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“When was this update?
I have not done any updates in the last 2 yrs.”

This was done a few years ago in response to Reduced Propulsion Events. The software change apparently removed a little bit of usable battery from the bottom. The typical scenario before the software change was after being parked with zero range, but not plugged in, upon starting the car back up the ICE would scream up to very high rpm’s and the car would not go over about 30 mph. Kinda dangerous.
 

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I've found that a "hard" reboot of the Volt system can resolve a myriad of problems. This is accomplished by disconnecting the negative terminal of the 12V battery in back, leaving it disconnected for 10-15 minutes and then reconnecting.
 

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Any resolution to this? All our Volts run on gas when it's below freezing; but I've noticed on my 2017, it tends to keep the coolant temp between ~120F and 140F, but allow electric mode within that range (turns the ICE off).
Have you checked your electronic coolant level; just to make sure it's not low? I believe if your electronic cooling level is low it will not allow battery operation, once topped off, it will run. However, if that's the case you should have the dealer check for leaks in the system so you don't have a liquid leak on a lithium battery, bad things can happen.
 

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Interesting.
I've been having issues with my 2011 running ICE now that the weather is cold here in mid Michigan. Had a low coolant issue, topped it off and cleared the "Service high voltage charging" with my ODB dongle. Volt was still running on ICE, yesterday it started in ICE mode but later switched to battery for a bit. Stopped at a store and restarted and it used battery and stayed that way for the rest of the trip. I was getting worried but see it's a common issue and odds are by design.

My range has dropped with the cold weather. Had been getting 30 on a charge in the summer, now only showing 20. Hope it goes up when the temp does. I've had the Volt for 7 months now and am more than happy with it despite my concerns, that are now gone since read this thread.
 

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“When was this update?
I have not done any updates in the last 2 yrs.”

This was done a few years ago in response to Reduced Propulsion Events. The software change apparently removed a little bit of usable battery from the bottom. The typical scenario before the software change was after being parked with zero range, but not plugged in, upon starting the car back up the ICE would scream up to very high rpm’s and the car would not go over about 30 mph. Kinda dangerous.
There's this one, but It doesn't cover 2011. Presumably because of the 8-year warranty cutoff than anything else because I don't think there's a lot of actual differences that would matter between 2011 and 2012.

 

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I have my receipt for this recall N172130461 Loss of propulsion due to low cell voltage. My dealership, Cole Chevy in Schoolcraft Michigan performed the “reprogrammed hybrid power train control module 2”. Work done on 5/5 2020.
2011 Volt #2760 with 178,500 on the odometer now.
 

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I have my receipt for this recall N172130461 Loss of propulsion due to low cell voltage. My dealership, Cole Chevy in Schoolcraft Michigan performed the “reprogrammed hybrid power train control module 2”. Work done on 5/5 2020.
2011 Volt #2760 with 178,500 on the odometer now.
Note that your receipt for the recall N172130461 says the dealer "reprogrammed hybrid power train control module 2." That’s for the cell balancing issue, not the PPR from loss of capacity problem.

There is a distinction to be made between loss of capacity over time and loss of ability to maintain well balanced cells. The cell balancing procedure makes no programming change to the portion of the battery’s full capacity that is used for Electric Mode driving (although it does put the system into a learning mode, and there’s lots of discussion to be found on whether or not the previous kWh Used number you had can be regained by running through several full charge/ full deplete cycles).

The procedure to correct the PPR problems arising from a simple loss of "oomph" in older Gen 1 Volts is Bulletin No. PIC6292C. My understanding is that this procedure does slightly increase the SOC level at which the "switch to gas" in the Gen 1 Volt takes place in order to restore some supplemental power to the extended range battery buffer that was lost as the battery lost its original full capacity. The "full charge" SOC remains where it was, which means the 65% Electric Mode window is no longer quite that large.

Of the procedures for updating the Hybrid Powertrain Control Module 2 (HPMC2), including the Gen 2 Volt (the cell balancing procedures), there are:

N202307990, issue date, Feb 04, 2021, for 2016-2018 Volts
N172130460, issue date, June 14, 2018, for 2013 Volts
N172130462, issue date March 29, 2019, for 2013-2015 Volts
N172130462, (updated October 2019 to include 2012 Volts)
N172130461, dated December 2019, for 2011 Volts
 

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Hello fellow 2011ers -- I'm having the same issue with my Volt (#198) with ~130k miles. All winter it's been running mostly on gas. Once in a while for a few miles it switches over to battery, but it's unpredictable. It's sad that this car has become and ICE only car, I wanted an EV. Maybe I'll try the battery disconnect, though that sounds like voodoo and I doubt it will help. I did get the software update during the 120k mile maintenance a year ago. Guess I'll see how things are once summer comes around. The car is great otherwise, so I'd really like to get this issue fixed. I see people mentioning this GreenTec battery replacement for $6k -- is there no option to get a replacement from GM? Or is it just too expensive from GM?
 

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Hello fellow 2011ers -- I'm having the same issue with my Volt (#198) with ~130k miles. All winter it's been running mostly on gas. Once in a while for a few miles it switches over to battery, but it's unpredictable. It's sad that this car has become and ICE only car, I wanted an EV. Maybe I'll try the battery disconnect, though that sounds like voodoo and I doubt it will help. I did get the software update during the 120k mile maintenance a year ago. Guess I'll see how things are once summer comes around. The car is great otherwise, so I'd really like to get this issue fixed. I see people mentioning this GreenTec battery replacement for $6k -- is there no option to get a replacement from GM? Or is it just too expensive from GM?
Chevy dealers will charge about $10k.
 

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Hello fellow 2011ers -- I'm having the same issue with my Volt (#198) with ~130k miles. All winter it's been running mostly on gas. Once in a while for a few miles it switches over to battery, but it's unpredictable. It's sad that this car has become and ICE only car, I wanted an EV. Maybe I'll try the battery disconnect, though that sounds like voodoo and I doubt it will help. I did get the software update during the 120k mile maintenance a year ago. Guess I'll see how things are once summer comes around. The car is great otherwise, so I'd really like to get this issue fixed. I see people mentioning this GreenTec battery replacement for $6k -- is there no option to get a replacement from GM? Or is it just too expensive from GM?
You wanted an EV, you got an EV. Your 2011 Volt is propelled by the larger electric motor MGB 100% of the time, even when the engine is running. Keep in mind the Gen 1 Volt is a very unique design... GM designed the larger electric motor to be capable of providing the car with full performance, which makes it possible to continue using the electric motor to extend the range when the grid power in the battery is depleted by switching to an alternate fuel source - gas-generated electricity.

When extended range driving conditions call for performance over efficiency (e.g., stop and go traffic, high torque demand conditions), the ICE is clutched to the smaller motor MGA, cranking it as a generator in one-motor configuration, and the larger electric motor propels the car.

When performance is less important while extending the range (e.g., conditions under which you might use cruise control at 35 mph or higher), the ICE/MGA combo may also be clutched to the drivetrain (providing a path for torque from the ICE to contribute to the propulsion torque) for 10-15% better efficiency.

You wanted an EV and you still have an EV, whose battery has grown just a wee bit older now, and needing more help from the generator output now than when it was younger.

As to the issue of your concern, also mentioned in many posts in this thread, I noted this posting in the Chevy Volt Owners Facebook page last Saturday from their resident Volt specialist, Jaryd Carvell:

" Hi friendly neighborhood volt tech here! There is nothing in the update that specifically changes when the engine runs. The volt has always had a dozen or so reasons it is allowed to run the engine (temperature aka ERDTT) is only one of them. When the battery is getting close to the minimum capacity it will start to run the engine in order to supplement the lack of available power from the battery. This is usually exasperated in colder or higher load conditions since the battery is less energy dense in the cold. In fact the HPCM1 lists "autostart reason, autostop reason, autostart inhibit reason, and autostop inhibit reason" that can be viewed when the engine is on and it will tell you why it is or isn't being commanded on. The ones I have seen doing this have all been 11s and 12s usually with higher milage and they all indicated "Hybrid/ev battery SOC low" or "hybrid/ev battery available power low", which indicates the battery is having a hard time supplying the needed power for all the currently commanded loads. This is normal operation when the battery is reaching the end of its service life. The alternative would be for it to just die in the street, so this was originally intended as a way to increase the overall life of the vehicle once the battery is not really up to the task anymore. I usually see this when the capacity is within about 1Ah of the minimum, so if the learned capacity is higher than that then you'd have to view that data while driving and see what other reason the engine is being commanded on for."
 

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Could be that the battery heater has failed. What is the battery temp?
 

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You wanted an EV, you got an EV. Your 2011 Volt is propelled by the larger electric motor MGB 100% of the time, even when the engine is running. Keep in mind the Gen 1 Volt is a very unique design... GM designed the larger electric motor to be capable of providing the car with full performance, which makes it possible to continue using the electric motor to extend the range when the grid power in the battery is depleted by switching to an alternate fuel source - gas-generated electricity.

When extended range driving conditions call for performance over efficiency (e.g., stop and go traffic, high torque demand conditions), the ICE is clutched to the smaller motor MGA, cranking it as a generator in one-motor configuration, and the larger electric motor propels the car.

When performance is less important while extending the range (e.g., conditions under which you might use cruise control at 35 mph or higher), the ICE/MGA combo may also be clutched to the drivetrain (providing a path for torque from the ICE to contribute to the propulsion torque) for 10-15% better efficiency.

You wanted an EV and you still have an EV, whose battery has grown just a wee bit older now, and needing more help from the generator output now than when it was younger.

As to the issue of your concern, also mentioned in many posts in this thread, I noted this posting in the Chevy Volt Owners Facebook page last Saturday from their resident Volt specialist, Jaryd Carvell:

" Hi friendly neighborhood volt tech here! There is nothing in the update that specifically changes when the engine runs. The volt has always had a dozen or so reasons it is allowed to run the engine (temperature aka ERDTT) is only one of them. When the battery is getting close to the minimum capacity it will start to run the engine in order to supplement the lack of available power from the battery. This is usually exasperated in colder or higher load conditions since the battery is less energy dense in the cold. In fact the HPCM1 lists "autostart reason, autostop reason, autostart inhibit reason, and autostop inhibit reason" that can be viewed when the engine is on and it will tell you why it is or isn't being commanded on. The ones I have seen doing this have all been 11s and 12s usually with higher milage and they all indicated "Hybrid/ev battery SOC low" or "hybrid/ev battery available power low", which indicates the battery is having a hard time supplying the needed power for all the currently commanded loads. This is normal operation when the battery is reaching the end of its service life. The alternative would be for it to just die in the street, so this was originally intended as a way to increase the overall life of the vehicle once the battery is not really up to the task anymore. I usually see this when the capacity is within about 1Ah of the minimum, so if the learned capacity is higher than that then you'd have to view that data while driving and see what other reason the engine is being commanded on for."
Thanks Wordptom for your posts and especially for reposting this information from Mr. Carvell, the Volt tech. It answers some questions I had after my last drive. ICE was running without any DIC indication as to why, and without any DTCs reported via my OBD2 scanner/app.
My previous (incorrect) understanding was that there are only 3 normal modes in which the ICE would run and that in each case, the DIC would "tell" the driver why the ICE was running. (In the cases of ERDTT and FMM, there is a chime and a message. In the case of low HV battery capacity, the GOM would read zero on the minimized battery gauge and the gas gauge would be active and enlarged.) These three modes are well known to most of us long-term owners and they are pretty intuitive (assuming basic knowledge of how the Volt works.) My (apparently incorrect) assumption was that any other ICE activation would be outside normal operation and would have associated stored DTCs.

So, these portions of Mr. Carvell's post are news to me:
"The volt has always had a dozen or so reasons it is allowed to run the engine... In fact the HPCM1 lists "autostart reason, autostop reason, autostart inhibit reason, and autostop inhibit reason" that can be viewed when the engine is on and it will tell you why it is or isn't being commanded on. ...This is normal operation when the battery is reaching the end of its service life."

Based on this new-to-me information, it sounds like our older/colder Volts are behaving as designed. That's somewhat reassuring, but it sure would be nice to get user visibility to "autostart reason, autostop reason, autostart inhibit reason, and autostop inhibit reason." It would be great if this was added to the MyGreenVolt app! That way we wouldn't have to guess whether ICE was running due to an aging battery or (for example) a failing battery heating or cooling component.
At this point, I'm sure my high ICE usage is not ERDTT or FMM, but is one or more of the other "dozen or so reasons" mentioned by Mr. Carvell, which are not made clear via the DIC or a set of DTCs.

Sorry that this post is not really adding new information to what Wordptom already posted. I just thought my interpretation might be helpful to others following this thread. I also am hoping to encourage any OBDII app writers out there to surface these reason codes to the user. I would pay for the enhanced functionality!

Thanks again to all of the contributors.
 

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Tom, great info. Thanks
 

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Thanks Wordptom for your posts and especially for reposting this information from Mr. Carvell, the Volt tech. It answers some questions I had after my last drive. ICE was running without any DIC indication as to why, and without any DTCs reported via my OBD2 scanner/app.
My previous (incorrect) understanding was that there are only 3 normal modes in which the ICE would run and that in each case, the DIC would "tell" the driver why the ICE was running. (In the cases of ERDTT and FMM, there is a chime and a message. In the case of low HV battery capacity, the GOM would read zero on the minimized battery gauge and the gas gauge would be active and enlarged.) These three modes are well known to most of us long-term owners and they are pretty intuitive (assuming basic knowledge of how the Volt works.) My (apparently incorrect) assumption was that any other ICE activation would be outside normal operation and would have associated stored DTCs...
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them. See a follow-up below.

Just a reminder, that if anyone’s Volt is constantly running the engine, and it never pauses to allow you to record Electric Miles using available grid power, and that the last time you had stopped for gas was several months prior to the start of this engine running all the time behavior, you might well be experiencing a Fuel Maintenance Mode (if so, a message telling you that should appear briefly on the touch screen in the center console each time you start or restart the Volt).

As to the issue of your concern, in response to a comment on his post in the thread posted in the Chevy Volt Owners Facebook page last Saturday, Jaryd Carvell distinguished between the PPR and cell balancing issues when he responded:

"Mark Renburke I don't think any thresholds for ice engagement changed, but I have dealt with volts in similar situations and may be able to shed some light on it based on my experience. A couple years ago as the 11s and 12s with P1.4 chemistry were starting to age and degrade they were getting a lot of reduced propulsion power (RPP) messages and aggressive engine charging when parking with a depleted hv battery and especially in colder/hotter temps due to the SOC dropping below the minimum threshold. This in turn further stressed an already aged battery which is a recipe for failing cells and losing all propulsion. To reduce the instances of RPP as well as reduce this stress on the battery GM developed software that would steal a bit of usable range to increase the battery buffer size at the bottom end. It was important to also perform a capacity relearn at the same time or else the vehicles stored capacity value could get skewed lower than the actual capacity. This update was only applied to customers that were complaining of one of these issues though.

Now fast forward to the customer satisfaction campaign for loss of propulsion due to cell balancing. The whole purpose of that customer satisfaction campaign (it was not a recall) was to stop the cars from over discharging their batteries. Over time as the cells became more imbalanced the over discharging would skew the stored capacity to be higher than actual capacity. This could also stress the batteries and eventually kill cells, and potentially on all volts, not just the 11s and 12s with P1.4 batteries. This campaign fixed the balancing issue which in turn would realign the stored capacity closer to the actual capacity. The more imbalanced the battery the larger the associated drop would happen in the new capacity calculation.

Software updates on cars work just like any other computer in that any update has to come with all previous updates, so the 11s and 12s all got the buffer update as well when the received the balancing update.

So what does this all mean for you? Ultimately you likely have one of two things happening. 1) Your volt's battery was more degraded than you realized because it was essentially being hidden accidentally by over discharging from imbalanced cells. If that was the case, then when you had the update and the balancing was fixed the stored capacity realigned with the actual, lower capacity. 2) Your battery is not that far degraded, but the stored capacity has been skewed lower by the buffer update and not having the capacity reset performed. This would cause the car to act like the battery is more degraded than it is (I.e. Run the engine with charge remaining).

If I was diagnosing/fixing this issue I would first view and record the current stored battery capacity. Then perform a complete capacity relearn procedure and wait for it to finalize over the next few weeks. Then compare that capacity to the currently stored capacity. That will tell you the real current capacity and reveal how/if it was skewed. Then you can know if this is happening because the battery is near the end of its life or if the capacity was just skewed. If neither of those conditions exist then you'd have to monitor the reasons reported for engine engagement and address those accordingly."
 

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This is from Eric on the Volt Redux Facebook page in regards to this issue.

Yes mine does the NON-ERDTT engine running in moderate cold temps too. Fairly often. It has the do with the latest software update that was the cell balancing update. The car runs the ICE when it feels it needs to so that it stresses the battery less, or something like that. It pretty much happens to all older Volts that have had the latest dealer installed update.
Thanks for this explanation! Yes, my 2011 Volt with 153,000 miles has been doing this for the past year or so, and especially in cold weather. Sounds like it's just something we live with.
 

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I have the same thing going on with my Gen 1 Volt. The Dark bar at the top of the battery gauge sometimes with full battery showed up after the last software upgrade a while ago. And the engine coming on with a full battery and running when not in engine maintenance mode started happening soon after like other have posted. Like it is working harder to balance the battery to my uneducated mind. I now doubt GM is interested in figuring out what is happening so will just live with it.
 

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I'm confident that what the original poster is describing has nothing to do with ERDTT or FMM or hood latch. This is the 3rd winter that I've been having the same issue. My 2012 had approximately 160k miles when it started having this problem (it currently has 190k). 2 years ago I had my Volt technician look into my issues and he found that my battery was producing 33 amp hours during normal warmer weather (45 is produced from a new battery pack). GM told my technician that GM recommends battery pack replacement at 31.5 amp hours. Maybe some hope for those with the same problem - I've been able to keep running my Volt running like this for 3 winter seasons. I know it's days are numbered. :cry: Could be a bad battery heater or just battery degradation. I don't have the MyVolt app, but will look into it to see about the battery temperature.

SIDE NOTE: I wouldn't recommend trying the following all the time, but it has worked to switch my car over to using the battery. From a dead stop, instantly floor the accelerator. For me, I get a message saying "engine not available" (or something like that) and then the battery has no choice but to drive the motor. Granted, you are on reduced propulsion, so you wouldn't want to take it that way on the interstate, but it does get power from the battery until you turn it off. I've never driven it far enough this way to deplete the battery, so I don't know what would happen when my battery is drained. Again, I can't imagine it is healthy for the battery to do that, but thought I'd share that this has happened several times for me.
 

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I think the battery should be providing propulsion at lower temps (maybe 32F or lower?), but from my observations it appears that the heater tries to raise it up to the 50-60F range when it is cold out.
 

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I think the battery should be providing propulsion at lower temps (maybe 32F or lower?), but from my observations it appears that the heater tries to raise it up to the 50-60F range when it is cold out.
-40° is where the battery is too cold to provide propulsion AND too cold to charge. You need to plug it in for long enough to heat the battery until it can provide enough juice to start the ICE. Above that, the battery can output charge some, but the ICE will run all the time because the need for battery heating is high enough to demand it, and you'll be on PPR as well (IIRC). Someplace between 0°F and and freezing the battery can start to provide its own heating power and draw enough from the battery to do it and the car will operate normally (plus or minus ERDTT). I can't remember WHERE that point is, though.

But all that is why the manual says to keep the car plugged in all the time if you can. Because it will use that wall power to keep the battery up to that 50-60°F temperature for a couple of days between uses and you then don't have to even worry about it. Even the 960W of 8 amp level 1 is enough to keep the battery warm down to -40, though there might not be a lot left over for charging.
 
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