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Discussion Starter #1
So for those of you Bolt owners that have driven it to near depletion, you probably noticed that the GOM switches from a number estimate to just “LOW” as it approaches 10% SOC (not sure the exact SOC % it switches to “LOW”). You may have another 20+ miles of EV range, but now you’re stuck with just “LOW”! What’s a hypermiler to do?

In the owner’s manual, there is a setting where you can adjust when the Bolt automatically prompts whether you want to turn off the radio to preserve battery charge (does the radio use that much power??). You can choose when this warning prompt appears, 2% to 10% SOC in 2% increments.

So if you are on a Boltstats “longest drive on 1 charge” record run or something, you can set the warning prompt setting to 2%....once the warning pops, you know you definitely need to get your ass to a charging station ASAP, as you're probably down to 5 miles of actual range or less. ;)
 

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Mine is set on the defaults, and when I was testing things a couple weeks ago the last number of estimated miles I saw was '19' and the it changed to 'LOW and then when it got to a single bar remaining (I estimate that was with about 10 miles left, based on the distance I'd gone since I had seen the number 19 showing) it started flashing.
 

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WTF. That sounds so annoyingly/infuriatingly stupid.

Does any other BEV behave like this? (Some quick internet searching shows that Teslas, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Ford Focus EV all do NOT.)

What could be GM's rationale for denying the driver such basic information?

I guess maybe denying people this information would have the effect of encouraging people not to try to cut it too close to "zero", thus reducing battery degradation and reducing the likelihood of getting stranded. But it also treats the driver like a child who can't handle basic information, even though in some instances that information can be absolutely critical.
 

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It sounds like a smart move to me. People push them too far and run out of charge. You really shouldn't push it until it reaches down near 0. I have seen my Volt suddenly change from 1 or 2 miles to 0 in much less than that distance, the estimate for my Volt gas range does this around 20-30 miles. Seems to me that 20 miles is a reasonable point to do this in the Bolt EV (less than 10%). If the cells are unbalanced at all it could die relatively suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
WTF. That sounds so annoyingly/infuriatingly stupid.

Does any other BEV behave like this? (Some quick internet searching shows that Teslas, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Ford Focus EV all do NOT.)

What could be GM's rationale for denying the driver such basic information?

I guess maybe denying people this information would have the effect of encouraging people not to try to cut it too close to "zero", thus reducing battery degradation and reducing the likelihood of getting stranded. But it also treats the driver like a child who can't handle basic information, even though in some instances that information can be absolutely critical.
Same deal with any gas car. The gas tank gets low enough, and the range estimate will just display as "LOW".
 

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It sounds like a smart move to me.
No, it is stupid and annoying as jsmay says. It's easy enough to provide an appropriate warning without withholding potentially useful information from the driver. I would not assume the range estimates are very accurate at low SOC, but it's not nice to take them away from a driver who's probably already stressed about finding his next charge. Sounds like something a lawyer would do.

I suppose you can still use onstar or mychevrolet app to get your SOC to within 1 percent as your battery runs down. I would not expect that to be 100% accurate either, but at least as useful as the range meter. Still, it is not nice to make your customer wrestle with phone apps while driving just to get more detailed range info.
 

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Seems to me that 20 miles is a reasonable point to do this in the Bolt EV (less than 10%). If the cells are unbalanced at all it could die relatively suddenly.
Seems like it may be good to avoid a specific number, example that comes to mind is if someone has 15 miles (number shown) remaining and aims to get to a charge station 12 miles away then finds that there is a big hill 5 miles out and they get stranded -- so reverting the value to "LOW" maybe aims to prevent someone relying on the firm number so much?

Below (quick 5-second clip) is what I saw when the battery meter got down to only a single bar, which I think should have been at around 10 miles remaining but thankfully this was at a known location where the L2 station was 2-3 miles away.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdHGZMaOEF4
 

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Same deal with any gas car. The gas tank gets low enough, and the range estimate will just display as "LOW".
Only the Chevy gas cars AFAIK. I had a Chevy Cruze and when it gets below 20 miles, it just says low fuel. Not in my Corolla, Sienna, Matrix, Volvo, Subaru...

Didn't happen on my Chevy Volt yet, it's still on its first tank of gas.
 

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Only the Chevy gas cars AFAIK. I had a Chevy Cruze and when it gets below 20 miles, it just says low fuel. Not in my Corolla, Sienna, Matrix, Volvo, Subaru...

Didn't happen on my Chevy Volt yet, it's still on its first tank of gas.
On the 2016 Volt, the gas range will show "LOW" when the level gets down to about 1-1.5 gallons (only my guess), but the EV range will stay in numbers right down to zero.
 

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Very annoying on the volt. The way my tdi did it was better. It would simply switch to showing miles left instead of whatever else it was showing when it got to 50 miles left.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Only the Chevy gas cars AFAIK. I had a Chevy Cruze and when it gets below 20 miles, it just says low fuel. Not in my Corolla, Sienna, Matrix, Volvo, Subaru...

Didn't happen on my Chevy Volt yet, it's still on its first tank of gas.
My Ford C-Max Energi did the same thing....possibly even more babying. After it switched to "LOW" on a road trip back home, I managed to drive another 40 miles and made it home without stopping. Definitely puckered up those last few miles though!
 

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Only the Chevy gas cars AFAIK. I had a Chevy Cruze and when it gets below 20 miles, it just says low fuel. Not in my Corolla, Sienna, Matrix, Volvo, Subaru...

Didn't happen on my Chevy Volt yet, it's still on its first tank of gas.
No, it's not just Chevys. My Lexus' range meter shows just 'low' when it drops below something like 28 miles. But I can still watch the gas gauge needle slowly drop below 'E' and have a pretty good idea of what's in the tank.

Bro1999 is right, gas cars do play similar games, including rigging the gauge so that there is a couple gallons left in the tank, even when the needle does point straight at 'E'. I'd rather have the best information available, even if it is imprecise.

What I'd love to know is, how honest is the Bolt's fuel gauge? I.e., when the app says 'E' - I mean 0% SOC - is it really empty, or is the SOC gauge rigged so that you can go a few percent below zero, and still have a little juice left, analogous to the gas gauge needle designed to go a half-inch past empty?
 

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No, it is stupid and annoying as jsmay says. It's easy enough to provide an appropriate warning without withholding potentially useful information from the driver.
Good heavens, however did we manage with analogue gas gauges whose accuracy was suspect to begin with?

This reminds me of posts I've seen on the Prius forums where people express dismay because they ran out of gas after the last marker on the fuel gauge began flashing. What did they expect? If you're that close to fuel (or electron) exhaustion then you're doing something wrong, IMHO.

Would any of you fly on an airline that managed jet fuel this way?
 

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Good heavens, however did we manage with analogue gas gauges whose accuracy was suspect to begin with?

This reminds me of posts I've seen on the Prius forums where people express dismay because they ran out of gas after the last marker on the fuel gauge began flashing. What did they expect? If you're that close to fuel (or electron) exhaustion then you're doing something wrong, IMHO.

Would any of you fly on an airline that managed jet fuel this way?
In my old Volvo C30, I figured out that the needle pointing to "E" was actually nowhere near empty, and the needle could drop a good margin below the "E" level before you actually had to worry about running out.

Unfortunately, I assumed my GMC Terrain has a similar buffer, but it turned out when the needle pointed to "E", it was actually pretty close to running out. I actually ran out of gas 1 time a few miles from home, thinking I could make it. Whoops. Did find out GM road side assistance does work. Dude showed up, popped in a gallon of gas, and I was on my way....after about an hour delay.
 

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WTF. That sounds so annoyingly/infuriatingly stupid. Does any other BEV behave like this? (Some quick internet searching shows that Teslas, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Ford Focus EV all do NOT.)
Actually, the Leaf's GOM when it hits "ZERO", it switches to three dashes, "---" and flashes. You can still get about 5-10km at city speeds when it is 'below zero.' -> I've done this in -20C weather, it's nervewracking, but I made it to the L3 DC charger I was aiming for after driving 5km past this point, and still 'turtle mode' - the LEAF's signal that the battery will die any second - still never engaged. When I hooked up to the L3 Charger, the screen indicated that even though I was below Zero, there was still 11% of the battery there.

All of this is to say, that the NISSAN LEAF does a similar warning, just with different syntax than the Bolt.

Bottom line: You get to know your EV with a few close calls.
 

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Bottom line: You get to know your EV with a few close calls.
I would prefer someone else to experience the close calls, and pass the info along, so I don't have to! ;)

Better yet would be if Chevy would just give us their best estimate or explain what margins they've built in and what degree of accuracy they expect from the gauges/estimates.
 

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In our Toyota Sienna, there is a mode that you can select, and it shows DTE or Distance To Empty. It gives an estimate of the miles left based on your fuel remaining. The low fuel indicator light on the dash board will glow yellow as the needle drops near E. Then I check the DTE on the ceiling cabin, it slowly goes down to zero as I drove. I can still drive 60 miles AFTER it has gone down to zero, so I was joking to my wife that we are amazingly driving on fumes! I know it can damage our catalytic converter, but I think there is that reserved of about 3 gallons after the zero mark. We have never experienced driving it until the gas really ran out. So it is still inaccurate, on the side of safety, even if it displays the number of miles left.
 

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Perhaps it should read LOW 10 miles Min - 20 miles Max, and as 10 miles go by it hits 0 miles Min - 10 miles Max. After all, unlike a gas station on every corner, you soon need to find either a charge station or a 120V outlet you can park at for an hour or two.

I expect I'll never see the warning as 1) my daily use would never be an issue and 2) I'd replenish regularly rather than waiting for a near empty battery.
 

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On my last trip on interstate, my Bolt changed to LOW at about 30 miles of range. Maybe because I was traveling at 62 mph with last 200 miles at highway speed? I personally think this is very reasonable since there are a lot of people out there who just don't pay much attention. Most people on these forums are detail oriented...not your everyday drivers.
 
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