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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As winter is fast approaching we are now starting to see weather that will significantly affect our electric driving range. After starting to see many posts by users surprised and concerned over their inevitable drop in EV range I thought I would come up with some more extensive tips to help extend your EV miles and/or reduce gasoline use in cold weather. If anybody else has any good tips to add please share.

1. Check your tire pressure and keep your tires inflated as needed - As the temperature drops air in your tires become more dense and occupy less volume decreasing tire pressure. The proper stationary COLD tire pressure for the standard Goodyear tires on the Volt is 38psi.

2. Remote start your car while plugged in – If connected to 240V do a remote start 20mins prior to departure, on 120V do a remote start 40mins prior to departure. This will ensure your car is fully charged before leaving and will help clear your windows and warm your car. Keep in mind your car needs to be setup to your liking before you shut the car off the trip before. Note if set to fan only mode the car will default to comfort mode for the 10min remote start duration.

3. Turn auto defog off - I find the auto defog is very aggressive and often comes on more than needed. The defog system uses both the AC compressor and heater so it can consume a lot of energy. Often just cracking one window a 1/2” is enough to clear the windows. However keep your windows clear and use the defog and rear window defog as needed for safety.

4. Use seat heaters (if equipped) – The seat heaters use a small fraction of the power the main heater uses and can go a long way to assisting with comfort.

5. Use delayed charge if possible - Set your delayed charge for your desired departure time. This will charge the battery later and closer to your time of departure. Charging the battery generates some heat and this will help improve battery performance in cold weather.

6. Keep your car plugged in when possible – The Volt thermal management system will help keep the battery from getting very cold.

7. Wear a heavy coat and driving gloves and use a lower set point temperature – This will result in less heater use. Dress using layers of clothes – Consider adding a sweater over your shirt and under your coat.

8. Keep your car completely clear of snow and ice – This will reduce mass and improve aerodynamics.

9. For trips less than ~20miles (32kms) where the “engine running due to temperature (ERDTLT)” function triggers run the car using the comfort climate setting and turn the temperature setting up – Comfort mode opens up more electrical energy to be used for heat and will reduce the engine use for the ERDTLT cycle saving you some gasoline.

10. For trips longer than ~20miles (32kms) use the ECO climate setting (or better yet fan only) as much as personal comfort permits – ECO limits the electrical energy the heater can use (fan only will have no heater use).

11. On 2013 models if you know you are going to go beyond your EV range on your trip use the “HOLD” mode for the first few miles - “HOLD” mode will force the car to use the gasoline engine which will generate heat. Otherwise the heater will use a lot of electrical energy from the battery to bring your car up to temperature. The gas engine is very good at generating heat so if you are going to burn some gas anyway why not make better use of that energy up front.

12. Use a good very low temperature washer fluid – This can sometimes work faster and will use less energy than using the defog to clear a thin layer ice that may accumulate while driving on the windshield. Be sure to scrape your windows well before driving.
 

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Even better, try to avoid any climate control at all. This works for me unless my wife is in the car.

I also use defrost on fan only and as spairingly as possible.

If I have time, I will remote start twice before I leave.

I also keep my speed down as much as possible. I am averaging around 43 miles range in 40 degree weather.
 

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Great winter mileage tips, Neromanceres!

Ari_c, I too find that speed kills (the battery range). I have a trip I make once a month or so. If I take the expressway round trip, my battery runs out 5-8 miles from home. If I take the city streets (45 mph max), I'll have 3-5 miles left on the battery pulling into my garage.
 

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If you can safely keep it at 50 mph on the highway in drive not L you will do better on the highway then the backroads at 35 to 45 mph with frequent stop signs.considering elevation is almost equivalent.
 

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Another tip: park in the sun with the windshield facing toward the sun (south, seat, or west, depending on the time of day). This will warm the cabin, requiring less heater and defroster use.

GSP
 

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Consider moving to Florida in the wintertime. :cool:
 

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Add: Even if you're running comfort mode, switch to "fan only" for the last five minutes of your trip. You'll see next to no degradation of heat as it uses the already hot fluid in the coolant lines, and you don't apply heat to the fluid that will just ultimately dissipate as the car sits parked.
 

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Winter Range Tip....

Turn the Volt on with climate set on ECO mode, 72F, and heat the seat, while plugged in for about 12-15 minutes before leaving... you should be able to leave with a full charge since the power draw will be less than what the 240v cord set gives out. Has anyone actually measured this? I know it uses less than comfort setting....

MrEnergyCzar
 

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I would not expect the car to draw (charge) just being plugged in and the car turned ON (vs using the pre-condition/pre-heat option).

This could easily be checked using the 120v L1 charger and a Kill-A-Watt or like device (or if your L2 chargers has the info, you have a TED 5000 on your L2 leg, etc).

NOTE: if it did do this (draw while ON) then in theory you could pull an efficient generator behind the car <grin>.
 

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Regarding getting the best range out of the battery.... Does anyone have data showing what the most efficient steady speed is for level surface driving? Someone mentioned 50 mph in "normal" drive mode.
I've also read on another post that once the battery is depleted, the ICE (generator) is actually most efficient at 65-70 mph. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Turn the Volt on with climate set on ECO mode, 72F, and heat the seat, while plugged in for about 12-15 minutes before leaving... you should be able to leave with a full charge since the power draw will be less than what the 240v cord set gives out. Has anyone actually measured this? I know it uses less than comfort setting....

MrEnergyCzar
There is some early threads where users measured the power draw in different modes.

Comfort mode can draw 7KW, ECO ~3.5KW and the AC compressor ~1.5KW.
The seat heaters on max setting is ~90W if recall correct.

Regarding getting the best range out of the battery.... Does anyone have data showing what the most efficient steady speed is for level surface driving? Someone mentioned 50 mph in "normal" drive mode.
I've also read on another post that once the battery is depleted, the ICE (generator) is actually most efficient at 65-70 mph. Thanks.
There are a lot of variables that can go in to best driving speed but it is typically arround ~30Mph in EV mode the 50Mph is the speed in which wind resistance starts to become very large. For the gas engine I think your numbers are right. At that speed (65 to 70Mph) the gas engine should run fairly constant in its most efficient range.
 

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As winter is fast approaching we are now starting to see weather that will significantly affect our electric driving range. After starting to see many posts by users surprised and concerned over their inevitable drop in EV range I thought I would come up with some more extensive tips to help extend your EV miles and/or reduce gasoline use in cold weather. If anybody else has any good tips to add please share.

...

3. Turn auto defog off - I find the auto defog is very aggressive and often comes on more than needed. The defog system uses both the AC compressor and heater so it can consume a lot of energy. Often just cracking one window a 1/2” is enough to clear the windows. However keep your windows clear and use the defog and rear window defog as needed for safety.

...
And I thought I was an "old pro" at this! Lately, I've been trying to figure our why the heat was coming on in the "fan only" mode. Sure enough, I had "auto defog" activated. Thanks!
 

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>> 7. Wear a heavy coat and driving gloves and use a lower set point temperature – This will result in less heater use. Dress using layers of clothes – Consider adding a sweater over your shirt and under your coat.
>>

Add "use a hat". More warmth is lost through one's head more than through hands. Gloves are good to get after the hat. A fun festive scarf also works well.

For my 74 mile drive to NJ, I'll do this. Pull out of the house and put it in Mountain Mode. I want to start and run my engine once per drive and it will do this after 20 CD-mode miles. At the exit off the highway (onto another slower highway) I go back into Normal mode. That drains the battery to CS-mode just about the point I arrive. While in Mountain Mode on the highway, I turn up the heater as the engine is running anyway. On days down to 34*F, this works out pretty well and gives about the best mileage as the gas usage is all done on the highway at 42mpg. It may use only 32-36 miles of battery in low 30s weather but seems to give the best mileage compared to just using up the battery and running all the way in normal mode since mpg out of the engine on the highway in steady traffic appears to be the most efficient.
 

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Note if set to fan only mode the car will default to comfort mode for the 10min remote start duration.

.
If I really want to maximize my mileage and do not care about wearing hat, gloves, etc., is there any option to precondition/remote start without pre-heating the cabin but just the battery?
 

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If I really want to maximize my mileage and do not care about wearing hat, gloves, etc., is there any option to precondition/remote start without pre-heating the cabin but just the battery?
I thought just having the car plugged in was enough to keep the battery in the correct temp range, which is why GM recommends to keep the car plugged in when not in use.
Big question though : how to monitor the energy usage in this case? With my first Volt Winter starting, I have started seeing unexpected extra electric consumption that I cannot explain (based on previous year's non-Volt values, and adding kWh used to charge the Volt). I suspect it's this battery conditioning, because I did not notice such a difference during the previous months.
 

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7. Wear a heavy coat and driving gloves and use a lower set point temperature – This will result in less heater use. Dress using layers of clothes – Consider adding a sweater over your shirt and under your coat.

$40,000+ car! No way I'm going to dress like I don't have a heater.
 

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7. Wear a heavy coat and driving gloves and use a lower set point temperature – This will result in less heater use. Dress using layers of clothes – Consider adding a sweater over your shirt and under your coat.

$40,000+ car! No way I'm going to dress like I don't have a heater.
I totally understand where you're coming from there... but,
My winter jacket is warm down to about 10 below, so I'm always dressed warm when I drive :)
 

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>>
Add "use a hat". More warmth is lost through one's head more than through hands. Gloves are good to get after the hat. A fun festive scarf also works well.
WISDOM HERE.

A nice wool hat in cold weather does a ton to help your body stay warm.
 

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3. Turn auto defog off - I find the auto defog is very aggressive and often comes on more than needed. The defog system uses both the AC compressor and heater so it can consume a lot of energy. Often just cracking one window a 1/2” is enough to clear the windows. However keep your windows clear and use the defog and rear window defog as needed for safety.
Now I understand what happened this morning. I was trying to figure out why my heater and my air conditioner were coming on at the same time. It was the auto-defog doing its dirty work. That thing really is a battery killer.
 

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Going with the title of this post, the best way would be to leave the car unplugged and run the heat at 80+ in comfort mode. Then drive fast. That should maximize the energy usage!
 
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