New 2013 Volt owner with a few concerns
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Thread: New 2013 Volt owner with a few concerns

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NevynPA View Post
    This is making me reconsider cutting my search off at 2014 and newer, and making think a 2013 wouldn't be so bad...
    In general, I don't like buying a used car that is too old. Three years is usually my limit unless it is a vintage car of course. A three-year-old will usually have some factory warranty in place still and may have a CPO warranty if from a dealer.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NevynPA View Post
    This is making me reconsider cutting my search off at 2014 and newer, and making think a 2013 wouldn't be so bad...
    There's minor improvements all through the Gen 1 history, with each being (almost universally) slightly better than prior. That said, the 2013 is is a bigger change than most year to year ones. Hold Mode was (is?) a game changer. MyLink is a tremendous difference as well. Losing the 30 GB HDD in the dash doesn't seem to be a big difference, but frankly having it has rendered pretty much all other audio options moot for me. Tracks I like and want to hear are the ONLY things on it, and there's no hookup bother or fussing with it. It just works, and plays random music, which I like all of and nothing else.
    2012 Standard w/ Navigation

  3. #13
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    So let me get this straight:

    You're parked outside in cold weather.
    You're using regular gas..
    Your tires are underinflated.
    You're using Mountain Mode.
    You're accelerating and braking rapidly.

    Plus you're not getting full charges and that might mean more short trips on the engine.

    Yes, 26-28mpg is to be expected.

    - You're parked outside in cold weather: not much you can do about that.
    - You're using regular gas.
    Premium might improve things a bit
    - Your tires are underinflated.
    In a heavy car like the Volt, you really want to keep those tires up. Higher pressure reduces rolling resistance. I'd suggest 40PSI as a nice balance between ride, grip and tire stability. And that's 40PSI _cold_ in typical morning cold temperatures, so you'll normally be running in higher temperatures and thus with higher tire pressure.
    - You're using Mountain Mode.
    Hypermilers can game Mountain Mode to improve efficiency, but I'd suggest simply not using it unless you're going to be driving on a long trip with no charge somewhere very hilly.
    - You're accelerating and braking rapidly.
    Don't overthink it. You can drive naturally.
    But ... a couple of hypermiling hints:
    (1) Pay attention, thinking ahead and defensively
    (2) Leave a good buffer to the car in front where posssible
    When you do those two things, you will have time to act instead of having to react rapidly to others in the road.
    You'll reduce unnecessary braking, particularly hard braking, and that will reduce the amount of acceleration, as well as improving regen. Maintaining momentum is important for efficient driving, especially in a heavy car like the Volt.
    And with less braking, you get a smoother drive in your smooth-riding Volt.
    Last edited by ItsNotAboutTheMoney; 01-12-2017 at 12:20 PM.

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  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Churusaa View Post
    First, I was concerned with my fuel economy. It has been cold, but not wretchedly cold since I first got my Volt. About 10 to 30 degrees Farenheit.
    The top end of that is the worst for electric mileage (as the car will use a LOT of power for climate control) and the bottom end is pretty terrible for gas milage (as "Engine Running Due To Temperature" in slow city traffic can turn your hybrid milage into "city milage with a Dodge Charger" really quickly, due to running the engine rapidly at stoplights when it doesn't normally).

    I tend to keep my climate control on Eco and keep my preconditioning to 2-3 minutes, tops, and my temp at a nice comfortable 72F. My commute is just shy of 30 miles round-trip with 24 of those miles being freeway miles. It's a nearly perfect round-trip, though I can't plot it out anywhere like Google Maps because the southbound ramp I use to get back home was recently replaced and isn't on Google Maps yet, but it's basically Franklinton (Columbus, OH, USA) to Dublin (Columbus OH, USA) taking Interstate 70, then 270 for almost the entire trip going about 70 mph steady for the bulk of it.
    Eco is good. 2-3 minutes of preconditioning doesn't really do much for you on Eco, though. 10 minutes on Comfort will get the cabin temp up, but probably eat 10% of your range doing it, and with 120v charging (or worse, MM charging), that's a lot to recover. You'll get better economy slowing down on the freeway, especially since the bulk of your travel is there.

    Under these conditions, the onboard computer measures my fuel economy at 28-26 mpg (probably not entirely accurate, from what I understand), and I'm at least partially to blame for it based on the following things I learned while lurking:

    1. I have been using Mountain Mode to maintain the battery (an apparently dumb thing that I will probably stop doing, which bleeds into my next question.) The dealer owes me battery maintenance equipment as part of a contract they signed to get my money and autograph, so we're good on that front once they do their part and I can get my backyard charging station installed. I notice that I crawl back up to 28 mpg pretty quickly when I turn off mountain mode, so hopefully I'm safe to stop using it entirely.
    Entirely safe. Many Volts ran many years not being charged at all, and they're fine, and recover quickly once someone gives them some wall-time love. MM has the "feature" that it'll run the engine with very little consideration of economy to keep its larger buffer of power. If you're climbing mountains (ascending 5000 feet over 10 miles, for example), you need that. Climbing 200 feet over two miles, you don't. There's more than enough buffer at the "charge sustain" mode to account for that kind of thing, and plain old normal CS mode DOES try to be more economical.

    2. My tires are inflated to 38, 37, 37, and 34 PSI (I think it's a combination of a leaky TPS valve on the 34, and an inaccurate gauge on the air pump for the other two) The dealer owes me a compressor anyway. It was part of the deal, too.
    Up it. 38's a bare MINIMUM for the normal Goodyear tires that come with the thing. The cautious Volt owner runs about 42. The daring about 50 (cold sidewall max). Especially in winter, when you're more likely to be fussing around with tire pressure when it's comparatively warm as opposed to cool, tire PSI changes about 1 PSI per 10 F. On a nice warm day, you may want to inflate to 45, because when the temp drops to 0F, those tires will be 41-42 instead.

    3. The oil looks a bit darker than I'd like (I didn't press the dealer when they claimed to have changed it the week before I looked at it, I just wanted my Volt as soon as possible)
    There's no reason to think they haven't. The oil-life meter's pretty good. When that tells you to change the oil, get the oil changed. If you go two years without getting there, change it anyway. Use the right stuff. Also, call the Volt Advisors at (877)486-5846 during business hours to find Volt-certified service. You MAY get slightly fewer inappropriate reminders for stuff you're not going to need to do because it's a Volt.

    4. I'm not used to driving a hybrid yet, so I don't get everything I could get out of regenerative braking (I haven't found the sweet spot yet that keeps the ball in the center and keeps me out of the middle of the intersection), and I have caught myself accelerating a bit too hard, though I'm used to driving a gigantic early 90's era van, so I'm not in the habit of driving aggressively anyway, making this an unlikely cause for the majority of my economy losses.
    Some, but not as much as the Mountain Mode accounts for. Everybody rabbits away from intersections now and then (except maybe Ari) because it's POSSIBLE. But don't worry too much about it. Just do lots of coasting, plan ahead, and you'll get 90% of the efficiency that the hypermilers can, without the work.

    5. I don't put premium in the car's fuel tank. Is this recommended? I didn't get a manual with the car, but I saw a few others saying they use 87 octane and still get 30-40+ mpg year 'round.
    Probably less important when you're not having a chance to charge daily, but soon enough you'll be using little enough fuel that following the manual's requirements won't be a financial drain. The extra three bucks a tank doesn't feel bad when it's a thousand miles between them and two months, instead of 200 and a week. (Similarly, the manual also has rigorous specifications for engine oil and coolant, and those ARE IMPORTANT. Chevrolet.com has the manuals in PDF form for each year. Go get.)

    6. I haven't measured my economy directly yet. (Top up, do a regular round trip, log the miles, top up again and measure the fuel added, divide, conquer.) I am aware that this makes me a bad person, and I intend to atone as soon as I can afford to do a round trip just for the joy of it.
    Eh. I don't care that much. It's engineered to be so much of an improvement over everything I've driven before (even gets better economy than the Metro) that it's not worth tracking that closely. Push the leaf button. Do the numbers look reasonable for what I just drove? We're good then.

    Which leads to my questions:

    Should I expect the estimate to be this low under these conditions?
    For what you're DOING, yeah, it's about right. Airing up those tires and just letting the car use CS mode when it runs out of juice, and slowing down from 70 MPH to low 60s will get you low 30s MPH easily. If it were 75F, you'd be getting high 40s. for just the gas portion.

    Is the estimate probably about right from a spitball, rough calculus point of view?

    Should I continue to drive in Mountain Mode from time to time on account of the blistering weather to keep my battery from turning inside out and summoning demons (at least until I can start charging it every night)?
    Nope don't bother. CS (battery discharged) will take care of the battery properly for you as well. Getting the charger will help.

    I don't know when the firmware was last updated, but it does shut itself off after 10 minutes of preconditioning, so the firmware can't be all that old. I will be taking it in to a dealership soon to grab some of those fresh baked bits straight from the oven.
    Some stuff you'll just never run into needing. (And "the dealer" might not be enough -- need special Volt technicians which are at about one dealer in maybe five. Call the Advisors -- they have The List.)

    She's a base model 2013 with 60k miles, no nav, no backup camera, fabric seats, no seat heat. This Volt only has what Chevy naively sold as "bare-bones" (suckers)
    Similar -- But I needed a car right then (housefire ate pretty much everything in August of 2015), and when I bought Foxtrot, I hadn't known that Volts were even affordable after getting so disappointed in "Oh, I wanted one in design, but now it's a $40k hatchback" of 2011 after following the development for like three years. I ended up with Nav that I don't use because I've got Waze and the backup camera, which IS useful. Otherwise, the car follows Italian design:

    Franco: And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving. {Franco rips off his rear-view ... throws it out of the car}.
    Franco: What's-a behind me is not important.
    2012 Standard w/ Navigation

  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellsop View Post
    There's minor improvements all through the Gen 1 history, with each being (almost universally) slightly better than prior. That said, the 2013 is is a bigger change than most year to year ones. Hold Mode was (is?) a game changer. MyLink is a tremendous difference as well. Losing the 30 GB HDD in the dash doesn't seem to be a big difference, but frankly having it has rendered pretty much all other audio options moot for me. Tracks I like and want to hear are the ONLY things on it, and there's no hookup bother or fussing with it. It just works, and plays random music, which I like all of and nothing else.
    I had a nicely typed reply, but in the interest of not hijacking the thread, I've made it a separate post.

    (http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread....r-long-commute)
    Last edited by NevynPA; 01-12-2017 at 12:53 PM.

  8. #16
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    Thank you, everyone, for your awesome replies!

    I have noticed a few things and tweaks that I'll definitely be implementing, and I was able to find the FAQ with the links to my manual in PDF form, so yay!

    1. Not using MM again until I do my next road trip to Tennessee or WV to visit family.

    2. I'll be driving in L for a week or two when I'm off the freeway so I can feel exactly where the hardest regen braking is before the friction brakes engage, and then go back to D all the time once I'm familiar enough with that deceleration rate to mimic it.
    (Does anyone know if Chevy ever released a firmware update that makes aggressive regen braking turn the brake lights on in L when the brake pedal isn't being used? I've been lightly riding the brake pedal for safety reasons when doing regen, and I can tell that the brake lights don't come on for me when only doing regen unless I rest my foot on the brake pedal.)

    3. I don't have any way to charge at home right now. Sadly, it's not the proximity to an outlet, but not having a way to prevent $400 in Battery Maintenance Equipment (the "charger") from being stolen by the local meth addicts and less honest scrap gatherers. Bad neighborhood, but still better than the last place... At least at first, I'll just have a 120+240v combo installed in a lockable shutoff box with some extra space inside for the charger and a hole cut in the bottom at an edge so I can feed the plug out the bottom. With all of that bolted to a post sunk in concrete, we should be relatively safe from thieves, and well-protected enough for my renters insurance to cover replacement if someone gets desperate.

    4. I'll be inflating up to 40-45 tonight at my local Get-Go (They have free air pumps with automatic digital meters in Columbus! Woot!) And I'll be able to start adjusting the TP more frequently to stay in the Goldilocks zone for temperature fluctuations when the dealer gets me my air compressor kit.

    The dealer had only had the car since the last week of December, and I bought it the first week of January. They said that the dirty-looking oil in the car had been changed a week ago, and when I pointed out that the oil life in the dash still said 75%, they said that their techs don't know how to reset the oil life on the Volt. It's not hard to do (took me 15 seconds to figure out), but they are a Toyota dealership, so I'll give them a skeptical pass. I can change my own oil and filter for $20, so literally who cares?

    I started a new trip on the trip computer A when I refilled the tank, and while it still says 27 MPG in the center console, I'm all the way back up to 31-32 mpg after just turning off MM without any charging since the last top-up (being able to fill up in 30 seconds is AWESOME.) I can't safely do 60 on a lot of these roads (the speed limit is 65-70 on the freeways I use, and a lot of people do 80+ regardless), but even a 5 m/h drop sounds like it would serve me well.

    ::: My small contribution to the combined knowledge on this site :::
    While adding a new key fob to the car using the usual instructions, I ran into some weird issues that caused me to get unnecessarily angry with an OnStar rep. (They can't help with ignition system stuff, apparently.)

    The steps:
    Place all your good key fobs in the cup holders.
    Use your new key to turn the driver door lock to the unlock position five times.
    Put the new keyfob into the slot under the rubber mat under the door on top of the dashboard key-end down.
    Press and hold the power button for two seconds.
    Press unlock on the new key fob to confirm it works.
    Press the power button again to exit pairing mode once you have rinsed/repeated enough to get all your fobs paired.

    My mistakes/misunderstandings/changes to procedure/lessons learned:
    ○ You can use your existing key to do the five unlock turns if your new fob isn't cut yet, but remember to have it inside the car while doing pairing operations with the new one(s).
    ○ It's probably best to pull up the mat under the flip-up door on the dash before you get started, because it's a true sobriety test to get it out, and you may get some scary-ish changes in the status readout (IE nothing displayed but it's secretly still fine and waiting)
    ○ If you can unlock the car with all your remotes, but it won't turn on the blue dash button light, just press and hold the Volt's power button until it responds (you'll know when you get it). It won't turn on, but it will let you know when you're finally out of programming mode.
    ○ The power button referred to in the instructions is the car's ignition button, not the radio power button. Either the instructions were unclear, or I didn't read the instructions carefully enough. (I'm guessing my reading is to blame.)

  9. #17
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    Update!

    I reached out to the CEO of my company about #SmartColumbus (an initiative in my town that started recently) and EVSE at work, and I got a very positive response! Essentially, the thrust of his response was that they're already looking into it, and even though they haven't moved ahead yet (due to there being so few of us with EVs) they're actively discussing it, and our CEO is pushing for further inquiry into the idea of getting some stations installed in the parking lot!
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  10. #18
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    Thanks for the tips about the keyfobs! I've got to buy one and figuring that out on my own would have been a nightmare.

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