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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got the 2015 Volt 6 days ago. Battery charge reporting less battery range each day, started at 40 the first day and has dropped after full charge each day. Last week saw bitterly cold temperatures but the last two days have been in the 40’s. We are still using the Voltec charger that came with the car (last night set at 12 amps in a dedicated 20 amp 120vac outlet) heated to 42F garage. Today it is showing 34 miles range after full charge. It is reporting 26mpg on gasoline. My wife drives 15 miles to work and arrives with 4 miles range left. The car has 30k miles. We achieved 28-34mpg in our 8 and 5 year old Subaru Outbacks..we sold the 8 year old car and bought the Volt to save gas money and the environment on her commute.

I have watched every Chevy video and read as much of the manuals I could before mentally drifting away from the boring contiguous writing. I ordered a Clipper Creek lcs20p with nema 14-50 plug, 60 amp circuit, number 6 wire. Clipper Creek quoted delivery between January 11-19. I suspect the new charger, when it arrives, won’t help.

Did we buy a lemon? Should we sell the Volt? Oh, she loves the Volt so we’ll keep it!

This car is not helping the environment by using more gasoline and electricity than our remaining Outback.

Any ideas?
 

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Just give it time, I drop to about 28 in range in the Winter and jump to 45 in the Summer.
 

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There is a lot to unpack here with quite a bit of information missing.

Firstly. It's probably not a lemon. Most likely you are seeing a perfect storm of the car "figuring out" a new driver, cold weather, and new driving conditions.

On the drivers side of things;
You say your wife drives 15 miles to work. Hilly? Flat? City? Highway? Elevation change? Is your wife's driving style spirited or calm? Does she like a very warm car (crank the heat)?

On the vehicle side of things;
The dash display is commonly called the "guess-o-meter". It isn't really a measurement of anything, it's a calculation based on how you -have- been driving and conditions. Six days with a new driver, and radically shifting weather conditions (especially sudden cold) are going to throw that estimate all over the place.

You talk about the gas mileage estimate, which display are you getting that from? If it is the "instant mileage" display that thing will nearly always give you a heart attack (true of any car) because it fluctuates so wildly. Instant/realtime MPG displays are almost useless.

Cold weather is brutal to the Volt in terms of it's efficiency. Tire pressures drop (have you kept up with your tire pressure?) battery capability drops, electric heat sucks even more juice (sometimes as much as 7kw) and under certain circumstances the REX (generator) can short cycle giving pretty lousy immediate MPG. Driving in any snow, ice, or slushy rain adds a ton of resistance and makes the issue even worse. Again this is true of any vehicle but most ICE drivers don't actually pay much attention whereas most EV and PHEV drivers are hyper-aware.

If you look at the numbers averaged out over about a month things usually look a lot better. Also once the weather gets above about 60-65 degrees and stays there the Volt really changes personality and you'll see range and efficiency climb.
 

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First of all, I can tell you that when my wife drives my Volt, she gets far worse electric range than I do. I don't fully understand it, to be honest. And it is not like I drive like a hyper-miler. I routinely drive over 75 mph for most of my commute. But I brake gradually and accelerate smoothly and don't tailgate, again, not for efficiency, but because I am a naturally safe/sane driver, and not trying to make a competition out of commuting. And I learned a long time ago that if you flog a car, you spend more time and money in the shop, which is the last place I want to be. And I don't try to absolutely blast the heat, because I am not a cold-natured person who wants that, and I don't over-use the defrosters, etc. I guess my wife must be doing the opposite of all that, and probably worse than when I am in the car to witness it.

Try to educate your wife on driving style. The efficiency ball on the instrument panel provides live, instant feedback on that. Try to get her to keep the ball green. That may help a lot. Or drive it yourself for a week or two and see how it works for you, so you know the real truth.

As for gas mileage, the Gen 1 Volt is no Prius, but it can absolutely do better than your Subarus. However, you have to realize that any gas engine gets terrible mileage during its warm up phase. And with a Volt, often you make most of your drive on battery, and then run the engine for the last little bit of your drive, and the engine is running a high percentage of time during the warm up phase. If you ran only on engine, it would mostly be operating in the fully warmed up state, and getting its best mileage. This can be observed when taking long out of town trips. And just like with battery range, speed is a factor here as well. At speeds over 75 mph, you will not get over low 30's. But if your Subarus are getting low 30s, then driving the Volt the same way will definitely do better than that once warm.

What charger you use will make zero difference, so don't count on that.

The cold weather is a huge factor as well. You really need to look at your results long term. Winter weather performance does not give the full picture. Consider your gas savings on an annual basis, not just during one week in January.

One final tip is that there is a feature called "engine assisted heating" in the manual, usually referred to in the forum as ERDTT. If your wife cranks the heat in cold weather, and routinely drives beyond battery range, you want this set to come on at the higher temperature setting (which is 35 degrees F), since it will extend the range and allow greater overall efficiency.

If she is not trying to take it a bit easy on the electric heat, and rely a bit more on the seat heater, she is never going to really get great winter performance. The bottom line is that thing sucks power from the battery. If your wife is cold-natured and insists on doing that, just be glad the car is able to keep her comfortable and she is not complaining about the car. Spring is just around the corner and the performance will improve dramatically then. And by the way, the air conditioner is extremely efficient. No range problem there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Barry. Looks like maybe the problem is me not giving the system enough time to learn her driving and route.
 

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You bought a Volt at the worst time of the year, if you had waited until spring you'd be singing its praises saying things like - Holy Cow I get more range than the EPA rating.

The range of any EV is determined by what we call the THREE T's - Temperature, Terrain and Technique. the longer you own your Volt and learn how to maximize the range the happier you'll be.

This time of year tire pressure has a huge impact on your range. Set the tire pressure to at least 38 PSI when stone COLD usually first thing in the morning. Some run 40 PSI. That will help.

But wait this the temps moderate and you don't need to use the HVAC system. You'll be amazed.
 

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Once you get your level 2 EVSE installed you will be able to precondition your Volt in the morning before driving to work. A 10 minutes preconditioning cycle will end with almost a full battery charge (the energy used to precondition the Volt is replaced by the EVSE almost as fast as it is being used to heat the cabin.) An additional 10 minutes will completely recharge the battery but the cabin will have started to cool down again during this time. Your wife should be able to drive to work using very little if any additional electric heat from the Volt's HVAC. That will have a big impact on extending your EV range closer to the rated 38 miles but since it is winter you need to be prepared for at least a 20% reduction in EV range so probably closer to 30 miles. This should be enough to complete the round trip, especially if there is any opportunity to plug in while at work. If your Volt has the electric heated seats you should use these as much as you need as the power drain of the heated seats is a small fraction of the power used by the electric cabin heater. If your commute includes driving on the highway keep to the slow lane and keep your speed to less than 65 mph to maximize your EV range.
 

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You bought a Volt at the worst time of the year, if you had waited until spring you'd be singing its praises saying things like - Holy Cow I get more range than the EPA rating.

The range of any EV is determined by what we call the THREE T's - Temperature, Terrain and Technique. the longer you own your Volt and learn how to maximize the range the happier you'll be.
Tires and Traffic. There's like... five Ts. :D

This time of year tire pressure has a huge impact on your range. Set the tire pressure to at least 38 PSI when stone COLD usually first thing in the morning. Some run 40 PSI. That will help.
And Temperature plays in here as well. Every 10F the temperature rises or falls from when you filled them is about one PSI up or down from the initial fill. Cold front is coming through here. It was 55 at noon, and it'll be 20 by dawn. That'll mean that the tires I topped up today (Just got the winter rubber put on today, and they NEVER fill them properly) to 42 will be about 38 (a running minimum) for the outside temps for the weekend and early part of the week. In the summer, I have to set PSI to about 37-38 in the garage (it's underground, so it stays between 55 and 75 year round) so that there's headroom to deal with 100F ambient temperatures and another 20 degrees of highway tire warming.
 

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Agree winter is a range killer. I have about 80k on Hal and still seeing 30 miles range in current cold here in Kettle Falls. For gas mileage, set your trip A (orB) to zero when you fill up. That mileage figure will be accurate. Even in this cold Hal's averaging 70 mpg or more. The car will amaze you when things warm up a bit!
 

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Just give it time, I drop to about 28 in range in the Winter and jump to 45 in the Summer.
Try some vortex generators on the roof maybe. I used to see 28 in winter too. Through the latest cold snap I haven't seen less than 33 on the guess-o-meter since installing them on my car. Not exactly scientific analysis, but it's an indicator of something.
 

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Try some vortex generators on the roof maybe. I used to see 28 in winter too. Through the latest cold snap I haven't seen less than 33 on the guess-o-meter since installing them on my car. Not exactly scientific analysis, but it's an indicator of something.
My Prii had them underneath the car.
With today's heat wave (50F), even though the GOM had 31 miles on it, I went 17 miles and the GOM still had 20 left on it.
 

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My Prii had them underneath the car.
With today's heat wave (50F), even though the GOM had 31 miles on it, I went 17 miles and the GOM still had 20 left on it.
I have these. A bit of a PITA to install. I cut the center out of the adhesive pads because they're flat on the bottom and my roof isn't flat.



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072LR5BBD/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I put 6 on my Volt (aligned with and 3 on either side of the roof antenna) and 8 on my Silverado. They look more at home on the truck, but if I'm really gaining 5 miles I'll deal with how they look on the Volt.
 

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What the vortex generator does is disturb the airflow running over the bodywork, producing a swirl of air in-between the high energy and low energy streams. This draws in a stream of high energy air from free stream down into the boundary layer, increasing the boundary layer’s energy. High energy air sticks to the bodywork much more effectively and therefore increases the attached flow.

This is the reason that – on cars – vortex generators are found spaced across the end of the roofline, exploiting as much of the high energy air as possible. On road cars however, the design of them is not the most efficient. On airplanes and Formula One cars, vortex generators are sharp-edged and often triangular to create the most effective vortex possible at very high speeds. But on mass-produced road cars, safety regulations dictate that they need to be smoothed-off and rounded which decreases their effect on the air flow, resembling much more of a purely aesthetic component than people may presume.
https://www.carthrottle.com/post/vortex-generators-how-do-they-work/

Waste of money on road cars...Ironically though, if you cover your car with dimples like a golf ball, it will reduce drag by a significant amount, mythbusters proved this.

NACA High- Speed Flight Research Station pilots flew a Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak modified with a row of small vortex generators (little rectangular fins of 0.5-inch chord standing vertically like a row of razor blades) on its upper wing surface, they hardly expected that such a small energy-imparting modification would so dramatically improve its transonic handling qualities that rows of vortex generators would become a commonly recognized feature on many aircraft, including such “classics” as the B-52, the 707, and the A-4.
https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/482993main_ContributionsVolume1.pdf

So when road cars travel at the same speed as jet aircraft...then you can consider adding them to your vehicle...:)
 

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So when road cars travel at the same speed as jet aircraft...then you can consider adding them to your vehicle...:)
At 50-60 MPH I can hear them. Then there's the GOM difference mentioned above. I'm waiting for spring to be sure, but if my GOM goes over 51 I'm calling it a success.

Right now it's still in the experimental stage.
 

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2013 Volt Premium: I have gotten 50 miles of range at 45 MPH. In winter, electric battery range drops to around 30 miles at freeway speeds in mountain grades and the generator engages when the temperature is in the teens and below. Also, I use sticky winter tires year-round in the mountains, cutting energy economy. A Prius Prime competes well on my short commutes, but the Volt is superior to any Subaru.
 
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