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3-month-old '17 Volt. Fully charged at a hotel on a L2, but then unplugged for 48 hours. 8 degrees F.

Checked out of the hotel, Volt COMPLETELY dead. Luckily, they had a portable battery and it started right up.

Putting aside the intriguing behavior of the car after a dead battery (see the attached screenshot with its own analog/digital speedometer and the fact that it called "normal" mode "touring" mode!),
IMG_2153.jpg

The tech claimed at the dealership that the car should be plugged in "when it's cold" because of "all its electronics." Ummm, ok.

Test of the battery showed it was OK, but something to me seems wrong. The other ICE cars around me started up just fine... Anybody hear such a thing?
 

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Yes it's best to plug the Volt in but shouldn't be necessary. GM tests by cold soaking overnight at much lower temperatures. The 12v is a different beast. It's going to die like any 12v. If the car was literally dead when you got in, that's likely the 12v.

Not completely understanding the sequence of events but yes, this isn't likely to have been caused by not plugging in the car. No reason to panic though. Just keep and eye on things.

Note that you don't need much juice to start the Volt. You start the computer using the 12v and the main battery cranks the engine. It could have been that the 12v failed and the car didn't know how much charge the main battery had.
 

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2 days unplugged in cold temps is not enough to discharge a "good" 12 volt battery unless it froze solid, but then it would have obvious damage.
Over the years, I have seen battery's test good, but not be able to start a car. The proper battery test takes a couple of hours to complete. I doubt the dealer did this test.
Sometimes a battery will develop an internal short that drains the charge. It could be a one off failure if the next charging burned out the short and it may never happen again. If it does happen again, the dealer should replace the battery.
 

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2 days unplugged in cold temps is not enough to discharge a "good" 12 volt battery unless it froze solid, but then it would have obvious damage.
Over the years, I have seen battery's test good, but not be able to start a car. The proper battery test takes a couple of hours to complete. I doubt the dealer did this test.
Sometimes a battery will develop an internal short that drains the charge. It could be a one off failure if the next charging burned out the short and it may never happen again. If it does happen again, the dealer should replace the battery.
But remember the 12 volt battery is covered under the 3/36 only. If you have paid for the battery out of pocket, then it would be covered under the battery 60 month warranty you get when you buy a new battery. If the battery was replaced under the factory warranty, then it would not be covered unless its been less then 12 months/12k miles since replaced under the factory warranty.
 

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But remember the 12 volt battery is covered under the 3/36 only. If you have paid for the battery out of pocket, then it would be covered under the battery 60 month warranty you get when you buy a new battery. If the battery was replaced under the factory warranty, then it would not be covered unless its been less then 12 months/12k miles since replaced under the factory warranty.
His '17 Volt is 3 months old.
 

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His '17 Volt is 3 months old.
Bad batteries happen. Another sign that it's the 12V is the display switching to the ELR dash look. This seems (based on similar threads) to be related to losing the 12V power (e.g. 12V disconnected/reconnected or 12V battery died).
 

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If a system has a weak link - get a weak link tester
As I am still on my original 12 volt battery in my 2012 Volt - I watch the Voltage when starting and after a shutdown
- before opening the door -

so good idea to monitor to show dealer any problems

Not buying dealer reason for Volt's (discharged) (12 Volt) battery ? may be a better title
 

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Technically, the mechanic was right that it is helpful to keep the Volt plugged in when it is cold. It says so in the manual. But it is specifically for thermal management of the HV battery, not just to maintain the 12V battery. Also, if it had been plugged in, the wall power would have maintained a charge on the 12V battery and you would not have found the car dead. However, that is not to say that you did anything wrong. The car should have started anyway in those conditions. The only effect should have been that it may have warmed up in a different way with more engine running.

There are a number of ways it is possible to accidentally run down the 12 Volt battery on the Volt, just as on any other car. So something like that is a possibility, in addition to some kind of fault with the battery or car. Things like leaving on the hazard flashers, accidentally switching it in to service mode, plugging in the charge cord with the car on and leaving it for a long time, and probably some other things can run the battery down.
 

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Next time it happens, call OnStar and have it towed back to the same dealer. Plunk it in front of their doors and then have the service manager come out and try to start it. Then tell him that one of his employees said that this was "normal".

I suspect your issue will get resolved.
 

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As others have said, I agree that low temperatures alone should not be enough to cause the behavior VoltenRock experienced. Also I think you should be able to leave the Volt unplugged for several days or longer (for instance, at an airport) and it be able to manage the batteries correctly even if the temperature is low. In such a case, it would be best to leave the car with a minimum 50% charge level, so with a full charge the OP had that covered.

VoltenRock, if you're interested in opening up a case about this with Chevrolet, you can reach out to a Volt advisor at:
(877) 486-5846
[email protected]
 

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You might want to get a portable jump starter for your Volt in case this happens again. Also, familiarize yourself with the procedure for opening a locked Volt using the emergency key in the hidden key slot located in the driver's door handle.

Bad 12V batteries in new cars are not uncommon these days. My last vehicle, a Ford Fusion, had one. I guess the battery manufacturers assume a certain number of new batteries will fail within a short time, have to be replaced under warranty. This is cheaper than testing every battery before it leaves the factory. Essentially the customer is performing the final quality control step in the manufacturing process. Unless the manufacturer has an excessive number of bad units returned for credit they won't change their manufacturing process one bit.
 

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AGM batteries are not as tolerant to discharge and cold weather as a regular lead acid. Once you fully discharge one it's usually finito. Even after a proper recharge they are unreliable. Most of our vehicles at Chrysler have moved to AGM format, and we've been putting in a lot.
 

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As I am still on my original 12 volt battery in my 2012 Volt - I watch the Voltage when starting and after a shutdown
- before opening the door
My 2012 also still has its original 12V. How are you monitoring battery voltage?
 

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My 2012 also still has its original 12V. How are you monitoring battery voltage?
Put one of these in the 12 volt power port.

 

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Wasn't there a bulletin for Gen2 about a bad grounding connection to the frame for the 12v negative battery cable. I would check that out as that could keep the 12v battery from being properly maintained.
 

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This really sounds to me like a dead 12v battery. At three months old there should be no questions getting it replaced. The tech was an idiot.
 

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3-month-old '17 Volt. Fully charged at a hotel on a L2, but then unplugged for 48 hours. 8 degrees F.

Checked out of the hotel, Volt COMPLETELY dead. Luckily, they had a portable battery and it started right up.

The tech claimed at the dealership that the car should be plugged in "when it's cold" because of "all its electronics." Ummm, ok.

Test of the battery showed it was OK, but something to me seems wrong. The other ICE cars around me started up just fine... Anybody hear such a thing?
.
I have a 2017 VOLT that I picked up 06 01 2016. I am still on the same AGM battery.

I had an AGM battery drain down in the cold but it was over a more than 3 week period. As the AGM powers certain electronics all the time, this is considered normal.

Just a reminder...
Just because an AGM is plugged in does not mean it is being charged. The 12v AGM charges under two circumstances in the VOLT...

When the car is running or "ON". All the electronics are awake and the AGM charging circuits are alive and operating.
When the car is plugged in, the 12v AGM battery will only charge when the hi voltage battery is charging. When the Hi Voltage battery charge has completed, the electronics "go to sleep", including the 12v AGM battery charging circuits.

The AGM will continue to monitor the car but will not charge until the car is started or the Hi Voltage battery is charging again.

As for 48 hour and dead, even in the cold temps, should have started the car. Batteries lose a lot of power when it gets cold and the cold will bring out any problems that the battery may have. If the battery is weak, it will most likely fail in the cold.

As for jump-starting, when my AGM went flat, "no charge", it reacted like a short circuit when trying to jump it. That DEAD AGM battery pulls a lot of load when initially charging it from 0 volts. And be aware if using a charger, you need a charger that is made for an AGM battery or you will eventually Kill the AGM battery.

After my dead AGM battery, I had it checked by the dealership and was told the same thing, everything was ok. Its been well over a year since that event and the AGM is still working fine so I lucked out.

Even though the volt may be plugged in while parked, after that Hi Voltage battery is charged, the electronics go to sleep and the AGM will not charge but I was told keeping the car plugged in will help maintain an operating temp for the HiVoltage battery. This is true in Hot as well as Cold weather.

I am familiar with batteries testing good but fail when in use. The testing, I found, does not always find ALL of the problems, but cold weather will.
I agree with the others, carry a battery jump box, keep it in the car, not the back trunk area because when the 12v battery is dead, you can't open the hatch. Sorry to say, having worked with the dealer ships on different cars, you will have to prove to them that the battery is bad, especially now that they have decreed the battery good. It just takes time and some inconvenience on your part.
Good luck...



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It is time to move from small LITHIUM 12v battery booster to a SUPERCAPACITOR?...it will be able to absorve energy in few minutes with no great deterioration at extreme temperatures or the passage of the years.
 

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My 12V battery went flat in Florida last winter while we were away for a week. Was replaced under warranty and I don’t think it was due to anything wrong with the car as it has previously sat for 3 weeks or so unplugged without a problem. Wasn’t a stray powerdrain as I know there as nothing left plugged in ( i.e GPS), and in any case the car has auto rundown protection.

Think it was a bad battery.

When I jump started it, and ran it for some time, the 12v battery light kept coming on.
 

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It is time to move from small LITHIUM 12v battery booster to a SUPERCAPACITOR?...it will be able to absorve energy in few minutes with no great deterioration at extreme temperatures or the passage of the years.
They don't have enough power capacity to serve as long term storage devices at a low amp draw. Even a really low 10-20 mA draw will drain a $200-300 bank of ultracapacitors down to dead in a few days. Dead being the level below which your 12V DC electronics can operate, which is about 9-10 V for most components. You're effectively working within a narrow ~4-5 V window from fully charged to "car won't work." Doing the math, it's generally a couple of watt hours being very optimistic.
 
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