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Question about 2012 Chevy Volt EV Range changes
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Question about 2012 Chevy Volt EV Range changes

New to the forum and realtively new to driving electric (I got my Volt in June of 2012).  I have a question.

I live in Illinois where the temperatures now are in the upper 40's overnight and in teh 60's during the day.

When I got the Volt whe  I would charge my vehicle overnight to full charge the estimate range was 47-49 miles when I started out.  This was during the hottest part of the Summer when the temps ranged from the 80's overnight to the low 100's daytime.  Even sitting outside at the train station the car kept this expected range (which usually was actually achievable!).  I was pleasantly surprised.

Since the weather has moderated not only is my full-charge range now about 42 miles, I find the estimate drops like a rock.  When I have driven less than  .3 miles it goes down by its first mile and then another 1-2 after the next.5 of a mile.  Last evening when the temp was about 55 degrees F  I gor a total of 38 miles out of the charge.

 

I should add that the tires are properly inflated, the car is garaged overnight (unheated but enclosed all the same) and I drive within speed limits and with the "eco" sign dead center and green.

 

I realize the published range is only 34-36 miles but I am wondering if this indicates a problem with the car, if it indicates the computer has settled down into my driving habits and is simply more accurate, and most importantly what I should expect when it get REALLY cold up here this Winter.

 

Anyone want to offer their experiences or advice on this?  Aside from that one concern I am loving the car!

 

Thanks!

 

Howard Green

It is more likely this has to

It is more likely this has to do with colder weather.  That is, because batteries work by chemical reactions, they'll have less power available in cold weather.  However a quick glance through the GM-Volt.com forum turned up people saying winter driving was okay.  Such as http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?17047-After-driving-in-Winter-ha...

Because the Volt has a gas engine, it innately has heat available to warm the battery during operation.

Question....

"Because the Volt has a gas engine, it innately has heat available to warm the battery during operation." Can you explain your quote? Because the gas engine is a generator and does not come on util the battery is depleted.

What I meant was - gasoline

What I meant was - gasoline engines have lots of heat available, and for example that heat is used to heat the passenger cabin.  GM could have arranged to use that heat to warm up the battery pack as well. 

Your question is best asked on the gm-volt.com forum, however.

 

I bought my Volt about the

I bought my Volt about the same time as you and as the weather is cooling here in Colorado I've noticed a drop in range as well.  From what I understand this is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.  I have heard that you should pre-condition your car before leaving in the morning by using the remote start funcion.  This warms up the cabin and the battery using the house electric, not the battery. this helps extend your range by not requiring the internal battery to be used as much for heat.  

Cold Weather Tips

Yes, colder temperatures will reduce the EV miles. I have experienced the same in South Carolina. In the event that it is extremely cold where you live, the gas engine will start without your consent.

Here are a couple of tips to save some EV miles.

1. If you have a 240v Charger at your home, remote start the vehicle and it will use the house energy verse the battery power to pre-heat the vehicle. 

2. When you get up and go to your car on colder days, you most likely are already wearing a coat, hat, etc. Keep them on while in the car and use the ECO setting on the climate control. Also, set the temperature at a reasonable temp - not 80 degrees. Something around 72 works great for me. Turn it to FAN ONLY and turn the fan off to reduce the blowing of cold air.

3. I know this sounds funny, but, park your Volt in the sun during those cold days. The cabin warms up a great deal in the sun, so much so, that here I have to crack open the window to reduce the cabin temperature.

4. If you can, plug the car in all the time. At work, get your employer to install a 240v charger and warm the car before you leave the office with the remote link start-up.

 

Hope this helps you a little.

 

Cold Weather Volt Issues

I live where it's a bit colder than you. :) In Minnesota my 2012 Volt last summer had an 'indicated' Range in the mid 40's (commonly 42-45) and once the cold temps (Below freezing) hit my normal range fell to 28-29.  This is a car that is in heated underground parking.

The worse issue for me is that when the car outside temp gauge drops to +25 degrees the gas engine starts and runs with the message "Engine Running Due to Temperature" for 0.07 gallons of gas. If it stays below 25 it will start again with the same message (after a while - 5-10 minutes) for another 0.03 gallons of gas. And repeat if you're out for very long. Really drops your lifetime mileage. I went from 250+ lifetime MPG down to 201 during the winter months. I'm slowly climbing back up (hit 212 today) now that thing are warming up.