By on October 30, 2014

2016-chevy-volt-powertrain-details-6-1

When customers arrive to pick up the 2016 Chevrolet Volt late next year, they won’t need to spend money on premium when it eventually comes time to fill the tank.

AutoblogGreen reports the 1.5-liter engine taking the place of the outgoing 1.4-liter unit will be more than happy with regular gasoline. Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah explained the move was on the suggestion from consumers who didn’t want to pay more for gas than they thought necessary:

The ability to use regular unleaded was based directly on customer feedback. Since the range extender is an all-new engine, it was optimized to use regular unleaded at the outset. Using regular fuel will not have effect on vehicle acceleration or other performance factors.

The new engine is a part of a new global family of engines — ranging in size from 1 to 1.5 liters — and is quieter and more powerful than the mill extending the range of the current Volt.

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45 Comments on “2016 Chevrolet Volt Won’t Need Premium To Move...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    What a revelation GM! Regular unleaded been a customer preference since the first apes started driving cars. You now know that!

    I thought by ‘premium,’ the article was going to say the Volt doesn’t need the $7500 government rebate, huge discount, and subsidized lease.

    • 0 avatar

      I think GM are fully aware that regular unleaded is the norm. The initial concern was that fuel may go stale if left unused in the Volts tanks for months on end. Maybe they realize the concern was unfounded.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        They always knew the concern was unfounded. The real reason was gas mileage. They raised the compression to coax a little more efficiency out of the engine and thus required premium.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Is it turbocharged doe? That’s the $40K question for me

    Prius needs some turbos too. 200HP Prius would change a lot of people’s minds about hybrids

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Having driven a Volt, I don’t see how a turbo would help. I found the one I drive for five days to be a torque monster.
    Either way I think these cars are a great value on the used market, can’t wait to see the new one.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It would help the overall fuel efficiency.

      Def looking forward to these… the current ones are leasing for reasonable rates

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      There are a lot of Volts coming off lease right now. I picked up a loaded 2011 with 17k miles on it for $19k last month. Because gas prices are down right now, demand for these is pretty flat. I thing you could get a base model for under $17k right now without much haggling.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Is your Volt a “torque monster” once the batteries have run dry? Personally I doubt it.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Yes it would be as the Volt operates like a diesel electric submarine or cruise ship. The electrical motor ALWAYS moves the Volt.

        When the range extender engages the battery is maintained at 20% charge. The Volt has no transmission to move the power to the drive line. Under severe load, some of the rotation of the crank (about 10% of power) can be transferred to give the Volt some extra motivation. Examples of this would be moving up a mountain pass on the west coast under highway speed.

        Because this is about a 100% pure electric it bows at the altar of torque, range extender running or not. The gas engine acts as a rolling electrical generator, nothing more – hence power is not reduced when running in range extender mode.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “The electric motor ALWAYS moves the Volt.”

          Not quite true. There is a clutch between the gas engine and the drivetrain which engages only at freeway speeds, when direct drive is the most efficient strategy. You’ll hear about this from the usual suspects, because they see this decision as a huge LIE and CONSPIRACY by GM to deceive the public, rather than a way to incrementally improve MPG when on gas.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Look at what I wrote…

            …When the range extender engages the battery is maintained at 20% charge. The Volt has no transmission to move the power to the drive line. Under severe load, some of the rotation of the crank (about 10% of power) can be transferred to give the Volt some extra motivation…

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            It has nothing to do with being under a severe load, it is the normal cruising condition with a depleted battery where the engine power is being directly transferred to the wheels. Not all of the power does go to the wheels though. Between the traction motor and the engine is the generator and when in higher speed cruise mode the generator does produce electricity to power the traction motor. Because of the arrangement of the traction motor and it’s planetary reduction system the engine and generator essentially put the planetary gear set and thus the the traction motor in a sort of overdrive. The exact percentage of engine torque that is being used to propel the vehcile directly vs that which generates electricity for the traction motor varies depending on load but it certainly is much more than 10$ under many conditions.

            The vehicle only responds differently to high demand situations when it is operating in pure EV mode. In that case the generator overdrives the traction motor and contributes its power output to driving the vehicle. This mode is used at higher speeds to put the traction motor back into its peak efficiency band.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          In actuality, no, it doesn’t. The range extender activates much too late to maintain that charge over an extended period and DOES have a physical transmission link to the wheels. While it may meet the needs of most, it is possible to run the battery completely down and be 100% dependent on the gasoline engine itself. It is when this occurs that you realize just how weak that old gas engine really is. There’s a reason railroad locomotives use 7,000 horsepower diesel engines to power the generator and while a Volt by no means needs THAT much horsepower, it needs at least a minimum of about 100 hp to maintain long-term charging in mixed driving.

          • 0 avatar
            colin42

            Vulpine. I’ve driven my volt for over 24000 miles with ~6000 of those miles on the gas engine and I’ve never been able to detect a difference in performance between gas and electric mode.

          • 0 avatar
            RogerB34

            Actually Volt doesn’t have a physical link engine to wheels.
            Early on Volt was billed as an EV, series and parallel vehicle. Parallel like Prius.
            Later the parallel, direct link, was defined as matching engine rpm and generator to directly “assist” the electric motor. “Assist” when the battery is depleted (but not completely discharged).

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Colin: Have all those miles been city-type, highway type or mixed? How many miles on your longest trip?
            The reason I ask is because I have read reports that people HAVE driven the car enough to use up every milliamp available even with the engine trying to keep the battery charged and falling back to a mechanical-only drive–at which point power and performance fall drastically.
            For me, the fastest route into Philadelphia from Maryland is NOT by way of I-95 but rather on US-1 and then some decent roads most of the way in towards my destination. With a Volt, I would make it about 2/3rds of the way in on electric alone, then drop back to the gas range extender. Unfortunately, the range extender is just starting up when I enter typically-heavy stop-and-go traffic, which is the biggest drain of motive power whether you use gas or electric–the little 1.4L engine simply won’t be able to keep up with the demand in the hands of a typical daily driver. I can almost guarantee I won’t go another 10 miles without running completely out of juice in the most heavily-congested part of town.

            @RogerB34: Look again. There IS a direct, physical link between engine and wheels when the battery gets fully depleted.

          • 0 avatar
            Alex Mackinnon

            Vulpine, for someone writing a lot about this you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            The range extender only runs out of juice (“Reduced Power Mode”) on mountain passes if you screw up and forget to tell it ahead of time. There’s a button, you press it and select “mountain mode” about 25 minutes ahead of a big pass. The engine stays on at full power until you have 40% of a charge, or if you still have some battery power left, it doesn’t let it go below 40%.

            I live in BC, and we have some pretty mean mountain passes here. The Coquihalla being the main one. It starts at about 200′ Elevation and tops out at 4200′ in about 40 Miles. The steepest hill is a consistent 15% grade for a few miles, and the speed limit is about 75 MPH (120 km/h). The Volt made it up no problem, at a steady 125 km/h in cruise control. That’s faster than my VW GTI 16V, faster than my company Ranger 4.0L, and most traffic in general.

            The best part is on the way back down it can do the same thing in cruise control. No brakes required at 75 MPH down a 15% grade.

            One time I forgot to put it in mountain mode ahead of time and I ran it dry. It still did a steady 55 MPH up the pass (6% grade), then sped back up to 75 MPH when it hit the top and recovered some charge. At a steady 75 MPH you probably only 40 HP.

            Stop and go traffic is when you need the least power. The range extender hardly gets used at all when you’re out of juice and in a traffic jam. It comes on a bit when you accelerate, then you slow down and regenerate about 70% of the energy you used. The engine is probably only used 20-30% of the time in a slow jam unless you’re heavy on the A/C or heat.

          • 0 avatar
            colin42

            Last long trip was to and from Chicago ~500 miles round trip with 2 adults, 2 kids + luggage only 38 miles on electric. Granted in the mid west there aren’t many hills.

          • 0 avatar

            The Volt will only suffer from reduced power with both an exhausted battery and climbing a long hill. Such events have been recorded, but the incidence is very low. The BMW i3 Rex (US config) is a different animal and can lose power more easily.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            “The Volt made it up no problem, at a steady 125 km/h in cruise control. That’s faster than my VW GTI 16V, faster than my company Ranger 4.0L, and most traffic in general.”

            I’m surprised those vehicles are so slow, considering the ’87 Grand Am I had with a 98 hp Iron Duke and a three speed auto was able to exceed the speed limit throughout that stretch when I took a trip to Victoria and back in ’02. I was a serial speeder back then and I actually remember dropping a Mk2 Golf which had been following me up to that point, but a GTI 16V must have had some issues to be incapable of that.

            Or maybe I just had a tailwind and you had a headwind!

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            “The Volt made it up no problem, at a steady 125 km/h in cruise control. That’s faster than my VW GTI 16V, faster than my company Ranger 4.0L, and most traffic in general.”

            I’m surprised those vehicles are so slow, cons*dering the ’87 Grand Am I had with a 98 hp Iron Duke and a three speed auto was able to exceed the speed limit throughout that stretch when I took a trip to Victoria and back in ’02. I was a serial speeder back then and I actually remember dropping a Mk2 Golf which had been following me up to that point, but a GTI 16V must have had some issues to be incapable of that.

            Or maybe I just had a tailwind and you had a headwind!

          • 0 avatar
            Alex Mackinnon

            The limit there use to be 110km/h, this spring they bumped it up to 120 km/h. Most cars still don’t manage to hold a steady speed up that pass though.

            My GTi was basically stock and had the issue of 4th gear being too short for those speeds and 5th being a lttle too long. 120km/h is still pretty quick up that hill though. In 4th it would be around 5500rpm, so there’s not really much point in downshifting there. Mk2’s are also pretty brick shaped, which definitely hurts at high speeds.

            The Volt also doesn’t suffer any apparent power loss at altitude. I’d assume the duty cycle on the generator does go up a bit, but I’ve not noticed this actually occurring.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “consumers who didn’t want to pay more for gas than they thought necessary”

    Damn, who knew?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah explained the move was on the suggestion from consumers”

      It reads like he had no idea that using standard (cheap) gas was a desirable feature. Maybe he’s the same guy who priced the ELR–that would explain a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Fascinating insight into the mind of a high-level developer. No doubt for him and his immediate subordinates the increased price of premium gas is as insignificant as choosing name brand over store brand sodas is to us.

        A no-brainer if you want the taste benefits of Dew or Coke or whatever, and therefore equally insignificant if you want the ooawsomeness of driving his Volt. I can imagine him being truly surprised that there would be any objection from “consumers” to constantly spending more at the pump than Prius owners.

        Can you imagine Toyota ever displaying such cluelessness?

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Really? I never thought this was much of an issue. Considering that the target market for the Volt is people who drive an average of less than 30 miles per day and charge each night, the difference in actual dollars per mile shrinks, essentially, to nothing.

          Put another way, it’s the weighted average cost per mile which is almost the same.

          But, hey, who am I to deflate a good bit of outrage?

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Do the math. Let’s say the Volt uses gas 20% of the time on an average of 1000 miles/month. Let’s also assume 30 mpg per gas-only mile and a 30 cent differential between regular and premium. That’s 200 miles per month on gas for a total consumption of about 6.3 gallons. That’s about $2 per month. I’ll bet that most Volt owners use much less. I find it really hard to see the “cluelessness” in this argument.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            A lot of Americans have an aversion to being required to buy premium fuel. The additional cost may be modest, but they still don’t want to do it.

            If requiring premium is going to scare away customers, then it’s a good idea to avoid it.

            In any case, the issue comes down to a marginal cost problem. Many people simply don’t see a good reason to buy a car that needs it, when they can buy something else that doesn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            It has nothing to do with math and entirely psychology–when they do fill up, they feel they are spending more money for something they don’t really need/want. After all, they bought a Volt because they didn’t want to use (buy) gas, so why would they be ‘okay’ with buying the expensive stuff?

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      To be fair, there’s plenty of gas stations out there that only have regular.

      Still, I hope the knock sensor will adjust spark timing with a wide enough range for folks who use premium to see an efficiency benefit.

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    Hopefully they will armor plate the fuel system against the crappy gas that will be sitting in it for months on end. I have owned a 2011 Volt for just about a month, and I still have half of my original tank of gas from the dealer left.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m not sure why these mythical consumers would care much, since the goal of every Volt owner is to use as little gas as possible.

  • avatar
    noorct

    Don’t care if premium or regular as long as it can go 50 miles on a charge!

    That’s one of the things holding me back from the current model (the other is the infant seat friendliness of the 2+2…)

    I have a 50 mile commute and no charging at work sadly. It’s so close to right for me, yet so far away

  • avatar

    Sometimes even the good news can be completely offset by something like Manchester United players refuse to drive the free Corvettes and Camaro’s that were donated by sponsor GM. Better fire the people who were responsible for the half a billion sponsor deal that will get GM nowhere, simply because it was decided that Chevrolet is to disappear from the EU market in favor of the struggling GM subsidiary Opel.

  • avatar
    Loboc

    I drive a 2013 Volt. I have used 161 gal of gas in 19k miles. That’s a whole $50 in 1-1/2 years by using premium over regular. Big whoop. $3 bucks a month.

    Even if it didn’t require premium, I’d probably use it anyway because of superior gunk-reducing properties.

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