GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from my round trip from Chicago to Florida and back and I just wanted to give my thoughts on the experience with the Volt.

First, the numbers:
4 passengers, 2 adult, and 2 kids (though one is adult sized now)
2520 Miles
68.2 Gallons of Gas (never plugged in, only 19 miles were electric)
37.0 MPG (tires filled to 42 cold).
Average Speed was around 75-85 most of the time. I just went with the flow of traffic, however in a 20 mile stretch of highway in Florida, that flow was over 90mph with semi's running up to 85mph.

We were gone for 2 weeks but only brought 1 week of clothes and washed them at the end of the first week.

Pros:
  • Smooth and easy to drive, no mechanical issues
  • Having 1 gear in mountains was great, no downshifting making the drivetrain sound like it is about to explode
  • All 4 of us were mostly comfortable
  • Filling up after 4+ hours of driving for less than $20 is always great!
  • Throwing it in L when we hit a 27 minute traffic delay made the traffic so easy. I got a couple of honks from behind for slowing without brake lights but I've stopped caring. In both cases they were driving too closely anyway.

Cons:
  • While we managed to fit 4 large bags, we had to switch a couple of rolling suitcases to duffel bags as the hard framed cases couldn't be arranged to fit in the back.
  • The kids did complain about trying to sleep. No good place to lean against or to put your head.
  • Placing your left arm on the top of the door panel against the window is very uncomfortable. I am too tall to use the actual left arm rest so I like to put it on the top of the door panel and it makes my arm go numb after awhile. That could have been made flatter. My old TrailBlazer had a fantastic ledge for your arm.
  • Obviously, with the bags, I had little visibility out of the rear window. It would have been nice if I could have turned on the rear camera but my son was able to smush down the bags enough for me to see the roofs of most cars.
  • While the engine normally stayed out of the high RPM ranges and was otherwise not noticable, a few times it would randomly rev well in to the 3K range (verified by MyVolt app) for a minute or two. We were on flat surfaces at the time so I am not sure what was going on.
  • two times when I floored the pedal to accelerate while at speed, nothing happened for a few seconds then the engine revved and I started accelerating.

On the way down I saw ZERO volts which made me sad. It was raining most of the way so I wasn't really looking. On the way home, I saw 2 volts and neither were driving very economically.

One was a Crystal Red Volt that had Arkansas plates that said "PLUGIN" somewhere around the Florida/Georiga line. I waved and tried to follow but got cut off shortly after and didn't feel like maxing out the volt trying to catch up.

The other was in Illinois and they were flying. There seemed to be a Mitsu EVO racing it. I didn't get the plates as they were gone before I could blink.

Other tidbits of note:
  • Indiana. Fix your roads. I65 was horrible and easily the worst road of them all. You also had the dirtiest and most run down rest areas.
  • I got backed in to while in line to get in Kennedy Space Center. Other than crushing my license plate holder, there was no damage. Driver gave me some money in liew of getting a report and I was fine with it (foreign drivers, rental car, etc).
  • My rear bumper got scuffed in a parking facility. I didn't notice until I was half way home. Not bad damage, mostly annoying. If you didn't know it happened you probably wouldn't notice, but I do, so I see it all of the time.
  • I took a big rock to the front driver side signal so I have a nice star crack in that.

Anyway, everyone we told about taking the volt down to florida couldn't believe it. We have a big SUV that we could have taken but I life driving the volt and I wanted to save some money since we were going to go broke on the rest of the trip. It ended up being a great driving experience and we all would take the volt again if we were ever to do it again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
I've got 87,000 on my 2011. Very nice road car done a couple Michigan / Florida trips several North Carolina trips and the big New Mexico / Arizona trip in 2015. Perfect for 2 adults with luggage and golf clubs. The silly smooth tranny, and superb handling makes it an easy 12 hour a day car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Bear in mind I'm still learning about the Volts when I ask this question:

You said you did not plug in at all, but I had thought the whole purpose of the gas engine/generator was to pump electricity back into the battery. I would have thought given a 2000 plus mile trip that, had the engine been running, the battery would have stayed topped off and/or charged? I also thought that the car more or less automatically kicks the engine on if the battery is low, even if it's parked?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
What's called "Charge sustaining" simply means that the engine runs just enough to keep a minimum charge in the battery at all times. The Volt still operates as an electric vehicle for example engine shuts off at red lights, power from a standstill is from the electric drive motor etc. Under hard acceleration the engine runs harder to replenish that minimum charge. Next you will learn hold mode and Mountain mode.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
The battery will stay topped off if you put it in hold mode, and the engine will charge the battery in mountain mode (but that's a side 'benefit'. it's meant to preserve power for climbing, and will charge the battery to 40%, at the expense of using gas).

When the battery is depleted, the engine generates enough electricity to keep the car going with the electric motor, but the motor, generator and engine are all connected to a planetary gear (a large circular gear with little gears inside) and share propulsion duties depending on some very complex computations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,794 Posts
Ah OK, so what mode do most people drive these around in?
When I take a trip, I put it in Hold Mode as soon as I get on the highway. That saves the battery for local driving at the other end of the trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
My 2013 Volt has 4 modes:

1) Normal - I use 90+% of the time (because most of my drives are local and all electric).

2) Sport - I use VERY rarely because, thanks to the instant torque of the electric motor, I can smoke almost any car off the line even in Normal.

3) Mountain - I use when I have fully depleted the battery but am approaching someplace that I would prefer to drive all electric.

4) Hold - If I know my trip will eventually fully deplete my charge but I am driving at 55+, I save the charge and quietness for later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
The 2011 and '12Volts do not have hold. I make most Toronto to Florida trips in Mountain mode. It keeps a small electric reserve for the whole trip. It is a great car for long distance interstate driving. Wrecks the lifetime fuel consumption numbers. Having the 4G upgrade has been quite useful. Great a/c (wish it had dual zone control), good cruise control, and lots of room for us (two people).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
902 Posts
I drove 4,000 miles on a loop of the Northern Rockies with 98 gallons of gasoline for 42 MPG. I drove the speed limits on mountain roads. If you are driving 75 to 90 MPH, then you do not care about the lives of your passengers or the public. Driving for my profession, I see vehicles crashing every day due primarily to excessive speed or inattentiveness or intoxication. The good news is that the Volt has received safety awards for its size class.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
766 Posts
Thanks for sharing your story and I agree the Volt is a really good road trip car. Your MPG is pretty good for the speeds you traveled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I wonder why you did not plug in even once during your trip?

I always ask to plug in overnight, before booking a room. Only once was my request denied, but that hotel had a train station next door with free J1772 plugs, so I parked and charged there overnight for free. I usually get a full charge for my Volt overnight, even from just a 120 V wall outlet.

GSP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
I've done a 1,600 mile trip (Virginia to Alabama, around the area, then back) before in my 2013. It was a nice trip for two adults and light luggage. The wife and I go up to NY (upstate/great lakes) a lot and that's an 800+ mile round trip. The Volt has been fantastic for that as well.

I don't bother to plug in on those trips either, mostly because I don't take the EVSE with me and there aren't any charging stations in the rural areas I visit.

My only "complaint" on long trips is that you can fill the gas tank so fast you don't have time to really stretch your legs <grin>.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,089 Posts
Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I wonder why you did not plug in even once during your trip?

I always ask to plug in overnight, before booking a room. Only once was my request denied, but that hotel had a train station next door with free J1772 plugs, so I parked and charged there overnight for free. I usually get a full charge for my Volt overnight, even from just a 120 V wall outlet.

GSP
I've done multiple long trips, 2500 miles and more, and not plugged in after leaving home. If I'm planning to put in another 1000 km the next day, plugging, unplugging and dealing with the EVSE just doesn't seem worth the 60 km or so I will get from the charge. It's 6% of my day's drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for sharing your story and I agree the Volt is a really good road trip car. Your MPG is pretty good for the speeds you traveled.
I always try to follow a pack of cars travelling at speed. The hole they punch in the air can increase mileage up to 20% even when following at a safe distance. On roads when I wasn't following other cars and punching my own hole in the air, I usually get around 33mpg. If we are travelling more than 8mph above the speed limit, I always make sure I have a rabbit or two ahead of me.


Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I wonder why you did not plug in even once during your trip?

I always ask to plug in overnight, before booking a room. Only once was my request denied, but that hotel had a train station next door with free J1772 plugs, so I parked and charged there overnight for free. I usually get a full charge for my Volt overnight, even from just a 120 V wall outlet.

GSP
Simply because I don't need to. At home, plugging in is more convenient than going to a gas station. On the road, using gas is usually more convenient. I also don't like to take up a charging spot for an EREV when an true EV might need it more. Since we only get 40 miles (gen 1) out of a charge, plugging in once or twice on a 2500 mile trip wasn't really going to be worth the effort.

Also, when I got to Florida, I only used my car once in 2 weeks. So it wasn't like I was using the car daily where a full charge would have been beneficial.

I remembered another con last night.

For some reason, I had difficulty keeping the car going straight. There didn't seem to be a dead area when the steering wheel was centered. The car always seemed to want to go ever so slightly left or right and never straight. Now this was very minor and the way I described it makes it sound much worse than it was. I just found myself having to make more minimal corrections to stay in the lane than I have had in other cars.

Could just be a bad alignment though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
I remembered another con last night.

For some reason, I had difficulty keeping the car going straight. There didn't seem to be a dead area when the steering wheel was centered. The car always seemed to want to go ever so slightly left or right and never straight. Now this was very minor and the way I described it makes it sound much worse than it was. I just found myself having to make more minimal corrections to stay in the lane than I have had in other cars.
Most likely that is the crown or slant on the road, it can be especially pronounced in some states (Florida/Georgia/Alabama) where they actually crown the roads pretty severely to promote water run-off during heavy rains. Some shops will set a car with a little positive caster on the right front to try and offset the effect of the road crown.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Edit: what Dutch said...If there are worn grooves from the tires in the road it will make your car want to wander around in them. And most roads are paved with an ever so slightly domed surface to allow for water to flow off. It'll make the car want to drift down the side depending on the side of the curve you're on.

Did you happen to note your starting lifetime mileage at the beginning of the trip to when you got back? How far did it go down?

Did you encounter any sizeable elevation changes that required mountain mode?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
...
Did you happen to note your starting lifetime mileage at the beginning of the trip to when you got back? How far did it go down?

Did you encounter any sizeable elevation changes that required mountain mode?
I know you weren't asking me, but..

I did 4000 out-of-state miles this summer on a couple of trips. My lifetime MPG dropped from 212 to under 150 mpg :(
(on the other hand, I got 40 mpg while driving 70+ on the interstates, much better than any previous vehicle I have owned)

Elevation-wise: I drove back and forth across western NC, Tenn. and Kentucky. Not huge hills but the Volt handled it all smoother than my past ICE vehicles, no noticeable changes in gear or engine revs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
I bought my 2013 Volt near the end of November this year. Three days later we left on a 2200 mile ( round trip ) trip from Northern Colorado to Phoenix, Arizona and back. We tried to do about 50/50 between interstate highways and other back roads. We also had no opportunities to recharge during the trip, so most was done in 'HOLD'.

Overall, we averaged 41.5 MPG. There were no problems with the car at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Did you happen to note your starting lifetime mileage at the beginning of the trip to when you got back? How far did it go down?
At the start of the trip, I had almost 40k miles on the car and a lifetime MPG of 97.2. After the trip, I had over 42k miles and my lifetime MPG was 87.5.

I bought the car used with 26k miles and a lifetime in the high 80s. I set a trip counter when I bought the car and I have been around 130mpg with normal use.

Did you encounter any sizeable elevation changes that required mountain mode?
Only about 1200' at 4-6% grade. The volt handled it perfectly and quietly, much better than any ICE I have driven on hilly terrain.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top