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Discussion Starter #1
I have seen a number of these threads from new Volt owners, so at the risk of being another paranoid newbie Volt owner, please read my sob story below:

Just bought a used 2012 Volt, 82,xxx miles, one owner, local owner

Picked up from dealership with barely any battery charge and drove most of the way home on gas.

Fully charged the car (computer indicated it was a full charge) overnight and drove to and from work today.

The estimated range was only 28 miles on the full charge when I booted her up this morning, which I know is not necessarily accurate and more reflective of recent driving habits (dealer staff probably ran the most recent battery charges down quickly by driving it hard); however, the battery also drained very quickly throughout the day in my opinion (I used approximately half of the battery life today).

My computer is telling me I drove approximately 11 miles and used approximately 5.5 kWh, which equates to a very low approximately 2 miles per kWh.

I believe the tires are probably under inflated and it was mostly city driving; however I drove very conservatively (I used to drive a manual and pay attention to traffi patterns in order to maximize coasting and regeneration) and did not run up a ton of HVAC usage. I did crank the stereo some to test the Bose sound. I live in Atlanta and the weather was approximately 40-50 degrees fareinheit today.

Should I be worried or are the battery and computer adjusting to a new owner with different driving habits?

I am thinking of taking the car back to the dealer to have them look at it and potentially take it back within the refund window.
 

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I have seen a number of these threads from new Volt owners, so at the risk of being another paranoid newbie Volt owner, please read my sob story below:

Just bought a used 2012 Volt, 82,xxx miles, one owner, local owner

Picked up from dealership with barely any battery charge and drove most of the way home on gas.

Fully charged the car (computer indicated it was a full charge) overnight and drove to and from work today.

The estimated range was only 28 miles on the full charge when I booted her up this morning, which I know is not necessarily accurate and more reflective of recent driving habits (dealer staff probably ran the most recent battery charges down quickly by driving it hard); however, the battery also drained very quickly throughout the day in my opinion (I used approximately half of the battery life today).

My computer is telling me I drove approximately 11 miles and used approximately 5.5 kWh, which equates to a very low approximately 2 miles per kWh.

I believe the tires are probably under inflated and it was mostly city driving; however I drove very conservatively (I used to drive a manual and pay attention to traffi patterns in order to maximize coasting and regeneration) and did not run up a ton of HVAC usage. I did crank the stereo some to test the Bose sound. I live in Atlanta and the weather was approximately 40-50 degrees fareinheit today.

Should I be worried or are the battery and computer adjusting to a new owner with different driving habits?

I am thinking of taking the car back to the dealer to have them look at it and potentially take it back within the refund window.
If you use the electric heat on Maximum and High Temperature setting some then it could account for the low estimate of miles per kWh. Check for correct tire pressure, you may want to set pressure to 40 PSI or a bit higher. Check that the brake caliper/pad is not frozen and dragging against a rotor. You need to drive on gas as see if you get 35 - 40 MPG on the highway (Your 2012 Volt should only be fueled with Top Tier Premium (91 octane or higher) fuel. If you are dragging a brake pad then your gas MPG will be low too and a wheel may get hot.

Atlanta has a lot of hills, the terrain could affect the estimated range. Driving faster than 70 MPH on the highway will lower your estimated and actual range. Stereo won't matter, neither will the heated seats (if equipped.)
 

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You should charge it up and run it down until the gas engine takes over. Then check the energy screen and see how many miles you traveled and how many kWh's you used. If the battery it good, you should have gotten at least 10 kWh's out of it.
 

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What tires are on the car? Are they inflated to at least 38 psi? What speed do you drive? What is the terrain of your commute? Did you have the defroster on (runs A/C).

Having asked all the above questions, if none of those things could be the cause, and you have a small window to return the vehicle, I'd ask for an extension of the time to figure it out or return it now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all.

So if I run down the battery and get at least 10 kWh out of this, regardless of miles per kWh for that trip, then the battery is good and the culprit is likely tire PSI or some combination of other things, correct?

I will do so today.

I am just surprised at the low mileage per kWh (2) on my first trip, combined with the very low range estimate (27 this morning).
 

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Yep, follow your plan. Got to have a baseline of hard data, before you can really figure out what's going on.

Thanks all.

So if I run down the battery and get at least 10 kWh out of this, regardless of miles per kWh for that trip, then the battery is good and the culprit is likely tire PSI or some combination of other things, correct?

I will do so today.

I am just surprised at the low mileage per kWh (2) on my first trip, combined with the very low range estimate (27 this morning).
 

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Having asked all the above questions, if none of those things could be the cause, and you have a small window to return the vehicle, I'd ask for an extension of the time to figure it out or return it now.
I agree with this advice. There are a lot of little things you can do to improve your efficiency, but even if you did all of those wrong at the same time, you should still not be down to 2 miles/kWh. You would just about have to be driving through deep snow or pulling a big trailer for that to be normal. That makes me think something is wrong with the car. And it is probably not the battery. If it were the battery, that could actually be a good thing since it has a 100K mile warranty.

What you have might be something like a stuck brake caliper or horrible alignment problem - both easily fixed, or something else, maybe not easily fixed. I would want the risk for that to be on the seller. If you can return it or extend the window, I would do either one of those while it is still possible. The original owner might have gotten rid of it knowing it has some kind of expensive problem, which is all too often the case with used cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As an update, I ran the battery down today and it only used 9.6 kWh.

Is this a sign of a degraded/faulty battery?

Should I return to the dealer?
 

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A little bit. My 2013 (104K Km) gets 10.? (forget what was after the decimal point) so I wouldn't say out of line. This was in summer time. When I picked up in May it's GOM was 57 Km. A month or so after some highway and run to empty it showed 70 Km where it stayed for the summer. Now around 50 Km. using some heater and a dash or two of defrost (stays just above freezing here), hummingbirds stay year round.
 

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I usually get 10.3 - 10.6 kWh out of a full charge, but yesterday only got 9.6 before it switched to gas. Whenever I see less than 10.0 from a full charge, it seems to correspond with lots of short trips. Also, I only see about 2.0 - 2.5 miles per kWh when I start out cold and use my heater, and short trips exacerbate that poor efficiency.

By the way, I can get 50 miles out of 10.5 kWh in the spring and fall, running around town, and 40 in the summer using AC, and 30-35 in the winter using the heater.
 

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You should completely charge and discharge the battery 3 or so times to rest any kW Used algorithm drift that may have been caused by frequent top-offs (rather than full battery use) of a previous owner. Get your tire inflated to 38-40 psi. Then start over with your testing. It's unlikely there is a battery issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I will inflate tires tomorrow and run down another charge.

However I don’t have much time before the dealer “no questions asked” warranty runs out. I probably need to get it back there tomorrow, or Saturday the latest.

Also, so you are saying that topping off (without exhausting battery) can lead to poor economy results?

Further, can you elaborate on the algorithm issue?
 

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I ran an errand today in my 2013 Volt. The ambient temperature was in the mid-40's Fahrenheit and it was raining. I set the tires to 41 PSI cold, HVAC at 73 degrees on Econ. The GOM estimated 27 miles range, fully charged. I went 4.3 miles and used 2.1 kWh. When the weather warms up, GOM range will go as high as 44 miles and consumption will be around 4 miles/kWh. This has been consistent over the 3 1/2 years I've owned the car. Based on my experience, I don't think you have much of a problem at this point. See what happens when the weather warms up.
 

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As an update, I ran the battery down today and it only used 9.6 kWh.

Is this a sign of a degraded/faulty battery?

Should I return to the dealer?
This guy on Facebook has a 2012 and he got 40 miles using 9.6 kWh's with an outside temp of 23F. Seems pretty much in line with yours:

 

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And, how far did you go?

Don't drive highway speeds and don't turn on the heat and see how far you can go on your 9.6kWh. You should be able to go 30 miles, easily. You want to eliminate as many factors in reduced range to get a better idea of the battery's true potential range. No heat, no AC, tires full, urban speeds, not highway speeds. You should average around 4 miles/kWh, and can even get 5 miles/kWh under optimal conditions. The only thing you can't eliminate at the moment is cold temps. Mid 40s will easily knock off 10%. That's why I think you should easily get 30 miles if you eliminate everything else but the cool temps.

If not, I'd take it back and talk to the dealer. Maybe he'll let you do a longer test, a week, before your time to return no questions asked expires. But, get it in writing.
As an update, I ran the battery down today and it only used 9.6 kWh.

Is this a sign of a degraded/faulty battery?

Should I return to the dealer?
 

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Check Voltstats.net to see if your car was ever registered there. If so, it will give you some history.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
As an update, I have the following new data point:

I ran down a full charge again today, but not before inflating my tires to >40 PSI.

I got 32 miles out of 9.9 kWh, which translates to a significant improvement in miles per kWh (up to 3.2), but still <10 kWh from the battery. I also modified my HVAC usage (ran fan only for most of day) which I think helped as well.

I am still worried/disappointed that I did not get closer to 4 miles per kWh nor did I get >10 kWh from a charge, but showing some improvement. Temps today were in the 40s.

Thoughts?

I plan to charge fully tonight and run down another charge tomorrow morning, then decide whether or not I should return to dealer.
 

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As an update, I have the following new data point:

I ran down a full charge again today, but not before inflating my tires to >40 PSI.

I got 32 miles out of 9.9 kWh, which translates to a significant improvement in kWh per mile (up to 3.2), but still <10 kWh from the battery. I also modified my HVAC usage (ran fan only for most of day) which I think helped as well.

I am still worried/disappointed that I did not get closer to 4 kWh per mile nor did I get >10 kWh from a charge, but showing some improvement. Temps today were in the 40s.

Thoughts?

I plan to charge fully tonight and run down another charge tomorrow morning, then decide whether or not I should return to dealer.
I believe you meant 4 miles per kWh, not 4 kWh per mile. You are not likely to see 4 miles per kWh until spring arrives. 3.x miles per kWh in the middle of winter is commendable.

Sometimes I see not much more than 2 miles per kWh but then I like to blast the heat and precondition at every opportunity even when not plugged in.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, sorry. I corrected my post above. Long day!

FYI this is winter in the southeast (Atlanta). Not the northeast or Midwest. Not sure if that tempers your sentiment.
 
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