chevrolet-volt-ces

Chevrolet pulled a surprise reveal at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas by rolling back the covers of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. The face of the company’s second-generation range-extended electric vehicle was teased last November, but here we get to see far more, with only the rear end still remaining a mystery.

Unlike the outgoing Volt, which was styled to look futuristic – particularly in its European guise as the Opel Ampera – the new car appears resolutely like a regular modern family sedan. The front end borrows a fair few cues from the Impala (albeit with both upper and lower grilles covered up for improved aerodynamics), while the side window profile looks to have lost the current car’s distinctive gloss black lower trim.

No other details were divulged at the show, but we do know that it will be powered by an improved Voltec electric powertrain that is lighter than before. The lithium-ion battery pack, developed in conjunction with LG Chem, is 13 kg lighter than before, with fewer cells – 192 versus 288 – but is still expected to improve storage capacity by as much as 20%. The entire unit is located lower down for better centre of gravity.



Added to that is the internal combustion engine, in this case a 1.5 litre petrol four-pot unit rather than the 1.4 litre Ecotec mill of before. The new engine gains direct injection, a 12.5:1 compression ratio, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a variable-displacement oil pump.

On the original Volt, the ICE is used to run the electric motors when the batteries are depleted (this is said to happen rarely, since 80% of all trips are completed without the range extender firing up), but under certain conditions, it can also provide additional power. This technically makes the current car a plug-in hybrid – it remains to be seen if the new car can be completely unshackled from its petrol engine.

More information will be revealed when the 2016 Chevrolet Volt makes its debut proper at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show next week.