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Everything posted by Automobiles

  1. What is it about the Chevy Volt that seems to elicit such heated discussion? After an article on Motor Trend a couple of days ago elucidated the Volt's complicated drivetrain in more detail than we've seen before, the internet green car ether has spent a huge amount of time debating whether or not the Volt can be considered an electric car because of the mechanical connection between the Volt's combustion engine and wheels. Indeed the conversation has ranged the gamut from "who cares?" to "GM is a bunch of liars." The fact of the matter is that the Volt drivetrain is complicated enough and different enough that even us so-called car professionals are having trouble understanding how it works. And, in the end, the average person likely won't care how the car does what it does, just that it does what they want it to do. Whether or not the Volt will do what the market demands is clearly something yet to be determined—as it is with the Nissan LEAF. So, after getting pretty fed up with the he-said/she-said internet banter and infighting going on in the world of alternocar geeks (myself included), I decided to reach out to GM and ask if they wanted to fully explain how the drivetrain works and defend why they think it's an electric car. After all, even the venerable Motor Trend seems to have gotten it wrong, so who else can better explain it than the engineers themselves? As a result, I had a very insightful and eye-opening conversation with Andrew Farah, Chief Engineer for the Volt, in which the entirety of the Volt's drivetrain is laid out for all the world to see. Rather than simply transcribing that interview here, I've posted the entire audio clip for you listen to below. Initially there is a hint of defensiveness in Mr. Farah's voice, but after he gets down to explaining the Volt's engineering I think you'll find the discussion enlightening. Some highlights of the conversation: Farah says that in his mind the Volt is unequivocally an electric car. "The Volt is an electric vehicle...because for the first 40 miles you can get full performance running on nothing but an electric motor until the battery is depleted," he said. The Volt has three distinct motive forces in it: a large electric motor, a small electric motor/generator, and a 1.4 liter engine. Up to two of those three forces can be combined in select ways through the Volt's secret sauce drive unit—given the road demands and state of charge of the battery—to drive the vehicle. Only the large electric motor is capable of moving the car forward on its own. The small electric motor/generator and the gas engine can only ever be combined with one of the other motive forces to drive the wheels. Even when the gas engine is on and partially driving the wheels, it cannot operate without electricity flowing to one of the other motors. The gas engine, under most conditions, will be used to drive the generator and produce electricity, and will not be used to drive the wheels. There is no "direct" mechanical linkage between the Volt's gas engine and the wheels, rather there is an indirect linkage that is accomplished by meshing the power output of the engine with the power output of one of the other two electric motors. Motor Trend's reporting that the magic cutoff speed of 70 mph is what the car uses to determine whether or not to make the engine to partially drive the wheels is incorrect. The engine is used to partially drive the wheels when the car calculates that it will be a more efficient use of the engine's power. There is no hard cutoff point. via Plugincars
  2. Interesting that nothing ever seemed to happen with this 'massive' leak..... it sort of just died out there.
  3. They are particularly well built and beautiful cars. The 1992 Mercedes was designed to last forever... some are still going with over 1.6 million miles on them. I consider that year to be the best engineered.
  4. General Motors (+4.76%) made a major announcement yesterday. "Staffing transformation": The automaker plans to cut its salaried workforce by as much as 15% (and its executive ranks by 25%). The cuts could total about 14,000 jobs. But remember, this "transformation" was set into motion last month, when GM offered buyout packages to about 18,000 salaried workers in North America. "Increasing capacity utilization": GM said it will stop production at five plants across the U.S. and Canada, and two more internationally, in 2019. (It's possible some could resume operations, pending the outcome of union negotiations.) Politicians from President Trump to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were extremely disappointed/angry with GM. Here's Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio): "Today our generation is facing a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley." "Optimizing product portfolio" and "Transforming product development": There are two auto industry trends GM wants to stay on top of...1) growing consumer preference for SUVs and crossovers and 2) disruption from technological innovation. So...it's 1) cutting a few slumping car models, including the Buick LaCrosse and the Chevy Impala, while 2) doubling resources allocated to electric and autonomous vehicle programs. But still axing the Chevrolet Volt? What's the cost? These moves are expected to increase automotive free cash flow by $6 billion by year-end 2020...and hit GM with a one-time charge of between $3 billion and $3.8 billion in Q4 2018 and Q1 2019. GM CEO Mary Barra said: "We are taking this action now while the company and the economy are strong to keep ahead of changing market conditions." "This is about making sure GM is lean and agile to get in front and lead in autonomous and electric vehicles." Viewed in the context of GM's bankruptcy last decade and President Trump's promise to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S., the political fallout will be severe to say the least.
  5. Well... I finally had to bite the bullet. It's November 16th and I'm at the Chevy dealership ready to pay my $1138 to fix the heater ... A $2000 dollar electric heater ... Wow!! How much does a heater cost in an ICE car normally? Just curious.
  6. So it is now NOVEMBER and I cannot get GM customer care to even call me back. I suspect the Alan Webb Vancouver, WA dealership's unauthorized "software update" is what actually caused my controller to go bad. When did I authorize GM to update my software in the first place? Now I cannot get GM to even call me after calling them and leaving them messages repeatedly for over 2 weeks. I am getting to the point of recommending that people avoid GM products altogether. Tesla is starting to look better with each passing day. I'll let you know if they ever call me back and make good on their stupid car.
  7. Leave her alone. Everyone is getting SO sensitive about whatever she wears. I like the helmets... they are functional. Hitler wore brown.... should we ban the color brown everywhere? Adios UPS.
  8. Don't mess with Jack Dorsey at Twitter... ;-). He is POWERFUL.....
  9. Automobiles


    So if I wanted to set up a page about Autos I could.... I could even use this as a navigation page.... Jeep VW General Motors Cadillac Chevrolet etc...... and link to each specific page.... and I am guessing we can all collaborate on each other's posts on any topic? Yes
  10. Way back in the 70s, the Avon Rubber Company, a UK tyre manufacturer, developed the ‘Avon Safety Wheel’. This allows ANY tyre fitted to run flat, at least for enough time to pull up safely in the event of a blowout, and even then gingerly take it to a tyre service centre. No special tyres, just a slightly different design of wheel. It works by not having a deep well in the centre of the wheel, but instead a flat, shallow trough. To allow a tyre to be fitted, there is a deep groove in the centre that the tyre’s bead can drop into during fitting. Once the tyre is on, but not yet inflated, the grooved channel is covered by a steel band, closed by a worm screw.
  11. I heard that Las Vegas Police Department is reopening it's criminal investigation as well.
  12. So.... let's just assume he is "Disbarred".... I doubt that would remove his authority as an Associate Supreme Court Justice FOR LIFE. What is the point?
  13. What ever happened to that Toyota Production System and quality?
  14. And yet he was voted in anyway. End of Story. Moving on..... Now the real question is..... can HE file a civil suit of slander / defamation against Mrs. Ford now and take her earnings away for the rest of her lifetime for her baseless claim? Anyone know how this works legally? I know politically he probably would never touch it.
  15. dtc b101b is the error code in case anyone cares. ;-) Needs new heater module. Internal open circuit. Can someone explain what that means in detail?
  16. I suspect that the pump was fine and the controller went bad. The "Diagnosis" was probably faulty and I have to pay $700 extra for engineering failure to point out root cause. rrrrrrrrrr
  17. So I went into the dealership today .... Ends up the AC pump stopped working due to dirt and grime that gets into the fans and stops the pump over time. It cost me $687 to replace and the nice service guy even accepted my 50% off labor coupon. Here is the kicker..... once the High Voltage technician installed the part .... the "system" threw an error... Evidently the "controller" that controls that pump is what is defective ... guess what.... it costs $1330. None of this is part of the "powertrain". Lesson here? He said to never heat up your car using electricity.... that I should run the gas and heat up the car that way and only use the electric heater once the car has warmed up. Shaking my head.....
  18. So, perhaps Anthony Bourdain did not commit suicide? Let's not just blindly trust what the mainstream media tells us. Â

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