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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if I need some knowledge with these forums but I will continue to learn as I go.
I am a new owner of a 2011 Volt and live in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada. I have had it now for over a month and here are some questions that I have. (Not sure if I have to make a new Thread)
1) For the first 5 days after a full charge my Volt said I had 60km of range. After the next week it went up to 64km after a full charge. The last 2 weeks it has now been going down to, as of this morning 44km after a full charge.
Winter is coming but it is only -3 C and I will be having 2 to 3 months of -20 to -30 temps.
What am I to expect and can anyone tell me why my mileage is decreasing?
My thoughts of course are a colder battery but its getting to the point where the low km along with having to start using the climate control isn't what I planned on experiencing.
2) If I run a command start in the morning while parked in my garage or on the driveway plugged it, will the gas generator start? I am trying to use my Volt with no gas for as long as I can but am not sure what will make the gas generator run. I understand that of course it will run once I have depleted the battery but I also wonder if it will run if it's -20C outside and I have the auto climate control on.

Thanks all for your input as it is really appreciated.

P. S. Does anyone have any experiences you can share with me over the winter season so I know if I should plan to use this Volt through winter or park it and use my Matrix.
 

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Your mileage will drop in the cold as you thought. The cold affects the battery capacity to some degree but also the use of the heater to warm the car interior and the heater that is part of the battery thermal control will use more energy.

If you have heated seats, use them and then lower your cabin temps. I have mine set at 22C and climate is in Eco mode and use the heated seats and only adjust if I have rear seat passengers.

Regarding the distance indicator, it is based on your past few days of experience so that it can be as accurate as possible. You will find that the range will extend if the day warms up significantly. In Canada we can have very cold nights and warmer days so that will factor in if you drive mid-day when it is warmer or when the sun helps heat the car interior.

In minus 20C + temps your range will drop quite a bit and you will burn some gas but remember, your gas only vehicle would use more gas in cold extremes as well.

Depending on model year, the engine can and will be used for cabin heating. 2013 has this. Not sure about 2012 or 2011.
 

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Your mileage will decrease when the outside temperature falls. Mine has dropped from a steady 45 miles (72km) to 32 miles (51km) or so. The Volt's battery management system will keep the battery itself warm, but this uses some of your battery capacity, so your mileage drops. Using heat for the passenger compartment also uses a lot your battery capacity. Combine the two and you lose some driving range.

Here is some more information in a related thread: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?17682-Winter-Climate-Settings-how-to-set-up&highlight=battery+range
 

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Hi Kipp,

When using gasoline, your Volt will always get better miles per gallon than any version of the Matrix.

I recommend that you get a level 2 charger, and leave your Volt plugged in whenever it is at your home. This will allow you to more easily pre-heat the Volt's cabin without sacrificing any electric mileage. The Volt will also use electricity when plugged in, but not in use, to operate the battery thermal management system. This can also benefit your electric range in cold temperatures.

One can get a level 2 charger installed for under $1,000.00, and it will enhance the value of your real estate.
 

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You're going to have to use a little gas every day, while driving, if the temps go below -3*C (about 27*F) - that's in the owner's manual. What was your expectation? Battery-powered cars are not yet as "cold tolerant" as you might have expected. So, maybe in this case, your expectations were higher than how EVs work in reality. But you will use far-less gas than in a regular ICE-based vehicle. Do a remote start (or two) in the mornings prior to driving to allow the grid to help warm the battery thermal management system (TMS) and cabin temperatures. Use seat heaters too as they are better in economically warming you compared to the heated air system.
 

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Kipp,
Congratulation on your 2011 Volt purchase. The one advice I can offer is if you have not already done so, download the owner’s manual from the below GM site.
http://www.chevrolet.com/owners/chevy-manuals.html
Having the manual in a PDF allows you to quickly search for words like “maximize the electric range”.

When I drive my Volt in temperature below -5*C (23*F), the engine will run every so often for about a minute even if the battery is fully charged. This helps keep the battery warm in extreme cold temperatures and assists in interior heating.
 

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I'm a bit confused by the fact you have a 2011 model as they were not offered for sale in Canada. I think only one or two of them were imported into Canada from the U.S. An easy way to tell is if you have passive door lock keyless entry (little silver button on each of the handles). if you do, you have a 2012. If you don't you have a 2011 model year. Since you likely have a 2012, go to the config menu option. If you have very cold setting you are in luck and bought a late model 2012. If you don't see threads below for discussion. Unfortunately anytime it hits -4 degrees your ICE will fire. This is my biggest pet peeve about my Volt.

I see you found the Canadian thread. which is great. Here are some helpful threads below. Despite all the lobbying we are not getting a software upgrade. It's not ever going to happen.

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?14872-Please-lobby-for-cold-weather-config-option&p=162915#post162915

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?11389-Temperature-Hack-keeps-engine-off.&p=157618#post157618

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8210-Volt-Engine-Operation-in-Cold-Ambient-Temperatures
 

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Your questions about cold weather have been answered, just wanted to go over your initial experience of having the range go up from 60km to 64km. That's also normal. The range varies because, while the energy in the battery is the same, different drivers use more or less energy per km. The Volt learns how you drive the car and adjusts that number accordingly. It doesn't mean that you were getting more stored charge, just that you were a more efficient driver than average. On advantage is that this lets you know if your teenager has been using your Volt when you've been out of town! :D

That's going away because you're going to be an efficient driver in cold weather. The bonus is that when it warms up your range will no doubt come roaring back.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for your responses. I can read all day long about the Volt as I just love it.
It is a 2011 Volt and you are correct, we in Canada only started selling the 2012's. I did buy it in the US and imported it to Canada.
I wish I bought the 2012 as I love the option to not have to use my fob to unlock the doors, something I overlooked when I bought as I though it had this feature as I only test drove the 2012's here in Canada so I thought they were all the same.
My expectations were to try to use as little gas as I can. In Spring, Summer and Fall I will have no problem doing this as I will always plug in at home and then when I am at work. Winter is another beast so I am hoping that I will get at least 48km (29 miles) from the battery as this is what is says lately after being plugged in my garage which the garage temperature is 12C (53 F) but will go as low as -15C (5 F) in Dec, Jan and Feb. Outside temps will be during the winter months an average of -20C (-4 F) I am hoping it doesn't go any lower when the temp drops to these temperatures.
I will learn as I go and as winter comes. :(
Thanks all,
Kipp
 

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You'll probably get your 48 electric kilometers when it gets colder - but not without gas use. The car will run the engine just enough to generate cabin heat when it gets to -4C or lower - no option (2013s and a few very late flight 2012s have a choice between two temps for this - one higher, and one lower, but still warmer than the average temp you quoted. The message on the DIC is Engine Running Due To Low Temperature, which you'll see around the forums here as ERDTLT.) Because the cabin will be heated by these short (2-3 minute?) runs of the gas engine, you can put it back into fan only and get the electric range mostly back (still lower due to parts being colder.)

(Or if ultimate electric range isn't the issue, you can leave it in comfort and the electric heater will reduce the frequency of ERDTLT starts - in the less severe cold down here if the car is in Comfort, it runs once on startup, but not again when in Comfort.)
 
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