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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks
I collected my new Ampera Positiv a week ago today and it was handed to me fully charged. Battery range on the display said 36 miles. The guy at the dealership mentioned (I didn't ask) that range would increase after it was charged a few times (the suggestion being that the battery held less charge when 'new', so to speak).

I have now charged it every night for the week and not only has the battery range not increased but, this morning, was down to 31 miles. I know it was a cold night, but not exactly freezing conditions.

I may just be over thinking things as this is my first electric car, but I want to make sure I haven't got a dodgy one. Does anyone know if this is 'normal' or whether the battery may need to be checked out?
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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Could well be down to the cold but also depends on how it has been driven previously, it needs to have a useage pattern to guesstimate how far the next charge will take you. When I leave in the morning I am seeing around 38 - 41 miles but have run out the last couple of days around the mid 30's due to the cold and needing some heat in the cabin.
 

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The cold weather will have a detrimental affect on your range :(
The salesman IMO was not telling you the car would gain more range as you used it, it was more a statement that as the car learns how you drive it will start to predict more accurately what it will do for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Ian and Andy.
I probably need to give it a few weeks to figure out my erratic driving patterns. I car share, so every second day the only driving I do is the school run and I tend to floor it a bit more as I only have a few miles to do.
My worry was that everyone else was getting significantly more miles than I am and that I wouldn't know about it.
Panic over.
 

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You probably won't get over 35 miles in these temperatures but should comfortably get over 45 miles in summer. If you know you're going on a long journey, start off with the engine (Hold). I believe that will help heat the cabin (and the batteries?) so you get more range out of the battery when you do use it.

Is that sound logic guys?
 
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Ampera aka IGOR
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That is kind of my logic for my 55 mile one way commute, preheat, then when it starts to get cold again switch to hold for a few miles to let the engine warm up and heating back on, then when I have just a few miles further to go than range it goes back to electricity. This means that I am warm at the start, warmed up again during the trip and just before leaving the car for the pushbike.
 

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My range isn't anywhere near as good as other are suggesting but I put that down to a lot of stop start driving and the cold weather. But I am getting about 30 - 35 miles at the moment so hopefully by next summer I will be able to stretch that further. Still enough for now to get me through the day and I'm happy that it will improve in the spring at a time I tend to be busier and driving more frequently. :)
 

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My range isn't anywhere near as good as other are suggesting but I put that down to a lot of stop start driving and the cold weather. But I am getting about 30 - 35 miles at the moment so hopefully by next summer I will be able to stretch that further. Still enough for now to get me through the day and I'm happy that it will improve in the spring at a time I tend to be busier and driving more frequently. :)
50 miles takes good weather, good traffic and a bit of forethought.
30-35 miles is about right if all you do is jump in and drive. Especially if (like my wife) you like to give it some stick away from the traffic lights ;)
 

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My range isn't anywhere near as good as other are suggesting but I put that down to a lot of stop start driving and the cold weather.
Stop start driving isn't too harmful for range as it gives you the opportunity to use regen when braking. There's a knack to EV driving for maximum range – accelerating gently, easing off slightly at your cruising speed and anticipating the need to slow for traffic lights and junctions rather than holding your speed as late as you can then braking.
 

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True, however with these cold mornings, lots of stop-start traffic and sitting in traffic queues, my range is 26 miles at the moment!! That said I've got the climate on full auto (max aircon) and the journey is either 65mph or stop-start (more stop than start :( ). I easily get 40 miles on better runs and in better weather.
 

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S
True, however with these cold mornings, lots of stop-start traffic and sitting in traffic queues, my range is 26 miles at the moment!! That said I've got the climate on full auto (max aircon) and the journey is either 65mph or stop-start (more stop than start :( ). I easily get 40 miles on better runs and in better weather.
Since the morning temperature drop from 2nd week of October to below 9 degrees my wife has never made her 30 mile journey to work in her Volt. She gets between 24 and 27 miles max, despite always doing 2 preheat sessions to. I have given up now experimenting with her speed, heating settings etc. I have now moved to experimenting with her using hold mode immediately upon set off and slowly reducing the switch off point back to battery until she jousts rolls into work again with 1 mile or less ev range.

IMHO if you can't make a fixed daily journey on full ev in winter then you may as we'll work out the point to switch off hold mode each day and maximise battery use but minimise ice use, and treat the ice use as heating.

M
 

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24-27 miles, at the speeds you said your wife drives at, I guess that's probably about right for now. My wife is off to Surrey in mine in a couple of weeks, that's probably going to be a similar comparison, as she will whack the heating on full and these it down the M11 until the battery runs out !
So far she hasn't got it past 34 miles, despite 'trying' to drive it gently.... ;)
 

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Stop start driving isn't too harmful for range as it gives you the opportunity to use regen when braking.
I'm not sure how to quantify "too harmful" in your statement, but as I understand it I would disagree entirely. Regenerative braking does not recover anywhere near 100% of the kinetic energy as electro-chemical energy in the battery. There are losses all-along the entire kinetic-to-battery chain (loss due to friction on the various bearings and tyres and road, loss in the efficiency of the generator, loss in the efficiency of the battery charger, loss in the efficiency of the battery storage). Regenerative braking recovers only about half of the kinetic energy.

http://proev.com/LLPgs/LLei0005.htm

To my understanding, then, the stop-start driving *does* have a significant impact on range.

There's a knack to EV driving for maximum range – accelerating gently, easing off slightly at your cruising speed and anticipating the need to slow for traffic lights and junctions rather than holding your speed as late as you can then braking.
I don't disagree with this part at all. However, even if you employ these driving techniques to their fullest you will still be disappointed in your range when you have numerous stops along your route.

My normal 15 mile "commute" involves 14 mandatory stops (12 stop signs and 2 stop lights). This is a considerable burden to range efficiency. This is something for governments to consider when planning road development: roundabouts save vehicles energy (and time).
 

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Please can someone explain this to the road planners in Nottingham; they seem to employ every tactic in their arsenal to impede motorists' journeys. The (conspiracy) theory is that it's done deliberately in the misguided hope that it will force people on to public transport.

When I've tried to engage the council to discuss the matter, the responses have been 'cut & paste' stock answers at best and a complete inability to understand a rational argument at worst!
 

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Well I didn't intend to stir up a hornets nest! My kind of stop start driving can't be improved with anticipation, unfortunately. It's more like jump in the car drive a couple of miles or so, jump out the car for half an hour and then back in and off somewhere else or back to the office.
This kind of driving day is why I started looking at electric as I was really wearing cars out. Clutches in 30,000 miles, tyres in 10 to 15k even doing a couple engine mounts on my Alfa GT due to the stop start stuff (the V6 made such a lovely noise I tended to 'enjoy' the acceleration regularly).
The up side is that I'm rarely far from a charger, unless I'm heading to the other end of the country to see my parents, which is why the Ampera is such a good car for me. The other good thing is that the range doesn't seem to have dropped much with cold weather. Could be that having it plugged in is keeping the battery conditioned.
 

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I'm not sure how to quantify "too harmful" in your statement, but as I understand it I would disagree entirely. Regenerative braking does not recover anywhere near 100% of the kinetic energy as electro-chemical energy in the battery. There are losses all-along the entire kinetic-to-battery chain (loss due to friction on the various bearings and tyres and road, loss in the efficiency of the generator, loss in the efficiency of the battery charger, loss in the efficiency of the battery storage). Regenerative braking recovers only about half of the kinetic energy.
That's all true. I think we may be using 'stop start' to mean different things. My version, in the south east of England, is negotiating urban gridlock where the speed limit is 30 mph and there is a light controlled junction every few hundred metres. I always aim to do as @Lee Dalton suggests by maintaining forward momentum – my mindset when driving our EV is very similar to when out cycling – I like to hold on to momentum and make the journey flow as well as possible. As a consequence my GOM loses range slower than when I drive on faster dual carriageways and motorways.
 

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I like to hold on to momentum and make the journey flow as well as possible.
I see. We're saying the same thing, then. Indeed, racing to inevitably stop at a red light is nonsensical if you can drive slower and avoid stopping altogether.
 
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