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I drive a 2013 Volt with around 48k miles. First 4 years, my actual range was usually 45-48 miles in the summer and 30-38 in winter (depending on how cold). I had started noticing some range loss including when parked right after charging. The biggest concern I had was that occasionally with a full charge driving the same route I always drive for the past 4 years (no hills, no AC, no heat) the range estimate would drop 10 to 15 miles in just the first 2 miles of driving. There was also a "use" of about 2-3 kwh in that same period. Other times after fully charging, the green battery indicator only lit 8 or 9 of the bars. When this would happen the range estimator would show in the low 30's and that's about what I would get for range. There have been no lights or codes shown.

I have taken it in to the dealer twice. The first time, they said the BECM needed updating and they did so under warranty. But the problem persisted same as before. I did some research here and religiously fully discharged the battery every day for two weeks in hopes of resetting the system. My actual range went from 28 the day I got it back from the dealer to 40 a few days later (all city driving 30-40 mph). Then seemed to settle in the low 30's (summer driving with occasional AC use). Anytime the range indicator showed a full 10 bars and around 40 miles estimated, the range would drop to around 25 miles in the first few actual miles driven.

Second time in to the dealer I suggested a reprogram of the HPCM2 and a reset of the battery range as I'd seen on here several times. They said it was up to date but still reprogrammed it at my request and reset as a courtesy to me but they didn't think it would fix the issue. I then got 9 bars on the range indicator for 7 days in a row with estimates around 30. Actual range on complete discharge was mid to upper 30's (except the one day my wife drove it in D and only got 30). Then, the first day it actually showed 10 bars and 39 miles of range it did the same drop to around 29 miles after only 3 miles traveled.

Any other ideas? Should I call GM or just be happy with mid 30's for range in the summertime?
 

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I think my 2011 MY has lost a few miles of range. There are a couple of complications though. One is that I changed tires and that is probably responsible for some of the loss. The other thing I've noticed is that sometimes the car is now only charging to 95%. That's a couple of miles. I can see that on the OnStar app.

The other big issue is that the estimate is an estimate and I am sure the estimate has changed. I've noticed that the range will drop by a few miles after it's been sitting, which it really didn't do as much when it was new. The other reality is that all batteries degrade with time and use so it wouldn't be crazy to see some degradation.
 

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Just out of curiosity...do you run fan only or comfort mode A/C in the summer?
 

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You seem to be saying that when you get into your Volt in the morning, the driver’s display shows "fully charged," and yet only 8 or 9 green bars of power are showing on the icon. Have you then immediately checked the center display’s energy usage screen to see if it is registering any kWh Used?

If so, this would suggest that the connection to the wall plug was turned off after recharging was completed, and then later something consumed power (battery maintenance?) that was not then replaced from the wall.

If not (i.e., the usage display was reset to zeros after fully recharging, the driver’s display shows "fully charged," and yet only 8 or 9 battery bars are showing green), this is something to be evaluated by the service department. I seem to recall a thread about this (failure to recharge to 100%) not too long ago. If the computer is somehow considering the car "fully charged" with less than a 100% charge, the condition should be reproducible in the service shop.

You seems to be speaking of changes in range estimates, not achieved distances and power consumption. During the two weeks you were doing the full charge/ full discharge cycles, were you obtaining a consistent number of actual ev miles driven on a consistent number of kWh Used that would reflect a fully charged battery (sorry, Don C, your 2011 Volt lacks the energy usage screen’s kWh Used number that 2012 and later Volts have)?

Are you still getting similar ev mileage (~4 miles/kWh) that should give you an estimated ev range of ~40 miles at the start-of-day full charge (with ~10 kWh of usable power)? Note that this mileage would also give an estimated range of 32-36 miles for an 8 or 9 bar "full charge."

On the day you started out with 10 bars/39 estimated miles that dropped to 29 miles after driving only 3 miles, was this change accompanied by a loss of 1 or 2 green bars and a matching quick increase of 1-2 kWh Used on the energy usage screen? You haven’t made it clear if the problem is a loss in actual range from a fully recharged battery, or just a problem with the estimated range.
 

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I would check for proper brake operation and wheel bearings to make sure something is not causing a lot of friction. See if one of your wheels is running hot to the touch after a few miles or use an IR thermometer to check temps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How many Kwh from full charge to empty ?.
kwh used after complete discharge varies a lot but I've seen here it is just a guess. I've seen anywhere from 8.0 to 11.1 all on complete discharges. I don't have a meter to measure how much is going in when I charge. One 8.0 I went 29.9 miles, another 8.0 I went 38 miles. 11.1 kwh I went 35 miles,
 

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You seem to be saying that when you get into your Volt in the morning, the driver’s display shows "fully charged," and yet only 8 or 9 green bars of power are showing on the icon. Have you then immediately checked the center display’s energy usage screen to see if it is registering any kWh Used?

If so, this would suggest that the connection to the wall plug was turned off after recharging was completed, and then later something consumed power (battery maintenance?) that was not then replaced from the wall.

If not (i.e., the usage display was reset to zeros after fully recharging, the driver’s display shows "fully charged," and yet only 8 or 9 battery bars are showing green), this is something to be evaluated by the service department. I seem to recall a thread about this (failure to recharge to 100%) not too long ago. If the computer is somehow considering the car "fully charged" with less than a 100% charge, the condition should be reproducible in the service shop.

You seems to be speaking of changes in range estimates, not achieved distances and power consumption. During the two weeks you were doing the full charge/ full discharge cycles, were you obtaining a consistent number of actual ev miles driven on a consistent number of kWh Used that would reflect a fully charged battery (sorry, Don C, your 2011 Volt lacks the energy usage screen’s kWh Used number that 2012 and later Volts have)?

Are you still getting similar ev mileage (~4 miles/kWh) that should give you an estimated ev range of ~40 miles at the start-of-day full charge (with ~10 kWh of usable power)? Note that this mileage would also give an estimated range of 32-36 miles for an 8 or 9 bar "full charge."

On the day you started out with 10 bars/39 estimated miles that dropped to 29 miles after driving only 3 miles, was this change accompanied by a loss of 1 or 2 green bars and a matching quick increase of 1-2 kWh Used on the energy usage screen? You haven’t made it clear if the problem is a loss in actual range from a fully recharged battery, or just a problem with the estimated range.
Question 1 -- There have been no interruptions in charging. kwh shows 0.0 upon start up every time whether 8,9 or 10 bars shown.
Unfortunately, the impression I got from the service dept is that they won't want to do anything unless there is a check engine code or software update needed. The last thing they gave me was all the bulletins about ways of maximizing range and what effects it like driving with the heat on in comfort.

Question 2 -- I was referring to both estimates and actual ranges. After getting the HPCM2 reprogram, the first 7 days of range ESTIMATES were very consistent with 9 bars showing and 29-31 miles of range estimated. Actual miles over those same 7 days were 33.7, 40.3, 37.3, 36.1, 29.9 (my wife drove in D), 35.7, 38.

Question 3 -- Yes bars start dropping off and the kwh used increases to 2-3 kwh within those first few miles. It does seem to stabilize and then I end up with actual range in the mid 30's. As I stated in the original post, my actual range the first 4 summers I had the car was in the 44-48 mile range. Now I'm only getting around 34. So around 10 miles of range lost would be 20-25% degradation. That seems like a lot to me.

It acts like there's a 2 kwh "hole" in the battery that won't hold a charge. Everything I've read and heard says the batteries don't go bad and if they do it's usually a thermal sensor. It feels like a software issue but I don't know what else can be reprogrammed that would impact this.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would check for proper brake operation and wheel bearings to make sure something is not causing a lot of friction. See if one of your wheels is running hot to the touch after a few miles or use an IR thermometer to check temps.

It doesn't seem likely but I'll check that. One day I had a big run using gas after discharging the battery. I went 31 miles on electric and then another 36 highway miles using 0.76 gallons of gas. So around 47 mpg doesn't seem to bad if the brakes are sticking.
 

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You're getting about 10 more miles than I am in the summer and winter. But mine is because I stopped hypermiling and just drive highway speeds with comfort. 18 inch rims and stickier tires also contributed to my range loss.

Even with the AC off the car will run the compressor when it needs to cool the battery. That might explain some of your range loss. You might also have some bad battery cells.

Finally, could there be a new teenage driver in the mix? That would also do it.
 

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How often do you fully deplete and fully charge the battery? Or are you mostly "topping off"?
 

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I don't recall the name of the capacity test (where's *** when you need him), but there is a piece of equipment that will run a specific capacity test of the battery. When I had some issues with my 2013 (due to a faulty code in the HPCM2 programming) they ran this test (which showed that--physically--the battery was charging/discharging as expected). This test pointed to what was eventually discovered as faulty programming code released by GM tech. I believe it is specialized equipment that needs to be ordered from GM--the dealership is unlikely to have it laying around. It probably needs higher authorization.

Since you've had the car for 4 years and were accustomed to high 40s in the summer, you know better than anyone else what your car should be getting on similar terrain, temps, and tire pressure. Speaking of tires, did you replace the OEM Goodyears recently? My replacement tires resulted in an immediate 10% range penalty (which I expected because I went with non-LRR runflats).

If all else being equal, then I would definitely keep pursuing this. Just tell them to run the right test to show the battery capacity--and get a printout of the results for your records. If you show us the printout here we'll be able to go over it with you--I recall it was not quite self explanatory.
 

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You're getting about 10 more miles than I am in the summer and winter. But mine is because I stopped hypermiling and just drive highway speeds with comfort. 18 inch rims and stickier tires also contributed to my range loss.

Even with the AC off the car will run the compressor when it needs to cool the battery. That might explain some of your range loss. You might also have some bad battery cells.

Finally, could there be a new teenage driver in the mix? That would also do it.
I wouldn't call myself a hypermiler. I just drive in L, otherwise 70-75 on the highway to and from work. I was off work in July and so most of that was driving my kids around on 30-45 mph streets after things were reprogrammed. I agree about the bad cells as a possibility but everything I've heard is that the batteries don't go bad.

Funny you mentioning a teenage driver! I do have a 16 year old daughter. My plan was to let her have my car and I'd get a new Volt but she hasn't shown much interest in getting her license yet. So, no she hasn't been behind the wheel yet. My wife only drove it twice in July (always in D) and I noted those times when I posted any info from her drives.
 

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How often do you fully deplete and fully charge the battery? Or are you mostly "topping off"?
My normal drive to and from work is 20 miles and there are Level 2 charges at work so much of the first 4 years was topping off. In the spring and early fall when weather was right, I could charge at work, drive home and drive back to work on a single charge and not use any electricity from home.

That being said, I've read all about the Tale of Two Volts and made sure to do full discharges throughout July. This often resulted in late night cruising up and down Woodward Ave (flat where I live) to use up the remaining charge. The best I could get was 41 miles and there was a lot of coasting/regen involved. Most days averaged mid 30's of ACTUAL range.
 

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I don't recall the name of the capacity test (where's *** when you need him), but there is a piece of equipment that will run a specific capacity test of the battery. When I had some issues with my 2013 (due to a faulty code in the HPCM2 programming) they ran this test (which showed that--physically--the battery was charging/discharging as expected). This test pointed to what was eventually discovered as faulty programming code released by GM tech. I believe it is specialized equipment that needs to be ordered from GM--the dealership is unlikely to have it laying around. It probably needs higher authorization.

Since you've had the car for 4 years and were accustomed to high 40s in the summer, you know better than anyone else what your car should be getting on similar terrain, temps, and tire pressure. Speaking of tires, did you replace the OEM Goodyears recently? My replacement tires resulted in an immediate 10% range penalty (which I expected because I went with non-LRR runflats).

If all else being equal, then I would definitely keep pursuing this. Just tell them to run the right test to show the battery capacity--and get a printout of the results for your records. If you show us the printout here we'll be able to go over it with you--I recall it was not quite self explanatory.
It may have been your thread that had me asking for the HPCM2 reprogram and battery capacity reset. I was so sure that would fix the issue especially if I did the full discharge cycle a bunch of times after I got it back. I don't post much here but I've read a bunch both before and after I purchased back in 2013. So THANK YOU!!! :)

I did get new tires (Micheline Premier not LRR, alignment was checked and ok) BUT it was TWO WEEKS AFTER the BECM was reprogrammed. The day I got the tires, Actual Range was 31.7. Next day 31.1, next day 34.7, next day 35.4 and then 35.2. End of July had two days of 38 miles actual range used which is what I was getting before the tires. MPG while running on gas with the new tires was great too. Drove 36 miles on gas only one day (after driving 31 on electric) and used 0.76 gal of gas with the new tires.

Would I need GM to talk to the dealership? The dealership seemed to think this is just the way it is if there's no check engine warnings or such. I feel like there's a two kwh hole in the battery. It's like I have a 40 gallon gas tank that only holds 30 gallons of gas.
 

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Seems to me that if your dealer’s Volt tech plugged the car in to recharge, had it read "fully charged" when completed, and yet fewer than 10 green bars were showing, it would indicate to the tech that something is wrong with the recharging system or with the display itself. At that point, a reading can be taken from the OBD2 port to determine your Volt’s fully charged battery raw state of charge (for my 2012 Volt, that’s ~85-87%). A lower fully charged reading may indicate a problem. Can this problem be reproduced while the car is at the service center?

Your overall problem remains a bit unclear. It could be your fully charged battery is still where it should be, but the reduction in actual range is derived from external sources, such as the new tires (or perhaps a slight shift in driving habits or seasonal driving habits, such as more use of a/c).

It could be that for some reason, you’ve lost access or you sometimes lose access to some of the usable battery power, and so your ev mileage derived from your driving habits takes you less distance than before. If this happens shortly after you unplug and start your daily drive, it would result in a quick drop in estimated range, but it should not register as consumption on the kWh used counter. Are you getting ~10+ kWh Used or so readings for a full-depletion drive similar to what you had normally been getting?

If, however, you start out the day apparently okay, and then there’s a sudden extraordinarily rapid consumption of power that shows up on the kWh Used counter, it’s almost as if something was shorting out or creating a brief rapid loss of power during that interval, and that would show up on the kWh Used counter. Does it happen if the "fully charged" screen is showing ten green bars? Does it happen when fewer than 10 green bars are showing after fully recharging? (If under one condition but not the other, it might provide a clue.) When this sudden drop happens, are you aware of anything different in the environment (such as, that’s when you turned on the a/c, wipers, or some other driving accessory, or the car made a rapid turn in one direction or the other or encountered a sudden uphill or downhill portion of the road)? Does it happen only at the same point in the day (i.e., just after you unplug and start driving)? Such observations may help provide a clue to the cause. Does it happen frequently enough that if your Volt tech recharged your car at the shop and the two of you then took the car for a short test drive, it would happen within the first few miles, so the tech could observe the conditions under which it happened?
 

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I wouldn't call myself a hypermiler. I just drive in L, otherwise 70-75 on the highway to and from work. I was off work in July and so most of that was driving my kids around on 30-45 mph streets after things were reprogrammed. I agree about the bad cells as a possibility but everything I've heard is that the batteries don't go bad.

Funny you mentioning a teenage driver! I do have a 16 year old daughter. My plan was to let her have my car and I'd get a new Volt but she hasn't shown much interest in getting her license yet. So, no she hasn't been behind the wheel yet. My wife only drove it twice in July (always in D) and I noted those times when I posted any info from her drives.
It appears that this new round of kids enjoy instagram and Snapchat so much where they would much rather be driven to places weather than learn to drive. My 15 year old has a laerners permit, but has shown no interest in doing teh 50 hours of practice with the parents to go get her driver's license by the age of 16. Her older sister, on the other hand, got her driver's license as she turned 16.
 

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Seems to me that if your dealer’s Volt tech plugged the car in to recharge, had it read "fully charged" when completed, and yet fewer than 10 green bars were showing, it would indicate to the tech that something is wrong with the recharging system or with the display itself. At that point, a reading can be taken from the OBD2 port to determine your Volt’s fully charged battery raw state of charge (for my 2012 Volt, that’s ~85-87%). A lower fully charged reading may indicate a problem. Can this problem be reproduced while the car is at the service center?

Your overall problem remains a bit unclear. It could be your fully charged battery is still where it should be, but the reduction in actual range is derived from external sources, such as the new tires (or perhaps a slight shift in driving habits or seasonal driving habits, such as more use of a/c).

It could be that for some reason, you’ve lost access or you sometimes lose access to some of the usable battery power, and so your ev mileage derived from your driving habits takes you less distance than before. If this happens shortly after you unplug and start your daily drive, it would result in a quick drop in estimated range, but it should not register as consumption on the kWh used counter. Are you getting ~10+ kWh Used or so readings for a full-depletion drive similar to what you had normally been getting?

If, however, you start out the day apparently okay, and then there’s a sudden extraordinarily rapid consumption of power that shows up on the kWh Used counter, it’s almost as if something was shorting out or creating a brief rapid loss of power during that interval, and that would show up on the kWh Used counter. Does it happen if the "fully charged" screen is showing ten green bars? Does it happen when fewer than 10 green bars are showing after fully recharging? (If under one condition but not the other, it might provide a clue.) When this sudden drop happens, are you aware of anything different in the environment (such as, that’s when you turned on the a/c, wipers, or some other driving accessory, or the car made a rapid turn in one direction or the other or encountered a sudden uphill or downhill portion of the road)? Does it happen only at the same point in the day (i.e., just after you unplug and start driving)? Such observations may help provide a clue to the cause. Does it happen frequently enough that if your Volt tech recharged your car at the shop and the two of you then took the car for a short test drive, it would happen within the first few miles, so the tech could observe the conditions under which it happened?
The problems are the loss of 10 miles of actual range (mid 30's instead of mid 40's under the same conditions as previous years) and the immediate loss of range on the range estimator (accompanied by "use" of about 2-3 kwh) only when 10 green bars are shown at full charge. After 14 charges to full, it only showed 10 bars on 5 occasions. Each time, the range indicator would start out in the upper 30's and then drop in the first 2-3 miles down into the upper 20's with a commensurate increase in the kwh used. These were on cool mornings (upper 60's-low 70's temps) no AC, no highway, no hills, no rain, no lights, 0.5 kwh shown on dash when stopped at lights. Any other charge cycle showed either 8 or 9 bars and range in the low 30's. Either way the Actual Range would typically end up in the low to mid 30's.

When 10 bars show on the range indicator, kwh used at full charge ranged from 10.3 to 11.1 (but remember there was a 2 kwh drop in the first few miles). When 8 or 9 bars show at full charge, the kwh used ranged from 8.7 to 9.3. So when 8 or 9 bars show at full charge everything acts as it should if I have access to 90% of my usable charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good news!!! After suffering with this problem for another 6 months I decided to try the dealership one more time to see if they could figure out this issue. The tech could see the symptoms this time. After he fully charged, it lost 25% charge just pulling it into the lot. He along with the service manager spent several days going back and forth emailing GM technical support running various tests. GM TAC finally approved a new battery. From what they described, two of the three sections were not functioning properly. My guess is those two were draining the third as it tried to balance. Below is the "Cause" and "Correction"

Cause :Hybrid Battery Failure

Correction: Inspect for charge/range issue. Found range dropping rapidly and actual mileage and expected range not accurate. Contact TAC. Send several session logs of charging and driving to TAC for evaluation. TAC recommended hybrid battery replacement. Necessary to replace hybrid battery assy. necessary to program BECM. Perform hybrid coolant bleed procedure. Clear all codes and road test. All ok.

They had it for 6 weeks but part of that was over Christmas/NYE when they didn't hear back from GM. Another week to deliver the new battery and a day to install. I had a new Chevy Trax as a loaner. Would have loved to try out a Bolt but it was also really cold during that period. Thanks for all the suggestions. I hope this helps others with similar issues.
 
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