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Discussion Starter #1
I am the owner of a New 2018 Volt LT. I am generally pleased with the car, except for one issue: It is hard to keep the passenger compartment warm. I use the heated seats and steering wheel heater (those appear to be absolutely mandatory in this car), but my legs and feet still get cold unless I get really aggressive with the heating settings. My wife is even more displeased about how cold it stays inside the car, and as already formed the opinion that we shouldn't be taking the Volt anywhere in the winter.

I tried the ECON mode when I drove the car home from the dealer last Tuesday. That seems more like an "off" mode.

Last Thursday we took a 120 mile trip. We ended up running the Max heating mode and the thermostat set at 80, running the heater fan at full speed just to keep the interior marginally warm. The windshield defroster wouldn't keep the window clear of fog unless I use the Max setting for it 100% of the time. I tried both outside make up and recir air; not much difference. I keep the car parked in a 45 degree garage, and didn't use the preconditioning because I couldn't get it to come on. (Since I have found that "My Chevy" app will initiate preconditioning, while my FOBs won't)

All this energy in attempt to keep the interior comfortable and the windshield fog free cut heavily into my EV range. I went 35 miles on the fully charged battery, with the ICE starting repeatedly to boost its temp (I used "5 miles" of gas during those 35 EV miles, according to the fuel range remaining indicator). Things didn't get any better when it reverted to using the ICE only. Right now the outside temperature is only in the 20's. Leaves me wondering what will happen when it gets really cold.

I took a 55 mile trip yesterday after preconditioning, pretty much the same results. The windshield fogs horrible as soon as I turn off the Max defrost mode.

Is this normal, or does my vehicle has a unique problem that I should refer back to the dealer?
 

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It's hard to know exactly because people vary in how they experience the cold. One person might say it's freezing and the next one say it's comfortable. Best advice would be to take it to the dealer. From your description it seems as if something is not right. There were some issues with heating when not running the engine in a couple of model years for the first generation but AFAIK not for this one.
 

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Sounds like something is wrong. I have no trouble keeping the windows clear and the cabin very warm.
For your remote start via the fob, you are pressing the 'lock' button then 'pressing and holding' the start button for at least 3 seconds aren't you?
 

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I used to have problems with humidity. Then I cleaned aircon system with somekinda spray, it worked like a charm.

Thou I am noticing, If im driving on a highway 80+ I have to have a lot higher temp setting than crusing in the city. Which kinda makes sense.
 

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I have a 2017 I bought in March and immediately drove through snow to Buffalo. My wife was cold, so we drove on "max" the whole time. Mainly I used "hold" mode, so the gas engine was running. The car was warm enough, but gas mileage was not too good (about 38mpg--but the car was brand new). Since then, it only started to get really cold recently. I notice my gas engine will come on when I start the car "due to temperature" according to the screen. I have it set on "eco" mode, in full automatic. It seems to keep the car bearable, but does not blast hot air like a regular car will. I have had a heat pump at home and am very familiar with the way the vent air does not feel real warm, but it does bring the house up to the temp you have on the thermostat. I suspect it is a similar thing with the Volt. In my limited experience, heating the interior is a much harder impact on economy than running the A/C, which appears to have almost zero effect. I am still learning all the various combinations of automated actions the Volt computers take on their own for power, heat, etc... Things turn on and off all the time. The gas engine revs and idles at various times based on some parameters the computer sees for demand, charge level, operating mode, etc.. I have developed a driving policy of letting the car do its thing, pretty much. If it makes you feel any better, the cabin heat has been my biggest adjustment to this car, too.
 

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I can generate heat with either mode, granted Eco won't cut it trying to heat/defrost a COLD SOAKED car, but works great when I pre-condition (Eco @ 80, fan set on HI) my 2017 before heading off to work in the am. Fact I usually need to turn the temp down to 74 almost as soon as I get on the road as the cabin can get too warm for me.

But if it's COLD out (in teens and lower) I need/use MAX set to HI to get the cabin WARM and then can back it down to Eco and 76/78.

So if your Volt isn't able to WARM your cabin as you describe I suggest you need to see your dealer.

BTW watching the power meter when the car is sitting and I switch back and forth between Eco and MAX with the temp set to 80 I see about 1 maybe 2 kW difference in power draw from the battery. So I don't see a HUGE difference between Eco and MAX.

And if the ICE is running I can roast a chicken.
 

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I think my best suggestion is for the OP to buy either a non-contact IR thermometer, or put a small thermometer in the center-ish of the car and take some actual temperature readings. That way we know what we are really talking about here rather than just "I'm cold".
 

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It really doesn't get "cold" here in Florida, but it does get cool. In my Gen 2 Volt, transitions from cooling to heating (unlike most IC cars) requires a major change in the temperature set point. If I leave the temperature setting at 73 degrees which works for me in the summer, I will get little or no heat even when the outdoor temperature is under 40 degrees. I need to reset to at least 80 degrees to get reasonable heat in the interior and if I want it toasty warm, it needs to be set all the way to high. This is true for either EV mode or running the ICE in "hold". I think the deadband in the system between heating and cooling is part of the problem.

With today's current low gasoline prices, it isn't worth it to try and heat the car with a resistance electric hot water heater. It will really pummel your range and you are going to end up with the IC running anyway unless it is a fairly short trip. I would start out with the vehicle in "Hold" mode and get the cooling water quickly up to temperature and the cabin heated. Then switch to "Normal" mode and let the electric water heater maintain the temperature.

I think GM should rethink the heating system on the Volt and more so on the Bolt. A heat pump instead of a hot water heater should be the standard in any electric vehicle. I owned two LEAF's in the past. The first one had only the electric hot water heater, the second had the heat pump. The heat pump was a huge difference not only in how warm the interior was but the time it took to get heat and the much lower hit to the EV range. For the minimal cost it takes to add the reversing valves to an A/C system and add heating ability its a shame that it isn't offered even as an option.
 

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My 2015 Volt was terrible in keeping the cabin warm. Below 50f ambient it was absolutely necessary to run the ICE in order to get any heat into the cabin. In September, we drove up to central Colorado for a couple of days, and it rained the whole time. The climate system could NOT keep the cabin dehumidified; the glass fogged up so bad it was all but impossible to drive the car. I had decided there was something wrong with the climate system in that car and determined to get it fixed. But then I traded the car in on a new 2018.

Wow. What a difference! Yes, the heated steering wheel and seats do help a lot. But the 2018 heats the cabin very nicely without the ICE running. Typical local morning temps where I live are high teens to low 20's F. Even this cold, I do not have to run the ICE to warm the car. I do not pre-condition. I crank the car, drive away, and within a couple of miles the air coming out of the vents is warm, and, unlike my 2015, which would be blowing the fan on high, blowing cold air, this new Gen2 Volt doesn't have to ramp up the fan. For my purposes, here in northern New Mexico, the Gen2 Volt climate system is perfect.
 

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Keep in mind that the sun shining onto the sensor on the dash will affect how the HVAC works too. It measures sun load coming through the windshield and adjusts how much power goes to the heater. I believe that I have noticed the heater shutting down, or at least running very little when the inside air temp is within 10 to 15 degrees of the target set on the thermostat while running in ECO mode on a sunny day. If the inside temp is more that 20 degrees away, the power goes right to 8kW even in ECO.
 

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I don't think the Volt has the best heater. I have the settings at maximum comfort. I think my temp is at 74. It won't ever blast hot air out. It takes a while to heat up the car, but it eventually will. I don't use the ICE for assistance (there are times when the ICE comes on whether you want it or not). I use the heated steering wheel and seats. I don't have any serious complaints about the heat, but my expectations are pretty low. The heat is adequate. However, what you describe doesn't seem normal. At 80 with max everything it should heat up pretty good. You probably should get it looked at.
 

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We find in cold weather that you need to:

1) set seat heaters to max
2) steering wheel heater on
3) quickly defrost using MAX defrost for a couple of minutes.
3) then climate system set to
- auto, MAX
- temperature control set very high (27 deg C or more, 80F or more).

It will then crank out heat rapidly. Once the cabin is warm turn the temperature knob down to reduce heat flow and you might even be able to now change MAX to ECO, depending on outside temperature.

Reduce seat heating to lowest setting once the seat is warmed up.

You won't get lots of hot air blowing without MAX and without having the temperature really cranked up.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the input. I was not pressing the lock on the FOB before pressing the precon button, Tsquare. I missed that tidbit somewhere along the line. Tried that and the FOB works fine.

I realize that being warm and cold are quite subjective. And perhaps I am wishfully thinking to a degree that Volt heating system should perform like a normal car. Before I take it to the dealer, I will drive it more, use some of the tricks you all talk about (Starting off in the ICE mode, etc) and see if it is just a matter of preconditioning me to the Volt.
The difficulty in keeping the windshield and windows defrosted is probably my main concern. The side windows stay fogged regardless of what settings I use. I have been occasionally taking them down momentarily and back up to wipe the fog off. That practice the wife really doesn't appreciate! I will try wiping them down with some rain-X anti-fog fluid.
 

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You definitely need the recirculate off (bringing outside air in) if you have a fog problem. This is the same with every car. Human beings give off a lot of moisture. Dogs really do even more. The Volt isn't different in this respect. If there are other sources of moisture like wet outerwear or shoes, it's even worse. Or several people in the car. If you live in a damp, foggy climate it will be worse. This is really very normal.

When the defroster is on max, all the air goes out the windshield vents. This is normal. Turning the max defroster off will direct air where it normally would go.
 

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I realize that being warm and cold are quite subjective. And perhaps I am wishfully thinking to a degree that Volt heating system should perform like a normal car. Before I take it to the dealer, I will drive it more, use some of the tricks you all talk about (Starting off in the ICE mode, etc) and see if it is just a matter of preconditioning me to the Volt.
The difficulty in keeping the windshield and windows defrosted is probably my main concern. The side windows stay fogged regardless of what settings I use. I have been occasionally taking them down momentarily and back up to wipe the fog off. That practice the wife really doesn't appreciate! I will try wiping them down with some rain-X anti-fog fluid.
In my opinion, the Volt heater works better than an ICE car. It starts blowing hot air in just a few minutes where an ICE car has to warm the engine block before the air starts getting warm. You may just have an air deflector stuck in the wrong position, preventing the warm air from getting out of the system or it could be a bad heater module. When you first turn on the heat, with the car stopped, do you see 6 to 8 kW of power being used? There have been a few reports of a failed valve in the coolant loop that causes the electric only heater to try to heat up the engine block along with the cabin.
 

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Make sure you aren't mistakenly closing some vents. The Gen 2 vents are terrible. In Gen 1, you had a separate dial to turn the vents "on" or "off" but in Gen 2, they cheapened it so you can mistakenly turn them "off" by simple adjustments. This is poor design--it should at least have some sort of resistance or other tactile feedback to tell the driver/passenger that the vents are now off.

Turn ON the auto-defog. In the Gen 1, I could leave this off and the HVAC system was competent enough in ECO mode to clear the windows. Not so with the Gen 2--ECO won't do squat to keep these windows clear. I turned it on and it's better. Good advice to turn recirc off also.

While we're on the topic, why did they get rid of the "real time" energy usage of the HVAC system in the Gen 2?
 

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You definitely need the recirculate off (bringing outside air in) if you have a fog problem.
OP said he was getting fogging even with recirc off and with the system on MAX (presumably with the air directed to the windshield and the defogger on). That's what makes me think there is some problem. These setting always work to clear the fog within seconds. Temperature is subjective (absent an objective thermometer or IR probe measurement), but fogging is not.
 

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We find in cold weather that you need to:

1) set seat heaters to max
2) steering wheel heater on
3) quickly defrost using MAX defrost for a couple of minutes.
3) then climate system set to
- auto, MAX
- temperature control set very high (27 deg C or more, 80F or more).

It will then crank out heat rapidly. Once the cabin is warm turn the temperature knob down to reduce heat flow and you might even be able to now change MAX to ECO, depending on outside temperature.

Reduce seat heating to lowest setting once the seat is warmed up.

You won't get lots of hot air blowing without MAX and without having the temperature really cranked up.

This is a great post. cougsfan, I think there is nothing wrong with your Volt. I have a 2018 LT now for 2 months and had to get used to how to operate the controls to get it to do what I wanted. I didn't really "think" about it at all in my old car... Follow what is said in the above post, it works. There are also various youtube videos on the subject.

I usually crank the heat to HI until it starts to get warm, then back off on the settings, switch to eco mode. I have to set it to MAX defrost to get the windows de-fogged, then I back off to the normal defrost...rince and repeat. Unfortunately I like air re-circulation (to keep outside odours of other people's exhaust out of my car) but I have to keep adjusting (turning re-circ off, switching to MAX for a minute or two, then back to eco) when the windows start to fog up again. Unfortunately I am constantly doing this shuffle with the climate controls as I drive because I don't want to suck battery. I am already down to 62km estimated range in this cold weather we've been having (-5C to -11C).

One thing is for sure, this car tends to fog up easily. Much more than my previous car which was a 2002 Maxima.
 
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