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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to take a minute to complain about Chevy/GM in regards to their dishonesty and poor customer service. I have been told verifiable lies that were aimed at reducing their liability for an issue caused by their poor coding/programing of my Chevy Volt's computer system.

First, I want to mention that everyone purchasing a hybrid vehicle knows that the hybrid battery is a serious longevity concern and accepts that the battery will SLOWLY degrade over time. What those purchasing a hybrid vehicle are not aware of, is that the manufacturer has specifically programmed the car to fail after a certain amount of cycles are ran through the hybrid battery, despite having another 50k miles worth of use left on said battery. THIS is where I am being lied to.
My car has always had software issues. Since I first purchased the vehicle, I have taken it into the dealer at least half a dozen times to have different things fixed (like the engine randomly not wanting to kick on).

In the last 3 months, my vehicle has been behaving oddly. 1) My A/C would blast super cold air, despite having turned on my heater. 2) My car would switch over to engine power before my battery had discharged 1/2 of its load. 3) My engine would stop running and I would recieve an error message of "Engine Power Unavailable, Service Soon", and would switch over to 100% battery power and run like the battery was new. The engine would start up and work fine if I simply turned the car off and on once again. 4) After having a rash of these issues, my car would then work like brand new, with no issues for a few days, and then the process would start over again.

So, I took it to a dealer, because it was very evident that this was a software issue, as my hybrid battery has no control over the aforementioned systems. I told them I wanted the car's software wiped and reloaded. This wasn't a mechanical issue that could be fixed by the average mechanic shop. They had it for a day before calling me and informing me that it would be another $600 to diagnose the problem, because they were getting weird error messages, and had to work with GM to diagnose the issue. They told me that a reprogramming of the car's software was not possible due to these errors.

A week later, I'm told that my battery is getting old, and that it is what was causing all of the issues. It would be $11,000 to replace.

But wait. The hybrid battery doesn't have a computer. The car's computer system runs off of a standard 12V lead acid battery like every other car. That includes the A/C, Heater, Radio, Computer, Engine, and every other vital system the car needs. WHY? because the hybrid battery is created to completely discharge itself to give you the maximum range, and you wouldn't want the entire car to shut off when you run out of battery. The only thing the hybrid battery sends to the computer system is a voltage reading (to the best of my knowledge)..it can't control the other systems of the vehicle, because if it did, GM would be liable for all sorts of safety lawsuits. If the computer see's a low voltage reading from the hybrid battery, what happens after that point is 100% SOFTWARE/CODING. It's the COMPUTER that decides what to do as a result of the hybrid battery reading that it gets.

So, I told the dealership this, and was told that the only thing they could do is replace the battery. They couldn't even try to reload the software on the car, because GM set the Volt to only allow "updates" and since it's a 2012, there were no updates to use. YES. YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY. Is that true? According to GM customer service and Hendrick Chevy on Shawnee Mission Parkway, it is.

So, I reached out to GM directly. Told them exactly what was going on, and that a $43k vehicle shouldn't be failing at 123K miles, and a battery efficiency that should still be able to power the car. 4 days later, I'm told the battery needs to be replaced and that GM bears no liability for the issue.
BUT WAIT!!!! It's YOUR SOFTWARE that is having the problem. The battery is a known issue. It's going to wear after 100k miles. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS, and it has plenty of life left in it to get at least another 50k miles out of it before actually needing to be replaced.

NO! I'm told. This is a hybrid battery issue, despite the fact that the hybrid battery controls none of the systems having an issue. I try to explain the very simple systems logic that can be applied to the issue, and how I'm not being told the truth about the problem, and get NO WHERE. GM completely refuses to admit that their own programming is what is causing the vehicle to fail.

WHY IS THIS AN ISSUE? Because the point of the Volt is to be carbon neutral or carbon negative. It's intended to be a cost effective way to drive, yet GM either poorly coded the computer system OR INTENTIONALLY coded the car to have these issues once a very predictable issue emerged from the batteries. So either GM is incompetent in regards to programming, which brings up all sorts of safety concerns OR they intentionally programmed this car to FAIL before it reached a carbon neutral/negative lifespan. If it dies before 125k miles, all the carbon/$$$ you saved from not going to the pump is completely cancelled out. Once more, instead of admitting to this fact, GM simply wants to say "**** off, buy a new car or spend $11k to fix an issue that we intentionally programmed into the vehicle".

This is what is going on. My car has a "Cavity". When I take it to the "dentist" to get a filling, I'm told the only thing the "dentist" can do is to do a complete removal of the tooth, even though a less invasive and more appropriate procedure is possible in the filling (i.e. a software update). I'm told that the dentist can't perform that filling because the only one licensed to do that proprietary procedure is GM. So, I contact GM hoping for a filling and am told that "fillings" aren't appropriate for my cavity because I've had my teeth long enough that a removal is the only option, and that I need to allow my "dentist" (the Dealership) to completely remove the tooth (i.e. replace the battery). So instead of preserving years of use of said tooth, I now need to be fitted w/implants and have expensive dental surgeries to fix a simple problem.

Considering the current volts have full recalls often due to poor software/coding, I can't imagine why anyone would trust their safety or enter into a financial contract with such a greedy, irresponsible company. This was my first GM vehicle, and it will certainly be my last.

I don't like being lied to, I don't like being swindled, and I sure as heck don't like greedy little turds trying to shirk their responsibility so they can rake in the maximum possible profit out of a situation, despite being 100% liable for said issue.
 

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The car's computer system runs off of a standard 12V lead acid battery like every other car.
No, it uses an AGM battery, not a standard lead acid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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No, it uses an AGM battery, not a standard lead acid.
"The acronym stands for “absorbed glass mat” and that’s one of many improvements made to Planté’s original train light battery. Glass mats, cushioning the ultra-thin lead plates, will squish like a sponge. In turn, manufacturers can squeeze more glass mats and lead into one battery. More lead equals more power. Plus, that squish factor means the battery’s insides are packed tightly.
AGM batteries also have valves regulating the amount of hydrogen and oxygen gas allowed to escape during charging. They fall under a broader category of valve-regulated, lead-acid (VRLA) batteries, typically used for storing a lot of power for a long time or for long-running power uses."

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The engine would start up and work fine if I simply turned the car off and on once again. 4) After having a rash of these issues, my car would then work like brand new, with no issues for a few days, and then the process would start over again.

how old is your 12v battery
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The engine would start up and work fine if I simply turned the car off and on once again. 4) After having a rash of these issues, my car would then work like brand new, with no issues for a few days, and then the process would start over again.

how old is your 12v battery
1 year old. I replaced it last January.
 

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In real world use we are seeing battery failures due to age, not high cycles. All it takes is one cell within the battery pack to fail to cause a fault. Your vehicle is a 2012, so I wouldn't rule that out. I'd buy a OBDII reader (OBDLink MX+) and the MyGreenVolt app to verify your battery cell health.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think my plan at this point is to dump the car and GM and simply use my wife's car. We needed a bigger vehicle anyways, so I'll just trade the volt in and say sayonara. There's no reason a luxury vehicle should fail at 123k miles or require an $11k repair across the board due to "age". It sounds like this car was designed to be obsolete. I don't care to deal with or support companies that do that. From a moral, business, and environmental standpoint, it's abhorrent.
 

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I think my plan at this point is to dump the car and GM and simply use my wife's car. We needed a bigger vehicle anyways, so I'll just trade the volt in and say sayonara. There's no reason a luxury vehicle should fail at 123k miles or require an $11k repair across the board due to "age". It sounds like this car was designed to be obsolete. I don't care to deal with or support companies that do that. From a moral, business, and environmental standpoint, it's abhorrent.
Age related battery degradation has nothing to due with the car or GM. All lithium batteries will degrade due to time, temperature, and cycles. The last two are mitigated by the systems, but there's no way to mitigate time. The Volt and Roadster were the 1st to market, so they are showing the first failures.

Right now is likely the best time you will have to sell the car and get the maximum price, due to the current market conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Age related battery degradation has nothing to due with the car or GM. All lithium batteries will degrade due to time, temperature, and cycles. The last two are mitigated by the systems, but there's no way to mitigate time. The Volt and Roadster were the 1st to market, so they are showing the first failures.

Right now is likely the best time you will have to sell the car and get the maximum price, due to the current market conditions.
I disagree. While age degradation can't be helped, what the software does as a result, can. I've had other hybrids/EVs in the past. When the battery begins to age out, you see a reduction in efficiency, and gas mileage. The vehicle stops being able to travel as far as it once was able to. Toyota had the Prius line well before the Volt was a glimmer in Chevy's eye, and they had their plug in hybrids out well before the volt made it to market.

Age degradation of the battery has nothing to do with my engine shutting off, or my heater blowing cold air. That's a software issue, as I've already stated.
 

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I think my plan at this point is to dump the car and GM and simply use my wife's car. We needed a bigger vehicle anyways, so I'll just trade the volt in and say sayonara. There's no reason a luxury vehicle should fail at 123k miles or require an $11k repair across the board due to "age". It sounds like this car was designed to be obsolete. I don't care to deal with or support companies that do that. From a moral, business, and environmental standpoint, it's abhorrent.
As a 2011 owner experiencing similar symptoms at 113K, I empathize with you. I doubt that this is a case of "planned obsolescence" or intentionally writing software to cause failure though. My guess is that the software engineers over-designed the "nanny checks" that disable or alter the driving modes, while not considering how these would impact practical use with an older battery. However, the effect (bad) is the same either way, whether planned or not.

To your point about this being a software issue rather than a HV battery issue, I tend to agree (but with some nuance.) I suspect that the software was designed to support only small variations from in original specs, to protect the expensive HV battery for the duration of the warranty. For those of us with older batteries, it would be great if a different version of software were available that maximized use of an older battery as the design point. Other cars are not held to the same inflexible"standards" as they age. For example, I can drive my 2010 Highlander Hybrid with 220K without fear of it "bricking", even though it burns some oil and I'm sure the hybrid battery is degraded. It doesn't have overprotective software freaking out at signs of age.
If my body had age-intolerant control software like the Volt has, I'd have been bricked years ago!

So, if you need a reliable car, then dumping it probably makes sense. Sadly though, I don't think you will be given much in trade-in value for it unless the dealer does a poor job of checking it out ahead of making the offer.
In our case, with 3 drivers, 2 cars and mostly short trips, we can live with the weird behavior and just drive it near home, until it won't move anymore. We will NOT be taking it to a dealer for diagnosis, as it would probably cost hundreds just to be told that we need to spend thousands more than the car is worth to actual fix it. So, every day is an adventure!

Good luck and sorry for your situation.
 

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"I suspect that the software was designed to support only small variations from in original specs, to protect the expensive HV battery for the duration of the warranty. For those of us with older batteries, it would be great if a different version of software were available that maximized use of an older battery as the design point."
I agree. Does anyone know of such a software patch or upgrade?
2012 Volt purchased in 2014 for $15k with 86k miles only 3k battery miles. Now 162,506 miles. no significant problems until recently. Loss of propulsion, would not start, would not charge, had to be towed to dealer 3 times. Dealer clears the codes, recharges the battery. Car runs fine in mountain mode until someone forgets to enter MM. Rinse ,repeat. Surely someone has or can code a patch.
 
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