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Hello Volt Experts,

I could really use your help.

I have had my Chevy volt for 3 years now, I am the second owner. It has been an amazing car for me and my family. It currently has 104k miles.

I have been having some on-going issues with my volt over the last couple months that the dealership and 'certified volt technician' has not been able to figure it out.

1. My volt has been 'charging while I am driving' a lot more often
2. Sometimes when it charges I can't even drive it, I have to pull into a parking lot and let it finish
3. I get messages that say 'Propulsion Power is Reduced' for a while, then it will go back to normal (running on gas)
4. What's most troubling, is that I can now 'hear my engine running' - it sounds like my RPMs are running high when driving (when i am driving at 35 mph, it sounds as if my RPMs would be at 2.5 to 3. When I am driving 65 mph is sounds like my RPMs are at 4 to 5)

With all of this going on, I don't have any check engine lights coming on, and no codes are being generated at the dealership.

Does anyone have any idea of what's going on?

Thanks in advance!

Lloyd
 

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What do you mean by "charging while driving"? Do you mean the engine comes on, when you still have battery left? Do you still get decent all-electric range? Or are you saying the engine always comes on now?

Check your 12V battery, look for a date code... if it's the original one from 2012, I'd get a new one. You're due anyway, and old/failing batteries have been known to cause weird issues.
 

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This sounds like you have a failing cell(s) in the drive motor battery (high voltage battery). The tech needs to take a snap shot of the cell voltages when this is happening and call GM TAC with the information. Its likely they will see a cell or 2 going low causing the reduced power ligh to come on, the engine to start and try to charge the battery to bring up the voltage in the cells.
 

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This could be a battery cell problem or it could be battery degradation, both of which might reduce the amount of battery power remaining in the battery while you are driving with the engine running (i.e., the amount of power in the battery between the "switch to ICE" point and the "hard floor" state of charge below which you can’t use).

When the maximum output from the generator is not enough to meet demand when driving with the engine running, the car "borrows" power from the battery, and replaces it when demand lessens (engine then runs faster to provide electricity to the motor while recharging the battery). That’s why you use Mountain Mode when driving up mountain roads, to have a larger "reserve" if needed to maintain performance.

Try using Mountain Mode as a temporary fix to see if it eliminates the Propulsion Reduced episodes. Switch to MM as you head out for the day with your full charge, and any time you stop, and then start out again.

In a 2012 Volt, when you switch into MM, the ev range estimate will immediately decrease by ~14 miles, but from that point on, everything will operate as it normally would, and when the revised ev range drops to 0, the car will switch to ICE.

By increasing the size of the buffer via MM, the amount of power maintained in the battery buffer that is available to be borrowed if needed to maintain performance when the engine is running is increased. This might eliminate the Propulsion Reduced episodes you have been experiencing.
 

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Thanks for reaching out, Lloyd. So sorry to hear you're experiencing these ongoing concerns with your Volt. After further research, we highly recommended that you contact your dealer to look up these bulletins (PIC6309 PIC6292). As your vehicle is a 2012, it would fall into one or the other depending on RPO codes. Please feel free to reach back out with an update, as we'd like to stay involved.

Best,


Bret B.
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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Thanks for bringing this up Lloyd. I am having the exact same issue with my 2013 Volt with 112,000 miles. Did you get anything resolved? Thanks
 

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Totally normal. The volts engine is excessively loud because GM operates it in a way that improves efficiency beyond what normal non series hybrid cars can achieve.

To get more technical they operate in a partial Atkinson cycle which causes the intake air to switch directions which turns your intake manifold into a big speaker. They do this along with loading the engine down and opening the throttle 100% which brings the intake pressure to nearly atmospheric which helps to eliminate pumping losses. Obviously operating at wide open throttle on any engine is loud and combined with the loud aspects of the Atkinson cycle makes for a noisy beast.
 

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This sounds like you have a failing cell(s) in the drive motor battery (high voltage battery). The tech needs to take a snap shot of the cell voltages when this is happening and call GM TAC with the information. Its likely they will see a cell or 2 going low causing the reduced power ligh to come on, the engine to start and try to charge the battery to bring up the voltage in the cells.
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