Tech consulting firm Pike Research dismisses all the buzz about safety issues with Chevrolet...


Tech consulting firm Pike Research dismisses all the buzz about safety issues with Chevrolet Volts - issuing a seemingly rosy report on the sector. Data from the firm projects electric-powered vehicles will hit 5% of the total auto market by 2017 with a market share breakdown of +20% for EV-players Ford (F), Toyota (TM), and General Motors (GM), and around 4.6% for upstart Tesla Motors (TSLA). Will sales be high enough for carmakers to recover their significant investments into developing and producing greener cars?

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Comments (4)
  • Conventional Wisdumb
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    I wonder who paid for this report?

     

    Smirk. A lot of VC's are stuck with billions of dollars of invested capital in these misguided investments that are now probably worthless or less than worthless.

     

    Stick with hybrids at least they don't burst into flame. Although having a backyard carbecue might appeal to some.
    12 Dec 2011, 01:38 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
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    "Stick with hybrids at least they don't burst into flame."

     

    Huh? The Chevy Volt is a hybrid. Smirk? First know what you are talking about or you just look stupid displaying that smirk.

     

    Yes, the Volt is a "series" hybrid in that the power from the gasoline engine drives a generator which passes electricity through the battery to the electric motor, rather than a "parallel" hybrid where the gasoline engine drives the wheels mechanically as well as electrically. Different design philosophies, but still hybrids all.

     

    In any case, the Volt carries a relatively large high voltage battery, as do all electric vehicles, and all the hybrid-electrics. But there is something unique about the Volt design which gives the battery a propensity to short out and burst into flame or whatever after it is damaged in a crash. We'll probably get to the root cause of that eventually.

     

    Have not heard of such a "thermal-electrical" event in the Prius or Insight, which have sold well over a million units in the US over the last 12 years, with presumably more than a few being crashed and/or scrapped, or the Leaf, or any of the other 2.2 million assorted hybrids and electrics sold to-date.

     

    Any electrician or mechanic would or should know that all those kilojoules of energy potentially stored in the battery represent a grave danger if mishandled, and a collision that potentially damages or threatens the containment vessel of that energy would require great care and attention to control and release it.

     

    Presumably anyone (aside from an automaker) who wrecked their Volt or other hybrid or electric vehicle would have the vehicle taken to a proper repair facility for proper care. The suspect vehicles were undergoing testing. It is not like Volts have been randomly catching fire in people's garages or back yards and setting the house afire, with the owner having no idea it was wrecked with the battery damaged.

     

    What the Volt has done here is raised awareness about the need for Energy Control and Power Lockout among emergency and service personnel when any electric vehicle or hybrid is undergoing repairs, or has been involved in an accident or is otherwise damaged, for example in a flood or if a tree falls destructively on one.
    12 Dec 2011, 08:12 PM Reply Like
  • Conventional Wisdumb
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    TDOT,

     

    It's a POS. Get real. Another unintended consequence of the man-made global warming scam.

     

    This comment is actually hilarious. You make it sound like a public service:

     

    "What the Volt has done here is raised awareness about the need for Energy Control and Power Lockout among emergency and service personnel when any electric vehicle or hybrid is undergoing repairs, or has been involved in an accident or is otherwise damaged, for example in a flood or if a tree falls destructively on one."

     

    Only several billion dollars of wasted investment to drive this powerful moment of "public awareness".

     

    Good luck with your toaster on wheels.
    13 Dec 2011, 10:20 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot
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    Well some folks just have no vision do they? Electric vehicles have been around a lot longer than "global warming", in fact one previous environmental scare was over global cooling and ice ages due to dust and smoke particles in the upper atmosphere reflecting the sunlight and starving the planet of energy.

     

    In any case, the most recent trend to develop and sell hybrids and pure electrics is driven by improved and affordable battery technology ... no more stacks and stacks of heavy lead acid batteries wired together to try to get to 50 miles. If some folks want to buy an electric vehicle or hybrid thinking it saves carbon dioxide or to save the planet or something, then fine, let them. But to denigrate the new technology as "POS" and "wasted investment" is woefully ignorant and outdated.

     

    Hybrid technology is simply a much higher efficiency powertrain, compared to conventional gas engines, in that a significant portion of the wasted energy in braking and such is recovered and stored, to be used again when needed. A 2.0L class compact car can get, at best, around 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway using the conventional US government drive cycles. An optimized hybrid version of the same engine and vehicle can get closer to 50 mpg in city driving, and maybe 40-something on the highway. A diesel-electric hybrid could probably get into the 60 mpg range. It is all about getting the best possible range per gallon of gas burned, and still be reasonably affordable. In the mean time, developing super-efficient hybrids for maximum mileage has spawned any of a number of other efficiency improvements that can be used across the non-hybrid fleet.

     

    But conventional "wisdumb", by definition, would know nothing of this.

     

    In any case, one of the ongoing concerns that all the automakers have is that these high voltage batteries in pure electrics and hybrid electrics contain an enormous amount of energy, and some amateur mechanical-tinkerer types might try to get inside the beast to make "improvements". Within the automaker's manufacturing and test sites there are strict safety rules and mandatory training classes regarding handling these high voltage systems and subsystems.

     

    There is nothing for the general public, other than scary, lethal looking signs underhood and elsewhere that say "don't touch". And we all know how effective that is to a hobby-tinkerer. Once the cars are sold, there are any number of untrained folks in possession of a very powerful energy source, who just love to tinker. It is probably just a matter of time before someone is digging around in the high voltage cables, perhaps trying to "supercharge" his electric vehicle or otherwise add "more power ... aahhrrgg!" ... and boom goes the dynamite. Having a Volt or two display its terrible power, relatively harmlessly in a controlled parking lot, may serve as a reminder to amateurs.
    13 Dec 2011, 11:36 AM Reply Like
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