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New Improved 2013 Volt Charges 30 Percent Slower
The Truth About Cars ^ | December 4 | Bertel Schmitt

Posted on 12/05/2012 11:57:12 AM PST by ExxonPatrolUs

In late 2011, photos of melted and damaged Volt charging cords appeared on the internet. GM initially blamed wiring problems in the electrical outlets, eventually, the company announced that they would replace all the 120V chargers in all 2011 and some 2012 models with a new unit. About 9,500 charging units were replaced.

When the 2013 model came around, Volt owners were faced with a new and improved feature: Longer charge time. In self-help groups on the Internet, the culprit was quickly found: GM had reduced the default circuit load of the charger from 12 Ampere to 8 Ampere. Then, a low intensity war on the message boards ensued, and is still rages on. Here the latest dispatches from the front:

Volt owners found out that there is a way to make the Volt charge at 12 Ampere and therefore faster. But that is buried a few levels deep in a maze of menus – and most annoyingly, it can’t be made sticky. Must wade through menus every time. Of course, the most practical solution would be to use the 240V charger on a 240 V circuit (something yours truly could install in a few hours, including a trip to the hardware store), but owners confess that they are too lazy/stingy to do that, and the complaints continue.

“Melissa” of “Chevrolet Customer Svc” intervened.

Chevrolet must have the matter outsourced, because Melissa identified herself as an “Associate of Morley Companies, Inc.” On its website, Morley introduces itself as a “group travel, business theater, interactive, research, performance improvement, exhibit, display and experiential marketing firm,” which more than establishes its credentials to handle the matter. Especially after its associates receive some remedial English lessons. Melissa informed the frustrated Volt owners that it’s not a bug, it’s a feature: “As a safety feature the Volt will automatically default to the 8amps. This was designed by the engineers as a safeguard the Volt needs. This is to assist and remind owners that the Volt needs to be on a dedicated, grounded, oriented outlet on an individual circuit to be able to charge. This feature is to prevent the outlet getting “warm” and overheating.” To change from 8A to 12A, says Melissa, is very simple. It also reminds the Volt owner that there is a competing product from Nissan:

“The 2013 owners only have to push the “Leaf” button, select the charging tab, then charge level, and then push the amps they would like to charge at. You can change this level while driving. “

Oops. Don’t let Ray LaHood read that last. No, you can’t make the 12A setting sticky, and don’t hold your breath that this will ever change:

“This is the way the Volt was designed for the 2013, there will not be an option to retrofit, or change the charge cord charging design. We truly do value your feedback regarding this safety feature.”

Howls of protests ensued. “This is absolutely idiotic form a usability stand point.” You honestly want us to push FOUR times?

Yep, says Melissa. “I understand your frustration for the safety feature and we appreciate your feedback for the option.” That exchange happened in early September. It did not appease the Volt owners, and the discussion is raging on, wisely sans Melissa. Tired of talking to themselves, enraged 100 Volt owners widened the conflict. Complaints appeared in comment sections of Forbes. Expect more elsewhere. TTAC just received a reader’s letter, complete with headline! (See above.)

BS comment: Of course, pushing buttons four times won’t make charging at 12A any safer, and it won’t help the outlet keep its cool. It simply gives GM opportunity to instruct the user each and every time of the potential hazards, and (hopefully) lets GM off the hook. A standard three prong (with ground) U.S. outlet is good for 15 Amp, should be connected to a 15A wring with a 15A breaker, and therefore plenty for a 12A load. If something else is on the line, the breaker should blow. Note the shoulds.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat
KEYWORDS: volt

1 posted on 12/05/2012 11:57:20 AM PST by ExxonPatrolUs
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

“Leaf Option” [commonly referred amongst GM engineers as the “Hello Kitty” NO-FIRE mode]


2 posted on 12/05/2012 11:59:09 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: ExxonPatrolUs
I'm sorry; but, I can't really muster much sympathy for these people. The Chevy Volt is heavily subsidized by tax dollars from people who are not interested in a Volt. The people who buy one don't think about where the money came from -- it came from the "government". Magic money.

This car was pushed by Obama and his cronies as part of the "bail-out deal" that Chevy got. Anybody who bought into this deal, well, they don't call it "Government Motors" for nothing. Think about all the things the Government runs; and, you expected the Volt to be a well thought out idea? Please.

3 posted on 12/05/2012 12:02:46 PM PST by LibertarianLiz
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

We have a 200 year supply of oil in our own country but continue with this electric car nonsense. It is insane.


4 posted on 12/05/2012 12:12:03 PM PST by ILS21R (Everything... IS... a conspiracy)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs
A standard three prong (with ground) U.S. outlet is good for 15 Amp, should be connected to a 15A wring with a 15A breaker, and therefore plenty for a 12A load. If something else is on the line, the breaker should blow. Note the shoulds.

LMAO! 80/20 rule stipulates that when a breaker reaches 80% capacity, it will trip. You try to push 12A over a 15A circuit, and you can guarantee that POS electric car won't charge. If you have a dedicated 20A circuit, you might have a fighting chance, but most people will just assume, "Oh, the plug fits in this outlet, it must work."

A 12ga, 50 ft. 15A rated extension cord will get quite warm pushing 12A. They might get away with 8ga or 10ga 5-30, but that would require a dual-pole breaker on a dedicated circuit.

Gasoline is just so much easier.

5 posted on 12/05/2012 12:15:45 PM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: LibertarianLiz

I have so little sympathy for Volt owners and buyers that I would allow insurance companies to refuse to pay those owners on ALL fire claims, even when the Volt burns down their home or business.


6 posted on 12/05/2012 12:16:10 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

Look for the government to give GM another “bailout” next year.


7 posted on 12/05/2012 12:16:43 PM PST by cruise_missile
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

You get the power from a coal fired plant anyway. Why not run the cars on coal?


8 posted on 12/05/2012 12:18:30 PM PST by cruise_missile
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To: Nachum; Red Badger

Ping.


9 posted on 12/05/2012 12:19:41 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

This is the new Obama Amerika where ‘improvements’ result in things taking longer and where we have a lower staandard of living, less money and fewer jobs. Get used to it.


10 posted on 12/05/2012 12:35:00 PM PST by plain talk
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To: cruise_missile
You get the power from a coal fired plant anyway. Why not run the cars on coal?

Maybe you, but I get my electricity from unicorns.

Hundreds of unicorns fed an all bean diet with painful methane collection units inserted into them. Did I mention that I really hate unicorns.

11 posted on 12/05/2012 12:36:28 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Big Bird is a brood parasite: laid in our nest 43 years ago and we are still feeding him.)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

My brother in law bought one of these things earlier in the year. He’s a complete leftist.

Can’t wait to ask him how his electric car is in a year or two when gasoline is back under $2 a gallon.


12 posted on 12/05/2012 12:37:03 PM PST by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna!)
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To: Army Air Corps; All
OMG, I can't remember FOUR BUTTONS!"

13 posted on 12/05/2012 12:42:04 PM PST by gura (If Allah is so great, why does he need fat sexually confused fanboys to do his dirty work? -iowahawk)
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To: Rutles4Ever
Can’t wait to ask him how his electric car is in a year or two when gasoline is back under $2 a gallon.

You see that happening under Obama? How so?

14 posted on 12/05/2012 12:54:37 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

The faster you charge a battery, the shorter its lifespan (everything else being equal). If you have the time for a slower charge, the lower Amperage setting will prolong your battery life.


15 posted on 12/05/2012 12:57:11 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: rarestia

If your breakers are tripping at 80% of their rating, something is wrong with them.


16 posted on 12/05/2012 1:06:36 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: ExxonPatrolUs
"...next week, the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty."
-Goerge Orwell, 1984

And remember comrades:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

17 posted on 12/05/2012 1:11:42 PM PST by Noumenon (As long as you have a rifle, you STILL have a vote.)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

In most states, and under UBC, a standard convenience outlet must be on a 20 amp circuit. 15 amp circuits are only for lighting and controls.


18 posted on 12/05/2012 1:14:27 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: ExxonPatrolUs

I’m guessing that it also discharges 30% faster than its predecessor. These green guys are ingenius.


19 posted on 12/05/2012 1:26:35 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/


20 posted on 12/05/2012 1:49:08 PM PST by Nachum (The List is off the Google blacklist- www.nachumlist.com)
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/


21 posted on 12/05/2012 1:50:14 PM PST by Nachum (The List is off the Google blacklist- www.nachumlist.com)
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To: SoothingDave

On a dedicated circuit, yes. If you’re plugging in something that will consume 80% of the circuit’s rated amperage on a non-dedicated circuit, between swing voltages and any fluctuations, it’ll pop real quick.

I worked in datacenters for 10 years. We kept everything below 80% on our 30A circuits. If we ever lost a redundant circuit, the swing voltage alone on a dual-PSU server or storage device would put a live circuit near capacity before stabilization on a fully-populated rack.


22 posted on 12/05/2012 3:04:27 PM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: rarestia

Gotcha. I’m used to dedicated circuits.


23 posted on 12/05/2012 3:08:46 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: SoothingDave

I was interested in what you were saying about CB ratings.

So I took a look here. I hope it clears things up.

http://ecmweb.com/content/sizing-circuit-breaker


24 posted on 12/05/2012 4:37:04 PM PST by fudimo
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To: KarlInOhio

really? i get skittles from my unicorns when they fart rainbows.


25 posted on 12/05/2012 4:58:09 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: editor-surveyor

When did that change?

Seems to me that most 120V circuit breakers are rated at 15A.


26 posted on 12/06/2012 3:51:26 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

In UBC states, only lighting and control circuits can be 15 A. 20 A 12 Ga wire is required for all convenience outlets.


27 posted on 12/06/2012 8:41:16 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

Where can I find a list of UBC states?


28 posted on 12/06/2012 9:25:05 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

Probably at I.C.B.O.


29 posted on 12/06/2012 9:36:18 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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