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I know that in general it is a good idea to plug the car in when not using it. However, I was wondering if I haven't driven very much in 24 hours and have quite a bit of leftover charge, is it still a good idea to plug the car in? How much electricity overnight is used to maintain an almost fully charged vehicle?

What about these following scenarios:

a) I know that I will not drive the car the next day very much, and still have close to a full charge leftover. Should I still plug it in anyway for the next day, and why?

b) I won't be driving the car for a couple of days, and still have quite a bit of charge leftover...if I don't plug it in, will it more or less retain the existing charge for a couple of days?

c) I have only a small amount of charge left, say only about 10-15%. However there is still enough charge for the small amount of driving that I will be doing the next day...should it still be plugged in?

Assume that these scenarios occur when the temperature parameters in my garage are not extreme. (It seems to me that if temperatures are extreme, it does make sense to plug it in.) Assume also that I'm always trying to save money, and that I don't want to waste money charging the vehicle when it isn't necessary.
 

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Assuming you're not dealing with TOU charging issues, plug it in. Not plugging in isn't going to save any measurable amount of electricity and won't prolong the life of the battery.
 

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I take a different tact.
I've read that for long term storage, the best SoC for li-ion is ~50%. Now since the Volt "hides" ~25% when the gauge is empty, I wouldn't mind leaving it 15% which is really ~40%.
Since I only have to plug it in every 3rd night, the other two sits around 2/3 and 1/3 on the gauge.
 

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I always plug-in. The Volt is never reslly "off" so I figure that if it decides to run a routine check, or pump some fluid, it will be happier if plugged in.

Sent from my SM-G935P using Tapatalk
 

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First, the best way to save money is to drive all electric.
Second, the best way to drive all electric is to have more charge stored in the car than you will drive each day.
Third, don't know about you, but I never know from one day to the next, just how much driving I might have to do. There are too many variables that might require an extra trip, or errand each day. And, that is not even including emergencies.
Therefore, the best way to have more charge than you might need, is to start with a full charge every morning.
This will only cost you for the miles you drive each day, because the Volt battery does not "go dead" from sitting idle, even for a week or a month. It will, however, if it is over 50% charged, use some of that charge to "protect" the battery from extreme heat, by cooling it if necessary. If plugged in, it uses wall power instead for that cooling, when necessary.
 

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If our Volt is in the garage, it's always plugged in. That practice has more to do with compensating our own inattentiveness than battery optimization.

Driving very little and always keeping your battery topped off might not be optimal for the battery. Regularly depleting the charge might offer some benefit - at least it did for this gen1 Volt: http://gm-volt.com/2013/02/26/a-tale-of-two-volts-the-summary/
 

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The 2011 Volt Owners Guide says: "Keep your vehicle plugged in, even when fully charged, to keep the battery temperature ready for your next drive. This is especially important when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold."

Check your year's Owners Guide to see if the language has changed. I trust the folks that designed the Volt.

For those sharing workplace chargers, get management to put in some ordinary outdoor 110V outlets. They do that in northern parking lots to support engine block heaters. If you work an 8 hour day plus lunchtime, you'll make it home on battery..
 

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The OP stated the car is not out in the cold but in a garage.

Also one of their goals is to save money/energy. Having the charger plugged in constantly when you're not going to use it for days waste some.
Granted if you don't know your schedule and prefer to have it charged at all times, that's great too. But if you have a consistent drive and you only get caught low on battery once in a blue moon, you can always use a little gas. It might end being used for EMM if you use so little anyways.
My point is there is nothing wrong with any of proposed scenarios the OP suggested.
 

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FYI, I went on a 3 week vacation abroad recently. My 2015 Volt (Gen1) was in the garage, but not plugged in. I came home to a dead starter battery. Had to call to have it jumped. I would recommend leaving it plugged in. I had left it plugged in for my previous vacation, but it wasn't quite as long.
Will definitely plug it in next time.
 

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I know that in general it is a good idea to plug the car in when not using it. However, I was wondering if I haven't driven very much in 24 hours and have quite a bit of leftover charge, is it still a good idea to plug the car in? How much electricity overnight is used to maintain an almost fully charged vehicle?

What about these following scenarios:

a) I know that I will not drive the car the next day very much, and still have close to a full charge leftover. Should I still plug it in anyway for the next day, and why?

b) I won't be driving the car for a couple of days, and still have quite a bit of charge leftover...if I don't plug it in, will it more or less retain the existing charge for a couple of days?

c) I have only a small amount of charge left, say only about 10-15%. However there is still enough charge for the small amount of driving that I will be doing the next day...should it still be plugged in?

Assume that these scenarios occur when the temperature parameters in my garage are not extreme. (It seems to me that if temperatures are extreme, it does make sense to plug it in.) Assume also that I'm always trying to save money, and that I don't want to waste money charging the vehicle when it isn't necessary.
While the Volt is not a BEV, there is no real need to ABC (Always Be Charging). Even the manual recommends the vehicle be plugged in when the temps are below 32 degrees and above 90 degrees to maximize the battery life.

If you can do it, go ahead. I would not leave my car unattended and charging for a long period of time as I would not be able to unpug it due to bad lightning storms, etc.

Some cars go months and years without ever plugging in.

Enjoy the ride :)
 

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The 2011 Volt Owners Guide says: "Keep your vehicle plugged in, even when fully charged, to keep the battery temperature ready for your next drive. This is especially important when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold."

Check your year's Owners Guide to see if the language has changed. I trust the folks that designed the Volt.

For those sharing workplace chargers, get management to put in some ordinary outdoor 110V outlets. They do that in northern parking lots to support engine block heaters. If you work an 8 hour day plus lunchtime, you'll make it home on battery..
I'm not finding that verbiage in the 2011 manual - can you reference a page number?
 

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FYI, I went on a 3 week vacation abroad recently. My 2015 Volt (Gen1) was in the garage, but not plugged in. I came home to a dead starter battery. Had to call to have it jumped. I would recommend leaving it plugged in. I had left it plugged in for my previous vacation, but it wasn't quite as long.
Will definitely plug it in next time.
There was a problem causing the drain on your 12v battery. That is certainly not normal behavior.
 

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The OP stated the car is not out in the cold but in a garage.

Also one of their goals is to save money/energy. Having the charger plugged in constantly when you're not going to use it for days waste some.
Granted if you don't know your schedule and prefer to have it charged at all times, that's great too. But if you have a consistent drive and you only get caught low on battery once in a blue moon, you can always use a little gas. It might end being used for EMM if you use so little anyways.
My point is there is nothing wrong with any of proposed scenarios the OP suggested.
Temperature has a bigger effect on the battery than SOC%. The Volt never fully charges or discharges the battery so the SOC aspect is somewhat negligible. Keeping it plugged in (especially in the heat) would for the most part be better for the battery. If you didn't have a choice and had to leave the car for a long time unplugged then yes leaving it with ~40 to 50% SOC would be ideal for storage.
 

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There was a problem causing the drain on your 12v battery. That is certainly not normal behavior.
So leaving it unplugged for an extended period (like a vacation) might uncover a problem that might go not noticed if it's left on the charger?
 

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a) I know that I will not drive the car the next day very much, and still have close to a full charge leftover. Should I still plug it in anyway for the next day, and why?

It depends. If you leave it plugged in you would be able to use remote starting and preheat or precool the cabin for comfort and precondition the battery in hot or cold weather. In fall and spring weather leaving the Volt unplugged overnight is not an issue. Whenever I don't plug in my Volt at night, such as when I am away from home and park the Volt at an airport, I receive a text message as a reminder to plug in.

b) I won't be driving the car for a couple of days, and still have quite a bit of charge leftover...if I don't plug it in, will it more or less retain the existing charge for a couple of days? Yes, no problem. If your 12V battery is dead after just a few days of sitting unplugged then there is a problem with the battery or the vehicle.

c) I have only a small amount of charge left, say only about 10-15% ... should it still be plugged in? Yes. 10-15% is approximately 5 - 7 miles of battery range, not a very useful EV range.

A time you definitely don't want to have your Volt plugged in, if you are at home and can unplug, is during a thunderstorm.
 

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How do you KNOW you're not going to drive the car?

What if a pal scores some ultimate concert tickets and asks if you want to go and by the way, his car is in the shop. Can you drive us to the venue, 20 miles away?

Won't you feel foolish for not plugging in yesterday, just to save a few pennies?
 

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Thanks, found it. Didn't come up in a doc search for some reason. Sounds like they were being overly cautious out of the gate. My 2012 manual states what I posted above.

View attachment 128074
Check page 1-28 of your manual, it has the exact verbiage.
 
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