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Chevy Volt V2 – Considering 5 Engineering Tradeoffs

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If you’re like me, you’re probably happily tooling around in your new electric car and as an early adopter, riding the wave of a new automotive propulsion paradigm.  If you’re part of the early majority however – waiting for version 2 of the Chevy Volt, there’s also good news for you.

GM has posted some questions asking for feedback from early Volt customers in the form of an Online Survey.  While a lot of this survey was pretty standard as far as questions go – asking how you would rate your experience with the Volt on certain parameters, one section of the survey asks the end consumer to help weigh in on some of the engineering trade-offs in the Volt.

Below you’ll find 5 interesting and important engineering trade-offs that they asked early adopters to rate – presumably so they can improve their product offering for the next generation of Volts.  You can see the full image in the photo above, but the text of the questions are below.  I will also start a thread in the forums here to discuss your opinions of these trade-offs).

Engineers often have to make trade-offs when designing a vehicle like the Volt.

For each scenario, identify if you prefer the current Chevy Volt specification or the alternative.

Which would you prefer? Select the one best answer.

Current: The cargo space and rear legroom of your Chevy Volt
Alternative: Additional rear legroom, but with less cargo space

Which would you prefer? Select the one best answer.

Current: 35-mile EV range (average), with a 4-hour charge time @240v (10 hours @ 120v)
Alternative A: 45-mile EV range (average), with a 5-hour charge time @240v (12 hours @120v)
Alternative B: 25-mile EV range (average), with a 3-hour charge time @240v (8 hours @120v)

Which would you prefer? Select the one best answer.

Current: The cargo space of your Chevy Volt, with seating for 2 rear passengers
Alternative: Less cargo space, but room for 3 rear passengers

Which would you prefer? Select the one best answer.

Current: The handling of your Chevy Volt, with seating for 2 rear passengers
Alternative: Less responsive handling, but room for 3 rear passengers

Which would you prefer? Select the one best answer.

Current: The total driving range of 379 miles, with an EV range of approximately 35 miles
Alternative: A total driving range of 479 miles, with an EV range of 25 miles

You can see my answers in the photos above, what are your opinions?  Share them in this thread or the forums!  Please state whether you own a Volt or if you are interested in buying a Volt so we can understand your perspectives!

7 Responses to “Chevy Volt V2 – Considering 5 Engineering Tradeoffs”

  1. bitguru says:

    I took a screen-shot of the 2nd question when I was taking it because I thought it was odd. If the car had ‘Alternative A’ there’s no reason you couldn’t stop charging after 4 hours (10@110v) and still go the same 35 miles on the partially-charged battery. (Or perhaps a smidge under 35 miles due to the extra 80 pounds or so of weight.)

    Similarly for Alternative B. If you want a faster charging time and are willing to give up EV range, just stop charging early.

    Alternative A gives you something “for free,” while Alternative B takes something away with no upside (except maybe 100 pounds of weight). I get the impression that the person who designed that survey question doesn’t think the same way I do.

  2. PatrickZWang says:

    Yeah I agree- the question really didn’t consider any particular tradeoff. Do you want more or less was basically what it was asking. Probably the intent was to see if 5 / 12 hour charges would be an issue for people. If you imagine a 12 hour charge, you might not be able to put enough juice in the battery to fully utilize it without a 240 charger.

  3. MickCorbin says:

    Why does the vehicle require premium gas?

    • danwat1234 says:

      The camshaft of the engine is a bit different than the engine in the Chevy Cruze so it requires premium so it won’t knock without needing to retard timing I guess. They also say less MPG with regular gas because the engine is designed for premium.
      It will adapt if you fill up with regular but who knows about long term longevity.

  4. MikeScott says:

    From the Owner’s Manual: Premium does not evaporate as fast as Regular. With regular, the evaporation would mean bad gas much sooner. With Premium we won’t have to burn it for a year or so. The car is programmed to use up year-old gas so you don’t have to remember to do so.

    • danwat1234 says:

      I’m not sure if premium lasts longer than regular. Sounds like a myth.
      The Volt engine is designed to run premium. It would need to retard timing if you use regular gas.

  5. Brian Hatch says:

    I choose “current” for all questions except 2. My alternative in question 2 is use the same battery, but charge it at the 7.7 kw rate instead of the current 3.3 kw rate. Better yet, it really should charge at the full 19.2 kw SAE J1772 2009 standard! That should bring charge time down to around 1 hr with the same battery. Then it would make sense to have level II chargers along I-5 at every restaurant coffey shop.

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