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Discussion Starter #1
I have ordered a 2017 Volt which is scheduled to be built the week of April 3 (the wait is excruciating)

A little background: I went into a GM dealership a couple of weeks ago, looking to get information on the new Bolt (when it was scheduled to arrive in my neck of the woods, costs, etc) and I ended up looking at one of the Volts on the lot. I thought about the Volt before, however I really wanted to get into the EV craze myself.

The dealership allowed me to take the car for 24 hrs to see if I liked it. I couldn't believe it. Well, I LOVED it and I couldn't believe how loaded with options even the base (LT) trim was.

My wife and I have a Smart Foretwo electric drive that she drives as her commute to work is ~10 kms round trip so it fit perfectly for us and the monthly payments are less then what we paid for gas in her previous vehicle. She loves the car, will never go back to gas. I quite enjoy it as well (when I get to drive it) and because I was jealous of her, I wanted to get my own EV.

We are aware of the reduced range in "less then ideal" climate and other range reducing elements and I've gotten quite good at driving that car "eco friendly".

This is my scenario: My place of employment is 70 Kms "door to door" one way and 99% of that is highway. Before I inspected the car with all of its modes and before I perused this terrific and helpful forum, I assumed that I was going to just start the car, in ideal conditions spend the drive to work using EV range then drive home on gas, plugging it in every night, then repeat. There are opportunities to charge the vehicle around where I work but wouldn't always be the case. I could also take back roads to work where the speed would be reduced, however the drive would be ~1hr and 10mins as opposed to 40 mins highway.

I'm obviously going to experiment with different routes and drives, but I'm curious as to what you would suggest for driving purposes with my scenario (use Hold for a bit, then Normal / try to split the whole commute (140kms) to use gas and EV for the entirety / etc....). Approximately halfway point (35kms) there is a rather steep elevation change for ~1.5 kms which is downhill going to work and uphill coming home.

Just curious as to how fellow drivers would utilize the different "tools" that the Volt has to share the fuel and electric. Even if I ran strictly on gas, I'll use almost 50% less fuel then my current ride (lol) so everything is going to be a plus.....


Kev
 

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If I know I am going to exceed my battery range on a trip and a portion of it is highway speed, I switch during the 50mph+ section to Hold mode. I save the quiet and efficiency of the all-electric for the slower parts of the drive.

But for your drive (99% highway) it probably won't make much difference.

The only downside to Not switching to Hold is a possibility of slightly noisier driving that maybe could have been shifted. The downside of switching to Hold is if you switch and forget to switch back, you don't use the whole charge and use more gas than needed.
 

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The Volt does a pretty good job without any help from the driver. Just drive it and not worry about saving a few pennies. Of course, if you are so inclined, experimenting with Normal/Sport and Hold mode can be fun too.
 

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As others have said, in cold weather use Hold in the morning to warm the car up, then switch to normal. Otherwise stay in normal.
Either way you should get to work in all/mostly EV.
Then if you get a chance to charge at work (L2 ?) you might make it all the way back home on EV.
If not, use Hold again so your engine can warm up before hitting the hill. When you're over the hump and within EV range switch back to normal.
 

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I am assuming you have a Level II charger at home, if not consider getting one installed. One possible scenario:

A.M. Drive time: Precondition the Volt, twice, for a total of 20 minutes, before you leave in the morning. The battery temperature will be optimized and the cabin will be warm when you leave the house. The Level II charger will replace most of the energy used to precondition the Volt by the time you leave. You should be able to reach your destination solely on the battery.

Drive in EV mode for the A.M. trip. Use the seat heaters and the steering wheel heater (if equipped), turn off the Volt's climate control heat, just use the fan with the air set to recirculate to let the residual heat from the preconditioning continue to warm the cabin. When the vents start to blow cold air you can cycle the climate control on and off to complete your trip. Disregard if the outside temperature is colder than -9.5 C, in that case the Volt will automatically cycle the gas engine on and off to generate some heat for the battery and heat for the cabin. The Volt is also programmed to cycle the gas engine when the outside temperature reaches 1.6 C but you can defer the engine heat assist until the temperature dips to -9.5 C.

P.M. Drive time: Depending in the A.M. outside temperature you would still have some remaining battery range, probably less than 10-12km. Until you can find a place to recharge the Volt during the day while you are at work you will need to use the gas engine for most of the trip home. This will consume approx. 1 US gallon of gas per day. You can let the Volt automatically switch from battery to gas, as it is designed to do, or you can use Hold mode until you get close to your home destination and then use the remaining battery charge for the last few km.
 

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I'm on hold whenever traffic is >=65mph steady and it works pretty well for me, get decent range out of the EV and 45mpg out of the ICE most days. Although, after experimenting, I really only bother when either 1) the car insists on running the engine for cabin heat or 2) I'm looking for a distraction on my long commute because the net difference in gas is pretty minimal... The real gain is that EV mode is just a more pleasant ride in city traffic.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the tips, keep 'em coming. I think I'll will experiment jcanoe's scenario.

I forgot to verify; I can switch between the modes while driving, correct? Whatever speeds?

And, having the regen paddle, does this help nicely in conjuction with driving in "L" or do they cancel each other out?


Kev
 

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Must ask: nothing in inventory that you could live with? I was without my '16 for a week and used 6 months worth of Volt gas to run the rental Camaro. Regained my warm and fuzzy feeling when I got my Volt back. (minor service problem, part backordered)
 

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The same EV rules apply- speed reduces range/increases consumption- that part you are going to be familiar with.

You can try to game the Volt system, but if you just use the ICE for uphill runs etc, then you are just going to get 22mpg instead of 44 mpg (as an example). No reason to waste gas to preserve the battery with such a selective strategy...it is much better to run in Hold mode for a few miles at a time. The incline doesn't matter terribly- it is how fast you are going on that incline that kills the charge.

My strategy consists of using neutral to coast when trying to preserve momentum (rather than regenerating). Regen still has losses, sometimes it is better to just keep rolling. My morning drive is sometimes a lot slower and more congested than the ride home so I will run electric the entire way in the morning...stuck in traffic is the best scenario for range extending. For long trips it is electric in town when arriving at the destination and gasoline for the interstate. Really, you will just have to try the car out and play with a couple of different ways to drive.
 

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Thanks for the tips, keep 'em coming. I think I'll will experiment jcanoe's scenario.

I forgot to verify; I can switch between the modes while driving, correct? Whatever speeds?

And, having the regen paddle, does this help nicely in conjuction with driving in "L" or do they cancel each other out?


Kev
You can switch to Hold mode at any time, any speed or when stopped when driving in D or L, not sure about whether you can select Hold mode when in Park (probably) or even when the Volt is in Reverse (doubtful). You need to press the Mode button located on the center console behind the shift lever 4 times to enter Hold mode. You only need to press the Mode button once to return to Normal mode.

The regen paddle can be used by itself or in conjunction with decelerating while in L, the effect is additive up to the Volt's maximum regen level. You won't want to use L when on the highway, there is no reason to do so when cruising on the highway. The Volt's engineers have stated that the most efficient mode is coasting, no regen, possible when you shift to Neutral and free wheel the Volt. The next most efficient mode is coasting, foot off the accelerator, in D, this provides some mild regen. Then decelerating, foot off the pedal when in Low, next using the regen paddle, finally using the friction brakes (0% regen). You can combine using the regen paddle with decelerating or braking in D or L, but the regen paddle will have no effect if the Volt's transmission has been shifted to Neutral. This has been extensively covered in other threads. What you don't want to do is start to apply the regen paddle and the foot brake, then release the regen paddle before the Volt has stopped or appreciably slowed down because if you release the regen paddle it will feel like the Volt's brakes have failed when in fact what you are sensing is the loss of the regen effect on slowing the vehicle. It can be momentarily disconcerting.
 

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If you have a 240V charger, pre heat the car twice in the morning before you leave. Use seat heater and steering wheel heater, when the windshield fogs up, just turn defrost on eco set at 21 or 22C and turn back off as soon as windshield is clear. Drive it in normal mode. Slower speeds are your friend, keep speed at 96km(if you can). You would be surprised how many KW you save with this 4kph difference in speed. Don't worry about the engine turning on. If below -10c the engine will turn on only for a few km and then turn back off and cycle back and forth. If coming to a stop and the engine is on, you can force the engine off by putting in into nuetral(should shut off in about 10 seconds). I've also found that when you run out of battery power, if you can accelerate away slowly from a stop and keep the Kw draw below 19Kw and stay under 65kph it will stay in battery mode and the engine does not turn back on for up to 2-3km.
 

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In the winter, hold mode to get heat going on my initial start and all the way into town on the highway, then switch to normal for the city driving. On the way home I burn electricity until I run out. Sometimes when it's really cold, I'll use hold again.

In the summer, just drive, let the car do its thing.

I used to try to game the system, drive like a grandpa, hypermile, but have since given up the game. It's much more fun to drive it like Jeff Gordon. When I completely pay off my house, I plan to just blow money st $8 per day on a nearby chargepoint and be eco friendly, but at this time, all that money is getting piled into living miserly and paying off the house. The chargepoint rate is too high, but I fully understand they need to recoup their installation costs.
 

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If you use Mountain Mode, then you will be using the electric charge for about half of the trip to work and run the charge completely down in Normal Mode on the last section of your trip. You will need to play around and decide on driving style. You do not need to take more time on a slower commute. I have a lifetime average of 85 MPG, including a 4,000-mile entirely-gas vacation. Cold weather days require use of gasoline to warm the system. I was averaging 180 MPG before taking the long trip in remote areas of the Northern Rockies with no charging available. Normally, I commute 20 miles a day entirely on the electric charge.
 

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Time is money, so I wouldn't waste an additional half hour, just to extend your range a little. Just drive normally, and when you have time, try to find a way to charge conveniently at work, even if it's 110v. 9hrs of 110v, can give you 12kWh, which might get you all the way home. That's the best investment of your time.
 

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You'll get a lot of opinions here, and I'll throw mine in the mix too :)

Based on what you said (mostly highway driving) I would recommend just letting the Volt "do its thing" whenever the temperatures are nice enough to make it to work on battery alone.

An engine is least efficient when it is running cold before getting up to optimal temperature, so generally speaking you're likely to waste more fuel turning it on for some of both legs, than to just run it longer on the leg back home.

If it starts getting colder and you can't make it to your destination on battery alone below some temperature threshold and heater usage, then you I'd recommend hold mode at the beginning of your trip for some amount of distance. That will "hold" the charge in the battery at whatever level it has, and use the engine instead until the vehicle is put back in Normal mode.

How long should you use Hold mode in this case? Well, you want the engine to run long enough to get your cabin nice and toasty using the waste heat from the engine (instead of electricity from the battery), and to also prevent the engine from coming on again before you reach your destination. You can repeat the same kind of technique on the way home, which again, uses waste heat from the engine for initially heating the cabin, saving more of your battery's energy for engine-free operation later. Of course, on the way back your engine will come back on before the trip ends, but that's expected.

Now, a caveat: Everything I just said above is if you really want to try and maximize battery usage and minimize gas. That being said, if you "just drive it" and let the Volt do its thing, charging near work when you can (or better yet, getting them to install some charging stations) and having the engine come on only after the battery is depleted, you'll likely still be very impressed with the gas mileage and decide that "eeking" out a bit more savings is more trouble than its worth. And, at times, trying to "game" the car to minimize gasoline usage can result in using more gasoline than if you just let the car do its thing, due to things like inefficiencies at cold engine temps, terrain where engine engaged, driving speed, etc.

Best advice in my opinion? Don't worry about "gaming" what mode the car is in, pre-condition the car when it's plugged in and it's colder out (for your comfort, not for efficiency), and convince your employer to put in a couple charging stations where you and others can pay for their use based on the cost of electricity. This will save you MUCH more gas than any attempt to maximize efficiency on the drive, and also be far more convenient and effortless.

For what it's worth, I live in Central NY which is not very EV friendly, yet I got my employer to install a few chargers. They've since installed several more. We're up to 16 Level 2 GE Durastation chargers with RFID authentication, we pay 10 cents per kWh and payroll automatically deducts our usage from our paychecks quarterly. Durastations we have are very similar to these: http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-EV-Ch...-with-Connect-Software-EVDDR3GWXXGB/205939393

That's my $0.02 anyway. ;) Welcome to the club and enjoy your car come April!
 

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i echo the 3-4 opinions here, just drive the damn thing.

its too much hassle and whatnot for whatever gains. i have the same problem, i drive 33mi to work one way.

1. in the morning, while plugged in, remote start the car so it heats up 10-20 mins before you leave. you can start it up again one more time to ensure proper cabin climate.

2. drive to work, expending all/most of battery. plug the car at work/other charging place. in my area in beverly hills, there are some hotels and some houses that offer to charge. i charge at a park tennis court parking lot with chargepoint there. then i walk to work 3 blocks. there are websites/apps that will show you where you can charge near you.

3. when going home, i walk back to the tennis court parking and have enough charge to get all the way home. no gas whole day.

now sometimes there's an idiot who leaves their car plugged in and doesnt take the charger out even though they are fully charged. and sometimes spaces are full. so i would have to drive home on the last 10mi on electric, and then 20mi on gas. i still spend 2/3 of what i did before in that scenario. if i am able to get home full electric, i spend probably less than 1/4 via electric bill/chargepoint cost alone.

a time will come when there are many people who offer their houses/garages for charging (the community has started already) and we will all be able to charge for free anywhere.
 
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