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Discussion Starter #1
"This message displays when the engine is not available due to running out of fuel. The vehicle can continue to be driven in Electric Mode until the battery is depleted, but will have reduced acceleration."

What does "reduced acceleration" have to do with running out of fuel? Shouldn't you be able to run the battery down to your heart's delight?
 

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You would think so but for whatever reason, GM decided to just give you minimal draw on the battery if the gas tank is empty...perhaps to give you better range to get to the nearest gas station? I drove around yesterday in hold mode with a full charge and wanted to see how the car worked when almost empty...the low fuel notifications started at just under 50 miles and then instead of giving a number on the guessometer on the gas side, it just started to display "LOW"...so I went to a gas station when it was almost but not entirely out.
 

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You would think so but for whatever reason, GM decided to just give you minimal draw on the battery if the gas tank is empty...perhaps to give you better range to get to the nearest gas station?
Right, after all, the driver has already shown that they are situationally unaware by running out of gas. They may be equally clueless about battery range. Get thee to a gas station! :)
 

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The great thing about the Volt is there IS a Plan B when the gas runs dry. :)
 

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Do Not run gasoline tank out! Bad results waiting to happen! Bad Karma!
Not to mention, running beyond empty causes you to dig deeper into the battery charge, which in turn hurts the battery.
 

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It's a design feature making the car more idiot resistant. The idea behind the range extender is to have backup when you run out of battery charge or need to drive further than the battery range. So it's letting the driver know when the tank is low and backup is limited.
 

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It's a design feature making the car more idiot resistant. The idea behind the range extender is to have backup when you run out of battery charge or need to drive further than the battery range. So it's letting the driver know when the tank is low and backup is limited.
Yeah, you can never underestimate how stupid some people are. I drive a Prius C, and the gas guage is a 10-segment bar graph. When the fuel gets low, only the bottom most bar on the graph is lit - and it blinks. In the Prius C forums I've seen people complaining that the car only goes something like 40km when that last bar is blinking. Duh! When that thing blinks it means your topmost priority is to get more gas, not keep driving! How long do they think it should last - 100km? 200km? And the ironic thing is, if they got their wish and it lasted longer then they'd be even less inclined to pay any attention to it!

Reducing the performance of the car when its out of fuel gives the driver a lot more motivation to get to a gas station than just a blinking light would. It's a smart idea. IMHO.
 

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Yeah, you can never underestimate how stupid some people are. I drive a Prius C, and the gas guage is a 10-segment bar graph. When the fuel gets low, only the bottom most bar on the graph is lit - and it blinks. In the Prius C forums I've seen people complaining that the car only goes something like 40km when that last bar is blinking. Duh! When that thing blinks it means your topmost priority is to get more gas, not keep driving! How long do they think it should last - 100km? 200km? And the ironic thing is, if they got their wish and it lasted longer then they'd be even less inclined to pay any attention to it!

Reducing the performance of the car when its out of fuel gives the driver a lot more motivation to get to a gas station than just a blinking light would. It's a smart idea. IMHO.
You can't talk about running on empty with out brining up this famous Seinfeld episode

https://youtu.be/TuEdU_lrtZk
 

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Having owned both a Volt and and ELR, I find that it is much simpler to do what the car wants you to do. Like a living with a cat.

People complain about honking and display messages on this board all the time. If you do everything like the car wants it done, most of these messages are not displayed or alerted.

Volt/ELR are information overload. There is no reason to display tire pressure on the dang DIC constantly or engine gauges or gas/electricity statistics or anything really. Most of it is pretty automated. Here is where I REALLY LIKE the Tesla Model 3.

I have my DIC set to display the song that is playing. Better information than engine temp on a computer-controlled ICE.
 

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Running out of gas in a gas engine is probably not a good thing, but running out of diesel fuel in a diesel engine would be a bigger issue.

With all the gas stations today, many 24 hours at that, there should be no reason, unless you have no funds or money to purchase, for running out of gas in a Volt. Right now our 2016 Volt Premier has a full tank, range just on gas, 401 miles, and also an extra 65 miles of electric with a fully charge battery. There is no range anxiety here.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Having owned both a Volt and and ELR, I find that it is much simpler to do what the car wants you to do. Like a living with a cat.

People complain about honking and display messages on this board all the time. If you do everything like the car wants it done, most of these messages are not displayed or alerted.

Volt/ELR are information overload. There is no reason to display tire pressure on the dang DIC constantly or engine gauges or gas/electricity statistics or anything really. Most of it is pretty automated. Here is where I REALLY LIKE the Tesla Model 3.

I have my DIC set to display the song that is playing. Better information than engine temp on a computer-controlled ICE.
I believe this is part of the reason the Volt doesn't sell better. The car is complex, and the information coming at you everyday is even more complex. If they dumb things down, they might sell more to people who don't want to think about anything other than putting in gas -- and in this case electricity too.
 

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I believe this is part of the reason the Volt doesn't sell better. The car is complex, and the information coming at you everyday is even more complex. If they dumb things down, they might sell more to people who don't want to think about anything other than putting in gas -- and in this case electricity too.
Complex? For Pete's sake, you see your car running out of gas, you fill it up! If you don't, the Volt has a Plan B that let's you limp to a gas station.

If the info coming at you is too much, set the center console to the radio display, lol.
 

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With my Gen 1, the reduced propulsion when out of gas is exactly 2/3 of the normal maximum (based on the kW display). So you can't get quite the same "floor it" response, but for all normal driving, I found it unnoticeable. Highway speeds were no problem, either. I think they designed this in to ensure that range is not wasted at a critical time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Complex? For Pete's sake, you see your car running out of gas, you fill it up! If you don't, the Volt has a Plan B that let's you limp to a gas station.

If the info coming at you is too much, set the center console to the radio display, lol.
Maybe everyone on this forum is an art history major, but as someone who's been in the high tech business for over 30 years, and with several engineering degrees, I still had to do lots of research, and get lots of questions answered before I was comfortable buying a Volt. I can't imagine anyone just plunking down 30-40K, listening to whatever the inept salesman tells them and driving off with the assumption that they'll just "figure it out". The charging system alone is something my English professor friend would not be able to figure out. Add in the concept of Normal/Hold/Mountain (which is regularly and extensively discussed -- and argued about here) and most people would be flummoxed.

Putting gas in may not be complex in and of itself. But if someone is driving this car blindly without real knowledge of the way the systems interact, I could easily see them thinking they don't need to put gas in anytime soon because they have a battery. The only problem of course is that uninformed driver they may not even realize the battery was long drained. Which gets back to my original point. This car is not just go/stop/gas. It requires an additional layer of thinking and understanding.
 

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Maybe everyone on this forum is an art history major, but as someone who's been in the high tech business for over 30 years, and with several engineering degrees, I still had to do lots of research, and get lots of questions answered before I was comfortable buying a Volt. I can't imagine anyone just plunking down 30-40K, listening to whatever the inept salesman tells them and driving off with the assumption that they'll just "figure it out". The charging system alone is something my English professor friend would not be able to figure out. Add in the concept of Normal/Hold/Mountain (which is regularly and extensively discussed -- and argued about here) and most people would be flummoxed.
My horse eats oats and hay and apples. What the heck do I feed this "automobile"? What's a carburetor? CPU? RAM? Motherboard? Oh, boy you lost me.

Yes, technology changes require some new learning. Or, just leave the VCR blinking 12:00, :)

For the Volt, keep gas in the tank, keep the battery charged and drive the car like any other. No need to overthink this if you are one who doesn't read the label or the instruction manual for anything you own, operate or use. I do read labels, instruction manuals. I have fewer problems that way, lol.
 

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Maybe everyone on this forum is an art history major, but as someone who's been in the high tech business for over 30 years, and with several engineering degrees, I still had to do lots of research, and get lots of questions answered before I was comfortable buying a Volt. I can't imagine anyone just plunking down 30-40K, listening to whatever the inept salesman tells them and driving off with the assumption that they'll just "figure it out". The charging system alone is something my English professor friend would not be able to figure out. Add in the concept of Normal/Hold/Mountain (which is regularly and extensively discussed -- and argued about here) and most people would be flummoxed.

Putting gas in may not be complex in and of itself. But if someone is driving this car blindly without real knowledge of the way the systems interact, I could easily see them thinking they don't need to put gas in anytime soon because they have a battery. The only problem of course is that uninformed driver they may not even realize the battery was long drained. Which gets back to my original point. This car is not just go/stop/gas. It requires an additional layer of thinking and understanding.
I'm a 27 year veteran in tech having worked for several commonly-known high tech Fortune 500 companies all my life. Agreed, my Volt salesman was inept when it came to the volt. I pretty much sat in the lot for 30 minutes after the test drive and fiddled with every option and menu in the infotainment system, then downloaded the owners manual at home that evening to dig deeper. There are lots of youtube videos from GM which talks about the intricacies of the drivetrain. By all means, nerd out!!!

Back to your original question, I think part of the reason GM programmed this they way they did was to extend your battery range to get to the next gas station, but another part is to impose some uncomfortable penalty to force you to get fuel. If GM allowed you to drain the battery all the way down to empty (not empty on the battery gauge, but truly empty in the battery) and the car performed as wonderfully as with a charged battery, you can be sure some idiot would ignore the warnings and drive the car 20 more miles to milk every watt. If it's a lease, returning it after 3 years and leaving the battery degradation to the next owner is just mean.

Reduced propulsion definitely gets your attention, and you won't want to stay there. So it may be more behavioral engineering than anything else.
 

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My horse eats oats and hay and apples. ....

... Or, just leave the VCR blinking 12:00, :)
Interestingly enough, just as Sony switched from making Betamax to VHS, they introduced a feature that didn't flash the blinking 12 if you didn't set the time. If all you did was play rentals, it worked like a charm, but you needed to set the time if you were recording to time-shift your TV viewing. At one time I had 4 VCRs to time-shift all of my TV viewing for the week. Now I don't even own an HDTV.

SIAD
 
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