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Discussion Starter #1
I've only had my '16 Volt since the end of July. I've used the preconditioning many time in the afternoons to cool the car off, but haven't really messed with it in the mornings because temps have been comfortable enough that I typically don't use any of the HVAC settings on my commute......except maybe the fan here and there. So I haven't really bothered preconditioning the battery/cabin up to this point. I did it a few times, but I don't think I noticed a change in my range so I figured it wasn't worth the effort in the summer months.

Now that its starting to really cool off overnight, I'm curious to know when the overnight temperature drop is going to effect my battery range for my morning commute? I'm not concerned about comfort (as that is subjective), just effects on battery range. And I guess, more importantly, at what temperature will preconditioning the battery actually help improve the range? My commute is about 60 miles of mostly highway, so I typically use all of my charge and a few drops of gas for my morning commute.

Anyone have any insight?
 

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My understanding of 'preconditioning' is that it only affects the cabin temperature. If you car is plugged in all night, the batteries are automatically kept at the ideal temperature and are ready to go in the morning.

While you note that comfort is not a large concern, your 60 mile commute may require a good bit more gas when it gets cold in winter months, as much more battery will be used to maintain its own temperature. You may only see 40-50 miles of range. At that point you might benefit from preconditioning the cabin while plugged in, or even starting your commute on gas rather than finishing on it. Since you have to use gas anyway, I presume that is a more economical way to get the cabin to your set point, and easier for the battery to maintain it. Lots of fun ways to experiment. Or just drive it normally and let it do its thing.
 

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And, while giving a nod to drmx for a good and correct answer, what Pez might be LOOKING for is "how long does it take to recover a charge from preconditioning back to full? And for me, provisionally noting that this is Gen 1 not Gen 2, I can do two preconditioning cycles starting 35 minute before leaving and 25 minutes before leaving and the car will still say "fully charged" on the dash most of the time 15 minutes after the second one is done, with the interior still pretty comfortable. If I start it late, then either I do only one precondition and the car cabin isn't really had the chill taken out, or I do two and then I get "plug in to charge" but ten bars on the meter. That's on a 240v charge, though. I'm not sure there's any way to precondition on 120v and still have both a warm car and a fully battery. At least not at temperatures where this Wisconsin boy thinks preconditioning is worth the bother: single digits Fahrenheit or below.
 

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Great responses. From my perspective I pre-condition anytime I know I will need AC or HEAT based on OAT the second I pull out of my garage. I try to let it complete it's first cycle (usually) about 10 minutes and then let it finish charging (usually another 10 or 15 minutes) and then head out.

On my 11 mile daily trip to work I can drive in HOT or COLD temps with very little hit on my efficiency or range. On my way home after the car has sat outside all day you can see how big a hit temps take on your efficiency or range.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm typically up and out the door in about 30 mins.....and I know myself well enough that I will not be setting an earlier alarm just to warm the car up. I'll wake up, hit it once, and I'll head out as soon as I'm ready. Regardless if it has recovered 100%.

I know the car will keep the battery at some minimum temperature threshold when it gets cold out. I guess my question is more geared to comparing that minimum threshold versus optimum battery temperature......and if preconditioning gets your battery closer to that optimum temp before you yank the plug. (hence using less energy from the pack to heat itself once you are rolling)

Taking the cabin temp out of the equation, does preconditioning intentionally heat the drivetrain battery? And if so, what is the ambient outside temperature where it is a good idea to start using it? I could be wrong, but I would assume they would rather run the battery at optimum battery temp instead of a minimum battery temp as LiIon batteries are much happier when they are warm and toasty. I think this kind of relates to the "burping" technique I've read about here and there, but I never saw it brought up about things being related to outside ambient temperature.

beats me, but I'm interested it toying with it as the weather cools off. I'd love to see the effect of outside ambient temperature data compared to range in a controlled environment. Pretty much impossible to do in real life, but I'll bet Chevy has it. Did I mention I'm a spreadsheet junkie? :)
 

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It depends on your personal comfort level more than anything. Also, a 120v EVSE won't recover the battery charge fast enough to save range. To save range, don't use heat or A/C at all. Some people here do that. I don't get it.

If it's below or above my personal comfort (about 60F to 80F), I precondition whether I'm plugged in or not.

I don't worry about range since it's very dependent on temperature and how much the HVAC is used given the same commute. My commute plus lunch run cannot be done with ELR's range, so, I just don't worry about range. I DO think about comfort. My cabin is set at 74F-auto-comfort all year round.

Relax. Use some gas. The car will be happier and your mental condition will also be good.
 

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Don't mean to hijack the thread but on a related note: I know the pre-conditioning cycle can be run twice (each for 10 minutes). If you start preconditioning the car and you use the app or fob to request a 2nd preconditioning cycle before the first one is done, will it extend 10 more minutes from the time you ask for the 2nd cycle or will at add 10 minutes to the end of the first cycle?
 

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These are Gen 1 answers, but should be similar enough.

I don't typically use HVAC above 50*F outside temperature unless there is moisture/fog/rain.

Regarding range, there seem to be temperatures where the range hit is noticeable even with no HVAC. There are noticeable changes at 60*F which is about low-normal summer range, 45*F loses a bit and down just under 30* F is another seemingly step change.

I believe the battery heater tries to maintain 50*F if I recall correctly. It takes a while for a battery to cold soak to that temperature if garaged, but it will cool to that temperature outdoors in 10 hours at 20*F. This battery heater is approximately 1KW.

I'll precondition if cold soaked outdoors at less than 40*F, but haven't really seen a benefit when garaged. Another option championed by Ari_C is to just turn the car on in ECO mode heat while plugged in, which uses approximately the same power than the L2 charge supplies. You can do this for periods longer than the 10 minutes that preconditioning mode supports and it seems to extend range ever so slightly.

It's a little early in the year for this. It won't be long before the posts start flowing about that winter acronym starting with E!
 

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I've only had my '16 Volt since the end of July. I've used the preconditioning many time in the afternoons to cool the car off, but haven't really messed with it in the mornings ... I'm curious to know when the overnight temperature drop is going to effect my battery range for my morning commute? ...., more importantly, at what temperature will preconditioning the battery actually help improve the range? ...
Anyone have any insight?
I use preconditioning below 25 or so for comfort, but not for range because I don't worry about electric range and I think the improvement in range is small compared to the normal drop off in winter time range, which I have found can be more that 50%, - I see estimated range of near 50 in the summer in my Gen 1, and around 23 in the dead of winter. this on my commute which is 20 miles long, so I only see the generator turn in if I'm in ERDTT conditions on work days. burning gas is a much more efficienty way to heat the car anyway than is using electricity that we generated 90 miles away with a large very hot boiler and a 40% at best energy conversion process up front. note that my first winter with the volt I got strange in the head and would drive around with gloves and a hat on and the heat off to maximize my "electric range"- Behavior which I now consider to be a sign of some sort of latent OCD illness, which I hope never comes back.... Just turn the heat up and drive!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All good info. This was all out of curiousity more than anything else. Considering I can't usually even get to work on a full charge in perfect conditions, I'm sure I'll just burn a little more gas and go on with life. I don't get too hung up on hypermiling or anything. I usually just drive how I would any other car. I'm not about to freeze my ass off just to get an extra mile or two, just so the the ICE can kick in for the last 10 miles anyway. I was just trying to figure out if I could get a little more range by preconditioning on those 45-60 degree mornings where I'm most likely not going to be using the HVAC anyway. If preconditioning might get me some more range, then I'll use it. If it is just to warm the cabin, when I have no need/desire to warm the cabin, I won't waste my time.
 
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