Chevrolet Volt FAQ Page

Volt in Hawaii

Alphabetical by question type. *I am not responsible for any advice given here, use at your own risk.

Accesorizing

See Volt Accessories on it’s own page: here. Some accessories available: Volt trailer hitch  | Volt radiator Screen | Cargo area cover | LED Headlight upgrade kit | Cabin Filter (Volt does NOT come with one)

Buying

Charging

CHARGING USING THE SUPPLIED 110V CHARGER

How to change the charge level settings from 8 to 12 amps on 2013 and newer Volts: CHARGE AT YOUR OWN RISK!! You change it by going into the energy pages on your cars center dash screen. There’s a tab at the top for “charging.” To change the charge level for the supplied 110v charger, click “charge level” button and switch it from 8amp to 12amp. Note that the higher level places a greater load on the outlet and cable you use to plug in your car and that’s the reason the default is to 8amps, to try and encourage people to use the lower amp setting to stave off overheating, melting and other circuit interruptions. You’ll want to be very mindful of charging on the 8amp setting the first time to see if your outlet us causing problems even at the lower power level. If it warms up on the low power setting (8amps) AVOID using the 12amp level at all costs as your outlet will most likely overheat. If all is good on the 8amp setting after a few days of charging and checking, try the 12amp level and stay close for a couple hours, checking every 10 minutes or so to see if it overheats at all. If should NOT be hot to the touch. STOP immediately if it gets very warm (warmer than your body temp) to the touch regardless of the charge level. This is the reason 240v charging is best. The cabling and amps are much more appropriate for charging your Volt. One last note, if you need more than 1/2 a charge at night, you should avoid using the 12amp setting, and instead upgrade to a 240 charger. Prolonged use on the 12amp setting (overnight and frequent use) will increase the risk and damage of your outlet. If you can use 8amp setting most of the time, use the 110 charger, but upgrade to 240 if your needs are higher. 

Is there a way to make 12 my default? No, GM does not want owners to charge their car on 12amps regularly due to the increased risk and wear on the electrical system where you plug in your car.

COST TO CHARGE A 2015 CHEVY VOLT

If you need to charge your car fully from empty every night, a month of charging will consume over 360kwh of energy. The cost is dependent on your local electric rates, but generally at about $.10/kWh, you would see about a $35 increase in your bill over a given month. Most owners don’t use their whole charge, so for most owners the cost is less. You can offset your cars use by adding a solar PV system to the roof of your house. You would tell your contractor that you need to cover about 12kw of usage each day for your car. 

Starting

TOO COLD TO START

Driving

D vs L – This one is under heavy debate as some say D gives you better range and some say L gives better results. The facts are this: the absolute most efficient way to go down a level road is in N (neutral), but most of us wouldn’t and can’t drive (“hypermile”) our cars like this most of the time. The point I’m making is that D and L are NOT the most efficient, and that’s a fact. Some more facts, L is NOT a gear, so you can drive in L (it’s a mode that is programmed into the Volt drive computer) all day long. It’s also a fact that if you aren’t experienced in driving in L, you probably are driving the least efficient way possible. With training you can learn when and how to use L along with D and N and become more efficient at driving your Volt. Click here to read my full post on hyper-miling and using the gears available to you.

MOUNTAIN MODE – Mountain Mode is simple. This mode should be used before climbing steep mountains where your kw usage is more than your gas generator can produce. You may never need it if you never take a long trip or if you live in flatland areas like Texas, Kansas and Florida. If you plan to cross a mountain all you have to do is engage it 15 minutes before your serious climb to bring your battery state of charge from 0% to 40% and that BUFFER is what helps you go up the mountain at whatever speed you like. Otherwise, like I say above, you will be limited to whatever the generator can produce after you’ve exhausted the battery. Which for some means you’d be loping along at about 50mph… until you hit the summit and then it will rebuild the battery and get you back up to speed. Two other things to know about MM. You can achieve a higher mpg on a trip using MM, rather than regular or Hold Mode. Second thing, MM will only put a partial charge in your battery… Hold Mode can’t refill the battery but it can maintain a higher state of charge if that’s what you want. Example: engaging MM when your battery is at 100% means your car will run the battery DOWN to 40% then maintain that level. Engaging Hold Mode at 100% battery HOLDS that state of charge.. So if you engage HM with 1 battery bar (~10%) it will NOT keep enough buffer in there to get you over a big moutain, the way MM would.

There are two “work arounds” for seeing what your SOC is when you engage MM since your dash won’t show you your battery SOC if you engage MM after your battery is exhausted: 1 is the energy screen that shows the animation of the powerflow in the center console. It shows a grapic of the car with the green animation showing where power goes between battery, motor and wheels. It also shows a graphic of the battery with ACTUAL amount of bars you have, irregardless of what your dash display does or doesn’t show you. 2. Refresh your Onstar Remotelink iPhone/Android app while you’re driving, that will show you the EXACT state of charge at the time it reads it.

Gaming

Listening

BLUETOOTH CONNECTION ISSUES

Prepping

TIRE PRESSURE- It is a fairly common consensus in the Volt 1.0 community that GM messed up the psi rating for the tires and only adjusted from 35 to 38 from the 2011 to the 2012+ Volts. Many early Volt owners notice uneven wear at any psi below 40 and many Volt Owners have since reported good wear on tires inflated to between 42 and 45 (with the caveat that these upper ranges can have an adverse affect in winter/wet driving.) The practice of inflating tires to higher psi is a long held practice among the mpg maximizing enthusiasts so it didn’t take long for folks to begin testing and reporting back their findings. Many Volt owners have also noted that your front tires might do better if inflated a few psi more than your back tires since most of the weight sits on the front. Also note that at these higher psi’s you will get a range bump of about 10% if you go from 35 psi to about 45 psi. *I am not responsible for any advice given here, use at your own risk. 

TIRE SELECTION –  The Volt comes new with Goodyear “Low Rolling Resistance Tires” (LRR tires) See Tires below for some of the Best choices beyond the stock Goodyear’s. NOTE that regular non-LRR tires will decrease your range by about 5-15% depending on the tire. Winter tires also decrease your range as well.

Selling

Understanding (and deepening thereof)

 Upgrading/Replacing the Tires

Many Volt owners recommend going with another Low Rolling Resistance tires, sometimes called LRR tires, for short. Two of the hightest recommended tires are the: Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus Eco impact, and the Continental Pure Contact Eco Plus

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