Volts against the current

General Motors, apparently stung by reports of melted-down 120-volt charging cords in early Chevy Volts, decided, reasonably enough, that the best thing they could do was replace the lot of them, to “offer a more consistent charging experience.”

The charger unit was reworked for 2013, and by “more consistent,” apparently they meant “slower”:

In self-help groups on the Internet, the culprit was quickly found: GM had reduced the default circuit load of the charger from 12 Ampere to 8 Ampere.

A third less current, and a greater safety margin — at the expense of slower charging. Now it seems to me that if you’re going to tool around in one of these mediumfalutin’ electrical land-based puddlejumpers, you’d probably want to hook it up to a two-twenty line and be done with it. But that runs into money, and buyers of econoboxen resent the idea of spending money if there’s a way around it. So this is no surprise:

Volt owners found out that there is a way to make the Volt charge at 12 Ampere and therefore faster. But that is buried a few levels deep in a maze of menus — and most annoyingly, it can’t be made sticky. Must wade through menus every time.

The workaround goes like this:

[O]wners only have to push the “Leaf” button, select the charging tab, then charge level, and then push the amps they would like to charge at. You can change this level while driving.

“Leaf” button? Do buyers of Nissan’s Leaf get a “Volt” button? It sounds like it’s the same darn charger unit.

And a 120V outlet should be good for 15 amps — assuming everything in the circuit is in perfect operating condition. Heck, my lawn mower draws 12 amps. Then again, it isn’t on for 16 hours at a stretch either.

1 comment

  1. Brett »

    5 December 2012 · 8:12 pm

    “buyers of econoboxen resent the idea of spending money if there‚Äôs a way around it.”

    Or if the government can take some money from their fellow taxpayers instead…

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