Op-Ed: Chevrolet Volt Super Sport Coming Soon?

NOV 13 2013 BY GEORGE BOWER 29

Chevrolet Gets A Little More Aggressive With The Lines Of The Volt For SEMA

Chevrolet Gets A Little More Aggressive With The Lines Of The Volt For SEMA

The Chevrolet Volt’s Traction Motor good for +38% more power.

We already know that Volt’s traction motor can be uprated to 135 kW from the current 110 kW. This can be seen from the ELR’s preliminary specs. Also noted in the ELR’s specs is the following:

“Total system power= 154 kW

Cadillac ELR Features 154 kW Of Total System Power

Cadillac ELR Features 154 kW Of Total System Power

What does total system power mean? Is it due to some fancy clutch work as so often is suggested where we use power link to add ICE power to the traction motor? No. It has been shown that, under full acceleration, the Volt stays in series mode all the way to 103 mph (reference via GM-Volt.com).

We know that the Volt is faster with the engine running. How is this done? The answer is that the Volt runs in series adding approximately 8% more power electrically from the generator to the traction motor. (see Robert Patrison data). We also have some tuners on forums that are showing increased levels of performance by hot rodding the ICE and are getting better accel times as a result.

Based on the referenced data and what the tuners are doing I am speculating that the 150 kW total system power is in the case of the engine running in series mode and supplementing power electrically to the traction motor.

This means that the Volt’s traction motor is good for 154 kW.

Chevrolet Volt Z-Spec

Chevrolet Volt Z-Spec

Torque Softening Does Exist in the Current Volt

Looking For SS Design Ideas?  We Suggest Starting With A Look Akin To The Opel Ampera

Looking For SS Design Ideas? We Suggest Starting With A Look Akin To The Opel Ampera

I proposed torque softening in an article I wrote earlier. That proposal was somewhat controversial, with one of our residents proposing that it was just an inherent characteristic of the Volts A/C traction motor (Constant torque from zero speed).

While the inherent constant torque theory may be true, it is also possible that the constant level of torque could be programmed to some lower level than the maximum capability of the motor.

We have it from a reliable GM source (WOT) that torque softening does indeed exist (see comments).

ELR specs show +8% more torque than the Volt so we know Voltec is good for at least that much more.

How does 6.9 seconds 0-60 sound?

If we scale the Volt’s 8.5 second 0-60 time by the ratio of 110 kW/154 kW we get a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds. However, it is not a linear scale with power. Torque is up by only 8% so we would not get 6.1 seconds we would get something higher – 6.9 seconds is an estimate.

So what do you readers think?  Is a Volt Super Sport edition a good idea?

Do you think it would sell?

I say yes. Bring it on GM!

Editor’s note: We have no direct input from GM that they plan to offer a Volt Super Sport edition. However we do know that GM has the capability to increase Voltec power significantly based on ELR specs.

Categories: Chevrolet

Tags:

Leave a Reply

29 Comments on "Op-Ed: Chevrolet Volt Super Sport Coming Soon?"

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Taser54
Guest
Taser54

Other than Cadillac, I doubt that performance enhancements like those proffered will be put in place for the Chevy using the current voltec drivetrain. For a model with such modest sales due to a price-conscious public, tacking on additional cost for specialized driveline components to deal with additional driveline shock seems to be a bad business case. See 2007 Honda Accord V6 Hybrid. It would be-more appropriately- a nice show car design exercise. As SEMA has already passed, I wouldn’t expect to see such vehicle.

No, I think GM waits for the platform change to incorporate performance improvements in the Volt. Weight reduction and improved/simplified driveline will appear then, along with a commensurate increase in performance.

kdawg
Guest

I don’t use sport mode very often, but when I do, it’s a pain to switch to. (jeeze, sounds like a Dos Equis ad).

I vote for regen/sport mode paddles for sport on demand. I could squeeze the paddle just before stepping on it at a light, or as I’m trying to pass, or maybe merge on the expressway. After that, the car could instantly go back to Eco mode. No button pushing/scrolling.

David Murray
Guest
David Murray

I find sport mode to be relatively useless. I can’t really see any difference in how the car works other than I don’t have to push the throttle down as far to get the car up to speed. Otherwise, there seems to be no benefit.

There should definitely be a user-select-able mode that lets the Volt act sort of like a regular PHEV (Think Cmax or Pip) where putting the pedal to the floor allows the ICE to fire up and provide additional power. Granted, I’d still run the car in EV as much as possible and the acceleration as it is happens to be plenty. However, it would definitely help change the image of the car if they could advertise something like 0-60 in 6 seconds.

Tesla Fan
Guest
Tesla Fan

LOL useless? are you kidding me as well? If you do not notice a difference then you need to take your volt in and get the baring replaced or get a new volt overall because there is a noticeable different between regular and sport mode and if you aren’t noticing it then something is indeed wrong with your car. Sport mode makes the car so much quicker the feeling of all the torque is great also it regens more in sport mode.

MTN Ranger
Guest
MTN Ranger

David is right, on paper it is a remapping of the throttle. However, I still believe it gives the car a much better feel. I drive in Sport and L mode.

Tesla Fan
Guest
Tesla Fan

LOL are you kidding me? you click the button twice it is not a pain

vdiv
Guest
vdiv

Yeah, just make sure you are clicking the right button twice…

kdawg
Guest

And it’s not a double click, its two delayed presses, and you have to take your eyes off the road. Then you have to push it 3 or so more times to put it back to normal mode. Not the same as a paddle.

MTN Ranger
Guest
MTN Ranger

I hit mine fast with no delay and it changes to Sport mode (2012).

kdawg
Guest

I’d still rather have something I can temporarily hold vs. clicking buttons while on the fly. I hate it when my clicking is off, and then I have to scroll through again.. then I mess up again.. repeat.. repeat. I’m not the only one either. I’ve seen several Volt videos of people trying to switch to Sport Mode doing the same thing.

scottf200
Guest
scottf200

I use SPORT mode all the time. Partly because I have the seat far back so I like the added sensitivity of the pedal in the early throw.

It is really just a click-click without hesitation. You do not have to wait for the graphic to show up. You can even do it while backing up. I do this leaving my garage/driveway.

James
Guest
James

That’s so interesting Dawg…
In fact, you just may be The Most Interesting Car Guy In The World.

GeorgeS
Guest
GeorgeS

That Z Spec Volt is soooo sweet.
It definitely gets into corvette land if you give it some accel times

A bigger battery would definitely help

you wouldn’t need to run the engine to get max performance.

f16bmathis
Guest
f16bmathis

Yeah, Pushing that button twice is such a pain!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater
Guest
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Toyesla RAV4EV is larger, heavier, and less aerodynamic than the Volt. It has a motor spec that is nearly identical with the _stock_ Volt, and no secondary motor. It also has a 0-60 in the 7s range.

A Volt SS needs to have a shorter gearing, max out the motor power given max battery voltage, and engage the ring gear/secondary motor combo more aggressively (since rotating the ring gear with the secondary motor “entallens” the final ratio, improving efficiency at higher speeds). Volt _right now_ could probably 0-60 in the 7s with the right software tweaks.

GeorgeS
Guest
GeorgeS

Not sure what you mean by that statement. Maybe you missed the point. The Volt runs in series mode during hard accel. That is because of the approx 3/1 gear reduction in this mode. One of my main points I try to get across to people is you can’t use power link to get more performance out of the Volt. Forget about clutches. The Volt runs in single motor when you step on it.

Bill Howland
Guest

Some of these changes I would think would have to be discussed with the (at least at the time I bought it in early 2011 – ) Japanese designed and manufactured Synergy Drive. Supposedly the motors are now made stateside, (using the proven Japanese design).

As far as Sport mode goes, yeah I usually use it. In BEV mode it only changes the throttle position apparently, But if the engine starts, it revs higher for more juice.

Instead of tampering too much with this I think GM would be much farther ahead releasing that groovy “CrossVolt” they’ve already essentially designed. Many people who rightly complain neither the Volt nor ELR is big enough for them may be satisfied with the larger product, performance be damned.

BC
Guest
BC

I also use Sport mode 100% of the time – two quick pushes on the mode button when I start up and off I go. There is a very noticeable increase in acceleration in Sport mode that I enjoy having at the ready.
I would be very much in favor of a Super Sport edition to improve the acceleration even further.

kdawg
Guest

For someone like you, it would make sense if the mode would stay enabled. I know why GM does this, and also why they have the charging amps revert back to 8A, but there STILL should be a way to keep this on. Even if it involves digging through 10 levels of menus.

Red HHR.
Guest
Red HHR.

Makes sense, near the end of the model life there should be a few special editions. They may give a hint of what’s to come.

Priusmaniac
Guest
Priusmaniac

Interesting but what we are mainly expecting is access to the Volt for families with 3 children, so a full backseat would be more impressive then 6.9 s.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Forgot families with three children! I can’t fit my family with two children in this car with only 10cu.ft. of cargo space.

Malcolm Scott
Guest
Malcolm Scott
In most parts of the world the Volt has a high purchase cost, it might be good value for such a capable car, but nevertheless the high price for the brand is a significant factor in the low sales volume. Stuffed economies and retreat to conservatism might be another. However, tax rebate and incentives in some US states that brings the price down to an effective $25,000 or thereabouts (and less if you believe some of the advertised offers), and yet at this almost give away price the sales are still poor. I opine that there is something else going on in the market that is preventing better Volt, and to that matter Leaf sales. California results in about 1/3 of US Volt sales ~ 700/mth. Only 700 for a low cost car in such a large economy, large population, and HOV benefits. We don’t seem to be getting beyond earlier adopter sales in the product lifecycle. With the ELR GM has taken an extreme strategy to increase yield per car with a niche premium priced product. I’m surprised by this extreme high cost way to leverage the Volt investment. To stimulate the market with more differentiation and the ability… Read more »
ModernMarvelFan
Guest
ModernMarvelFan

I would pay $3k additional money for that feature and use it all the time… =)

Martin T
Guest
Martin T

I’m quite happy with the Volt as it is – delivery equivalent V6 non turbo ICE performance.
It’s all relative….
Know many ICE owners who want maximum Dyno results, is it really drivable on the street = NO.
In our local area you will done for speeding 3Km/h over etc. Living in the nanny state
average speed ~ 45K/hr (traffic stop lights etc…) How quick do you really need to get somewhere in a family car?

For EV’s Sports cars to go ultimately REALLY fast & getting the power into the ground on the brink of tyre traction loss you need torque vectoring control for each motor for each wheel – Mercedes has one, but who can afford this yet?

The Future of EV high performance is out there – it’s just that small issue of getting this to the consumer at an affordable price they can pay.
& Yes it will blow away the souped up granddaddies V8 ICE car in a straight line OR in cornering – especially when compared to the very best AWD mechanical Rally system available.

It will be fun to see these EV rockets perform near silently compared to the vintage roar of an
ICE engine car.

The future beckons.

Loboc
Guest
Loboc

I’m all for more performance as this is not a ‘family’ car to me. It’s my daily driver. I commute with other idiots and like to have power to get out of their way.

Brakes = good
Tires = fair (so cornering is fair)
Power = fair

I like all these to be ‘excellent’. I will probably buy a Camaro next time. Volt is getting old and underwhelming to me after only 6 months.

Bill Howland
Guest

Hummm, I’d think you’d keep the Volt for a long time, even though u might be getting a bit bored with it. Since the engine seldom runs, and there is not much wear in the gearbox hopefully, there doesn’t seem to me to be much in the car that should wear out. Bob Lutz in an extremely rare moment of Candor said the battery is designed for 150,000 miles.

Gasoline is very cheap at the moment, but should Gas rise in price faster than electricity, in most of the country at the moment this is also a substantial saving unobtainable with a Camero, (I used to own a ’67 – the most uncomfortable car I’ve ever owned, second only to a Chevy Monza).

EV
Guest
EV

would be frickin awesome

PleaseExplain
Guest
PleaseExplain

The Volt is great 0-40MPH and then it seems to pause to catch its breath and continue building up to freeway speeds. I seem to top out at 109 KW of power draw. While this is fine around town it does not inspire confidence getting on the freeway. So what is needed here to knock 3-5 seconds off the 0-60? More battery capacity? (The smallest battery Tesla had a slower 0-60 than the other 2 battery capacities, which might have been a reason why Tesla was interested in discontinuing it). A more powerful motor? (How bad would this impact the all-electric range?) Or controller tweaks? (likely a discussion for engineers only). I too would pay a reasonable premium to speed things up.