OakLeaf wrote:After driving our 2012 Leaf for the last 4 years, we're seriously considering a 2016/2017 Volt to take its place, but have a few questions about it in comparison to the Leaf. Hoping someone here that's familiar with both the Volt and Leaf might be able to answer them.
- Is there a program similar to Leafspy available for use with the Volt? I've really appreciated the systems insight it gives to the Leaf, and being a bit of a "data" geek, would like to continue the daily driving data collection.
- What happens if you don't put gas in an empty fuel tank? Would the Volt simply be limited to its EV range/modes, or would it eventually disallow all operation?
- When providing heat to the cabin, does the Volt pull energy from the battery first, or does it have a preference to run the ICE instead?
- I've seen how the "Hold" mode can be used to force the use of the ICE, but is there a similar mode that forces the exclusion of the ICE?
- There was a very strong "hot rubber" smell when the heater was used - is this normal? I'm guessing not, but would like to know if it will quickly go away if it is.
- In both the test drives we did, both Volts had no battery charge and we ran on ICE entirely, so I don't have a good feel for how it performs in EV only mode. Any thoughts on how the Leaf compares to the Volt in EV mode?
Leafspy equivalent program for Volt is called MyGreenVolt for Android. There is also a website that collects and displays OnStar data from about 5 percent of the Volt population called http://voltstats.net
. I believe a middling Onstar package comes with new, and you can get a basic Onstar package for free with used GM's for about three years that works for data collection. There really isn't noticeable battery degradation up to high numbers of miles, well over 100K, so there isn't an equivalent need to track battery health per se.
Volt has to have gas in the tank for normal operation. Goes into "reduced power mode" when out of gas, limiting the EV output to half, approximately 55kW.
Heat can be all electric, but there are settings to run the engine for heat assistance under 35 and 15 degrees F selectable. There are workarounds that will fool the outside temperature sensor to keep the engine off at even lower temperatures, although it's not really practical much below 0 degrees F.
No "Exclusion of ICE" mode, although the Volt in Normal/Sport modes will use the battery to depletion before starting the ICE under normal conditions excluding heat assistance noted above. There is a "Mountain Mode" that will run the ICE to charge the battery buffer over about 20 minutes or so. This is helpful for test drives as well, as you can set Mountain Mode to get some juice in the battery and then return to Normal to see how it works in all electric mode. It is much smoother running in Electric than Gas, and most only need to run their engine about 20 percent of the time or less. Volt and Leaf are similar in EV mode, and just by the seat of my pants, I'd say the Volt has a touch more torque at low speeds.
Hot rubber smell - somewhat normal if ICE hasn't run much. It is burning off coatings or any road grime that has collected on exhaust. It will go away fairly quickly with normal use, although if you can live with the limited EV range, you may rarely run the ICE. It has maintenance modes to keep moisture from oil that force ICE on after 42 days of inactivity or wants to burn off all fuel after a year of no new gas being added to eliminate any stale gas.
The folks over at GM Volt forum can probably provide more detail.
I'm equally happy with both cars, and they both have their place in my world. Pros and cons of each are well documented.
2013 SL with Premium package - build date 5/13. 12 bar car with 39,000 miles and counting...
2014 Volt - 45,000+ miles