will wind up the way GM should have wound up. OUT OF BUSINESS.

      Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

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      Mr Rosa, let me educate you!

      The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV:

      1 )$1.20 or so a day=30-50 miles range, standard wall plug!
      2 )That’s $36.00 or so a month to drive 1,000 to 1,200 miles a month! ( 40 miles a day )

      3 )Save $200.00 a month in gas cost-$2,400.00 a year-$7,200.00 over 3 year lease!
      4 )Base Ally/ Us Bank Lease $399.00 mo. with around 7% up front…
      -$14,400.00 over 3 years minus $7,200.00 not spent on gas=$7,200.00 net cost to drive!
      5)Sure most states charge monthly 6% or so use tax on lease payment but wow, how inexpensive is this to drive a $40,000 car !!

      6)Gen2 should be here in 3 years-Turn in leased car, Charge on!

      Ps. Love that Chinese food but think I’ll stick with American Made, American Fueled!

      Remember the James Woolsey (former CIA director) quote “If you want to know who is funding our enemies to kill us, look in the mirror the next time you fill up.”

      The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

        Bill October 24, 2011 at 9:44 am

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        Anyone estimating yet how much cost for the replacement battery? Experience in the electronics and wireless field has established that real world life expectancy of batteries is less than what they claim, in spite of the installed climate controls on the batteries. Any guesses yet for how much a car owner will have to pay to buy a replacement battery several years down the road?

    LES October 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm

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    I have better idea that is real. Make the Volt a parallel Hybrid vehicle (like Toyota) vs this inefficient series Hybrid that they are. With all the energy running through the batteries you can’t get as much out of the battery as you put in. And to boot, you wear out the batteries very fast. Batteries are still the limiting factor. Until batteries can be made to last longer under heavy use, the Volt and other electric vehicles will be very expensive to maintain!

Tom Boles October 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm

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How about a response from GM on some of the more directly commentable suggestions like “The auxiliary gasoline engine can be a much more efficient design” and “A smart cruise control that does not attempt to maintain speed under heavy load (like a steep hill)” these are possibly non-controversial and could actually answered by a program manager or the powertrain manager from GM (without 3 months of emails and 5 meetings)…

    jim October 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm

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    The smart cruise control idea could cause problems … unless everyone’s cruise control is programmed to slow down at the same rate and time.

      gibson October 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

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      The smart cruise control idea sounds good to me. On steep hills, cars and trucks naturally slow down, even under cruise control conditions. It is not uncommon to see vehicles slows down10, 20, 30 miles, on the steep freeway. Why not program in to the cruise control not to push as hard on the throttle, save some juice.

Davin Hashiba October 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

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Ditch the capactive touch center stack and put traditional buttons on them. And remove all button Directly under the touch screen so you can’t activate some command while trying to use the touchscreen. How about a more efficient button layout so you don’t have to search for each button.

    jim October 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm

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    I’ve driven / owned lots of different makes and models over the years. IMHO, the 1992 Honda Accord dashboard / controls layout is about the best I’ve ever seen. And, no, I do not believe there should be a screen in the dashboard or a joystick on the console. I find most people find stomping and steering challenging enough without having pretty pictures and Atari-controls to deal with. Sorry if you’re feelings are hurt but the fellow behind you watching in amazement as you wander from one shoulder to the next while you chat on the phone / stare at the GPS map / try to change stations on your BMW, would rather you just pull over!

William Ketel October 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

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Foltzer is either joking, or he is an accountant, the other two comments make sense. Probably the “ergonomic experts” are people who text a lot on their cell phones and never miss a button. And why fight with haptics and capacitive touch switches when real mechanical switches are more reliable and cheaper, and much less susceptible to false triggering. For the speed control, it was fairly simple to lower the gain on the old mechanical units, it should be even easier to do that on these, just not for the user. I garee that current cruise controls should not attempt to hold speed on steep hills. One option could be to combine holding speed and maximizing MPG, or for the Volt, MPKwH.
OF course, asking a large crowd of engineers to suggest improvements is indeed a brilliant move.

Naomi October 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

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I love the sticky-note idea–brilliant. And I agree with Tom Boles suggestion, too.

Piped in coffee and vertical takeoff sound pretty good to me…I’d like both installed on my car right now! Could someone please explain the benefit of golf-ball dimples on a car?–I thought they improved the spin on the golf ball–not exactly what you want for a car…

KBorg October 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

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Just so you know, this is the glf ball idea. It’s objective is to lower the drag coeficient on body panels. Jim McFarland has advocated the dimples in the combustion chambers for years.

For information about SkinzWraps, Inc. and MPG-Plus™ please visit http://www.skinzwraps.com

About MPG-Plus™

MPG-Plus™ is the flagship product of FastSkinz, Inc., a company formed by SkinzWraps, Inc. in 2008. SkinzWraps, Inc. is the exclusive distributor for MPG-Plus™. The improved fuel economy of a vehicle wrapped in MPG-Plus™ as compared to the identical vehicle not wrapped is estimated to be 18%-20%. MPG-Plus™ is 100% American Made and will help to create new jobs in America. MPG-Plus™ is a “right now” and future solution to both economic problems and energy security issues here in America. MPG-Plus™ has a 5 year life span and will immediately help with GHG emissions reduction.

Bob October 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

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How about give the US Taxpayers back their money!

Bob Sadur October 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

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I hope the windmill was meant to gather energy while the car is not parked, and not an attempt to power the car with its own motion.

Darryl October 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

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I would not list ‘golf ball dimples on body’ under the ‘Fanciful’ header. It is a very practical, simple idea that would reduce wind resistance and increase mileage.

Electrifying Times October 18, 2011 at 8:29 am

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Make a two-seater convertible model.

Watashi October 18, 2011 at 8:32 am

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If they go forward with the cruise control suggestions, I recommend also installing a shock absorbing rear bumper so the rest of us can push you up hills when you slow down in front of us. If you are that inconsiderate of me, expect likewise.

How about powertrain options like a diesel or good old ICE engine and forget the impractical EV stuff so you can actually maintain speed on hills without worring about conserving your precious little range.

Rodger Caruthers October 18, 2011 at 8:35 am

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Add to the list:

1) Use a flat battery pack like that used on the Tesla model S (The “T” shaped battery pack is too intrusive)
2) More glass to improve visibility. The newer cars are “blind spots” on wheels.

Question: Does anyone know why the body designers, across the board, are designing with a lot less glass? I think the lack of visibility is becoming a safety issue.

Mark Skillings October 18, 2011 at 8:39 am

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Having had some time to drive the Volt, the biggest pressing need I see is in the instrument display….particularly at night. The size (and perhaps color) of the fonts are right in the not-so-sweet-spot for my 50-something eyesight. Its particularly frustrating at night when I need my reading glasses in order to decipher just about everything but speed. Who wants to wear reading glasses to drive a car? It is possible, perhaps likely, that as one gets used to driving it the colors and locations will become second nature, but for now perhaps the Chevy team needs a few old farts with so-so eyesight to see what they can come up with to improve the instrument panel(s)

    jim October 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm

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    Tiny letters and pretty little pictures are all the rage now. Unfortunately this slows down reaction time as the brain has to concentrate just a few more seconds to comprehend just what the meaning is. Automobile displays should be kept short and sweet. If one is staring at the dashboard trying to decipher what it says, one will never see that child peddling down the shoulder, or the tree that just jumped into the roadway. I can change the radio channel or heating controls on all my cars without looking at them. Try that in one of these new joystick-controlled systems. Good luck. Not to mention the cost of fixing any new “electronic” system (my mechanical systems have NEVER needed a repair).

George B. Beeler October 18, 2011 at 8:39 am

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An extra large battery that could be carried via trailer to extend range or allow for realistic towing. It could be built into a trailer frame and sold as an add on. The trailer could charge all week for those long trips on the weekend, but have a solid weatherproof connection that just plugs somewhere on the car. Some dynamic braking system could be extended to the trailer wheels to keep the combination steady on less than ideal roads. This would work as a way to allow trips through places like Death Valley that would be really bad to run out of power without having to take a chance on not having enough charge for the trip!

    Darryl October 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

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    Add a solar panel on top. Let it sit in the driveway and charge all week. Would make a nice extra emergency power supply or good for camping trips, worksites, etc.

Steve October 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

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The “Golf Ball Effect” does actually work on cars. Check out this link:


The aerodynamic principle is reduction of drag by creating many small turbulences vs fewer, much larger ones. Unfortunately, appearance and manufacturability aren’t so hot…

Aki Bola October 18, 2011 at 9:13 am

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Increase the price of gas to $825/gallon to make the Volt a smart purchase.
Factory installed Kerry-Edwards and Rainbow bumper stickers, why do it yourself?
Extra long 110V power cord to reach your neighbors outside outlet.
Windshield tint with “1%er Inside” banner to assert superiority over the Flea Party deadbeats.
Special cupholders that only accept Starbucks mugs.
Hidden dashboard compartment to store emergency moustache wax or personal size Grey Poupon.
Radio only tunes to PBS AM stations, but has a trendy Apple iPod adapter.
Wide seats and heavy duty self leveling suspension, specify “Micheal Moore Option” on order sheet.
Tailored fit Polo luggage and Croquet set for those Hampton weekends away from the commoners.

    Tom Boles October 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

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    Aki, are you a stand-up or sit-down kind of comic?

james plummer October 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

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How about a user configurable LCD instument panel? The size, placement, and color/brightness
of every instrument could be decided by the user. It could also incorporate the back-up video sceen.

M. Delaney October 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

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Chevy Volt improvement(s): Solar panels to charge batteries while vehicle is parked in sun. Also, I agree the vehicle should have a sticker price competitve with Toyota Prius

tom.obermann@evac.com October 18, 2011 at 9:58 am

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Lots of tongue in cheek replies here. Fun. But not very helpful.

The Volt needs to come down in price to have an impact on the market. Period. Admittedly, the one I drove was fully optioned, but there’s a bunch of things they could do to get the price down to $35k (a reasonable target, I think).

Aggressively reduce vehicle weight. Duh.
Ditch the leather interior.
Ditch the backup camera / parking assist.
Ditch the premium sound.
Ditch the heated seats.
Ditch the 120v charging cord. Make the car work with a standard HD extension cord I already own.
Stop paying developers to add cutsey audio cues when you ‘power up’ the car.
Ditch the navigation system. My old Magellan works fine and I can take it from car to car.
Stop it with the OnStar already.
Standardizing batteries will save money long term. Get started.

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm

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    Mr. Tom,

    So we have ditched the Leather Seats, back up camera, premium sound, heated seats, navagation system with disk-but still have On-Star Turn by Turn Nav and now we have the standard equipped Amazing Chevy Volt EREV!

    I Can’t afford NOT to drive The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV

    Let’s try this one more time…………………$7200 NCD ?

    $50.00 A Week?

    6 ) We now know that the Volt Lease is back for model year 2012.

    7 ) We know that in most states the lessee pays a use tax only on the scheduled lease payments and NOT the MSRP or MSRP+.

    8 ) We know therefore that the 3 year lease is ideal also because the turn in time may well happen as Volt Gen 2 arrives……….No 5-6-7 year contracts.

    9 ) We know that the Fed $7500.00 is captured by the Lessor, US Bank/ Ally and they state “Us Bank as the lessor holds title to the vehicle . The lessee receives the benefit of the tax credit as an ENHANCEMENT TO TO THE RESIDUAL VALUE…”

    10 ) …No side loans or other fancy arangements…the $7500.00 credit is a price reduction NOW!

    11 ) Chevrolet announced the MY2012 Chevrolet as $399.00 a month with roughly 7% down…

    12 ) Assuming base Volt with destination included at no more then MSRP.

    14 ) 36 months at $400.00 per month =$14400.00.

    15 ) Estimated cost to drive the Volt 40 miles a day at $1.20 a charge=$36.00 a month,

    Plus some gasoline…………

    16 ) Not spending $200.00 a month for gasoline. $200.00 a month net cost to drive reduction equals $2400.00 a year or $7200.00 over the three year lease!

    17 ) $14400.00 lease payment over 36 months minus $7200.00- gas not bought equals….

    18 ) $7200.00 Net Cost to Drive the Amazing Chevy Volt EREV

    36 Month Lease

    $55.00 a Week or less-Net Cost To Drive N.C.D.

    The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

Mark October 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

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I would REALLY like a lower price so I can afford one.

    Bill October 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

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    Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit -> ~40 mpg, unlimited mileage, no concerns, no waiting to recharge.

Andrew October 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

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How about returning to me MY tax dollars taken from ME to subsidize Volt development and sales?

- Almost four hundred million dollars in federal subsidies were pumped directly into the design and production of the Volt.

- The Volt would not exist at all, if the government had not performed an elaborate voodoo ritual which involved burning $50 billion in taxpayer cash

- How much of this fifty billion should be divided among the Volt production run to calculate its true, final value?

Watashi October 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

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Perhaps look at replacing the current ICE with a fuel cell. The fuel cell/plug-in concept might work to extend range a bit.

The car is still impractical and won’t see anything beyond niche market adoption (if that). But accepting the monetary loss as R&D to make it a commercial testbed with real world feedback could help develop some of the technology that will someday lead to a practical vehicle.

With the state of the economy, continuing government subsidies is unrealistic. Unless we see a leap ahead in E-drive technology (actual technology, not marketing) that provides cost vs. performance equivalent to conventional vehicles; EVs will go the way of the EV1. You cannot come into a market and demand customers change to accommodate an inferior product; unless you are China (Communism is funny like that). In the US, you had better prepare for market backlash if customers get pushed into a choice that they didn’t make for controversial reasons.

Paul Birke PEng October 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

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>>>I would not list ‘golf ball dimples on body’ under the ‘Fanciful’ header. It is a very practical, simple idea that would reduce wind resistance and increase mileage.



    Watashi October 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

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    It worked on Mythbusters! They saw about 20% improvement in fuel economy for a passenger car if my memory serves correctly.

John October 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

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Cut the weight of the car to 50% after doubling the weight and capacity of the battery.
Eliminate the 74 Hp generator, cut the el.motor to half of the 149Hp.
Drive the car with the 80Hp combustion engine directly after using the battery capacity.

    Andrew October 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

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    While we at it.
    Increase engine to 130HP.
    Increase fuel tank capacity to run 300 miles on ICE.
    Reduce battery to 12V, 55 Ah.
    Eliminate electrical motor, inverter and battery charger.

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

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    Dear John,

    Great commens!

    You have just described the all new plug in Prius. I think that I will stay with my Amazing Chevy Volt EREV!

    1 ) The 2011/ 2012 Chevrolet Volt is an Electric Car.

    An electric car with a range extending 1.4L gasoline generator. E.R.E.V.-Extended Range Electric Vehicle.

    2 ) Under full electrical charge this sporty, comfortable sedan can travel anywhere from 30 to 50+ miles all electric powered by a 111 kw/ 149 hp Traction Motor combined at times with the second 55 kw/ 74 hp generator in tandem.

    3 ) Full range with a topped off battery and gas tank without recharging or adding a drop of gas is rated 379+ miles !

    4 ) I can drive this car across the country and back without plugging in at all-while generating some of my own electricity to extend the volts range as seen below in Fact #9.

    5 ) Seasonal temperature, driving habits and road conditions may occasionally result in all electric range somewhat lower or higher then 30 to 50+ miles.

    6 ) Reports from some determined owners now brag results in excess of 73 MPC
    ( miles per charge ) have been achieved.

    7 ) Only after driving 30 to 50+miles and the High Voltage Battery has been depleted to around 29% remaining charge does the range extending 1.4 liter naturally aspirated 4 cylinder gas engine fire up, fueled from a 9.3 gallon range extending fuel tank.

    Seamlessly, quietly this little engine cranks a generator that powers the car onward, up to a total of 379 miles non stop. No Range Anxiety here, when needed, Gas and Go!

    The High Voltage Battery is neither charged or discharged when this occurs.

    8 ) Amazingly enough as you drive this machine the Volt Onboard Systems make every effort to recharge the High Voltage Battery with a process called Regenerative Breaking.

    ********What this technology does is that any time the Volt slows down, coasts or you mildly apply the breaks Regenerative Breaking recaptures the kinetic energy normally lost as heat in conventional hydraulic breaking by calling apon the 149 Hp( 111kw ) Traction Motor and at times the 74 hp ( 55 kW ) generator in tandem to act now as an electric generators and recapture electricity back into the High Voltage Battery as well as slowing the vehicle down. Yes this saves considerable wear and tear on the break pads!

    The visualization in the Center Stack LCD Screen with the push of the Leaf Button is dynamic to watch as it portrays the Regenerative Breaking that extends the range of the Volts’ Electric Mode at any speed.

    Regenerative Breaking occures any time you let up on the accelarator pedal to coast or lightly to moderately depress the break pedal, high speed, low speed or crawl speed….this is outstanding!!

    The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

      Bill October 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

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      3 ) Full range with a topped off battery and gas tank (9.3 gallons) without recharging or adding a drop of gas is rated 379+ miles !

      Can we just do the simple math on this? 379/9.3= 40.75 MPG I am NOT impressed!

Michael Mauck October 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

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Again, “there is no ceiling on stupidity” and yes, you can quote me. We get an automatic 66% hit every time we plug in an electric vehicle, because most of the electricity on earth comes from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. The best ever efficiency for conversion to electricity at the source is 33%, not counting losses. Modern diesel efficiencies already exceed 33%, so why would we want to step back to lower overall efficiency? The auto cycle is stalled at something like 25% because of environmental regulations limiting operating temperatures. Is no one thinking about the “big” picture or is this just another scam to increase oil revenues?

    Raymondjram October 18, 2011 at 7:28 pm

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    You are forgetting that the production of gasoline (and other petroleum derived products) use plenty of coal powered electricity. So using electricity directly for transportation will eliminate all that gasoline production equipment that isn’t needed and America will have surplus electrical energy to power everything without importing oil. Domestic oil will still be needed for jet engines, unless the electric jet plane can be developed soon.

    Or do you still believe that gasoline is more efficient? Then why don’t you have a gas powered cellphone or computer??

      jim October 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm

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      you mean like the fuel cells being developed for said applications?

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

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    Mr. Mauck,

    Ouch That Hurts…….

    Well, then read this statement from one of our Republican POTUS contenders:

    Volt buyers actually subsidizing ICE drivers

    If you watched the republican debate the other night you saw John Huntsman cite a statistic from the Miliken Institute that the real cost of gasoline to Americans is $13 per gallon when you include the military cost of defending access to oil etc. Remember, this is a REPUBLICAN statistic.

    So here is some interesting math:

    If you drive a Chevy Cruze Eco at 35 mpg (28 city 42 highway) for 15,000 miles a year you consume 2,143 gallons of gasoline over five years. Of that, you pay (let’s assume $3.50 a gallon) $7,500 over 5 years and taxpayers give you a whopping $19,728 in hidden subsidies ($9 a gallon according to Huntsman).

    If you drive a Chevy Volt and average 120 mpg (about 2/3rds electric) you consume 625 gallons and you pay around $2,200. The hidden subsidy in that gasoline is $5,625. Add to that the $7,500 tax credit and the math is as follows:

    Five Year Government subsidy by vehicle:
    Cruze Eco – $19,728
    Volt – $13,125
    Ford F150 – $35,526

    Indeed, according to Mr. Huntsman and the Miliken Institute, the Volt has the LOWEST government subsidy of any car on the road except the Leaf. Food for thought.


    The Amazing Chevy Volt-Facts Guy

      jim October 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

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      so … we should be buying Nissan Leafs then?

      Watashi October 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

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      Huntsman is a closet DEM. There are no subsidies on conventional vehicles, just government interferrence.

      Your “facts” are wrong. Real facts would not support the commercial viability of a car that
      1) Cannot perform up to the standards of conventional cars
      2) Costs much more than said cars
      3) Targets the interests of a fringe demographic

      Sorry GM, you should have just decalared bankruptcy, restructured, then engineered your way out of your troubles. Then you wouldn’t have to service Uncle Sugar and his whimsical fetishes.

    Leo Bellew October 20, 2011 at 12:39 am

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    I buy all my electricity from a wind power provider. Just do it and see how fast the providers can ramp up.

TFC October 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

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Basic minimums a sedan should be able to handle.
Can it carry a 10′ piece of conduit or stud inside (can stick out back a little or on roof)?
Can it carry a sheet of plywood or a mattress on the roof (expected to have luggage rack mounts)?
Can it carry a couch or Chester drawers on the trunk area (rear tie down attachments)?
Can you mostly load a motorized wheelchair in the trunk with tie downs to keep it from falling out?
These basics are needed to avoid having to own a truck to carry anything more than a bag of groceries.

    jim October 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm

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    Cool … you just described my 1992 Honda Accord Wagon … and the 10 footer doesn’t stick out the back! Well, we did have to take the backs off the couch. Thank goodness it was a double recliner model so they just pop off and back on. And, no car payments in over a decade. My son-in-law did drop a tree on the roof and a deer danced across the hood but no permanent damage and still drives like it did 156,000 miles ago (when it was new). :-)

scottf200 October 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm

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The heated seats are technical practical. It is more efficient to warm the occupants via the seats than to warm the entire cabin. I actually want a heated steering wheel. The cord with the car is a necessity as it has the SAE J1772 plug on it that is ultra safe as it verify everything (ground, amp, volt) before any electricity flows. Some folks do not have garages so they are plugging in while standing on wet ground, snow, etc. I’ve driven my Volt about 7,000 miles on 12.3 gal of gas. Fun, smooth, solid car.

Miro Kefurt October 18, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

Volt is a nice car, I have driven them at the http://www.altcarexpo.com as a driver not much to complain about except the people in the prking lot that more than once stepped in front of the car moving at 10 MPH, but only managet to brush agains one, no casulties, but the car for sure needs a noisemaker at under 20 MPH.

As a passenger and being 6’2″ the rear seat is useless for me, the leg room is barely adequate and the headroom nonexistent for anyone much taller than 5″

Cut price in 1/2 would be nice.

Reliability is however still a question, after just one day of test drives from 10 AM to 5 PM on the second day only 4 cars out of 6 were still running, not very impreessive !!!

Engies were running to charge batteries on all the test cars after just 45 minutes of 2.5 miles test drives around the block in Santa Monica, California.

So the claimed 35 to 40 miles in stop and go traffic that moves at under 30 MPH is really questionable.

A/C at even moderately warm day was at best marginal, the excuse was that people were getting in and out all the time so the car did not ave time to cool down, but when the A/C vents blow 70+F air on you it is a poor excuse.

I would not want one even if it was free in Las Vegas when it is 110F in the shade and there is no shade (gets more like 140 F inside of acar with windows up in just minutes).

Watashi October 19, 2011 at 9:01 am

Vote -1 Vote +1

“I’ve driven my Volt about 7,000 miles on 12.3 gal of gas” –
A little disingenuous; that’s like saying I’ve driven a tractor trailer coast to coast on no gasoline. If you want to provide a useful stat, tell us how far you can get on a tank of gas and specify the begining charge state of the battery pack.

I’m not dsiputing you, I would just like to know what you are seeing as far as range and fuel economy. This is the only way to know how the Volt compares to conventional vehicles.

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mr. Watashi,

    For a third party opinion on heavy Net Cost to Drive Reduction see the Kiplinger report in the link below.

    The Kiplinger Car Cost Calculator shows cost to drive the Volt close to the cost to drive a 2012 Chevy Cruze based on heavy gas cost reduction vrs Electric Cost.

    You can use this Car Cost Calculator for any comparison.


    The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mr. Watashi,

    Here is what my local utility says about plugging in The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV. Kinda backs up Mr. Scottf200, eh? Do the math!

    Located in Lansing, Michigan, My local utility is known as the Board of Water and Light. They post this on their web site….

    “Operating a plug-in electric vehicle means significantly reducing your carbon footprint with the added benefit of the cost of operating the vehicle. Averaging about $1.20 a day-roughly the same as a household appliance….” ( $36.00 month !! )

    Board of Water and Light Link: http://www.lbwl.com/PEVintro.pdf

    The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

Daniel Joseph October 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

Vote -1 Vote +1

Having driven our Volt for nearly 8000 miles, I can say there are a few things that could be improved, but each one with the exception of the 2 I list below are dependent on more battery efficiency which is already in the pipe for 2014 (2nd generation batteries), so I will skip those. Here are my two:
1) I drive my Volt in LOW all the time around town. Reason: it maximizes regen and does nothing to hurt battery life or maximum speed. In other words, when you lift your foot from the accellerator, the regeneration of electricity back to the batteries is maximized when in LOW. You avoid pressing the brake which also increased brake pad life dramatically. Here is where the suggestion comes in. I can literally lift my foot and come to a stop as if I was pressing the brake. What I suggest is an algorithm that puts on the brake lights at some point (it would be tricky I know) so following cars are alerted that I am slowing down.
2) When driving with electric, the gas gauge is in a dark grey that I can barely see. Why not use a higher contrast color for that?

That’s it. Best car I ever bought in terms of delivering what I thought I was buying. I save $200 per month in Gas. I can’t stand listening to potential new car buyers who say they can’t afford it. I am driving this for about $149.00 per month after gas savings, you can’t drive a low end Kia for that! Of course, I am not talking about folks who truely can’t afford any new car.

    Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mr. Joseph,

    Thank you for your post explaining in matter of fact terms why you love your Amazing Chevy Volt EREV. I am so jealous of you. : )

    We are sold out of Volts here and we are a major dealership. My order will not even be accepted until our next allocation in December! This puts me without this amazing machine until spring 2012!

    Hamtramck is cranking up to a 5000 car production month come February 2012 but with the 50 state rollout ramping up we have to wait our turn…..

    Amazing Chevy Volt EREV Facts Guy

    jim October 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Sounds great, Dan. I’ve seen the brake light issue and dash comments before. I’m surprised about the brake light. Seems like any competent designer would have thought, “slowing vehicle, better code the brake lights to come on!” The dash issue is more complicated … kids today like all the confusion on the dashboard. After a while, it dawns on one that only the fuel level(s), vehicle speed and time are really needed. Everything else could be handled on the side with a (normally blank) text frame and signal the driver with a “check status” indicator (replacing the “check engine” indicator which we’ve all learned rarely means check the engine!) LoL

      Tom Boles October 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      Dash info clutter…

      For night time driving, this is just what Saab has been doing since the early 90′s, their “dark panel” display.
      When this is activated, everything on the dashboard except the speedo and clock are turned off and made dark. If the drivers attention is needed, that gage is lit and activated or the main info warning indicator is lit. It DOES get your attention. During the day, the Saab dash is a model of readability and ergonomic ease of use. For dash design engineers, data and models/examples abound. Why do we still see such bad design? (and on such an otherwise good car?)

Tom Thias October 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

Greetings Mr. Lawrence Foster,

Sorry, no can do……..

The 2nd Law of Thermal Dynamics:

From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and explains the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature. The second law declares the impossibility of machines that generate usable energy from the abundant internal energy of nature by processes called perpetual motion of the second kind.


The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV-Facts Guy

jake October 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

Well since GM squandered the development of the EV series and made hummers instead, the isn’t much you can do to improve the Volt. You can’t rewind the clock. Frankly I would never buy a GM car, no matter what you do to it. GM also gambled with their financing wing and got taken to cleaners. You guys won’t get a bailout next time, you can count on it.

    Bill October 24, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    of course they will get the next bailout. a portion of the money goes right back to the campaign coffers of the politicians who give it to them.

Bill October 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

Vote -1 Vote +1

The dimples cause the air to move over the surface with less friction, resulting in greater efficiency. A vertical wind turbine manufacturer has had success with that design and is implementing it in his product.

Michael October 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

Tom Thais;
I do not think that you have fully assimilated the concept that when our electricity comes largely from petroleum that driving an electric car invokes all of our government’s spending defending oil in the Middle East PLUS all of the energy inefficiencies and pollution we get in producing and distributing electricity. Increasing the efficiency of the Otto cycle by increasing combustion temperature will reduce oil consumption and pollution BOTH in the big picture.

    Aki Bola October 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Whatever happened to the adiabatic engines I used to read about 30+ years ago? They were to run much hotter and be more efficient. The materials science and ceramics weren’t up to the job back then. Is that still the problem?

    More bright ideas for the Volt:
    Hand crank generator to get you home when the main battery dies and you refuse to gas up at BP.
    Add a dry ice compartment to supplement the weak A/C.
    Low tire pressure warning enunciation in the voice of majority GM owner Obama: “Inflation Soon!”.
    Lifetime supply of “You have just been run over by a GM Volt” stickers to give to pedestrian victims.
    Bundle the Cigar Humidor and Cristal Champage Cooler options for extra savings.
    Modify the engine to run on Soylent Green. Put those Flea Party 99%ers to productive use.
    Add “Kennedy Package” scuba tank option for those tipsy weekend jaunts to the Vineyard scene.
    Switchgear must be mitten friendly. You can’t risk using the heat and killing the battery on cold days.

      Miro Kefurt October 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      Aki Bola I like your comment !!!

Masher man October 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

The heck with blue collar comedy and comedy central, I only come here to read Aki Bola’s comments.

My sides still hurt Aki.

The A/C performance sure sounds like fun in Yuma just about any time of the year, guess you’d have to drive around in swimming trunks sitting on a bag of ice.

BTW how does this EV perform in the blinding snow with a 35 mile head wind going uphill ? How much reduction in performance can we expect when one has to deal with poor traction on 6 inches of the white stuff in a blinding blizzard or are the spec’s on this EV only for a 25 C environment with no head wind on flat ground ?

Miro Kefurt October 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

Masher: the car was intended ONLY for Southern California to earn GM ZEV credits, so they could keep on selling Pick Ups with V8 engine (and few Camaros).

If you can afford VOLT then for sure you can pack up from Maine and move to Sunny California (btw it is raining here today in Burbank, but Jay Leno just has driven his 1900 someing BAKER EV to the Electric Car Revenge gala at TESLA in Santa Monica.

Comon did you all really think GM wants people in Wyoming to drive in EV (or a hybrid ???)

Fernando December 14, 2011 at 5:50 am

Vote -1 Vote +1

Protect the most valuable and less resistance of the system, the driver.
Improve safety systems and driver assistance, 802.11p.
Bringing the product to the actual needs.
 Distance, cost, number of passengers.
Making the geometry and the service easy and enjoyable for this margin of distances, costs, time, security.

Sort the variables of the system under stress to improve and result of improvement obtained.
Find the harmony of the energy flow.
segment parts to make it easy to assemble, diagnose and repair.
Consider redundant electronic systems most likely to fail.
Arrange the main variables according to the valuation of potential customers,
cost of transportation, safety, comfort, location.

systems' segments depending on the needs
 eg battery segment in different modules that the client can be placed depending on their needs for autonomy and power.
consider the internal acoustic and visual comfort.
consider the engineering of materials and geometry change shape against stroke, study the recycling strategy.

Consider remote support 7 * 24
Thank  You.

Tim December 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Vote -1 Vote +1

Hire designers and management chain who know how to build the car correctly in the first place - don't ask the broader engineering world for their help long after you've realized you don't have the skills required to participate in a given market.  Begging people to do your work for free after you've been paid an exorbitant amount of money to do a job just makes you look like you don't know how to run a business, and shouldn't have been bailed out by the at our expense…

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{Wow|Whoa|Incredible|Amazing}! This blog looks {exactly|just} like my old one! It’s on a {completely|entirely|totally} different {topic|subject} but it has pretty much the same {layout|page layout} and design. {Excellent|Wonderful|Great|Outstanding|Superb} choice of colors!|
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{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, I {log on to|check|read} your {new stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a regular basis}. Your {story-telling|writing|humoristic} style is {awesome|witty}, keep {doing what you’re doing|up the good work|it up}!|
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{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, just wanted to {mention|say|tell you}, I {enjoyed|liked|loved} this {article|post|blog post}. It was {inspiring|funny|practical|helpful}. Keep on posting!|
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{Hi|Hello} there, {I found|I discovered} your {blog|website|web site|site} {by means of|via|by the use of|by way of} Google {at the same time as|whilst|even as|while} {searching for|looking for} a {similar|comparable|related} {topic|matter|subject}, your {site|web site|website} {got here|came} up, it {looks|appears|seems|seems to be|appears to be like} {good|great}. {I have|I’ve} bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
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{I am|I’m} curious to find out what blog {system|platform} {you have been|you happen to be|you are|you’re} {working with|utilizing|using}? I’m {experiencing|having} some {minor|small} security {problems|issues} with my latest {site|website|blog} and {I would|I’d} like to find something more {safe|risk-free|safeguarded|secure}. Do you have any {solutions|suggestions|recommendations}?|
{I am|I’m} {extremely|really} impressed with your writing skills {and also|as well as} with the layout on your {blog|weblog}. Is this a paid theme or did you {customize|modify} it yourself? {Either way|Anyway} keep up the {nice|excellent} quality writing, {it’s|it is} rare to see a {nice|great} blog like this one {these days|nowadays|today}.|
{I am|I’m} {extremely|really} {inspired|impressed} {with your|together with your|along with your} writing {talents|skills|abilities} {and also|as {smartly|well|neatly} as} with the {layout|format|structure} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {blog|weblog}. {Is this|Is that this} a paid {subject|topic|subject matter|theme} or did you {customize|modify} it {yourself|your self}? {Either way|Anyway} {stay|keep} up the {nice|excellent} {quality|high quality} writing, {it’s|it is} {rare|uncommon} {to peer|to see|to look} a {nice|great} {blog|weblog} like this one {these days|nowadays|today}..|
{Hi|Hello}, Neat post. {There is|There’s} {a problem|an issue} {with your|together with your|along with your} {site|web site|website} in {internet|web} explorer, {may|might|could|would} {check|test} this? IE {still|nonetheless} is the {marketplace|market} {leader|chief} and {a large|a good|a big|a huge} {part of|section of|component to|portion of|component of|element of} {other folks|folks|other people|people} will {leave out|omit|miss|pass over} your {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} writing {due to|because of} this problem.|
{I’m|I am} not sure where {you are|you’re} getting your {info|information}, but {good|great} topic. I needs to spend some time learning {more|much more} or understanding more. Thanks for {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} {information|info} I was looking for this {information|info} for my mission.|
{Hi|Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog|weblog|website|web site|site} {so|thus} i came to “return the favor”.{I am|I’m} {trying to|attempting to} find things to {improve|enhance} my {website|site|web site}!I suppose its ok to use {some of|a few of} your ideas!!\

smkughclog December 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

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How should i go about getting mt ex back December 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

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