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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When my commutes were 22 miles each way, my Volt would charge to between 52 and 60 miles of electric range. For the past two years -- even before Covid -- my commute changed to around 6 miles each way and the battery only charges to around 32 miles of electric range. Is this because of natural degradation, a defect, or because of the change in driving distances?

Thanks for any insights you can provide.
 

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The range estimate on the dash is just that - an estimate of the range expected. The range estimate is based on: (1) the miles per KWh the computer thinks will be used; and, (2) the number of KWh in the battery. The first factor is based on your recent history as to how you've been driving the car. If you have been recently driving at high speeds, with the heat on, in cold weather, the range estimate will be much lower than if you've been recently driving at low speeds, in warm weather, not using the heat or a/c.
Your fully-charged range estimate is very low. Have you been driving at freeway speeds with the heat on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually no -- most driving is hyper-local and hardly get on the freeway at all.
 

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If your in the cold temperatures range suffers. If your tire air pressure is low. If you put on different tires. If you stomp the pedal regularly. What tires are you running and what’s the inflation pressure?
 

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I‘d suggest taking a drive until your battery is empty and see how many KWh your battery used. If it’s in the 14KWh range, then I’d say you’re battery is fine.
I’d also suggest dividing the number of miles you drove that day by the number of KWh used. I think you need to drive ~3.75 mile/KWh to get the 53 miles per charge.
And as was stated the heater can zap your range pretty quickly.
 

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A drop from 60 to 32 miles of estimated full charge range is an unusually large drop for a Gen 2 Volt, even from warm weather to cold weather seasons. Sounds like you rarely drive far enough to fully deplete the battery, so you don’t really know if you are still getting about the same amount of kWh Used from a full charge but fewer miles, or if you are getting fewer kWh Used per full charge and the resulting fewer miles per full charge.

I suggest you take the time to drive beyond battery range to evaluate the energy usage display reading (Electric Miles / kWh Used). Battery degradation over time reduces the quantity of kWh Used in a full charge, leading to reduced range. On the other hand, mechanical problems like a sticking brake caliper or using studded snow tires instead of low rolling resistance tires or blasting the heat or air conditioning can sharply reduce the miles per kWh Used. See if a drive beyond battery range, and the resulting full charge miles / kWh Used can offer a hint to what is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I‘d suggest taking a drive until your battery is empty and see how many KWh your battery used. If it’s in the 14KWh range, then I’d say you’re battery is fine.
I’d also suggest dividing the number of miles you drove that day by the number of KWh used. I think you need to drive ~3.75 mile/KWh to get the 53 miles per charge.
And as was stated the heater can zap your range pretty quickly.
Thanks; I'll give it a shot. I live in SoCal tho' so not using the heater or AC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A drop from 60 to 32 miles of estimated full charge range is an unusually large drop for a Gen 2 Volt, even from warm weather to cold weather seasons. Sounds like you rarely drive far enough to fully deplete the battery, so you don’t really know if you are still getting about the same amount of kWh Used from a full charge but fewer miles, or if you are getting fewer kWh Used per full charge and the resulting fewer miles per full charge.

I suggest you take the time to drive beyond battery range to evaluate the energy usage display reading (Electric Miles / kWh Used). Battery degradation over time reduces the quantity of kWh Used in a full charge, leading to reduced range. On the other hand, mechanical problems like a sticking brake caliper or using studded snow tires instead of low rolling resistance tires or blasting the heat or air conditioning can sharply reduce the miles per kWh Used. See if a drive beyond battery range, and the resulting full charge miles / kWh Used can offer a hint to what is going on.
Actually, I do deplete the battery about once a week simply because I don't plug it in every day. And I'm in SoCal, so no drastic weather changes here. I'll check Electric Miles / kWh used -- is that a reading I can get off the dashboard?
 

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All the above insights are valid although I feel your range drop is excessive. I live in Toronto and this winter my range is about 39-40 miles. This is with cold temperatures, both seats on, steering wheel heat, and cabin heat on high. My 16 Volt bought in Oct/15
 

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Yeah, something is wrong. Either your battery is losing capacity or something is dragging. If you're in Southern CA using neither the heat nor A/C and driving locally, your estimated range should be at least 50. Have you looked at the display that shows "technique, climate settings, outside temperature and terrain" to see what it says?
 

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Jars and Tom have spotted the likely cause. If you don't drain the battery to actually switch to the engine occasionally, it'll lose track of what "empty" actually means in miles, and the Guess-o-Meter will start dropping its estimate unreasonably. Running out a charge once will help, running it out a couple of times in a week will get it reset pretty completely and it'll start predicting as accurately as it ever does afterward.

Bear in mind also, that it doesn't actually hurt anything for it to just be wrong. You'll still get the actual miles driven before the engine comes on that you would if the GOM were estimating correctly. It's just one of the LONG list of things where "The Volt is gonna do what the Volt does" and there's little you can or should do to coax it otherwise.
 

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When my commutes were 22 miles each way, my Volt would charge to between 52 and 60 miles of electric range. For the past two years -- even before Covid -- my commute changed to around 6 miles each way and the battery only charges to around 32 miles of electric range. Is this because of natural degradation, a defect, or because of the change in driving distances?

Thanks for any insights you can provide.
This is why your electric range gauge is hilariously referred to as the GUESS-O-METER. :p
 

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The Guess-o-meter is not something to use to determine much of anything. It is a guess based on the last performance. A much better measurement is MPGe on your car. The design of the car battery makes the following true. The MPGe is twice the range of the car. So if MPGe is 100 you can go 50 miles. Watching the number vary will help you drive more efficiently. Also let the car run completely down for its battery and then note the amount needed for a charge. If it is around 14 (give or take a decimal point (14.1 to 13.9) the battery is fine.

Dale .
 

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Actually, I do deplete the battery about once a week simply because I don't plug it in every day. And I'm in SoCal, so no drastic weather changes here. I'll check Electric Miles / kWh used -- is that a reading I can get off the dashboard?
I'm in a similar situation as you, although I do plug in most days. One thing to note, even in our mild climate, the car seems to precondition the battery based on Next Planned Departure time, and that preconditioning uses power. That's one reason I tend to keep my car plugged in.

Also check out the kWh used on the Energy Info display. That will help indicate if your reduced range is due to a weak battery vs. other issues. From a full charge, you should get 14+ kWh until the battery is empty. (Lately I get 14+ kWh but 20% less battery range than I used to in similar conditions. I'm not sure why; I've checked tires/pressure, etc.) As others have said, the Guess-O-Meter isn't your best measure of range; miles driven from full to empty charge is the true measure of range.

Also check out the Energy Details in the Energy Info display. If anything other than Driving accounts for very much energy, that's an indication of use habits you can change to improve your range.
 

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Great video. Thanks! It looks like I get between 35 and 43 miles on a charge. A lot less than I used. Here's what I see on the dash. View attachment 172136
The Volt’s energy usage screen is zeroed out after the battery is fully recharged (see the picture: Since Last Full Charge). You are giving your car partial recharges. One full charge for a Gen 2 Volt should be ~14.0 kWh Used. You should fully charge the battery to reset the numbers, and then drive until the battery is depleted to see how many kWh Used you get and how many Electric Miles you can drive on a single full charge.

From those pictures it appears something is seriously wrong and your "ev mileage" is abnormally low (sticker rating 53 ev miles/14.0 kWh Used, and the kWh Used is greater than that/ev miles less than that in all 3 pictures). Either something other than the motor is gobbling up the battery power (blasting the heat to warm the unplugged car before leaving, or sitting parked for hours with the a/c running, etc.) or perhaps something mechanical has gone wrong to reduce your mileage (sticking brake caliper?). Even your gas mileage is way below the 42 mpg sticker rating (26, 23, 23.7 mpg).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The Volt’s energy usage screen is zeroed out after the battery is fully recharged (see the picture: Since Last Full Charge). You are giving your car partial recharges. One full charge for a Gen 2 Volt should be ~14.0 kWh Used. You should fully charge the battery to reset the numbers, and then drive until the battery is depleted to see how many kWh Used you get and how many Electric Miles you can drive on a single full charge.

From those pictures it appears something is seriously wrong and your "ev mileage" is abnormally low (sticker rating 53 ev miles/14.0 kWh Used, and the kWh Used is greater than that/ev miles less than that in all 3 pictures). Either something other than the motor is gobbling up the battery power (blasting the heat to warm the unplugged car before leaving, or sitting parked for hours with the a/c running, etc.) or perhaps something mechanical has gone wrong to reduce your mileage (sticking brake caliper?). Even your gas mileage is way below the 42 mpg sticker rating (26, 23, 23.7 mpg).
Thanks for your detailed reply. Sounds like a visit to the dealer/mechanic is in order. If a battery issue can this conceivably be under warranty?
 

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Thanks for your detailed reply. Sounds like a visit to the dealer/mechanic is in order. If a battery issue can this conceivably be under warranty?
I don’t think you have a battery issue (unless the battery itself is incapable of being "fully charged" or has degraded more than the warranty 40% maximum level, i.e., you only get ~8.3 kWh Used on a full charge). Since the mileage numbers for both ev and gas are low, that suggests it’s something other than "bad fuel" (also, since both the ev and the gas mileage are low, that suggests it’s not a matter of using excessive battery power for cabin climate control). Perhaps others can suggest potential mechanical problems that would reduce mileage... wheels out of alignment? Sticking brake calipers? Still got the winter studded tires on the car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
"Since the mileage numbers for both ev and gas are low, that suggests it’s something other than "bad fuel"

New tires; wheels aligned. What else could it be?
 
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