Autoline After Hours – 2016 Chevrolet Volt Discussion With Chief Volt Engineer – Video

MAR 27 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 95

2016 Chevrolet Volt Cutaway On Autoline

2016 Chevrolet Volt Cutaway On Autoline

On this week’s episode of Autoline After Hours, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, along with its chief engineer, Andrew Farah, are the stars of the show.

It’s a definite must-watch for Volt fans and for those interested in learning more in regards to the tech, design and production of the 2016 Volt.

Farah doesn’t disappoint.  He’s a talker and with his position as lead engineer on the next-gen Volt, he’s the man that knows it all when it comes to what makes the 2016 Volt tick.

Enjoy!

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95 Comments on "Autoline After Hours – 2016 Chevrolet Volt Discussion With Chief Volt Engineer – Video"

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Great video! However, the charger does need to be larger. Look at the Leaf, i3, and Model S. I always home charge my Volt on 240v, and i just wish it was faster especially after driving a Model S.

Yes, but all of those cars have larger batteries and are all-electric. So the faster charger is not as necessary on the Volt. Granted, I wish they had a trim-level option for customers to pay for a faster charger. Maybe they will add that in the next model year.

I think Chevy really needs to up their game with regards to charge rate, opportunity charging is really useful even for an EREV and 3.3 kW charge rate is a ripoff or a joke, depending on your situation with regards to money and/or time.

Yeah, I can always use the genset, but I like to only use it in an emergency and opportunity charging at 6.6 kW charge rates would really be an improvement. It isn’t like the battery would even remotely be stressed by increasing the charge rate. Make it an option and charge what the upgrade costs.

Opportunity charging is only useful if it’s free. Commercial charging rates are not remotely cost-competitive with gasoline.

I have 9 free chargers near me and a ton of chargers that cost 75 cents an hour. Free is great but even 75 cents an hour makes great sense if you are charging at 6.6 kW charge rates.

But that misses the entire point of this for a lot of us. We don’t want to use the genset unless WE HAVE TO DO SO. I would pay $1.50 an hour to charge if I could avoid the genset coming on.

The main reason I won’t be replacing my Gen I Volt with a Gen II Volt is the still painfully small back seat. But the fact that GM just ignored a really irritating shortcoming didn’t exactly make me more likely to try to find a way to make the tiny back seats work for me. A lot of us want faster charging, even though some don’t it would have been worth it to throw us a bone. I didn’t need or want a fifth seat, but I supported the idea because a lot of my fellow Volt owners needed/wanted it.

I am unfamiliar with chargers that bill by the hour (at whatever wattage you like) instead of by the kW, but I can tell you that $0.75/hr at 6.6kW is subsidized enough to essentially be equivalent to free.

ChargePoint charges $0.49/kW, which puts you at ~$3.25/hr (@6.6kW). Are you still willing to pay over $3 and wait for an hour to get 20 miles of electric range?

If the answer is yes, you should probably be driving a BEV instead.

Chargepoint does not set pricing at their stations. They sell the stations, and the businesses that buy them set the pricing. Many are free, to attract customers.

Also, my Volt spends many a hour parked, and not charging. Why not charge during these times instead of “waiting for it to charge?”

GSP

While my Volt is parked for an hour, and plugged in while it sits, I would like to get as many EV miles as possible.

For most charging stations this requires a 30 Amp charger. For RV campgrounds this requires a 40 Amp charger. The 14-16 Amp Volt chargers are just the ticket for overnight charging, but they fall short here.

GSP

The Gen II Volts charge rate is going up to an impressive 3.6 kW charge rate, though. Woohoo!
LOL!

Maybe the Cadillac CT6 Plug-in will provide 40-50 EV miles, like the Volt, but with a bigger back seat and trunk. I hope so anyway.

GSP

“opportunity charging” is a kind of toy that appeals to EV enthusiasts; like all toys, after the person plays with it for a while, the tire of it and stop playing with it. as farah mentioned in the video, people tend to get tired of “opportunity charging” after about a year when they realize that they don’t have to worry about it. furthermore, half of Volt owners charge from 120V.

the Volt is not a BEV; recharge time is not so important and you can primarily rely upon home charging with the Volt. furthermore, as farah noted, it’s not like the public charging infrastructure is that developed, so from a practical perspective, fast charging isn’t a particularly important feature for the Volt, although it is a issue of fixation among EV enthusiasts, most of whom are probably going to be more inclined to purchase BEVs and not PHEVs.

nc, that is simply not true. I and a lot of Volt owners I know opportunity charge all the time. I have had my Volt since June of 2013 and if anything I opportunity charge more now that there are more places to do so, and more free chargers as well.
The majority of my charging is overnight, but every time I opportunity charge and still end up using the genset I cuss out the idiots that chose to ignore us and not make 6.6 kW charging an option.

Again, if you’re willing to pay significantly more than gas prices for all-EV operation, why aren’t you driving a BEV?

I just don’t see the value in a 6.6kW charger for a car with a <20kWh battery and a 10 gallon gas tank. Better to get the costs down.

I can’t afford the only BEV that would be long ranged enough to work as my work car. I am a Realtor and I need 120 miles of range some days. The Model S would work but I refuse to pay that much for a car. I really don’t understand why people say “You don’t need a faster charge rate!” I know I don’t NEED it, I want it because it would make my Volt more fun to own. I didn’t NEED a fifth seat but I supported it because I knew there were people that did. Need vs. want, obviously, but it still seems odd to have fellow Volt owners telling me that something I want as an option is something they are against. The point is probably moot anyway. I doubt that I will own another Volt, until the Gen III comes out. I just need a bigger car. I wanted to, and continue to want to, support the electrification of American cars, but one bite out of the “small even for a compact car” apple is enough for me. I may end up in whatever Chevy ends up calling the Bolt, or in the Tesla III. If… Read more »

Charger does not *need* to be larger. You want it to be larger (ie. higher KW rating). The Volt is no comporomises, you can burn a bit of gas and not be stranded. You do not need to keep it running on battery all the time.

What if the charge went from 4.5 hours to 2 hours. To me, that is not fast enough. Either an EV should be 1-hour recharge or some # of overnight, “sleepy charge” hours.

you really need a 5-10 minute recharge.

@29 minutes, not sure where he got the EV industry is 3% of sales, unless he’s including hybrids. Plug-ins are only ~0.8%

I guess he is including hybrids …

I watched the episode. These were the new tidbits I gleaned:

– MSRP will be announced in the next 4-6 weeks
(or 6-8 weeks…Farrah stated both time frames)
– heat pump was considered, but said more works needs to be done, so they stuck with a setup similar to Gen 1, except with a slightly more powerful heater
– ’16 Volt with have the Exhaust heat recirculation tech the Malibu hybrid will have

Glad you picked up those points.
Here’s what caught my attention:

Aluminum out in cars.
250 lbs less weight in new Volt.
Volt 41 combined mpg.
1/3 fewer cells, larger cells.
18.4 kWh battery, 20 lbs lighter.
energy up 20%
240volt charging the limit,
Do Volt owners use public charging?
Not really, it uses gas. Many volt owners charging on 120volt.
[ Is GM saving the battery? GM customers want a car that runs 15-20 years. ]
Pricing 6 to 8 weeks.

I have to tell a friend of mine that AL will not be the future. He’s invested as if that would be the case.

No heat pump is really strange since it already has an airco unit. It only take the effort to make it reversible. No big deal.

Nevertheless no plain seat for 3 in the back is a non starter for me and many others.

It is a great video.

The new Hybrid Malibu was an interesting announcement. I hope this does not depress Volt sales.

There is not a great deal of information available yet, but the Malibu is a class bigger, with 5 real seats, and better mpg than the Volt, it will be a force to reckoned with.

It’s interesting to me that the Malibu Hybrid, using the Volt’s drive train, gets 10% better MPG than the Volt in hybrid mode. I know the Volt’s batteries weigh a lot, but so does the bigger Malibu in general. I also have to assume the Volt has a better Cd. All I can think of is that the gas engine in the Malibu is just that more efficient.

Malibu is a longer car. Low Cd should be easier to obtain.

Looking at the differences between the two vechicles, it would have to be the mechanical linkage between the engine and the wheels coupled with the engine displacement.

I see the Malibu has a Cd of 0.29 vs. the Volt’s 0.28, and I have to imagine the Cda is larger in the Malibu.

I suspect that is a quirk in the different ways that PHEVs and Hybrids are tested on the EPA test cycle. I don’t recall the specifics, but PHEVs and hybrids undergo different dyno tests when being tested for emissions and fuel consumption.

I doubt it. I wouldn’t consider a Malibu for even a second. The main reason being that it doesn’t PLUG IN, which is a requirement for me. But also I just don’t like the car. It has no appeal to me at all.

It hasn’t been revealed yet, so how can you say you don’t like it besides the plug part?

LOL

Don’t forget: NPNS

GSP

David … A small number of buyers want a car that plugs in so much, they are willing to pay extra for that. Most don’t.

For Volt vs Malibu it will all come down to the pricing.

The Malibu is about size, America is big people.

Still both cars need Wagon Version.
They’re walking away from a gold mine of small business sales.

We may have more than our share of fatties, but the legroom and headroom problems the Volt has are more of a problem for the taller people of Scandinavia and Germany, not America. We are shorties compared to them.

This is probably a small part of the package of reasons the Ampera tanked in Europe but it is a problem for the Volt/Ampera.

Regarding Volt/Malibu …

For years it was easy to compare cars using mileage. Each had city/hwy MPG numbers and that was enough information.

But we still do not have an easy model to understand and compare EVs and PHEVs.

While the Malibu seems to beat Volt on MPG (45 to 41), in real life many Volts will actually get 80 MPG, or more.

I hope we can develop a better set of metrics to understand and compare the new, electrified vehicles.

2016 Volt has an MPGe rating of 102 MPGe.

We already have a metric to attempt to quantify EV and PHEV energy consumption in a way that can be compared with MPG in a gas car.

I do not think MPGe is not a good metric.

It is only mildly useful when comparing EVs, and even in that case I’d prefer Wh/mile.

Now Wh/mile is not used by anybody, but I can live with mi/kWh.

“[MPGe] is only mildly useful when comparing EVs, and even in that case I’d prefer Wh/mile”

MPGe IS kilowatt-hours per mile, simply restated in different units.

The EPA calculates MPGe for EV’s using the fixed formula of 33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity as the equivalent to one gallon of gas. To convert, you simply divide by 33.7 and it is a direct unit conversion.

You are getting the exact data you want for pure EV’s. You just don’t like how it is being delivered, and you are unwilling to be flexible enough to accept the data in the same format that mass market consumers have stated in numerous EPA study groups that they would like to get that information.

Nix, if the idea is to communicate information, it is best to present it in a way that people can understand it.

1) why pick something that is too hard for most people when simpler options exist?
2) mi/kWh is useful because batteries are sized in kWh, electricity is sold by kWh and most people know what a mile is
3) In theory a gallon contains 33.7kWh or electricity, but no practical way exists to convert a gallon into that amount of electricity, which means that 33.7 has no practical value

The EPA already asked mass market consumers how to present information so that they can understand it. In multiple study groups, consumers OVERWHELMINGLY said that they didn’t even know what a kilowatt was. Even worse, when asked if they would like to be learn what a kilowatt is, they overwhelmingly stated that they didn’t even want to learn. Your own experience may be different, but the mass market has already spoken. If we as enthusiasts want EV’s and PHEV’s to be successful in the mass market, we’ve got to get it through our thick heads that the rest of the US car buying market doesn’t talk in kWh or kW. They demanded a unit they could compare directly with MPG, and the closest approximation possible was MPGe. Window stickers are for informing the mass market. You can either choose to recognize that the EPA is providing the EXACT kilowatt data you want, simply in different units, or you can look at the fine print where every EPA sticker shows consumption in kWh’s. Saying that the MPGe number isn’t meaningful because you refuse to understand it is simply a fixed unit conversion into units demanded by the target consumers of the… Read more »

“33.7 is simply a fixed ratio to convert technical measured consumption into a unit that the mass market overwhelmingly demanded when asked.”

Why then use 33.7? Why not any other number?

If you picked 10 the math would have been easier and the result while still BS, would appear slightly more meaningful.

MPGe is artificial and useless. Really.

Because Science.

I think you are confusing my comment about it being a fixed ratio with it being an arbitrary ratio. It is not arbitrary. It is the fixed ratio of BTU’s for kWh vs. gasoline. A BTU is the universal way to measure energy from any source equally without converting from one source to another. A BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one lb of water by one degree F.

1 kWh contains 3,412 BTU of energy

1 gallon of gasoline contains 115,000 BTU

The rest is just basic division:

115,000 ÷ 3,412 = 33.7 kWh.

Again, you are just calling MPGe “artificial and useless” because you don’t understand the science. Instead of expanding your understanding of Science, you smash anything new you don’t understand with a stick.

MPGe IS the measurement of kilowatts a pure EV consumes. MPGe is calculated by measuring how many kilowatts are consumed on the EPA test cycle. It is simply expressed in the equivalent number of BTU’s worth of gasoline.

It is really no different than expressing miles as kilometers. It is just a different unit of measurement.

You might as well be saying that kilometers are “artificial and useless” because you don’t know how to convert them to miles.

Or that Centigrade and Kelvin temps are “artificial and useless” because you don’t understand the science between them and Fahrenheit temps.

Nix

Electricity does not come in gallons.

Actually I understand the science very well indeed. I also know that you attributed several things to me, all of them unfounded and wrong of course, but that just exposes your character.

I have no idea why you want to have a dog in this fight, why you are trying so hard to convince people about something that is utterly useless.

Again, electricity does not come in gallons.

Calculating an theoretical amount of heat in gallon of gasoline and equating that with electricity is wrong, because heat is not the same as electricity.

And if you try to convert the heat to electricity a good chunk of it gets lost, which if known to those who studied thermodynamics.

Likewise if you used E=mc2 to calculate the energy content of a gallon of gasoline, the answer which would be very different, but also based on good scientific theory and also useless for the purpose we are discussing here.

[I hope you understand the 2 above means squared, I cannot do superscripts here]

ggpa — I’ve already stated what my dog in this fight is a number of times, you simply choose to ignore it.

1) I want EV’s and PHEV’s to go mass market.
2) The mass market demands a consumption rating that DOES NOT use kilowatts.
3) MPGe IS a measure of kilowatts consumed that is simply in units that the mass market demands.

Do you have an alternative that meets those 3 criteria? Yes or no?

ggpa — The “Ge” in MPGe doesn’t stand for gallons. It stands for “Gallon Equivalent” They are no more the same than Kilowatt and Kiloliter. Stop pretending they are the same. Nobody is saying electricity is delivered in gallons. Don’t be a fool. Nobody is ever converting gasoline to electricity. Or vice-versa. So there is no reason to try and even contemplate such a conversion. All you do when you bring such a thing up is to show you don’t understand the science behind BTU’s. Nobody in science has ever cried foul at rating Diesel fuel at 139,000 BTU because it would take more BTU to actually convert a gallon of gasoline to diesel fuel than the actual difference in BTU rating. Don’t be absurd. There is no conversion. Ever. Stop talking about it. It is ignorant to talk about BTU rating of different fuels as if they were based upon the amount of energy required to convert between the different forms of energy. That is a completely false understanding of the scientific concept of BTU’s. You wouldn’t use E=mc2 to calculate the energy content of a gallon of gasoline unless you were using it to fuel a nuclear reactor.… Read more »

The problem is that there is a vast gap in energy conversion efficiency between EVs and ICEs. So when you say that an EV has 98 MPGe (for purposes of comparing to ICE MPG, which is the entire reason MPGe exists), that 98 MPGe would only be in comparison to an ICE with similar energy efficiency.

According to the DOE, EVs are ~60% efficient at converting grid electricity into power at the wheels, while ICEs are only about ~19% efficient at converting gasoline into the same. Given those modifiers, an EV with 98 MPGe is actually more like 309 MPGe (when compared to an ICE).

+1

There are many examples where MPGe confuses more than it helps.

For instance the i3 MPGe rating is the highest, so I assume it will be substantially higher than Volt 2.0, yet Volt 2.0 will actually drive more miles per gallon of regular than i3 drives on a gallon of premium when both of them are running on gasoline.

Spider-Dan While your post has lots of great facts in it about the efficiency benefit of an electric motor over an ICE which are entirely correct, your conclusion is incorrect. There is indeed a vast gap in energy conversion efficiency between EVs and ICEs. Which is EXACTLY what the higher MPGe numbers of EV’s prove. Keep in mind that MPGe is simply the number of kilowatts consumed on the EPA driving test, just expressed in different units. But the underlying measurement IS of the efficiency of The test is simply to take an EV that is fully charged, run it through the test cycle, then measure the amount of electricity it takes to recharge the battery. This measures the efficiency of the battery being charged, the efficiency of the electric motor on discharge, drivetrain losses, etc. All of the efficiency benefits you spoke of are INCLUDED in these numbers. That is why EV’s get rated at over 100 MPGe, roughly 3 times more efficient than ICE cars. That corresponds directly to the efficiency differences you did such a good job at documenting. What you’ve done, is to unwittingly prove that the MPGe numbers quite accurately show how EV’s are 3-4… Read more »
ggpa — The higher MPGe rating for the i3 correctly identifies that the i3 will consume less energy overall (gas+electric) because it will drive more miles in EV mode. Let’s take the outlier individual driver’s niche situations out of the equation by talking about fleet consumption. (That’s what the gov’t does. Everything they calculate is calculated at the fleet level.) Think of a fleet of i3 cars, driven by a whole bunch of different drivers with different driving patterns. They will consume X gallons of gas and Y kilowatts of electricity together as a group. Put this same group of drivers with the same driving patterns in a fleet of Volts. They will use fewer gallons of gas, and more kilowatts of electricity. This is because the battery only range of the i3 is longer than the Volt. We already know from Spider-Dan’s posts that whatever the vehicle, PHEV’s are more efficient operating in electric mode than running the gas engine. Roughly 60% vs. 20%. This validates the higher MPGe rating for the i3, because it operates more efficiently because it operated in EV mode for more miles. You’ve just unwittingly proven that the MPGe numbers between the i3 and… Read more »

Nix, your response is provably incorrect.

The calculation for MPGe uses 33.7kWh as equal to one gallon of gasoline. But that’s [b]the total energy content[/b] of a gallon of gas, NOT [i]the actual amount of usable propulsion energy[/i] that an ICE [i]gets[/i] from a gallon of gas (which is only 19% of that total).

In other words, MPGe compares [i]kW to the wheels[/i] to [i]the chemical energy in a gallon of gas[/i]. The calculation I gave compares [i]kW to the wheels[/i] to [i]gasoline power to the wheels[/i], which results in ~300ish MPGe for an EV.

Spider-Dan — You are applying a theoretical/mathematical adjustment ON TOP of actual measured efficiency numbers. 1) The EPA puts 1 gallon of gas in a car. The car burns that gas at 19% efficiency and goes 30 miles. The 19% efficiency is ALREADY INCLUDED in the actual EPA test numbers. Pretty, pretty please say you understand this. Without you understanding this, all hope is lost of you getting any of this. 2) The EPA puts 1 kilowatt of electricity in an EV. It goes 3.412463 miles on 1 kilowatt of electricity at 60% efficiency. The 60% efficiency IS ALREADY INCLUDED in the actually measured EPA measurements!!!! Convert the units into MPGe by multiplying by 33.7, and you get 115 MPGe. As you can see, the MPGe ALREADY REFLECTS the fact that the EV is 3 times more efficient!!! This is why the MPGe is CORRECTLY roughly 3 times higher than the MPG. Because the EV is roughly 60% efficient, and gets more miles out of the equivalent units of energy compared with a gas car that is less efficient. This is how MPGe works. It shows with numbers exactly the efficiency differences you documented. You CANNOT simply arbitrarily multiply the… Read more »
1) When the EPA tests miles per gallon on an ICE car, they put gas in a car and see how far it goes. So far, so good. 2) When the EPA tests MPGe, they put kWh in a car and see how far it goes. BUT THEN, they take that number and plug it into an equation that contains the total amount of energy in a gallon of gasoline. 33.7kWh represents the total amount of chemical energy in a gallon of gasoline (i.e. before ICE efficiency losses). You already cited all of this information: “1 kWh contains 3,412 BTU of energy 1 gallon of gasoline contains 115,000 BTU The rest is just basic division: 115,000 ÷ 3,412 = 33.7 kWh.” Where do you see ICE efficiency losses in that calculation? Because 33.7kWh is the integral number used as the energy value of gasoline in MPGe. To make this perfectly clear: the point that I am making is that “MPG” accounts for real-world efficiency losses in burning gasoline, while “MPGe” accounts for real-world efficiency in converting electricity compared to an ICE engine that can extract 33.7kWh of propulsion power from a gallon of gasoline. Such an engine does not and… Read more »
““MPGe” accounts for real-world efficiency in converting electricity compared to an ICE engine that can extract 33.7kWh of propulsion power from a gallon of gasoline” This is absolutely false. This is where you don’t understand the math at all. You are falsely conflating upstream and downstream measurements in the EPA tests. The 33.7 conversion factor is for the energy INPUTS, not the measured outputs that include the efficiency losses. It is not at all about how much energy an ICE can extract from a gallon of gas, it is how much energy the gallon of gas itself contains. Let me try one last time to explain this to you. 1) The EPA puts 1 gallon of gas in a car. That is 115,000 BTU’s of energy. That car goes 30 miles on the EPA test cycle on 115,000 BTU’s of energy. The 30 MPG test results INCLUDE the lousy ICE efficiency. 2) The EPA puts the same 115,000 BTU’s worth of energy into an EV. That is 33.7 kilowatts. Or in other words, the BTU equivalent to 1 gallon of gas. (The “Ge” in MPGe) “Ge” means “Gallons equivalent” of energy. The EV travels 115 miles on 115,000 BTU’s of… Read more »

MPGe is generally a useless statistic. Comparing to the amount of energy in a gallon of gasoline is meaningless when so much of that gas energy is converted into wasted heat.

The only real way to compare ICE/ICE-hybrid to EV/PHEV is in $/mile. I doubt anyone thinks the Malibu will beat the Volt there.

$/mile is way too variable to have any meaning. That is why MPG for gas cars has never had a $ value in that rating either.

I think the Malibu might beat the Volt in $/mile in the northeast US where electricity is $.20/kWh. I ran the numbers in fueleconomy.gov/m to verify it. The 2016 Malibu hybrid is supposed to get higher than 45 mpg combined. Since the new Malibu is not yet listed, I substituted the 2015 Honda Accord hybrid, which has a combined 47 MPG rating. Under the “Cost to Drive” section the annual “Annual Fuel Cost” is $800 based on 15,000 annual miles and $2.45 per gallon gasoline. http://fueleconomy.gov/m/m.do?action=vehicles&econ=open&id=35627#v35627 Since the 2016 Volt is not released, I substituted the 2015 Nissan LEAF because it has a higher MPGe rating than the 2015 Volt. The 2015 Volt has a Combined 98 MPGe rating, and the 2016 Volt will be even more efficient. The 2015 LEAF has a Combined 114 MPGe rating, using 30 kw-hrs per 100 miles. The Malibu Hybrid will have a higher MPG rating than the 2016 Volt will have when running in charge sustain mode. Therefore, I will compare the cost of driving the Malibu Hybrid to the cost of driving the 2016 Volt on battery power by substituting the more efficient 2015 Leaf in it’s place. The cost of electricity… Read more »

$0.20/kWh for off-peak residential electricity? Can you cite a source for that?

Supposing that is the case, even at that rather extreme end of high electricity cost, the Malibu only wins as long as gas stays under $2.75/gal.

This is exactly why MPG for gas cars doesn’t include a dollar value anywhere in the metric. It is meaningless because of variability in prices, and it has nothing to do with the car itself.

The car doesn’t get more efficient if the price of the fuel goes down. It doesn’t get less efficient if the price of fuel goes up. The car’s efficiency at consuming fuel/energy per mile remains exactly the same regardless of whatever price changes there are.

Measuring efficiency of consuming the fuel/energy source per units of distance is and will always be the best way to measure the efficiency of any vehicle.

For the overwhelming majority of consumers, the entire reason they care about efficiency is the cost. Nobody would really care if solar is technically less efficient at energy transmission than using the grid, as long as it’s cheaper.

Furthermore, MPG is not a true efficiency metric; it tells you nothing about how much useful energy you are extracting per unit of fuel, only how far you are getting on that energy.

For example, a high-end sportscar might hypothetically be 25% efficient at converting gasoline to power at the wheels, while an econobox might only be 20% efficient… but the sportscar has far, far more power, so it gets less MPG than the econobox. However, no one would call the sportscar more “fuel efficient,” because the automotive market defines fuel efficiency in terms of distance per unit of fuel.

That’s why MPG is a proxy for cost/mile, and why MPGe (which only defines abstract efficiency when compared to a hypothetical 100% efficient ICE engine) is a useless metric.

MPGe is NOT an abstract measurement. It is the actual measurement of the number of kilowatts consumed on the EPA test cycle. The Units have simply been changed.

What is so hard to understand about this? MPGe IS the number of actual, measured, real, tangible kilowatts consumed on the EPA test cycle.

Expressing the number of kilowatts consumed per mile as MPGe is no different than measuring a gas car as getting 25 MPG, and then converting it into kilometers and saying the car gets 9.4 liters per 100 KM.

Saying the car gets 9.4 l/100 KM isn’t arbitrary or meaningless, just because some people might not understand the math behind doing the conversion. It is still just another way of saying 25 mpg in different units.

MPGe is the exact same way. It IS kilowatts per mile, just in different units. Wow, this is painful!!!!

Oh, and last thing:

If MPGe is not an abstract measurement, please explain the difference between kWh/mile and MPGe. Especially the 33.7 kWh part.

Thanks.

It seems this is the real core problem with your understanding of MPGe: “If MPGe is not an abstract measurement, please explain the difference between kWh/mile and MPGe. Especially the 33.7 kWh part.” Let me explain it in terms of an EPA test. The EPA puts 115,000 BTU’s worth of energy into an EV. That is 33.7 kilowatts. Or in other words, the BTU equivalent to 1 gallon of gas. (The “Ge” in MPGe) “Ge” means “Gallons equivalent” of energy. The EV travels 115 miles on 115,000 BTU’s of energy. That is 115 Miles Per 33.7 kWh. This should be very, very clear. Just like you drive 100 miles on 4 gallons of gas and fill up at the gas station with 4 gallons. You look at your odometer and see you did 100 miles per 4 gallons of gas you pumped in the car. You can divide that 100 by 4 and get 25 MPG. Simple math. 100 Miles per 4 gallons == 25 MPG Now with 115 miles per 33.7 kWh we can take these actual hard measurements and do two different kinds of math with them. Both are EQUALLY VALID!! First, we can do like we did… Read more »

Fair enough.

“Furthermore, MPG is not a true efficiency metric; it tells you nothing about how much useful energy you are extracting per unit of fuel, only how far you are getting on that energy.”

*BANGS HEAD ON WALL*

How many miles you go on that gallon of gas (Miles Per Gallon) is EVERYTHING “useful” we need to know about how much energy the vehicle is extracting out of each gallon of gas.

Seriously, this sort of resistance to MPGe is EXACTLY the same mentality why we don’t have the Metric System here in the United States. This militant excuse-making and going far, far out of the way to find excuses not to understand MPGe is the same thing we’ve seen keeping us from adopting kilometers and kilos.

This is bad deja-vu all over again. It is all the same frustration I remember having with the folks who refused to give up their silly 1/8th’s and 1/16th’s of inches to use centimeters and millimeters.

GET OVER IT!!!!!

It is a real measurement of real kilowatts of consumption. Learn it.

*BANGS HEAD ON DESK*

One would think that the example I just gave (sportscar vs. econobox) would have been sufficient to make the point; apparently, it was not. So let’s try this again:

1) Do you accept that not all ICE drivetrains are equally efficient at extracting power from gasoline?

2) Do you accept that a car that uses more power at the same efficiency rate would get worse fuel economy?

3) Do you accept that a more powerful car could have a more efficient drivetrain (i.e. extracts more energy per unit of fuel) and yet still have worse fuel economy?

“Fuel efficiency” and “fuel economy” are not interchangeable terms. MPG is a measurement of fuel economy, NOT fuel efficiency.

I see your error. You are incorrectly conflating volumetric efficiency with fuel efficiency. These are not the same at all. I completely agree with your #1. “2) Do you accept that a car that uses more power at the same efficiency rate would get worse fuel economy?” ICE engines do not “use” power, they PRODUCE power (horsepower). I’m assuming you are talking about energy, and not power. A vehicle that uses more energy to produce the same amount of work by definition is less fuel efficient. This is true regardless of what the volumetric efficiency of the engine is. “3) Do you accept that a more powerful car could have a more efficient drivetrain (i.e. extracts more energy per unit of fuel) and yet still have worse fuel economy?” A performance car extracting more POWER is a measure of volumetric efficiency, not fuel efficiency. This is an apples v. oranges comparison of two different types of efficiencies. You are simply inventing reasons to do your best not to understand MPGe. All of this is at best a red herring. Or simply confusion between the volumetric efficiency off a performance car, and fuel efficiency, which are two different things and cannot… Read more »

You continue to conflate fuel economy and fuel efficiency. Let us look at your previous statement:

“A vehicle that uses more energy to produce the same amount of work by definition is less fuel efficient. This is true regardless of what the volumetric efficiency of the engine is.”

So then, the logical corollary of this statement is that a vehicle that uses the same amount of energy to produce more work is, by definition, more fuel efficient.

So as you just said, let’s compare two cars. Both car A and car B get 35MPG, but car B has a newer, more powerful engine that produces more work (in this example, increased torque, which can therefore move more mass the same distance at the same rate). By the definition you just gave, car B’s engine is more fuel efficient, “regardless of what the volumetric efficiency of the engine is.”

Dan– you are continuing to confuse an engine’s Fuel Efficiency with an engine’s Volumetric Efficiency. These are not the same at all. When people talk about performance cars producing more torque, they are talking about the Volumetric Efficiency, not the fuel efficiency of those engines. Let’s compare those two cars that get 35MPG. Exactly identical but one has a more modern performance engine that can generate more peak torque at WOT and faster acceleration. The performance car magazines would describe this as a “more efficient” engine. When they say this they are talking about Volumetric Efficiency. Both cars have IDENTICAL fuel economy of 35 MPG. Please say you understand that miles per gallon IS fuel economy. They go 35 miles on 1 gallon of gas on the EPA test cycle. Note that the EPA test cycle doesn’t include any WOT runs. Both cars also have IDENTICAL fuel efficiency. They both take 1 gallon of gas and and have the exact same amount of efficiency losses. It is mathematically impossible for one engine to have a higher fuel efficiency in two vehicles that get the same fuel economy. If one engine is 20% efficient at converting 1 gallon of gas to… Read more »

Who says the cars are of identical weight? Weight plays no part in the calculation of MPG (or MPGe), because MPG calculates only fuel economy, NOT fuel efficiency.

As I just said, a more powerful engine with better fuel efficiency can propel a heavier vehicle at the exact same MPG (read: fuel economy) as a less powerful, less fuel efficient vehicle.

So to answer your question: those extra BTUs from the more efficient engine do not vanish into this air. They are used to propel a greater amount of mass the same distance.

We can directly compare the EPA ratings for PHEVs and HEVs when they are both in hybrid mode. As you stated, the Malibu is 45 while the Volt is 41. This is when both cars are operating in the same manner. It still baffles me how the Malibu does better.

Kdawg, sure we can make that partial comparison, but that is not the full picture, and that will unfairly bias people against the Volt.

Similarly MPGe is of no value unless both cars are EVs.

OK. I see what you are trying to say now. I thought you were confused about the MPG figures.

I think the best way to convey it is either compare monthly fuel costs, or monthly gallons of gas used. MPGe has always been a silly number to me

Thx for the recap Bro.

I like the “pre interview” chatter about when the Tesla driver wouldn’t acknowledge the i8 but his wife/girlfriend was having an orgasm over it.

I thought it was funny how Adrew Farah explained how to pronounce his last name to John Mcelroy, which he repeated several times. But when the show started, he said it wrong again. LOL

i still think that the design of the Gen1 Volt is better than that of the Gen2 Volt, both exterior and interior. i suspect that the people raving over the design just wanted to see something different: i expect that most of those people will decry the Gen2 Volt for looking too much like a honda civic before the new Volt even hits the market. i like the some of the technical aspects of the Gen2 Volt: increased EV range, better gasoline MPG and ability to use regular gas. i also like the center seat.

I didn’t even know what a Honda Civic looked like, till I Googled it when this comparison was first made. I have heard the Next Gen Volt “looks exactly like” 3 different cars at this point now. Personally, I don’t see it, but what this tells me is that those 3 cars must also look “exactly like” each other too.

Everything about the Gen II is targeted for the mass market, including the styling. Just like the Honda Civic.

People who like to be different wont’ like that. But every EV/PHEV fan I know ultimately wants green cars to go mass market and sell in big numbers. That requires mass market styling.

In my opinion, if this is the styling that GM needs to use for the Volt to be successful in the mass market like a Civic, I’m perfectly happy with it.

Scratch that. I’m overjoyed with it.

The most beautiful Volt I can picture in my mind is the one that appeals to the most buyers and puts the most butts in the most PHEV’s.

i am not at all convinced that styling is the issue with sales of the Volt. i think that it has a lot more to do with the fact that Volt was designed for general market acceptance at a time where the market for *EVs is still in the early adopter stage. early adopters tend to be EV enthusiasts, it’s great for cars like the Leaf that can claim the appearance of market acceptance, but the reality is that there is not a lot of market upside in catering to EV enthusiasts.

to really cater to the general market will require more than the right set of technical features; it is also going to be driven by price, and the market will need to understand *EV product offerings. that last point will take time, i suspect.

Sadly, the mass market has proven over and over to gravitate towards whatever they see everybody else drive and intangibles like image — regardless of price, features, reason, logic, functionality, efficiency, etc.

Case in point: America’s bestselling vehicle for 28 consecutive years, the Ford F-Series Pickup.

And it isn’t just the styling. It is everything from the styling to the marketing/rollout to the pricing that GM needs to target to the mass market. From what I saw of the rollout, they’ve definitely gone for a more mass-market approach. Gone is the pale blue/green “Viridian Joule” from the promo cars that went against car color trends even back in 2011. In came a strong deep blue, and dark grey car show colors that are solidly on-trend. They teased it like a proper roll-out by building buzz. All things folks might not like on green car sites, but are exactly how cars are mass marketed.

Andrew Farah has the best job in the whole world….lucky dog.

Good Saturday watch. Thx for posting it.

Good video.
But Andrew, one pet peve I have with the entire “Business Culture” is ending sentences with “…right?” – that shows up in sentences that people want someone else to believe but are not entirely clear. I would love to hear a business interview or talk with far fewer “right-men” (or -ladies).

I am eager to see what the EPA says the all electric range is. I have a 2012 Nissan leaf. I have learned from experience that you can’t always rely on what the manufacturer says concerning electric range. I’m hoping the 2016 Chevy Volt gets at least 50 EPA all electric miles (I trust the EPA). If it gets less than that I probably will still lease one, but I will be disappointed.

Andrew Farah made it very clear in the video that the 50 EV miles was the EPA’s rating for the 2016 Volt.

GSP

GSP, you are right. Farah said, the 50 miles electric range is that of the EPA.

Have you guys done a Truecar test for Volt costs in your area? In mine they claim that Volts are selling for $30,274 which is nearly 14% below MSRP + delivery fee. It is a little less than $3000 more than a Leaf costs in this area.

$3000 more gets you a Volt over a Leaf, and the Volt has been getting out-sold by the Leaf lately. Unbelievable.

Yup, some southern California dealers are advertising $6-7,000 dollars off of 2015 Volts.

But that is like telling cat lovers that there is a sale on Black Labs at the pet store, so they should get a dog instead of a cat.

+1

With that said, I think lots of folks deeply familiar with the Volt remember the deep price cuts on the 2013 Volts right before GM cut the MSRP of the 2014 Volt by $5000 dollars.

The buzz is that the 2016 Volt MSRP will come down yet again, so what seems like a deep discount on a 2015 Volt might not end up being such a deep discount compared with the 2016 MSRP. Folks are waiting.

I hope you are right about the Gen II MSRP coming down significantly. When GM reduced the price on the 2014MY Volt by $5000 they waited until August to release the new price. Now Farah is saying the new price will be out by mid-May. If they were going to try to reduce the amount of time the older models would be competing with the newer car’s lower MSRP, they would have waited until August again, according to most car people. But who knows.
Interestingly enough, GM is building quite a few more 2015MY Volts now. They are back up to 4850 Volts of all model years, they were down to 3250 in January. At current sales rates, that would be around 6 or 7 months of inventory.

When I first read a 3.6 charge rate I was sure it was a typo. Someone correct if I’m wrong but even a plug-in Prius charges at 2.2 on 240 volts. Why the throttled charge rate??? Whats GM’s game here?? The beauty of opportunity charging a car like the Volt is you get what get in the time you have and go. Why not make the most those opportunities?? I appears with the soon to be introduced Malibu Hybrid. GM has decided the Gen 2 Volt is just a another Hybrid with a larger battery. Of course people charge a lot on 110 volts. A large number of these cars are leased and people won’t spring for the level 2 charger and installation on a leased car. Of course they don’t use public charging because the Gen 1 charges to darn slow. The way Andrew danced around the charge rate question they know they screwed up here. “It’s pretty good”,”Works for people”. I think not. Give your customers the option. We’ll pay for it if need be. I’m afraid charging the Bolt is also going to be problem even with CCS. Introducing the car without any plan to provide charging… Read more »

Farah’s interview was generally favorable, but the odd thing I dislike about GM interviews is they are so unnecessarily vague.

Even if he hates using units, he could give relative sizes, such as HOW MUCH bigger is the new heater?

And when he says the new charger is ‘more efficient’, (something i’d doubt), does he really mean it tapers less so that effectively it is faster, in other words ‘more efficient’ is loose language, when he really means ‘more effective’?

Yes I also had that impression Andrew Farah appears a very simpatic person but his explanations are more like a discussion among friends then what you would expect from him. In that sense I like the engineer like explanations of Elon much more.
Farah also didn’t explain why they kept that cabin protruding part of the battery disturbing the back seat legroom while it was an obvious topic of choice since it was one of the expected improvement. Getting 4.5 seats is not quiet 5 seat, so the triple 5 is not there.

Bill,

Charger Efficiency = DC power out / AC power in

I doubt that this is news to you with your engineering background.

The gen 1 Volt charger was serviceable, but not the most efficient on the market by a long stretch.

GSP

Oh? I just make a comment about lack of specificity, and then you make a snipe at a the 2011 volt without specifying either old or new efficiencies…

So, what is the efficiency of the GENERATION 1 volt’s charger at

900 watts?
1400 watts?
2800 watts?
3300 watts?

Please repeat those efficiency figures on the 2016 volt, substituting 3600 watts if you wish. If you have no information, I have no other conclusion to make other than that you are ‘talking through your hat’.

Well, if you’re not going to make an attempt at it, then I’ll guess since I don’t have any secret GM knowledge, I just have what happens to my 2011 Volt.

With the battery dead in the spring and fall, the thing needs only about 11 kw to charge to ‘completion’, so therefore, the efficiency of the ‘charger’ has to be very, very high. There’s the loss of any circulating pumps, and loss of the equivalent battery resistance itself causing heat rather than chemical storage, plus the loss of the computer systems running while charging.

So if the thing fully charges in view of all that (minus the buffer – ignoring that here), the efficiency just has to be fantastic.

err…. 11 kwh. I too would have liked to see an increase in size to around 6 kw for the charger. Most public charging docking stations around my parts are exactly this size, and even for those users substantially charging mostly at 900 watts (myself included), while out and about it would be nice to charge as quickly as the facilities available allow. To me its not a big deal ultimately, I love the VOlt so much that even if they didn’t have a 3300 or 3600 watt chargers (gen’s 1 and 2 respectively), and rather just had a 900 watt one, I’d still have bought the car since most of the time I’m charging it at a leisurely 900 watts anyway, and there is always the fallback of what GM calls the gasoline “Megacharger”. Most people overall will probably be happy with the 50 mile All Electric Range, since it will allow many more trips without even the necessity of charging at all, and, if you stop at a place for lunch and do charge for an hour even at the seemingly anemic 3600 watt rate, assuming you get 12 miles of added range, then you can take a… Read more »