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When out o charge does gas engine drive wheels or charge battery which drives wheels?

9496 Views 28 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  hellsop
I see conflicting answers on this question. Some say that when you run out of battery (and driving in normal mode), the gas engine charges the battery, which drives the wheels. Others say the gas engine drives the wheels directly without charging the battery.

Does anyone know for sure?

This is important because if it's the latter, the battery is basically untouched (and thus will have longer life) when in gasoline engine mode.
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What saghoqst said is exactly correct, and thanks for clarifying the ICE connects to the wheels as low as 35 mph, instead of 70 that many people say.

I also want to emphasize to the original poster that the traction battery is ALWAYS online when driving, even when the ICE is running. With the nature of how the volt operates, the ICE is never generating the exact amount of energy that the vehicle demands. Thus there is always some energy going into or leaving the battery, even in extended range mode. This is the beauty of how the Volt operates, or any PHEV vehicle. It doesn't make since that all cars and trucks don't work this way. In time, they will....or be fully BEV.

It sounds like the OP is considering buying a used Volt that was never plugged in, or already bought it. This was VERY common around 2014-2015 when TONS of volts were entering the used market from G.E. workers. They were never plugged in, ALL OF THEM! or maybe one out of 1000 were ever charged.

Anyhow, for a Volt that was never plugged in, the battery would still have seen charge-discharge cycles, but less vigorous cycling than a Volt that was plugged in daily. However for a Volt is charged every day, because the battery is so pampered by the TMS and BMS, many (including me) expect for the Volt's battery to be good for 15 years or over 200,000 miles. Many early Volt owners have over 100,000 miles on their 6+ year old Volts with absolutely zero (noticeable) battery degradation. Weather the BMS is "hiding" battery deg or not by adjusting the charging window is a hotly debating subject. I'm a little flip-flop with my own beliefs. I used to be a strong anti-window adjusting believer, mostly from an early interview with Andrew Farrow. However I'm starting to believe that my 2011 Volt with 110,000 miles is indeed adjusting it's charging window based on recent driving behavior. But that's beside the point and I am rambling.

Just buy the Volt, or drive it! it's a wonderful automobile.

-Eric in Georgia (used to be Texas) 2011 Volt #1819
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