Automakers helps owners to maximize efficiency of their EVs during winter

Article by Christian A., on January 28, 2013

There are many ways for electric-vehicle owners to optimize the efficiency and range of their cars even in frosty temperatures. The Automotive News Data Center said that there was a 54% rise in sales (368,388 units) last year of alternative power vehicles, which include the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf EV. Last winter wasn’t as intense as the current chill that the nation has been experiencing the last few weeks. Volt spokeswoman Michelle Malcho estimates that in cold weather, the 2013 Volt, which has an EPA rating of 38-mile electric range, can lose around 13 miles of distance.

As soon as energy runs out, the Volt's gasoline-powered engine kicks in to extend range by 344 miles more. In 2012, General Motors sold 23,461 Volts, which is three times the number it sold in 2011. Other factors that affect the range lost on the Volt include driving style and heating methods. For example, Malcho said that owners should think about warming themselves with the heated seats instead of the heater in order to save energy.

In addition, the Volt has an EV hold mode that owners can use while warming it before their morning commute. When this mode is activated, owners can choose if they want to use electricity from the battery or if they want to make the drive using gasoline. In an interview, Malcho said that it’s more efficient to start the car with gas. As soon as the car is warmed up, it’s best to use battery to extend the range. According to a Nissan spokesman, the Leaf is getting a "hybrid heating system" to fight energy-intensive climate control units that make the range suffer.

At the very core of the Chevrolet Volt is the Voltec propulsion system. Voltec joins together an efficient and range-extending engine with pure electric drive, giving the car a maximum range of 350 total miles.

The Volt's long-lasting battery consists of a 5.5-ft., 435-lb. T-shaped, 16-kWh lithium-ion battery produced in Brownstown Township, Michigan. This battery supplies energy to a 149-hp electric drive unit. Using only the energy from the battery, the car delivers 25 to 50 miles of and tailpipe emissions- and fuel-free electric driving, depending on the temperature, the terrain, and the driving techniques used.

Moreover, the Volt’s battery is covered by an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty and has been designed to deliver safety, value, performance, quality, reliability, and durability. Since 2007, engineers at General Motors have completed over a million miles as well as over four million hours of Volt battery pack validation testing, as well as 288 prismatic cells and 9 modules for each battery pack. The development, test and validation teams have validated each of the battery's 161 components, of which 95% were designed and engineered by GM, as well as met thousands of specifications.

According to Micky Bly, Executive Director for Global Electrical Systems at GM, customers are committing to technology that helps reduce dependence on petroleum, and, in turn, the company is committing to deliver value, quality, safety, reliability, and performance of the highest standards to customers.

Topics: electric car

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