Chevy Volt Revealed: Teardown Videos

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Re: Electronic modules
whobbies   3/15/2012 2:51:11 PM
You guys have a point, but as a 30 year manufacture in the toy and hobby industry, I can remember saying the same things about electric model cars and aircraft for instance some 35 years ago. I too though it was ridiculous to charge a model that would fly or run underpowered at best for 30 minutes to get 4 minutes of play time. Never the less the purists proved us all wrong and kept pushing forward, and then came the lap top computers pushing the Lypo industry into a frenzy in turn making them smaller and more affordable and efficient.

Next the cell phone industry applying even more speed to research and development with small hand-held phones that were the size of building bricks only five years prior. Today it's a way of life and that same little battery that was once $100.00 is a throw-away and costs a few dollars at best.

This techknowlogy filtered into the hobby industry and has all but replace the once common nitro powered engine industry with small and efficient 3-phase motors that make two and three times the power when compared to the gas engines. Today you charge for 15 minutes and fly for 75% at power levels exceeding their gas counterpart, that's amazing to say the least. How about a consumer available R/C car from my friends at Traxxas that sells for only $500.00 that tops out at, get this, not scale speed but a true 100 MPH!

I am not a purest by no means, I a manufacture of those prehistoric gas engines because that's what I know. It has been right for me and my customers the past 30 years since my innovation into the industry, but that's doesn't mean it is the best and most efficient method forever. Of course I know electric is more efficient than fossile fuel, it's a simple fact or we would be powering our big trains by a driveline and transmission.

As primitive and expensive, and even inefficient as something such as the Chevy Volt is, it is necessary that we proceed full force and there are seats available for those who are interested. This can only do what the computer did for the telephone, and the telephone did for the hobby and toy industry, if we allow an industry to develop.

My ideas, concept, and products were laughed at 30 years ago by those that feared a new direction, and today it is the norm on a worldwide level. I have learned allot about concepts ideas, and how the average relate to them and shun them for reasons of fear of change, usually conceiled by excessive costs. I too fell into that catagory many times. I also know that one day soon, as much as I don't like to run electric model boats that make no noise that they will too become the norm. They will be quieter, faster, and easier to run, or simply "different" to only you and me reading this now.

If that day comes soon enough and I am still in my industry, I will probably move in that market direction, and those who worked excessivly hard, spent too much money on inefficient electric cars will more than likely be responsibile for why I will be able to market an affordable 100 MPH R/C large scale model boat.

To hold my ground for lack of knowledge, ego or reasons unknown would only make me a dinosaur, and you know what happed to the dinosaurs...

What may not be right for us today, may be normal for our Grandchildren tomorrow. Tony C.

Tony Castronovo

President, Warehouse Hobbies Inc. USA


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Re: Electronic modules
ksaldutti   3/15/2012 5:11:40 PM
I agree as long as private capitol is the sole source of design build. Private innovation. The government has not the constitution authorization in being in business of banker, designer, builder etc. etc. It may offer incentives as long as every dime is returned with interest. Something we where lied to about with both GM and Chrysler. We are not to invest. Investors invest and sometimes they lose and win. The government is not to be in that position. This also must be authorized by the people though Capitol Hill as by the congress and senate. You do not jump in as CEO of anything and fire/hire then dissociates the actual bond holder's divvy out the business as you see fit to unions and foreign interest as this administration has. We are to innovate in hopes we can overcome adversities with manufacturing for the betterment of all including the earth.

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Re: Electronic modules
whobbies   3/15/2012 6:16:45 PM
Amen to that! I got so caught up in my speach I strayed off track. There is nothing our government has invested in to my knowledge that functions like a business. I am in business because of my passion for what I do, but I still have a business because I make a profit. Our Government needs to learn what that means. They need to take in more than they spend. The day I screw up beyond what I am able to write a check to cover is my last day in business. There is no saving someone in my position, and if I screw up I deserve the penalties, even if that means closing my doors.

Our innovations came from passion to create a better mouse trap, private investors with a dream. I have always said you can not force progress, and that's just what our present government is trying to do. Take solar cells, they have been around for a long time and though they are better than they were when I was a kid in electronics, they are stiil not a viable power source solution on large level, and combined with the fact that we still don't have an efficient storage device, we are still many years away.

But instead our government, ( us ) lost billions in investing in solar cell techknowlogy that is now bankrupt, not because they won't work, but because money was thrown in too many directions with time restraints. Why don't they start with powering the White House 100% with Solar Cells and battery strorage, and when he looks out the window to see 100% of the grounds covered in glass panels, along with the roof, and even then they may not produce enough energy, then maybe they will understand the barriers we are faced with.

Progress is a progression over time not on a timeclock. My products are far better today then they were 30 years ago, why didn't I just make them like today back then? That's something that our politicians would probably ask me... If you don't know what end of a screwdriver to hold how in the Hell can you call the shots and direct those who do?

I wanted to start another business a few weeks back, after I closed a retail mall store that didn't make it. One of my son's I wanted involved asked me why I would do another business after loosing on one. Then he wanted me to make sure that if we started another it would make it. I looked at his mother first, then said maybe you need to get a government job. So where is are problems steming from these days?

How about all you manufactures continue to build EV's and anything else you think could solve our dependency issues, make them available to someone like me at a price I am willing to pay to be a test pilot. Then in the old fashion spirit of competition and wanting to be the best, make improvements until one day my Grand Daughter takes her children to the museam to show them what a combustion powered car looked like, and next to it may be the Chevy Volt refered to as one of the pioneers of the then norm.Hey there may even be an old Enforcer Boat there that Grandpa made?




Charles Murray
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Plug-in hybrids
Charles Murray   3/15/2012 8:16:47 PM
I'm going to go to bat for plug-in hybrids here, even though I don't think they're ready for a large market yet. Plug-ins are a solid technology in need a price drop. For certain drivers -- particularly those who have short commutes that allow them to recharge every night -- plug-in hybrids may make sense in a few years because they allow for much of the driving to be purely electrical. Right now, it looks like the best way to lower the cost is to keep the battery relatively small, which means the all-electric range will be shorter, but it's a start. Pure electrics are another matter. I think they'll be niche vehicles for the foreseeable future.

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Re: Plug-in hybrids
cvandewater   3/19/2012 6:59:59 AM
Hm, I know that Hybrid cars work - have been driving one for many years (Prius of course) never had an issue with it, just change oil and pour in a little petrol.

Still, I think that pure electrics will be a "hot" market, if the suppliers can get their act together. Today the Leaf is about the most polished and affordable one, that is also why I see *several* Leafs on each of my commutes.

Note that reliable and functional EVs do not need to be expensive or complex, that is just a design decision so each manufacturer will make their own choices and in the end the public will cast their vote. The Leaf has a relative high feature level while the cars that come closer to glorified Golf Carts are extremely simple and can be expected to be much lower cost.

Just this last week I bought another EV truck (previously I had an S10, now a Ford Ranger) which is not a very complex vehicle, but has all the necessary features, from power steering, power brakes to (electric) heating and an Automatic Gearbox driven by a powerful GE electric motor. Since the motor controller is essentially a higher voltage version of a Forklift controller, you can find spare parts and have it serviced at a Forklift shop in case the controller has an issue.

Due to the higher voltage, the truck is freeway capable and in fact responds and operates much the same way as the ICE that was used as basis for conversion, the main difference is that you can commute silently and without tailpipe emissions. And fill up in your garage/driveway. And it costs about $3 in "fuel" to go 100 miles. Oh, and I bought it for $4000. No, it is not a new truck. I don't care about that.

Charles Murray
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Re: Plug-in hybrids
Charles Murray   5/1/2012 8:38:36 PM
Good points, cvandwater. I agree with all, especially when you say your new EV truck costs $4,000. That price can't be beat. But here's my reason for believing that pure EVs will be a niche: The range is still too limiting. Cars are typically designed for exceptional use, not average use. People who spend $40,000 for their vehicle will want it to make that exceptional trip of 100+ miles. That shouldn't be too much to ask of a new vehicle. With their reduced range, pure EVs might serve as a good second car (around-the-town car) if their pricetags weren't so high. The beauty of the plug-in hybrid is that it eliminates those issues.

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