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Mountain Mode not needed (Gen 2)

6064 Views 25 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  wordptom
It's leaf peeping season in Colorado, so this morning I filled my tank and headed for the mountains. I live at 5,700 ft above sea level and ran out of battery after a little over 47 miles and a net climb of 2,800 ft. I stayed in Normal mode the entire loop, driving over Kenosha Pass at 10,000 ft, Independence Pass at 12,095 ft, Vail Pass at 10,662 ft, and through the eastbound bore of the Eisenhower tunnel at 11,158 ft. I drove the posted speed limit the entire way and kept my Volt in Normal mode the entire time. Kenosha, Vail, and Eisenhower approaches are posted 65 MPH. Kenosha isn't that steep so my car was only pulling about 20 KW on the climb. Climbing Vail and Eisenhower my car was running about 40-45 KW power output and the ICE was happily screaming along. I was even able to accelerate up both passes to about 80 MPH using the Normal mode "low" buffer in the battery. The descent from Independence Pass to Aspen actually resulted in three bars of power being regenerated. When I got to down to Georgetown I got off I-70 for a bathroom break and had one bar of battery from the descent. My car correctly identified it as "gas" power and allocated it to the gas fuel economy number even after I restarted the engine even though the Classic Enhanced display showed battery power only upon restart.

Here's the Energy Usage display when I got home.
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The leaves were stunning with a variety of greens, yellows, and reds throughout the drive.

One other note: I was passed on I-70 by a CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) painted Chevy Bolt. Interesting...
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Interesting and impressive results. I wonder if mountain mode might be more necessary on certain kinds of climbs, maybe where you have a lot of tight switchbacks and you would be accelerating out of the turns frequently, while also climbing-- especially if you were in a hurry. I think Pikes Peak is like that (I have not driven it, so not sure).

I think carrying a maximum load would make a difference as well. Auto makers have to design everything around the maximum gross weight even though most of us rarely or never load a car that much. Gross weight doesn't matter much for cruising on a level highway, but for climbing and accelerating, it is a larger consideration.
I think you are trying to count the regen electricity wrong. The only energy inputs into the car are gas and the grid electricity that is supplied by an EVSE. The regen is not an energy input into the car. It is just the temporary storage of momentum or potential energy that came from either gas or grid power.

To look at it another way: Imagine the battery is empty and you drive to the top of a mountain using gas. Then you drive back down the mountain and regen puts 5 kWh of electricity into the battery. Where did that 5 kWh come from? It came from the potential energy of the car being on top of the mountain. What put that potential energy into the car in the first place? The gas used to drive it up there. Therefore, that regen electricity is really just energy from gas. When you drive off that 5 kWh, you are driving on the energy from the gas, so it is counted as gas miles. No need to separately measure regen energy.
You can switch to L any time you want at any speed, and switch back and forth all you want. All it does is make the car slow down more when your foot is off the accelerator. I like using L when driving down a steep hill. It makes my speed stay at the speed I set in cruise control.

ICE refers to the gas engine in the Volt. ICE = "Internal Combustion Engine."
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