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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We bought our 2014 Volt new, and it has been a relatively trouble-free car. Bought in January 2014, and it now has 53K miles.

My wife mostly drives this car. Since she commutes late at night alone, and travels sometimes to rural areas, I decided to renew Onstar (Protection) on this car. It was probably one of the best decisions I made.

On 7/30/17, my wife was driving the Volt. As the Volt's EV miles were depleting to 0, she expected the car to transition to the engine, as it normally would. However, once the car went to "0" on EV miles, the engine wouldn't switch on, and the car began to coast from 70 mph and slow down.

She was on the fast lane (Highway 880 near Fremont, CA), and didn't have time to safely swerve all the way to the right side of the highway, so she drove to the shoulder near the median and as close as possible to the highway divider.

There were no warning messages on the display, and only the "check engine light" was illuminated. The car wouldn't shift to reverse or drive.

She called Onstar, who arranged for a tow and police dispatch (although the car was very close to the median, part of it was still dangerously close to the fast lane). A police cruiser came and parked behind her flashing the lights to warn traffic. Finally, after an hour, a flatbed came to tow the Volt to our local dealer (Capitol Chevrolet).

While waiting for that tow, she had Onstar pull the codes from the car. In the confusion, she wasn't able to capture the actual codes, but she was able to record the conversation with the Onstar rep. "Lithium Ion battery is not performing as expected; service within 7 days." "HPCM module is not performing as expected; service within 7 days." "Vehicle electronics are not performing as expected."

The car is still at Capitol and the Volt technician will start work on it tomorrow. It seems like this is an issue with the Voltec system. The Onstar team had kept her calm during the whole ordeal, but in retrospect, it was a truly frightening experience, and I'm glad she made it out safely.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? Hopefully this is a 1 time event--when the car is repaired, we don't want to have this scenario repeated again.

Ivan Jue
 

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It's not common, but I think I remember a thread or two from a couple years ago where the car was dying when it reached 0 miles instead of transitioning to gas. If I remember right, they eventually replaced the pack under warranty in that car, but I could be confused.
 

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I've never seen a Volt stalled on the side of the road. I do see ICE cars, even late model, stalled on the side of the road daily. Granted there are a lot more ICE than Volts or other EVs, but all cars are ultimately mechanical devices and mechanical devices fail.
 

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Boy, people today are such babies.

When I was in college, I was driving home for Thanksgiving vacation with two girl riders. My engine threw a rod, there was a big puff of smoke, and we coasted to the side of the road. It was a rural area with no houses in sight. This was before we had things like OnStar or cellphones. I had to leave the girls alone in the car and hike 2 miles (up hill, I believe) to find a house that would let me use their phone to call my parents. Three hours later, they arrived with a borrowed flatbed.
 

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Glad your wife is alright. I keep Onstar for the same reason, the wife drives mostly so I don't have to worry that she's alone !
Hope your Volt is an easy fix :)
 

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Boy, people today are such babies.

When I was in college, I was driving home for Thanksgiving vacation with two girl riders. My engine threw a rod, there was a big puff of smoke, and we coasted to the side of the road. It was a rural area with no houses in sight. This was before we had things like OnStar or cellphones. I had to leave the girls alone in the car and hike 2 miles (up hill, I believe) to find a house that would let me use their phone to call my parents. Three hours later, they arrived with a borrowed flatbed.
So what's the point of your comments? Is it that you can walk two miles up hill? There is a safety issue if one"s vehicle abruptly malfunctions. Thank's Ivan for letting me know about your wife's experience. Hopefully there is a quick fix and its an one time event.
 

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So what's the point of your comments? Is it that you can walk two miles up hill? There is a safety issue if one"s vehicle abruptly malfunctions. Thank's Ivan for letting me know about your wife's experience. Hopefully there is a quick fix and its an one time event.
I think the point is everything experiences failures, from the most reliable car to the worst reliable. While it's unfortunate to have this happen, the Volt has two sources of power and an amount of redundancy typically, though clearly not in this case.

I'm confused why your wife couldn't shift into drive. Was she not in drive to begin with, maybe in Low instead? Did you mean to say Park?
 

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I think the point is everything experiences failures, from the most reliable car to the worst reliable. While it's unfortunate to have this happen, the Volt has two sources of power and an amount of redundancy typically, though clearly not in this case.

I'm confused why your wife couldn't shift into drive. Was she not in drive to begin with, maybe in Low instead? Did you mean to say Park?
I agree, failures can occur unexpectedly with any vehicle. What I want to learn is what a driver does during the failure and what happens. You asked some of the questions that I would like to know the answers.
 

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So what's the point of your comments? Is it that you can walk two miles up hill? There is a safety issue if one"s vehicle abruptly malfunctions. Thank's Ivan for letting me know about your wife's experience. Hopefully there is a quick fix and its an one time event.
He may have been trying to make the point that it was up hill both ways.:) At least then there would be a point to the posting:D:p I used to walk 10 miles to school and back going up hill both ways. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think the point is everything experiences failures, from the most reliable car to the worst reliable. While it's unfortunate to have this happen, the Volt has two sources of power and an amount of redundancy typically, though clearly not in this case.

I'm confused why your wife couldn't shift into drive. Was she not in drive to begin with, maybe in Low instead? Did you mean to say Park?
The '14 Volt was traveling at 70 mph prior to the sudden loss of propulsion. As the EV range went to 0, the car normally transitions to the engine.

We traveled this exact route the day before, and nothing was amiss. The engine switched on right when the EV range went to 0, and everything was fine.

This time, right at 0, nothing happened. Car became silent, check engine light switched on, and no forward propulsion was possible. The car was slowly decelerating (as though it was in Neutral). Car was still in "D," wife was pressing the accelerator, but the engine still didn't switch on. No other warning messages on the DIC either.

After my wife safely went to the shoulder and stopped, she tried to move the gearshift to P, R, N, D, L. Gearshift was able to move to all, but again, no forward movement was possible in D and L, and no reverse in R.

Strangely, the car couldn't be shut off easily either. It took 4-5 tries before the car actually switched off. It was stuck on the "spinning" intro with "Initializing..." on the DIC.


There's something else I noticed this spring/summer, versus last year. My EV range has been between 32 to 36 miles on a full charge. Normally I get 40-42. I had assumed the difference was due to new tires (I replaced the GY OEMs with GY Fuel Max tires at 45K). The KWH consumed on a full charge fluctuated between 9.2 to 10.0, with 9.6-9.8 being the norm this year. Again, no other warning signs of impending failure other than these factors.

I thought I saw a post from WopOnTour some time ago about a failed HPCM module, but I couldn't find it. Curious if this is similar to what he may have experienced?
 

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It seems odd that the codes indicate a problem with the battery, but the car drove fine on battery. When the engine was needed, that is when it finally quit.

I agree that these can be very dangerous events on a crowded freeway. Grateful there was no accident.
 

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Boy, people today are such babies.

When I was in college, I was driving home for Thanksgiving vacation with two girl riders. My engine threw a rod, there was a big puff of smoke, and we coasted to the side of the road. It was a rural area with no houses in sight. This was before we had things like OnStar or cellphones. I had to leave the girls alone in the car and hike 2 miles (up hill, I believe) to find a house that would let me use their phone to call my parents. Three hours later, they arrived with a borrowed flatbed.
 
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We bought our 2014 Volt new, and it has been a relatively trouble-free car. Bought in January 2014, and it now has 53K miles.

My wife mostly drives this car. Since she commutes late at night alone, and travels sometimes to rural areas, I decided to renew Onstar (Protection) on this car. It was probably one of the best decisions I made.

On 7/30/17, my wife was driving the Volt. As the Volt's EV miles were depleting to 0, she expected the car to transition to the engine, as it normally would. However, once the car went to "0" on EV miles, the engine wouldn't switch on, and the car began to coast from 70 mph and slow down.

She was on the fast lane (Highway 880 near Fremont, CA), and didn't have time to safely swerve all the way to the right side of the highway, so she drove to the shoulder near the median and as close as possible to the highway divider.

There were no warning messages on the display, and only the "check engine light" was illuminated. The car wouldn't shift to reverse or drive.

She called Onstar, who arranged for a tow and police dispatch (although the car was very close to the median, part of it was still dangerously close to the fast lane). A police cruiser came and parked behind her flashing the lights to warn traffic. Finally, after an hour, a flatbed came to tow the Volt to our local dealer (Capitol Chevrolet).

While waiting for that tow, she had Onstar pull the codes from the car. In the confusion, she wasn't able to capture the actual codes, but she was able to record the conversation with the Onstar rep. "Lithium Ion battery is not performing as expected; service within 7 days." "HPCM module is not performing as expected; service within 7 days." "Vehicle electronics are not performing as expected."

The car is still at Capitol and the Volt technician will start work on it tomorrow. It seems like this is an issue with the Voltec system. The Onstar team had kept her calm during the whole ordeal, but in retrospect, it was a truly frightening experience, and I'm glad she made it out safely.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? Hopefully this is a 1 time event--when the car is repaired, we don't want to have this scenario repeated again.

Ivan Jue
Hi Ivan,

This is definitely not normal, and I am truly sorry for any upset this may have caused your wife. At your earliest convenience, could you email your vehicle and contact information to me at [email protected]? I'd like to ensure my internal contacts have the opportunity to connect with your dealership about this situation.

Kindly,

Amber G.
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi Amber,

Thanks for reaching out to me--I greatly appreciate it.

I'll be reaching out to you on [email protected]

I spoke to the service advisor today, and the technician had received a "P0AFA-00" fault code from the car. They found a fault in Section #3 of the battery pack and had ordered this pack from GM.

They mentioned that it would take another week for the part to arrive.

Ivan Jue
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
So after 3 weeks, I got my '14 Volt back. Here are the final details of the repair order:

Customer states: Driving on Hwy 880, and the car stopped moving. If the accelerator was pressed, the vehicle would slow down. Customer pulled off to the side of the road and called Onstar. The check engine light was on and was told HPCM module was not performing as expected; service within 7 days. Li-Lion battery was not performing as expected; service within 7 days. Check and advise.

Work performed:

53188 Section #2 had a bad cell #43. Updated software codes. CB6E3-CD44E Check no start scan for codes. Has 1 P0AFA-00 battery system low voltage. Perform checks and found Cell 43 below specs 3.13v. All the rest at 3.52. Need to contact Technical Assistance. Called Tech Assistance on 8/3/17.

Tech was told to send in session logs for review, and they will call back. Was told to replace battery section #2. Part should be here by 8/10/17. Replaced battery Section #2 and perform balancing of cells with Tool EL50332. Warranty Code G9D0800Q0Q. Also fill and bleed cooling system and perform smoke test based needed to update software in HPCM2 and BECM clear all high voltage codes need to charge battery and recheck. Vehicle took full charge and road test ok.

-------------------

The '14 Volt seems to be ok now. Took a small road trip and emptied the EV range and car transitioned to engine (as it should). The EV range improved back to where it used to be (10.1 kWh when battery depleted), and ~40-42 EV range.
 

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Thanks for the update... still very confused how a bad cell makes the engine not come on. Seems like it'd be the opposite, a bad cell would prevent normal battery operation so car would force use of ICE all the time in a special mode (like it does when it's REALLY cold).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My gut is that this will be a recall issue soon (at least to reprogram the HPCM module so that the car doesn't come to a halt when there is a cell not taking a charge). Another person just posted on the Volt FB page that they experienced a similar event.

Both of the warning messages had "service within 7 days" at the end of the message. If I got this message well beforehand, I would have heeded it and taken it to the dealer. But there was no warning or message prior to the stalling event.
 

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Cars can be replaced, but lives can't. I'm glad to hear your wife made it safe, OP, and good to hear that the Volt is back to normal again.

To those who are underplaying this situation, I guess you guys have no clue how dangerous California highways can be, especially at night time. HWY 880 is notorious for speedsters and overall unattentive/reckless driving.
 

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Thanks for the update... still very confused how a bad cell makes the engine not come on. Seems like it'd be the opposite, a bad cell would prevent normal battery operation so car would force use of ICE all the time in a special mode (like it does when it's REALLY cold).
Starting the engine requires current from the high voltage battery, so I wonder if that had something to do with the ICE not starting. I doubt the remaining good portions of the battery lacked the current to start the engine, but maybe it is programmed not to try under certain failure states.
 
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