Have you ever wondered what happens when you run out of petrol?
I did a little experiment and ran out to satisfy my curiosity.
I left SC about 9:30~ 9:45 AM Saturday morning and with a quick turn around I got back from my trip to NY Thursday night.
It was an interesting trip and since I type slowly Iíll just mostly discuss the running out of petrol till I have the time to provide all the details of the trip.
I got stuck on I-81 in Virginia due the entire road being closed because an overturned truck spilled hazardous chemicals and I sat for over 4 hours until I was able to move 2 miles to the exit, having the ability to switch from M/M to normal battery probably saved me from running out of fuel.
Here is a helpful tip, on a long trip travel in M/M and if you ever get caught in traffic and are low on fuel you can switch to normal and run on batteries without and risk of running out of fuel.
The following numbers are not accurate so I just threw them in to give an approximation.
I eventually got to the exit ramp and filled the tank. I filled the tank and the combined petrol range combined with the battery range was about 330 miles, and the distance from home on both the Volt NAV system and the Garmin NAV indicated I was about 350 miles from home. I decided to let the car run out of fuel and record what happens. After an hour or so I noticed that the range predicted by the Volt and Garmin eventually equaled the distance to home and then exceeded it. Instead of running out of fuel before I arrived home I arrived home without the need to stop for petrol so my plan to see how far I would travel from the low fuel warning to empty didnít work out.
One thing I did learn was when the fuel warning comes on the color of the last bar changes to yellow and the bar eventually disappears but the engine continues to run for a long time.
I got home and plugged in without running out of fuel so I never found out how far you can go before the fuel runs out.
I took the car out today with full charge and with and outside temp of 70 degrees the estimated predicted range was 37 miles but judging from the distance traveled before I switched to M/M I was probably getting about 42 miles.
With 4 remaining bars I switched to M/M to insure I would have enough battery range when the tank ran dry. I almost made it home without running out of fuel when the ICE shut down and a message was displayed that M/M was no longer available and the fuel level display switched from fuel to battery level. I had about 14~15 miles battery range and drove about 2 miles to the nearest Shell station (I have been using Shell exclusively because they are tier one dealer).
The 9.3 gallon tank took 9.7526 gallons of fuel and could have taken more but I stopped it at an even dollar amount of $35 (I am guessing you can squeeze 10 gallons into the tank) . Incidentally when I was worried about being low on fuel in Buchanan VA the car took 8.781 gallons of fuel when means I still had almost 1 gallon of petrol remaining plus about 13 miles battery range.
One thing the I didnít expect when I restarted the car after I filled up the tank was the ICE started in normal mode so even though there was about 12 miles range remaining on the battery the ICE kicked in as soon as I hit the start button. It will be a long time before I burn enough fuel to try tis again because I owned this car for about 9 or 10 weeks before I drove it to NY and I topped off before I left SC and the tank took less than 1.5 gallons to fill.
The first few weeks of ownership I was getting over 1,000 MPG then I used the ICE on a few short trips and dropped to the mid 400s. After this 1900 trip to NY with only 2 opportunities to charge the car I am now a bit less than 70 MPG lifetime but heck 70 MPG ainít too shabby.
I am glad that I made this long trip in my Volt but there are many good reasons why my fuel guzzling truck will be a better choice next time.
One big problem I had when I got to NY was finding a place to sleep, I called over a dozen motels and all of them refused to allow my dogs. I was tired cold and hungry and desperate, when I found a place that wanted $150 per night plus $100 for the dogs ( donít recall if it was $100 for each dog or not but I made one more phone call before committing myself to $250 to $350 for one night and I wound up in in a very nice La Quinta motel that was much less than the other place. Iíll have to check my discover card receipts but I think La Quinta was $129 with no extra charge for my dogs (I love NY as long as I am 800 miles south of it). I f I remember correctly in VA, NJ and PA I paid about $40 to $50 per night and $10 to $15 extra for the dogs (I think NJ was a bit more).