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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, yesterday I drove to work, it's cold so the ICE ran on and off the whole 19 miles to work. Normal, as it has been doing. I came out of work to drive home and started it up, the ICE kicked on right off, again this has been the normal with the low temps so I did not think anything of it, except the gas gauge was showing big on the left and the battery was up in the upper left corner, like when on HOLD or the battery is depleted. I figure it's on HOLD mode somehow on start up, so I push the mode button, but it was on NORMAL, and HOLD is grayed out and not selectable. I start my drive home and about 10 miles down the road, the ICE stops and the gauges go back to normal showing the battery gauge big on the left and gas in the upper corner. I still had 18 miles of battery range. I pushed the mode switch and now all 4 modes are available again.

I did not see any notice messages that I am aware of, no service lights. I took the car in for service today to have them check it, and I had noticed the battery coolant was on the low mark yesterday when I got home. They found no codes and nothing wrong with it, but did fill up the coolant.

So, was this a maintenance run of the ICE even with me having used ICE a lot already: I have 300 miles on this fill up and 3 gals of gas has been used already in about 2 weeks. Or was this something else? Has anyone ever had the HOLD mode grayed out and not selectable? If not I'll tribute this to sun spots and North Korea.

Thanks
 

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I think this happens when it's even colder than the normal engine due to temperature run points, as others reported this behavior during the last polar vortex. I surmise that, at times the battery is cold enough that the car decides it's going to run in a pseudo hold mode because it doesn't want to stress the battery and extract power until it's been heated up a bit by its TMS system. (But the battery is not so cold that it needs to be plugged in to warm before starting)

So, that's probably the behavior you saw. It doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary.

Just out of curiosity, what was the outside temperature?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply, it was about 5 F at the time. I have driven at lower temps than that, but I think the car has been in the garage and plugged in when started, and not left outside for 10 hours in the constant low temps. Makes sense that it would not want to stress the system with the cold.
 

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I've seen that behavior once, but that time it was sitting outside for 8 hours outside unplugged below -15F. I've not seen it do that since (it's been warmer than that though... sometimes negative, sometimes positive, but usually at least negative single digits, if not positive).
 

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Yeah, I've had the same experience twice now. It appears to be normal behavior.
 

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Happened to me for the first time this evening.

It was about 10 degrees out but the windchill had been around -15 all day. Normally one doesn't consider windchill for mechanical things but in this case it's got a battery that is trying to stay warmer than the surroundings.

I was interested to see that it behaved like CS or Hold mode in that it stopped while I was stopped for each light. If anything it was more closely tied to the motor load (accelerator setting) that usual. Almost gave the impression as a result of being mechanically linked somehow, but obviously not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If anything it was more closely tied to the motor load (accelerator setting) that usual. Almost gave the impression as a result of being mechanically linked somehow, but obviously not.
YES! that is something I forgot, it really felt like it was running through a transmission, not a normal feel/sound for the Volt. I had not seen anyone else talk about this, but if others have seen it too, then I guess it's one of the undocumented features of the car. Thanks guys, my car is not possessed! As we are expected to see -17 F next week, I'm sure it will do it again on me. But now I know it's OK.
 

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ClarksonCote gave you a good explanation of what's going on. The traction battery core temperature was too cold for normal operation so it used the ICE to keep it safe while warming the battery pack. If you have the vehicle plugged in, it will pull electricity from the grid to maintain the battery temperature and you won't experience this operation mode.
 

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ClarksonCote gave you a good explanation of what's going on. The traction battery core temperature was too cold for normal operation so it used the ICE to keep it safe while warming the battery pack. If you have the vehicle plugged in, it will pull electricity from the grid to maintain the battery temperature and you won't experience this operation mode.
That's right. I've driven in much colder but in the morning it's been plugged in and charging as well. It's the all-day cold soak at work that triggered it.
 

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Yea, it's normal. I do not charge my car while I am at work. If the temperature is below zero Fahrenheit all day long then the battery is not available until the core temperature rises. How long it takes to do that depends on how cold it is outside. Yesterday our high for the day was -5F and the range of temperature was as low as -21F on my drive into work. Even with pre-heating the car it takes about eight miles for the battery temperature to come up to spec in conditions that cold. I wish GM had put the battery temperature on one of the displays so that I could see how what's going on inside the tunnel.
 

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ClarksonCote gave you a good explanation of what's going on. The traction battery core temperature was too cold for normal operation so it used the ICE to keep it safe while warming the battery pack. If you have the vehicle plugged in, it will pull electricity from the grid to maintain the battery temperature and you won't experience this operation mode.
I just experienced this. My car was plugged in to my level 2 charger, but it started the engine when I remote started it, though I have that feature off. I thought that was weird. Then the engine kept going when I drove. Hold and mountain were grayed out. Then later I checked stain, and mountain was not grayed but hold still was. Then I put it into sport, and the battery became available again. Car was parked plugged in for about 18 hours. It was 11F out.
 

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I just experienced this. My car was plugged in to my level 2 charger, but it started the engine when I remote started it, though I have that feature off. I thought that was weird. Then the engine kept going when I drove. Hold and mountain were grayed out. Then later I checked stain, and mountain was not grayed but hold still was. Then I put it into sport, and the battery became available again. Car was parked plugged in for about 18 hours. It was 11F out.
You might want to double-check that setting. I had mine set to very cold and keep engine off when plugged in - both were back to factory defaults today.
 

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If anything it was more closely tied to the motor load (accelerator setting) that usual. Almost gave the impression as a result of being mechanically linked somehow, but obviously not.
Actually I think you are right here. Remember that the Volt has the ability to indirectly link the motor to the wheels at certain speeds and power demands, gaining efficiency. Well, when it is this cold, the Volt likely does this all the time until the battery warms enough. In that way, they're not drawing or dumping tons power out of or into the battery.

This can also happen if there's a problem detected with the high voltage system. Except, in that case since it is a problem, a reduced propulsion power message is displayed and the engine comes on. The battery is completely bypassed, and the Volt uses this ability to indirectly link the generator motor to the wheels to move the car.

Another cool benefit of the dual power/propulsion sources and the patented planetary gearset chosen to propel the Volt :)
 

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Happened to me 3 times this winter, with car in garage and plugged in to 120 12 amp.
Isn't the thermal management supposed to keep the battery warm when plugged in?
One time it was 26F.

2013 Volt
 

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When I went to the local dealer this past January to look at purchasing a Volt the salesman asked me if I would like a test drive. They had a fully charged 2013 model that was sitting outside not plugged in. It was 5 degrees out. When we went for the test drive the salesman couldn't figure out what was going on because the battery was grayed out. After several miles the engine stopped and everything went to normal. Salesman was baffled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It stumped my service department, and the sales guy that came by to say hello to me in the waiting area.
Totally undocumented "Feature" would think GM would let their service depts know and avoid some extra expenses of the Volt Tech.
 

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The real question is why would the battery be to cold to start when car is plugged in.

Take the 240v at 11 degrees example - wouldn't thermal management keep everything good?
 

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The real question is why would the battery be to cold to start when car is plugged in.

Take the 240v at 11 degrees example - wouldn't thermal management keep everything good?
Unless it just finished charging, or you did a pre-condition start, it will still be cold. I don't believe the Volt is like the Model S, where you have large parasitic losses from trying to keep the battery warm. The Volt has a range extender to use when the battery is cold where the Tesla S does not.
 
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