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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm a super careful kind of guy, I'm ultimately mechanically sympathetic, but the more I learn about how complex the Volt is, I find it hard to believe that it won't just break. Don't get me wrong, I embrace new technology, I back the underdog, and I want to champion the electric car... but the more I read about the complexities of the EV, the more it's hard to believe that one day it won't throw an error that nobody can diagnose.
My thoughts aren't helped by the fact that I've just read about someone with a serious problem, (I'm in the UK, but we have the near identical Ampera) and my other slight worry is the fact that most of our Vauxhall garages haven't even heard of the 'Vauxhall' Ampera !
I order to gain some clarity on this, could anyone with long term high mileage ownership offer their feelings on the reliability or repairability of this car ?
I understand that there are many similarities with a typical ICE car, but it's the electronic modules that worry me, I guess batteries are relatively robust, the 1.4 ICE engine is simple stuff ?

Many Thanks for your help with this, really enjoying the car so far :)

Paul


2014 Vauxhall Ampera Electron
 

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I'm a super careful kind of guy, I'm ultimately mechanically sympathetic, but the more I learn about how complex the Volt is, I find it hard to believe that it won't just break. Don't get me wrong, I embrace new technology, I back the underdog, and I want to champion the electric car... but the more I read about the complexities of the EV, the more it's hard to believe that one day it won't throw an error that nobody can diagnose.
My thoughts aren't helped by the fact that I've just read about someone with a serious problem, (I'm in the UK, but we have the near identical Ampera) and my other slight worry is the fact that most of our Vauxhall garages haven't even heard of the 'Vauxhall' Ampera !
I order to gain some clarity on this, could anyone with long term high mileage ownership offer their feelings on the reliability or repairability of this car ?
I understand that there are many similarities with a typical ICE car, but it's the electronic modules that worry me, I guess batteries are relatively robust, the 1.4 ICE engine is simple stuff ?
Many Thanks for your help with this, really enjoying the car so far :)
Paul
2014 Vauxhall Ampera Electron
There are lots of folks here who have had really good reliability with their Volts.
Mine has been really good. Just one little glitch with the Display computer, that was easily reset.
I have to ask, what are your goals in regards to reliability?
How long do you intend to own the vehicle? etc ...

You should look up "Sparkie" on this forum, it is the 650+ km Volt.

As I understand it, the ICE in the Volt is basically the same tech in many other GM cars. The Volt allows you to have a dual fuel source car, which gives you maximum flexibility and convenience. For this convenience you will pay extra over pure EV's of the future. The Volt has been around for about 8 years, so there is a decent amount of history with it.

Pure battery EV's are the simplest, most reliable vehicles ever made. And they are soon to be the cheapest. If you are mostly concerned about reliability, then I would look at pure EV's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I'm not sure at this stage how long I'll keep the car, it's quite high mileage from what I'd originally intended to buy, but it was also relatively cheap, so I'm not so worried. I must say, I really like it, I'm looking forward to summer when I can hopefully get a little more distance on electric !
 

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My 2015 Volt has been flawless so far, but I haven't even owned it for a year yet. My biggest worry is that it has all the complexities of a typical ICE car, plus all the complexities of a typical EV, plus the technology to make 2 power sources work together. Like Paul alluded to, the ICE is known to be reliable, the HV battery is known to be reliable, but how reliable are all those computer modules? Most of them are Volt-specific--are replacements going to be available down the road? I'll probably sell the Volt right before the warranty runs out and replace it with a much simpler BEV.
 

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..... but the more I read about the complexities of the EV, the more it's hard to believe that one day it won't throw an error that nobody can diagnose....
2014 Vauxhall Ampera Electron
I think that a basic BEV is not that complex. Battery pack, Power inverter, Single speed Drive unit. All liquid cooled on GM's!
What can possibly go wrong? :p

But the Volt is much more complex in that it's a fully functional 150 HP EV, (unlike most PHEV's on the market),
and it's a pretty decent hybrid when it's done being an EV. Some PHEV's wake up a cold ICE if you step down too much on the go pedal.
I think it's a way more complex dual-fuel power train than a Tesla which is just a Big BEV with lots of SW driven 'Glitz'.

Fault codes are established with troubleshooting in mind. It's a complex engineering process.
I don't know what you have for a dealership network where you are but, basically you are at their mercy to fix it after a fault code shows "Something is wrong".

I had an experience with my Chevy BEV not moving after a DCFC stop.
Towed it to my dealership and they talked about the 'Trouble Tree' they have to follow.

>1st item, a HPCM, got it going. Then it broke the very nest time I did a DCFC.
>2nd item was the SDM, an $800 data logging device NOT covered by the power train warranty.
They installed it and it broke again when they tested it at a DCFC,,,, BUT I still had to pay for it.
>3rd item was a module related to DCFC control (imagine that....) and that fixed it !!

Long story but the moral of this is:
Chevy needs a modern way of Troubleshooting and not this old fashioned 'List of Guesses', which totally didn't work for my problem and cost me for an expensive replacement module my car did not need.
 

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Judging from Sparkie the biggest problem is the front wheel bearings saying he's replaced 5 or 6 (lost count?) which I think is a Cruze part and too light duty for a 2 ton car if driven robustly. So far the only thing on my car that has gone TU is the compass (don't need it as I know were I'm going) and the door buttons not unlocking. If replacing the 12V battery next year doesn't work (on reset) I might take the door handles off re recent post. The more there is to go wrong the more will go wrong although not in a direct relationship depending on engineering of the car. This is true of any car and all new cars are more complex than they were before. The only thing you can do is drive and enjoy (or stick to collector cars :p, which some people do).
 

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I'm normally not someone who believes in extended warranties, but the Volt/Ampera may be an exception. I'm not sure about the warranty laws in the UK, but the US has a minimum 8-years on the batteries (10 years in California).

It's not the quality of the car, but the quality of the available technical support that is the biggest problem. It is a complex car that requires a skilled tech to diagnose (properly) and not "throw parts" at a problem. This means--generally--you'll need to be very educated on the vehicle, come here for help from our excellent forum members, and question heavily all diagnoses and proposed repairs. You'll likely end up knowing more about the car than most who work on it.

We are also just starting to see the "issues" (of which there are luckily few) of what happens at high mileages. It's not the battery and/or the ICE but the myriad of chips and sensors throughout the vehicle that may throw codes from failure. The temp sensor is notoriously unreliable and in the Gen 1 requires removing the battery to replace. There is a workaround for this on the forum by ***. Fortunately, repair of this was improved in the Gen 2 but this doesn't help you.

So yes, you MAY end up with an expensive repair (like with any vehicle), or you may not.
 

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Eventually anything can break. On the other hand there are stories here about Volts with well over 100k miles essentially trouble free. Then there are others complaining from day one. Guess you have to make your own decision based on which you think is more likely.
 

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I'm a super careful kind of guy, I'm ultimately mechanically sympathetic, but the more I learn about how complex the Volt is, I find it hard to believe that it won't just break.
All cars break. Nature of the beast. Almost all new cars today come with lots and lots of electronics and electronic modules.

I'm not sure why you think the Volt is that different in these respects.

My Volt is 5 months away from 8 years old, has 97+k miles on it. My repair costs so far are under $500 (new seat heater at 70k miles).

Keep in mind most like myself don't rush to GM-Volt to create a thread on how well their Volt is doing. Instead, it's people who do have car issues. No surprise there. But the perception is "look at these problems". If everyone with few, minor or no problems posted you'd get a better feel for the car. But people rarely post unless there is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
sure, thanks to all for your opinions, time will tell, enjoying owning a car that is something of a rarity, all going good so far :)
 
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