We rescue a stranded motorist–and live to tell the tale

(Odometer: 12,289 miles) RALEIGH, N.C.–The Volt's all about the battery, but we rarely pay attention to the traditional 12V battery, because its main battery is so interesting. We got a chance to focus on that last week when we helped a stranded motorist at North Carolina State, and, in the process, just busted an old-school move, as they say:


A loaner for the Volt? No thanks

  General Motors this week said it would give loaner cars to all 6,000 Chevy Volt owners (should they want them) while federal investigators try to figure out why the electric vehicles' batteries are exploding and catching fire in crash-tests.   We won't be taking them up on it. There have been three car fires (all caused by federal investigators

2011 Chevrolet Volt 16-kWH lithium-ion battery cutaway rendering

The Volt and the battery fires furor

ON THE ROAD TO RALEIGH, N.C.–We're still rolling blissfully south toward our next big innovation stop here in Raleigh, and we've been catching up on news surrounding the Volt, its lithium ion (LiOn) battery and charging stations…specifically whether the Volt is a fire hazard. Some sites have seized on the news to push LiOn technology as a killer in the

charging station

The electric gas station

By John Donovan, Low-Power Design, for Drive for Innovation When you run low on gas you look for a handy gas station. What happens when you’re driving an electric vehicle (EV) and you run short of electrons? Unless you’re doing an out-and-back run from your home charging station, you could have a problem. Right now the market for EVs is


Chasing the Volt

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN CLEVELAND AND PHILADELPHIA–Viscerally, I have pretty simple thoughts about the way General Motors has been marketing the Volt. In a nutshell, I feel their heart isn’t in the game. The Nissan Leaf people are slapping them around on TV with those “gas-powered everything” ads. Really funny but the shot at the Volt at the end, is just completely

volt tranmission

Interfacing the motor with the engine

By John Donovan, Low-Power Design, for Drive For Innovation Last week we took a high-level look at the Chevy Volt’s drivetrain, which turned out to be one area where engineering and marketing weren’t quite in sync. This time let’s take a deeper dive into just how the motor and engine actually do sync up. The Volt is based on GM’s

The search for juice

LIVONIA, Mich.–Finding free juice is a challenge with the Volt. My first weekend on the road, I ventured in to Chicago to visit some museums. Pulling into a parking garage, I found that the first empty slot had–joy of joys!–a power outlet. I plugged in and walked away for six hours. When I came back, no juice. Apparently there was


Get on the drivetrain

By John Donovan, Low-Power Design for Drive for Innovation  There are a lot of reasons for thinking of buying a hybrid electric car—ecological, economic, political, and just getting cheesed off at seeing all those hybrids with one passenger whiz by you in the Diamond/HOV lane. Besides, admit it—the technology is cool. So just what is the technology inside the Chevrolet

Team Illuminati

Four years and a hundred grand

That’s what Kevin Smith and friends are into on the Illuminati Motor Works 7 electric vehicle. But that’s an engineer for you. Smith, a young engaging chemical engineer with the Illinois EPA, got the alternative vehicle bug in high school working on a solar project, and he carried that energy into college. In 2007, things got interesting when Smith began

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The Way Back Machine

The Way Back Machine

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