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I am the original owner of a 2012 Volt. It has 104,000 miles on it. Twice in the past month I have received the following message: "Propulsion Power Reduced". In both instances, my battery had been depleted and had been running on gas. I turned the car off and after turning the car back on and driving a short distance I got this message. Both times temperatures were sub freezing perhaps even close to 0 F (I can't exactly recall). Even though I accelerated slowly and was driving in town and at slow speeds, the gas generator was racing very fast. When I arrived home (about 1 mile drive), I could smell that "hot engine" smell.

Could it be that the car is overusing the battery and when I start it back up the generator needs to recharge to the minimum battery level? Or perhaps the cold reduced the battery capacity readings as it sat and needed to recharge up to the minimum? Hopefully I'm not looking at a major problem here?

Has anyone else had this issue or can anyone explain why this might be happening?
 

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Just one theory here (there's many other possibilities)...

When very cold and battery depleted, you stop somewhere with no usable charge left in the battery. Battery voltages tend to droop with cold temperature. The battery may be cooling off while sitting, causing the battery voltage drooping a bit before you turn the car back on. When you do turn it back on, the car thinks the voltage is too low, so you receive the message as described and the engine revs up high to charge the battery a bit.

I would wait and see what happens, but it wouldn't surprise me if this is what's occurring.

Do you charge your battery to full often? If not, try doing that as well. It will make sure the cells are properly balanced. When I had a section of the battery replaced due to a bad temperature sensor, I had the PPR message and high engine revving once when switching over to gas after the battery was depleted. Seemed to be a one off occurrence due to cell balancing and a new section of the pack. Once I charged it back up to full the message never occurred again.
 

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This is a normal condition when the drive motor battery is below threshold and the engine is used to bring the charge back up. has seen this with one of our salesman's car.

The vehicle does NOT need to be taken to a dealer unless the Propulsion Power Reduced message is accompanied by a Malfunction Indicator Light (Check Engine Light).
 

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Did the car sit un-plugged for a period of time when the message came up.

Reason I ask is if the battery gets very cold the Volt can start in a type of deep cold battery mode. It will run off the gas engine as much as possible to minimize battery use till the battery warms up sometimes bringing up propulsion power reduced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The car was not plugged in at the time. (I was shopping for about 15 minutes.) I always plugin and fully charge the car at night. I wasn't driving it any differently and was in similar weather as the previous 4 years I've owned it. Perhaps with the mileage, these quirks may start to occur. I suspected it may have to do with voltages dropping as it sat in the cold. Hopefully that is the case. Thanks for the quick feedback!
 

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Some of us believe the Volt is more EV than Hybrid. The gas motor can only produce 84HP, but the battery can supply 149HP.

Because of that, if the battery cannot be used to make up the 65HP difference, it shows the Propulsion Reduced message.

Does the 2012 have Mountain Mode? If so, try that.

It's funny that ICE cars don't show this message at high altitudes on hot days, when they lose up to 1/3 of their rated HP.
 
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I am the original owner of a 2012 Volt. It has 104,000 miles on it. Twice in the past month I have received the following message: "Propulsion Power Reduced". In both instances, my battery had been depleted and had been running on gas. I turned the car off and after turning the car back on and driving a short distance I got this message. Both times temperatures were sub freezing perhaps even close to 0 F (I can't exactly recall). Even though I accelerated slowly and was driving in town and at slow speeds, the gas generator was racing very fast. When I arrived home (about 1 mile drive), I could smell that "hot engine" smell.

Could it be that the car is overusing the battery and when I start it back up the generator needs to recharge to the minimum battery level? Or perhaps the cold reduced the battery capacity readings as it sat and needed to recharge up to the minimum? Hopefully I'm not looking at a major problem here?

Has anyone else had this issue or can anyone explain why this might be happening?
We can see how this might be concerning, mhobbs. We recognize that you may be seeking advice from other drivers, however we'd like the opportunity to look into this further on our end as well. If you could please send us a private message with your contact information, VIN and preferred dealership, we'll proceed from there.

Lauren E.
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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A "racing engine" is simply the gas engine is trying to generate more electricity to fill the battery. Normal. It has nothing to do with car speed.
 

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Every time I leave my '12 Volt sit outside for extended periods in subzero temps, I see "reduced propulsion". It's from a cold battery.

IF you see it after unplugging, or above zero temps, then you need to worry.
 

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AMHOBBS

What was the final answer to your issue with reduced propulsion power? I too have a 2012 Volt with 65K miles and this happens to me pretty much every time I drive far enough to to totally deplete the battery and it kicks on the generator. If I let it sit for awhile and get back in, I get that message and it takes about 5 mins to clear.
I no longer have OnStar Service and last year I took it to the dealer and it showed no code on the computer. If I remember to put it in Mountain mode it will alleviate the issue, but, I guess I feel like I should not have to put it in Mountain every time I deplete the battery. I think it is a battery issue.


I am the original owner of a 2012 Volt. It has 104,000 miles on it. Twice in the past month I have received the following message: "Propulsion Power Reduced". In both instances, my battery had been depleted and had been running on gas. I turned the car off and after turning the car back on and driving a short distance I got this message. Both times temperatures were sub freezing perhaps even close to 0 F (I can't exactly recall). Even though I accelerated slowly and was driving in town and at slow speeds, the gas generator was racing very fast. When I arrived home (about 1 mile drive), I could smell that "hot engine" smell.

Could it be that the car is overusing the battery and when I start it back up the generator needs to recharge to the minimum battery level? Or perhaps the cold reduced the battery capacity readings as it sat and needed to recharge up to the minimum? Hopefully I'm not looking at a major problem here?

Has anyone else had this issue or can anyone explain why this might be happening?
 

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I also have a 2012 Volt and drive house to house over 60 miles a day. It is fully charged every morning and am having a similar issue. Three times in the past it resolved quickly however it happened yesterday it was 92 degrees it was after the car sat in the shade 1 hour and I had run out of battery approximately 4 miles before this started. Hairy situation as I was trying to accelerate on to a busy street. I pulled over and after approximately 5 minutes in which I turned it off and on and then driving around a grocery store parking lot. I have also taken it in before and they could find nothing on the computer.
 

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I have 54000 miles on my 2012 Volt and it too just started doing this....not really cold out either.....60's-70's when this started yesterday....and today.....both times the battery was fully depleted (engine running) and I parked the car to run an errand.....when I got back in and started the car...got this "propulsion power reduced" message and the engine was running at high RPM for a few minutes.....never happened before and I have had this situation occur many times in the past (where I depleted the battery and ran the generator)......I am a little concerned that this may be signs of an early battery issue??? No CEL's though......
 

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I have a 2012 Volt with 67,000 miles and also got the Propulsion Power Reduced message intermittently when the battery was depleted and was driving on gas power. The message also popped up if the battery was depleted and I used the remote start. The message would stay on and I would not be able to drive faster than 40 miles per hour without the engine RPM getting to very high levels causing heavy smell of engine burn come from the engine.

The message would usually disappear after 5 to 10 minutes. I brought it to one dealer who told me the car was doing what it was designed to do when the battery was depleted. They suggested that if I wanted to avoid this message that from now on I should always drive my car in Mountain Mode. Having a high revving engine to repenish the battery accompanied by a drastic decrease I propulsion power where the car can not sufficiently operate at a speed greater than 40 miles per hour is not normal.

I did not accept this answer and took it to a second dealer who kept it for a week to monitor and observe. They drove it for over a week and they called GM directly and asked GM engineers for guidance instead of just assuming or making something up like the previous dealership. GM Corporate engineers had them run several diagnostics on it.

Today the dealership called me and the engineers determined that my car needs a replacement battery which they are doing at no cost since it is under the 8 year 100,000 mile Voltec Battery and Powertrain warranty.

My suggestion to anyone else who is having this problem and who is being told by dealerships there is nothing wrong is to be persistent with the dealership and contact GM customer service. I did both and this resulted in getting a replacement battery.
 

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My suggestion to anyone else who is having this problem and who is being told by dealerships there is nothing wrong is to be persistent with the dealership and contact GM customer service. I did both and this resulted in getting a replacement battery.

I think you meant to say your advice is go to a different dealer. Thanks for posting your experience!
 

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My 2012 Volt with 99,800 miles has experienced the Propulsion Power Reduced message four times in the last 2 weeks. Same scenario each time: exhaust the battery on the way home from work, stop somewhere for 30-60 minutes, get the PPR message and a racing engine when I start the car again. Also, as the message says, the car has reduced power and drives like a turtle for about five minutes. No mountains around me and I drive the car conservatively. So, no legitimate reason to get the PPR message.


Last night it happened and I deliberately didn't charge the car to see what its condition would be this morning. The car showed 3 miles of battery range in the morning. That means that while the engine was racing last night, it actually added more electricity than was needed to just fill the lower battery buffer. But it didn't show that last night. So, this seems like a failure of the HPCM2 or the BECM to correctly detect the charge state of the battery. Either that or some imbalance/failure in the battery cells that creates a false SOC reading.


I've made an appointment to bring the car to the dealer Tuesday. I won't drive it until then because the Voltec warranty is so close to expiring. I've also sent a note to Amber at GM Customer Service, since I doubt the dealer can diagnose this issue on their own. Without the MIL illuminated or DTCs set, they'll just tell me it's normal.
 

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I connected my Volt to GDS2 to check for any DTCs and look at the battery health before bringing it to the dealer on Tuesday. As, expected no DTCs. And the voltage for each battery triplet looks normal, with little deviation.

I’ve attached a pic of a summary page. The total battery pack capacity is lower than I would like. Showing a hex value of 0182. That means 38.6 amp-hours. Multiplying times the nominal pack voltage (355V), gives 13.7KWh of total capacity. The car still gets about the same electric range as when new, and still says it uses 10KWh, so the top and bottom buffers are where the lost capacity is felt.

Text Blue Font Line Number
 

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I found service bulletin# PIC6292, which appears to address this issue. Though, all it says is that the dealer tech needs to contact GM Technical Assistance. So at least GM is aware that this issue is becoming more common as the Gen1 Volts age and put on miles.

https://gm.oemdtc.com/7916/pic6292-...cles-2011-2016-chevrolet-holden-cadillac-opel

I'm going to reference it to the dealer when I bring it in tomorrow. It gives me some hope that they won't just blow me off!
 

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My 2011 Volt with 83K miles recently experienced this problem for the first time, it was parked for a couple hours with only one mile remaining on the battery charge. The outside temp was about 40 degrees F. When restarted the gas engine started immediately with the reduced propulsion showing and the engine reeving. After driving a few miles the engine slowed down and the message went away. I did report it to the dealer (as I was on my way there for a charge port door problem), but sense they did not see the problem they did not do any thing about it. Next time I will refer to the service note listed in this forum.
 

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Not sure if this had been covered here before. We have a 2013 Volt. When it had about 50k on it we got this propulsion power reduced message with 30 miles range left on the batt and then it started switching back and forth between gas and elec. Took it to the closest dealer where they said they didn't have the tool to remove the batt so we took it to a different one where it sat for over 2 months waiting for parts. It was diagnosed as a bad sensor on one of the batt segments. Fast forward to last month with 99,100 miles on it the same thing happened again. Took it in right away to the closest dealer, by now they had the right tools, and they diagnosed it as another bad sensor. This time it was only a week in the shop. When we got it back I noticed two things. It was taking 2 hours and 40 minutes longer to charge at 120 8amp than it ever had and the generator was running much more than normal while driving around town on a depleted batt. A week and a half later the reduced propulsion power message came up again with 100,500 miles on it. Took it right back to the same dealer where they diagnosed it with a bad hybrid battery. A week later after sporadic calls from the dealer saying GM was asking them for data, physical battery measurements, I get a call from the dealer saying they are attempting to get GM to replace the battery free of charge by some kind of program that requires the dealer to fill out some application??? My question at this point is what is reality? I thought GM would be the one determining coverage through the facts not on behalf of a dealer request. I mean I have been having problems with it since the last message at 99,100 miles and it is only 500 miles out. It just seams like the dealer, Which screwed up the last few times I was there and was told I would not be coming back to them anymore, is trying to save face by acting like the hero here.

2013 Volt
2014 Spark EV
In South Florida
 

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I got my car back tonight. Have to see if the PPR message appears again.

Dealer notes say they called GM TAC and were told to reprogram HPCM2. They reference Technical Bulletins PIC6292 and PIC6309. The second one is from 10/2017 and the title says it applies to high mileage 2011 and 2012 Volts. But, I can’t find the full text of the bulletin posted anywhere online.

Shout-out to Amber G. with GM Social Media! I sent her an email asking that she help point the dealer in the right direction. She got someone in Volt engineering involved and also told me this would be treated as an existing condition if it reappears after I exceed 100000 miles. Excellent customer service!
 
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