2016 Chevrolet Volt receives a new design, offers 50 miles of EV range

Article by Christian A., on January 12, 2015

GM unveiled its all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and as expected, the new vehicle shows a brand new design and promises greater efficiency and better acceleration. The second-generation Volt uses a 1.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine a.k.a. range extender that produces 101 hp at 5600 rpm.

The new two-motor drive unit is also 12 percent more efficient than the first-generation and also 100 pounds lighter (45 kg). According to GM, the two-motor drive unit delivers a total output of 149 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. GM says that the 2016 Volt accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds (0-30 mph in 2.6 seconds), while top speed is 98 mph or 157 km/h.

Furthermore, battery capacity improved to 18.4 kWh using 192 cells (96 fewer than current generation), while the weight was reduced by more than 20 pounds (9.8 kg). Using just the energy stored in the battery, the 2016 Volt offers an all-electric range of 60 miles (80 km). Still, using both the energy from stored in the battery as well as the range extender, the 2016 Volt offers a range of 420 miles (676 km).

Fuel economy is 41 mpg, while the electric efficiency is 102 mpg-e. When it comes to design, the 2016 Volt shows new, muscular lines as well as new features such as active grille shutters. Despite the new design, the front-end appearance retains the iconic Volt identity, with bright upper and lower grille pads. Inside, the new Volt offers enough room for five adults, while the controls are more intuitively placed.

Andrew Farah, chief engineer for the new Volt, remarked that owners could now set their charging preferences just for “home” charging. The EV will automatically adjust to this setting when it is at “home” according to GPS data. He added that owners will experience greater flexibility in charging their new Volt according to their own terms.

With this capability, owners could pre-set the 120V charging level to either eight amps or 12 amps. They could also re-charge immediately. Likewise, owners could set a departure time for each day of the week. They could also set a departure time and make the Volt re-charge only at off-peak rates. Any of these available settings -- to be programmed just once – will be the default configuration once the Volt reaches its home location.

Thanks to a new status system, it is easier for owners to confirm whether their Volt units are re-charging. This system – which also allows owners to easily confirm the charge status – comes with a specially designed tone that signifies that the EV is already re-charging. It also has additional tones for delayed charging. Furthermore, the new status system could indicate if the charge port door was left open after unplugging, just before the driver enters the EV.

Just located on top of the instrument panel is an updated charge status indicator light that shows the estimated charge level through a series of flashes. Even in the dark, an owner could easily plug in the Volt for re-charging, as made possible by an available illuminated charge port. In addition, the new Volt comes with a new 120V portable cord set with a simpler, more compact design. The cord is stored at a bin located on the left side of the Volt’s rear cargo area, just above the load floor.

Chevrolet made sure that the new Volt comes with an array of new standard and available safety elements that, along with an all-new body structure, help avoid crashes and protect passengers from them. For instance, the new Volt is installed with a standard rear-vision camera and 10 standard air bags, including knee air bags for the driver and front passenger.

Available active safety elements, meanwhile, includes forward collision alert with following distance indicator, lane keep assist with lane departure warning and side blind zone alert with lane change alert. Also available are elements like front automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert as well as advanced park assist with front and rear park assist.

In addition, the new Volt extensively employs high-strength steel throughout its body structure, thereby improving strength while reducing its weight. The new Volt also features more effective structural load paths in the frame as well as reinforced rocker panel structures and side structures.

All of these active safety technologies and structural enhancements build on the top-class safety performance of the current Volt, as proven by its 5-Star overall New Car Assessment Program rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Press Release

Chevrolet Introduces All-New 2016 Volt

Chevrolet today unveiled the all-new 2016 Volt electric car with extended range, showcasing a sleeker, sportier design that offers 50 miles of EV range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration.

The Volt’s new, efficient propulsion system will offer a General Motors’-estimated total driving range of more than 400 miles and with regular charging, owners are expected to travel more than 1,000 miles on average between gas fill-ups.

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt’s technology and range advancements are complemented by a design that blends sculpted, muscular proportions with aerodynamic efficiency, and an all-new interior with seating for five and improved functionality.

Everything from charging the battery and checking the charge status, to the intuitiveness of instrument panel controls were designed for easier use.

“According to independent surveyors, Volt owners are the most satisfied in the industry and they were our compass for developing the next-generation model,” said Batey.

2016 Volt highlights:

  • New two-motor drive unit is up to 12 percent more efficient and 100 pounds lighter (45 kg) than the first-generation drive unit
  • Two-motor design enables 19 percent stronger zero-to-30 mph acceleration
  • Battery capacity has increased to 18.4 kWh using 192 cells (96 fewer than current generation) with weight reduced by more than 20 pounds
  • Regen on Demand™ feature enables driver control of energy regeneration via a convenient paddle on the back of the steering wheel
  • New 1.5L range extender, designed to use regular unleaded fuel, offers a combined GM-estimated fuel efficiency of 41 mpg (EPA estimate pending)
  • Stronger body structure and quieter ride
  • New braking system with improved capability and blended Regen feel
  • New, five-passenger seating with available rear heated seats
  • Location-based charging capability
  • 120V portable cord set has a simpler, compact design with more convenient storage location
  • Available illuminated charge port
  • The 2016 Volt goes on sale in the second half of 2015.

Sleeker, sportier design
The 2016 Volt has an all-new, muscular design that incorporates Chevrolet performance vehicle DNA inspired cues refined in the wind tunnel.

New features, including active grille shutters, help balance design with efficiency.

Volt’s flowing, dynamic shape is inspired by the toned physiques of athletes and even the natural shapes of wind-swept sands, with carved body sides and fenders that blend into the hood. The front-end appearance retains the iconic Volt identity, with bright upper and lower grille pads.

Greater attention to detail in the design cues, materials and colors also lends a more premium, contemporary aura to its appearance. It also retains the distinctive Volt signature on the upper front doors, carrying over one of the first-generation model’s identifiers.

Inside, the new Volt includes seating for five. Fresh colors exude an inviting upscale aura – complemented by blue ambient lighting – while the controls are more intuitively placed and simpler to operate.

The Volt retains its signature dual digital color displays with an eight-inch-diagonal reconfigurable screen in the instrument cluster to relay driver information. An additional eight-inch-diagonal touch screen in the center of the instrument panel controls the Chevrolet MyLink system.

Fewer icons on the center dash make it easier to operate. Separate climate control knobs and buttons below the center display offer clear, convenient operation.

New Voltec propulsion system
An all-new, second-generation Voltec extended range electric vehicle (EREV) propulsion system is the power behind the 2016 Volt’s increased all-electric driving range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration. It was engineered based on the driving behaviors of first-gen Volt owners.

“Volt owners complete more than 80 percent of their trips without using a drop of gasoline and they tell us they love the electric driving experience. Putting that experience at the center of the new Voltec system’s development helped us improve range, while also making the new Volt more fun to drive,” said Andrew Farah, vehicle chief engineer. “We established a precedent when the original Voltec propulsion system debuted and this newest iteration sets the EV technology bar even higher.”

The Voltec system includes the battery, drive unit, range-extending engine and power electronics.

GM’s industry-leading battery technology has been reengineered for the next-generation Volt. The 2016 Volt will use an 18.4 kWh battery system featuring revised cell chemistry developed in conjunction with LG Chem. While overall system storage capacity has increased, the number of cells have decreased from 288 to 192 as the result of a revised chemistry. The cells are positioned lower in the pack for an improved (lower) center of gravity and the overall mass of the pack is 21 pounds (9.8 kg) lighter.

Like the battery system, the next-generation Volt’s two-motor drive unit delivers increased efficiency and performance along with reduced noise and vibration. The drive unit operates up to 12 percent more efficiently and weighs 100 pounds (45 kg) less than the current system.

Both motors operate together in more driving scenarios, in both EV and extended-range operation. The ability to use both motors helps deliver a 19 percent improvement in electric acceleration from zero to 30 mph (2.6 seconds) and a 7 percent improvement from zero to 60 mph (8.4 seconds). GM engineers designed the Voltec electric motors to use significantly less rare earth materials. One motor uses no rare earth-type magnets.

More convenient location-based charging
Using real-world experiences of today’s Volt owners, Chevrolet made the charging system in the next-generation Volt more convenient for customers to recharge the battery – and to check the charge status.

The new and enhanced features include:

GPS location-based charging
“Owners will now be able to set their charging preferences exclusively for “home” charging and the vehicle will automatically adjust to that setting when it is at “home” based on GPS data,” said Farah, the chief engineer. “The new Volt will give owners greater flexibility for charging on their terms and make public charging easier.”

This will allow owners to pre-set their 120V charging level (eight amps or 12 amps) and whether they wish to charge immediately, set a departure time for each day of the week, or set a departure time and a utility rate schedule to charge only at off-peak rates. These setting will only have to be programmed once and the Volt will default to them when the vehicle return to its home location.

New, more intuitive charge status indicators
The next-generation Volt makes it easier for owners to confirm their Volt is charging and gauge charge status. The new status system features a specially designed tone that indicates when charging has begun, with additional tones for delayed charging. It will even indicate if the charge port door was left open after unplugging but before entering the vehicle.

With a glance through the windshield, an updated charge status indicator light on the on the top of the instrument panel will show the approximate charge level through a series of flashes. An available illuminated charge port makes it easier to plug in after dark.

Portable cord set enhancements
A new 120V portable cord set has a simpler, compact design with more convenient storage location. The storage bin for the cord is now located on the left side of the Volt’s rear cargo area, above the load floor, for improved accessibility.

Safety features
The new Chevrolet Volt offers new standard and available safety features that work with an all-new body structure to provide crash-avoidance and passenger protection capability. Highlights include:

  • Standard rear-vision camera
  • Ten standard air bags, including driver and front-passenger knee air bags
  • Available active safety features offering lane keep assist with lane departure warning, side blind zone alert with lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert with following distance indicator, front automatic braking, and advanced park assist with front and rear park assist (semi-automatic parallel parking)
  • Expanded use of high-strength steel throughout the body structure improves strength and reduces weight
  • More effective structural load paths in the frame, along with reinforced rocker panel structures and side structure reinforcements
  • The new, active safety technologies and structural enhancements build on the Volt’s legacy of top safety performance, which include a 5-Star overall New Car Assessment Program rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the current model.

Manufacturing
GM is investing $435 million in the production of three products, including the next-generation Chevrolet Volt, at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and future battery technologies at the Brownstown, (Mich.) Battery Assembly Plant, where the Volt’s lithium-ion battery pack is produced.

The new drive unit will be manufactured at GM’s Powertrain plant in Warren, Mich., and the 1.5L engine will be manufactured at GM’s Toluca, Mexico engine plant for the first year of production, then shift to the Flint, Mich. engine plant.

Since its introduction in late 2010, the Volt has established southeast Michigan as the hub of vehicle electrification development and manufacturing. The next-generation Volt will feature approximately 70 percent U.S. and Canadian components within its first year of production, a nearly 20-percent increase from the first generation.

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