We leave the Chevy Volt Running Overnight, and Its Battery Doesn't Die!

Story by Benjamin Greene

Originally published by Dupont Registry: http://www.dupontregistry.com/autos/blog/post/2011/03/22/We-accidentally-prove-the-Chevy-Volt-wont-die-if-left-running-overnight-worry-owners-may-not-be-as-lucky.aspx

2011 Chevrolet Volt battery meter

We stumbled upon a couple interesting facts about the 2011 Chevrolet Volt during its last night in our care. The Volt showed approximately eight miles worth of battery juice the day before it was scheduled to leave when a group of employees took a mid-afternoon break to inspect the car a little further. The vehicle was left running as the group of five got into and out of the vehicle to peruse its many different features. We all left, and the Volt stayed parked overnight. One staff member came in early the next morning and noticed that the car’s exterior lights were on. Believing that the car was just being picked up early, she did not think anything more of it. It was not until later that afternoon that another staff member realized the Volt had been “on” the entire night after he was greeted with a sudden blast of air from the climate control system when he opened the passenger door to return the owner’s manual.

Because the car is nearly silent when it is running off its batteries (as highlighted in our review of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt), we left the car locked but unaware that it was still technically running. Although we are a little worried that some owners may accidentally leave their Volt on during the chaos of bringing multiple children or groceries or both into the house and thus the opportunity arises that the car will leave them stranded, we have to admit our pride that the Volt’s battery never died.

We can only gather that the car's lights kicked on after sunset and stayed on all night because they were left in the “Auto” position. Since the staff member that was greeted with a blast from the A/C system said it felt like it kicked on as soon as he entered the car, and because the key fob was not with the car, we initially did not believe the A/C system was on all night. However, a few quick tests did show that the car and its A/C system will stay on even if the key fob is not with the car.

We had approximately eight miles worth of battery and 250 miles of extended range remaining when we left the car that afternoon. Upon our return, four hours shy of 24 hours later, the car still had 150 miles of extended range left over. After depleting the remaining juice from the battery, the gasoline motor must have kicked on and off throughout the night to keep up with the car’s electric demands.

We also understanding that our actions may be in violation of Florida State Statue 316.1975:

“A person driving or in charge of any motor vehicle may not permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the key.”

Our only defense is that the engine was not on (when we left it) and there was no ignition to lock or key to remove. We will let you know if we are served any non-moving violations because of our lack of judgment.