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Published on April 11th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

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EV-Only Mode May Come To Chevy Volt

Though the Chevy Volt and Vauxhall Ampera are built on the same platform, the reception the two cars have received could not be more different. While the Volt has been polarized and bastardized as a product of Obama, the Ampera sold out before it ever went on sale. There is another key difference too; the Ampera lets you select when you use charge-sustaining mode to save the battery for city driving, whereas the Volt does not. But that may soon change.

We first reported on this feature back in October, when it became apparent that the EV-only forced charge-sustaining mode was only available on the Vauxhall Ampera. This button forces the Ampera to use the gas generator, saving the battery for city driving. U.S. Volt buyers get no such option. This feature was put in so that drivers of the Ampera could save its electricity for city driving only, allowing them to avoid congestion charges in the center of major cities like London or Paris. These congestion charges allow EV drivers to avoid a fee, and the Ampera lets its drivers decide when to use the gas generator, and when to run on the battery pack.

GM has yet to make any official announcement regarding an EV-only mode for the Volt, though at a recent breakfast meeting, one GM exec reportedly said that they were considering such a feature for U.S. models. First they’d have to discuss things with the EPA, but if I am not mistaken, the Prius Plug-In will also have a selectable EV mode…so no problem there.

Allowing drivers to select when to turn on or off the EV mode could result in even better gas mileage results, as drivers know their vehicles and routes better than GM. But logic and common sense sometimes gets lost on GM’s factory floor…hopefully this is one feature that is the exception.

Source: Green Car Reports




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Robert

    I had heard that both the Volt and Ampera versions sold in Europe where to have the EV-only mode.

  • Stephen Tu

    It’s not an “EV-only mode” in the Ampera. It’s actually the exact opposite of that, it’s a “not EV” mode, aka “hold mode”. To force use of the gas engine, to save battery for a later portion of the trip when it might be more efficient (stop-and-go city driving, for example).

    Normal mode, which exists in both cars, is already an EV-only mode as long as you have sufficient charge.

  • Eric

    Stephen is correct, it is a “hold mode” which puts the car in a charge sustaining mode. It’s a key feature that really needs to implemented.

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  • Callajero

    This is similar, but may not be identical, to the “mountain mode” on the Volt, where the gas generator kicks in much earlier than other modes to conserve battery charge.

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