2015 Chevrolet Volt-01

General Motors has unveiled the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 NAIAS a.k.a. Detroit Motor Show. The second-generation Volt boasts an extended range, sleeker and sportier design, 80 km of pure EV range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration.

“The 2016 Chevrolet Volt provides our owners with a no-compromise electric driving experience. We believe our engineering prowess combined with data from thousands of customers allows us to deliver the most capable plug-in vehicle in the industry,” said a confident Alan Batey, president of GM North America.

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

2015 Chevrolet Volt-08

Let’s start under the hood, where an all-new, second-gen Voltec extended range electric vehicle (EREV) propulsion system sits. The system includes the battery, drive unit, new range-extending engine and power electronics.

The new Volt will use an 18.4 kWh battery system featuring revised cell chemistry developed in conjunction with South Korea’s 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 a lower centre of gravity and the overall mass of the pack is 9.8 kg lighter.

Like the battery, the 2016 Volt’s two-motor drive unit delivers increased efficiency and performance, along with reduced noise and vibration. It operates up to 12% more efficiently and weighs 45 kg less than before.

There’s more teamwork, too. Both motors operate together in more driving scenarios, in both EV and extended-range operation. The ability to use both units helps deliver a 19% improvement in 0-48 km/h (0-30 mph) electric acceleration (2.6 sec) and 7% improvement in the 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph) time (8.4 sec).

The internal combustion engine is also new. A 1.5 litre petrol four-pot unit replaces the old 1.4 litre Ecotec. The new engine gains direct injection, a 12.5:1 compression ratio, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a variable-displacement oil pump.

There’s also a new “Regen on Demand” feature that enables driver control of energy regeneration via a paddle on the back of the steering wheel. A new braking system boasts improved capability and a more “blended” regeneration feel.

2015 Chevrolet Volt-13

The new 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. An available illuminated charge port makes it easier to plug in after dark.

Styling wise, the new Volt’s curvier and more dynamic shape incorporates new features such as active grille shutters and existing cues like the Volt signature on the upper front doors.

Inside, you get dual digital colour displays with an eight-inch-diagonal reconfigurable screen in the instrument cluster. Fewer icons on the centre dash make it easier to operate, while separate climate control knobs and buttons below the centre display offer easier operation.

A standard rear camera, 10 airbags and features such as 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 means that the Volt is a safe car.

GM is investing $435 million (RM1.55b) in the production of the new Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and at the Brownstown, Michigan Battery Assembly Plant, where its lithium-ion battery pack is produced. The 2016 Chevy Volt will go on sale in the second half of this year in the US.