Our Volt arrived with just under 200 miles on its odometer, sparkling clean on a bright, sunny Friday afternoon. It stayed clean for half a day. Then the mercury plunged to single digits overnight, which gave way to a mini-blizzard that brought about six inches of unexpected snow on Saturday afternoon. I unplugged at 7:45 that morning and ventured out with a full battery and the dash display reading 9 degrees. Within a few blocks the engine fired and a dash message read “ENGINE RUNNING DUE TO TEMPERATURE.” It only ran for a mile or two and then shut off, but repeated this after each of two stops that morning, burning an indicated 0.3 gallons.
I started off without pre-conditioning the car, but the optional heated seats are programmed to switch on automatically (for both front seats if it senses a passenger onboard), and this helped take the chill off quickly, but as I was trying to behave like the green enthusiast who’d shell out for a Volt, I kept the climate
control system in its “ECO” mode at 68 degrees. My feet never warmed up, so I switched to “COMFORT,” and spent the rest of the weekend indexing the temperature upward. I never lost the cold feet, but a GM employee pal with a “fast-feedback” car says 80 degrees and Comfort does the trick.
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