I bought my Volt a little over a week ago, and I love it to death. It's a slick little car with a ton of fun features and capabilities that makes my ADHD tremble with excitement. I rent a house that I'm hoping to buy soon (this car note should help improve my credit score and reduce my interest rate), and I got permission from the current owner of the house to install a charging station in the back yard and pour a parking pad while I'm still renting, so win!
I did some digging around in the forums and got partial answers to my initial questions, but some of my questions are too loosely formed to get good search terms out of them, so I beg your forgiveness if these questions have all been repeatedly answered at length elsewhere. Mea Culpa.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Which leads to my questions:
Should I expect the estimate to be this low under these conditions?
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)?
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.
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)
My battery range seems to be about 25 miles, but I've yet to get her fully charged up because I don't have my home plug yet and I'm nervous about breaking loitering laws or being a plug hog at my local establishments, so 65% is as far as I've gotten, and that was a 15 or 17 mile range, IIRC.
Thank you for your kindness and tolerance of my noobness, or perhaps rather for your factually correct and not necessarily kind responses to set me straight. Whatever is warranted.