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Discussion Starter #1
(First post for me) I have a 2012 with 106,000 trouble-free miles. Bought it used from brother in law in 2014 with 40k miles. It's been a great car. The engine light came on and on-star notified me of a battery issue so I took it to the dealer. $450 to diagnose. It's a battery heater issue that will cost an additional $1100 to fix. Two questions here: Is this a reasonable estimate (IDK never had a EV before) and would it be better to have them button it back up without the fix, pay them the $450 and have the battery just completely replaced at this point with a refurbished aftermarket battery? IOW, put the $1100 toward a full battery replacement. I do plan to hang on to the car for at least 5 years.
 

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If the car otherwise runs with the engine light, if you live in a warm climate, you can wait to replace the failed battery heater. The battery heater is needed to keep the battery pack temperature warmer than 32F. If the battery is colder than 32F this will not damage the battery but you will not be able to charge the battery. Also, there will be no regenerative braking as long as the battery is cold. Some have stated that if you run the gas engine that this will also warm the battery pack but I am not convinced this is true. The battery heater unit is a 2kW dedicated 300V heater located close to the battery pack. The replacement of the battery heater may require dropping the battery pack from under the Volt to complete the repair. $1100 is probably based on the service manual estimate for labor plus the cost of the battery heater. Is it worth it to replace the battery heater? If you intend to keep the Volt for at least several more years then yes.
 

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Thanks, we live in San Antonio so freezing temperatures are the exception here in winter, rather than the rule and I doubt I'd ever see 32 degrees in the garage. But your comment about not charging brings up a question: Do you mean "not charging" in the sense that the "plug in" to charge wouldn't work below 32 degrees or that the battery/hybrid system charging would stop charging which in my mind says the car would stop running?
 

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Thanks, we live in San Antonio so freezing temperatures are the exception here in winter, rather than the rule and I doubt I'd ever see 32 degrees in the garage. But your comment about not charging brings up a question: Do you mean "not charging" in the sense that the "plug in" to charge wouldn't work below 32 degrees or that the battery/hybrid system charging would stop charging which in my mind says the car would stop running?
GENERALLY when we say "it will stop charging", it means that the "plug into the wall, get miles added to all-electric range" part won't happen until whatever is the matter is fixed. It doesn't generally mean that the car won't run or won't use its little window of reserve power at the bottom of the normal charge range.
 

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Thanks, we live in San Antonio so freezing temperatures are the exception here in winter, rather than the rule and I doubt I'd ever see 32 degrees in the garage. But your comment about not charging brings up a question: Do you mean "not charging" in the sense that the "plug in" to charge wouldn't work below 32 degrees or that the battery/hybrid system charging would stop charging which in my mind says the car would stop running?
When the Volt is plugged in or powered on the battery temperature management system will attempt to warm the battery pack when the pack temperature sensors indicate that the battery is colder than 32F. If the battery heating unit throws an error code (or several) then I don't know what will happen. In any event the Volt will not initiate charging of the battery pack or any regenerative braking whenever the battery pack is too cold. Charging or adding energy back into the pack when too cold, i.e. <=32F, will irreparably damage the cells in the pack. Drawing power from a cold battery pack, i.e. driving in EV mode, will not damage the battery pack but depending on the temperature power may be limited due to the reduced efficiency of the battery's chemical reaction when discharging. The extreme case is when the battery is cold soaked, colder than approx. -23F. In that case there is not enough power on demand available from the battery pack to power the drive wheels; in this case the Volt's gas engine will start running and will power the drive wheels until the battery pack has sufficiently warmed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I ended up having the dealer replace the battery heater. I don't think it will immediately be of use here in sunny south Texas but we do occasionally drive north in the winter. Since I only get an average of 28 miles on the battery, I did investigate replacing the battery with a completely new and updated version from Greentec auto. But the $7k price tag and 3 week turnaround was more than I could justify right now. However I *would* love to get 40 miles on the battery (not for $7k though...).
 

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28 miles? That sounds quite low for range on battery only. That's my average here in winter. I'm talking about Ontario winter. I wonder if the battery has other issues, aside from the heater.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's been a slow decline since I bought it 6 years ago. At one point, driving on local streets and fairly short trips, it was tracking at about 40 miles. It has been slowly becoming shorter and shorter and I figured it was due to 1) The battery aging and 2) most of the driving is now at highway speeds of around 70mph. I have had regular service on the Volt since I bought it and although I don't know if there is a "test" for battery durability, whatever the Chevy dealer is supposed to do, they have been doing (and it ain't cheap)

I was briefly encouraged when they updated the software/firmware in December and the battery showed a range of 35 miles but that lasted only a couple of cycles. It's now around 28 miles on a regular basis. It IS warm here in Texas so the A/C runs quite a bit from March until. In any case, it's at 106k miles now, so the battery is out of warranty. If I would have known that it was unusually low mileage, I might have had them take a closer look last summer when I took it in at 99k.

Thanks for the info.
 
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