Chevrolet Volt gets more efficient for the 2013MY

Article by Christian A., on June 7, 2012

Chevrolet Volt just got a little more efficient for the 2013MY as GM announced that the electric range of the car was increased by 3 miles to an ‘impressive’ 38 miles. Moreover, the car has been rated by EPA at 98 MPGe (outgoing model was rated at 94 MPGe). According to the manufacturer, the new range was obtained thanks to some modifications brought to the vehicle’s technical part.

The storage capacity of the Volt battery has been increased from 16 kWh of energy to 16.5 kWh and engineers expanded the state-of-charge window to use 10.8 kWh of the total battery energy – up from 10.3 kWh used in the 2012 model. Still, we have bad news as the improved EV range capability will also bring slight increases to the Volt’s charge times.

2013 Volt will need 10.5 hours to get its energy using a 120V and 4.25 hours using a 240V charging unit. And after you travel 38 miles using just electricity, you can also use the gas-powered engine/generator to drive the car for another 344 miles on a full tank. Still, the Volt is far away from 2013 Honda Fit EV which was rated by EPA at 118 MPGe!

Sleek, bold, and with a stance that is performance-oriented, these are some of the words that best describe the capabilities of the Chevrolet Volt. Visually, the Volt has the appearance of a midsize luxurious sport sedan. This was made possible by making the front tracks wider by 61.2 inches (1,556 mm) and the rear tracks wider as well by 62.1 inches (1,578 mm).

Wheelbase is also larger at 105.7 inches (2,685 mm). Making this possible as well is the sculpted belt line, the wheels-out stance, and of course, the premium implementation. For the Volt, it is not simply about design but it’s also about what serves as a function. On the front section for example, the combination of the grille, narrowed corners, and the flush and round front fascia meant that air would be able to easily go around the vehicle and this cuts drag.

On the rear end, the use of the sharp edges plus the addition of a well-design spoiler allowed for air flow to be controlled. Further, the aggressive rake present on both the windshield and the back glass aided in lowering any drag or turbulence.

From the exterior to the interior, each of the flush relationships and the element-to-element gap are the best not just in its segment but in those coming from other classes. Chevrolet made sure that everything under the hood would not be compromised. Each and every part below the hood followed a high level of standard when it comes to design.

In addition, the use of the same colors or grained surfaces allow it to complement all the other parts of the vehicle. One main reason for these changes is that both the design team and engineering team want to come up with a model that would be the most aerodynamic ever in the history of the brand.

These two teams partnered with aerodynamicists and used the wind tunnel of GM. By being able to lower the amount of energy required in order to overcome the air resistance, it meant that the Volt would be able to achieve an additional 8 miles running on pure electricity and an extra 50 miles using the extended range mode.

Director of Design Bob Boniface revealed that with the Volt being a highly innovative model, the brand wanted it to have a dynamic and sleek design in order to give the most statement. Looking at this car, he added, there are a number on surfaces that interrelate and highlight the crisp and clean creases and edges. Customers will also find out that the Volt is truly technical and is executed with the best in refinement, he continued.

Press Release

2013 Chevrolet Volt Boosts EV Range to 38 Miles

The all-electric vehicle range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be 38 miles on a single charge, providing owners with a three-mile EV range increase from the 2012 model. The miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) will increase from 94 miles to 98 miles and the total range, including extended range operation, will be 380 miles.

Based on real-world experience by Volt owners since the vehicle launched in late 2010, engineers made minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry, resulting in improved performance and durability. Manganese spinel chemistry remains the foundation for the Volt’s battery system, but the amount of each material has been slightly modified to provide better life performance.

“The best way to explain what we’ve done at the cell level is to compare it to a cake batter recipe. Sometimes if you use more sugar and less vanilla you get a better tasting cake. We’ve done some work at the cell level to modify the ‘ingredients’ to make a better end result,” said Bill Wallace, GM director of Global Battery Systems Engineering. “This attention to detail will allow our customers to experience more pure EV range, which is the true benefit of owning a Volt.”
In addition, the total storage capacity of the Volt battery has been increased from 16 kWh of energy to 16.5 kWh, and engineers have expanded the state-of-charge window to use 10.8 kWh of the total battery energy – up from 10.3 kWh used in the 2012 model. The battery system maintains a buffer to ensure battery life, but that buffer has been reduced.

The improved EV range capability will result in slight increases to the Volt’s charge times. A full recharge using a 120V could take 10.5 hours and 4.25 hours using a 240V charging unit.
Cells with improved chemistry have accumulated 150,000 test miles to date. The tests have revealed less battery degradation, the ability to withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius and less impact by energy throughput.

For the first 38 miles, the Volt can drive gas and tailpipe-emissions free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Volt owners have travelled more than 65 million miles since the vehicle launched late 2010. Roughly two-thirds of those miles were powered by grid electricity.

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