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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to purchase a Volt in the next month or so, and have a few questions about running one for a long distance commute.

My office is about 72 miles away from my house. I start my commute with ~6.5 miles of town/small highway driving, and then get on the interstate for ~49 miles of rolling hills with speed limit of 70 mph. After that, I get off the interstate and have about 17 miles of mid-level highway (40-50 mph) plus some town driving again.

I'm a long time hypermiler and ecomodder and my 2006 Saab 9-5 is netting me around 29.5 MPG as a year-round average. It currently takes premium fuel, so there's no difference between it and the Volt.

I'll be able to charge at work, but most likely only 120V.

Questions:
  • Will I see 40+ MPG on the highway at 68-72 MPH?
  • Is spending the extra to get a 2013 with 'Hold Mode' better than just running in Mountain Mode on a 2012?
  • How much range drop would I see with a Pennsylvania winter if the car is kept in an unheated garage but charged/preheated?
  • Would I routinely be able to get better than the 35-38 miles AER?
  • Is MyLink on the 2013's worth it if I'm primarily a music streamer?
  • Are the perforated leather seats on the 2012's significantly cooler than the standard leather on the 2013's?
  • Am I more likely to find a 'moddable' EVSE (to make it work w/120V or 240V) on a 2012 or 2013?

I've read through many of the threads here (notably the 2012 Premium vs 2013 Base thread), and I'm still kind of unsure which way I should lean. I don't care about navigation or backup camera, but I would like to keep heated seats and parking sensors. I think that limits me to VINs starting with 1G1RB (base w/heated) or 1G1RD (Premium w/heated)?:confused:


Thanks in advance for your advice and comments!
 

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Questions:
  • Will I see 40+ MPG on the highway at 68-72 MPH?
  • Is spending the extra to get a 2013 with 'Hold Mode' better than just running in Mountain Mode on a 2012?
  • How much range drop would I see with a Pennsylvania winter if the car is kept in an unheated garage but charged/preheated?
  • Would I routinely be able to get better than the 35-38 miles AER?


  • I leased a 2013 for 3 years, I now own a 2017.
    Yes, you will definitely see 40+ MPG. During my vacation trips I easily got 40 MPG at 75 MPH.
    The only difference between Hold and Mountain Mode is that MM selects ~40% State of Charge as the trigger point that starts the gas generator, Hold Mode lets you select that trigger point at any SOC. I think Hold Mode is worth it.
    Typically winter weather will cut your range by about ~40%.
    My 2013 always estimated 38-42 miles of range during the summer. My daily round trip drive is almost all 65 MPH interstate. In the winter the estimate dropped to 28-32 miles and I usually just barely made it home on battery. No charging at work.
 

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Cold weather and high speeds definitely impacts the range. If you can charge at or near your office, you are in really great shape. The battery capacity has increased several times since the Volt's introduction. Late 2012, late 2014 and second generation models, so that may be something to consider. On gas, both of our Volts have averaged above 41mpg lifetime. Good shopping!
 

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I'll be able to charge at work, but most likely only 120V.

Being able to charge at work makes your purchase a "no brainer"

Questions:
  • Will I see 40+ MPG on the highway at 68-72 MPH?
    More than likely unless you are BLASTING the heater or A/C.
  • Is spending the extra to get a 2013 with 'Hold Mode' better than just running in Mountain Mode on a 2012?
    Not with your commute as stated; however, hold mode will produce heat MUCH faster in the winter, probably a wash though considering how far you are driving though
  • How much range drop would I see with a Pennsylvania winter if the car is kept in an unheated garage but charged/preheated?
    Heating the cabin is the biggest draw on the battery by FAR. Expect a worse case scenario of 22-25 miles per charge in the dead of winter
  • Would I routinely be able to get better than the 35-38 miles AER?
    In the summer, and cool months, yes...but I wouldn't expect much more than that. Considering your will have interstate driving at a high rate of speed, you can easily be down to low 30s with an early Volt
  • Is MyLink on the 2013's worth it if I'm primarily a music streamer?
    Probably
  • Are the perforated leather seats on the 2012's significantly cooler than the standard leather on the 2013's?
    Not sure, but I have a 2012 with them. I like them very much...I would say "probably YES"
  • Am I more likely to find a 'moddable' EVSE (to make it work w/120V or 240V) on a 2012 or 2013?
    Just buy a Clipper Creek if you want 240V charging

I've read through many of the threads here (notably the 2012 Premium vs 2013 Base thread), and I'm still kind of unsure which way I should lean. I don't care about navigation or backup camera, but I would like to keep heated seats and parking sensors. I think that limits me to VINs starting with 1G1RB (base w/heated) or 1G1RD (Premium w/heated)?:confused:

Back up camera is considered a must and I completely agree. I don't know how to read the VINs that way.


Thanks in advance for your advice and comments!
Hope this helps.
 

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on a regular trip for me from cocoa beach,fl to tampa (120 miles) I am on battery until the interstate,then hold mode I am averaging 115mpg overall and (47mpg)strictly on ice.
this is the best car I have ever owned, good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It does, thanks. From another thread here on the forum:

1G1RA is the base interior (cloth seats) and no navigation.
1G1RB is the leather interior and no navigation.
1G1RC is the base interior (cloth seath) and with navigation.
1G1RD is the leather interior and with navigation.

other options as the backup camera, polished wheels are not indicated by the VIN.

When the fifth caracter is E, F, G or H, then it's a low emissions package (california)
and the interior and options goes with the correspondance of letters A, for the E
B for the F, and so on.

2011 Volt did ALL have the NAV package, so the VINs all start up by either
1G1RC (cloth seats with nav)
of
1G1RD (leather seats with nav) as my Volt is equipped.

Hope this helps!

Francois
B2653

Looks like I mis-remembered what I had read; B/D is heated seats, it's leather.
 

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I'm looking to purchase a Volt in the next month or so, and have a few questions about running one for a long distance commute.

My office is about 72 miles away from my house. I start my commute with ~6.5 miles of town/small highway driving, and then get on the interstate for ~49 miles of rolling hills with speed limit of 70 mph. After that, I get off the interstate and have about 17 miles of mid-level highway (40-50 mph) plus some town driving again.

I'm a long time hypermiler and ecomodder and my 2006 Saab 9-5 is netting me around 29.5 MPG as a year-round average. It currently takes premium fuel, so there's no difference between it and the Volt.

I'll be able to charge at work, but most likely only 120V.

Questions:
  • Will I see 40+ MPG on the highway at 68-72 MPH?

    Depends on the temperature and tire inflation
  • Is spending the extra to get a 2013 with 'Hold Mode' better than just running in Mountain Mode on a 2012?
    In your case I figure an extra grand for a 2013 is well worth having hold, if you are truly a hypermiler, having the ability to enter and exit engine mode makes a big difference in technique
  • How much range drop would I see with a Pennsylvania winter if the car is kept in an unheated garage but charged/preheated?
    35-40 unless you use my and Ari C's "burping" method to preheat the battery
    (aka turn on the car 15m-1hr early idling plugged in, climate off) I can hit over 50 miles most of the Wisconsin winter using that method coupled with slow speeds

  • Would I routinely be able to get better than the 35-38 miles AER?
    If you are a true hypermiler, yes, but if you are unwilling to alter speed and behavior, likely no

  • Is MyLink on the 2013's worth it if I'm primarily a music streamer?
    I have never used any onboard music system on a car
  • Are the perforated leather seats on the 2012's significantly cooler than the standard leather on the 2013's?
    No idea,but I'm not really a fan of black leather in the summer
  • Am I more likely to find a 'moddable' EVSE (to make it work w/120V or 240V) on a 2012 or 2013?
2013 is most likely moddable, 2012's should be brought in for a recall

I've read through many of the threads here (notably the 2012 Premium vs 2013 Base thread), and I'm still kind of unsure which way I should lean. I don't care about navigation or backup camera, but I would like to keep heated seats and parking sensors. I think that limits me to VINs starting with 1G1RB (base w/heated) or 1G1RD (Premium w/heated)?:confused:


Thanks in advance for your advice and comments!
2013 all the way, the other stuff is likely not very important
 

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To provide another datum point: I made a 8500 mile road trip last September in my new 2014 (bought in June 2015 from a dealer). With all kinds of driving, but keeping my speed at the posted limit or 65 mph, which ever was lower, I managed 41.5 mpg for the trip. I never plugged in during the trip. The seat design of the Gen1 is perfect, providing great support and never causing pain from long hours of sitting, something that should be considered for a DD with a long commute. Unless you don't mind twisting your body to look out the rear window when backing up, consider getting the backup camera.
 

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Ditto baker. Also, the a/c is sufficient with 1 or 2 in the car to keep the leather seats from becoming uncomfortable. (IMHO) Hold is more flexible than mountain mode. Get it.
 

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You will easily get 40MPG annual average provided you are driving without too many starts/stops/cooldowns of the engine.

I would optimize your trip as follows:

My office is about 72 miles away from my house.
Start driving with full battery and drive this next bit:
I start my commute with ~6.5 miles of town/small highway driving,
Start hold mode now
and then get on the interstate for ~49 miles of rolling hills with speed limit of 70 mph.
drop back to normal (EV) mode now.
After that, I get off the interstate and have about 17 miles of mid-level highway (40-50 mph) plus some town driving again.
Assuming you cannot charge at work, the above pattern should easily net you 40+ year round (the engine warms up quickly when used for freeway and will stay warm/efficient the whole time vs starting and stopping and cooling off in winter)

If you can charge at work, similar story, but your goal is to trim the middle hold portion to end up with 0 battery when you arrive at work, so you can charge and maximize EV use and fuel economy. You might drop out several (15-20) miles before hitting the slower town portion, for example.
 

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My office is about 72 miles away from my house. I start my commute with ~6.5 miles of town/small highway driving, and then get on the interstate for ~49 miles of rolling hills with speed limit of 70 mph. After that, I get off the interstate and have about 17 miles of mid-level highway (40-50 mph) plus some town driving again...
Drive electric until you've been on the interstate for 10-15 miles. Switch to either MM or Hold mode until you get off the interstate. Then switch back to Normal. Even at 120v, if you can use the 12 amp setting you should be mostly charged for the return trip. Similar scenario for the return trip. Goal is to arrive at work/home with almost zero battery left - using gas for the highest speed portion of the trip. You would use about a gallon or so of gas/day.

Heated seats are a must have to help mitigate the need for cabin heating in the winter. You can also take advantage of pre-heating the car before you go to work - while it is still plugged in to 'shore power'.

Backup cam and parking sensors are really handy.
 

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All things equal, get one with hold, and get 240v power at home to charge.

First, heating the car eats battery FAST. With 240v charging, you can preheat the car and it will recharge the used battery capacity very quickly (before the car cools off).
Second, with Hold in cold temps, you can run the first few miles on the engine and use the waste heat to warm get the interior nice and toasty, then switch to electric until you get to the interstate. In really cold temps, run gas all the way to the interstate.
Since you're going to burn gas no matter what, no sense using battery to warm, then wasting heat later when the engine starts up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone for your input! I do plan on making 240V available at home as soon as I reasonably can. It looks like I'll be in good shape with one, and might even come out better than I thought I would!

Anyone have experience with the perforated leather of the '12s versus the standard leather of the '13s?
 

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For what it's worth, I just (today) purchased a used '13 Volt for a ~120 mile round trip commute that sounds somewhat similar to yours (about half 2-lane country road and half interstate). Looking forward to seeing what this car can do, first trip is tomorrow morning!

I'm coming from a VW TDI that I will be selling back to Volkswagen ASAP.
 

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Nice. The first year I had my '13 I had a 66 mile commute to downtown Vancouver. I live 60 seconds off the freeway so I'd put it in Hold mode right away, drive about 25 miles on gas and the rest of the trip on electricity. Charge at work and let the car do it's own thing for the trip home (electricity > gas) As I recall I was averaging about 94 MPG round trip.
 

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I drive, twice per week, 105 miles each way to work. It's all highway miles.
I have a 2013.
I never look at my mpg cause I just love the damn car anyway no matter the mpg.

Best damn car ever made.
 
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