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GM recalls 64,000 Chevy Volts for shut off problem

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by SabrToothSqrl, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Hmm... I see nothing about this functionality that's inherently bad. Sounds like GM is being proactive about something that could happen due to human error:

    I also don't see anything about the cars turning themselves on...

    If this were Tesla everyone would be yelling about how 2 out of 64k is only .003% and how evil folks are trying to turn this into a huge issue. We don't like folks throwing FUD at Tesla, so why is it OK to do it in the opposite direction (especially to a car that's a step in the right direction for the masses)?
     
  3. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Very well put. No need to bash a car that so far has outsold Tesla and has introduced millions to the benefits of plugging in.
     
  4. bonaire

    bonaire Active Member

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    It is the kind of rhetoric as religions are established. It is not healthy either way.
     
  5. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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    Weren't some people already injured by this? They left the car turned on, they didn't realize it was on because it is silent, then the battery ran out, car went into gas mode on its own and filled the garage with Carbon Monoxide. It's absurd that GM never thought this through to begin with.
     
  6. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    As absurd as Tesla not thinking about the lower ride height and potential road debris puncturing the pack? Or any number of other issues the car has had? Not sure people forgetting to turn the car off would have been something I would have thought about before owning an EV myself.

    In any case, sorry OP for derailing. Glad you're enjoying your Model S. Be kind to the gateway drug that got you here and let it at least sip at those precious electrons haha
     
  7. William13

    William13 Member

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    Since driving my Tesla, I have forgotten to turn off my wife's Highlander hybrid 3 times! Any of these could have been in my garage. :0
     
  8. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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    Lol yeah, cus only Teslas have ever run over road debris, and gas tanks have never been punctured ever. This volt problem is something that would only ever happen to a series hybrid.
     
  9. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Any vehicle can be punctured by road debris under the right circumstances. The difference: there is a rather large battery protecting the occupant of the Tesla, unlike in other vehicles. And yes, there are pictures on the Internet of non-Tesla vehicles being punctured with objects coming up into the passenger cabin.

    To make your analogy accurate, you'll have to pick an instance of Tesla making a decision that has caused their car owners to be killed, or at least severely injured.
     
  10. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    #10 SabrToothSqrl, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
    Why is tesla the only one to sense that someone is (or isn't) in the drivers seat? Is it that hard?
    if seat = empty then car == off.

    I seriously loathe GM, but I'm fairly sure I've seen Toyota kill as well.

    People forget to shut it off in the garage at home and die of carbon monoxide.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/toyota-sued-carbon-monoxide-tragedy-killed-79-year-old-lawyer-article-1.452799?force_desktop=true?force_desktop=true

    my hatred of GM stems from a 2009 Tahoe, but that's another thread.

    you know what's funny? My lawn mower will shut off if I leave the seat... So easy even John Deere can do it.
     
  11. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    The mistake Tesla's made with road debris was assuming it would be less likely than in turned out to be. They were quite aware punctures could occur, they just designed enough protective armor in place to make it an extremely unlikely occurrence. They were wrong...or just unlucky. But in any case there's always going to be some debris or impact that will impinge the battery, even with "tank mode" added. It's a design tradeoff as to how much protection to add vs how often a battery destroying event will occur.

    Automatically starting an ICE engine when it might be in an enclosed environment is very bad. I'd say starting an ICE engine automatically if the car is stationary, and/or there is no driver in the seat should never occur, as there's no way to know if the exhaust is blocked or the car is in a place where the exhaust would be dangerous--perhaps in a mall display, or in a shipping container, or in an enclosed garage.

    There is not a design tradeoff here...it's a major "Oops! We didn't think of that!" event.

    Thus, I don't agree the Model S' flaw is in the same league as the Volt's. The Volt's flaw occurred during normal everyday operation. The Model S' in a rare debris strike or crash.
     
  12. Drucifer

    Drucifer Active Member

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    In defense of GM, [1st] the driver needs to forget to turn off the Volt when parking it, then [2nd] open the driver door so the Volt goes "ding, ding, ding, ding" in a way that says "hey buddy, you are exiting the vehicle without turning it off", you then need to [3rd] fail to plug it in or plug it in and then fail to wait 2 seconds to verify that the vehicle is charging correctly (it won't initiate the charging sequence if it is running before being plugged in - however it will start while plugged in and charging).

    Every other vehicle GM sells has an ICE running and if you fail to turn it of when exiting the vehicle with the keys in gives you the same "ding, ding, ding, ding". The Volt's flaw occurs during "normal everyday operation", only if the operator is highly negligent in parking and shutting down the car. I don't blame GM a bit. It is just that as soon as you make something "idiotproof", the world presents you with a bigger idiot.

    We are talking about something that has 2 known occurrences in nearly 5 years of vehicle production and operation.
     
  13. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    My point, was that Tesla missed something that could become an issue. GM missed something too (although I'd argue that while they should just detect if the car is actually moving, it's still a user error), so we should stop acting like GM are a bunch of idiots all because they don't make an EV on par with Tesla (which is really what all the hate comes down to).

    - - - Updated - - -

    This. Again, had this been an "oops" on Tesla's part, there would be a lot of apologies.
     
  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Sorry to nitpick, but it is not a user error, but rather a 'use error' - meaning a designer needs to understand normal user behavior and build that into the design.

    For instance, if you had new Microsoft software & performed a normal 'copy and paste' series of keystrokes, you'd be very upset if it erased your entire hard drive without warning. And I doubt you'd find it okay if you called Microsoft and they answered, "Well, you should have read the manual, it was in there." (Actually, you'd have a right to be irate at that point, because you EXPECT certain actions to happen.) So with GM, it is not an unreasonable expectation that a car does not start especially in a closed garage. That's a use case that just should not happen. Ever.

    'Use error' doesn't assign blame, 'user error' does. (Welcome to the world of medical device design, where you need to factor in the user(s) expectations of behavior.)

    /endofnitpick

    - - - Updated - - -

    In the case of Tesla and road debris, that may very likely have been a known outcome. Typically a risk analysis would be performed. If they understood the failure mode/severity (car notifies driver, gives plenty of time to pull over and get out), and believed the probability was low, they may have decided to live with the outcome.

    When the probability changed over a short period of time, they made a modification to change the probability of the failure occurring.

    In the case of GM, if they had identified 'car may start unattended in a closed environment', the severity would have been high enough (potential death) that no matter how low the probability was, it would require a design mitigation.

    Make sense?
     
  15. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I don't really feel like your Microsoft example is fair here. The user failed to take the normal routine action required by every car out there (except the Model S.) The user ignored multiple visible and audible warnings that they had failed to take the action required by every car.

    Now people blame GM for not protecting the user from themselves when they ignored warnings and failed to act as every car requires - with the result that GM is making a firmware change which does lock out some legitimate use cases in order to limit the user's ability to screw up by ignoring visible and audible warnings while not taking the actions required by every car (except the Model S.)

    This seems rather unreasonable to me, like a lot of complaints leveled at the Volt are.
     
  16. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    #16 woof, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
    All designs have flaws...and some are only discovered under the harsh reality of the real world. I don't think GM are a bunch of idiots, nor Tesla for that matter. One of the reasons traditional car design is slow to change and evolutionary is the need to test, in the real world, for these types of flaws. I fully anticipate that Tesla's fast iterations will bite them hard one day with a major safety related recall and subsequent law suit pile-on. That will be a black day for TSLA, and it will either be the end of the company or the buying opportunity of a lifetime.
     
  17. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Not trying to take pot shots at GM - my intent was to carefully draw a line between user error and a use error. The failure mode was foreseeable. Given the severity, it required a modification. Not saying that what they did was the best outcome.

    - - - Updated - - -

    No argument with that. Hopefully EVERY car manufacturer does robust failure analysis, including use errors - but mistakes still happen no matter how conscientious a company may be.
     
  18. EVSteve

    EVSteve 110% Solar Powered

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    The entire issue is overkill. A Volt will only start its engine after the battery has been fully depleted. In any case the driver would need to leave the car on and have it deplete the battery assuming it wasn't already depleted upon arrival. Most Volt owners plug their cars in immediately when they get home. The real problem lies with the system not allowing itself to pull power from the charger until AFTER the vehicle has been turned off. In other words if you have the car turned on and plug it in the car will not pull power from the charger.

    That said there are multiple indicators and audible feedback when the car is left on, remote is left in the vehicle, and when the Volt starts charging as well as the typical set of thumps, clicks, or other indicator lights on the charger or any installation connected to the car once charging has started. To fail to notice every single one of these notifiers screams idiocy and GM should not have been expected to foresee an individual missing or ignoring multiple notifications from multiple points.

    Aside from all of this the engine does not come on and constantly run for long periods of time when the battery does run out. It comes on for very short intervals at low rpm maybe 15-20 seconds then shuts off for several minutes possibly longer until the battery level depletes again. All it does is maintain the lower end SOC for the main pack. News outlets are treating this as if a vehicle is idling constantly like any other ICE car for hours on end in a person's garage. The cars shouldn't even be charging in a fully enclosed garage without ventilation anyway. We've all seen the posts of cars charging, running their a/c compressors and heating garages up over 120 degrees as the TMS attempts to cool the battery down.

    The fix should have been a reprogram to allow the vehicle to pull power from the wall regardless of the Volt being On or Off. This reprogram to limit the vehicle 'on time' to 2.5 hours doesn't really solve anything. The car will still run its generator for short intervals as before. The fix does nothing.
     
  19. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    If you accidentally leave the car turned on, and the car decides its battery needs charging, it will start the engine. Happened at the Toronto auto show a few years back, when I was helping at the Sun Country booth. In late evening, after everyone had left, the Volt's engine started up all by itself. Someone had left the car on. The security people discovered it and called to find out how to shut it down. It was a large space so no worries about CO, but they were worried it would set the carpet on fire (I don't know how hot the catalytic converter gets at idle but I imagine it's a risk!).

    So yes it is a real problem - caused by user error sure. But you do have to protect against user error when the outcome could be potentially serious.
     
  20. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    I don't think that should have been the fix, and here's why. If the car can pull power from the charge port while on, then someone will rig it up to power the car while moving. And that fix doesn't take care of the case where the car is left ON but unplugged.

    The moment the car is placed in Park, the engine should not be allowed to be on due to low SOC. The car should only accept charge while in Park, and only allow shifting out of Park if the charge port is vacant.

    That leaves the case of the car being left in something other than Park while ON. The moment the driver leaves the car at low speed, the car should place itself in Park. There should be an override to this to allow for emissions testing, repair, and automatic car washes.
     

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