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Discussion Starter #1
I typically run my 2017 Volt with HVAC set to auto, recirc, and Eco with the temp set to 74. That seems to work fine in the FL heat. For the past week, we've had cool mornings down in the 40's and 50's and I figured starting out in ~50F degree weather, it'd add heat and warm the car to 74 just like it cools it to 74. Doesn't seem to be so. I have to crank the temp up to about 84 to get any heat coming out: then it works. Is this "normal"? Or is there some setting I'm overlooking? To me, auto should be auto: it should do whatever it needs to meet the set 74 temp.

I do turn it off and use seat heat at times, but given that my commute only uses about half the battery capacity, I'd like to be able to use the auto HVAC setting and actually get heat when I want it.

Mike
 

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We've had temperatures drop to mid 40's (7-10 deg C) lately and I am finding that "Eco" doesn't really cut it. You may need the "Max" setting and yes, sometimes I find I have to bump up the temperature setting as well. The heat is then pretty good and I just have it on long enough to warm the cabin slightly, leave the seat heater on low and that makes it comfortable for me without using too much battery....
 

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I typically run my 2017 Volt with HVAC set to auto, recirc, and Eco with the temp set to 74. That seems to work fine in the FL heat. For the past week, we've had cool mornings down in the 40's and 50's and I figured starting out in ~50F degree weather, it'd add heat and warm the car to 74 just like it cools it to 74. Doesn't seem to be so. I have to crank the temp up to about 84 to get any heat coming out: then it works. Is this "normal"? Or is there some setting I'm overlooking? To me, auto should be auto: it should do whatever it needs to meet the set 74 temp.

I do turn it off and use seat heat at times, but given that my commute only uses about half the battery capacity, I'd like to be able to use the auto HVAC setting and actually get heat when I want it.

Mike
Yes, this is normal. What you are seeing is the target temp of 74 is actually something like 64-84 in Eco mode. As the cabin temp approaches 74, the system starts dialing back the power. In Max mode the actual target temp may be 69-79, or it might be even a closer target.
Try running the HVAC in Max. It will get to the 'target' quicker and it still dials back on power used when it gets close but maintains the cabin temp closer to your target.
 

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I've found that as I move the temp up, it cuts down on the cooling, but I have yet to get any real heat blowing. I'm waiting for even colder days to further investigate.
 

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I purchased my 2017 Volt in August here in Montana and have already experienced some 20F mornings. I had been setting my heating the same as you with the temp set to 70F. On these colder mornings however, I have had to switch to the "Max" setting, increase the temp setting and turn up the fan to get the heat moving. I have found that I really appreciate the seat heaters and steering wheel warmer because they react the fastest to my desire for heat. The HVAC does eventually heat up the cabin though, with a significant hit to the battery charge. I only have a 20 mile round trip to work and back though, so I never worry much about depleting the battery. It will be interesting to see how my Volt handles the -20F days in January and February.
 

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You really need to start out in MAX and HI Temp and then when you get the cabin to temp to your liking you can dial back the temp or go to Eco.

ECO in cold temps requires a lot of patients.
 

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I'll echo everyone else. Change to Max. In my Gen I, ECO barely provides any heat, but if I switch to COMFORT, it heats up quick.
 

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You really need to start out in MAX and HI Temp and then when you get the cabin to temp to your liking you can dial back the temp or go to Eco.
This being the case hardly meets my expectation of AUTOMATIC mode. Thats the sort of thing I expect a computer to do. I have to lie to it to get the simple thing I want.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This being the case hardly meets my expectation of AUTOMATIC mode. Thats the sort of thing I expect a computer to do. I have to lie to it to get the simple thing I want.
That's kinda the disappointment I had: it has no trouble cooling the cabin down from 95+ temps to a cabin temp of 74 when set to auto and eco. So why should it have trouble under the same settings bringing it up from 50 to 74?

I know heat takes more kW but I had left it on for 15 minutes with cabin temps around 50 and the HVAC set to the same 74 and I would have expected SOME heating. I got none: just cool air blowing out the vents. Once I cranked it up to 82 to 84, it started blowing warm air and it heated up the cabin nicely (and quickly). Don't think I should have to do that either.

Mike
 

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That's kinda the disappointment I had: it has no trouble cooling the cabin down from 95+ temps to a cabin temp of 74 when set to auto and eco. So why should it have trouble under the same settings bringing it up from 50 to 74?

I know heat takes more kW but I had left it on for 15 minutes with cabin temps around 50 and the HVAC set to the same 74 and I would have expected SOME heating. I got none: just cool air blowing out the vents. Once I cranked it up to 82 to 84, it started blowing warm air and it heated up the cabin nicely (and quickly). Don't think I should have to do that either.

Mike
Do you park in the garage or in the driveway? The garage will be warmer that the outside ambient temperature. That could be what you are experiencing. The car computer detects a warmer temp and once you drive out of the garage takes a while to adjust accordingly. In order to get the heat you have to raise the temp setting.

If you park outside at work try leaving it on 74 and see if there is a difference.
 

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The computer is telling you it's not that cold and isn't giving max heat (for efficiency's sake) because it sees the outside temp is close to your setpoint (whether real or distorted by environment per 2volt's example).
When you bump the setpoint further out it sees the difference is greater and dials up the heat to max.
If the temp is actually cold outside (fridge temps or lower) you'll always get max heat.

I realize you're in FL and your definition of cold is nowhere near ours :)))
But you'll find the seat heater work wonders when it's chilly but not really cold.
They also work within a minute and use next to no power. Give it a try next time instead of the full HVAC.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have been using the seat heat but if the HVAC is on auto, I'd prefer it just work: the rear seats don't have seat heat (in mine) so me and the front passenger having warm butts isn't gonna help the rear seat passengers. I see what you're saying but from a customer's perspective, it shouldn't be that complicated. It should work like the other cars I've owned: it should see that the cabin temp is 50 and I have the HVAC set to 74... so it needs to run the heat until the cabin temp reaches 74.

All that extraneous "stuff" you said should have no bearing. It should just work. My other cars do. What you said in that last post sounds more like the car is saying "50 really isn't that bad and you aren't suffering that much: so I'm gonna ignore the fact that you prefer 74 degrees".

Mike
 

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It will get to 74 if you leave it long enough.
The car is calculating the most efficient way to get there without wasting a ton of energy to heat the coolant and only use a tiny portion of it (which is how an ICE vehicle works).
What you feel as cold air is not actually cold. It's just not extremely hot as you are expecting.
I'd suspect if you took a thermometer and measured the temp, it is indeed warmer than the cabin. You just immediately call it cold because it's not what you expect and the wind chill makes it feel like it's not warmer than the cooler, still air.
It's the same with home heating. A heat pump is the most efficient way of heating the air, but it runs low and slow constantly. Most people would say it blows cold air, but in reality it's just slightly warmer air as opposed to flaming hot air from a furnace.

When it's not cold out, you have two options
1) set it and forget it, it will heat efficiently
or 2) crank it to max and treat it like an ICE that can't actually dial in the exact amount of heat required without waste

Not saying it's perfect, but it's trying to be as efficient as it can be, because for every person who complains about this, there are 9 more who complain the heater sucks back the range like no tomorrow.
 

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What you feel as cold air is not actually cold. It's just not extremely hot as you are expecting.
I'd suspect if you took a thermometer and measured the temp, it is indeed warmer than the cabin. You just immediately call it cold because it's not what you expect and the wind chill makes it feel like it's not warmer than the cooler, still air.
It's the same with home heating. A heat pump is the most efficient way of heating the air, but it runs low and slow constantly. Most people would say it blows cold air, but in reality it's just slightly warmer air as opposed to flaming hot air from a furnace.
This ^^^
The air coming out of the vents may be 90*, but to your hand (98*), it would feel cool.
 

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I gave up on eco heat a couple years ago. Didn't really change my range either. Comfort and 74 always keeps Hal warm inside. I like the "face/foot" mode setting in heating rather than "auto" mode since it gives me warm air on my hands. Gen 1's lock out the a/c below 35° (unless I push the defrost button) so I turn off the auto recirc to keep the windows from fogging up. Above 35 degress, the a/c will run to defog. Give Max a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This ^^^
The air coming out of the vents may be 90*, but to your hand (98*), it would feel cool.
Confirmed this morning that this is not what is happening! I've lived in homes with heat pumps so I'm familiar with that situation, but I also took my IR thermometer when I took my kid to the bus stop just now. We waited 15 minutes for the bus and the heat absolutely does not work in auto mode until I crank it up to about 82. Outside temp was 59, HVAC set to 74. Interior cabin temp measured 60 as did the air coming out of the vents and the kW registered 0.5 the whole time, indicating it wasn't trying to heat.

I pressed the Eco button to turn Eco off: nothing. Pressed Max and I got about 10 seconds of 4-6 kW and then back down to 0.5, still blowing 60F air. Turned up the temp knob to 82 and then got heat and it heated up nicely.

Mike
 

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I have been using the seat heat but if the HVAC is on auto, I'd prefer it just work: the rear seats don't have seat heat (in mine) so me and the front passenger having warm butts isn't gonna help the rear seat passengers. I see what you're saying but from a customer's perspective, it shouldn't be that complicated. It should work like the other cars I've owned: it should see that the cabin temp is 50 and I have the HVAC set to 74... so it needs to run the heat until the cabin temp reaches 74.

All that extraneous "stuff" you said should have no bearing. It should just work. My other cars do. What you said in that last post sounds more like the car is saying "50 really isn't that bad and you aren't suffering that much: so I'm gonna ignore the fact that you prefer 74 degrees".

Mike
But it doesn't work like any other car -- it's a Volt. For better or worse, this car is unique (in many ways), and takes some getting used to. I continue to claim that this is part of why this car doesn't sell in the volumes that we owners might otherwise anticipate.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
But it doesn't work like any other car -- it's a Volt. For better or worse, this car is unique (in many ways), and takes some getting used to. I continue to claim that this is part of why this car doesn't sell in the volumes that we owners might otherwise anticipate.
I'll accept that if I have to: I'll just rotate the temp knob to 84 or so. Just wish it'd honor the cabin temp when heating like it does for AC. Ultimately it'd be nice to have an option in settings under vehicle/HVAC like:

When heating:
- Freeze me out to save kW
- Honor cabin temp setting

:D

Mike
 
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