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When To Use Chevy Volt's Hold and Mountain Modes for Best MPG

You are a new Chevy Volt owner and decide to take an out of the town trip and wonder how to use the Hold and Mountain modes of your Volt to get the most miles per gallon. Here are several imputes from current Volt owners who share their experience in Chevy Volt Owners public group on Facebook.


2013 Chevy Volts brought few welcome changes adding an EV Hold Mode to the existing Normal, Sport, and Mountain modes. Both EV Hold and Mountain modes are similar, the difference is that the Mountain Mode will hold the battery at 45 percent state of charge, while EV Hold mode will hold the charge in your Volt's battery as soon as it’s switched on. Here some Chevy Volt owners share their experiences on how to use the Hold and Mountain modes for the best MPG.

Ways to use EV Hold Mode

Eric Douglas
Hold mode is good for freeway, it uses gas and keeps the battery where you left it (I'm told that you'll get better mileage when the battery is more full, but I'm not certain).

Betsee Thompson
I'm in Michigan with a new-to-us used Volt. What I've found works best - and I've driven our Volt to Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Toronto on our longest trips - is I use the Hold mode for on the highway or any long stretches of certain miles per hour. That seems to get me the best MPG. I prefer to save the electric for in-town driving or stop-and-go on the highway stuff.

Paul Brook
At high speeds use hold and round town/stop start use EV. But above all else: don't obsess and don't be afraid to use the engine (like some obsessive members). 70 miles is nothing for the Volt. Just make sure you don't come back with any battery remaining.

Phil Chang
My commute is about 75 miles. I use Hold mode on the freeway, but switch to Normal mode in traffic jams. I average about 95-120 mpg. On a really bad day I hit 150 mpg round trip.

Timothy Peters
My commute is about 75 miles. I always use hold on the freeway and use the electric modes on side streets. It works well. I am not as concerned about efficiency as much as saving the quiet experience for the lower speeds, and using the gas engine when I can't hear it on the highway.

How To Use Mountain Mode

Eric Douglas
Mountain mode, if I understand correctly, will use battery, and give you an extra push - which depletes your battery faster than normal. So I'd use that sparingly.

John McVicker
Leave home in Mountain mode. Will switch to engine on the highway - and then with 16 miles to go, back to Normal mode. I do this all the time.

Chad Wehrling
Mountain Mode is used for hilly travel. Keeps a 'reserve' in the battery to get you up those hills. Does not give the car any kind of "boost" in power/torque.

2 Concluding Suggestions

Benjamin Alderson.
Whatever you do, with all the jacking around with Hold/MM, don't leave electricity in the tank, or you've wasted gas. I use Waze to know exactly how far I have left and I know how many miles / kWh I'm likely to get in around town driving, so I can typically nail it so that I get home just as I'm running out of charge completely, with maybe 1 mile remaining or I run out 1 mile from home. Last thing you want to do is burn up a quart of gas and arrive with 10 miles of electricity remaining.

Tom Survilla
On any drive beyond full-charge range with no recharging opportunities, you’ll get perhaps 3-5 more electric miles by careful use of Hold instead of staying in Normal, thus reducing trip gas consumption by perhaps one pint. Are you really that interested in saving pennies when using gas? Using Hold to choose when to use battery power can be a personal, not an economic decision (e.g., "I like to save my battery power for driving on residential streets"). Sure, if you forget to switch to Normal soon enough, you’ll burn a small amount of gas you didn’t "need" to use and arrive home with a bit of charge remaining, but you will arrive home on quiet electric power.

Also Watch New Chevy Volt Driving Modes Explained


tommmeee (not verified)    August 13, 2016 - 2:38AM

I drive a late (September) 2013 that has HOLD mode. I use HOLD a lot. Be careful though, If the battery is kept above 50% you run the risk of overcharging it while going down hills.
Mountain mode is used to be sure the battery has 17 to 20 miles before you drive up a mountain. The GENERATOR by itself cannot add enough charge to the battery on long uphill grades on mountain roads. The battery will naturally decrease charge while driving uphill. The battery may go below 5 miles while going up long steep roads even with the generator running. As soon as you get to a flat area Mountain Mode charges the battery up to 17 to 20 miles again. The engine will stop at that point and when you go down a long hill regen can charge the battery to 33 to 45 miles or more. Mountain mode (MM) stays off until you reach 17 battery miles then turns the generator back on. The range meter can read over 50 miles downhill on regen but none of this counts on your car electricity calculator. Hold mode works the same way. It only charges to the point where you turn it on. It can hold the charge at 33 miles or at 5 miles forever but will increase or decrease according to the road grade.
Now for the facts... If the battery is depleted and you turn MM on - the car will get about 20 mpg for 20 minutes on a flat 65 mph road or zero while parked (charging is like it is plugged into a 440 fast charger). You get faster charging (15 minutes) while parked but no driving progress. After that, continuing MM on a long trip will get about 39 mpg on flat roads. Hold mode will get the same mpg results on a long trip. AC will decrease mpg by one mpg, or 38 mpg. Around town is always at a lower mpg.
Hot weather, with AC, on 2000 mile trips, with gas only - gets me 38 mpg. Cold weather 1500 miles (32 degrees and electric heater) got me 28 mpg. Note that I never charge the car on long trips. I use gasoline and MM only to keep the battery at about 17 miles. In cold weather it may only read 10 miles. I use HOLD when I don't want to engage MM. Hold is best on long flat road trips of 200-300 miles.
One other benefit in hot weather of the VOLT and MM, If you pull into a rest stop with 17 miles of electricity and it is HOT outside you can crack a window, turn the engine off and run the air conditioner for three or more hours if you want to take a nap. KOOL!!!

Tom Hendren (not verified)    June 10, 2018 - 3:02AM

If you drive straight through, always keep it in Mountain Mode even if you charge it overnight. You do not have the HOLD option. This way you will always have enough power for hills and will get the best mileage. Mountain mode will automatically start the engine at about half the battery level (15 to 17 miles) and you will never have to make a decision when to use it on the fly. It will then drive hybrid style much like a Prius. Charging the battery by engine when it is depleted reduces the MPG to below 20 until the battery is at the proper level. Have a great time. Sorry to write so late.

Michael (not verified)    September 1, 2018 - 5:52PM

what a kluge as in, pretty silly..... much rather have EV, combined and IC modes with an obvious battery % charge displayed

did a test drive of a volt today and they couldn't show me battery mode only as the battery was completely depleted.... dealer could not explain and didn't seem to know how the volt works

Phill (not verified)    January 28, 2019 - 7:18PM

In reply to by Michael (not verified)

Typical dealer debauchery... They could have just put it in mountain mode to charge it up halfway... I had the same type of situation test driving a Leaf, they didn't plug it in and there was only 6 miles left LOL...

Tom Hendren (not verified)    February 25, 2023 - 1:53AM

2-24-2023 On my 2013 Chevy Volt, one more benefit of Mountain Mode is that, for the second time, once about 70,000 miles and now in 136,000 miles, my charger port has stopped functioning. Got wet in the rain. I am still able to charge using gas and MM and still get 35 mpg in town, 31 mpg city and up to 40mpg highway. I always use Mountain Mode except for short trips because the car gets 20mpg while charging itself so this uses more gas. Also, the tank is only 9 gallons so I only get a total of about 200 miles on 8 gallons. The charge port is now not available for 4 months {suppply issues} so Chevy cannot repair it until May, maybe. Bummer, but I can drive it and my other car gets only 19, 22 or up to 26mpg so I am still happy to drive the Volt on gas verses not at all. I am also retired so driving on gas isn't so big a deal, Even here in California where super is over $5.50 a gallon these days. Still, my lifetime mpg has dropped from 220 to 155 but the car is not sitting in a lot waiting, it is being used properly. Everything else is working properly.