• May 24th 2011 at 6:06PM
  • 7
The U.S.-spec Chevrolet Volt may not have a handy 'battery hold' button like the upcoming Opel Ampera, but that doesn't mean you can't optimize battery usage during trips. As Nick Chambers from PluginCars found, the "Mountain Mode" setting can be used to better control when the battery pack runs down.

Mountain Mode was originally designed to preserve battery power before getting to a long mountain pass such that full power would be available for steep climbs and overtaking slower vehicles. When engaged, it holds (or charges) the battery at 45 percent state of charge. The difference between this and battery hold is that the Ampera's feature retains the battery at whatever level it's at when engaged and doesn't recharge the battery. The Ampera doesn't get Mountain Mode.

However, as Chambers found out, using this special mode on regular non-mountainous trips can improve efficiency. How's that you ask? Well, when the battery is depleted the Volt gets better fuel economy on the highway (40 miles per gallon) than in the city (35 mpg), so it makes sense to try and do as much fully electric driving in the city as possible. But the Volt has no idea what kind of a trip you are taking and will always use up the battery before starting to burn any gas. For trips longer than 30-40 miles where you know you will be doing some of those miles on the highway and some in the city, you can reserve a few of your electrons for the last part of the trip if that is low-speed city driving. It's pretty simple to do, too: just engage Mountain Mode when the remaining battery capacity is roughly equal to the amount of city miles you'll have at the end of the trip. Then, when you exit the highway, revert back to Normal driving mode to enjoy the gas-free miles you saved up.

[Source: Plugin Cars, GM]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      paulwesterberg
      • 4 Years Ago
      The problem is that you have to pull over and shut off the car(reboot) to switch it out of mountain mode. Doesn't the volt have a navigation system? It should do this automatically if you enter a route over 40 miles with highway sections at the start and a congested inner city route near the end.
        samabuelsamid
        • 4 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        You do not have to shut off the Volt to get out of Mountain mode. You can toggle between normal, sport and mountain at any time.
      Cameron Huntsucker
      • 2 Years Ago
      My 2013 Volt has all 4 modes - Hold, Mountain, Normal, Sport.
      uncle_sam
      • 4 Years Ago
      And what about the Alps? Hey here in europe we have very hilly areas too. I bet that a laptop + OBD cable solves the problem ;)
        FunkyBanana
        • 4 Years Ago
        @uncle_sam
        I agree, and why not have both options available on both cars? It's just software. Maybe they will sell software packages to owners that want/need them. Basically, get a "app" for the Volt that has features you want to use. The Volt is very adaptable. I like it more and more. I saw my first one in in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. Looks better in person.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it's only a matter of time until some geek "jailbreaks" the Volt, and anyone can have his/her Ampera "battery hold -mode" It's the future of car-tweaking.
      seamusdubh
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow that actually makes sense, go figure.
    Share This Photo X