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I'm going to be taking a 300mile drive, almost all highway, this fall, all my driving so far has been commuting.

  1. Would you put the car in Normal and just drive?
  2. Keep the car in Hold while on the highway, and then switch to Normal when you get off the highway?
It doesn't really matter what I do since the battery will run down relatively early (first 60miles), and run on ICE for the majority of the drive.
 

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With our 2016 Volt with a trip over 200 miles I use hold mode and keep about 10 KWH of battery capacity usually 40 miles or so of electric range. When going through towns with stop and go I use electric and once on the highway switch to hold. Last trip with nearly 600 miles was well over 150 miles on electric, closer to 200 miles, free charging at our cabin / camp site, and over 47 mpg just on gas. From sea level to over 4,800 feet, gasoline was the least expense on the entire trip.
 

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With our 2016 Volt with a trip over 200 miles I use hold mode and keep about 10 KWH of battery capacity usually 40 miles or so of electric range. When going through towns with stop and go I use electric and once on the highway switch to hold. Last trip with nearly 600 miles was well over 150 miles on electric, closer to 200 miles, free charging at our cabin / camp site, and over 47 mpg just on gas. From sea level to over 4,800 feet, gasoline was the least expense on the entire trip.
This is the basic method I use, but you are going to get a million different responses. I contend it's an important question. Others will say that you shouldn't even care and just drive. But because you even think to ask this question is why the Volt concept is inherently complex, and why the sales numbers of an otherwise awesome concept are low.
 

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Even if you just drove and used up the entire battery your entire trip will be still be less for fuel expense than 90%+ of all the cars out there. The 1.5 liter Volt gasoline engine is quite fuel efficient and we have had many trips while driving down Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast with MPG"s just on gas over 50 mpg, one trip was over 60 mpg, just on gas. Of course speeds ranged from in town / cities with 25-45 mph speed limits to highway at 55 mph.
 

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On long drives, I try to keep at least two to three electric bars (by Hold) for local driving, or back up reserve.

Also, some failure mode posts have reported, car still works in electric. This one is less clear, because, even if true, it may require powering down and re-starting, a tough way to go in a hurry on a busy highway.
 

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For a long round-trip without charging, I generally touch the mode button only one time. I switch to hold mode upon departure. This saves my battery for local driving at the destination. On the return leg, any remaining battery is used up and then the engine runs to finish the trip, ensuring I don't arrive home with any remaining battery charge. In an ideal scenario, I will have only two cold engine starts. I like that because a cold engine produces much more pollution, runs inefficiently, and that is when most of the wear occurs. This method also minimizes fiddling with or having to think much about the mode button.
 

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It depends. At the end of your drive will you be at low speed for a short distance or a longer distance. If short I'd just run the battery down in Normal Mode. For a longer distance I'd look at the number of miles I need and then switch to Hold Mode at that point.
 

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For a long round-trip without charging, I generally touch the mode button only one time.
Unless you are driving straight through, you need to remember that the mode button must be pressed to get back into Hold mode every time you restart the car.
 

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I regularly do a 420 mile trip to visit family. My preferred method is to use battery until I'm on the highway at a steady speed >45mph and then put it in HOLD and leave it there unless circumstances bring me down below 40mph such as a traffic backup or when we pull off to take a break. When I know I'm in battery range of my mom's house I usually go electric and finish up the trip that way since I can charge at her house.

I average 39-40mpg on those trips at highway speeds through the mountains of PA.
 

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I use hold mode to save the battery for in town and traffic jams. The gas engine is most efficient on the highway when it is allowed to get hot and stay hot. But, like others have said, it does not really matter that much.
 

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I always use battery until I'm on the freeway and then switch. I then try to guess when to go electric again, invariably stressing myself out and cursing myself when the engine kicks on with 500 feet left or when I arrive with 10 miles of range remaining due to different highway speeds/topography/local driving. I then tell myself that I should really just forget about all of the guessing and drive, just to do it again the next time. YMMV.

As I've posted on here before (and I think Hyundai has implemented), they should have the ability with navigation to do planned trips. If you set a destination further than the electric range, you should be able to command the car to optimize the use of battery and engine (based on speed limits, elevation, temperature etc.) to deliver the best economy, such that you arrive with basically no charge.
 

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It's nice to save half the EV range for the final stretch.
You arrive silently and with an engine compartment that it not stinking hot like a conventional ICE, which can leave the car cooler for the next drive.
 

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For me the magic number is 65mph. If I'm driving to/from work and traffic is peaking at 65 and dipping below I'll stay on battery. Once we're flowing at 65 and over sustained I'll drop into hold mode. Anything sustained over 65mph drops the battery fairly fast.

That being said during our trip across the USA this Spring I used the same mentality, most of our trip was on the interstate running between 75 and 80...usually 10mph over the limit. Running at 80+ the gas mileage takes a pretty good hit, as low as 37.5-38.5mpg when running 85.

On a side note my wife and I carpool daily to work, 88 miles each way, approximately 57 miles on battery/average daily. Our MPG is about 44-45 usually each day. During the winter the battery tails off to low 50s with the climate/heater on. When driving two lane hyws and city I've gone as far as 63 miles on a single charge, did that twice this Spring with no climate usage.
 

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I've taken a drive to Vegas a couple times since I've had my '13 (about 290 miles) and due to the nature of the drive (mountains and desert) I generally leave mine in mountain mode. However, that said, there are also long stretches of highway with little or no services and I suspect next time I take the trip I may just leave it in hold from the get go. This way if I encounter any unexpected issues, I have a healthy reserve to get me most if not all the way to somewhere rather than the side of the highway. I really don't see a significant difference in using up most of the battery then switching to gas since the Volt is really far more efficient than my previous car. I have managed to make it into Vegas on the last electrons in the battery, and my mpg was only a couple mpg higher than gas only 47 vs. 45 mpg. Of course I think the descent into Nevada from California really helped that along as I was able to regen for several miles with the engine off.
 

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This is what I've adopted: I travel often to work about 90 miles from my house --

1) electric to get to the highway ...
2) engage the ICE (hold mode) and ride until either off highway, or (inevitable) traffic jam on highway (and move back to electric)
3) on the way home, gauge the final leg of the trip to use up all the battery

This is not 'complicated' (to me) ... just the most efficient way to travel. Although I hate traffic jams, I love that the battery uses almost nothing to poke along bumper to bumper til I'm past the accident or whatever.
 

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This is what I've adopted: I travel often to work about 90 miles from my house ...
This is not 'complicated' (to me) ... just the most efficient way to travel. Although I hate traffic jams, I love that the battery uses almost nothing to poke along bumper to bumper til I'm past the accident or whatever.
What he said... that's what I do too....
 

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I"ll use this to post an update of my method.

The usual disclaimer: none of this is required, the car will perform just fine if you leave it in Normal and drive it.

I use method 2 with the following twist: I reset the Hold mark whenever the SOC drops enough to trigger the ICE replacing the lost charge (what we referred to in the Insight world as "forced regen". Resetting is accomplished by simply switching to normal for a few seconds and then back to hold. That avoids the car going into forced regen which is an efficiency killer. Determining if the SOC has dropped to the point where you are flirting with forced regen takes a bit of guesswork. If you see the SOC below the red Hold mark then that's a dead give away. I also note the electric range and if it drops while in Hold mode, I'll reset the Hold mark.

This is not a constant dance (at least it isn't in mostly flat Florida). I probably reset the hold mark only once or twice every 100 miles.

Take these numbers with a huge grain of NaCl because I'm sure my method messes with their calculation, but per Volt Stats, I'm pulling 67.81 MPGcs (98.5%) and 84.93 MPGe (81.3%) on 56% EV Miles over 13,275 total. Since I only use Hold mode at highway speeds (generally between 75 MPH and 83 MPH), these numbers are clearly inflated, but I do regularly exceed the expected gas range on long trips.
 

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One more minor suggestion, while like many others I switch to normal when I'm in a slower speed zone, I try to keep the ICE near operating temp. No ICE is efficient while warming up and I try to avoid staying out of Hold too long if I know that I'm going to re-engage the ICE in the near future.
 

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My method:

1. Hold at HWY speeds
2. NORMAL at slow speeds and stop and go
3. Mountain Mode once battery drops to 50% to keep it there which essentially acts as hold. this way I have plenty of battery for local driving.
 
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