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Hi Volters!

I believe the manual says my 2018 Volt should be plugged in all the times (when possible of course) so as to help ensure the battery does not get too hot or too cold without draining the battery to provide such heating/cooling and that makes sense to me. My work provides free charging, so weekdays I'm not inclined to leave it plugged in at home (3:00 pm to 6:30 am). Why should I pay for the electricity if I can charge at work for free?

I live in Vancouver BC Canada and while it does not generally get really hot or cold, I have noted that in the summer when parked at home and connected to my 120V EVSE, a coolant motor sometimes runs (well it's some kind of electric motor so I assume it' s cooling).

Also, I have started using the keyless remote at home in the morning to pre-condition the Volt for 10 minutes, as it's been getting frosty, so since I have not been charging at home during weekdays, morning pre-conditioning runs down the battery (about one bar?) before I leave for work.

I still have enough charge to get from work and back (even with the morning 10 minute pre-conditioning) but my question is: since I leave my Volt at home on weekdays (3:00 pm to 6:30 am) without being connected to my 120V EVSE, and I charge only at work, will I have reduced range given the battery may discharge to provide cooling / heating when parked at home?

Should I simply plug in at home (in addition to work) to alleviate reduced range from pre-conditioning and/or the battery supplying power to heat/cool itself and/or whatever other problems might arise when it's parked at home and not on my 120V EVSE?
 

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if you can plug in at work, that's the best, no cost to you for power
summer, like you I can make it both ways, winter I can not do it, so I charge at both locations
 

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You should be able to set the charging so that even plugged in it wont charge while you are at home.
For example, if when you get home in the evening it says you need 8 hours to recharge, and if you leave at 8AM in the morning, Setting the charging to "departure time" with a departure of 17:00 should program the car to start charging only at 9:00AM, so it wont charge during the night.
Like that if the battery needs temperature regulation it will do so, but it wont charge and therefore wont use much of your electricity.
 

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You have an enviable situation, free charging at work and a commute that is easily withing battery range. Aside from the obvious, charging using Level 1 at home, there are two other scenarios where the Volt will benefit from being plugged in.

1) In summer if the battery temperature rises above approximately 90F (32C) the Volt will turn on the AC to cool the battery pack when the Volt is plugged in. (In my experience even if the battery temperature exceeds 90F while the Volt is charging the Volt's battery temperature management system will wait for charging to complete before using the AC to cool the battery (charging is more efficient at higher temperatures.) The Volt will not use the AC to cool the battery if it is not plugged in. How many truly hot days are there in summer in VC?

2) In winter the Volt will maintain the battery pack at or above 32F (0C) as long as the Volt is plugged in. Also, while preconditioning, even if you are only using Level 1 charging the Volt will be able to recover some of the energy used to heat the cabin during the preconditioning cycle.

What you could do, in winter, is set delayed charging to start perhaps 45 minutes - 1 hour before you plan to leave. The battery will be warmed up and the Volt will have received at least a partial charge, perhaps enough to recover the energy you will use a short while later that morning to precondition the cabin. You don't want to fully charge the battery at home Monday - Friday because you can do so for free while at work. On the weekend, in winter, you can leave the Volt plugged in so the battery is always kept warm.

In summer, on the warmest days, plug in the Volt during the afternoon when temperatures are highest. If the temperature rises to where the Volt turns on the AC then your battery will be properly cooled, if not then it was not necessary.
 

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I live around Seattle, so a very similar climate and also charge at work. IMO, I rarely plug in at home while commuting in the summer, as I can do my roughly 28-32 miles of daily driving on half a charge easily then charge at work.

In winter I can still do the same drive, but it gets to be tight with fully charging at work (3 hr blocks), and I can sometimes “fall behind” only charging at work. Due to this, I usually plug in during the winter. I don’t strictly need to, but it helps keep from discharging the batt all the way, and the expense is relative minor (40-50% a full charge isn’t much energy, about 50 cents worth here).

The TMS runs a decent bit in the winter when plugged in, as we do dip down below the lower limit threshold of tms heating (I think it’s 40 F?) most nights. The car also seems to get better range when plugged in all night, so it makes sense it needs some TMS to keep things happy.

It’s rare you need the TMS in summer here. I’ve noticed it twice personally in the last year. Otherwise the batt probably stays less than 80 F in summer (lows around high 50s, low 60s, highs in the 75-80 F range most days, occasionally 90ish). Apologize for the US customary numbers.

My 2 cents, as it’s just easier to plug the car in on the winter and accept you’re probably paying a couple of bucks more than you could if you really optimized everything.
 

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It's not worth considering. In May I got an email from BC Hydro saying I had used 4 KW less than I did in May last year (despite the charging of the Volt and a second TV that is on all the time this year).
 

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1. First thing is to learn the proper terms. The Volt has a built in charger and needs a charging station. The charging stations are also called EVSEs (Electric Vehicle

Supply Equipment). People wrongly call these devices "Chargers" which is false since the charger is built into the vehicle. They are either a home charging device or a public

charging device. Be sure to set up the localized charging parameters in the infotainment console for Public, home or both. Also set the amps to either 8 or 12 depending upon

how fast you want to charge.

2. Public EVSE:
- If you charge at a public charging station. The built in charger will determine how much current it will ask for.
If your Volt has a built in 3.6KW charger it will ask for 16amps or 3.6KW from the EVSE station and will take about 4 hours to charge at 240 volts.
If your Volt has a built in 7.2KW charger, then it will ask for 30amps and take about 2.6 hours from 240 volts.
- A 40amp Level 2 EVSE will provide about 30amps and can deliver the needed 7.2 kW (30 x 240 =7,200/1,000 = 7.2).
while a 16-amp model can deliver 3.84 kW (16 x 240 = 3,840/1000 = 3.84).

The home EVSE.
- The car comes with a portable 110 volt charging device and takes 14 hours to charge the car.
- If you have a home dryer plug in the garage it will have a recepticle that is rated by NEMA. Like NEMA 14-50, etc.
Make sure when you buy a Level 2 charging station, that your plug matches the one you have for the dryer plug. I recommend a "ClipperCreek" brand.
Some adapters are sold separately so you can have your dryer on one plug/receptacle and your charging station can be used with an adapter.
- PG&E gives a $1,500 rebate for the Volt and $2,500 for the Bolt while SMUD gives a 7.7KW charging station for free. (Again many mistakenly call it a charger.)
- The one from SMUD is a ClipperCreek brand and is the 40amp one that sells on Amazon for $659.00.

- In order to use the one from SMUD your breaker panel must have a 50amp breaker and have wiring that is capable to handle up to 40amps.
Even though the draw is only around 30amps the breaker must be at least 20% more and the wiring must be able to handle the higher current as well.
- An electrician should be consulted to see how much it would cost to have a separate breaker capable of handling the charging station you want.
I had a new separate 50amp line and breaker installed on my Panel and had conduit run in the garage from the back to the front and I paid about $600.00 for that.`
- Some dryer plugs are only 3 prong and may be dangerous if your dryer is grounded internally. Be sure to have an electrician give advise.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks so much everyone, as to jcanoe’s question about driving distances, conditions, weather, etc. they are pretty much identical to VoltAP1’s. I like the idea of keeping the Volt always plugged in at home (with delayed charging start) and then getting most of my charging at work.
 
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