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Jay Leno meets Chevrolet Volt.

Tuesday, 29 December, 2009

This is the car which may save General Motors. I still believe consistently making a quality product at a fair price, and eliminating several layers of management overhead would also save General Motors but what do I know.

The video from Jay Leno’s Garage:

I have comments and questions. Not all are especially consequential. “The guys at GM probably know more than you about this.” is not an acceptable answer.

00:32 I understand sending the Chief Engineer as a representative in high-profile media such as this. The man doesn’t have anything to say beyond what will be in the brochure.

01:00 Use of the word “seamlessly” to describe when the gasoline-powered generator kicks in. It appears at least a year of engineering delay was caused by someone’s insistence this word be used and with accuracy. It must merely be subtle, or not abrupt. In the media you could just say, “the gasoline engine turns on”.

01:04 “generate just enough electricity” I shall assume some of the engineering delays were caused by insisting the electricity-generation system not charge the batteries. The overemphasized point that charging off the grid costs less than burning gasoline may be literally true. However, the engineering challenge, additional computer code and additional wear-and-tear items to insure engine charging does not take place worth this modest sacrifice? If I were to hop in my Volt and drive from, say, Austin to Dallas, Nashville to Chicago, Los Angeles to San Jose, &c. how does it benefit me all those extra cycles, electrons and so forth are suppressed rather than stored? Or does the gasoline-engine have many, many modes of operation adding yet further complexity? All of this simply to say “it doesn’t charge the batteries” someplace?

01:43 Introducing Mr. Farah to the Owens Magnetic. From his reaction, he appears to know no history of the fundamental idea behind the propulsion system he promotes, including the Owens, Lohner-Porsche, Microdot, or GM’s own experiments in the 1960s and 1970s. This would have made a perfect time to say something on the order of, “We believe the technology is finally ready to provide this type of efficient vehicle at a popular price.” At the very least converse on the history and at least look like something other than a car salesman.

02:36 If the engine does not charge the batteries under any circumstances, why then is the infinitesimal charging capability of regenerative braking employed?

03:00 Using low-range in city driving to provide more regenerative capability is pretty brilliant. Good luck getting Americans to work out what that “L” means.

04:19 Three-hour charge with a 240v charger. If this is really, really true then the Volt’s charging system is full of win.

04:43 Nice, subtly futuristic interior. How long until the touch-sensitive display gets gummed up? Cleaning that must to be included with dealer maintenance.

05:13 110 kW = 147 hp That’s plenty.

05:27 The stick. Is this Jay being a smart ass or what? Premium vehicles traditionally have springs within the hinges which assist in lifting the hood, and hold it in place for servicing. Even my ’68 Chevy hardtop had these. It adds a premium touch and should be included in any premium-priced vehicle, including the Volt.

06:20 Battery-temperature control. Also, FTW.

06:53 Considering its purpose, why is the gasoline engine so large? What about this do I not understand? Why is no one else asking?

08:16 90 kW = 121 hp Still plenty.

08:28 The most recently produced GM product I’ve driven was a 2007 Cobalt. You couldn’t hear anything happening outside the car. I very nearly cut off a fire engine coming around a corner because I did not know it was there. Inside the car, you could hear the interior moaning more than in my fourteen-year-old truck, the engine wheezed and moaned under my modest throttle habits, and lots and lots of wind. It was a chorus of fail. Here’s hoping they got that together.

ca. 10:30 People moan about them, but I like Jay’s elaborations.

11:54 Giving the man some grief about the EV1. Good on ya.

ca. 12:15 Really. You returned to the garage without taking it on the freeway or draining the batteries? “Sit tight, Andrew. We’re going to Bakersfield.” Everybody wants to know what really happens when the gas engine kicks in.

12:23 Good on GM providing essentially accurate descriptions of electric range. No one else in the electric biz does this. Forty miles might not sound like a whole lot, but if its an honest forty miles that’s something.

Additional note: I still don’t know how to shut off a car with push-button start.

One Comment
  1. Tim permalink
    Tuesday, 12 January, 2010 23:08

    Hehe, this car makes me hard. It’s coming out in Nov!! Read it here: Haha wow. The car is gonna be sweet though and it comes out in November according to [redacted]


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