2013 Chevrolet Volt Specs Revealed. More Range, Hold Mode, And Slower Charging?

AUG 2 2012 BY JAY COLE 35

All The Latest On The 2013 Model Year Chevrolet Volt

In a brochure obtained by InsideEVs, and produced by GM, with the apparent intention of having it reviewed by their sales people to brush up on all the 2013 model year Volt changes and talking points, the General not only outlines the new features of the car, but as a special bonus, illustrates how these new features should be demonstrated and sold.

The 4 Drive Modes of the 2013 Volt

HOLD MODE: A feature that was first introduced in the Opel Ampera, and that is now standard on the 2013 Volt. This feature allows the driver to NOT use the on board lithium battery to propel the car, despite it still being charge capable. GM notes that hold mode will not charge the battery from the ICE, and that the car now has four driving modes: normal, sport, mountain and hold.

“…will hold EV range and drive in extended range mode until feature is disabled. Ideal use: Engage for those routes that begin with highway driving, allowing drivers to save the EV range for stop-and-go city traffic”

IMPROVED RANGE AND EFFICIENCY: As previously released information stated, the 2013 Volt now gets an EPA 38 miles of electric range and 98 MPGe. The brochure notes that this MPGe efficiency is obtained “…due to more efficient electric operation.” Extended range driving (non-electric) is now up to 344 miles, and total range is up to 380 miles.  (…and yes, I understand that 344 + 38 = 382, but who am I to correct GM on their math?)

Finally Consumers Can Charge Their Volts Slower

SLOWER DEFAULT CHARGING: This is the puzzler. GM has changed the default setting of the Level 1 charge on the Volt. Instead of a charge setting at 12 amps, enabling the car to fully recharge the pack in about 10 hours, GM has programmed the car to operate at 8 amps, meaning if you plug in your 2013 Volt without first going through a 4-step ‘dashboard dance’, your looking at a 16 hour wait to top up.

GM also notes this isn’t a one time, 4-step, control panel change if you want to consistantly charge the quick way, but rather the “charge level resets to 8 amps every time the vehicle is shifted out of Park.”

GM has had some issues with their 120v charge cords in the past, and is now touting a new, revised, foot longer, charge cord for 2013, but one has to wonder what prompted this new cautionary setting. Was their too many issues with GM’s L1 charging equipment, and this is a attempt to lessen the incident rate?  Or is this merely an attempt to stop customers from tripping overburdened/outdated services at places they are not familar with?

Regardless of the reason, we are confident that with an estimated 95% of all charging being done at the EV owner’s place of residence, most would prefer to have charging optimized at its highest level, or at least have the option to have that as a permanent default.

UPDATE:  At the request of GM (and because we are swell guys…and/or because we want to be invited to the first drive of the Cadillac ELR) we have removed the direct links to the source document.

Other New Features for the MY 2013 Chevrolet Volt:

  • Standard MyLink radio with Color Touch Radio
  • Available MyLink with Navigation (requires Bose)
  • SiriusXM Travel Link with 3-month trial subscription
  • Body color roof and rear liftgate back panel
  • Silver Topaz exterior color
  • Pebble Beige interior color
  • Available Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning included in Enhanced Safety Package 2
  • Rear-seat center console with storage and removable rear armrest. Included with leather-trimmed seats, accessory for cloth
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror is now included and only available in Enhanced Safety Package 1
  • Leather seating surfaces are no longer perforated
  • New 120V Cord Set
  • Charge Level Setting in center stack with 8- or 12-amp selections
  • Power Gauge graphic in DIC • Hold drive mode

New Packages:

Comfort Package (PCM)

  • Heated driver and front passenger seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Only available for cloth in Jet Black or Pebble Beige

Enhanced Safety Package 1 (V7X)

  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Rear Vision Camera

Enhanced Safety Package 2 (V7Y)

  • Front Park Assist
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Requires Enhanced Safety Package 1

Emissions Package (PCV)

  • Low Emissions Package
  • California and New York only

Categories: Charging, Chevrolet


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35 Comments on "2013 Chevrolet Volt Specs Revealed. More Range, Hold Mode, And Slower Charging?"

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Sounds like anyone who charges from the wall will have some surprise low charge moments in their new cars

Doesn’t the charger have the capability to regulate the charging amp?
So if the charger is set for 12 amp and the car defaults to 8 amp, who wins?


The charge cord communicates the highest current it can supply, the car ultimately chooses how much current to use up to that limit. The car will win.

This was a well-intended decision with, I am afraid, bad consequences from user perspective. Many would be grumpy. GM should consider changing this.

The “new features” section also states a “new 120v cord set.” Perhaps the new cord set does not have the button on the charger like the MY 2011-2012s had. Should be a 1 time setup, doing it every day will annoy people.

The car defaults to 8 amps, but you can select a 12 amp option.

Longer charge time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – way to go GM! Give the haters a legitimate reason to poison the Volt’s reputation and validity. Just when you thought GM had it’s stuff together, the Old GM resurfaces. There are many little ways the 2013 could have been improved, but no. GM chooses to make changes without a difference plus increase the default charge time. If you squint real hard and look toward Detroit, you can see 1980.

Exactly.. Bad move GM. Now you’ll hear the pundits saying “The car takes 16 hours to charge and you can only drive it 38 miles on electricity!” They HAVE to change it and allow the user to set it at the faster rate and have the setting stick. The only reason I can see them doing this is because they are seeing battery degradation on the earlier volts and think it’s tied to the charging rate. Why else would they do this? Horrible decision.

The other reason they would do this, is as the article suggests. People tripping breakers at third party locations or melting antique outlets.

I don’t know that there’s a perfect solution here…

12 amps from a 15 amp circuit? Seems reasonable to me.

As long as nothing else is on the circuit. And thats the hard part. We have an unused 240 volt dedicated circuit for our dryer in the garage. It took me all of 2 hours to add some romex from the box to a new box and attach the charger to the wall. 100% up to Code. Charge time@ 8amps = 16 hours. 10 hours at 12 with a hot outlet. Now 4.5 hours @ 240. From 1215am to 445am. @ 12 cents Kvh.

I too have an hold 240 volt dedicated circuit for a dryer in the garage. What do you mean by “add some romex from the box to a new box and attach the charger to the wall.” Is this something I can do or should I have my electrician?

you are a troll

There must have been too many problems with plugging into outlets where you really don’t know what load capacity the circuit has. For customers who want the 12 amp option as the default setting, maybe GM can give the customer the choice of 8 or 12 amps for their default preference. I would like to be more assured about some of the bugs found in previous models; like the strut noise etc… I don’t expect perfection, but I don’t want a car with problems that GM has known about for some time either. Hopefully all the known bugs have been corrected with pride at the Plant.

[I]HOLD MODE: This feature allows the driver to NOT use the on board lithium battery to propel the car, despite it still being charge capable. GM notes that hold mode will not charge the battery from the ICE, and that the car now has four driving modes: normal, sport, mountain and hold.[/I]

So are you saying the gas engine and not the electric motor propels the car in Hold Mode??

It looks like that part of the article could be more clear. Hold mode is basically battery preserving mode. It will preserve the battery wherever it is. For instance, if you have only 5 miles left on battery, the current Mountain Mode will charge you up to about 14-15 miles IN ADDITION to providing electricity to the traction motor.

Hold mode will have the ICE only provide electricity to the traction motor, not additional charge on top of that. It sounds like a great feature.

I have a 2013 Volt. The Hold Driving Mode does not work, and GM does not know how to fix it.

Do not purchase this car. It has issues.

Slower charging @110v means more sales of 220v chargers.

Wow, longer to charge by default?? What was GM thinking? I been toying with the idea of buying a volt but seems the cord is a big hassle?

I think Clarksoncote is on to a possibility in that many Volts are charged on 110 outlets without respect to the amperage or quality of the wiring. Also another huge advantage of the hold mode is for winter heating. EVs will bring on a greater use of heated seats and preheating, but one good thing to be said about the old ICE is heat is a bi-product of its energy conversion. Batteries also give less distance in cold weather so this is a win-win. I have solar hot water, 100% solar PV for my home and an EV. Still, I have a gas lawn mower, truck, ATV, weed eater, etc. The Volt and other extend or long range EVs have an on board generator. This is just a logical step to take advantage of a tool that is there. I wish I had it on my 2012.

The title is misleading. The charge times are the same for the for the same charge rates and the available charge rates have remained the same as well. The difference is that the default 120v charge rate is 8A and it is selected at the car. Previously, the 120V charge rate defaulted to 12A and was selected at the EVSE (charge cord). GM has not said but this is undoubtably a risk management and/or customer satisfaction issue. There were too many issues with worn outlets, poor wiring, and shared circuits that are beyond GM’s ability to control or the EVSE ability to evaluate.

Note, 240V charging is unchanged. From a current Volt owners perpective it will be a nuisance for 2013 owners to set the rate to 12A every time they desire it and many of those that do not opt for a 240V solution will likely be frustrated by this. I do not think GM will or even should change the general default, but they should allow for location defaults (e.g. home location can be set to default to 12A) with the appropriate warning on setup that the circuit needs to be proper.

I can not imagine not haveing a 240V level 2 charger if you own an EV of any kind. I can understand the concern about level 1 because it is likely to be used at locations with unknown capacity.

I live in a condo and I am fighting to get a plug, anywhere, so I can plug in a Volt. Until I get the plug, I can’t get the Volt. I would love to have a 120V plug because it is better than nothing.
Also, paying an electrician to install a 240V plug isn’t chump change.

GM believes owners will have a better experience with a 240V EVSE, the 120V trickle charger is just that.

…not sure why your comments have been getting caught in moderation Herm. I think I’ve got it worked out now. Sorry about that.

I’ve had no issues charging on 110 volts at my residence. If I were charging at an “old house” I’d be checking the circuit breaker before plugging it in. And if Faux News starts slamming the Volt again, I’m sending them a link to my Flickr account showing I can typically charge my Volt in 3 hours on my SPX Xpress 240 volt charger, after a 48 mile trip, using not a drop of gasoline.

My second charging location where the 240 SPX Xpress is located, is inside a metal carport I built. The inside temps were in excess of 120 degrees today. I probably need to contact my Volt adviser to ensure they tested the devil out of the Volt in somewhere like Death Valley in the summer… I probably need to contact SPX too. I need to get a temperature reading of the SPX charger and see how warm it is getting. We will get even hotter here in a week or two.

My guess is they’ll change this default charge setting…. after the first negative headline…


…suspecting that the lower charge rate (8amps) would be to help extend the battery life cycle. GM may not be sayin, but maybe they’ve found that the batteries are becoming a bit stressed with the higher charge rates and they fear the battery life cycle TBR (time before replacement) may not be quite what they hoped. The last thing they want to hear is battery packs being replaced too quickly… or worse …battery packs and cells having to be replaced during the warranty period.

12amps normally shouldn’t trip a dedicated 15amp circuit breaker, but putting anything else on that circuit likely would…charging at a lower rate, 8amps would allow for other electric appliances to use of that circuit while the volt is charging.

The volt is a fantastic car … I have heard a lot of negatives from people that take the car for a couple days and give a detailed opinion … You can’t take the volt for a couple of days and understand anything about the technology … I feel like one of the lucky ones to have experienced the volt … I am not an environmentalist or have any belief in global warming … My investment in the volt was purely from an investment platform … I have seen nearly 0 returns on investments since 2008 and the volt has changed that … Here in Indianapolis we have reasonable electric rates right now and we live just outside of Indy and haven’t the traffic jams and such … I am pleased to see improvement and will be keeping tabs on the volt for future upgrades , because I am sold on the volt and will continue to buy them as they progress ..


Question to this community…is it possible that another reason for this change in charging amperage is also to further reduce risk of those alleged garage fires involving EV’s? I’ve seen folks here commenting on melting outlets, breakers tripping and antiquated wires…I beleive a potential outcome of these variables could be fire, right? I do not envy GM in trying to engineer to the lowest possible denomonator here. Love the car and thoroughly enjoy this resource.

Maybe GM realized the potential for problems when Volts are recharged in locations beyond their home base. Somebody high up must have had a nightmare of a short causing Aunt Millie’s house to burn down during her Thanksgiving dinner get together, and the lawsuit against GM that followed….

GM wants people to use their Lev II charging with their ONStar charging APPs. they are making Lev I less attractive to try and capture revenue from Lev II charging.

I don’t care about more range and charge time. 40 miles is plenty on battery. 30 is fine too.

I want Chevy to create a version that isn’t targeted at little people exclusively.

I went to buy a Volt, and my head hits the roof at all but a steep seat angle. So I said F*** it, and went to the other extreme and looked at a Vette. Vette is even worse.

I guess the targeted consumer is “short man syndrome” men…or Pygmies…

Matt you must be like 6′ 7″ or something. I’m in agreement with you though even im a foot shorter. I’d also like to see a Caddy EV Escalade or some other (Volt-like Big GM).

I guess we have to wait for battery prices to come down.. I’m waiting for an Escalade or Chevy Tahoe (something BIG) with 400 kwh battery and 1200 mile range.

No big deal. GM certainly has done dumber things than this. A 4 screen navigation at night to plug in the car will certainly become second nature. Since the LEAF is going in the opposite direction to match competitive pressure from the Ford Focus EV, (6200 watt charging or thereabouts), it won’t be long before GM changes its mind yet again. Dealing with GM is rather like dealing with a little kid. You eventually get your way but its just a bit of a nuisance initially.

The Hold Driving Mode does not work.

When I engage the Hold Mode, the electrical range will deplete to zero; even though, the engine is running, and the battery is grayed-out. The dealership does not know how to fix the issue.

This is a typical GM situation. The heck with the customer. This purchase was a mistake.