GM Volt Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
2012 Volt
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've see people ask on the forums if their car will work gas-only AFTER the batteries die and I know the answer to that one. I know my 2012 is going to lose battery function some time in the next year or two (maybe) and if it made a difference, I would stop charging my functioning batteries and JUST run the ICM to get around.

Will the car have a longer life span if I do this?
 

·
Registered
2017 Volt Premier 80k+ Miles
Joined
·
706 Posts
If you look at the reported failures, most are low mileage Volts. What this tells me is that the battery cycles haven't been a problem. It's time and battery cell defects which manifest themselves over time. Based purely on cycle life, I should get 300k+ miles out of my 2017. So that's my long version of saying I wouldn't stop charging. Driving in Mountain Mode all the time will maintain a larger buffer which may keep you from getting propulsion power reduced messages. However if I thought the battery was going to go in the next year, I'd just sell it before then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Ummm...why would you not use "functioning" batteries? Your batteries will degrade over time and use, you know it. I know it.
If you stop charging your functioning batteries before they can degrade any further than their present capacity, how is that any different than having dead batteries right now?
If you wait until your 40 mile range drops to 30 miles and stop charging your functioning, although less well, batteries right then, how is that any different than having dead batteries?

Keep charging, keep using grid power until the point that the cost of the charge to get the 40, or 30, or 15 miles is equal to the gasoline cost to get that same distance, THEN quit charging and leave ICE to hold the batteries at the minimum.
I hadn't considered what I'd do, but your post made me consider, and that run-it-to-death is my present plan.
" and if it feels this good being used, then just keep on using me....until you use me up." (Stevie Wonder) Bill Withers.
my apologies to both Bill and Stevie, and thanks to Hi12 (post12) and Maidenlocks (post 13) for calling this to my attention. For some reason (too much recreational drug use in the 70's?) I had these two songs attributed to one artist.
https://soundcloud.com/westside-wisemen%2Fuse-me-superstition-live-acoustic-mashup-of-bill-withers-stevie-wonder
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
"Will the car have a longer life span if I [stop charging my functioning battery]?"

A battery that has lost some of its original capacity (as they all do over time) has lost some of its ability to carry out its function, it hasn’t lost its ability to function. The Gen 1 Volt is propelled 100% of the time by the larger electric motor, and the battery plays an important role in the extended range propulsion system as a source of supplementary power.

When extending the range, the motor uses gas-generated electricity, and if the generator output can not keep up with your aggressive driving power demands, the motor uses power from the extended range battery buffer, and recharges it when demand lessens. The battery is in use when the ICE is running.

Even when it was new, your Gen 1 Volt was incapable of being driven aggressively up steep mountain roads for significant distances without triggering a Propulsion Power Reduced episode after the power in the buffer was all used. One could say that once the buffer was emptied, the battery lost its ability to carry out its function as the source of supplementary power.

GM engineers acknowledged this by providing a method of putting more power into this buffer and keeping it there before reaching the high power demand driving conditions (i.e., Mountain Mode).

Your 2012 Volt’s battery is now over 9 years old, has likely already lost what... 10% or more of original full capacity? That means the extended range battery buffer has also lost the same percentage of its capacity, and the amount of aggressive power demand driving you can do without triggering a PPR episode because the buffer is empty is less than it was when the battery was new. The battery’s ability to carry out its function has been reduced. ALL Gen 1 Volt owners who drive beyond battery range will eventually face this issue of loss of original full capacity/ loss of extended range buffer capacity.

If you stop recharging now and just drive around with a depleted battery using the ICE, the conditions under which you might experience PPRs because you’ve drained the buffer depend on your driving habits. How aggressively do you now drive (e.g., often tearing down the freeway at 70-90 mph?)? What cabin climate do you like (e.g., do you use lots of electricity by blasting out the a/c or heat?)? Is the car often parked in the hot sun for hours using power for battery maintenance? Do you make frequent stops, after which you need to use power to restart the engine? (PPRs after restarting is an early sign of a battery losing some capacity.) People often mistake these PPRs for signs of bad battery cells, whereas they might simply be signs of a battery losing capacity over time.

If you are prepared to switch your 2012 Volt into Mountain Mode each time you start and drive your Volt, doing so may keep enough power in the buffer to maintain performance while the engine is running, and the battery might then well last until the rest of the car falls apart. This would allow you to charge the car, then drive in ev mode using those first 6 bars of power, and then drive with the engine running with 4 bars added to the extended range buffer. Later model year Volts have the option of using Hold mode to keep an extra 1 or 2 bars in the extended range battery buffer. Both methods would allow you to reclaim those "held" bars for ev use by switching out of Hold or Mountain Mode when the next stop on the drive is at a recharging station.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Once your car is "toasted", probably it could be used to charge your home solar or wind electrical system , using the ICE and the electric generator to charge the house batteries... you could sell or repair the parts of the main battery if still are working well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,473 Posts
Will the car have a longer life span if I do this?
No.

The car will utilize the battery regardless of you charging it or not charging it and chemical wear will occur anyway. If you stop charging then the wear will happen on low-end of the battery capacity. If you charge it constantly the wear will happen on the high-end of the battery capacity. Either case the wear will occur but typically batteries wear out more both in high and low end of the charging cycle. With the buffers of Gen1 (with the raise lower buffer PPR fix) neither is a concern.

So drive and charge normally and if the battery breaks it's just down to luck. It may die tomorrow or last for another decade or two.

If that makes you uneasy, trade it.
 

·
Registered
2012 Volt
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all -

I'm not nervous at all about the car dying in the next few days, months or years. It's fun to think about the next car I'd get when that happens. But - I also like no car payments and a fun car to drive. The most interesting advice here is putting the car in Mountain mode each time I get in. My current commute is 38 miles round trip and I can make it on a full charge 25% of the time (sometimes with air conditioning on). 25% of the time it's too hot or too cold and I only get 25 miles. 50% of the time I need 3-8 miles of ICE.

I tell people that I get 36 MPG with the ICE and I still feel like I'm driving an ipod when the rest of the world drives record players. I just want to keep the (free) feeling going as long as possible.
 

·
Registered
2017 Volt Premier 80k+ Miles
Joined
·
706 Posts
In the opening post, you said you knew you were going to lose battery function in the next year or two. If that isn't the case, and unless you are having actual indications that the HV battery is failing, then just continue to drive it as normal.

As I said prior, there doesn't appear to be any battery failures due to cycles/miles. Age seems to be the major factor. I intend to continue to put high mileage on mine while charging to full daily,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Douga,

When and if the batteries go, you will have a brick basically. The VOLT does not have a traditional transmission. The electric motors are essentially the "gears" in a traditional transmission and replace their function. So if a battery failure is detected, the controller will not power the motors and you would have no way to connect the gas engine and transmit output to the wheels. The technology used demands that the battery and the electric motors function to move the car. Most hybrids use a similar two electric motor transaxle design. GM did a good job of battery management, but if a couple of cells fail and trip the controller to shut down, there is little choice but to replace the bad cells or the entire battery pack or a bad section of it.

Stephen
I've see people ask on the forums if their car will work gas-only AFTER the batteries die and I know the answer to that one. I know my 2012 is going to lose battery function some time in the next year or two (maybe) and if it made a difference, I would stop charging my functioning batteries and JUST run the ICM to get around.

Will the car have a longer life span if I do this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Douga,

I would just drive the car as is. If you park it and don't use it, not sure that would make it last longer.

Stephen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
Thanks all -

I'm not nervous at all about the car dying in the next few days, months or years. It's fun to think about the next car I'd get when that happens. But - I also like no car payments and a fun car to drive. The most interesting advice here is putting the car in Mountain mode each time I get in. My current commute is 38 miles round trip and I can make it on a full charge 25% of the time (sometimes with air conditioning on). 25% of the time it's too hot or too cold and I only get 25 miles. 50% of the time I need 3-8 miles of ICE.

I tell people that I get 36 MPG with the ICE and I still feel like I'm driving an ipod when the rest of the world drives record players. I just want to keep the (free) feeling going as long as possible.
Sounds like you make it to work just fine when you start out with a full charge, and may or may not be able to reach home again without depleting the battery.

The "put your Gen 1 Volt into Mountain Mode each time you get in" is a suggestion that might be beneficial only if you’ve already started to experience the effects of a loss of the original full battery capacity (e.g., PPRs when you restart the car after driving for a while with a depleted battery). If you don’t have those problems yet, the small charging cycle reduction you get by recharging 6 bars instead of 10 won’t really help prolong usable battery life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Ummm...why would you not use "functioning" batteries? Your batteries will degrade over time and use, you know it. I know it.
If you stop charging your functioning batteries before they can degrade any further than their present capacity, how is that any different than having dead batteries right now?
If you wait until your 40 mile range drops to 30 miles and stop charging your functioning, although less well, batteries right then, how is that any different than having dead batteries?

Keep charging, keep using grid power until the point that the cost of the charge to get the 40, or 30, or 15 miles is equal to the gasoline cost to get that same distance, THEN quit charging and leave ICE to hold the batteries at the minimum.
I hadn't considered what I'd do, but your post made me consider, and that run-it-to-death is my present plan.
" and if it feels this good being used, then just keep on using me....until you use me up." (Stevie Wonder)
Uh, no. Not Stevie Wonder....but BILL WITHERS!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,903 Posts
I've see people ask on the forums if their car will work gas-only AFTER the batteries die and I know the answer to that one. I know my 2012 is going to lose battery function some time in the next year or two (maybe) and if it made a difference, I would stop charging my functioning batteries and JUST run the ICM to get around.

Will the car have a longer life span if I do this?
The car will last even longer if you stop driving it completely...;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
I've see people ask on the forums if their car will work gas-only AFTER the batteries die and I know the answer to that one. I know my 2012 is going to lose battery function some time in the next year or two (maybe) and if it made a difference, I would stop charging my functioning batteries and JUST run the ICM to get around.

Will the car have a longer life span if I do this?
Check this out and decide if you have anything to worry about: Sparky the Volt

Keep up on the scheduled maintenance and your volt should outlast most vehicles on the road.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,903 Posts
Given that the battery is being used even when the ICE is running (the ICE is basically charging the battery and the battery is supplying the motors with electricity), my answer is no, not charging from the wall will not "preserve" the battery. The Volt's battery is being charged and used whether from the wall or from the ICE (except under some specific conditions).
 

·
Registered
2017 Volt Premier 80k+ Miles
Joined
·
706 Posts
Check this out and decide if you have anything to worry about: Sparky the Volt

Keep up on the scheduled maintenance and your volt should outlast most vehicles on the road.
One could easily point to the many posts on this forum where the HV battery has failed also.

I'm not so sure on the 2nd statement, we'll see. 25% of vehicles on the road are 16 years old or more. A family members SUV is currently 17 and still going strong. I have doubts the HV battery will last that long.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tricoat_beauty2014

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
One could easily point to the many posts on this forum where the HV battery has failed also.

I'm not so sure on the 2nd statement, we'll see. 25% of vehicles on the road are 16 years old or more. A family members SUV is currently 17 and still going strong. I have doubts the HV battery will last that long.
How long would you continue to drive your Volt if the ev range had dropped to 10-20 ev miles but the battery was still working?

Consider the Gen 1 Volt, with a window sticker rating of 35 ev miles per full charge. The battery warranty speaks of "up to 30%" as the 8-year possibility for degradation, which translates into a sticker rating range drop to 24.5 ev miles (perhaps for a Gen 1 Volt on the road in years 10-15?)... but such a drop in full capacity is also dropping the capacity of the extended range battery buffer, so to counteract that loss to avoid PPRs, you’ll need to drive the Gen 1 around in Mountain Mode (4 bars extra in the buffer), or at least in Hold Mode with 1 or 2 bars extra in the buffer.

That’s an additional 10%-40% drop in the Electric Mode usable window, bringing the sticker rating range down to 15-22 ev miles from "fully charged" to "switch to charge sustaining mode with enhanced buffer" driving... and that’s in good weather...

Perhaps it would be possible to drive a Gen 1 Volt for 16 years or more with the original battery, but that might also mean the all-electric range is down to 10-20 miles only, and then you continue the drive in charge sustaining mode. Is that acceptable?

Or a Gen 2 Volt at or beyond the warranty spec limit 40% degradation point after 10+ years on the road, and with the 53 ev mile window sticker range down to 32 ev miles or less per full charge in good weather?
 

·
Registered
2017 Volt Premier 80k+ Miles
Joined
·
706 Posts
How long would you continue to drive your Volt if the ev range had dropped to 10-20 ev miles but the battery was still working?

Consider the Gen 1 Volt, with a window sticker rating of 35 ev miles per full charge. The battery warranty speaks of "up to 30%" as the 8-year possibility for degradation, which translates into a sticker rating range drop to 24.5 ev miles (perhaps for a Gen 1 Volt on the road in years 10-15?)... but such a drop in full capacity is also dropping the capacity of the extended range battery buffer, so to counteract that loss to avoid PPRs, you’ll need to drive the Gen 1 around in Mountain Mode (4 bars extra in the buffer), or at least in Hold Mode with 1 or 2 bars extra in the buffer.

That’s an additional 10%-40% drop in the Electric Mode usable window, bringing the sticker rating range down to 15-22 ev miles from "fully charged" to "switch to charge sustaining mode with enhanced buffer" driving... and that’s in good weather...

Perhaps it would be possible to drive a Gen 1 Volt for 16 years or more with the original battery, but that might also mean the all-electric range is down to 10-20 miles only, and then you continue the drive in charge sustaining mode. Is that acceptable?

Or a Gen 2 Volt at or beyond the warranty spec limit 40% degradation point after 10+ years on the road, and with the 53 ev mile window sticker range down to 32 ev miles or less per full charge in good weather?
As long as it was still functioning, I would still be driving it. Whether or not the EV range on my 2017 would be down to 32 miles, or 10 miles, would be irrelevant; I would just be using more gas. Over the past year, my EV range has degraded to where I can no longer make the work commute without burning gas. When you go from the engine rarely being needed year round to always, it's something you notice. That doesn't mean I'll be getting rid of the car as a result. I expect an EV to last as long as a gas car, and longer. Electric motors are much more durable than gas engines and transmissions.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top