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Discussion Starter #1
My Volt drove to the summit of Mount Washington two days ago! The Volt used one half It's battery power going up and made back most of that going down! Thanks to regeneration, the brakes were not needed going down! I've had the Volt for six months, Love it!
 

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That's awesome. I've driven that 2-3 times myself, but not in Volt. I thought gen 1 Volt generally did not reach the top on battery alone, interesting to know that gen 2 can. Did you use hold mode until reaching the auto road?
 

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Yes, I used hold mode until I reached the bottom of the Auto Road, took a coffee break with Volt turned off and then started in normal EV mode for the climb up. I debated using Mountain Mode but decided to use total electric to see just how much battery would get used. Was surprised that once at top, I still had one half battery power left!
 

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I've never gone up Mount Washington, I'll have to give it a try some time this year. If you want an even steeper hill climb go over the Lincoln Gap in Vermont and then have dinner at the Pitcher Inn in Warren which is a really great restaurant. The Lincoln Gap is supposed to be the steepest paved road in the US although the road out of Warren in the other direction seems steeper, however it's not paved so the claim about the Lincoln Gap road may be true. This is a road that's made for L mode plus a little regen paddle.
 

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Diesels are great for mountains, but EV's are perfect. Their performance is unaffected by altitude, they generate more torque, they generate significantly less heat, and of course they can regenerate range when going downhill. Engine braking in ICE's helps reduce wear on the brakes and saves fuel, but they can't regenerate fuel like EV's can!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Making this climb so effortlessly with no engine revving, no noise, no vibration was truly an experience. Thanks GM, after Saabs, Audis a Toyota and a Honda after my string of 70's GM muscle cars (74 Firebird Formula, 74 Grand Am, 73 Lemans Sport Coupe, etc, back in the late 70's) you might just make me a GM fan again!
 

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Dash display photos posted here when back down at the base of the Auto Road. They show one "notch" of gas used graphically but data shows 0 gas used which is more accurate. The gas engine never came on. I had the car in electric only mode the entire trip up and back down. I think the angle parking uphill when back at bottom must have thrown off the gas gauge a bit.
 

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Yes, I used hold mode until I reached the bottom of the Auto Road, took a coffee break with Volt turned off and then started in normal EV mode for the climb up. I debated using Mountain Mode but decided to use total electric to see just how much battery would get used. Was surprised that once at top, I still had one half battery power left!
Note that switching into MM does not necessarily get the ICE to start immediately.

If you are driving in Electric Mode and switch a 2011/2012 Volt into Mountain Mode with more than ~4 bars of power still in the battery, the ev range immediately drops by ~14 ev miles (the MM buffer). Later mode Volts "gray out" the bottom battery bars (the Gen 2 MM buffer is ~2 bars). If you then still have green bars remaining, you remain in Electric Mode using that available grid battery power. Switching back to Normal will make this buffer available again.

You continue driving in Electric Mode on battery power until the battery’s charge has dropped to that MM ~4/~2 bar level (2011/2012 owners continue until the new range estimate drops to 0). At that point, the ICE starts, and it’s just like you’re driving in Hold Mode.

If you don’t switch to MM until after your remaining power has dropped below that level, MM’s "recharging" feature will kick in and use additional gas to recharge the battery back up to that MM-maintained level. In moderate driving conditions, it's fast... ~15-20 minutes for the Gen 1, less for the Gen 2. That's why the manual says, switch to MM 15-20 minutes before reaching the mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Wordptom, good explanation of Mountain Mode!

One caveat. While coming down the mountain I had a Honda Odyssey minivan following me down. We in the Volt were driving right past the many "cool your brakes" turnoffs because the regeneration (both in L and by the regen paddle) were more than adequate to keep us under 20 mph. The Honda minivan driver must have seen the Volts brake lights (activated by the regen paddle) and assumed if the Chevy can go down without pulling over to cool it's brakes then the Honda could too. I finally pulled over hoping the Honda would too and it did. Complete with smoking brakes on the Honda. Volt's brakes were cold!!!
 

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I wonder whether the range will go up Pikes Peak or Mount Evans in Colorado. I go through a half-pack from the outskirts of Leadville (10,000 feet) to the Climax Mine up on Freemont Pass (11,318 feet), about 12 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Mount Washington Auto Road is 8 miles each way with an average 12% grade. The summit elevation is 6,289 feet, just a little mountain for you West of the Mississippi folks. But it is the tallest U. S. mountain East of the Mississippi.
 

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The Lincoln Gap has a 24% grade but it's only 4 miles long. Grades in the East tend to be much greater than in the West. My guess is that in the West the mountains are so much higher that it would be impossible to sustain the grades that are tolerated in the East for a couple of reasons, first things that need oxygen, people, horses and internal combustion engines, don't struggle at the altitude of Eastern Mountains (the Lincoln Gap is only 2500 ft high), at the altitude of Pikes Peak (12000 ft) you feel it and so will an ICE. The other thing is that the absolute distances are so much shorter. It's one thing to climb 1800 ft at a 24% grade (Lincoln Gap) but it would be quite another to climb 10,000 at that grade (Pikes Peak).
 

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If you are ever in North Carolina on vacation, you should give Mount Mitchell a try. Not as arduous of a grade, IIRC, but a fun drive in a Volt nonetheless! Beautiful scenery, plenty of overlooks and winding roads. Thanks for sharing!
 

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I wonder how much gas would be used for the same up and down climb, lets say driving a 2017 Civic or Toyota, or similar vehicle?
 

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I wonder how much gas would be used for the same up and down climb, lets say driving a 2017 Civic or Toyota, or similar vehicle?
My back of the envelope calculation says about 1/2-3/4 gallon. The OP said he used about 50% of the battery which is 25 miles equivalent. A Civic is 42 MPG highway, 25/42 would give you .6 gallons.
 

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At least with the Volt you would not have to use your brakes on the way down, most other cars I would imagine the brake pads or the brake area perhaps heats up quite a bit.
 

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Thanks Wordptom, good explanation of Mountain Mode!

One caveat. While coming down the mountain I had a Honda Odyssey minivan following me down. We in the Volt were driving right past the many "cool your brakes" turnoffs because the regeneration (both in L and by the regen paddle) were more than adequate to keep us under 20 mph. The Honda minivan driver must have seen the Volts brake lights (activated by the regen paddle) and assumed if the Chevy can go down without pulling over to cool it's brakes then the Honda could too. I finally pulled over hoping the Honda would too and it did. Complete with smoking brakes on the Honda. Volt's brakes were cold!!!
Seems like a teachable moment, did you say anything to the Honda driver about why you didn't need to turn off and he did?
 

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I did this trip years ago (like 20+ yrs ago) with the family in a '92 Dodge mini-van. The Auto Road entry personnel survey each vehicle and advise how well it will do coming down. They told me to unload all our cargo into their storage units, to lighten the brake load coming down, and be sure to make plenty of stops to allow the brakes to cool. Otherwise, leave the mini-van at the base, and go up in their vehicle. I didn't see any smoke from our brakes on the way down, but did see a number of other cars with smoking brakes. Our brakes were Extremely hot, however, I did stop multiple times to check, and they were never the same after that. Got a brake job within the month after that trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Wordptom, good explanation of Mountain Mode!

One caveat. While coming down the mountain I had a Honda Odyssey minivan following me down. We in the Volt were driving right past the many "cool your brakes" turnoffs because the regeneration (both in L and by the regen paddle) were more than adequate to keep us under 20 mph. The Honda minivan driver must have seen the Volts brake lights (activated by the regen paddle) and assumed if the Chevy can go down without pulling over to cool it's brakes then the Honda could too. I finally pulled over hoping the Honda would too and it did. Complete with smoking brakes on the Honda. Volt's brakes were cold!!!
Seems like a teachable moment, did you say anything to the Honda driver about why you didn't need to turn off and he did?
When we pulled off I didn't notice the minivans brakes smoking until I pulled away and saw them in the mirror. I wish in retrospect I had taken the time to explain why the Volt was different.
 
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