Suppliers extend Volt range

  • 16-Mar-2009 03:23 EDT
GM's Frank Weber recently announced that the extended-range electric Volt will debut next year with advanced fuel-efficient tires from Goodyear and a new energy-efficient sound system from Bose.

Bose and Goodyear will provide energy-saving products to the Chevrolet Volt, and those product assists will help the car achieve up to 40 mi (64 km) in electric-only range.

The Volt needs to push the boundaries of mechanical, electrical, and thermal efficiency, and that path to energy prowess is highlighted by supplier contributions. "We have been analyzing every part of the Volt so that we can offer a vehicle that is as efficient as possible to maximize the electric range. I think we have achieved this with Bose and Goodyear," said Frank Weber, Vehicle Line Executive for the Voltec propulsion system and the Chevrolet Volt.

General Motors' executives announced that the extended-range electric Volt will be fitted with the Energy Efficient Series sound system from Bose and Goodyear's new Assurance Fuel Max tires, which use functional polymers specifically designed for silica fillers.

"The reactive units in functional polymers are intended to chemically bind the polymer chain to a reinforcing filler, resulting in a tread compound that experiences a more elastic interaction with the road. This enhanced elasticity results in better energy conservation," explained Jon Bellissimo, Goodyear's Director of Consumer Tire Technology.

Compared to the original Goodyear Assurance tire, the Assurance Fuel Max provides 27% less rolling resistance. Goodyear has patents pending on the new tire's tread compound, which helps reduce energy loss as the tire rotates.

"This tire represents the state of the art in energy management from a total tire perspective," Bellissimo said. "From the molecular-level interactions of the polymers to the unique tread pattern, everything about the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max is intended to help provide a high level of economy for the consumer." In addition to being the exclusive fitment for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the new tire initially will be aftermarket-available in 27 sizes.

The Bose Energy Efficient Series sound system is 30% smaller, 40% lighter, and consumes 50% less energy vs. other automotive sound systems with comparable audio performance. "Every gram, cubic centimeter, and watt of energy is carefully accounted for during the design process, and the ability to improve on size, weight, and current consumption—while maintaining optimum sound quality—is what makes the Energy Efficient Series such a valuable addition," said John Pelliccio, Technical Product Marketing Manager at Bose.

Switching amplifiers, high-motor-force speakers, and digital-signal-processing circuitry are the system's unique attributes. "Bose switching amplifiers are designed to use less energy and generate less heat than conventional linear amplifiers. And as a result, they are smaller and lighter," explained Pelliccio. The speakers deliver an acoustic output comparable to that of heavier conventional speakers. Added Pelliccio, "These components combine with Bose proprietary control circuitry to deliver sound reproduction at concert hall volumes, while reducing the system's total power consumption by half."

Maximized efficiency defines the sound system that debuts on the Volt. "The switching amplifiers used in the Energy Efficient Series system require less battery power to operate due to switching output technology. This allows for more efficient use of battery power and does not dissipate heat in the manner of comparable, but less efficient, linear amplifiers," noted Pelliccio. The efficiency improvements "add up to a system that requires 50% less energy than other sound systems with comparable performance—an energy savings that equates to removing about 50 lb of mass from the Chevy Volt," according to Pelliccio.

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