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  1. #1
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    Default PROPULSION POWER REDUCED message

    I am the original owner of a 2012 Volt. It has 104,000 miles on it. Twice in the past month I have received the following message: "Propulsion Power Reduced". In both instances, my battery had been depleted and had been running on gas. I turned the car off and after turning the car back on and driving a short distance I got this message. Both times temperatures were sub freezing perhaps even close to 0 F (I can't exactly recall). Even though I accelerated slowly and was driving in town and at slow speeds, the gas generator was racing very fast. When I arrived home (about 1 mile drive), I could smell that "hot engine" smell.

    Could it be that the car is overusing the battery and when I start it back up the generator needs to recharge to the minimum battery level? Or perhaps the cold reduced the battery capacity readings as it sat and needed to recharge up to the minimum? Hopefully I'm not looking at a major problem here?

    Has anyone else had this issue or can anyone explain why this might be happening?

  2. #2
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    Just one theory here (there's many other possibilities)...

    When very cold and battery depleted, you stop somewhere with no usable charge left in the battery. Battery voltages tend to droop with cold temperature. The battery may be cooling off while sitting, causing the battery voltage drooping a bit before you turn the car back on. When you do turn it back on, the car thinks the voltage is too low, so you receive the message as described and the engine revs up high to charge the battery a bit.

    I would wait and see what happens, but it wouldn't surprise me if this is what's occurring.

    Do you charge your battery to full often? If not, try doing that as well. It will make sure the cells are properly balanced. When I had a section of the battery replaced due to a bad temperature sensor, I had the PPR message and high engine revving once when switching over to gas after the battery was depleted. Seemed to be a one off occurrence due to cell balancing and a new section of the pack. Once I charged it back up to full the message never occurred again.
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  3. #3
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    This is a normal condition when the drive motor battery is below threshold and the engine is used to bring the charge back up. has seen this with one of our salesman's car.

    The vehicle does NOT need to be taken to a dealer unless the Propulsion Power Reduced message is accompanied by a Malfunction Indicator Light (Check Engine Light).
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  5. #4
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    Did the car sit un-plugged for a period of time when the message came up.

    Reason I ask is if the battery gets very cold the Volt can start in a type of deep cold battery mode. It will run off the gas engine as much as possible to minimize battery use till the battery warms up sometimes bringing up propulsion power reduced.
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  6. #5
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    Feb 2012
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    The car was not plugged in at the time. (I was shopping for about 15 minutes.) I always plugin and fully charge the car at night. I wasn't driving it any differently and was in similar weather as the previous 4 years I've owned it. Perhaps with the mileage, these quirks may start to occur. I suspected it may have to do with voltages dropping as it sat in the cold. Hopefully that is the case. Thanks for the quick feedback!

  7. #6
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    Some of us believe the Volt is more EV than Hybrid. The gas motor can only produce 84HP, but the battery can supply 149HP.

    Because of that, if the battery cannot be used to make up the 65HP difference, it shows the Propulsion Reduced message.

    Does the 2012 have Mountain Mode? If so, try that.

    It's funny that ICE cars don't show this message at high altitudes on hot days, when they lose up to 1/3 of their rated HP.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by amhobbs View Post
    I am the original owner of a 2012 Volt. It has 104,000 miles on it. Twice in the past month I have received the following message: "Propulsion Power Reduced". In both instances, my battery had been depleted and had been running on gas. I turned the car off and after turning the car back on and driving a short distance I got this message. Both times temperatures were sub freezing perhaps even close to 0 F (I can't exactly recall). Even though I accelerated slowly and was driving in town and at slow speeds, the gas generator was racing very fast. When I arrived home (about 1 mile drive), I could smell that "hot engine" smell.

    Could it be that the car is overusing the battery and when I start it back up the generator needs to recharge to the minimum battery level? Or perhaps the cold reduced the battery capacity readings as it sat and needed to recharge up to the minimum? Hopefully I'm not looking at a major problem here?

    Has anyone else had this issue or can anyone explain why this might be happening?
    We can see how this might be concerning, mhobbs. We recognize that you may be seeking advice from other drivers, however we'd like the opportunity to look into this further on our end as well. If you could please send us a private message with your contact information, VIN and preferred dealership, we'll proceed from there.

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  9. #8
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    A "racing engine" is simply the gas engine is trying to generate more electricity to fill the battery. Normal. It has nothing to do with car speed.
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  10. #9
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    Every time I leave my '12 Volt sit outside for extended periods in subzero temps, I see "reduced propulsion". It's from a cold battery.

    IF you see it after unplugging, or above zero temps, then you need to worry.

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