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Hi, I just bought a used 2011 Volt. I charged it and drove to work. When I got to work the battery had 4 miles remaining. After work the battery had zero miles remaining. Is that normal? Did I do something wrong? Please help!

Thanks!!
 

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It's normal. The battery range is an estimate. Not exact.

You are driving on a different terrain, and the car hasn't adapted to your cycle.

Hi, I just bought a used 2011 Volt. I charged it and drove to work. When I got to work the battery had 4 miles remaining. After work the battery had zero miles remaining. Is that normal? Did I do something wrong? Please help!

Thanks!!
 

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My 2012 does that when I end my trip with a few miles left. It robs me of those few miles which is annoying, but seems to be normal behavior.
 

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Hi, I just bought a used 2011 Volt. I charged it and drove to work. When I got to work the battery had 4 miles remaining. After work the battery had zero miles remaining. Is that normal? Did I do something wrong? Please help!

Thanks!!
We probably need a little more information like what was the temp to work and when leavin work? Did you remote start the car before heading home? I think I've seen my new car go from 3 to 0 before. One explanation could be that when you are driving and the battery is being used, it generates some heat during your morning commute thus it estimated that you had 4 miles left. But when you shut off the car, letting it sit all day the batteries return to the ambient temperature, thus hitting the threshold of being empty. Empty is a relative matter as the car is designed to charge the battery to something like 80% of true capacity where it shows up as 100% on your gauge! and empty is really 30% of capacity which shows up as empty on your gauge. So it could have gone from 35% down to 30% while sitting.
 

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You did nothing wrong. I will say from 3 years experience with my 2011 Volt, the battery is rock solid. While the car is just sitting the battery is well taken care of. You hear fans and compressors running every now and then. Most to baby the battery and not allow it to get to hot or cold. Also changes in outside temp can lower the estimated range left. As the weather gets warmer you will notice your range increases. And the opposite in the dead of winter the range can fall a lot. Over time you will learn a lot about your Volt but the main thing is to enjoy it and smile when you pass all those gas stations!
 

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miles change

I think the above are not the whole answer. while on electric mode, the battery will run down to about 20% reserve before the generator comes on. However, once the generator comes on, it will slowly recharge the battery up to , say, 25%to provide adequate reserve for high power needs. So, when you shut off the car near the end of its electric range and don't recharge it, the next time it starts it starts up in generator mode and shows no more range. Another clever volt feature but confusing at first. This is also why MPG the first few miles is lower than actual longer trip mileage. (3-year owner)
 

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I've never LOST 4 miles in mild weather, more like 1 or 2 but as other' shave said that meter is just an estimate and attempts to guess your average range based on past driving so it's possible the car is learning your routine.

Give it a week or so to settle down. And welcome to the family.
 

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Normal to me. If I have less than 9 miles remaining and I shut the car off for more than a couple of hours I't pretty much guaranteed when I come back it will say about 2-3 miles less.
 

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Do not fear. As others have said, those last couple miles can seem to 'disappear' upon restart, but they are really never lost. They end up posted against gas miles instead of electric- and with corresponding, and seemingly better, mpg. As was mentioned, the Volt does an overshoot into battery range that is compensated for when the generator kicks in. The generator then over-revs to get itself back to the minimum nominal SOC. This manifests itself in the annoying ICE burn, even at stops, when first initialized. You will notice that your Volt's ICE almost always shuts off when you come to a stop- except when it FIRST starts up after battery draw down. In that case, those stops are nearly always accompanied by the unnerving engine rev. In the case of your 'missing' miles, it simply results in no necessary over-revving. I watched this happen once, as you experienced, and it got me miffed- until I saw that the battery energy was still there after the ICE was running- no different than catching energy in the battery from regeneration.
 

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I've never lost miles in mile's estimated left when the Volt has been parked at work for 9+ hours. Even in 110 degree weather. Didn't know this was happening to some. Maybe I never really looked at it close enough?
 

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Look next time.

Also, depending on how hot the coolant is, the TMS may consume some of the EV miles.

I've never lost miles in mile's estimated left when the Volt has been parked at work for 9+ hours. Even in 110 degree weather. Didn't know this was happening to some. Maybe I never really looked at it close enough?
 

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I'm going to guess the OP's drive to work was more spirited than the previous driver's usual pattern, and the Volt recalibrated the estimated range once the car was shut down. I say this because the OP said this was his/her first charge and drive.
 

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In hot weather, I actually gain "imaginery" additional miles. When driving, it seems to be a lower number. The heat does something to stir up the energy readings.
 

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While I accept the fact that this is not particularly unusual behavior for the Volt (I "lost" 3 battery miles once after turning off the car, but never 4 or more), I do have to protest the idea that this behavior should be considered acceptable.

1. "It's just an estimate."

The displayed battery range is indeed an estimate. But the closer one gets to an "empty" battery, the smaller the possible error in the estimate becomes. So I don't see how this explanation makes sense. (If there is 0 miles worth of energy left, it doesn't matter how efficiently the Volt is guessing you will drive the next few miles. Zero is zero.)

Also, any questions about preconditioning or driving behavior on the morning commute are irrelevant, as far as I can imagine. Any energy use prior to turning off the car would already be reflected in the 4 mile estimate.

2. TMS

Based on the OP's profile, it appears that this scenario took place in Maryland. So I doubt that high heat was causing the TMS to chug away and drain the battery.

3. SOC swings

Here's where I suspect the truth lies. In CD mode the battery SOC falls a bit below the CS mode target SOC before the engine kicks in. So if you restart the car after it has dropped below that target SOC, it might "forget" that you had those 1-4 EV miles remaining and go straight into CS mode.
But I don't think it SHOULD operate this way. If anything, the battery voltage should rebound slightly while the car is off. So why not program it to deliver the same amount of battery energy after the car is restarted? (Assuming no significant TMS energy consumption while it's off.)
 

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The problem is the car does not update the SOC estimate when the car is on. If the car thinks it has a 9.5kWh usable charge and before you turn it off you think you have consumed 8kWh (for example) when you turn it off it updates that estimate based upon a magic SOC estimator. In my case it always turns out the magic SOC estimator updater decides I have used more than it thought.

I've gotten to ignoring the battery SOC info. It's just another idiot light to me. I get what I get.
 

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While I accept the fact that this is not particularly unusual behavior for the Volt (I "lost" 3 battery miles once after turning off the car, but never 4 or more), I do have to protest the idea that this behavior should be considered acceptable.

1. "It's just an estimate."

The displayed battery range is indeed an estimate. But the closer one gets to an "empty" battery, the smaller the possible error in the estimate becomes. So I don't see how this explanation makes sense. (If there is 0 miles worth of energy left, it doesn't matter how efficiently the Volt is guessing you will drive the next few miles. Zero is zero.)

Also, any questions about preconditioning or driving behavior on the morning commute are irrelevant, as far as I can imagine. Any energy use prior to turning off the car would already be reflected in the 4 mile estimate.

2. TMS

Based on the OP's profile, it appears that this scenario took place in Maryland. So I doubt that high heat was causing the TMS to chug away and drain the battery.

3. SOC swings

Here's where I suspect the truth lies. In CD mode the battery SOC falls a bit below the CS mode target SOC before the engine kicks in. So if you restart the car after it has dropped below that target SOC, it might "forget" that you had those 1-4 EV miles remaining and go straight into CS mode.
But I don't think it SHOULD operate this way. If anything, the battery voltage should rebound slightly while the car is off. So why not program it to deliver the same amount of battery energy after the car is restarted? (Assuming no significant TMS energy consumption while it's off.)
Temperature has everything to do with this. Assuming Maryland is still pretty cold in the mornings like my home state of IL, and you've driven 30+ miles! In say 50 degree weather, the battery will be pretty warm so given the current conditions it might think it has 4 miles left. It may even show 4 when it is 3.x miles remaining. Then you shut the car off and let it sit for hours. Let's assume that by the end of the day it is 65-70 degrees. The battery actually is cooler than when the car was shut off thus the battery won't have as much capacity. I could see losing a few miles of range. If the end of the day was 40-50 degrees, it could get worse.

Take another scenario. What if the day started sunny and warm at 70 degrees, but when you leave work a cold front moves in dropping the temps to 50 degrees? I fully expect to lose some miles of range.

I've seen a slightly different phenomenon on cold mornings (20-30 degrees) where I run in hold mode first. By heating the engine and antifreeze, I can sometimes run for 4 or 5 miles with the gauge reading 33 miles of range left after switching back to normal. Maybe it's just inaccurate gauges, but I suspect the warming of the antifreeze from the ice might be the effect I'm seeing here. Engine warms battery, battery works better. Just a theory.
 

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I almost never see my mileage estimate go down. Usually it goes up when I am parked at work. Usually it goes up 1-2 miles. It really is just an estimate so it means nothing.

I do not depend on the mileage estimate. Instead I focus on the kWh point at which each 10% drop occurs. This provides a very good estimate of exactly how much you can get out of your battery. For me, each 10% drop occurs around every 1.0 kWh except for the first 10%. Using this, I know exactly how far I can go on battery and I have been able to go 40,000+ miles without switching to CS mode.
 
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