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Most gearheads know the Opel Ampera is the European near-twin of the Chevy Volt. There are obvious exterior differences, such as the Ampera's "boomerang" headlights and Opel badging, but inside, the only noticeable difference is another Opel badge on the steering wheel.

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.

To make the most of the Volt and its unique powertrain, Chevy engineers gave the car three driving modes, Normal, Sport and Mountain. Normal and Sport are easy enough to figure out – Normal is the most efficient for everyday driving and Sport delivers a little extra off-the line spunk. However, Mountain Mode is really interesting because it goes against much of what we've read and assumed about the Volt. Here's how it works and why it's necessary.

2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery