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Discussion Starter #1
I have an early build 2012 Volt which I purchased new in August 2014 (yes, 2014). It has approximately 49,400 miles on it. For the first two years or so, I averaged about 44 or 45 miles of electric range per full charge, and then it declined to 38 or 39 miles for the past two years. Nothing changed in my driving habits and I continued to average about 12,000 miles per year. In July of this year suddenly my range dropped to about 33 miles showing on the gauge after a full charge, but really more like 30 miles of actual driving before it needed a charge. I notified the dealer of the drop in range, and they suggested that I should pay $100+ for a check to try to identify the problem.

Two weeks ago I got the dreaded "Service High Voltage Charging System" warning, so I took the car to the dealer. They checked it out and told me that the car apparently needed one third of the battery replaced under warranty. I was told that it might take as long as two weeks to get the battery and get the work done. I got a call this morning (ten days later)and was told that the car was ready. When I got to the dealer I got a pleasant surprise - a COMPLETE new battery pack!. It also has a new software update dated 9/4/2018 for the BECM and another also dated 9/4/2018 for the HPCM2.

When I picked up the car, the service writer and tech were gone for the day, so I couldn't get answers to too many questions. I can wait until tomorrow to call the dealer for further information, but in the meantime, can anyone tell me what a BECM and HPCM2 are? I am curious to find out if the new battery will be the same as a late Generation 1 Volt, or is it completely up to date like a 2019? Does anyone know what the new software updates are for?

By the way, the on-duty service writer, who is not a Volt specialist, told me that the battery replacement would have cost $8000+ if it was not under warranty. I will confirm this tomorrow.
 

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Battery Energy Control Module
Hybrid/EV Powertrain Control Module 2

That's all I know about that.
 

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1. We were told in the past it would be $3000 ?

2. BECM and HPCM2 the two modules you have to re-program/flash to get the Service high voltage charging system to allow you to again charge the car as not resetable.

Even if only a glitch or hitting a bump with low battery coolant level or bad float sensor.


Depending on dealer - I would do #2 first then wait and see.

Several others here did report have to have one or more battery cells replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is an update after speaking to the Volt service writer this morning. She says that the actual cost would have been $6000 plus rather than $8000. She also confirmed that what I now have is the latest first generation battery with the most updated software updates for the BECM and HPCM2. Based on the readout on my dashboard, it looks like I am headed for at least 45 miles on a full charge. I bet that after a few days of driving that number will be higher. Range may suffer a bit in the 90 degree+ Florida weather.

One mystery that they could not figure out is that they had to install a bracket on the filler for the battery coolant which prevents you from opening it and adding coolant, so that uninformed consumers or mechanics don't add water or improper coolant. Their records showed that it had previously been installed under warranty. I never saw it before, so I know that it had not been done.
 

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I've heard that some dealers didn't install them, or when the vehicle was in for service the bracket is removed and they forget to reinstall it. Maybe that's what happened in your case.
 

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Here is an update after speaking to the Volt service writer this morning. She says that the actual cost would have been $6000 plus rather than $8000
$3K for the battery . . . . and another $3K for their labor :p

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #7
$3K for the battery . . . . and another $3K for their labor :p

Don
My guess is that since there are 3 segments to the battery, the cost to replace ONE segment would be around $3000 including labor. Once you have things torn apart, the labor to do all three segments wouldn't cost that much more, so all three could be done for around $6000. I have no solid information to back this up.
 

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Don’t put much stock into the EV miles you get now, estimated or otherwise. It will take at least 10 full charge/discharge cycles for the Volt to learn the appropriate top & bottom SOC setpoints. If you want to speed up this process, make sure you do full charges and discharges for a little bit and avoid partial charges. When part of my 2013 battery was replaced I had crazy high kWh usage and 50 mile + EV range for the first few weeks. It eventually settled down, although I did get a slight bump in overall range.
 

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Your experience is the definition of serendipity! ;) It sounds like you went from 16 kWh to 17.1 kWh battery capacity. All things being equal, that should gain you another 3 to 5 miles in CD mode.

Look at the label on the driver's side B pillar to determine the month and year of manufacture. You should then be able to determine by a search whether or not your 2012 came with the factory installed reinforced battery space and the battery coolant sensor placed on the outside bottom of the new type coolant container - the one that is supposed to have the tamper bracket installed. If yours came that way, you are golden. If that was added by the dealer per the SB, then you might, at some point, suffer problems with the wire splices for the coolant sensor. An investment in the WOT sensor would preclude the dreaded "Service High Voltage Charging System" warning due to the OE sensor failing. Again, having the sensor wires spliced could, at some future point in time, give you the same warning. It is something to keep in mind.
 

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You probably have a refurbished 16 kWh battery. Otherwise all the module interface boards would have to be changed. I hope I'm wrong but I would be surprised you have a 2015 Battery
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You probably have a refurbished 16 kWh battery. Otherwise all the module interface boards would have to be changed. I hope I'm wrong but I would be surprised you have a 2015 Battery
I guess it would be up to GM to decide if they want to replace the battery with a refurbished one. The dealer didn't mention it, and the receipt does not say anything about it being refurbished. Based on my conversation with the service writer, all I know is that it is a Generation 1 battery with any current updates.

Is there a physical difference between the 16kwh and 17 kwh hour battery? My understanding was that it was just a software update.
 

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Physically I believe the battery packs are identical. It's just a change in the cell chemistry that allowed the higher energy storage. If your battery pack was replaced as a complete unit it should just be plug and play along with recalibration of the modules to accept the new battery. It will likely take a few complete charge cycles in order to settle down on a more accurate range estimate. If however you do have the larger 17kWh battery, you should definitely see at least a couple miles more than you were getting. I have been averaging 40-44 miles on my '13 with 16.5kWh battery, so I would suspect you should see at least that if it were the 17kWh pack.

In your service receipt, did it include a part number for the battery pack? If it did, please post as that should be specific to the battery and would identify the exact battery you received and definitively indicate if you received a 16, 16.5 or 17kWh battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In your service receipt, did it include a part number for the battery pack? If it did, please post as that should be specific to the battery and would identify the exact battery you received and definitively indicate if you received a 16, 16.5 or 17kWh battery.
There is no part number on the receipt, unfortunately.
 

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Look at is this way- As the module was reset the default value could have a default range of ZERO but some engineers at a big meeting must have decided to use an average range number on first boot.

And we thought all this was stored in the onstar cloud :)

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For those of us with 2011 and 2012 Volts we had the battery tank sensor added later if we did the (this is not a recall -recall)

I always thought we got a new tank with a sensor not an attached sensor.
WOT told us NOT to play with it to see how it works unless we had re-programming tools.

As to the tamper cover my dealer lost it in the box of parts during the re-fit.
 

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Look at is this way- As the module was reset the default value could have a default range of ZERO but some engineers at a big meeting must have decided to use an average range number on first boot.

And we thought all this was stored in the onstar cloud :)

-------------------

For those of us with 2011 and 2012 Volts we had the battery tank sensor added later if we did the (this is not a recall -recall)

I always thought we got a new tank with a sensor not an attached sensor.
WOT told us NOT to play with it to see how it works unless we had re-programming tools.

As to the tamper cover my dealer lost it in the box of parts during the re-fit.
I believe that the original tank was, indeed, replaced as part of the improvement. The new tank has a molded pocket on the bottom of the battery coolant tank portion that is external to the tank. The sensor snug-fits into this pocket. The sensor wires were spliced into existing cabling. The conversion work was accomplished at the dealer's service department. All 2011s and some (I'll guess 1/2...though I could be wrong) of the 2012s qualified for this retrofit. There was a point where the improvement was incorporated into the production line for the balance of the 2012s. Because the sensor is external, it can easily be replaced with the WOT sensor.

EDIT: I had a leased 2012 that had a manufacturing date of 12/11 and was a candidate for the improvement. I was leery of having a shop mechanic drop the traction battery to effect the battery reinforcement and, so, passed on the improvement (which was voluntary). IIRC, the announcement came out in March, 2012.
 

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If the sensor snaps to the outside of the tank what is INSIDE the tank to trip the sensor
a magnet ? a light and a photo cell ?

or is just the socket on the outside of the tank ?

I have seen the circuit part that shows the switch and the 2 resistance levels for open and closed.
not that it matters much but can't tell if switch is NO or NC fro a full tank.

I was number 2 at my dealer with the retro fit on my Volt 2012.
 

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If the sensor snaps to the outside of the tank what is INSIDE the tank to trip the sensor
a magnet ? a light and a photo cell ?

or is just the socket on the outside of the tank ?

I have seen the circuit part that shows the switch and the 2 resistance levels for open and closed.
not that it matters much but can't tell if switch is NO or NC fro a full tank.

I was number 2 at my dealer with the retro fit on my Volt 2012.
Here is an article on reed switches mounted externally that measure fluid levels:

https://standexelectronics.com/resources/marketing-media/news/ls03-liquid-level-reed-sensors-with-mounting-from-the-outside/


The place that holds the switch to the outside bottom of the container is somewhat like a tray that the switch snug fits into.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
UPDATE: I have driven the car about 1600 miles and have probably only done two complete charge/discharge cycles. The weather has cooled off into the 60s to low 80s, and sometimes I do not need air conditioning. The AC is usually on, however. The range on the dash with a full charge now shows 48 or 49 miles generally. I guess that if I do a full discharge I can read how much energy I have used, and that might tell us which battery pack was installed.
 
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