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I have had my 2016 for 3 months now. I put a duplicate dryer plug wired to my original dryer plug and got a 220 so I could leave charger and dryer both hooked up. Of course I never use them both at the same time.


I mostly take short trips around town and if fully charged may have 40-45 miles remaining at the end of the day. So basically today I started with 55 on a full charge and after using the Volt a few times today I have 42 miles left.


Question: Should I plug it in under these types of usage. I actually have been fully charging it each night. Maybe not a good thing.

Note: I have no plans to use more than 5-10 miles tomorrow so that is part of the equation.


I wonder if it is best to keep the battery topped off or let it run down some and fully charge it when it is closer to being depleted? Now, I always charge it when down less than half (25 miles). Is that too soon?
 

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It is never too soon to plug in. And in case you weren't aware, the Volt does NOT fully charge the battery EVER, no matter how long it is plugged in. Yes, the gauge will show that it is charged to 100%, but there is a buffer in the battery to keep it from getting a full charge. So there is no need to worry about how long or when to plug in.
Mine stays plugged in all of the time that it is parked, whether it is for 10 minutes or 10 days between drives.
 

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I have had my 2016 for 3 months now. I put a duplicate dryer plug wired to my original dryer plug and got a 220 so I could leave charger and dryer both hooked up. Of course I never use them both at the same time.


I mostly take short trips around town and if fully charged may have 40-45 miles remaining at the end of the day. So basically today I started with 55 on a full charge and after using the Volt a few times today I have 42 miles left.


Question: Should I plug it in under these types of usage. I actually have been fully charging it each night. Maybe not a good thing.

Note: I have no plans to use more than 5-10 miles tomorrow so that is part of the equation.


I wonder if it is best to keep the battery topped off or let it run down some and fully charge it when it is closer to being depleted? Now, I always charge it when down less than half (25 miles). Is that too soon?
The Owner's Manual recommends leaving the Volt plugged in unless you will not be driving the Volt for more than 30 days. I usually drive my 2017 Volt less than 15 miles most days, could easily go 2 or 3 days between charging. That said, in spring and fall I don't charge every day.

In summer I time my charging to late afternoon as this is when my garage reaches its highest temperature. When the Volt completes charging the battery temperature management system (TMS) will turn on the fan and AC for ~15 minutes and cool the battery. It is interesting to note that the TMS waits until charging has been completed as charging a warm battery is more efficient.

In winter I plug in my Volt each evening, this maintains the battery temperature above 32F. I make daily use of preconditioning my Volt during the winter. I charge using a Level 2 EVSE and usually the battery is fully topped up by the time the preconditioning cycle ends, or in the coldest weather the battery may show that preconditioning has left the battery with a deficit of 0.6 - 1.2kWh (1.2kWh for an extended 20 minute preconditioning cycle.)

The battery pack weighs 450 lbs, this is a large thermal mass that does not quickly warm up or cool down due to the outside air temperature.

Bottom line is do whatever is convenient.

35F or colder - then I always plug in at night
90F or warmer - then I always plug in during the late afternoon
Thunderstoms in the area - I always unplug my Volt

When I travel I will frequently leave my Volt parked, close to the airport or train station in a location where the Volt is not able to be plugged in. The longest I have left my Volt is 1 week but up to 30 days should not present a problem, i.e. the 12V battery should retain enough charge to turn on the Volt when I return from my trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies....

....Question; yeah, another one...

The charging plug going into the receptacle on the car is nice and firm going in and out. Do these plugs (male on cord, Female on car) become worn or problematic over time. Should dielectric grease ever be used on the contacts.

I searched and did not find anything about them wearing out. My car is indoors and plug (end covered) is suspended above car till needed so things remain dry and clean.
 

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7+ years and only had to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth to get off the farm dust
 

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90F or warmer - then I always plug in during the late afternoon
That's about the worst thing you can do, environmentally speaking. Late summer afternoons on hot days is when electricity demand is maximal, and utilities have to rely on "peaking" power plants, which produce the worst emissions.

Even before I signed up for an incentive plan that gives me a discount for charging after midnight, I always waited until mid to late evening to charge on hot summer days.
 

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That's about the worst thing you can do, environmentally speaking. Late summer afternoons on hot days is when electricity demand is maximal, and utilities have to rely on "peaking" power plants, which produce the worst emissions.

Even before I signed up for an incentive plan that gives me a discount for charging after midnight, I always waited until mid to late evening to charge on hot summer days.
It is possible to do both (plug in sooner and start charging later) using the delayed charging settings in the car.
 

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I do my best to never charge until the battery is below half . . . . unless I'll need a full charge to get where I'm going. I don't leave the car plugged in 24/7 either . . . . unless it's above 90 degrees or below 32

Don
 

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Lithium ion batteries are happiest in the middle (unlike earlier chemical batteries). If there's no need to charge I wouldn't bother if you aren't at the extremes. In my case, the EVSE is inside and the car just outside (for now) and I use 1/2 battery (summer) and 3/4 (winter) for a trip into town. We don't get temp extremes (between freezing and 85) so I plug in after I get back and unplug when it's topped off in 1.5 to 2.5 hours. That way it's always ready to go. I go into town couple times a week (retired) but even if I used it every day it would be the same. There is no need to keep it plugged in if you don't need to precondition or cool and no need to keep it "topped up" if a few short trips fit in the range window. The only down side is if you had to make an unexpected "longer" trip and the battery isn't topped up but that may not even be a down side if it prevents an EMM which it would otherwise do anyways.
 

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The charging plug going into the receptacle on the car is nice and firm going in and out. Do these plugs (male on cord, Female on car) become worn or problematic over time. Should dielectric grease ever be used on the contacts.

I searched and did not find anything about them wearing out. My car is indoors and plug (end covered) is suspended above car till needed so things remain dry and clean.
Almost 3 years for me and I've done nothing to the plug end of the EVSE except to put it in a holster that I've attached to the garage wall when not plugged into the car.
 

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It is possible to do both (plug in sooner and start charging later) using the delayed charging settings in the car.
Yeah, but that's not what jcanoe said he's doing. He said, "In summer I time my charging to late afternoon ..."
 

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Yeah, but that's not what jcanoe said he's doing. He said, "In summer I time my charging to late afternoon ..."
I agree with your point that it is better for the grid/environment/economy to charge off peak. I also think it is better for the car. Heat is bad for the battery. Charging off peak in the summer (early morning hours), the air temperature is usually cooler and also the battery has had time to cool from driving. In the winter, delayed charging allows the heat from charging to warm your battery for your next drive.
 

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Yeah, but that's not what jcanoe said he's doing. He said, "In summer I time my charging to late afternoon ..."
I have not been using delayed charging; there is currently no residential TOU plan available from my energy company (PEPCO)

This past summer I did some experimenting with my Volt parked inside my garage. As the temperature inside my garage climbed above 90F I was curious if the Volt's TMS would cool the battery. Even when the garage thermometer registered 98F, the Volt's engine coolant temperature reading was less than 90F. If I then plugged in the Volt (immediate charging, level 2) the fan and AC would not come on until after charging was completed after perhaps 1 to 1.5 hours. (I have since come to understand that charging is more efficient at higher temperatures, so that while high temperatures are not good for the Volt's lithium battery (especially when the lithium battery pack is fully charged) the Volt's engineers decided to delay cooling the battery until after charging was completed.

Next summer I will experiment with plugging in my Volt in the hottest part of the afternoon, i.e. starting at 2:30PM, using delayed charging. Also, post charging and cooling my Volt's engine coolant temperature reading was 105F, so there is some thermal transfer between the battery coolant and the engine coolant (probably inside, between the radiator cores.)
 
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