Driving with a Partial Charge - 2011 Chevrolet Volt Long-Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Volt: Driving with a Partial Charge

August 02, 2011

Volt Partial Charge Front.jpg I moved recently and I was looking forward to seeing how our Chevrolet Volt would do on my new commute. But when I was ready to leave, the Volt was still charging. It was about an hour and a half away from a full charge or about 75 percent full. The battery indicator showed that I had about 26 miles of electric range available. My new commute is about 19 miles (it used to be six), and some of it is uphill. How far do you think I went before the gasoline engine kicked in?

Volt Partial Charge.jpg This photo makes it seem as though I set a new electric range record -- but I didn't. The display will not reset itself unless the battery has a full charge. To get the real electric-range number, I went to our logbook and subtracted the last electric range mileage (39.9) from the 67.5 mile readout. This gives us a total of 27.6 miles of range -- on a 75 percent charge. Not too bad. Some people would get that number on a full charge (*Cough* Mike Magrath *Cough*).

The stop-and-go traffic really helped out in my case. If I were traveling at normal highway speeds, the incline before the drop into the San Fernando Valley would have taken a sizeable chunk out of the range. But by moving at a slow speed and driving calmly, I kept the drain on the battery to a minimum. I also didn’t use the A/C until I was over the hill and when I did, I kept it on "Eco" mode. Later in the day, I ran a few errands and before I returned home, the gasoline engine kicked in on. I'll try my commute again with a full charge and see if I can make the round trip on electric power only.

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 8,902 miles

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