Yesterday, the newest Chevrolet Volt, set for a 2016 release, was finally unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show. We’ve all been waiting for a big update to one of General Motors’ most popular hybrids, despite the fact that the Volt didn’t achieve its initial high aspirations. With a successful first edition Volt, the task of the 2016 model was to improve on its predecessor.
From the stats released by GM, it looks like it has surpassed expectations and really is quite impressive. Not only has the car been improved in its fuel efficiency, but the Volt is also now much more pleasing on the eye.
So what has changed?
The Volt’s new and improved battery now holds 18.4 kWh compared to the original model’s 17.1kWh. The 2nd gen model has slimmed down the weight of its battery by 20 pounds by eliminating 96 fuel cells, now totalling 192
When it comes to range, the Volt now reaches 50 miles of pure-electric driving, rather than just 38 miles. However, Chevy says Volt owners will be able to drive 400 miles in total, with 1,000 miles in between refueling, provided the Volt is charged at night.
Charging time, however, hasn’t changed much. It will still take you 13.5 hours for a full charge on a 120 volt input (or 4.5 hours if you have the 240 volt input).
Motor and Fuel Efficiency
The new two-motor drive unit increases efficiency by an impressive 12% and further weight loss of 100 pounds. This, alongside a new 1.5L range extender for regular, unleaded petrol gives the Volt a fuel efficiency of 41 mpg (EPA estimate pending) and a combined fuel efficiency of 102 mpg.
Alongside these improvements is the new 0-60 mph time of 8.4 seconds, (a half second improvement) and top speed of 98 (the same as the first generation model).
[sam_ad id=”3″ codes=”true”]The Voltec system, which is what powers the vehicle’s battery, drive unit, range-extending engine and power electronics, has also seen further upgrade from the 1st generation Volt.
After many Volt owners commented on how much they enjoyed the Volt’s electric driving experience, it was brought to attention that driving the new Volt should be “fun”.
As we mentioned in a recent preview of the vehicle, the Volt will include a feature called ‘Regen on Demand’. Essentially, the driver is now given yet more control over electric distribution with paddles on the steering wheel which can easily be adjusted to the driver’s specifications. The new braking system has also been given a boost with improved capabilities and the Regen feel.
GM has said that “everything from charging the battery and checking the charge status, to the intuitiveness of instrument panel controls were designed for easier use”. Though from looking at the center console and dashboard, I’m not totally convinced that if the Volt were given to an older member of my family, whether it would still shock them into an early death.
“Easier use” might be so, but it looks like you’d need to study the manual for quite a while before it becomes “Easier” if tech isn’t quite your forte.
As for aesthetics, the design is (according to GM) designed by “the toned physiques of athletes”. So we’re left to assume that realistically it just means the Volt has had not just a strict diet, but now welcomes a sportier appearance with some aerodynamics being brought in to speed the whole thing up.
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The signature Volt grills survived the diet, though the silver is a little too “ in your face” for many. Opinion seems to be waving at hoping that GM will give the option to tone the grill color down, and opt for black in place of the exhibited silver.
The inside design takes on the ever-growing futuristic movement look that seems ever more common in the hybrid and electric car world. Now, to cater for families needing to charge their phones or computers on the go, there are even lighted USB ports. And for those kids who can’t deal with cold bums, you can now have rear heated seats.
In the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, we see many improvements on the 1st generation model. The problem for GM now comes with pricing.
The current $35,000 Volt price tag doesn’t seem to sway buyers when, for the same price, you could be driving a brand new top-tier Audi A3 or BMW i4 Drive Coupe, which doesn’t exactly persuade many to take the green route, despite the possible savings to the pocket and the earth when buying a hybrid.
Due to the 1st generation’s flop when compared to predicted sales, Chevy and GM seem to have good faith now. They seem to have learned their lesson, that consumers must be eased into the “green” car world. The only thing that is going to directly enforce consumers to buy hybrid/electric is a modest price tag.
If GM can get its price for the 2016 Volt right, they could be onto a winner here. The stats are there, the Volt spoke for itself in performance. Now it’s time to see whether consumers will brave it out into new territory the second time around.