By on October 29, 2014

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-Teaser

The Chevrolet Volt came into this world through a combination of engineering, design, and a twee song/interpretive dance number.

The second-generation PHEV, due out of Detroit late next year, plans to aim a bit higher than its quirky beginnings.

Automotive News reports the new Volt will have a clean-sheet Voltec drive unit that is 100 pounds lighter than current, and will deliver 20 percent improved acceleration for blasting off the line at your local drag strip, thanks to two electric motors doing the grunt work instead of one.

Speaking of motors, the main four-pot range extender will gain in size for 2016, jumping from 1.4 to 1.5 liters. The new engine is part of a family of small engines — ranging from 1 to 1.5 liters — that will be used throughout General Motors’ global portfolio.

Holding the electricity will be a new battery pack with larger cells and a 20 percent increase in storage capacity. Cell count falls from 288 in the outgoing pack, to 192 in the upcoming unit.

As far range and MPGs are concerned, GM will announce those figures when the new Volt — sans the aforementioned twee song-and-dance number — rolls down the ramp at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

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59 Comments on “2016 Chevrolet Volt To Have More Power From Stem To Stern...”


  • avatar

    I’m seeing more and more Volts on the road.
    I hope the new one remedies some of the failings of the original.

    • 0 avatar
      Avatar77

      Former Volt lessee here – the original was quite a good car. What failings do you speak of? The interior was a little plasticky for my tastes but it worked, acceleration off the line up to about 25 was brisk, and the 40+ miles of real world range (a bit less in winter) was more than enough for my commute. There is always room for improvement and that appears to be what GM has in store for the Volt, but failings? Nope.

      • 0 avatar
        C. Alan

        Current Volt owner here. The elephant in the room for the orginal Volt was the price: $45k. Now I know every owner talks about the the tax break, but for most of alot of us (me included) don’t have enough income to qualify for the full $7,500 tax break. So even with that support, the price was still too high IMO.

        Thank you for being a lease holder, as the glut of cars coming off lease is the reason I now own a used Volt. I picked up a 2011 premium Volt with 17k miles on it for $19k. At this price, the Volt is much more attractive.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Yep that’s about what lease returns are going for in MN. Right around 20K or less w/under 30K miles. The battery packs are so over-engineered in the Gen 1 Volts I figure they should be good for 12-15 years if not longer.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            A new Volt is $31-34K. Subtract your $7,500 from Uncle Sam (plus in MA, we get another $2,500) and you are looking at like $25K out the door. So a 3 year old will have to be under $20K, or people will just buy new.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            I should have specified that is roughly what dealers are asking for the premium models. I’m sure you could knock a few thousand off that, Especially with the current price of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          C. Alan

          @Carlson
          Had I decided to go to a base Volt with a few more miles on it, I think I could have gotten it for under $17k.

      • 0 avatar

        Interior space mostly, it felt cramped and claustrophobic to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Remember they were stuck with the existing Cruze platform when they designed/built it. They lowered the roofline for aerodynamics but had to keep the same firewall height.

          When I demo’d one for 3 days I was drving a fullsize crew cab PU. I didn’t find it claustrophobic or small.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            The biggest complaint, size wise, was the lack of rear seat leg room and head room, compared to the Prius. The second generation needs better space utilization, or a bigger platform.

  • avatar
    redav

    I haven’t driven a Volt, so I can’t comment on its acceleration/drivability, but from sitting in one, my biggest complaint is that the interior looked like a plastic ipod–more like a toy than a car.

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I own a 2011 Volt, and my least favorite feature is the user interface on the center stack. I am very much the techno–geek, and it took me a while to figure most of it out. There were some changes made from the 2011 to the 2014s that did improve the situation some by moving alot of the functions up to the touch screen.

      Also, like most navigation systems of it’s era, it leaves a lot to be desired. My Iphone running waz is a hell of a lot better at getting me places, and avoiding traffic. The Bose system in the car is pretty nice, and that coupled with XM radio makes it a pretty good road trip car.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I suspect the iPOD dash/switches will go away. I’ve never heard or read a comment by anyone who thought they were the “cats meow”.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    meanwhile my hemi is happily belching dinosaur chunks at $2.69 a gallon

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    January can’t come soon enough. Really looking forward to this car. Hoping the price is comparable to a Jetta Sportwgen TDI, and that they ditch the stupid Coby radio piano gloss center console for something more like their current crop of regular interiors. They are actually on a bit of roll with interiors at the moment, and for what they charge for Volts, they should really do better. Soft touch plastics everywhere, with a convincing fake leather stitched dash.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “convincing fake leather stitched dash”

      No such thing will ever exist. Many have tried, but fake stitching always looks like robot ass.

      GM is particularly bad at this game, but anything that starts out with the “fake” mindset can’t win.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “anything that starts out with the “fake” mindset can’t win.”

        Yep.

        These molded stitching dash covers will be the thing that makes the interiors of early-2010s cars look dated before their time, just like overly rounded switchgear in the 1990s and cheesy techno dash graphics in the ’80s.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    GM should follow Toyota’s strategy with the Prius, have one car that is compact, with sleek lines and superior aerodynamics, and another model off the same chassis that maximizes passenger room and cargo space. The marginal cost of the second vehicle would not be very high.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Looking at the sales of the Prius V I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Other companies can’t seem to copy Toyota’s actions with regard to the Prius. They chase them blindfolded instead.

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I think if they dropped the Voltec drivetrain into a 5 passenger CUV that got 40 miles on a charge, and then 40 mpg, GM would sell a ton of them. So why haven’t they? If I were a bettin’ man, I would say the money case is not there yet compaired to building just plain old ICE CUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      In addition to the increased range, better fuel economy and lower price, the 2nd row actually being able to seat 3 adults or fit larger car seats should increase Volt sales.

      And while it seems GM is intent on continuing the ELR (the next gen should be a “4-door coupe” if that is the case), better use of the Voltec system would be a Buick crossover.

  • avatar
    carve

    The Volt is a heavy and inefficient execution of this concept. BMW i3 does it much better with its mini motor and focus on weight. If you want a motor that can deliver 100% of the power, it should be direct drive to avoid the cost of a separate generator. The generator is dead weight in electric mode, and the batteries are dead weight in gas mode.

    The better way though is to delete the cost of a full-size motor and have something barely able to maintain highway speed. When you want to do a road trip, just hit a button that says “gas-mode”. Then you use your electric power for accelerating and climbing hills and gas for maintaining speed. The motor/generator will have minimal dead weight the 90% of the time it isn’t necessary, allowing longer electric range or a lighter, cheaper battery, and the battery will never be dead weight, even in gas mode.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The weight difference is mainly due to the BMW’s structure, which is carbon fiber and aluminum. The good news is that keeps the weight down, as you say. The bad news is the i3 costs ten grand more than a Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The i3 is ghastly looking and is way too pricey and despite the price, the Soul EV has better NVH and sound isolation.

        The 2G Volt will look a lot better, have a much better ride/noise isolation and won’t have the problem of range anxiety (and will be less expensive to boot).

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I like the i3 on paper, with its 80 to 100 mile battery range, but I am not sure how it will perform in the wild with its 2.4 gallon gas tank. This pretty much counts the car out as a roadtrip car.

      FYI, GM added a ‘hold’ mode to the Volt in the 2013 models that does force to car to operate on the ICE alone. The engine in the Volt can also dircetly drive the wheels, but only at highway speeds because there is no conventional transmission in the car. That said, in the current generation car the generator is still necessary to run the car at low speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      As an aside, whatever BMW pays its publicity people is not enough. An i3 self-immolated in my apartment building’s garage last spring. The make and model of the car in question were conspicuously absent from news coverage of the event (http://abc7chicago.com/archive/9531251/). Had the same thing happened with a Volt or an ELR, my guess is that the General would’ve gotten pilloried.

      That said, I think cars like the Volt and the i3 are great for the majority of driving that the majority of people do.

    • 0 avatar
      jmarmara

      It really depends on how you look at it. Of course having two powertrains could never be more efficient than any one by itself, however this does provide a stepping stone to full BEV vehicle adoption down the road.

      As for the i3, its a completely different play on the same concept, but the grass isn’t always greener:

      http://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/10/bmw-i3-acceleration-problem-consumer-reports/

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      Isn’t the MPG in range extending mode worse on the BMW than the Volt? Maybe I’m wrong. Anyone know how the MPGe compares? A LOT of low hanging fruit to pluck on the design of the Gen 1 Volt where efficiniency is concerned.

  • avatar

    I still want to know who penned/recorded “Chevy Volt and Me,” by the way. I’ve found nothing on the identity of those behind this song, and hope this doesn’t go up on my list of unsolved mysteries, which begins with what Ray Wert drove to his high school reunion in 2007.

    Perhaps someone close to the source might know, yes?

  • avatar
    gasser

    Volt still has a long plug in recharge time. GM had a problem with the electric cord overheating, so they lowered the current draw…less heat in the cord, longer recharge times.
    I sat in a Volt at the last auto show and agree ith the too plastic criticism. Additionally, if it were to be my only car, I would like a bit more driver room.

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I think the big problem was not the cables on the charging units heating up, but the fact is they were too short. I think the main issue now is amps being pulled by house electrical systems. The 120v chargers sold with the early Volts pulled 12 amps. Most house circuits are designed to pull a maximum of 15 amps. So you really couldn’t have any other items on the circuit with the car while it charged. Also, if you used a cheap old wall plug to charge it, it would get hot. After a few pictures of burnt electrical outlets began appearing on the internet, I think the lawyers at GM decided to lower the default charging amperage of the Volt to 8 amps starting with the 2013 models. You can still get the car to charge at 12 amps, but it take a few more steps. There is lots of b*tching about this on the Volt forums.

      I’m just waiting to move, and then I will be installing a level 2 charger at my new home. This gets around the problem by charging from 240 volts. As an added bonus, the car will also fully charge in under 4 hours. This becomes more important to those who live on the west coast, and want to get all their charging done in off-peak hours late at night.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> I think the big problem was not the cables on the charging units heating up, but the fact is they were too short.

        One of the biggest problems with the current Volt is the lame 3.3 kw on-board charger. So, even the at-home level 2 charge is slow compared to other EVs equipped with 6.6 kw or greater chargers.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          My limited experience with charging a Volt in my garage on 115 VAC was that the cable never got more than warm, if that. I know because that is something I actually checked while I had the car. So your comment makes sense to me but “gassers” does not.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    The next Gen Volt will be bigger and seat 5.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      What GM really needed to do was drop the price by about ten grand to get the masses interested. A lot of people interested in buying a Volt may not even pay $7500 in income tax.

      Until GM drops the price of the Volt to what Joe Sixpack and Sally Homemaker can afford to shell out, the Volt will remain a toy for the wealthy.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        GM was probably already losing money on the Gen 1 Volt. Their next move will probably be to decontent the heck out of the next one in an attempt to profit. But given how ridiculously priced conventional cars have become (vs wages) I doubt even a decontented Volt will come down much in price.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          Gen 1 Volt marginal cost to produce was estimated to be in the $26k range, so they made a gross profit on each one. Any so-called lost money was already lost due to R&D, tooling, etc.

          From what I’ve read, it looks like they reengineered the 2 electric motors to behave in a sort of ‘wide-ratio CVT’ way, whereby the final drive ratio changes when both the sun and ring gears in the planetary transmission rotate. Gen 1 Volt does this at highway speeds, but if the new gen does it at all speeds then that’d allow for a ‘shorter’ primary final drive ratio and thus better launches. Plus, gen 1 has a ‘kick down’ point you can sense when hammering the accelerator while already in motion, as it clutches the ring gear to the secondary motor/generator instead of having the ring clutched stationary.

          In any event, without a 5th seat and more front headroom (and rear head+legroom), I don’t see anything terribly extraordinary to keep me from holding my 2013 a few years until a nice Model S CPO or Model III become available.

        • 0 avatar
          celebrity208

          this

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Volts routinely lease at $250/month. Joe and Suzy won’t find a decent new car that leases for less than $200/month. Plus, they’ll save $50-$100/month in gas, depending on their commute.

        Put another way, the Volt and Leaf are just about the cheapest cars for sale in America, once you factor in gasoline costs.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        @ 28cars – Yep that is my worry is that they will cheapen it. The Gen 1 Volt driving experience is certainly more “luxury” than my wife’s 2014 Audi A4 . Smoother and quieter. Hopefully they don’t ruin that either. I think the number for Volt buyers new to the brand is like 85%.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Why should the Volt be cheaper? It’s the best plug in hybrid on the market. The other competitive vehicles cost similar money, but none have anything close to the Volt’s EV range. Plus, I don’t think you can get anything close to the tax writeoff you can get from the Volt.

        Best product equals highest price.

        As far as tax is concerned, $7500 is the tax on $56000 in taxable income for a couple that’s married filing jointly. That probably puts the gross household income in the $80-90,000 range. That’s a pretty good-sized market.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Current lessee of a 2013 Volt here.
    I’m very happy with the car. I’m 6’4” and because it is a small car, ingress/egress can be a bit challenging. Once I’m inside, however, I’m able to get comfortable.
    I think the car fulfills it role very well, better than any other hybrid on the road IMO. I really like the fact that no matter how you drive it won’t use any gas until the initial battery charge is depleted. My wife uses the car for work which involves driving to several schools within her school district. Each day the car arrives home with the charge (nearly) depleted; which means she has gone the whole day without using any gas (or very little). We plug the car in to charge overnight (on the standard 110 charger) and the car is good to go the next morning.
    If I love the car so much, why did I lease? Two reasons:
    – We balked at the 45k price tag. I mean, that is a lot of money for a small car no matter how “whiz-bang” it is. Chevy was offering a very attractive lease offer at the time
    – More importantly, being one of the (kind of) early adopters I realized that the next gen Volt would be a lot better than the original. It was like buying a computer in the 90’s or early 2000’s, when the next gen rolled out, your current model was quickly obsolete.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Production of the next gen Volt drivetrain & hybrid battery was “in-sourced” and consolidated 100% at GM’s Warren Technical Center for corporate security reasons; this is probably the most “cloak & dagger” type operation GM has undertaken in at least 40 years.

    The three major objectives for GM are to significantly extend electric range, significantly reduce charging time, and to dramatically increase the efficiency/output of the heating function of the HVAC system (major bitching about this Volt weakness especially in the wake of last year’s brutally cold winter).

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      From what I’ve read, Volt will continue to charge at 3.3kW. That sucks.

      Incidentally, higher charging rate would also allow for better winter ‘preconditioning’, as I’ve seen an indicated 6kW being drawn while parked with the system set to Comfort + Defrost.

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