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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

I just picked up my new leased 2017 Volt today.

Reading the manual, it says to always leave the car plugged in, even when fully charged.

I gather the effect of NOT plugging in overnight is, according to the manual, to keep the battery temp ready for next drive.

In my case, I will not be plugging this car in overnight. The reason is because we live off the grid, and run our house on 4.2 kW of solar PV charging a 1,204 Ah 48V battery bank (and a diesel generator for capacity).

I work ~ 16 km away, and I can charge in a level 1 (and hopefully level 2 shortly) while at work.

I assume the other effect of this will be reduced battery capacity and more use of gas?

Any thoughts or insight?

Cheers all



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The only time this might affect you if you leave the car unplugged at -20F for a couple days. You might find that the car won't start as it prevents you from ruining the battery. Keeping it plugged in during extreme cold or extreme hot is better for the battery. But if you can't, you can't.
 

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That's the main reason for leaving it plugged in, for battery temperature control. There almost certainly would be no long term effects as long as the temps don't drop down too terribly low (-40F). If you have a garage to park in, you should be ok. If your RT commute is only about 40km total, it should be doable on electric only as long as you can get a full charge at work. Gas operation would likely only be needed on very cold days when you get ERDTT or if you need to go further than your electric only range allows.

There are quite a few people who've gotten Gen1 cars that were corporate lease vehicles that never got charged since gas was reimbursed, but not electricity which have had no reports of battery issues and I'm sure some of those were exposed to extreme temperatures as well without being plugged in. All in all, I'd say you're fine with just charging at work and really shouldn't have to worry about the battery.
 

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Welcome to the forum - you will find it is the fount of knowledge about all things Volt.

About your question: on a cold day in the Ottawa area you will be using some gas anyway. (Look up ERDTT) On the coldest days, you may cold soak the battery and have some power restrictions. I don't think your car will come to any harm but keeping it plugged in is a sound recommendation. A good many General Electric fleet Volts were never plugged in and only driven as hybrids, with no ill efects.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replies.

The car is in a garage. Is it better, given this circumstance, to drive the car on a really cold (or hot day), and just resign myself to the fact that I will be using some gas?


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If it is below 25 degrees F, my 2012 will start the ICE for about 1/4 of my drive distance, in 1.5 to 2 mile increments. This is to protect the battery and keep things warmer. I have a 27 mile commute, and it seems very consistent about it.
 

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Leaving it plugged in "all the time" helps with the cars battery TMS care for the battery and keeps the battery fully charged for your next drive but it's not necessary 99% of the time. Only if left un-plugged in EXTREME temps for EXTENDED periods will you experience any issues. The car will use the battery to care for itself. But it's not recommended to allow the car to run the battery to empty in those conditions.

Bottom line you and your Volt will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The longest the car would be left between charges may be over the weekend...


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Thanks for all the replies.

The car is in a garage. Is it better, given this circumstance, to drive the car on a really cold (or hot day), and just resign myself to the fact that I will be using some gas?


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Just drive, the car will take care of itself and tell you when it can't.
 

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The only time this might affect you if you leave the car unplugged at -20F for a couple days. You might find that the car won't start as it prevents you from ruining the battery. Keeping it plugged in during extreme cold or extreme hot is better for the battery. But if you can't, you can't.
I think they fixed the "no start" issues in extreme cold for the Gen 2. It will just use the engine almost exclusively until the battery is warm enough to provide the power to heat itself and drive the vehicle.
 

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You might consider your place of work to be your home location as far as charging. User Hold mode and burn a little gas to get to your work location. Charge at level I all day, leaving work at the end of the day with a full charge or almost full charge. Drive in normal mode for the trip home. If the outside temperature is below either 35F (1.6C) or else if you choose to defer the engine running due to temperature (ERDDT) until the temperature is lower than 15F (-9.4C) the Volt will cycle the gas engine to produce some heat. If you can, park in a garage overnight. The Volt's battery pack is insulated so it may retain some heat overnight. You should have enough EV range in the battery to make the return trip to your place of work. This will minimize any gas usage during the week.
 

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I think they fixed the "no start" issues in extreme cold for the Gen 2. It will just use the engine almost exclusively until the battery is warm enough to provide the power to heat itself and drive the vehicle.
I always wondered why this programming wasn't in Gen 1. Why strand a person? I could understand reduced power (as in just use the motor until the battery is warmed up.

Just drive it. Car takes care of itself. Charge it up when you can. I applaud you living off grid and the adjustment it takes to do so. When my wife could charge at work, we rarely charged at home... And your Gen 2 has more range than our Gen 1 volt.
 

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I'm wondering why someone living off-grid with limited electrical capacity at home would buy an electric car. Is it commitment to the environment or offloading your transportation cost to your employer?
 

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If it is below 25 degrees F, my 2012 will start the ICE for about 1/4 of my drive distance, in 1.5 to 2 mile increments. This is to protect the battery and keep things warmer.
A common misconception. The Engine Running Due To Temperature (ERDTT) has nothing to do with protecting the battery. It's sole purpose is to generate waste heat to for windshield and the car occupants. The battery has its own heating system.
 

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A common misconception. The Engine Running Due To Temperature (ERDTT) has nothing to do with protecting the battery. It's sole purpose is to generate waste heat to for windshield and the car occupants. The battery has its own heating system.
But when the ICE starts right up upon pushing the start button, this is a situation where you can't go into hold mode, the battery is cold, and the ice is supplying the electricity for propulsion until the batteries have sufficiently warmed. Angus did say "will start the ICE....to protect the battery and keep things warmer". ICE did start to protect the battery, and the "things" getting warmer is the cabin. ERDTT was not mentioned by name. In this case it is really "engine running to protect the big battery"
 

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But when the ICE starts right up upon pushing the start button, this is a situation where you can't go into hold mode, the battery is cold, and the ice is supplying the electricity for propulsion until the batteries have sufficiently warmed. Angus did say "will start the ICE....to protect the battery and keep things warmer". ICE did start to protect the battery, and the "things" getting warmer is the cabin. ERDTT was not mentioned by name. In this case it is really "engine running to protect the big battery"
At 25 *F, the battery can warm itself up quite easily. I drove to work yesterday when it was below 30 *F, and kept it in EV mode until I got to the freeway. It's below somewhere near 0 *F when the battery has troubles warming itself up, which is when ERDTT goes from "warming up the cabin more efficiently" to "helping the battery maintain sufficient temperature to operate".
 

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At 25 *F, the battery can warm itself up quite easily. I drove to work yesterday when it was below 30 *F, and kept it in EV mode until I got to the freeway. It's below somewhere near 0 *F when the battery has troubles warming itself up, which is when ERDTT goes from "warming up the cabin more efficiently" to "helping the battery maintain sufficient temperature to operate".
Zero degrees F days are not at all rare in the Ottawa area.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm wondering why someone living off-grid with limited electrical capacity at home would buy an electric car. Is it commitment to the environment or offloading your transportation cost to your employer?
A reasonable question. There were a few reasons for leasing...not in any particular order:

- PHEVs and BEVs are a great driving experience
- in Ontario where I live, the government is offering a 14K incentive towards their purchase, finance or lease
- my employer supports EVs by providing charging infrastructure. If they want to charge me a couple of bucks to park and charge, I would pay and would be happy to do so
- we are committed to reducing our GHG emissions, and a PHEV was the next logical step
- on certain days, we will be able to plug the car in at home, thereby charging the Volt with solar PV
- our next step to reducing emissions will be to replace our diesel genset with a propane one



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But when the ICE starts right up upon pushing the start button, this is a situation where you can't go into hold mode, the battery is cold, and the ice is supplying the electricity for propulsion until the batteries have sufficiently warmed. Angus did say "will start the ICE....to protect the battery and keep things warmer". ICE did start to protect the battery, and the "things" getting warmer is the cabin. ERDTT was not mentioned by name. In this case it is really "engine running to protect the big battery"
If the ICE starts up at 25°F, it's not because the battery has been cold-soaked at -20°F for a day or two and the ICE needs to run until the battery can warm itself up again and take over. If the ICE starts up at 25°F it's because the ERDTT set point has been hit. And that is for heating the cabin.
 
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