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Volt Buying Advice

3098 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  jard1s
Hi Everyone,

I am considering buying a model year 2013 Volt and have looked at several cars, but I'm having a hard time deciding if I should take the Volt plunge and I'm hoping advice from this forum can help me out. If this is not the best forum to place my questions, I appreciate any suggestions pointing me to appropriate forum. Here are my questions/concerns:

1. One thing I've been trying to figure out but cannot find any specific information about is whether winter temperatures affect the gas driving range in any significant fashion. I know there is a lot of talk about how cold weather decreases the battery range, but I occasionally travel for work up to 340 miles round trip, so exceeding the battery range is going to be a given. So my question is, should I expect a decrease in the ICE range in colder temps? If so, by how much?

2. Though I am in the market for a car now, I happen to live in a condo building and I do not have a dedicated parking space or access to an electrical outlet into which I could plug the Volt on a daily basis. I hope to move to a house in approximately 9 months and before the Winter of 2017-18, but the Volt will be parked on the street for possibly one winter and possibly two winters (if my planned move doesn't pan out). I do not drive to work on a daily basis, so I would only be able to charge the battery when I occasionally travel for work and park at a public charging station (approximately 2 to 5 times a month). I know that I will not get the best mileage possible or even as good of mileage as a Prius, but that is not my primary concern. Rather, I've read about how the Volt needs to condition the battery, which occurs even when the car is not running, and to do that requires electrical energy. That is not a problem if the Volt is plugged in, but I am concerned about what happens if the battery is empty and the Volt is not plugged in. Though I've read in some forums that the Volt need never be plugged in, I'm not sure that's the best course of action is a fairly hostile (Midwest) climate. And though I know about battery conditioning, there may be other systems the Volt needs power for while the car is not running for maintenance. Though this is kind of long winded, I guess my concern boils down to this: Is it a bad idea to buy a Volt when I have to park it on the street, throughout one and possibly two winters (and hot summers), without access to an electrical outlet? Am I just being foolish for thinking I can own a Volt in my current situation, and I should just settle for a (yawn) Prius? ;)

I am excited about the thought of buying a Volt and joining a community of informed and passionate owners, but I'm not confident the Volt is the right car for me at this time and that I should turn my attention to more traditional hybrids. Thank you so much in advance for any input you may have.
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I think the winter mix fuel has more of an effect on the milesge than the cold temps. When the engine gets up to running temps the mileage should be about the same.

As for parking it outside, you didn't mention where you lived in the Midwest. In Minnesota during snowageddon 1 or 2 you might have a cold soaked battery if you park it for 36 hours in way below freezing temps. Those are times when you need it plugged in the keep the battery flowing.
Thanks, I live in Chicago where the temps can remain below freezing for a long time, though I live in the city where the temps are a few degrees higher than the surrounding country. I will try to research what it takes for the Volt's battery to become cold soaked and if keeping the battery regularly charged can help prevent this.
Below freezing isn't a problem. Below zero may be. Plugging in certainly helps as the car can warm its own battery overnight. Only if you leave in it -14 degree weather for a few days will this become a problem. And on those days, you shouldn't be out and about anyway.

The very first time my volt started the ICE because the battery was too cold in snowageddon 1, it surprised me. But the car ran and wouldn't dip into the battery until the battery got warm enough to safely discharge. So in that mode, you might be limited in speed since the car will limit you tomwhat it can generate in electricity from the genset. I wouldn't worry about ruining the car. It's well designed. The only reason i' avoid the volt in your situation is if you end up staying in an apartment for 5 years or so where you end up never plugging in. You will miss out on the benefit of having a volt.
Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. Based on what I've read here and after visiting a Chevy dealer today, it seems like I'll be okay as long as the car is used regularly and I keep the battery somewhat charged throughout the winter. This may mean relying more on the ICE while driving, but I don't mind that as much as the Volt will get better city mileage than the car it is replacing (and I think will still offer cost savings even with the premium fuel cost difference).

Thank you also to those who reminded me that all cars have a dip in MPGs in the winter for various reasons. To be more specific, will the range on the ICE decrease to less than 300 miles in the winter? In my current car I can see a drop of 10-15 miles on a tank of gas. Does anyone have a ballpark estimate based on their experience? Or aware of a data set with that info?
My g1 gets 35-43 miles of EV range on my commute. It drops to 24-32 in the winter in central IL. Fuel range drops too, but I don't really measure it much. The only metric I keep mental tabs on is in the summer my commute nets me about 75-100 mpg but I the winter it turns to 50-60 mpg. This was 50 miles round trip with no charging at work. But now my round trip commute is 65 miles so everything will change this winter.
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