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I couldn't find a thread for people in a situation like me, so creating one. I drive 50 miles to work one-way, with no place to charge at work - so 100 miles per charge. Others might have a charger at work, but have to drive more than 60 miles to get there. I want to swap tips/techniques on how to get the most out of your Volt during the commute, whether your goal is minimize cost or minimize gas usage. I'm sort of a hybrid of the two - I'm definitely not going to pay $8 to get $2 worth of electricity from a pay charger, but I do place some value on being gas-free.

At first, I was driving until the gas ran out, which usually happened about 10 miles into my return trip (60 miles into the overall trip). I used about 1.0 gal of gas for the remaining 40 miles. I quickly realized that there is a very sharp dropoff between 70 and 75 miles an hour, so if I drove 74 or 73 on the fast portion of my trip, I could get a bit further. This week, I tried using "Hold" mode during the 74mph portion, and I'm pulling off the same trip in about 0.7 gal.

My other thought was to find a place en route where I can occasionally eat breakfast or dinner and charge up for free. So far no luck finding such a place. Looking into finding a supermarket with chargers so I can do my grocery shopping on my way home and get some miles back.

Anyone with a similar situation have any wisdom to share?
 

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Telecommute?

(sorry I couldn't resist)

Seriously though, run battery when you can and let the REX haul you around the rest of the time I suppose.
One thing to keep in mind is that the REX is most efficient at 45+ mph steady so depending on what your commute is like you may want to "hold" your battery during the highway speed phases and use the REX, then switch back to battery when you are at any lower speed/stop and start sections of your drive. (assuming there are such differences).
 

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My commute is ~65 miles one way and I have no charging at work either. My strategy is has been to run the battery at speeds generally under 45mph and use the ICE for speeds over that. It's been working great so far and I think it maximizes both the battery and ICE performance and so I see no reason to change it. Most days I have an excess of battery power on my way home so I just use up the battery (at higher speeds) to get me home so that I can charge back up.

I also set a delay on the charger to avoid charging a 'hot' battery - I suspect this may be better for the battery and would like to hear from others who may know if this is better or not.

21K miles in 7 months
 

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...My other thought was to find a place en route where I can occasionally eat breakfast or dinner and charge up for free. So far no luck finding such a place. Looking into finding a supermarket with chargers so I can do my grocery shopping on my way home and get some miles back.
Look on plugshare.com for charging sites. You can click the box on the "payment required" filter to find free ones.

Yes, using Hold mode on the higher speed portions of the trip is best. Goal is to use it enough that you glide into your driveway with zero EV miles. Keep the HVAC on ECO or Fan Only, etc.
 

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Find a route where you can drive 30 MPH, then you can probably make it a lot further on EV. The slower your speed the greater your range. That's why I was able to go almost 82 miles in my 2012 Volt.
 

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My commute is about 60 miles round trip. The beginning of my commute is 80mph for about 10 miles. I use battery between home an the freeway, then use hold for the 80mph section. The last 5 miles to work is uphill, I use hold again for the uphill section.
On the way back, battery to the freeway and for the next 5 miles (downhill), and I'm out of battery by the time I get to the 80mph section.

By good management, I have managed to get my AER from 37mi to 42mi, MPG for the trip from 85-90 to 120-150.
 

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i commute 70-ish miles round trip.

75-80% of my commute is on on all electric, anytime you are on a freeway/highway doing 70, gas engine is generally better. There's a strectch of road thats 15 miles all highway, whenever I get on it, i'll go into hold mode for that stretch. Get to work I'll have a 1/2 charge.

on the way home from work, I drive a normal route (mostly highway/interstate) and maybe for the last few miles gas engine kicks on. It's burning hot here in TX right now - so AC is on all the time. I'm pretty happy going 70 miles and only using about 0.25 gallons to 0.35 gallons of gas for the entire trip.
 

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I've submitted an article to Jeff Cobb on this subject. Maybe he will publish it soon.

Essentially, as others have stated, my Gen 2 Volt is best on slower sections of road. At higher speeds when the battery capacity will not be sufficient, I use the ICE.

However, one other aspect I have noticed is that it is better to use the ICE for flatter sections of road where the ICE can be optimized for Atkinson cycle attributes. It provides better fuel mileage. When I returned from a trip recently, I have about 53 mpg on gasoline. However, since the last leg of the trip was hilly with a lot of up and down roadways, my mpg at destination had been reduced to about 50.

So if you can select a section of road that is more "steady", it seems to equate to better mpg than using the ICE over roads where it must rev high to provide hill climbing power and then idle/shutdown on the downhill sections.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Finally did some analysis of my change to using "hold" during the 74mph portion. Hold mode, not surprisingly, also operates more efficiently at the lower speeds, but doesn't suffer as big a plunge as EV mode does at those speeds. Incidentally, though my mileage while on hold is lower now than it was before, it is more than offset by the losses prevented by not driving in EV mode on the high speed portion.

But even with the larger efficiency loss, it would take a gas price of under a buck before it would be cheaper to use gas than electric at high speeds, provided you have enough charge for the whole trip.

Conclusions: Using hold on the highest-speed portion of the trip is better than using it on the low-speed portions, but it's never good to get home with charge left.
 

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I just bought my first Volt about 3 weeks ago. My commute is 51 miles each way. I drive about 30 miles on interstate at 65 mph and then about 21 on rural highway at 55 mph. My max battery only range so far has been about 49 miles. I am guessing that I am not getting the 53 mile advertised range because of the high speed driving and one long hill that I have to climb. I am using the supplied level 1 charger at work and getting about 2/3 of a charge for the ride home. They are supposed to be installing a level 2 charger soon.

Is anybody getting better battery only range at high speed?
 

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I commute 65 miles.

I put hold mode on the highway at 71-75mph for the minimum possible to use the full battery. In the winter it's obviously more miles than summer.

I did the whole commute once on battery, hitting some trafic and driving 62mph, the most boring drive ever... So I prefer to use some gas.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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Just returned from a long trip of 520 miles. Got exactly 40 miles from the EV. Got exactly 40 MPG on the ICE (gas only). This is using MM in my 2012 Volt for all interstate driving at speeds between 70-75, but mostly set the cruise to 74. Not too shabby for a 2012 Volt. This is on my new (about 3k miles) Continental True Contacts tires. This is also hauling my wife, two daughters a trunk/hatchback full of luggage.
 

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I don't have a Volt, but my recommendation is to move closer and save on gas, tires, and wear. When I began working in 1974, my commute was 21 miles in very slow traffic, getting less than 5 MPG. A year later I moved closer to just six miles of light traffic, my two GM cars lasted over 20 years each, and I spend less than 25% on gas, tires, and repairs than the average car owner here.

You shoud do the same: move closer.
 

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"I also set a delay on the charger to avoid charging a 'hot' battery "

It doesn't hurt anything, but the battery gets cooled by the thermal management system so it's probably doesn't really matter.
Well, if anything, I would think it is better to simply start charging it as it can use the cooling system immediately instead of sitting there heating up till it cools down.
 

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I've submitted an article to Jeff Cobb on this subject. Maybe he will publish it soon.

However, one other aspect I have noticed is that it is better to use the ICE for flatter sections of road where the ICE can be optimized for Atkinson cycle attributes. It provides better fuel mileage. When I returned from a trip recently, I have about 53 mpg on gasoline. However, since the last leg of the trip was hilly with a lot of up and down roadways, my mpg at destination had been reduced to about 50.

So if you can select a section of road that is more "steady", it seems to equate to better mpg than using the ICE over roads where it must rev high to provide hill climbing power and then idle/shutdown on the downhill sections.

I don't know if I'd attribute that to the Atkinson characteristics. It might be simply that it takes more power to maintain a given speed going up a hill.
 

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It certainly takes more power to go up hill. But the benefit is that the ICE will shutdown and the Volt will regen power into the battery on the corresponding downhill slope.

The losses come into play in that the ICE needs to operate out of its peak efficiency zone to generate the power to take you up the hill. On the flat stretches of road, it can operate at lower rpm and high efficiency.

See the attached picture for the Gen 2 ICE characteristic. Operating at about 80% torque at 3000 rpm is more efficient (about 230 BSFC or Brake Specific Fuel Consumption) than operating at 5500 rpm with full torque (about 280 BSFC).
 

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It certainly takes more power to go up hill. But the benefit is that the ICE will shutdown and the Volt will regen power into the battery on the corresponding downhill slope.

The losses come into play in that the ICE needs to operate out of its peak efficiency zone to generate the power to take you up the hill. On the flat stretches of road, it can operate at lower rpm and high efficiency.

See the attached picture for the Gen 2 ICE characteristic. Operating at about 80% torque at 3000 rpm is more efficient (about 230 BSFC or Brake Specific Fuel Consumption) than operating at 5500 rpm with full torque (about 280 BSFC).

ICE operating at a given speed will consume less fuel on a level run than maintaining that speed up a hill regardless. Even if the BSFC remained constant more power means more fuel.
 

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Climbing 3 mountain passes when leaving from sea level up to the highest pass of 1642 feet does take a toll on gas mpg and
electric range. Our 2016 Volt managed 47.2 mpg on gas and 55 miles on electric on our round trip to Portland Oregon, 194 miles total. When driving down the coast via Highway 101 on mostly flat roads with only a few hills mpg on gas would have probably been pushing 50 mpg just on gas and range on electric of around 60 miles.
 
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