Chevy Volt Owners Often Exceed 40 Miles of Electric-Only Range

By · July 24, 2012

Chevy Volt dash display

Have you surged past 50 electric miles in your Chevy Volt?

Though officially rated at only 35 miles of electric-only range, countless reports from Volt owners show that Chevy's plug-in hybrid can go well beyond 35 miles of all-electric driving, if driven with care.

In popular media, sometimes the Volt is dismissed as "only" going 35 miles before the gas engine is fired up to sustain the battery pack's charge. At that point, while in charge-sustaining mode, the Volt's official EPA rating is 37 mpg. As a result, there is a break-even point for longer trips—a point at which the 50-mpg Prius becomes the smarter choice for fuel efficiency compared to the Volt. Pushing the boundaries of the Volt's all-electric range (by driving carefully, and if the temperature is mild) could shift the break-even point in favor of the Volt. Of course, if Prius drives apply hypermiling techniques, its MPG would expand beyond 50 miles per gallon.

Reports posted on a once again prove that your mileage may vary. Take, for example, one forum user who reports hitting 40 miles on a single charge on a beautiful sunny day in Austin, Texas. If 40 is not impressive enough, then consider that several Volt owners report exceed 50 miles on a single charge and that at least a handful have broken past 60 miles on one or more occasions.

In the 2013 model, the official benchmark on all-electric range will move up. Volt's official electric-only range will increase from 35 miles to 38 miles.


· Chris C. (not verified) · 5 years ago

The Volt is routinely compared to the Prius because of the efficiency, but in my opinion it is absurd to compare the two cars. The Volt is FAR more powerful and fun to drive! As far as performance and being fun to drive, it's like comparing a Mustang to ... a Prius. The Prius is a penalty box, a commuting appliance with a singular focus on gas mileage, and really is not for people who like to enjoy driving. The Volt is a blast to drive that happens to be spectacularly efficient!

FYI, if you test drive a Volt, put it into Sport mode! Find the "Drive Mode" button on the console and press it twice; this will make the Volt more quick to accelerate and a lot more fun to drive. A lot of people (including journalists) have taken the Volt for a test drive and come away underwhelmed by the power. They didn't realize that, by default, the Volt runs in a lazier performance mode, what GM calls "Normal" mode. Put it into Sport mode and have some fun! I keep mine in Sport mode (and "L" regen mode) and I still get 35 miles per charge.

Check out for lots of interesting data on what kind of efficiency people are getting out of their Volts.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I rarely run out the battery on my 2012 Volt (and start using the gasoline engine), but the times I have, I got 40 miles, 45, 49, 50 (twice) and 54 miles on the charge. I'll admit that I mostly drive like a little old lady, but usually at least once per charge I'll stomp on the accelerator just to show off (and have a lot of fun).

· · 5 years ago

EV range of the Volt should be determined by the customer just like for the Tesla Model S. You could have a 40 miles, 60 miles, 75 miles or 100 miles battery. Likewise you could have a 30 KW range extender but also a 15 KW micro range extender. Choice is key for market demand matching.

· grumpy (not verified) · 5 years ago

I typically get 54-57 m/charge in predominanly around town driving. The funny thing is the guess-o-meter maxes out at 50 no matter what you do.

· Zythryn (not verified) · 5 years ago

The comparison between the Volt and the Prius is very appropriate for people who consider efficiency their highest priority.
I do have to say the Volt can appeal to a much wider market than the Prius.
Personally, we reach 50 miles most of the time in the summer (in MN). Drops to about 30 in the winter. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the Volt, and the work GM continues to put into improvements:)

· · 5 years ago


Having multiple pack sizes (larger) don't make a lot of sense for the Volt. If 70% of driver drive within the range of the current Volt without using the ICE/generator. Then, increasing the pack will not necessary give you the other 30% because some might drive 50 miles while other might need 150+ miles to cover their daily driving. GM was basically working on the 80/20 rule with the Volt.

Tesla had to do this because they are dependent on pack size for range. GM basically wants to use the smallest pack to get the maximum rebate and the longest distance possible.

· · 5 years ago

I probably would have gotten a Volt instead of a Leaf if it could get me the 38 mile uphill commute from work without gas.
I'm afraid GM's 80/20 estimate may have missed the fact that of that 80% many don't commute far enough to warrant spending extra money on a car to reduce having to go to the gas station so they served maybe only about 50%. Of course, 50% is a good sized population so even that may be sufficient.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I'll admit. im a bit clueless when it comes to cars. When you guys are saying 35,40,50 miles. Is that mpg? Or 35 flat then gas?

Sorry, like I said, I'm pathetic when it comes to cars.

· · 5 years ago

When we say "go 35 miles", being plug-in geeks, we are normally referring to the distance we can travel on the electricity from plugging in. With the Volt, assuming there is gas in the tank, the gas engine will start at this point and keep you going until you run out of gas or refuel.
With pure EVs, you'd better plug in and recharge at that mileage.
Most plug-in geeks, of course, would like to plug their Volt in at the end of its electric range since that is generally the whole reason they bought the car - so they wouldn't need gasoline.

· ChefKathy (not verified) · 5 years ago

I'm thinking about leasing a volt. I love the idea of no gas. The only reason I'm holding back is I keep thinking that this car might get better next year and should I wait. What do you think?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I have owned a volt since Dec 22, 2011 which is the last time I went to a gas station. I filled up my new volt which was a mistake for GM delivers the volt with only 3 gallons to save weight. Since Dec 22, I have never put a drop of gas in it. I use to spend about $75/week. My volt shows a charge of 47 miles every morning when I leave my house. I drive about 37 miles (half city/half Hwy) to work where I have installed a 2nd 240v charger ($400). I go back home on a fully charged battery. This way I have been able to drive 4,500 miles and used only 1.9 gallons of gasoline. On the driving side, the car is spectacular: quiet, comfy and fast. The lack of a gas engine makes it quiet. Seats are very good and, in sports mode, the car is really fun to drive. This is the best car I have owned so far. Previous cars were: BMW 535, Merdeces Benz (various models), toyota (various models), Nissan (various models) and others. I would buy this car again.

· grumpy (not verified) · 5 years ago

The 2013 Volt will get a slightly better battery design that will boost mileage about 10% and there are rumors about a more powerful engine, though these seem less likely. I am not aware of when the next major refresh of the Volt will occur, but I doubt it will be for another 18 months minimum. I guess it would come down to the length of the lease.

· Dennis (not verified) · 5 years ago

I love my Volt. I have had it since the beginning of May, We haven driven it about 2400 miles. so far we have used 3.3 gal of gas.. It is fun to drive, lots of power, and a great looking car. I just saw that Chevy is offering a 2 month money back offer if you don't like it. I am thrilled with mine.. I hope more people look at it..

· Jeff (not verified) · 5 years ago

I have about 5000 miles on my 2012 volt and the range recently went into the thirties after being in the forties... What happened?

· · 5 years ago

I bought the 2013 Volt on January 2 nd and I love it. I live in a cold climate ,Chicago,and initially got close to 38 miles per charge on electricity. However I received a check engine light this week and took it into the dealer. They said they had to reboot a computer program and since then the charge in the am's says only 34 miles. Does anyone else have experience with this? I am going to get it checked out tomorrow at the dealer and if I learn something I will pass it on.

· · 5 years ago

I am thinking about buying a Chevy Volt. It's either that or the Ford Fusion Energi or the Honda Accord Hybrid Plug-in. The latter isn't for sale in my state (Arizona) yet, so I guess I will have to get serious about the other 2. I drive few miles and am intrigued by the idea of a plug-in, so I welcome any comments (good or bad) about either the Chevy Volt or the Ford Fusion Energi. Thank you in advance for any feedback.

· · 5 years ago

Previous to my 2013 Volt, I owned 4 Prius cars, the last was a Prius C. I enjoyed them all, particularly the C. Very fun to drive in the Sport mode. Good mileage in them all but I always felt that with a bit of tweaking, they could have been better. The motor engaged too soon after take off, unless you babied the accelerator and could stand the honking horns and road rage behind you. If the engine had remained off under reasonable acceleration until you reached 25 mph it would have made driving the car more enjoyable. When the C did not do much better with city mileage than the previous Prius's (?), I began the search of electric vehicles.

The Leaf would not do as I do more than just local driving. I really liked the Ford C-Max but the Energi plug-in was not available in north central Ohio. The price of the Volt had put me off but I decided to drive one anyway. When I learned of the $7500 tax incentive combined with a $2000 discount and 0% financing, I made the leap.

I got the car when the weather was cold, so the generator (motor) would run at times. Now that the temperatures are up in the 50's and 60's, the engine stays silent and my electric range has increased noticeably even with my love of running in the Sport mode. The Volt is a pleasure to drive and is very comfortable. I was apprehensive of all the touch buttons on the central console panel, but now that I have learned how to use them, I like them.

With my driving being primarily city, the Volt is an excellent car for me. I enjoy the fast response, the quietness, the comfortable ride and knowing I may not have to buy gas until the weather gets cold again.

· · 5 years ago

Had our Volt since end of last summer and loving it. Live in Colorado and yes in cold weather you don't get as much on the electric engine. But for our commutes it's just fine. Yes the seating in the back (only seats 2) is a disappointment but a sacrifice we can live with.
Gotta say my biggest thrill is the ride. OK I'm a woman and have NEVER understood all the hugs the road fuss I see touted in commercials. But people compared to my past cars, this car does truly hugs the road and handle beautifully! Better still is it literaly GLIDES down the road on level ground and will go forever with no touch of the pedal on even the smallest on downhill inclines. It's spoiling me and makes me slightly grumpy when I drive my old Prius now., as it does not glide and in fact now feels like I'm driving in sand compared to the Volt.
And yes I can more often than not average 40+ mile on battery. I find it fun to work at eeking out as much as I can while driving. Someone asked about a drop in the estimated charge. I can't state this factually but I have a personal theroy that maybe someone can check into. I beleive the estimate for charge may very well be based on recent driving patterns. I say this because my husband drives it primarily during the week and when i get it on the weekends the estimates tend to be lower. After my driving it a few days they start going back up. And as I've mentioned I LIKE eeking as much as I can out of it. While my husband pays less attention to how he's driving. I.E. coasting on even slight downhill inclines.
We didn't want the Leaf as we didn't like the idea of running out of juice and needing it towed home. Love having the security of being able to go wherevet I need to. Cause even on gas the milage is great AND clean.
The future improvements I hope for are improvements to the heating system and making the back seat five.

· · 5 years ago

Hello everyone,
I got my Volt last black Friday 2012. It came with a full tank of gas and after 1500 miles or so I filled up my tank ($4x8gal=$32). At that time (Dec30, 2012), I figured it was the best thing since I used to spend that amount every 3 or 4 days on my old car (that I used for downpayment, btw)....But that was me driving the exact same way as before: mostly highways, 75Mph +, AC full. Then i started using inner cities roads instead of highways, use less the AC and more importantly: using the cruise control to every road' speed limit. TODAY (April 13, 2013) every morning, my battery is charged to 51miles of range. I have only used 2 Gal of gas. I only stop by the gas station to buy the lottery or to get a drink....its really like that commercial. ..i leased my volt for 3 years and paying $350/month (including taxes) sorry, but is that awesome or what?? not only the car drives so smooth, and quietly and sharp and its so fun to drive and like the other person in this forum said: "yes, every charge, I also stomp on the accelerator just to show off". just want to see people faces with the: what the he..?? because a car next to them made no noise and ran the yellow light so fast? hehe.. .. I had a Range Rover, a Ford Edge, Mazda 5, Saab convertible, corolla, etc....and by faaaaaaar my VOLT is the absolute best car i have driven and guess what? it take me only 10 or 15 extra mins tops to get to my friends don't believe me, they just don't!..Not only i enjoy my ride like no one else, but i feel i drive better than before. I am more calm, more relax, no speeding tickets....i hooked up my smart phone to it that now i listened to Pandora instead of the regular radio with all those annoying commercials. and since the past week, i learned something new: if you try not to use as often the brakes but the L gear to reduce speed, you will see an increase of performance. I am getting 54miles per charge and counting. AND that is me only using the regular 120volt plug to charge it. I live in fort Lauderdale, Florida. Now imagine in the near future with the increasing of Charge-Points? that will be just great! me getting some charge while buying groceries at Publix, etc ??? oh boy! can't way!..I have driven 3517 miles so far (and counting) and spent $32 in gas? that is unreal! and that was me not knowing how to drive the car more efficiently....I am very happy!! and that for me is priceless!!. ... ..... I hope more people read us and join the Volt community. i will post updates in the near future just to keep track of my findings. Thanks!

· · 5 years ago

Fyi. I have hit 60 on the last few charges on my 2013 Volt. Nice surprise!

· · 4 years ago

Just bought a 2013 Volt - disappointed. After fully charging the display states I have 32 miles of battery miles available. Everything you read from Chevy states the 2013 model will now have 38 miles. Considering I lose about 4-5 miles just heating vehicle I get about 27-28 miles per charge.

· · 4 years ago

Hang in there. My 2013 volt bought last October also stated around 32 miles avail. The estimator is based on last 150 miles driven. Anyone test driving it was gunning it to see what it could do. Also, my tires were inflated to only 33 psi not the 38 recommended. my experience over the 12 months is 38-48 miles in Spring/Summer/Fall and 30 miles in January with daytime highs of 25degrees. It helps to pre-heat with 220Volt in morning and start with engine on (hold mode) for return trip home for a few miles to avoid using so much battery to heat the car.

· · 4 years ago

I am looking into getting the volt and I have a question. I live in California and want to know how much does it cost to charge. I do have 220v in my garage. I use an average of $80 a month on gas.

· · 4 years ago

@Linda -
I had the same question and then saw a sale for 32K and jumped and bought one. I am only on week 3 and during week 1 I had guests in my house so cannot say how much my electricity increased due to them versus the car, but based on all the claims I have heard, here are my thoughts.
1) You don't need a 220V supply. The car can charge in about 12 hours on 110V. You can have a charger connected to the 220V supply to charge faster, but that has little effect on the cost of electricity. A charger will cost about $500 plus another $500 for installation. I have the same situation and decided against getting a charger for now. Also note you can get a tax rebate for a charger, but looks like if you take the tax credit for the Volt, you max out your credits for the year.
2) SCE supplies my electricity. If you have this, go to their website for rates. They have special plans for EV owners. SCE has 4 tiers. Summer rates are slightly higher than winter. In summer tier 1 is $0.13 per kwh; tier 2 $0.16kwh; tier 3 $0.27kwh; tier 4 $0.31kwh. Usually I end the month in tier 3. The Volt will use 13kwh per full charge. I don't know if that is what it really does, that is the claim. So for me it should cost 13*0.27 = $3.51 per charge. However, after a couple charges I will be in tier 4 and then it will cost me $4.03 per charge.
3) How many miles do you drive a month is a better question. $80 I will guess gets you 20 gallons of gas. My previous car could go about 500 miles on 20 gallons.
4) Volt can get about 40 miles per charge. I am averaging higher, but I am not driving like I used to, doing a lot of coasting and energy efficient driving... when not being tailgated. :) ANYHOW, 500 miles is 12.5 charges. So it would cost about $44 or $50 depending on your tier. (to save more keep reading, I am rambling before I get to the best idea) My friends report they don't go beyond tier 2. If you have a "smallish" home and are good with electricity, don't use AC etc, you can do even better.
5) BUT WAIT - it gets better. SCE has special rates for EV owners. One requires a dedicated line with its own meter and will cost $0.10 per KWH or $16.25 a month. HOWEVER the installation for that can cost $2000. It will take a few years to recover that money.
6) I plan to use a home plus EV option where they charge you $0.10 at night and higher rates during the day. My calculations show my electric bill will go up $2 in the summer and down $2 in the winter without my car. With my car it will go up an additional $16.25. The nighttime rate is midnight to 6am. 6pm to midnight is slightly cheaper than the day time rate but not as cheap as the night rate. The weekend rate is cheaper than the normal day time rate. If you can shift dryer usage and other major appliances to run later at night or weekends you may actually decrease your electric bill. I have not switched to this plan yet. I wanted to do one month with my current plan so I can better see the savings when I switch. I can give better numbers in 2 months, but anyone reading this far probably does not want to hear more. :)

Comparing item 5 and 6, you may never recover the cost for item 5 compared to the savings of item 6.... at least not over the lifetime of a Volt. Over the life time of multiple Volts you may save money.

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