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Discussion Starter #1
We purchased our 2017 Bolt in Palm Beach FL in late Oct, 2017.

The last week of November, we went back north to OH for the holidays and for work. I plugged in the 120V EVSE cord just like I have always done in OH with my 2012 Volt we we head to FL. Both cars are set to have charging complete by 7:00 AM each morning. Wen we left, the LED was blinking and I thought everything was fine.

We came back to FL yesterday and the Bolt was completely dead. I used the manual key in the FOB to get me into the car. I have jumper cables and my neighbor was ready to lend a hand, but since the car was in the garage, I had no way to back it out of the garage to try a jump start. So I called GM Roadside Assistance. The had some company come out with a jump starter pack. When it was connected, the car powered up immediately and the range was listed at 225 miles, but as soon as I put it into gear to get it out of the garage, the car went dead again. I called GM Roadside Assistance again, and they suggested having the car towed to the dealership. The driver of the tow truck had a much larger jump starter pack, and although I could not put the car into reverse, it let me put the car into neutral so we could push it out of the garage. But even using only neutral, the car went dead after just about a minute. But that was enough to get it where it could be put on the tow truck after he charged up his jump pack and we put the Bolt int neutral. The car is at the dealership now. They called me late this afternoon to say the car would be worked on first thing tomorrow.

They gave me a loaner to drive (Chevy Suburban - Ugh!)

The car was not left powered up and there were no lights left on.

So I have two questions for everyone here. What do you think drained the 12V battery and what procedure should I use when the car will be left unused for two or three months at a time? I asked these same questions at the dealership, and they said they would get me that info directly from GM.

Help!

Jim I - 2012 Volt in Ohio & 2017 Bolt in FLorida
 

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Well, it's right there in the manual, page 259.

Volt (2013+) has a 12V battery maintenance function, but it only functions for 30 days, I believe.
If Bolt is similar, after 30 days, your 12V battery started discharging. Actual life at that point depends on parasitic loads, and how often OnStar is active.


Four Weeks to 12 Months

. Discharge the high voltage battery until two or three bars remain on the battery range indicator (Battery symbol) on the instrument cluster. Do not plug in the charge cord.

. Remove the black negative (−) cable from the 12-volt battery and attach a trickle charger to the battery terminals or keep the 12-volt battery cables connected and trickle charge from the underhood remote positive (+) and negative (−) terminals. See Jump Starting - North America 0 295 for the location of these terminals.
 

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btw, I can sympathize. I left my Volt (unplugged) for 12 days once, the 12V battery was dead on return. I was able to jump start from another car, and 2.5 yrs later, I still have the same battery. It really shouldn't die after 12 days, and on other similar occasions it's been fine.
 

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The had some company come out with a jump starter pack. When it was connected, the car powered up immediately and the range was listed at 225 miles, but as soon as I put it into gear to get it out of the garage, the car went dead again.
[video=youtube;sLFOxgBDuB8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLFOxgBDuB8[/url][/video]

Skip to @9min in on the video above...

The APM should have allowed your Bolt to fully operate even if the 12V AGM battery is removed/disconnected following a successful turn ON similar to how it operates as the equivalent to an 'alternator' on the Gen1&2 Volts.

Since no DTC code(s) were included in your post, it would be hard for anyone to diagnose from the info provided...
 

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I know someone who bought a F-250 and two days after he bought it the 12v went belly up. It might just be a bad battery or you might have left something on which drained it. Will be interesting to hear what the dealer says. It does seem crazy that you have this huge battery and the car doesn't start because of the itty bitty one.
 

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It does seem crazy that you have this huge battery and the car doesn't start because of the itty bitty one.
As explained by the GM engineer in the video I linked above, on the Bolt & Gen1/2 Volts this 'very lightly used' 12V AGM is only really required in order to 'wake the car up' when the 1.6kW APM would then take over the entire 12VDC load.

The point being once the OP had successfully gotten his Bolt 'turned ON' as he indicated in his post, a properly functioning APM should have been able to provide more than enough 12VDC 'capacity' to keep his Bolt turned ON and fully drive-able whether the 12V AGM was present or not the same way the Volt behaves since it can be driven around with the 12V AGM battery removed or disconnected once successfully turned ON...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the manual reference. But I have a few comments about it.

Why take the main battery pack down to less than 1/2? I don't understand why that would be necessary.

Obviously there are quite a few vampire drains going on to need the 12V battery to be disconnected for an unused car for more than one month. But then why need a trickle charger on a disconnected battery?

The manual has a note that you should get a special trickle charger for AGM/VRLA type batteries but then provides no data about the specs for the charger. Amazon had over 50 results when searching for AGM Trickle Charger. Amp ratings are all over the place. Also, that would be a hard sell to the wife in my house. Last year a $1M+ home burned down locally and t was traced to the trickle charger he had on a Shelby parked in the garage. I still get questions about "Is that charger safe?". Trying to explain what an EVSE is, is a waste of time. In her mind, if you plug it in, it is a battery charger!

Interesting video - Thanks!

Since the car kept shutting down, There was very little time to check for DTC codes, but there were none that I saw.

I did get this email this morning from "OnStar Notifications" It was just about the time we did the second jump start to get the car into neutral to push it out of the garage.

======================================================

Dear James Isabella,

A critical issue with the engine and transmission system in your 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV has been detected. Please service your vehicle immediately.

Please disregard this message if your vehicle is already in for service. Inaccurate notifications can be generated during service.

Please see your dealer for service.

======================================================

So obviously something is going on.......

I will keep this updated. But here are some things I now think need some work:

1. There should be a way to manually get the car into neutral even if the 12V battery is dead.
2. You should be able to open the rear hatch. The tow hook is stored in the back, and it should not be such a production to get to it
3. There should be a disconnect switch for the 12V battery, rather than having to pull the battery cable.

JMHO

Jim I - 2012 Volt & 2017 Bolt
 

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With my Volt, there is a way to manually open the rear hatch from the inside of the car when the 12V is dead. I imagine the Bolt EV is similar. However, it is much easier to hook up a 12V booster. Check the manual.

It is possible error codes are from dead 12V, but no guarantee.

I think the Volt has an issue where it sometimes gets stuck in a state and drains the 12V, leaving the car unable to start without a jump.

Storing lithium at lower states of charge will prolong the battery life if you are storing the car for several months at a time.

Personally, if storing for several months, I would skip the trickle charger if you disconnect negative terminal of battery.
 

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I did get this email this morning from "OnStar Notifications" It was just about the time we did the second jump start to get the car into neutral to push it out of the garage.

======================================================

Dear James Isabella,

A critical issue with the engine and transmission system in your 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV has been detected. Please service your vehicle immediately.

Please disregard this message if your vehicle is already in for service. Inaccurate notifications can be generated during service.

Please see your dealer for service.

======================================================
I suppose OnStar believes the critical issue is the fact the Bolt contains no engine!?;)
 

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I suppose OnStar believes the critical issue is the fact the Bolt contains no engine!?;)
Expanding on the Onstar diagnostic. Technical initial diagnosis and recommended tests:

"missing" engine - confirm no "spark"

(service tech's note: confirmed - nameplate says "Bolt", not "Spark")
 

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As explained by the GM engineer in the video I linked above, on the Bolt & Gen1/2 Volts this 'very lightly used' 12V AGM is only really required in order to 'wake the car up' when the 1.6kW APM would then take over the entire 12VDC load.
If the battery shorts then you have an open circuit. Can't see how the car would run. I know my friend's Model S wouldn't run when that happened to him and I think you can run a Tesla with a totally dead battery though I'm not 100% sure on this.
 

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1. There should be a way to manually get the car into neutral even if the 12V battery is dead.
2. You should be able to open the rear hatch. The tow hook is stored in the back, and it should not be such a production to get to it
3. There should be a disconnect switch for the 12V battery, rather than having to pull the battery cable.
1. Good point. I agree. This is a problem with with other electric vehicles and they should all fix that. Meanwhile, you may want to back the car into the garage for long term storage.
2. Also a good point, but a simple work around is to store the hook in the glove box or other accessible spot. Remember the same issue when storing jumper cables or a jump starter.
3. This is the same as any other car. Disconnect switches are popular aftermarket items for people who store cars or collect classics. Most people drive their cars daily, so these are not standard.
 

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We purchased our 2017 Bolt in Palm Beach FL in late Oct, 2017.
The last week of November, we went back north to OH for the holidays and for work. I plugged in the 120V EVSE cord just like I have always done in OH with my 2012 Volt we we head to FL. Both cars are set to have charging complete by 7:00 AM each morning. Wen we left, the LED was blinking and I thought everything was fine.
We came back to FL yesterday and the Bolt was completely dead.
So the Bolt was left on charge for about 6 weeks?
In my EV Conversion I have two battery chargers that get power from the 120-240 VAC 1772 charge plug.
One battery charger is for the lithium pack, the other is for the 12 VDC car battery.
The 12 VDC is a 3 amp charger which can trickle charge and maintain the 12 VDC car battery while plugged in.

Sounds like GM didn't put in 12 VDC charger that powers off the 120-240 VAC charge port?
So does the battery in and Bolt and Volt only charge when the vehicle is operating? Like a combustion engine car?

I must admit, I would be a little nervous to leave a car on charge for that long.
I leave mine charging over night, but if we leave town I take them off of charge.
Reason being, a concern if there was a problem with the charging circuit /safety cutoffs and the batteries over heated.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got my car back this afternoon. Here is where it ended up:

The repair tech came out to talk to me.

The 12V battery failed testing - it had two bad cells. It was replaced and everything returned to normal.

We then talked about what I should do when leaving the car unused for over two months. We went over the manual, and he said that those instructions were what he would follow. He said disconnecting the battery was the best protection. I mentioned my concern about a trickle charger, and he said that it shouldn't be dead if disconnected, but worst case would be that it might need recharged if the car won't power up when re-connected. He also said I might have to reset some of my settings.

He told me they checked for the new update to the infotainment system. According to the repair tech, there is no software update for my VIN#. I didn't want to piss them off, so I let it go for the time being.

Car is functional again. That is what is the most important.

Jim I - 2012 Volt & 2017 Bolt
 

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I got my car back this afternoon. Here is where it ended up:
The repair tech came out to talk to me.
The 12V battery failed testing - it had two bad cells. It was replaced and everything returned to normal.
Leaving a 12 VDC battery on a load and severely discharged for that period of time could have caused the battery failure, not necessarily the other way around.
 

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Good to hear you have your car back and it's working again. I guess the lesson is a bad 12v will prevent the car from running. I think Hyundai has a system where you don't need the 12v to start the car, and GM could definitely do that as well. However, with so many systems running off the 12v, you can't live without entirely at this point in time.

I suspect the battery was bad and that your leaving it had nothing directly to do with it dying.
 

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Volts from 2013 include a 12v battery maintainer that will float the 12v at 13 volts IF THE CAR IS PLUGGED IN! That would mean however that the lithium battery would be at full charge, which is inadvisable for long periods of time. Thus the recommendation to leave the big battery at half-charge and put the 12v on a maintainer. Battery tender junior is a great unit, and right for AGM batteries. Floats at the same voltage as the Volt built-in unit. Those small batteries will last much longer if kept on a maintainer, especially in cold weather.
 

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Many people on Facebook have talked about bad 12v batteries in the Bolt, if the battery goes dead the Bolt will shut down it's not the same as thew Volt. The 12v has to be fully charged for the bolt to run.
 

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Gen I Volt: I had mine sitting plugged in for six weeks. Car went into EMM when I started it but no short or long term issues.
 

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The Bolt like the Volt should have GM's "Transport Mode" which puts everything to sleep without the need to disconnect anything.
I use this when away for more than one week on a Gen 1 Volt and the only down side is you need to use the metal key to open the door as the remote receiver is powered down.

Dealer should know better. Off memory
- Activate hazard lights with power/ignition off, then press and hold start button until screen displays "Transport mode is on"
Doing it again it turns it off.
 
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