Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Article in "The Street"

Here's a neat article my friend Sal just passed on to me, asking the question: can the Volt handle a 1,100 mile high-speed dash through the deserts and mountains of the American West?

Testing Chevy Volt's Endurance


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Charger AOK

So when the electrician left yesterday, the charger was functional except that it wasn't really connected to my account. I emailed Coulomb about it and today all is well again. It seems to be more in tune with the car overall. When I attach the charge cord, the horn beeps right away where it used to take as long as 10 to 15 seconds. Also now the charger seems to recognize that the car is on delay charge and indicates it is ready where before it would say something about the car not accepting the charge. Wish I could remember the exact wording but it definitely seems smarter about the Volt now than the old unit. And that was the whole point!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Electrician Schedule Mixup

So the electrician was supposed to come out this morning between 8 and 10 am to swap out the charger... 10 minutes after 10, I called SPX and they tracked down the problem. Now, I don't know if I buy this or not, but the story is that the electrician thought the charger was shipping to them, and as they hadn't gotten it, they just didn't do anything. (There's this thing called a telephone?) The charger came directly to me... which is funny because when the original charger was to be put in, they shipped it to the electrician. But the electrician showed up without it and assumed I had it... then they called their office and someone told them it was there... but at least that time they showed up, though they were late the first day due to a scheduling screw up. The guy had an iPhone 4, you'd think they could coordinate better. But what do I know. Anyway, Christie at SPX said they could now come out between 1 and 2 pm today. Not a big deal. These things happen.

I am glad (and keeping my fingers crossed this fixes the problems) that this is going in today though. I've been getting several of the GFCI trips lately. I don't mind it so much if it trips when I first plug it in. It's nastier if it trips later, when it starts to charge. I've never had it trip in the middle of charging though. And never had it not charge after a few plug-out/plug-in cycles.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Volt Featured on "The Mentalist" TV Show (CBS)

Tonight at 10 pm the season premiere of the CBS show, "The Mentalist" aired and a new member of the cast was cleverly tucked in several scenes in a very unobtrusive way. Nothing screamed product placement at all. Very subtle and just slightly under the radar. There were some scenes where Agent Lisbon is driving and we hear... almost nothing because of course the Volt is very quiet. Looks pretty good in "Cyber Gray Metallic".

[Note that I didn't actually see the episode until later, 10/03/11]

Sunday, September 18, 2011

GF on Four Month "Anniversary"

[2500] Ground fault tripped again after I plugged in for the night. But today it's the 4 month mark.

Friday, September 16, 2011

September OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report

Highlights of OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics from my Chevrolet Volt as of 09/16/2011:

Something is off with the electric economy number... only 1 KWh? No way! Likewise with the 88 KWh for the month, that's just whack.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Home Charging Station To Be Replaced

And here is the latest from ChargePoint/Coulomb:

Regarding ticket IDXXXX , this confirms Coulomb Technologies has determined that your home charging station is under warranty and requires replacement to provide you with the unit having volt enhancement so that it does not get frequent GFCI trips. Within two business days of this notice, we will be shipping an advanced replacement CT500 unit for delivery to your home at the address provided below.

0000 Xxxxx Xxx North Hollywood California 00000
Daytime Phone: 0000000000
Cell Phone: 0000000000

I am also sending a copy of this ticket to the SPX EV Support team in order to coordinate replacement by a qualified electrician in a timely manner. The SPX support group may be contacted at or at 877-805-3873 'press option 1'.

Please ensure the original station is packaged and returned to Coulomb Technologies as soon as possible after the electrician installs the replacement unit. Package the defective unit in the original packing material that was used to ship the replacement to you and locate the prepaid FedEx return label in the plastic pocket on the outside of the box. Please contact Fed Ex for pickup at your home.

You may register on our help desk (Zendesk) and view status updates on ticket XXXX by clicking on the url below.

We appreciate you as our customer and apologize for the inconvenience to you. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Best regards,

Xxxxx Xxxxx
Coulomb Technologies | Network Operations Engineer
V: 000.000.0000
"Fueling The Electric Transportation Industry"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ChargePoint Gets Back To Me

Funny, I was just thinking as I got home tonight that I wanted to check with ChargePoint to see if they had updated my ticket on the GFCI trip. (Which hasn't happened since the last time when I reported it.) Then I checked my email tonight and there was a message from them!

Hello Joe,

This email is a response to the ticket that you opened on Zendesk( # xxxx ) to notify us about the GFCI fault triggers that you get on your charging station. We need to RMA this station to replace the current station with the one having volt enhancement. Please confirm the shipping address so that we can ship you the station. Soon after the shipping address is confirmed by you, you will get a notification from us confirming the RMA and SPX will be notified  at the same time. SPX will then set an appointment with you to install the new station sent. The shipping address that we have in our database is :

0000 Xxxxx Xxx North Hollywood California 00000.

You can refer to the ticket opened by you by clicking on the following link

<URL removed>

Xxxxx Xxxxx
Coulomb Technologies | Network Operations Engineer
V: 000.000.0000
"Fueling The Electric Transportation Industry"

Well! So the charging station can't be serviced over their wireless network with a software patch or something, apparently.  So I've sent my confirmation back to them and now I should hear from SPX soon.

Higher Range?

This morning the fully charged range indicated 39 miles... maybe it is going back through a learning process since the new software was installed? It will be interesting to see if the range eventually rises to the old level from before the upgrade. Of course, what the number says is of little meaning ultimately. The driving conditions really determine your range. The opening figure is just a guess on the computer's part.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


So the first indication that something is different was when I went out to my car this morning to go to work, and instead of the usual 41~42 mile range indicated, it says 37. And I'm thinking, did the charge get interrupted or something? But I can see no indication of that. So I drove on to work and it seemed like I arrived with about the same range left that I always do, 22~23 miles to get me home. It did seem like the accelerator pedal was a tad more responsive from a stop than it was, but it was already very good, especially compared to a gas car. I'll be watching how it goes on the way home.

UPDATE: Had 15 miles of range showing when I parked at the house. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Software Update

[2367] Voltie got his software updated today. I dropped him off at Community Chevrolet around 8:15 am, they took me over to Enterprise and then I got a Malibu for the day. The Malibu is a bit bigger, but it felt cheaper, especially the steering. It had decent power, good brakes and ride, so no real complains. But I was glad to be back in my Volt when I picked it up. It seems peppier, but may just be from driving a gas-powered car today.

They didn't find any issues with charging so any ground faults I get would appear to be due to the charging station. But I haven't gotten one lately.

Spotted a black Volt in the 134 freeway at Eagle Rock on the way home!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Obama Speech Includes Volt Graphic

Hey I noticed during President Obama's speech tonight, they used a graphic showing the Prez driving a black Volt with an excited passenger next to him...

I'd love to know what he thought of it. Clearly his passenger is enjoying the moment.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ground Fault and Software...

So I got that ground fault thing again yesterday, only this time it happened right as I plugged the car in when I got home from work. No biggie, I just unplugged it and plugged it in again. Click. Same thing. Three times! Fourth time it was happy. I kept an eye on it around 8 PM when the charging cycle started and all was well. But this had me a little concerned. So I dropped a note to ChargePoint and copied my Volt Adviser as well. I said I'd never seen this happen with the 110 charger.

The ChargePoint folks got me set up with an online help thing where I could go to see the progress of my request for help. But my Volt Adviser, I should say my *new* Volt Adviser, as Brittany is now advising the Illinois region, sent me a direct email. So Erica is now my Adviser and she advised me of the change, asked a couple of questions and told me that recently General Motors and Chevrolet had released a software update for my 2011 Volt. She said, "This will improve the driving, charging, and ownership experience of your Volt through updated calibrations. The update will take two to three hours once the technician begins working on the vehicle."

I replied, confirming that Community Chevrolet in Burbank is the most convenient place to go, and she said, "What I'd like to do is work with you, Community Chevrolet and our Volt Technical Team to diagnose your Volt, just to ensure the issue you're experiencing is being cause by your 240 volt charging unit. We could have your Volt looked at and the software update performed at the same time." Great! She also assured me there is no cost associated with the update and asked if I would like to have her assist in scheduling an appointment, advising them of the charging issues as well.Very nice hands-on experience. 

So Voltie is going to get new software! Cool!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Funny Day at Toyota

A couple weeks back, partner's Escalade was broken into and some damage was some to the sheetmetal around the lock and a door panel inside. We got it covered by insurance and used their preferred shop, which turned out to be the North Hollywood Toyota Collision Center.  Well today we picked it up from the shop and they seem to have done a very nice job. Definitely as good as new. Funny thing was, as soon as we drove in to the shop parking lot (this is down the street from the main Toyota dealership and only does body/collision work) we saw heads turning. When we went inside, people were talking about someone driving up in a Volt. The guy helping us could barely stop asking questions about it and from inside we could see guys come out from the work bays to check out the parked car. When Bob drove off with his Esky, I was still out in the parking lot answering questions. Amazing how little people know about the way these cars work. It was pretty funny when I called work to explain why I was going to be so late getting in. :-)