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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2016 2nd generation Volt with 27,000 miles.
Have taken in for all scheduled maintenance.
Regular round-trip commute is 56 miles and always stay on battery.
Rarely use generator, but love the availability for longer trips. Love my Volt.

Today I had a 300 round-trip trip for a funeral. Stayed on battery first 60 miles then went to generator power.
As I was about 30 miles from home (after 60 miles on battery and 210 on gas generator), driving up a steep grade, all of a sudden the fuel level indicator changed from blue to yellow, got a message to the effect of “engine propulsion reduced” and “lost power” and the check engine light came on (wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a picture of the screen to remember the exact wording). I lost power and rolled to a stop on the side of the freeway. Put on the hazard lights. My wife suggested I turn the car off, wait, and turn it back on and see if it resets. I did this. I turned the system off, waited a couple of minutes, and turned it back on. After a longer than usual initialization, the screen came on, the fuel level indicator was back to the normal blue color. And the message “engine propulsion reduced” came on but then disappeared. The engine check light remained on.

But power resumed, I was able to accelerate to freeway speed in a fairly normal manner, though it seemed to run rough, and able to complete the remaining 30 miles. I plan to take this to the dealer Monday morning, but in the meantime does anyone have any idea what happened or what more I can explain when I take it in?
 

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Sorry to hear this. FWIW I think your explanation is quite good. Note that the car throws a series of error codes which the dealer will be able to recover. Could be a lot of things. Hopefully the dealer will be able to figure it out. In this situation the worst possible resolution is when they tell you everything is normal and just clear the codes. Note that you can call OnStar and get the codes. They should also be able to tell you how serious the issue is.

Not sure what dealer you go to but in my experience Paradise in Temecula is much better than the dealer in Escondido. For something like this I'd do the extra drive assuming the car seems like that wouldn't be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update (next day)
After getting a full charge overnight, today drove to/from work (I do a Sunday shift for the 24/7/365 agency I work for) 56 mile round trip plus several miles of errands, all on battery power. The car operated completely normally, except that the check engine light remains on. Will call the dealer in the morning. Not charging up tonight as I want the dealer to see it operating while being powered by the gas generator, which was the status at the time the incident occurred yesterday.

DonC (Moderator) — my dealer in Escondido is Quality Chevrolet. Not sure of the basis on which you find them problematic. No automotive or tech expert, but I have been buying new cars since a 1977 Datsun B210 (predecessor of Nissan), from various manufacturers, including Dodge Demon, Plymouth Colt (Mitsubishi), Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf (still have) and now Chevy Volt. I have worked with a lot of dealers and have been very happy with Quality Chevy in Escondido, though there could certainly be a difference between routine maintenance and dealing with unusual problems when something goes wrong.

Thanks for your feedback and I’ll post again after I talk with the dealer.
 

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Something sounds like it definitely went wrong but you probably needed to engage mountain (or hold mode) mode at the start of your trip or when the EV range remaining was around 2 bars left. If you completely exhausted the electric range prior to starting the steep grade you mentioned, the Volt may not have enough power in the battery buffer to climb the grade and you will get the propulsion power reduced message.

This should however not cause the MIL to illuminate or a complete loss of power. The dealer will be able to pull the diagnostic code to see what may have happened. You can also call OnStar (if you still have a subscription) and ask them to to tell you the codes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No barich, I was not low on gasoline. I had used up the battery and had been driving about 210 miles on gas. I had four bars of gasoline fuel left, plenty to take me the remaining 30 miles. The grade is one I have driven many times in the Volt with no problem. Last year we drove up the California coast including Big Sur (just before the rockslide closed the highway) with no problem.

Again, when I turned the car off, waited, and turned it back on, power resumed and I was able to drive the rest of the way with normal performance, including at freeway speeds, with only the “check engine” light remaining on. I called the dealer this morning and will bring it in to them later so they can review the codes and determine what happened and if there is an ongoing problem.

In the meantime, I have continued driving with the fully charged battery and no further problems other than the “check engine” light still on.
 

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Not sure of the basis on which you find them problematic.
Just based on multiple uses of both Paradise and Quality. For routine maintenance either will work. For something like this I'd definitely go to Paradise. More aggressive about finding the root cause. If you want you can PM me and I'll give you more details. FWIW Quality is a lot more conveniently located for me. I'm more on the coast so it's a hoof to Temecula.
 

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As I was about 30 miles from home (after 60 miles on battery and 210 on gas generator), driving up a steep grade, all of a sudden the fuel level indicator changed from blue to yellow, got a message to the effect of “engine propulsion reduced” and “lost power” and the check engine light came on (wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a picture of the screen to remember the exact wording). I lost power and rolled to a stop on the side of the freeway. Put on the hazard lights. My wife suggested I turn the car off, wait, and turn it back on and see if it resets. I did this. I turned the system off, waited a couple of minutes, and turned it back on. After a longer than usual initialization, the screen came on, the fuel level indicator was back to the normal blue color. And the message “engine propulsion reduced” came on but then disappeared. The engine check light remained on.

But power resumed, I was able to accelerate to freeway speed in a fairly normal manner, though it seemed to run rough, and able to complete the remaining 30 miles. I plan to take this to the dealer Monday morning, but in the meantime does anyone have any idea what happened or what more I can explain when I take it in?
This sounds like this, which is part of a letter I received from GM:

We have learned that your 2017 model year Chevrolet Volt may have a condition in which the high
voltage interlock connector behind the high voltage battery disconnect relay fuse block cover may be
susceptible to becoming recessed back into the high voltage battery disconnect relay assembly. This
may cause an electrical disconnect which could result in a loss of vehicle propulsion and/or a no start
condition. The malfunction indicator lamp may be illuminated and DTC POAOC "high voltage system
inter-lock circuit low" may be set. A "Shift To Park" message may also be displayed. Additionally, a
subset of these vehicles may have a condition in which the 15A fuse in the high voltage battery
disconnect relay may prematurely open. The open fuse may prevent the low voltage battery from
being charged by the 14v DC power module. If this were to occur, the vehicle will provide warning to
the driver and eventually lose electrical power. Once power is drained from the 12 volt battery, the
vehicle may lose propulsion and will not start.
While yours is a 2016, I think they will be able to ascertain what "campaigns" are in place for your vin and apply them. I don't think anything nefarious is going on.

These cars are magnificent examples of fantastic engineering and so it would be expected to encounter issues that need tweaking to allow us to continue driving the cars we love.

By this time, you have taken the car back to the dealer, but for me, I would have fully charged the 12volt battery and kept it up until I could have conveniently gotten the car to Chevy for tweaking. Of course, this would have depended on the particular drain on the 12volt, and avoiding long drives, night driving, or very cold moderate trips.

I recognize that people are new to electric cars, but it reminds me of teaching newbies how to operate a computer, and noticing they are very hesitant to press keys because they don't want to have it explode....
 
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