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Since electric drive is inefficient on the highway, but more efficient in the city, I would like to have a user-defined speed where the engine comes on automatically. I would have an 'Auto-On' option in settings that turns the engine on at 50 mph. Others can change it as they wish. Yes, it's easy to turn on, but my wife hates cars and she hates even more cars with many buttons. For her sake and all the people that shifting into 'D' is the max they are willing to do, please automate the driving efficiency as well.
 

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The engine in the volt is just a generator that charges the battery. Turning on the gas engine should not increase the efficiency of the Volt's setup. The reason electric cars are less efficient is mostly due to the wind resistance. The reason dino-mobiles are more efficient is the gearing in the transmissions.
 

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In the case on a longer trip when you are going to use up all of the electric range anyway, it is more efficient to use gasoline on the highway and save the EV range for low speed, in-town or stop and go driving. The 2016/17 Volt Owner's Manual mentions this.

Use Hold Mode on a trip where it is
expected that all of the electric
charge will be depleted. Use Hold
Mode mainly during highway or high
speed driving to maximize both EV
miles and fuel efficiency.
But it isn't necessarily more efficient to always use gasoline when above 50 mph. I spend more than half of my commute travelling above 50 mph. I typically don't use any gasoline for commuting, nor do I want to.

This idea, or those similar to it, has been discussed before. One idea was to have a selectable "trip mode" where the vehicle would switch to gas when cruise control was engaged, which should correspond to periods of highway driving, allowing battery energy to be saved for low speed driving. But that adds another selectable mode, and you're looking for less driver involvement.
 

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Sure, more efficient to run if planning on long distance because any motor works better when running consistently and opposed to cycling. The computer would also have to account for the distance in that situation so a single input of 50mph would not work for many people. I drive +50 mph, but that's on 4 lane roads with traffic lights which would result in cycling for me when I wouldn't be depleting the pack anyway. Burning gas is still less efficient source of energy so distance would have to be a key input for this to work.
 

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Since electric drive is inefficient on the highway, but more efficient in the city, I would like to have a user-defined speed where the engine comes on automatically. I would have an 'Auto-On' option in settings that turns the engine on at 50 mph. Others can change it as they wish. Yes, it's easy to turn on, but my wife hates cars and she hates even more cars with many buttons. For her sake and all the people that shifting into 'D' is the max they are willing to do, please automate the driving efficiency as well.
Buy a Prius. I think it does something like this.
 

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The engine in the volt is just a generator that charges the battery. Turning on the gas engine should not increase the efficiency of the Volt's setup. The reason electric cars are less efficient is mostly due to the wind resistance. The reason dino-mobiles are more efficient is the gearing in the transmissions.
Basically everything in the quote above is false information. The Engine in Gen1 and Gen2 Volt's CAN drive the wheels directly at freeway speeds. And electric cars are far more efficient at converting energy to drive the wheels than any ICE/transmission combo.
 

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If it's really too much to put the car in hold mode for long trips, maybe you should have purchased a Prius. Then you wouldn't have to plug it in either. Trade driving a significant amount of time using no gas for the convenience of not having to think about the car so much and still get about 50mpg.

Or you can just let the car deal with when the engine comes on and just take the minor hit in optimum efficiency.
 

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GM is working on a Smart Mode which will try to optimize based on trip dimensions, road speeds ahead and also elevation changes ahead. It was part of a recent survey the Volt Advisory team sent out. I think they want to charge a fee for it and I believe it should be free for those who buy navigation. For me, I toggled modes a bit today in my 2011 in 88-101F temps and got 43 electric miles and 41 mpg for a drive of 83 mi. Slight elevation decrease over the distance and some 66-70 highway speeds for maybe 15 of of those gas miles.
 

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For me, I toggled modes a bit today in my 2011 in 88-101F temps and got 43 electric miles and 41 mpg for a drive of 83 mi. Slight elevation decrease over the distance and some 66-70 highway speeds for maybe 15 of of those gas miles.
Toggling between driving modes in a 2011 Volt suggests you used Mountain Mode (2011/2012s had no Hold mode) to enter Range Extending Mode. Any increase in battery soc while driving in Range Extending mode (from regeneration or from MM recharging) should count as Gas Miles when the battery power is used. Thanks to a programming "glitch" in the 2011/2012 Volts, driving on MM recharged battery power is counted as Electric Miles. I note you didn’t mention your trip’s Gas Used number (2011 Volts had no kWH Used display). An MPGcs of 41 would suggest your trip used roughly 1 gallon for those 40 gas miles. An MPG of 41 for 83 total miles suggests instead about 2 gallons used, and some of those electric miles were derived from MM recharging.
 

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The reason electric cars are less efficient is mostly due to the wind resistance. The reason dino-mobiles are more efficient is the gearing in the transmissions.
Wind resistance affects all cars, gas or electric. A volt driver should always use electric mode, unless he/she is certain the trip will exceed the electric range by a very significant amount. Even if your trip 55 miles, and you do the first 53 in EV mode at full highway speed, you are still ahead by using up your battery.
 

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GM is working on a Smart Mode which will try to optimize based on trip dimensions, road speeds ahead and also elevation changes ahead. It was part of a recent survey the Volt Advisory team sent out. I think they want to charge a fee for it and I believe it should be free for those who buy navigation. For me, I toggled modes a bit today in my 2011 in 88-101F temps and got 43 electric miles and 41 mpg for a drive of 83 mi. Slight elevation decrease over the distance and some 66-70 highway speeds for maybe 15 of of those gas miles.
If I was going to pay for it I'd have to see what return I could expect in savings. Sometimes travel time is more critical than efficiency so I can see often having to decide if the efficiency gain was worth the extra time. Heck, I do that now with my Tom Tom for free. It probably doesn't account as well for parameters as an EV specific mapping might. The fastest route vs. economical is often identical or nearly so. The shortest route often seems more efficient from an EV perspective as it often avoids highways. The travel time is usually substantially longer though.
 

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When in hold mode, and the ICE is running, the Volt will direct ICE power to directly drive the wheels at certain speeds where it is more efficient than running the electric motor off the ICE-generated electricity. Of course you have to be in hold mode for this to happen. In normal mode the ICE is off. In hold mode the car has two choices to power the wheels and it is smart enough to use the most efficient one (or the most efficient blend of the two) for any speed.

But if the total trip can be made on battery alone, I always prefer to stay in normal mode. Usually if I make a longer trip than the battery alone will provide, I try to use hold mode on the freeway portions and normal mode on the city streets where there are red lights and stop signs.
 

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The engine in the volt is just a generator that charges the battery. ....
Nope it's just an engine that drives the wheels directly in some modes.
The Volt is a hybrid when it's not an EV.
The main thing is to arrive at your destination with the battery depleted so you can suck up the electrons.
 

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Nope it's just an engine that drives the wheels directly in some modes.
The Volt is a hybrid when it's not an EV.
The main thing is to arrive at your destination with the battery depleted so you can suck up the electrons.
Not true either. It is an engine that when running can generate electricity for one of the electric motors and/or the battery at lower speeds or engage through a type of transmission when necessary.
 

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Not true either. It is an engine that when running can generate electricity for one of the electric motors and/or the battery at lower speeds or engage through a type of transmission when necessary.
Whenever the engine is running the 2011-2015 Volt is either operating as a "series hybrid" or as a power-split "series/parallel hybrid" depending upon the clutch setting in the transmission. Of course, hybrids like the Prius also run for periods of time on just an electric motor and battery power. So I would say the Volt is a hybrid. It is an EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle) which, by GM's proposed definition, means that it is a highway capable vehicle that defaults to running on any available battery charge regardless of vehicle speed or acceleration and then uses an alternative power source (gas engine) to extend its driving range.

Whenever the engine is running in a 2016 or 2017 Volt it always has a mechanical path to the wheels and most of the torque and power from the engine flows mechanically.
 
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