Chevy Volt Climbs Steep Mountain in Name of Research

Like the iMiEV electric car before it, climbing another steep Japanese mountain range, the Chevy Volt has just demonstrated that it can do the hard stuff. It can get you up a long steep mountain climb in the snow.


And like the Japanese iMiEV—which works for the Japanese Post Office—our own “Government Motors” electric vehicle might be initially sent to work for government agencies in this country (that buy 750,000 thousand vehicles a year), because President Obama signed an Executive Order last week that requires every Federal Agency to cut fuel use 30% over the next nine years.

This guarantees a market for the taxpayers’ own more fuel efficient car, as it only needs a few drops of gas for its battery charger. (And this should also give a boost to all the solar-paneled parking spaces that we’ll need to fire up all these EVs without adding to the coal grid)

Pike’s Peak—America’s mountain—tests the worst you might have to do to your car, like climb to the top of a mountain in snow and then inexplicably leave it idling with the air-conditioning on high.

The Volt climbed the 19-mile road to the 14,110-foot top of Pike’s Peak, that is routinely used to test cooling and climate control systems. Like many mountain roads, it has a series of W-shaped switchbacks that are treacherous at high speed. It normally is a two hour drive roundtrip, and Park Rangers advise caution.

The Volt’s speed up the mountain is not recorded (the iMiEV speed was documented in a youtube video), but was better than expected according to the Lead Calibration Engineer. But you can at least get an idea of the stress this was subject to, in this video of the Pikes Peak route, note – not by the Volt.

The test in the Volt’s case was also to see how well it performed in the extended-range generator mode, under the duress of the continuous sustained energy needed to climb the very long steep grade, and see how much the speed and power would be reduced when it is climbing for a long time in charge-sustaining mode with the engine-generator running. Results were supposedly good, but no details were supplied.

The Pike’s Peak test site was also a good opportunity to look at how much energy could be regenerated to recharge the battery through braking on the way back down; and the Volt apparently successfully replenished the battery on the way down, with all that regenerative braking.

One aspect was quantified, and it was a first. The National Park Service said that after it got to the bottom, the brakes were among the coolest they had ever tested.

Image: John Blanchard, Lead Calibration Engineer, Chevrolet Volt

Source: Green Car Reports


Susan Kraemer

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.