A major concern for many would-be buyers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles is the potential lifespan of the expensive lithium-ion batteries. Some electric vehicles (EVs), such as the Nissan LEAF, have been subject to premature capacity loss in the battery pack, resulting in a shortened maximum range. However, one owner of a 2012 Chevy Volt has driven his plug-in hybrid over 300,000 miles with no signs of battery degradation, according to Green Car Reports.
Owned by Eric Belmer, the 2012 Chevy Volt still offers the 35 miles of electric driving range it left the factory with despite driving about 6,500 miles per month. Belmer claims to have covered approximately one-third of his driving using just electricity – about 103,000 miles. Yet, the Volt’s battery pack remains at its full capacity.
Why? The simple reason is that GM over-engineered the Volt’s 16 kWh lithium-ion battery, only allowing the vehicle to draw on 10 kWh at most. This leaves a tremendous buffer for both charging and discharging, the two most common culprits of premature capacity loss.
Another factor in the Volt’s longevity is the liquid-cooling system in the battery pack. Unlike the Nissan LEAF, which relies on forced air to cool its battery, the Volt has an extensive (and expensive) liquid-cooling system that keeps the battery at optimal temperatures. This helps preserve battery life, allowing Volt owners like Belmer to run up the odometer without the loss of electric driving range.
The 2017 Chevy Volt recently entered production with a larger 18.4 kWh battery pack and an estimated 53 miles of electric driving range.