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Next-Gen Chevy Volt Offers More User-Friendly Charging

November 20, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, GM, Volt

The next-generation Volt makes it easier for owners to confirm their Volt is charging and gauge charge status. With a glance through the windshield, an updated charge status indicator light on the top of the instrument panel will show the approximate charge level through a series of flashes. In addition, an available illuminated charge port makes it easier to plug in after dark as well as indicate approximate charge level through a series of flashes. Image courtesy of GM Next-Gen Chevy Volt Offers More User-Friendly Charging

The next-generation Volt makes it easier for owners to confirm their Volt is charging and gauge charge status. With a glance through the windshield, an updated charge status indicator light on the top of the instrument panel will show the approximate charge level through a series of flashes. In addition, an available illuminated charge port makes it easier to plug in after dark as well as indicate approximate charge level through a series of flashes.
Image courtesy of GM
Next-Gen Chevy Volt Offers More User-Friendly Charging

DETROIT – If there’s one thing Chevrolet Volt owners love about their cars, it’s being able to recharge the battery easily. Evidence of that is a U.S. Department of Energy study that shows more than 80 percent of all trips by Volt owners did not use the range extender.

Chevrolet has made the charging system in the next-generation Volt even easier for customers to recharge the battery – and to check the charge status. The next-generation Volt debuts in January at the North American International Auto Show.

“Chevrolet used the real-world experiences of today’s Volt owners to make the charging process simpler and more convenient in the next-generation Volt,” said Andrew Farah, chief engineer for the Volt. “The new Volt will give owners greater flexibility for charging it on their terms.”

The new and enhanced features include:

GPS location-based charging
Owners will now be able to set their charging preferences exclusively for their “home” charging location and the vehicle will automatically adjust to that setting when it is at that location. The car will recognize when it arrives “home” based on GPS data.

This will allow owners to pre-set their charging level (8 amps or 12 amps on 120V only) and whether they wish to charge immediately, set a departure time for each day of the week, or set a departure time and a utility rate schedule to charge only at off-peak rates. Owners can input their local utility’s rate schedule into their Volt to assure they’re charging using the cheapest electricity rates. They will only have to program the system once and the Volt will return to these settings every time it is at its home location.

New, more intuitive charge status indicators
The next-generation Volt makes it easier for owners to confirm their Volt is charging and gauge charge status. The new status system features a specially designed tone that indicates when charging has begun, with additional tones for delayed charging. It will even indicate if the charge port door was left open after unplugging but before entering the vehicle.

With a glance through the windshield, an updated charge status indicator light on the on the top of the instrument panel will show the approximate charge level through a series of flashes. In addition, an available illuminated charge port makes it easier to plug in after dark as well as indicate approximate charge level through a series of flashes.

Portable cord set enhancements
A new 120V portable cord set includes a cord nearly 25 feet long, longer than the current 120V portable cord. It can be locked using a small padlock to deter unauthorized removal during charging. Based directly on customer feedback, a new storage bin for the cord is now located on the left side of the Volt’s rear cargo area, above the load floor, for improved accessibility.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: GM.

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Camouflaging New Chevrolet Volt is Balancing Act

September 29, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, GM, Volt

Chevrolet Volt Chief Engineer Andrew Farah (pictured) and his team have been driving camouflaged 2016 Volts to validate ride, handling and powertrain performance. “If not for the work done by the camouflage engineers, we couldn’t test these pre-production vehicles in their natural environments,” he said. “It’s critical for us to make sure we’re listening to customer wants for the next generation Volt, and the only way to do that is to be out in the wild, while keeping the design under wraps.”  Photo credit Chris Guddeck for GM

Chevrolet Volt Chief Engineer Andrew Farah (pictured) and his team have been driving camouflaged 2016 Volts to validate ride, handling and powertrain performance. “If not for the work done by the camouflage engineers, we couldn’t test these pre-production vehicles in their natural environments,” he said. “It’s critical for us to make sure we’re listening to customer wants for the next generation Volt, and the only way to do that is to be out in the wild, while keeping the design under wraps.”
Photo credit Chris Guddeck for GM

DETROIT – The styling of the next-generation Chevrolet Volt is one of the automotive world’s best-kept secrets.

Keeping customers and media eager to see the successor to the groundbreaking original at bay until the new Volt debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January is tricky business.

First, it is engineers, not designers, who are charged with creating camouflage that balances styling secrecy with the need to validate the Volt and its systems in public.

“If it were up to me it would be a shoebox driving down the road,” said Lionel Perkins, GM camouflage engineer. “The design team wants us to cover more of the vehicle and the engineering team needs to have enough of the vehicle’s weight and aero exposed so that the tests in the development process are consistent with the product that will come to market.”

The engineers responsible for the “cool” designs covering the car might deserve style points but their efforts are intended strictly to hide the metal beneath.

Some of the tricks of the trade:

  1. Black and white patterns The color scheme creates a shadow that hides vehicle design elements.
  2. 3D – Layered camouflage throws off onlookers, but has to be applied without interrupting airflow around the car.
  3. Swirls – In the old days of car camouflage, the design relied mainly on a grid pattern, but over the years engineers discovered that grids are difficult to realign if a piece is removed to make a change to the car. Swirl patterns better hide such developments.
  4. Bubble wrap – Camouflage can be made from many different materials including plastics, vinyl and foam. Good, old bubble wrap is a lightweight, easily attachable three-dimensional material used to confuse prying eyes.

The camouflage package on the next-generation Volt was started six months in advance of early development. Every vehicle is different and tricks are constantly updated to keep spy photographers and the curious guessing.

“Each car is unique. We are like a dress maker, and the car is our model,” said Perkins. “No two models are the same. We need to make the right dress that fits the body we are dealing with.”

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: GM.

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Pedal Power: GM Shares Bikes with 19,000 Tech Center Employees

August 26, 2014 in Environment, EV News, GM

WARREN, Mich. – General Motors’ Warren Technical Center is implementing a bike share program – the first of its kind from any U.S. automaker – that will enable its 19,000 employees to commute more easily both on and off campus.

GM is working with Zagster, a private bike sharing company that has developed similar programs for other businesses. Employees can use Zagster bikes stationed throughout the Tech Center to travel between its 61 buildings covering the 330-acre campus.

“GM is investing not only in the long-term health and productivity of its workforce, but sending a strong message to other employers around the country that bike sharing is a mainstream transportation option for employees,” said Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster.

Posting on GM’s internal website OverDrive, engineers and designers expressed enthusiasm for riding bikes at a car company, where walking, driving and timed shuttle buses are the typical ways employees get from one part of campus to another.

“This is an awesome idea,” said John Waechter, designing engineer at the Tech Center. “I can’t wait to quickly get to meetings without walking to a car and finding parking. This is good for exercise, good for on-campus mobility and a nice way to actually learn more about non-auto transportation.”

Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors Courtesy of GM

Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors
Courtesy of GM

To participate, an employee registers online, then reserves a bike through text message or a smart phone app that provides an access code to unlock the lock box mounted on the bike. Zagster’s geofencing technology installed at each bike station, is powered by solar energy panels – an energy feature comparable to the large public bike share systems, and unique to the GM/Zagster partnership. It is also the first private bikeshare system to employ this technology.

Each bike comes equipped with a basket to safely transport a laptop, notebook and other small belongings. Riders must wear helmets and use bells to alert pedestrians when they are approaching.

“GM is transforming transportation with our products, plants, people, and partnerships,” said GM Director of Sustainability David Tulauskas. “This bike sharing program is a great example of engaging our employees through this first-of-its kind partnership and also helps them look at transportation in a different way than we traditionally have.”

GM’s program expands Zagster’s existing service in Detroit – which has been used by more than 2,750 users in the last year.

“Private enterprises in Detroit, like General Motors, have stepped up to provide bike services to their employees,” said Ericson. “By funding and implementing these resources in a way that the local government can’t, these companies are making Detroit a better place to live, work and play.”

GM began a pilot program of the bike share for 50 Tech Center employees at the end of July. After the successful trial and mounting enthusiasm from employees, everyone on campus can now participate.

This article is a repost, credit: GM. Video courtesy of GM.

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Next Generation Volt to debut at 2015 NAIAS

August 8, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, GM, Volt

Will continue to be manufactured at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant

Chevrolet announced today that the next generation Volt will make its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Image courtesy of GM

Chevrolet announced today (8-7-14) that the next generation Volt will make its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Image courtesy of GM

ACME, Mich. – The next generation Chevrolet Volt will debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Global Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney said today.

The 2016 Volt will build on the award-winning original’s strong foundation of technology innovation. Volt sales were up 13 percent in July and more than 65,000 have been sold since it was introduced – making it the best-selling plug-in passenger car in the U.S. market.

Global Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney announces the next generation Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle will debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Mahoney made the announcement Thursday, August 7, 2014, during the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Wilssens for General Motors)  Courtesy of GM

Global Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney announces the next generation Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle will debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Mahoney made the announcement Thursday, August 7, 2014, during the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Wilssens for General Motors)
Courtesy of GM

“Volt is the perfect example of the ingenuity that drives everything we do at Chevrolet,” Mahoney said at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefings. “Volt fully delivers on the promises of Find New Roads and will continue to provide consumers with the transportation solutions they need and deserve in the future.”

Volt owners are driving more than 63 percent of their overall miles in electric vehicle mode, collectively logging more than 500 million gas-free miles since the Volt’s retail debut in 2010. That has saved more than 25 million gallons of gasoline.

While the driving range in EV mode can be affected by temperature, driving technique and terrain, the ease with which Volt drivers are avoiding gasoline use demonstrates the Volt’s suitability for almost any lifestyle.

Volt owners who charge regularly typically drive more than 970 miles between fill-ups and visit the gas station less than once a month.

The Volt has received multiple customer satisfaction awards from leading third-parties. According to a recent leading independent satisfaction survey, the Volt is the highest-rated compact car under $55,000. Owners are showing their satisfaction as well. For the past three years, a leading customer publication has reported survey results showing more than 90 percent of Volt owners said they would definitely buy a Volt again.

The Volt continues to draw buyers from non-General Motors’ products.  In the 2013 calendar year, nearly seven of 10 new Volt buyers traded in a non-GM vehicle, the majority of which were Toyota Priuses.

Among its accolades, the 2014 Volt has been recognized for its safety, most recently receiving the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2014 Top Safety Pick+ designation for vehicles equipped with an available Forward Collision Alert system.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

This article is a repost (8-7-14), credit: GM.

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GM Teams Up with EV Industry for a Better Grid

July 29, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, GM, Greentech, Volt

Eight automakers and 15 electric utilities work to develop smart grid program

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV Photo courtesy of GM

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV
Photo courtesy of GM

SAN DIEGO – General Motors is bringing its OnStar-enabled Smart Grid solutions, to one of the largest electric vehicle collaborations to take place within the industry. Eight global automakers, including GM, and 15 electric utilities are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop and implement a standardized Smart Grid integration platform.

“One thing that’s missing from most Smart Grid programs is a sense of collaboration,” said Tim Nixon, chief technology officer, Global Connected Consumer, GM. “Companies will showcase a meaningful solution, but without widespread acceptance in the industry, its usability is limited. That’s what makes this partnership unique.”

GM currently offers extended range electric vehicles – the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR – as well as the all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV. The plug-in electric vehicle market in the U.S. has grown to more than 225,000 vehicles – including more than 63,000 Chevrolet Volts, the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S. since launch in 2010.

“As electric vehicles become more prevalent in the marketplace, it will present some unique challenges and opportunities for utilities who manage the flow of the electric grid,” said Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of Electric Transportation. “The focus of this collaboration is to create a standard program that will allow utilities to work with different types of plug-in vehicles to more efficiently manage their demand on the grid.”

For the first phase of the program, EPRI and the participating companies will work to develop a standardized Demand Response solution. Demand Response is the signal a utility sends to an energy management company communicating the supply and demand needs to the electric grid. That company then communicates with designated plug-in vehicles in the area to manage their energy consumption in accordance with the grid’s needs.

“If such a service were ever to be implemented for consumers that opt-in to it, they could receive a financial benefit or other incentive for allowing their vehicle charging to be managed,” said Nixon. “This would also allow utilities to help reduce stress on the grid and costs to all utility customers.”

The goal of this program is to develop a cloud-based, central server that would receive grid requests from a utility – like Demand Response – and then translate and standardize that request so it could be relayed to all appropriate plug-in vehicles in the designated area. Automakers would be expected to develop and deploy technologies compatible with these smart grid communications.

GM has been working with companies like TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. to research, test and develop potential real-world solutions like Demand Response.

The global automakers participating in this program are: American Honda Motor Co., Honda R&D Americas, Inc., BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., GM, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. The utilities involved are DTE Energy, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection LLC, CenterPoint Energy, Inc., Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, ConEd and CPS Energy.

About OnStar LLC OnStar, LLC (OnStar) is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM Holdings LLC (“GM”). Along with its affiliate Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd (a joint venture involving OnStar, Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd (SGM) and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)), OnStar serves more than seven million subscribers in North America and China. OnStar is a provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology. OnStar’s key services include automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, remote door unlock, turn-by-turn navigation, vehicle diagnostics and hands-free calling.

Eight MBA teams from Babson, Columbia, Harvard, University of Michigan, University of California-Berkeley and Stanford visit the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant - home of the Chevrolet Volt - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Sponsored by Chevrolet, the MBAs Across America teams will help more than 35 businesses nationwide, traveling in a fleet of 4G LTE Chevrolet Volts. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) Courtesy of GM

Eight MBA teams from Babson, Columbia, Harvard, University of Michigan, University of California-Berkeley and Stanford visit the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant – home of the Chevrolet Volt – Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Sponsored by Chevrolet, the MBAs Across America teams will help more than 35 businesses nationwide, traveling in a fleet of 4G LTE Chevrolet Volts. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)
Courtesy of GM

This article is a repost, credit: GM.