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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I am interested in purchasing a used volt, but I currently go to college in Grand Forks, North Dakota where the temperature is routinely below 0F. I read somewhere that the Volt battery electrolyte will freeze at -13F. Is this true? I found some videos and information online about the volt starting in at -47F, however all the videos I have seen of cold starting has been with the car plugged in, and I was wondering if the Volt will still start and run at cold temperatures without being plugged. For the next 3 months, I will be unable to plug in as the parking lot for freshmen students in the mandatory dorms does not have outlets, but at home this summer and our house next year I will be able to charge. Would it help to put the Volt into Mountain mode to hold a higher state of charge and possibly have more voltage/power to crank the engine in colder temperatures? Also, how quickly does the Volt warm the cabin after being remote preconditioned (I.E. at extreme cold temperatures how many times should I use the remote to start the car to achieve a comfortable temperature?). Thanks for the advice!!
 

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It will start and run at -20 F not plugged in, the battery is well insulated. Multiple days never getting above -10 F (guessing) without driving could maybe be a problem, but I imagine it will be no worse than any other car. However, it will run in what some refer to as "deep cold ERDTT" (deep cold engine running due to temperature). It will basically act as a gas car on those days. The engine will match revs with accelerator pedal, regenerative braking won't work, and you will burn a fair amount of gas (much less than 20 mpg for short trips).
 

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Grand Forks can literally spend the entire month of Feb without getting above 0. Daily highs in the -teens.
If it is driven those days it should be fine (enough for battery to stay above freezing point of -17 or whatever it is). Looks like this year has maybe been warmer, maybe 3 weeks with the highs flirting 0 or less this season? Just glancing at weather history on Wunderground.com

I don't like the Volt driven as such, but it should do it. The car makes a lot more sense if you can plug in.
 

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If it is driven those days it should be fine (enough for battery to stay above freezing point of -17 or whatever it is). Looks like this year has maybe been warmer, maybe 3 weeks with the highs flirting 0 or less this season? Just glancing at weather history on Wunderground.com

I don't like the Volt driven as such, but it should do it. The car makes a lot more sense if you can plug in.
I don't think it's the right vehicle in this scenario
 

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There are thousands of Volt owners in Canada. The car is extremely robust in cold weather (no cranking starter or alternator)! Thinking any other car is more suited for cold weather, plugged in or not, is ridiculous! Every car suffers in MPG during the cold season. Just maintain your 12 volt battery and your just fine. I live in northern Colorado and drive mostly on gas during the winter. Extremely reliable! I highly recommend the Volt to anybody, anywhere! The car is amazing. Spring, summer and fall your getting 40 miles of electric driving for only 89 cents, plus 40 miles per gallon!... duh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your responses!! This advice has been enormously helpful. Another question I would have is what would be the battery cool down time? Say for example that the car has been plugged in and is warm, and then is driven for approximately 20 minutes, what would be the time for the battery to be cooled to a temperature where it will not be able to drive (at approximately -40F for worst case scenario?). Could the battery be heated by remote starting the car approximately every 4 hours? I don't anticipate having it sit in the cold that long unplugged, but just trying to think through all the situations! Thanks so much!!
 

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Yes... remote start is a great function that the Volt has. Treat a volt like any other car. There's nothing to worry about. The gas engine takes over automatically during the cold months, you'll use more gas...which is no big deal. In your area, you'll get roughly 15 to 20 miles on a full charge when its very cold. As long as your 12 volt battery is in good condition, the Volt will start every time and be more reliable then a crank start car in the deep cold!
 

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There are thousands of Volt owners in Canada. The car is extremely robust in cold weather (no cranking starter or alternator)! Thinking any other car is more suited for cold weather, plugged in or not, is ridiculous! Every car suffers in MPG during the cold season. Just maintain your 12 volt battery and your just fine. I live in northern Colorado and drive mostly on gas during the winter. Extremely reliable! I highly recommend the Volt to anybody, anywhere! The car is amazing. Spring, summer and fall your getting 40 miles of electric driving for only 89 cents, plus 40 miles per gallon!... duh!
except he can't charge it. so it becomes a cumbersome hybrid. Though, all lots in el forko grande usually have outlets, I'm certain the dorms did.

Grand Forks is also colder than most of Canada. We're talking an area that sees -20 routinely and -30 a few times a year. What do I know. Just a UND alum.
 

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With it that cold, the Volt will automatically run the gas engine 90% of the time anyways, in order to maintain battery temperature and cab temperature, you have virtually no control over it. So I really wouldn't even bother charging the car during those cold months. Run it as a gas car. My daughter owns a Volt and is in school as well. She has limited charging availability. She runs it as a gas car mostly...charging when she can. She loves the gas millage she gets. The gas engine/generator is robust. It has virtually no resistance against the engine bearings. Take care of it and you'll never have an issue with it. I recommend changing the oil at 50% oil life. Just my opinion.
 

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With it that cold, the Volt will automatically run the gas engine 90% of the time anyways, in order to maintain battery temperature and cab temperature, you have virtually no control over it. .
which is just one of many reasons there are better options.
I won't even get into the fact that the dealer in GFK probably doesn't have a volt tech.
 

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With the low wear issues on the gas engine/generator, and excellent battery and electric motor designs, I fully expect my Volt's to reach 300 thousand miles and more. understanding that parts will need to be replaced every now and then, and If there were an engine/generator issue, there are literally hundreds of low mile engines available out there for around $400.00. Proven fact that the main battery will never be an issue during that 300 thousand miles!
 

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which is just one of many reasons there are better options.
I won't even get into the fact that the dealer in GFK probably doesn't have a volt tech.
That is one draw back... I agree. Being reliant on a dealer for parts and labor does suck!
 

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Looking at the ChargePoint map of charging stations in Grand Forks, nothing exists. You should begin by approaching the university to learn whether electric vehicle charging stations are planned. I own a 2013 Volt in the Central Mountains of Colorado, where the growing season is 90 days of frost-free weather. I routinely need to commute in temperatures around -20 degrees. The problem is not trying to start the internal combustion engine. I carry a jumper cable battery power pack with me everywhere that I have never needed to start my Volt. The problem is more likely to be the lack of cabin heat. In below-zero temperatures, defrost can take ten minutes, nearly as long as my entire commute, and the interior of the car is never warm. I always wear a down jacket and keep a down sleeping bag, camp stove, and tent in my Volt. You should familiarize yourself with the starter battery connections in the Volt, hidden in the rear hatch area.
 

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You'd completely defeat the point of having a Volt because the engine would have to run all the time, and also the battery would self-heat itself as much as it could (ie go flat basically all the time) and it'd just waste heat from the battery pack into the cold.

Get a cheap gasser.
 

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Studying the Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center, the only electric charging stations in the Grand Forks area are owned by Nissan dealers: Nissan of Grand Forks and Gateway Nissan in Fargo. You do not live in a progressive renewable energy state, so charging infrastructure is non-existent. You should approach the university transportation and parking department to seek support for electric charging facilities. In Colorado, the state grant program has led to charging installations on many college campuses and shopping malls. I hike a half-mile every day to charge my Volt at a local parking lot.
 

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The responses suggesting that your Volt will not run on the electric charge pack in cold weather is false. In the coldest weather, I run the engine a few minutes on "Hold," then allow the Volt to continue on battery pack for the remainder of my commute. On a twenty-mile commute in below-zero weather, my Volt usually maintains at least 120 MPG by only briefly running the engine and burning about 0.1 gallons of fuel and around 8 KwH of electricity with snow-covered roads and winter tires providing drag on the vehicle.
 
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