GM Electrification Boss Talks Next Gen Chevrolet Volt – Transcript

OCT 29 2014 BY JAY COLE 49

After announcing new details on the 2nd generation of Chevrolet Volt yesterday (bigger battery, more efficiency and a new 1.5l extended range motor) General Motors held an impromptu online chat between Larry Nitz, who is Director of Global Transmissions and Electrification, and would-be future owners of the 2016 Volt.

And while many questions posed where deftly avoided (as one would expect ahead of the official launch of the car in Detroit in January), Mr. Nitz did throw out some knowledge as well.

Here is the highlights of Tuesday’s Facebook chat, leading off with InsideEVs’ own Cody Osborne:

2nd Gen Chevy Volt Chat With Larry Nitz

2nd Gen Chevy Volt Chat With Larry Nitz

As for a usable, adult-sized fifth seat, which the newly released cutaway (below) would seem to indicate will not be part of the next generation of Volt…but perhaps a bench of some kind?    GM got out in front of the popular question:

5 Seats?

5 Seats?

2016 Chevy Volt Cutaway

2016 Chevy Volt Cutaway

New range of the 2016 Volt?  GM was mum – although stated it would be greater, leaving its media powder dry for the big NAIAS show in January.

Sidenote:  we have it pegged at 50 miles allowing for newly released data (that and ex-GM CEO’s constant harping on the subject over the past 2 years):

And the range is...

And the range is…

"More" Is Better

“More” Is Better

As predicted earlier, Mr. Nitz kinda confirms what we had thought from an earlier conversation by the exec, that charging in the next gen Chevrolet Volt will disappoint, as current owners really aren’t thrilled having to still deal with 3.3 kW of onboard charging, let alone no fast charging.  Still Chevy Volt owners just wouldn’t let it go.

Mr. Nitz also throws in an unsettling reference to how fast it is to fill up your car with gas.

/know your audience Larry 

Not Looking Good For Better Charging Capabilities...and when Larry says wait 10 weeks, he means read the spec sheet at the NAIAS in January

Not Looking Good For Better Charging Capabilities…and when Larry says wait 10 weeks, he means read the spec sheet at the NAIAS in January

Probably the hardest question for the GM staffers to answer of the afternoon:

...um

…um

About a Voltec-based SUV:

Before Anyone Flips Out...GM Refers To the Orlando (or MPV5) As A "Crossover"

Before Anyone Flips Out…GM Refers To the Orlando (or MPV5) As A “Crossover”

Current and future advertising plans:

Focus Will Continue To Be On California

Focus Will Continue To Be On California

Full chat can be found at Chevrolet’s Volt Facebook page here.

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49 Comments on "GM Electrification Boss Talks Next Gen Chevrolet Volt – Transcript"

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I think 3.3KW is fine for charging. I still mostly charge using 110V with my Volt and don’t have any issues with that. I also don’t have any issues with the 4 seats. Trying to put a small hump between the two current bucket seats is probably the best we will get. I prefer the comfortable bucket seats in the current car over a bench.

I agree, and I don’t know of any PHEV that charges faster than the Volt other than maybe the BMW i3 Rex. And to be fair, they have a lot more battery to charge up than the Volt does.

the main reason i asked about the charging rate is that the charging stations that i use charge per hour plugged in. if i were to have a 6.6 KW capabilities, i would be getting more “bang for my buck” as the other EV’s have that plug in around me.

Honda Accord PHEV charges at 6.6kW.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can charge at 50 kW rate with CHAdeMo.

I was hoping for 6.6 kW, but I am not surprised that GM is not providing it. 3.3 kW is perfectly adequate for overnight charging, but not so much for mid-day public charging.

GSP

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I believe Ford’s Energi plugins all use 6.6kW as well.

In fact, I’d say at this point Volt is the laggard, along with the Plugin Prius. Embarrassing.

3.3 charging is a problem. If I had a fast charge port, I would be able to make 200 mile trips on 50% electricity instead of 20%. I don’t believe the port costs a huge amount either, so why not? If the Volt had the same fast-charge package as the Leaf, for the same cost (I think it was around $1500), I would buy it in a heartbeat.

I hate to be negative, but fast charging on a PHEV/EREV is silly (the purpose of the gas engine is to be able to get some form of energy quickly). Buy one of the next generation BEVs if you’re so concerned about consuming as little gas as possible.

He that never wished for a quick charge among you, let him first cast a stone.

Yes, as soon as there is one on the market that will get me to work that I can afford, I will. 80 miles ain’t cuttin’ it.

For charging, they said “two options”. I have to believe 6.6 charging will be an option….

I think his option #2 was gasoline.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

3.3kW is weak sauce, Ford and Toyota have lamer propulsion tech yet have 6.6kW charging for their smaller batteries.

Lame lame lame GM!

GM volt owners don’t care about charging. Thats’ been proven by OnStar data.

On a former post you said you were ok with 60A. Does that mean your CDSC/EVSE , subfeed, or service entrance to your whole complex?

Wow – not

Expect a child seat option for the 5th seat. Leg/foot room has to be severely limited with the battery pack geometry but for small children that isn’t an issue.

The Volt I pack weighs about 180kgs according to the Volt forums.
So the saving of 13.6 kgs is around 7.5%

Irritatingly they don’t give the specific energy , but they have improved the volumetric density by 20%, so making the heroic assumption that the relationship is unchanged then the overall increase in capacity would be around 10%, just about enough to back up GMs claim that every parameter is improved.

This marginal increase in battery energy density for PHEVs from one of the leading manufacturers is way less than most of us had hoped, encouraged by endless excited headlines.

We don’t know the most important parameter, cost, however.

Lets hope that the very different batteries in a BEV are susceptible to much better improvements.

I meant to add that with a better drive train and lightweighting my guess is that they are shooting for an AER of 50 miles, a good marketing number.

The next gen chevy is having more than 16 kWh,so if they go for same 3.3 kW on-board charger it will take more than 5 hours.

Now there are two options

1) If they go for 6.6 kW or 10 kW on-board charger charging time will reduce but the cost and weight will increase.

2)So instead of changing on-board charger capacity if they go for CHADEMO or TYPE 1 COMBO which reduces the charging time even less than 1 hour (But additional hardware needed to maintain battery cooling which increases both weight and cost again).

They need to go for an efficient and cost-effective method.

Ihave a low energy cost 6 hour window from 12am to 6 am I leave for work at 5am. So the 3.3kw is cutting it very close

nice to see you nabbed my question about charging…

the main reason i ask is that the charging stations that i use charge per hour plugged in. if i were to have a 6.6 KW capabilities, i would be getting more “bang for my buck” as the other EV’s that plug in around me.

Yeah, but putting in gas will probably still be the same cost and faster. There’s a reason they put the engine in there. Leave the charging stations for the Leafs.

I call complte BS on this “just use gas instead of charging it” nonsense.

I like having gas for when I need it, like for long trips.

BUT, I did not buy a Volt to burn gas, I bought it to use electricity instead. If I have an oppertunity to charge instead of using gas, I wiil do so (of course!). To have such opportunities limited by a slow 3.3 kW charger is frustrating.

Take your gas and put it where the sun does not shine.

GSP

And then light a match? 🙂

I too am frustrated with the slow L2 charger in the Volt. Chargepoint charges $1/hr for me to charge at work, so it costs twice as much to charge the Volt versus my FFE.

What’s worse is that the Volts, Energis, and slow-L2 LEAFs tie up the EVSEs for at least twice as long as the FFEs, RAV4 EVs, Fiats, and 6.6kW LEAFs.

A 5th seat would be nice, but the battery placement really is optimal for handling and stability, and being protected in a crash.

A wagon version would be nice too.

I really don’t think that the focus on faster charging fits with the MO of the current Volt. The intent is to have enough AER to not need opportunity charging on a typical day. Increasing the AER will help there. Then the car needs to charge overnight to be ready for the next day. 3.3kW will still charge a 15kWh (usable) battery in less than 5 hours, so there is no real issue.

The whole intent of the Volt is to be able to use the nationwide network of “quick chargers” which we call gas stations. I like that Larry points that out (although it hurts the purist’s eyes to read it).

All that said, this mindset does not really help to encourage the rollout of an ELECTRIC quick-charging network.

I disagree. Faster charging would allow someone who returns home from work with an empty battery to add more usable charge while they make and eat dinner. They will then have more EV range to go shopping at a nearby store/mall, go to the local movie theater, or go downtown on a Friday night for some entertainment.

Adding range to a depleted battery in a shorter time is an desireable/important feature in the Volt. Yesterday, I think GM said that they were surprised that Volt owners charged up an average of 1.4 times a day.

Yeah but in the aggregate, proven by ONStar data, volt owners dont care about charging. They have the megacharger as backup.

GM is worried about the broad numbers. THey initially assumed 80% 240 volt charging, but now they see only 45%. So, rightly or wrongly, but I think more rightly, its not a priority, and it keeps the one charging method world wide compatible. But they might more utilize the 3300 watts. See my post just below here.

Yes, the Volt marketing message really doesn’t include public charging.

It’s all about “charge overnight, then charge onboard with your own generator if you run out” to eliminate range anxiety.

Given the marketing message, there is a legitimate reason to stick with a lower cost 3.3kw charger for the target audience.

Not so good for EV enthusiasts, but they’re not the target audience (which is actually good, in a way).

I admit I don’t understand the comment “Charging will be a little faster”. “But not Much”. Unless he means there will be the 3300 watt charger and no tapering toward the end, plus the current “Buffer Area” will always be used unlike now where it is only enabled if you do a remote start. Running the charger at a constant 3300 will increase the effective charging speed, as it seems to spend some of its time at around 2500 watts. For worldwide compatibility, there may still be a 16 amp limitation, but of course, they could have a larger unit ‘detuned’ for specific country’s single phase limitations. Or it could just be the former 3300 watt arrangement utilized during 100% of the charging time, unlike now. Per GreenCarReports, this has apparently surprised even GM: They ‘expected’ 80% of volt owners would charge at high voltage. But the user data (picked up autonomously by On-Star) shows only 45% of charging. 55% (the majority) is at 110. So most customers are much less concerned about charging speed than even GM thought they’d be, so enlarging any existing hardware is not a priority. As I understand it, the Voltec 15 amp charger will… Read more »

To avoid a long, lenghty discussion about how I don’t know what an EVSE is, the voltec and Bosch in the above paragraph’s ‘charger’s should be put in quotes. I should have said Charging Docking Station Connector or CDSC. Since everyone here loves acronyms, I just made up one myself.

When asked about the 5th seat, the answer was definitely not a ‘yes’ and it wasn’t quite a ‘no’ either. That makes me wonder. Wild guess: Maybe there will be an option to put a baby seat in the middle of the back? Kind of like a 4.5 seat car?

It sounds like we’ll get a lot more details in January. I’m looking forward to this. So long as the prices is right, I’ll bet we’ll be seeing rising sales when the 2016 model is out.

I thought the following exchange during the FB chat was intriguing:

“Can you make a cord that places the components that are in the box within the car? In this way, I’d just have a cord with a 120V on one end and the EV receptacle on the other… No big clunky box to deal with.
3 · Yesterday at 12:31pm

Chevrolet Volt
We agree. I think you’ll be happy to see what’s coming with the new Volt. Stay tuned.”

Interesting.

I’m just waiting for them to miniaturize the components enough to fit them unobtrusively into a (slightly enlarged) J1772 handle. It shouldn’t be too hard, especially if the cable is limited to 8A charging.

That makes a lot of sense. It’s really just an on/off relay, so that should easily be possible.

Oh Please don’t take away my 12 amp charging option!

New Volt owner here(just 1 month), and after coming from a pure BEV(Mitsubishi I)that also only had a 3.3 on board charger, I don’t see a major problem with the continued 3.3 in the 2016 Volt. I would have _preferred_ the 6.6 charger, but frankly, I can put some gas in the car if I am stuck and really need to get somewhere. Hard to argue with GM’s logic. Getting the 50 miles AER is great, as if a similar extrapolation can be made about range as I experience now, that 50 mile range would be up to 65-70 miles for many drivers, depending on their driving style. Lack of a 5th seat does not bother me(my 2 adult kids are grown), but I do understand that it would be a nice enticement for those families with kids. It will interesting to see what the price is for the 2016. If GM made all of those changes and still dropped the price, that is very impressive.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Easy:
* cold-weather preconditioning can go to at least 6kW
* more kW rate means more EV driving
* public chargers @ 6.6kW or greater, you’re either hogging the space for too long, or paying too much flat rate for juice, or both

No excuse for GM cheaping out when Ford, Honda, etc. don’t.

You don’t agree with it, but of course there is justification.

1). Only one world wide compatible charging system (3.3 kw single phase).

2). Most volt owners have proven they don’t care that much since the majority charge at 110.

3). Megacharger always available, so that may explain point 2).

About the “Will there be a SUV variant released in 2015?” question, GM may very well be telling the truth that they have no such plans.

That doesn’t mean plans for a SUV variant aren’t in the works for release in 2016 or 2017!

Some of the responses frustrate me. No SUV???? No advertising except CA and digital?

Give me a break…

FWIW, they said no SUV “at this time”. In the context of the question, that could be as simple as “no SUV in 2015”. As also pointed out, the Equinox is NOT considered an SUV, but a crossover. Technically they did not rule out a Voltec Equinox.

About that 5th seat. Somehow I have a feeling the pictures of the battery is smaller than what it looks like, so the battery actually won’t get in the way of a 5th seat.

Or the battery is set lower, so that it forms part of the rear seats.

Or maybe they situated it further back and lower, so that it goes into the trunk area.

Again, I think they’re purposely dodging the question so as to be able to say “yes, we have a 5th seat available!” And if they do, I’ll bet people will complain about the lack of trunk space again. Can’t win them all I guess lol.

Yet the pictures show extra equipment sat on top of the cells in the section where the rear seat sits. I hope they put a 5th seat in. It didn’t stop me buying a Volt, but I can see a load of potential buyers noticing it in the showroom and counting it as a con in their buying decision.

My dealer said it will be 5 passenger 6 months ago. All these Chevy dealers are a tight lipped bunch if they’ve all kept quiet for this long.

They need to save some pizzaz for January.

Also be interesting if they contracted with LEAR to make a 12 amp EVSE/CDSC in the grab handle. Seems to me this is very doable seeing as now the 8/12 amp switch is now on the dashboard.

After all, Tesla does the UMC in a dinky little thing and thats 32-40 amps.

What is the next logical step up from 3.3kw charger?

we know it wont be 6.6kw he said slightly more power

I don’t think there is a rule that says charger capability must double with each evolution. It might just go from 3.3kW to 3.6kW.

Since he said just a bit better, I’m thinking its the same old 3300 watt charger, but now they’ve readjusted the charge curve to do away with the tapering to 2800, 2500, 2000 etc watts, so that it runs at 3300 100% of the time. That would increase the speed , and if they charge the buffer area every time without doing a remote start first, that would also effectively shorten the time.