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Hi all. I'm a small town boy from up in Canada, and I am just curious as to what all your expertise can tell me about batterie operation way up here.

My big concern is that in the winter here, we can occasionally hit -40*C. It happened twice this year and lasted a week each time. I had a hard time getting my truck to start (yes it's a Ford and I know that's half my problem...) but we had many vehicles that didn't want to run around town.

I'm wondering, how will the VOLT hold a charge at temperatures like that?? What kind of effect can I expect it to have on the distance I can travel?? If it's normally a 40 mile range, will that suddenly drop to 20 or 30 miles?? I would hope that the smart folks at GM would give me something that could warm the batteries before or during use, to heat them up and allow for a more 'normal' operational temperature.

Now, I'm sure your thinking -40 is pretty extream, and your right, but we also had a few stretches in the -30 range, and those lasted over two weeks. All this can not be good for Lithium-ion batteries.

I would love to have a VOLT for $30 000 and can't wait till they hit the market. I have no problems supporting my southern brothers in this bold new initiative and would always prefer to buy a domestic car (see the Ford quip above).

I just hope that they keep in mind the extream weather that everyone, north to south, will encounter. Good luck GM, and don't forget us way up here. Some of us want to get off oil nearly as bad, even if the guys just down the road are currently pulling the stuff out of the sand.
 

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my 2 cents worth

I'm not a battery expert, but my friend who owns his own auto repair shop tells me that hot weather is harder on regular car batteries than cold weather (I'm from Canada too). This is just my own personal experience, but my Scangauge in my Colorado shows my battery voltage consistantly higher in the winter months than in the summer months. In the summer it usually hovers around 13.8 Volts whereas in the winter it is usually around 14.2 Volts. The compressor has little to do with the difference because in the winter it's on almost all the time on the defrost setting, and I don't use the AC all the time in the summer.

I don't know if this would apply to the Li-ion batteries of the Volt but thought I'd just throw that out there for discussion.
 

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I'm not a battery expert, but my friend who owns his own auto repair shop tells me that hot weather is harder on regular car batteries than cold weather (I'm from Canada too). This is just my own personal experience, but my Scangauge in my Colorado shows my battery voltage consistantly higher in the winter months than in the summer months. In the summer it usually hovers around 13.8 Volts whereas in the winter it is usually around 14.2 Volts. The compressor has little to do with the difference because in the winter it's on almost all the time on the defrost setting, and I don't use the AC all the time in the summer.

I don't know if this would apply to the Li-ion batteries of the Volt but thought I'd just throw that out there for discussion.
I'm not saying it's necessarily the AC compressor clutch that accounts for the voltage difference, but I wanted to point out that most vehicles disable the AC compressor for defrost below a certain air temperature, so in a Canadian winter I'm guessing the AC clutch isn't drawing any power most days, even on defrost.
 

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Cold temperatures decrease the activity of the atoms in whatever chemistry is being used (lithium ion, LI-PO, NI-CAD, NIMH, ETC). This is why it is good to keep your smaller batteries (AAA, AA, D, C, etc) in the refrigerator for long term storage. A cold atmosphere will slow down the atoms, make voltage drop easier when the batteries are put under a load, which decreases whatts. So, cold batteries will signigicantly impact the performance of the batteries directly causing a decrease in performance of the car itself.
 

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During the process of charging and discharging the battery pack itself generates heat (sometimes too much of it). So, in the morning as you unplug the Volt it should be ready to go at full energy. Maybe the gell heat pad type of battery pack jacket should help equalize heat and cold. (The heat may be directed to the cabin, also.)
 

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http://gm-volt.com/2010/12/12/experiencing-the-chevy-volt-engine-running-due-to-low-temperature/#comment-253680

Great post I thought since it quoted the manual.

#70 on Dec 12th, 2010 (3:56 pm)
LRGVProVolt Says

Batteries have difficulty putting out power in cod weather and attempting to draw to much current at extremely low temperatures have adverse effects on the chemistry of the battery. Voltec technology addresses this problem by including the ICE to warm the battery and providing power to the wheels until the battery operating temp is reached. Without gas you can do neither; warming the battery is essential; powering the vehicle by electricity is out of the question until the pack reaches the proper temp; powering the vehicle by the ICE is impossible without gasoline. In this scenario, you will need to tow the vehicle to a gas station!

There. I’ve answered your question. I ended up going to the online manual to answer the question I posed in my comment to you, myself. The manual can be seen at:

http://www.chevrolet.com/assets/pdf/owners/manuals/2011/2011_chevrolet_volt_owners.pdf

On page 1-18, the first page covering the Battery and Efficiency, in the center paragraph of the column covering Charging recommends “Do not allow the vehicle to remain in temperature extremes for long periods without being driven or plugged in.”

On Page 1-26, “Charging
Keep the vehicle plugged in, even when fully charged, to keep the battery temperature ready for the next drive. This is important when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold.”

On Page 5-47, Charging
Keep the vehicle plugged in, even when fully charged, to keep the battery temperature ready for the next drive. This is important when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold.

On Page 8-1, “Automatic Climate Control System
The climate control buttons and the touch screen are used to adjust the heating, cooling, and ventilation. The vehicle may require the use of an auxiliary heat source under certain cold conditions. This provides additional heating and defrost capability obtained by running the engine, even if the high voltage battery is adequately charged. Under these conditions,
the engine will start and use fuel. Make sure there is fuel in the tank. Do not allow the vehicle to remain in extreme temperatures for long periods without being driven or being plugged in.”

Perhaps this quote from Page 9-28 answers your question:
“Out of Fuel/Engine Unavailable
If the vehicle runs out of fuel, or the engine will not start due to a malfunction, the vehicle can
continue to be driven in Electric Mode. The vehicle will have less responsive acceleration.”

On Page 10-28, “Keep the vehicle plugged in, even when fully charged, to keep the high
voltage battery temperature ready for the next drive. This is important when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold. A vehicle cover, which can reduce sun loading on the vehicle and improve high voltage battery life, is available from your dealer.”

On Page 10-29, “Extended Storage
Remove the 12‐volt battery black, negative (−) cable from the battery to keep the 12‐volt battery from running down or use a battery trickle charger. In addition, to avoid potential damage to the high voltage battery, perform the following recommended steps: . Store the high voltage battery with 1/2 charge or less. . Always store the vehicle in an environment between −10°C 14°F) and 30°C (86°F). . Vehicle storage at extreme
temperatures can cause damage to the high voltage battery. Remember to reconnect the 12‐volt battery when ready to drive the vehicle.”

Over and over again, the service manual states that the vehicle should not be left standing for long times. The owner must drive the car or have it plugged in under extreme temperature conditions. To me, this seems to indicate that it would be prudent to store the Volt in a garage, not leaving it outside in extreme cold conditions. If unable to keep the vehicle in a garage and you are forced to leave it out side over night, then you should drive it first thing the next day when you get up for the day.
 

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Boy, scott, you keep finding the most amazing oooold threads to post to :)

Common sense says that when GM writes "extended storage", they mean weeks if not month. Nonetheless, we have people here interpreting that as "overnight", and then drawing absurd conclusions like the one you quoted above. I guess GM's going to have to step in and explicitly say something like "3 weeks or more".
 

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Boy, scott, you keep finding the most amazing oooold threads to post to :)
Common sense says that when GM writes "extended storage", they mean weeks if not month. Nonetheless, we have people here interpreting that as "overnight", and then drawing absurd conclusions like the one you quoted above. I guess GM's going to have to step in and explicitly say something like "3 weeks or more".
ChrisC, you have to remember that I'm pretty new around here so all these threads are NEW to me. I do searches a lot as well.

Think about new folks coming to this forum and that they may have questions on things that have come up. Also some threads that were riddled with conjecture and question can now be answered...so a search for a answer and finding an old thread could benefit with having the most current PDF manual or GM released official answers.

Hope that helps explain my perspective some ... you old timer you <grin>
 

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Reviving old thread for Christmas mrhoads?

Well I guess I'm a bit more gentle with my foot. My coldest days have been single digits F, and I've had lots of "engine running due to temp" with days. in the summer I was getting 45-50s, now getting 35-43.
 

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Just remember, you don't have to be in the "great white north" to be in the great white!
Merry Christmas from the great white northern New Mexico (that you saw forecast last night on the evening news). ;)
 

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It was 27 degrees when I left for work this morning. I had 34 mile on my battery. The lowest yet this year has been 32 miles. The most was 44 miles. I have found out that it has a lot to do with one's driving style.
 
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