This Chevy Volt Has 400,000 Miles On Odometer With No Noticeable Battery Degradation


400,000 Miles And Counting

A lone Chevy Volt has hit another mileage milestone of 400,000 miles driven. The owner reports no noticeable battery degradation to date.

Those familiar with this high-mileage Volt will know that it’s a 2012 model and that it’s been driven by General Motors employee Erick Belmer.

LEAF Battery Degradation – Nissan LEAF 30-kWh Battery Degrades More Rapidly Than 24-kWh Pack

This is likely the highest mileage Volt in the world and even though it’s driven on gas more often than electric, this Volt is still #1 in EV miles (at 141,795), according to Volt Stats data.


We’ve been tracking the progress of Belmer’s 2012 Volt for years now (since late 2013, to be exact), so here’s a look back at the major achievements:

Chevy Volt Owner Zips Past 120,000 Miles

2 Year Old Chevy Volt – 146,000 Miles and Counting

Exclusive: World’s First Chevy Volt To 200,000 Miles

World’s Highest Mileage Volt: 250,000-Mile 2012 Chevrolet Volt

World’s First 300,000-Mile Chevrolet Volt

Erick Belmer Becomes World’s First Chevrolet Volt Owner To Rack Up 100,000 Electric Miles

Quite a long list of milestones there.

This latest one of 400,000 miles driven is impressive indeed. Belmer reports that he’s yet to experience any noticeable battery degradation, despite the fact that the car is now 5-plus years old with nearly 150,000 electric miles driven.

EV Versus Gas Miles On Belmer’s Volt

How does Belmer manage to rack up so many miles? His commute is 110 miles each way, or 220 miles per day. As such, Belmer spends much of his day in his Volt. It has rarely let him down. Belmer says:

“Volt is holding up flawlessly! No noticeable battery capacity loss.”

“The Volt was always my dream car! To get to drive it everyday is a dream come true! 

Belmer still believes  that the Volt is  “over engineered times 10!!!”

Belmer says he’s able to get about 9.2 kWh out of the Volt per charge, which would seem to indicate a slight decline from his earlier results of 9.7 kWh or so, but a lot of variable come into play here, so we won’t go sar far as to call this capacity loss.

Erick Belmer Charging His Volt

Here’s hoping this ol’ 2012 Volt has a couple hundred thousand more miles to go! And congrats to Belmer for this amazing achievement.

Oh, one more noteworthy mention. This 400,000-mile Volt is still sporting its original brake pads.

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165 Comments on "This Chevy Volt Has 400,000 Miles On Odometer With No Noticeable Battery Degradation"

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It’s a Volt for Pete’s sake! Does it really matter if his two 9-volt batteries have experienced any degradation???

One word…UHAUL

If my commute was 220 miles round trip, I’d find a way to move closer to work and/or work from home.

He’s said in the past that the reason for the long commute was that his local GM plant closed down, but he was offered a position at another GM plant, which was about 110 miles away.

He considered moving, but they chose to stay where they were to be close to his other family members.

They also penciled out the numbers between a 2012 Volt and a Cruze. Though the Volt cost more upfront, they would save more money in the long run with the Volt, especially as his workplace also has charging available.

“To be close to his other family members”

Sure… minus the fact that he doesn’t actually see his family on a daily basis!

But hey, whatever, it’s not my life. In the meantime, thanks for torture testing your car like this!

Ash is right. Mr. Belmer has noted that his original GM plant shut down and he was offered a job at a plant just over 100 miles from his home. He didn’t feel that moving his family was the right thing to do, so he took one for the team and chose to commute 200+ miles a day to keep a good job with GM while allowing his family to stay in the home they were used to, near the rest of his family.
He sounds like a good family man. And he likes a great car, as well! 😉

This was a common practice when I worked in Manhattan. I had coworkers commuting from Jersey Shore and Connecticut by bus and train, 2-3 hours each way.
Our man here is spending about $18 a week on fuel and 4 hours a day to maintain his choice of living. More power to him and Chevy!

Make that $46, sorry.

This guy’s housing decisions are bizarre but it’s awesome to have this test of the Volt specifically and the PHEV concept in general out in the real world.

The fact that it’s on its original brake pads after 400,000 miles is astonishing. (My C-Max Energi has already had the rear brake pads replaced when it was at 33k or so – the emergency brake cable seized on one, so one side was very worn down.)

Talking about people’s “housing decisions” like this, would indicate you are one of the stinking rich. Most people don’t change houses like socks. We don’t live in a hot housing market, near a financial racketeering center, so jobs and house prices are still not back to pre-crash levels. Most of us are stuck living where we are, and will go as far as we have to to make a living.

Lighten up Francis

Is that the great advice for some homeowner who through no fault of their own, may be badly underwater in a home? That might need to bring 6-months worth of wages in cash to closing in order to actually sell their home for a loss? Facing the prospect of moving to a new town with their savings decimated, and no money to put into a new home? All with zero guarantee that the job will still be there in another year, and not outsourced to a plant in another country? Would your advice be “lighten up”? Would you also have them eat cake when they run out of bread? Economic recovery is still just regional in the US, with some regions (like Ohio) still lagging behind and not participating fully in the recovery yet. Those of us from regions in full recovery look silly when we remain blind to regions where the recovery still hasn’t come. The last election cycle should have spelled out quite clearly how much a mistake that is. The last thing we need to do is be a bunch of judgemental pricks incapable of putting ourselves in other’s shoes, especially since there is a good chance… Read more »

The advice could work for you too.

So stop being one

Thank You! Well Said my Brother!

Good grief, dude! You’re WAAAAAAY off base on this issue. Take a stress tab and chill out!

I know very few very rich people, but many people I know have moved to follow a job offer. People who rent can usually move a lot more easily than those who own a home.

Spot on. Housing/job differentials are the main reason people are forced into long commutes. It puts people in tough situations. Increased traffic adds to the time of the commutes.

If his observed 9.2 kWh from a full charge is the norm these days, that would seem to indicate some slight degradation, as early 2012s usually get between kWh from a full charge. But we’d need more input from Belmer.

Even if he only gets 9.2 kWh per charge now, that would be roughly a 5% degradation from new. So after driving 4x the Volt’s HV battery warranty (400k miles driven vs the 100k mile warranty), to have only 5% degradation is a pretty damn impressive feat.

141K EV miles represents about 4000 charge cycles, impressive. Degradation due to cycles should be a non-issue for the Volt. It would be interesting to plot his estimated capacity over the life of the vehicle. My 2012 trnds to shoe 9.4 to 9.6.

My 2012 Volt is similar: usually 9.2 – 9.7. This is after 77k miles, approximately 47k EV / 30k Gas miles. Very pleased with its performance!

Mine usually 9.2-9.7 when using heavy regen.

“Even if he only gets 9.2 kWh per charge now, that would be roughly a 5% degradation from new”


But only Volt owners who follow the technology closely would understand that minor but important detail.

142k EV miles without (much) degradation is impressive for a PHEV. That’s over 3500 full cycles on the battery.

A 220 mile round trip (yikes!) isn’t ideal for the Volt, of course. A (non-Prime) Prius or Ioniq Hybrid would use about the same amount of gas and no electricity. Today a few EVs could do that commute, with a lot more on the way. But in 2012 a Tesla Model S was his only EV option.

Thanks for doing the math on the cycles Doggydogworld. GM has definitely demonstrated that batteries with a well engineered TMS and conservative capacity utilization can withstand a lot of cycles without significant degradation. The remaining TBD is how calendar years impact degradation. This is more of a concern to me since I keep my cars 10+ years. So far so good on my 2014 Volt with 32K miles on the clock.

” A (non-Prime) Prius or Ioniq Hybrid would use about the same amount of gas and no electricity.”

They may come close, but they wouldn’t match his efficiency. Bellmer’s VoltStats number above shows that, with electricity averaged in, he gets 59MPG with his driving.

Neither the Prius nor the Ioniq have MPG ratings that match or exceed this. Of course, if Bellmer had a Gen 2 Volt with 53 miles all-electric range and an even more efficient gas engine, his MPG would be even higher than it already is.

Yes, I have always estimated for the Gen 1 Volt to make sense, you need about 100 miles per charging opportunity. Erick’s Volt shows this with his 110 miles per charge; he is borderline. Something like the Ioniq hybrid would have similar operating costs with lower purchase price. However, you need to get what you want, and the Volt has been a great car for him with very low operating costs.

have you factored in brake and engine maintenance? Wouldn’t the ioniq/prius have needed 35% higher intervals due to an extra 141k miles of wear on the engine?

This is a really good point. EV’s and cars like the Volt have much less things to break compared to internal combustion options.

Don’t forget that for local trips he can do them on all electric. He has more electric miles than you’d expect just based on his commute.

70/220 = 31.8%
400064.62 * 0.318 = 127220.55 expected electric miles, but he has 141795.37 miles.

That being said, I suppose he could also just be exceeding the EPA rating by about 10%.

But they wouldn’t be doing it on premium gas like the Gen1 Volt needs. By my quick calcs, he actually spends a little more since he doesn’t drive enough on cheaper EV. He’d do better with a Gen2 tho’ (more ev range and unleaded).

I haven’t used premium fuel from the time I hit 60,000 miles.

Yeah, if you actually use your gasoline in less than 6 months or so, using regular appears to be fine. One of the reasons they said to use premium is that it doesn’t break down if you don’t use it for a year.
So if you fill up every month, premium isn’t needed.
I use less than a gallon a month, so I use premium, though. I imagine it would be ok if I used regular and just put in 2 gallons every 3 months, but I can’t be bothered to save just 40 cents.

Gen-1 Volt doesn’t really need regular gas. Erick (the owner featured in this article) has mentioned repeatedly on the Volt owner FB group that he has always used 87 octane gas. His MPG on gas is what it should be given his driving patterns. I used premium gas for the first year I owned my 2014 Volt. I then switched to 87 for several months and the mileage (according to Voltstats) stayed exactly the same. Maybe the generator produces more power with premium gas, but unless you’re climbing pikes peak every day in your Volt, premium is a waste.

I use 89 in my cars. Don’t see any difference from the recommended 91. But I’ve found both in the old volts and the ELR (same engine), they cough and spit if you try 87 so I quickly put in some 91 to get the octane up overall in the tank and then continue to use 89. I know consumer reports says it doesn’t make a difference most of the time, but I know I can’t use it, and the Owner’s manual says repeated use will cause trouble that the warranty won’t cover. My former Kia Amante recommended 89 or 91, but said the car will work on 87 – which it did – but mileage suffered.

The gen 1 voltecs apparently are on the verge of knocking with cheaper gas and can’t tolerate it well, so I don’t use it. Just a characteristic that some cars can tolerate it, but unfortunately the gen 1’s cannot.. That’s just the way it is.

Warranty wise I should be safe since one big vendor around here calls 89 ‘premium’ even though it isn’t. I can just say I used his brand of ‘premium’ gas.

I think the Volt’s chief engineer stated the Gen 2 Volt would be good for 6,000 full charge cycles before any significant degradation would be noticeable.
So even if you charge 4 times a day (who does that?), the Volt’s battery would be guaranteed to be serviceable for over 4 years.
4 times a day charging = at least 212 miles a day = 77k miles a year = 309k miles over 4 years.

Suffice to say, there’s a reason no Volt battery has ever been replaced due to general degradation.

6000 cycles before noticeable degradation appears?

That’s quite a startling claim! The rule of thumb is 2000 full cycles to 80% capacity, or 20% capacity loss.

I wonder just how much “head room” GM programmed into the Volt, to hide the capacity loss due to cycling? There must be a big difference between full capacity and usable capacity when the cars are new!

GM deserves a great deal of accolades for its superior engineering of the Volt 1.0.

Talking about batteries dying and being recharged, this battery can go through 6000 charging cycles before any significant degradation starts showing up. That means that, if you charge it fully once a day (which is a lot), this battery will last over 16 years! This is completely different in the smartphone industry, which uses batteries that start degrading after about 500 cycles.

The difference between a car and a phone is that the car manages the battery to protect it, a phone doesn’t. The Volt uses 80% of it’s battery capacity, it’s never fully charged and never fully discharged. The battery temperature is also tightly controlled with liquid cooling. Phone manufacturers want their batteries to die so that you have to buy a new phone every couple of years, that’s why the abuse the batteries and made it extremely hard to replace them. Apple was the first to eliminate removable batteries, the rest all followed. As long as batteries are extremely expensive car manufacturers can’t afford to do that because the warranty costs would kill them, that’s why the Volt’s battery can last for so long. My prediction is that batteries will get better until they get good enough, then they will get worse. The Bolt’s battery costs $9000 and weighs 900lbs, at that price GM doesn’t want any of them to fail during the warranty period. But there will come a time, maybe 10 years, maybe longer, when it costs $2000 or less. At that point they will be willing to risk some warranty replacements and they will start treating them… Read more »

Interesting theory broken, seems very plausible. Perhaps Nissan is betting that they are already ahead in this game.

Push, I don’t think that ‘significant degradation’ is the same as the “noticeable degradation” you noted.

But then he’d be stuck having to drive a Prius.

Well, the info seems to be that he works at a GM plant. So there’s probably only one EV that can do that commute that fits his situation. You don’t go driving your Tesla to the GM plant. That’s a good way to get your car keyed.

He could surely do this commute without charging at work if he is careful (and the weather is good). Since he has workplace charging it’d be easy to do the 110 miles each way in a Bolt.

Honestly, GM should give him a Bolt on the condition that he commute in it. They’d live to get that amount of real-world testing I would think.

I’m guessing someone working at GM plant wouldn’t be able to afford a Tesla either, even if they’d deign to drive one.

I agree with you about the Bolt, GM should totally hook him up as some sort of tester.

220 miles round trip?? This guy needs a Bolt EV!

That is what I’m waiting for… Someone who has a round trip commute of 220 miles in a Bolt ev, does NOT or had no charge facility at work, and fully recharges every evening.

That would give accellerated battery life expectancy of the battery.

Btw, going to the dealer to have them briefly check my locked center screen issue apparently has improved it.. Must have been a mis-fitting connector or something since I have not had the center screen freeze since being at the dealership. It already had 71-NA-017.

Bill, I hope you’re enjoying your Bolt EV, and that the screen freeze is the only real problem you’ve had with it.

Dang that Volt is still going strong! We are at only ~40k miles but 90% of that is electric. I hope we continue to get the same amazing reliability as him!

I wonder why GM is considering dumping the Volt. Maybe it’s too good, in that you can drive it for a long long time, similar to a Tesla. Which is rather frightening for the auto industry. Maybe that’s why the newer Volts are not a well made as the early models.

“GM is considering dumping the Volt”

[citations needed]

Well, so far only rumors and speculation. If they would, it would be because Americans are finally seeing what the rest of the world has already known. Crossovers and hatchbacks have SUV-like utility in a compact package. The report said the Volt would become a crossover instead of a liftback.

However, since that same report listed the ending of several Cadillac models… Cadillac came out and denied the report outright saying they have no idea where this idea could have come from. I’m going to assume the entire report was false until I hear otherwise.

But I think a CUV voltec is coming. A cadillac XT4 prototype has been spotted several times with a charge port flap. I think a similar Chevy model will follow eventually.

Yet to qualify the news as rumor and speculation is also a stretch being that the director of the UAW was the source. Sedan sales are way down as are sales of the Volt. Since GM came out early after gen II’s unveiling and publically announced they would not nationally advertise Volt and called it a halo product akin to Corvette, I’d say the writing is on the wall. GM was asked if the UAW president’s claims were true and they declined to respond. Later they formed an official response basically saying they don’t discuss future product strategy. I started a Facebook group called “Save The Volt!”. Folks who join will tell GM we think there should be a gen III. Some say they don’t care if the iconic Volt fades away. They contend an EREV SUV is more significant. While I’ve always wanted GM to build an EREV crossover, and 3 rows would be best, I remind folks that crossovers cost more. In fact, to get 40 miles EV from a heavier, less aerodynamic SUV takes lots more expensive batteries. Thus, when the UAW leader says GM will cease Volt production in 2020 and introduce an EREV CUV in… Read more »

I think it’s too early to say. I bet it depends on sales. Things were looking good for the Volt earlier in the year, but now it seems the Bolt is eating into its sales. If both Bolt and Volt sales eventually go up then I’d say the Volt sticks around.

The biggest problem the Volt currently has is not so impressive gas mileage. Why is it that the Honda Accord hybrid gets 48 combined mpg, but the Volt only gets 42 on gas even though they weigh about the same? Sure, Volt is still better unless you drive long distances all the time, but I still don’t understand it.

If there is a gen III they need to get the gas mileage up, IMO.

After 18 months and 16,000 miles, my current effective MPG is 875.

The Volt’s MPG on gas is more than good enough.

“Yet to qualify the news as rumor and speculation is also a stretch being that the director of the UAW was the source.”

Well, this is one of the clearest real-world examples of the “Appeal to Authority” fallacy which I’ve ever seen.

Perhaps, James, you should ask where that guy got his info from. How do we know he wasn’t just repeating a rumor that he heard?

And that’s not even getting into the issue that this may have been deliberate disinformation on his part, since the UAW isn’t exactly a bosom buddy of GM!

Because people aren’t buying them. Though I agree that it is asinine for GM to think that they’ll still be selling the Cruze in a couple years, but could drop the Volt.

A lot can change in a few years. Five years ago who would have though gas prices would be as low as they currently are?

Great story.

They are leaving out the fact that there’s a ton of unused capacity in a volt pack that gets eaten away at as the pack degrades.

It was by design to make sure the battery lasts the life of the vehicle at the range expected by the customer. 🙂

The new Volt likely has less buffer since it has a longer range, it should cycle less over the same number of miles.

If the new volt where to have a 80 mile range over the 50 mile range it has now it could save this man a extra gallon and half of fuel each trip.

If then new volt had a 100 mile range it would save him 2 1/2 gallons of fuel each trip.

“This has been a question for some time in the EV community. General Motors made a bold and brave move to limit access to the Volt’s 16.5kWh battery to around 10kWh. The brilliance of this move both protected the battery from overcharging and left Volt drivers with the same driving experience with zero loss of range for years of ownership.”–Insideevs

Thanks muchly, ffbj!

I must have missed the article you’re quoting from, as I’ve never seen any authoritative estimation of how much reserve GM put into the Volt 1.0; the difference between the full capacity and usable capacity, when the car is new.

~10 kWh out of 16.5 kWh; that’s an approx. 39% reserve!

That isn’t entirely accurate.

It was 10.3kWh out of 16kWh. for 2011/2012. Then it was 10.6kWh out of 16.5kwh for 2013/2014 and then ~11kWh out of 17.1kWh for 2015 model year.

Also, that amount doesn’t include the ~1.8kWh buffer for hybrid at the bottom and ~1kWh buffer on the top for regen. If you include all of that, it is only 19% of total possible capacity.

I think that’s the point. Had the full capacity been available, the Volt would have had a much longer electric range. This range would have gradually fallen over time, as all batteries degrade. Ask early Leaf owners about this. It was this “overcapacity” that allowed GM to offer the 8 year/100k Voltec system warranty.

Right, leaving 1/4 of the pack as reserve capacity, will tend to do that.

I’d love to see you cite a good source to back up that claim. It’s a common claim, but no one besides GM knows if it’s true.

There’s a very credible, frequently cited authority: It’s called “Occam’s Razor”, and it points rather strongly in the directly of GM having programmed the Volt to reserve a large portion of its battery pack, restricting the usable capacity to far less than the full 16.5 kWh.

Of course, if you prefer to believe that GM has managed to engineer a solution to entropy… 😉

It’s well documented that GM lied at least twice about how Voltec works. They lied first by claiming the Volt was a pure serial hybrid. And even after they admitted that wasn’t true, claiming it was a deception to protect their patents, they still falsely claimed that the Volt’s gas motor never provided any direct power to the drivetrain. (And arguably it was lying a third time when GM promoted the completely absurd rating that the EPA originally gave the Volt of “230 MPG”.)

Since we know GM lied at least twice about Voltec, would it really be a surprise if they lied a third time — or, arguably, a fourth?

Please provide a link where GM lied about how the ICE interfaces with the planetary gear set on the Gen1. It was well known ahead of the Volt shipping that in limited circumstances the ICE could link to the ring gear through MGA. It doesn’t provide any torque. It only serves to reduce the RPM that MGB is operating at.

The 230 number was stupid. But really there is no way to assign a MPG to the Volt. It’s anywhere between 35MPG and infinite MPG, depending on the user.

Just no Pushy. You’re still working on supposition there. There are plenty of valid reasons to restrict the use of the battery other than changing the window later. Top 2 would be to reduce battery wear for reasons I explained elsewhere (and that the Prius had used for a decade but on NiMHs) and to get the larger rebate on the car than a car with a 10.5kWh battery would get. Oh yeah, and there is reduced discharge rate measured in C too. In short, you’re not using Occam’s Razor here, you’re just picking your favorite and backforming justifications to claim nothing else makes sense. But it isn’t so. The two lies about direct drive and serial hybrid are the same lie. I can give you justifications as to why they would lie that way, but that’s all they would be. Hollow justifications I invented. In the end we don’t know why they lied in that particular case until someone goes on record. And the 230mpg figure wasn’t a lie. At that time EPA had not established the methodology used to determine mpg for CD-mode PHEVs (EREVs). The 230 figure was what came from using the methodology the EPA offered… Read more »

Not much of a lie. More like they had a hard time explaining it to people that are not car guys or gals. People who do not know much about cars, there’s a lot of them.

GM engineers have stated that is NOT the case, and the battery window does not “open up” over time.

Feel free to post something that proves otherwise though.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

If that’s the case then why have a 18KWh pack and only use 67% (or slightly more)??

To protect the battery.

Because keeping the charge window in the middle of the battery’s SOC range, by itself, helps prevent degradation.

In other words, it’s not to trick the customer into thinking the battery hasn’t degraded, it’s to stop that degradation in the first place.

Since GM is obviously lying about it, then it’s both.

Honestly, I can’t understand why GM would put out such an obvious lie. If they have invented a way to arrest entropy, that would be the greatest invention since fire! Why would they hide such an unprecedented breakthrough, utterly contrary to scientific laws? And why would GM use such a revolutionary invention only for Voltec, when it could transform the entire world and make GM rich beyond the imagination of any company, ever?

To believe what GM is claiming is indulging in a lot of wishful thinking.

What argument do you purport to be objecting to?

Is it the claim that the Volt does not have unused battery capacity? No one disputes this.
Is it the claim that every battery in existence will eventually degrade and lose capacity? Again, no one disputes this.

The Volt operates within the middle two-thirds of its battery’s total capacity to prevent the capacity loss associated with a) charging a battery to full or b) discharging a battery to empty. Why do you believe that this is somehow “utterly contrary to scientific laws”?

Let me make one small addendum to reduce the potential for protracted battles over semantics:

I originally said that operating in the middle of the pack’s range “helps prevent degradation,” but in my follow up, I said “prevent degradation” (and not “help prevent”).

So rather than get tangled in a web of pedantic nitpicking over whether regular brushing and flossing prevents tooth decay or helps prevent tooth decay, let me clarify that the Volt’s method of operation helps prevent degradation.

It does not arrest the laws of the physical universe, nor does it mean that the Volt’s battery will retain its original capacity until the heat death of the universe… just in case anyone was confused and thought that was the claim being made.

I should also add that no one disputes that the Volt DOES have unused capacity, as my previous wording may have been unclear.

Given that this conversation apparently (and bizarrely) needs to take place, I want to make sure every tiny detail is spelled out as clearly as possible.

What do you mean GM never used the methodology again? They did and everybody does. Tesla uses it on the Model S (and the B250e). Toyota used it on the Prius. It is strongly suspected GM uses it on the Bolt. Nissan used it on the 2012 LEAF to a great extent and then stopped because it made their car look bad.

The reason everyone doesn’t use it more than they already do is because it reduces the effective energy density of the pack. And that means the pack is bigger, heavier and more expensive for a given usable capacity.

So everyone uses it a little for the same reasons. And everyone doesn’t use it a lot for the same reasons.

It’s a common thing. There’s no need to create a mythos around GM or anyone else using it.

“Since GM is obviously lying about it, then it’s both. Honestly, I can’t understand why GM would put out such an obvious lie.” Lying about what? I don’t think you know any facts to establish any lies here. Do we need to revisit your lack of knowledge on the Volt again? GM never lied about its usable range vs. total capacity. Everyone knows about it. Somehow the conspiracy theory or haters claim that GM “must be opening up the reserve buffers over time to hide degradation”. That is clearly a lie since there is NO evidence to support that. The fact of the matter is that IN ORDER TO Keep the battery from degrading, using only a limited window of SOC is what helps it. That is why GM limits it to 10.3kWh out of 16kWh. But that doesn’t mean GM is slowly opening up the unused 5.7kWh over time to “hide” the degradation as you and someone else have accused of doing. Also, if Eric’s Volt is only showing 9.2kWh, then it is truly degrading already. That is 0.8kWh lost out of 10kWh which would make it a 8% degradation. That is pretty darn good for a 400K miles… Read more »

“Since GM is obviously lying about it, then it’s both.”

It sounds like you don’t understand battery chemistry. A Lithium Ion battery has a rather linear operating range and a non-linear one. GM chose the percentage of capacity used to completely avoid the non-linear voltage regions. These areas with a steeper curve (where closer to fully charged and fully discharged) are a big contributor to battery capacity loss. Li-Ion batteries don’t like to live there, they prefer being near their nominal voltage, at about 50% charge.

But hey, don’t believe facts, you can continue to think it’s a big lie. 😛

2012 Volt had a 16kwh battery with about 10kwh usable. As others have said, only using the “middle” of the SOC window is what allows the excellent battery life.

Li-Ion batteries last longer if you don’t fill them all the way up or discharge them all the way.

If you never took a Li-Ion above 4.0V the pack wear is cut by perhaps 10x. (90%)

“GM engineers have stated that is NOT the case, and the battery window does not ‘open up’ over time.

“Feel free to post something that proves otherwise though.”

This very article proves it. The fact that the Volt does not lose EV range over time is sufficient proof that it must be using more and more of the total capacity as usable capacity over time.

Claiming otherwise is like pointing to the Flat Earth Society’s website, and saying “Prove they are wrong!”

We don’t need to scurry around disproving each and every scientifically impossible claim; we only need to understand that the preponderance of factual evidence points beyond any reasonable doubt in another direction.

Well, no matter how they’re doing it, apparently range wil not decrease during any reasonable service life of the car.

“This very article proves it. The fact that the Volt does not lose EV range over time is sufficient proof that it must be using more and more of the total capacity as usable capacity over time.”

This article actually supports the exact thing about how good the battery is or how low the degradation is. If you actually know how Volt works AND read the article, you would have found the key piece of information that shows that Eric’s 400K Volt only has 9.2kWh left in usable battery window. That means he already lost ~0.8kWh in capacity. That is ~8% of the usable capacity already.

0.8kWh at 3 miles/kWh is only 2.4 miles which is well within the “natural variation” of the daily range for a Volt. But the facts is clear that his usable or available range is dropping.

That clearly confirms two things: 1. GM isn’t opening up buffer to compensate. 2. Volt does lose capacity but AT A VERY SLOW RATE due to its conservative approach in allowing a limited SOC.

The “It has to be true because I think it’s true” line is not proof. Try again.

I’m now wondering if you may be a flat-earther.

To jump in here again. I’m not saying that the battery doesn’t last a long time or judging GM in either regard, but he does have 124K EV miles on a pack that is operating at 67% of capacity from day one. I’m sure that the pack is much better than a Leaf regardless (TMS being part of that). GM likely decided to put a much larger pack than needed into the car for two reasons. (1) It allowed them to take advantage of the extra capacity for degradation as well as utilizing a narrower range of the pack and thus improving its longevity. (2) It allowed them to maximize the federal tax credit on the car. If you recall, you need about 17kwh to get the max $7500. On a lease, GM gets this money, on a purchase the buyer does. So on their end, if shrinking the pack and thus raising the effective sales price was the trade off, they figured, why not put the extra capacity in and allow the pack to last longer. It’s probably a wash to them on the lease because if they lease 50% of their cars, and get the $7500 credit, any… Read more »

Bravo! Well argued, Jonathan.

You very clearly understand the issues and have your facts straight — unlike some others in this discussion. I, for one, am convinced you’re entirely correct!

“To jump in here again.” Please do so with facts, not incorrect information. “but he does have 124K EV miles on a pack that is operating at 67% of capacity from day one. ” Do you know any other EV that has done better by “baby their battery” with this little amount of degradation? “(1) It allowed them to take advantage of the extra capacity for degradation as well as utilizing a narrower range of the pack and thus improving its longevity.” Yes, but why don’t others do it? It cost more money, more weight and more room which are all downsides. So, it is unfair to only list one side. “(2) It allowed them to maximize the federal tax credit on the car. If you recall, you need about 17kwh to get the max $7500.” I do recall and it is 16kWh, NOT 17kWh. So, you are wrong here. Also, once it is reached at max 16kWh. There is no reason for GM to increase it further and opening up buffer in gen2. Gen 1 Volt went from 16kWh to 16.5kWh and then 17.1kWh over the course of 5 model years. ” On a lease, GM gets this money,… Read more »

If I where GM and I released a 350 mile range Chevy Bolt. I would give this man a Chevy Bolt so that he could test it on his mega commutes.

400,000 miles is amazing for any car model to live that long.

It’s not uncommon for people to commute from Richmond VA to Washington DC. One lady I talked to had a Toyota Prius who she mega commuted with that the odometer ran out of digits for the miles placed on it.

A Bolt would be good for this guy with charging at both ends.

I’d like to see a Prius Prime with its non-TMS battery do that many cycles without significant degradation. Consumer Reports should send this guy a survey.

I’ve said it many times, and will say it many more: The Gen1 Volt is one of the best engineered cars every made. They’ll still be going strong with original batteries in 20 years.

You’re right. The Gen1 Volt is one of the most over-engineered cars ever made. GM really went above and beyond with that car.

Awesome car. I love mine.

Very solid.

I did learn I need to use mountain mode on one stretch of interstate … unexpected power drop was interesting, luckily was near the top of the grade so only slowed me down for a minute. Next time up, I remembered to hit mountain mode shortly before the grade and had no problems.

So, with 260K miles on that ICE, how is it doing? If it also has been clicking along with just “regular” engine maintenance, still with original valves, pistons, rings, etc. and still getting good mpg, that ALSO is testament to GM’s engineering and production prowess. Perhaps, because the Voltec EREV electric drive train allows the engine the freedom to optimize its no-load warm-up cycle, engine speed, torque, etc. independent of instantaneous drive train load, this also speaks well of the unique Voltec drive train.

I didn’t even consider how well the ICE is doing. It is pampered compared to an ICE in a traditional vehicle, so it’s lifetime should be extended.

My 2012 Volt ICE was made in Austria. I assume his was too. They switched the Volt to US made engines in 2013 I believe.

The Volt engine is actually a generator. I don’t believe it is actually connected to the drive line. As a result the engine undergoes an easy life with far less maintenance than a typical ICE.

I don’t know why they don’t specify it, but under steady-state conditions (55-65 mph or faster) the GEN 1 engine will lock up to the wheels, avoiding conversion losses and giving better highway fuel economy.

GM used to lie about it for the first 18 months to get some stupid brownie points from NY State, until someone at the NYS DMV said ‘you’re not getting away with anything’.

At that point GM dropped the ruse.

I’d imagine it does similarly in the GEN 2 Volt, where the regen comes from both motors, instead of just the large one as in the GEN 1 Volt.

Actually, just remembered that the GEN 2 Volt has the engine MECHANICALY geared to the wheels ALL THE TIME, and it is just a differential gearing trick that the engine can stop spinning when running in battery mode. But that also explains why, when the battery is ‘dead’, the engine will also stop at stoplights, and is restarted only when the car is rolling again, even with the battery ‘dead’.

No, there is a clutch there as well.

The engine start/stop was available in Gen1 as well.

Not really MMF, what they are calling a ‘clutch’ in that location is just an over-running device that locks the shaft to prevent the engine from being unintentially spun in reverse during battery operated motoring. The engine truly is 100% constantly gear-tooth connected to the wheels at all times.

I would never call that apparatus a ‘clutch’. To me a clutch must have an ‘operator’.

That device is simply around the totally solid engine shaft to immobilize it should it ‘accidentally’ try to spin backwards (as would happen in so called charge-depleting).

“The engine truly is 100% constantly gear-tooth connected to the wheels at all times.”

Yes, your alternator and your starter are constantly connected to your wheel on regular ICE cars, but you don’t call them hybrid, do you?

The fact remains that ICE connecting to the ring gear makes no merit to the so called “torque” transfer which is the key here. The torque isn’t fixed to transfer to the wheel by “engine alone” EVER. It just never does. The other motor thru the 2nd set of planetary gear is ALWAYS connect to the shaft always.

As far as the clutch is connected. Call it what you will, but if that clutch doesn’t engage, the ring gear can potentially spin backward which would damage the engine. That makes it somewhat a “torque interrupter”.

OH Man! This is right up there with the dumbest things anyone has ever said…. The alternator is always belt-connected to the engine. The big advantage of the ‘self starter’ over 100 years ago was the sliding pinion that engaged the teeth of the ring gear ONLY WHILE STARTING. It is not 100% engaged. More like 0.001% engaged (seconds, if that) This is what the SOLENOID DOES. On engines with a starter relay, its the only thing it does – SLIDE THE PINION GEAR. A spring puts it back when the juice is removed. On all GM vehicles that have them, and on all vehicles which don’t have a starter relay, it also forms the ‘contactor’ to engage the starter motor AFTER its sliding function has completed to also perform the starter relay function, and shuts the starter off when released a few seconds later. On the gen 2 volt there are 2 clutches and an over-running lock, that’s it. Yes the engine of a new volt can run with the wheels standing still. The same way one wheel can be driven while the other is stationary. Except in this case its by in effect an additional differential function, besides… Read more »

“Engine start/stop available in GEN 1 Volt’.

Not true, in my GEN 1 products the engine runs at a complete stop irrespective of the car’s motion. Engine RPM is more related to the ‘mode’ it is in rather than whether the wheels are turning or not.

Gen 2 engine can do the same. It can run at stop while parked.

The so called “start/stop” was only controlled by software.

Well…sort of. On the Gen1 Volt the ICE can be coupled to Motor-Generator-A (MGA) via a clutch. MGA can also be coupled to the ring gear on the planetary gearset via another clutch. If both clutches are engaged then the ICE is coupled to the planetary ring gear through MGA.

Because it’s connected to the ring gear, neither MGA, nor the ICE, can provide torque to the wheels. However, by spinning the ring gear, they reduce the RPM that MGB (the motor that actually drives the car) is running at so that it remains at more efficient RPM.

Gen2 has two planetary gearsets connected, so it’s more complex.

All of the above was known at about the time the Volt launched in late 2010. Here’s an old write-up:

So, I don’t think that NYS outed them. Actually, the thought of any state government being competent to even understand how the car works is amusing.

Sorry, you are mistaken about this. GM was lieing to their dealerships and their technicians. I’ve heard radio interviews where the announcer had the CORRECT info (only people GM didn’t lie to were MotorTrend, and FORBES), and then the dealer owner said, no, it is a GENSET only. THIS as far as I can see, is the ONLY Lie they have told about the GEN 1 VOLT. Most here tell many more lies than GM since they fancy themselves big experts when push comes to shove its unbeleivable how DUMB they are. A week into my VOLT ownership in early 2011, when the 12 volt battery kept going dead due to me not understanding how the car uses the battery, and it didn’t disclose it in the Owner’s manual, I had a discussion with the dealer’s CHIEF volt technician. There was also what I thought was UNBELIEVABLE arrogance of GM, since although he had DETROIT on the phone, the engineering group would speak to him, but refused to speak to ME, – I mean why not? I just plunked down a cool $46,000 for the car. People like me make everything ELSE possible. So in this case they didn’t lie… Read more »

Which part am I mistaken on? How the Volt works, or when it became public knowledge?

I linked a article from October 2010. It clearly explains the ICE linkage and even references a motor trend article. So, it was public for anyone paying attention. I remember reading it back then and how outraged everyone was that the Volt wasn’t pure serial. Luckily GM made the correct choice to make the car as efficient as possible, instead of worrying about what a bunch of techies thought.

Never trust or believe anyone at a dealer. That includes service personnel of any rank.

CCIE to reiterate – I don’t know how much more plain I can make it – GM lied the first 18 months to their Dealers, their advertising, and their Technicians which service the car. After what I said transpired they dropped the ruse. Its as simple as that.

A dealership is not run by nerds. The management doesn’t care how it works, Especially that Head Engineer Pam who kept talking about ‘reactionary-forces’ to grimmaces and cringes from all the real engineers in the room.

What your experienced at GM dealer isn’t a proof that GM lied. Else GM wouldn’t have put those report on Motortrend or Youtube explaining them in detail.

Bill, to me, the fact the dealer had the wrong information is not proof that GM lied to them.

Still today, I can’t get correct answers about what the Volt does from dealers, on even very basic things. I think that points to lack of knowledge and true understanding on the dealer’s part, rather than GM lying to them.

Of course, if you have a document or something that GM provided to dealers that explicitly tells them false information, well then that would certainly be quite damning.

One little fib for marketing/regulatory reasons. Not “Damning” and not a big deal. Certainly no where near the fibs other automakers routinely tell.

Voltec 1.0 does have a clutch which will engage to allow the gas engine to provide direct mechanical power to the drivetrain.

I don’t know that it’s engaged much as Bill claims; I had the impression that it only engaged when the battery pack was drained and the car needed extra power for strong acceleration above 35 MPH. But perhaps Bill is right; the various operating modes of Voltec are pretty complex and confusing. (And Voltec 2.0 is even more complex!)

I’m also confused about just why GM lied about that. It was bound to come out sooner or later than they were lying, so why choose to damage their own reputation that way? GM originally claimed the mendacity was to protect their patents, but I don’t think that makes any sense either. How would rival auto makers knowing that Voltec uses a clutch so that sometimes the gas motor can be directly engaged in the drivetrain, in any way endanger GM’s patents? Patents are protected from the moment of filing, so unless GM held off filing for patents on Voltec, lying about how it works would not improve their patent protection in any way.

“I don’t know that it’s engaged much as Bill claims;” Bill wasn’t really correct. The clutch locks in at 70mph and can be as low as 60mph under light load. ” I had the impression that it only engaged when the battery pack was drained and the car needed extra power for strong acceleration above 35 MPH. ” It is only engaged in gas mode and it is ONLY engaged when the car is under light load. Since the engine is much less powerful than the main traction motor, under heavy load, the clutches disengages and revert back to series-hybrid operation for max power. It is only engaged at hwy speed and light load for max efficiency in a “parallel mode”. The engine can’t provide torque to the wheel “alone” without the main traction motor providing torque as well. “But perhaps Bill is right; the various operating modes of Voltec are pretty complex and confusing. (And Voltec 2.0 is even more complex!)” He isn’t right and it isn’t complex at all. It clearly has 3 modes. All EV mode, series hybrid mode and parallel hybrid mode. Each is engaged through a combination of 3 different clutches. The beauty of it… Read more »

The indirect coupling of the generator to the wheels happens as low as 36mph. It is, as you say, under lighter loads, but it happens more often than it doesn’t when you’re traveling at these speeds with the battery depleted.

With the battery not depleted, this transition happens at higher speeds (60? 70?).

All of what I’m saying is true, which isn’t to conclude anything like “Volt isn’t a series hybrid!”

I’ve said from day one that it is a series hybrid, with the ability to be even more efficient when needed. Nothing wrong with that, and anyone who tries to say there is something wrong doesn’t even know what they’re arguing except to try and support a bias they have.

@MMF you’re in your dreamworld again. What have I said that you think is inaccurate?

“but under steady-state conditions (55-65 mph or faster) the GEN 1 engine will lock up to the wheels, avoiding conversion losses and giving better highway fuel economy. GM used to lie about it for the first 18 months to get some stupid brownie points from NY State, until someone at the NYS DMV said ‘you’re not getting away with anything’.” The condition is actually 70mph. In early Volt, you can even “feel” that engaging. IN certain “lighter” condition, it can go to lower speed. But the engagement point is 70mph.. The so called 60mph point is where the 2nd motor is engaged to reduce the rpm of the main traction motor in EV mode to increase efficiency. Under heavy load, regardless of speed, it switches to series hybrid configuration in gas mode. Now, as far as NY State cause GM to back off is completely fabricated. GM tried to apply for both EREV to be designated as EV in California and NY. Neither has anything to do with whether it has a mechanical link or not. In fact, BMW’s i3 REx is design around that lobbying because of the “aux” power plant size and fuel tank size rather than mechanical… Read more »

Clarkson says 38 – you say 70, I always thought it was 66 – but then there was some confusion as to whether it was mph or kmph, but its probably a bit variable.

If you watch the video, the cvt function starts taking place around 30 mph, while the car is running on the battery, by starting to spin the smaller dynamo on the gen 1. Dynamo in this case indicating that it can be motoring sometimes and generating at others.

As MMF said, the ICE linkage engages under light load around 70MPH. It can stay linked all the way down to 35MPH. It does not provide any torque, so it has nothing to do with increasing available power. Actually, the linkage needs to disengage under heavy acceleration.

Again, show me where GM lied. The operation was well known ahead of the Volt shipping in 2010.

It starts engaging at 35-36mph. I can be driving on a road and watch it happen with the Volt’s power display.

But I agree with you in that I don’t think GM ever lied about it. They were just caught off guard that anyone would ever think taking advantage of a mode to boost efficiency further would be a bad thing.

Please reread my above paragraph. I can only deduce from what I have seen and heard. MMF’s info came from MotorTrend, – what I said was only MT and Forbes were told the truth. The dealers don’t themselves intentionally lie, I thought that my experience absolutely proved that. I wouldn’t think any dealership would care either way.

If you are conversant with it, please explain to MMF how the GEN 2 volt works. He must have Al Gore on his mind or something. Or maybe Lenny DeCaprio since they don’t use AG anymore since he’s having too many lawsuits over his ‘lady troubles’.

“If you are conversant with it, please explain to MMF how the GEN 2 volt works. ”

I am well aware how Gen 2 Volt works.

It is the fact that you insisting that engine coupling torque to the drive wheel through a ring gear of the planetary gearset (similar to Gen1) is somehow criminal in your case. It doesn’t change any definition whatsoever… certainly not EREV which GM submitted as how EV mode operates, not whether there is a mechanical linkage or not.

As far as rest of your rant, not worthy my time….

You don’t have the slightest idea why an ICE car cranks. Man ….

You and Pushi deserve each other.

As Mark said, since it doesn’t have to continually rev up and down, or get bogged down in low RPM, or redline at high RPM, it will have a significantly longer life than gas engines that are tied directly to the driveline at all times.

That is one of the beauties of GM’s drivetrain. This guy’s car probably has had the same stress on the EV drivetrain after around 150K EV miles as a Leaf would have after 50K of EV miles. And the engine probably has as much stress after 200K+ miles as the typical regular ICE cars has after 100K miles.

The drivetrain is better than just the sum of the parts, because the ICE motor allows the car to baby the battery, and the battery allows the car to baby the ICE motor. Win-win.

I fully expect the Volt to one day have a long list of million mile cars to rival high mileage Volvo’s, like on this list:


Yup. And people thinks that “extra complexity” is somehow a “down side” when it is actually an upside.

This is one case where “conventional wisdom” really missed the bigger picture.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

This was an employee sale so it must not matter/count because all Tesla employee sales don’t matter/count….. 😛

They don’t count when you are ONLY selling to employees. Erick bought this Volt in March 2012, well over a year after the car was being sold to the public.

True. The money you get from employees on sales are only half value on the currency market.

No, it’s certainly real money.

But as long as you are only selling to employees, the car is not for sale to the public. So you shouldn’t compare it to cars that are being sold to the public, for the same reasons that you wouldn’t consider an pre-release demo Bolt sold to a dealership as a “sale.”

So they have the curtesy to offer their product to the employees first as a sign of appreciation as many companies do with products but somehow this is twisted and becomes a bad thing because it’s Tesla…got it!

Yes, it’s a proven rule of economics that money paid to a company by its own employees buying their products is only fake money, not real money.

And the Earth is flat, too!

I miss my 2012 Volt! It was red just like Erick’s. What a beautifully engineered car.

Erick’s commute may not be as long as it sounds because we all know RED is the fastest color.

While I miss my 2012, I do like the pre-owned 2014 Volt (beige) I picked up with low miles at a great price. A pre-owened Volt is a great bargain for someone who can’t go full EV.

Yep, I bought my 2012 Volt last year at a good price. Great car. Hope to drive it for years to come.

“RED is the fastest color.”

Red is just crimson shade of grey. Just you watch, it will turn gray given enough time (showing the true color).

InsideEVs’ Jay Cole has stated any number of times that black is the fastest color, and who are we to argue with such an authority?


Man, why doesn’t this site have an “up vote” feature on comments? /amateurs


I see what you did there…

We all know that “red” colored car last longer as this 400K miles Volt has shown!!!!

Black is just darker shade of grey. Everything you perceive as black will turn grey eventually. Even the black holes will turn grey through Hawking radiation.

So whatever color anyone perceive to be “better”, they are actually talking about gray. So I agree, whether Crimson shade (aka, Red) or darker shade (aka, Black), gray is the fastest color.

This is where Honda should offer the guy a new Clarity PHEV…

He works at a GM plant. Prob not a good idea to drive a Honda, which I doubt he would want to anyway.

I am sure employee discount helps the upfront purchase decision significantly.

It reminds of the old classic VW Bug prank.
It was quite usual for Bug owners to brag on their mileage.
One prankster, with some friends in on it, put an extra gallon of gas a day for a month in the bragger’s Bug. So the guy was always getting extra miles, then they quit doing it.

I think the drive train is excellent, especially if the driver knows how to get the most out of the pack, by going to gas when the pack is say down to 25% or so, then back to ev when the pack has charged up.
Like anything, if you use it correctly, it will last longer.

Such a shame GM doesn’t give this car more credit as it’s definitely their best. It should be advertised intensively.

“Such a shame GM doesn’t give this car more credit as it’s definitely their best”

GM gives it plenty of credits. Its ex-CEO wanted to sell 45K per year and GM advertised it too back in 2011. But it became a political football back then and all the GM/Bailout/Volt hater came out in mobs trying to bash it.

Despite that mob hate, GM carried on and make Gen 2 Volt and that is better in just about every measurable way. It still doesn’t sell because those Volt haters never gave up.

Plus gas prices have been low. And the interior passenger and cargo space is limited compared to other compact cars, while the car itself costs a lot more than the average compact.

I understand why the Volt doesn’t sell more. It’s a great car, but it’s pricey for a compact Chevy. I’d like to see them bring the price down some more as well as make a roomier CUV version.

True, the interior space is limited but i’m not so sure the price is too high. Others may be cheaper but this one seems to be more reliable and cheaper to drive so it balances things out.

Unless GM is content to leave the Volt a niche player selling less than 30,000/year, the price is self-evidently too high, given the number of sales we’re seeing.

Well, Volt is selling better than Cadillac ATS. So, there is that…

Or supply is too low. There’s very few on lots around here, and mainstream consumers want to come in, find a car with the options and colors they like, and drive it off the lot.

You can’t do that if there’s only 2 or 3 sitting out there.

Is this car going to see 1 million miles?

If it does, will GM buy it back for analysis?

Quite impressive. I wonder if he charges at work for free, or has to pay. If free, the Bolt would perhaps be a better choice (now that it is finally also available in Michigan). I mean, he could charge at work to 90%, go home, charge like 5-10 kWh at home and go back to work the next day with still considerable reserve for possible detour, traffic jam or winter conditions, even factoring in some battery degradation.
If i was GM, I would give him a special discount on a Bolt, for access to the car for regular checks. Usually car companies have to pay good money for such endurance tests…

Some Guy,
The Bolt would be a great choice for such commutes (110 miles ea way) – but only if there is a Level 2 charger at each end. In the dead of a Michigan winter with highway travel, most of the battery capacity will be gone after one leg. A 110 Volt charger won’t replenish enough range for the return trip.

They provide level 2 charging at his plant so a Bolt would be doable.

Wouldn’t technically all 400,000 miles be electric, since the Volt is always using the battery and electric motor, even when running in charge sustaining mode?

It’s kinda gray. You could say x amount of “pure electric” and y amount of “hybrid”.

Or you could say, in 400k miles, x amount of kWh were used, and y amount of gas.

Lots of ways to skin the cat.

@Justin that’s what I’ve always wondered about the coverage here….

If Fuel Cells are electric cars, why aren’t volts all the time?

Perhaps my point is more APT for the website PLUGINCARS, since, if you’re going to include Fuel Cell vehicles since they have electricity in them, why not include CNG vehicles also since you also have to plug them in at home to an electric (usually) compressor?

“Wouldn’t technically all 400,000 miles be electric”

No. That would be like calling every Prius miles (non plugin version) electric.

Miles that are powered by gasoline don’t count (even if it is from regen of the gasoline derived motions).

Go Sparkie you good thing, is all I have to say from from Australia 🙂

Chevy has been making some great cars lately!
Even my Cruze ran 100k on the original brakepads, with only mild use (mind you, I don’t have regenerative braking).

4000000 miles on original battery and brakes is impressive. But clearly most of this guy’s mileage is highway . Highway miles means no battery use or braking. I don’t expect much Chevy volt batteries to last this long