The second chapter of the Chevrolet Volt adventure is about to begin. Fans of this hybrid electric vehicle have been keeping a close eye on all things Volt, learning early on that the new model has a lower price and is more efficient than the first-generation vehicle. This week, the EPA confirmed that the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt provides a 53-mile electric range, which is nearly a 40 percent longer range on a single charge.
Range is the “be all and end all” of EV driving. Although the Volt has a 1.5-liter power generator to provide fuel to run the electric motor when the battery is depleted, most buyers prefer to rely on low-cost electricity only. Not only is electricity cheaper than gasoline, but when operating in EV mode only, emissions output is at zero. Thus, the Volt owner can enhance his green credentials by deftly planning trips to avoid tapping the gasoline generator.
Electric-Only Trip Possibilities
The extended range means that 2016 Chevrolet Volt owners will now rely on electricity only for 90 percent of their trips, up from approximately 80 percent for first generation drivers. Planned right, a Volt owner might travel more than 1,000 miles before needing to stop at a filling station provided that they regularly charge the vehicle.
Five model years after releasing the first-generation Chevrolet Volt, GM is applying other changes that will enhance the ownership experience.
Indeed, the new Volt will better utilize the electric motor when driving. For example, with the first generation model, the 111-kilowatt electric motor operated independently of the 55-kilowatt gasoline generator. The new model allows the Voltec power system to use both motors concurrently under certain driving circumstances. Furthermore, it now has a 75-kilowatt gasoline generator to deliver more power as needed.
No More Premium Grade Gasoline
Overall fuel efficiency is up too. The first-generation Volt achieved 37 mpg combined, while the new model is EPA-rated at 42 mpg. Where the previous model required premium fuel, the all-new Volt takes regular grade gasoline. That gasoline grade requirement change alone will enable customers to save at least 10 percent at the pump.
When operating in electric-only conditions, the all-new Volt gets a combined fuel economy rating of 106 mpg-equivalent, up from 98 mpg-e.
Thus, a Volt driver planning a long trip can travel up to 420 miles before refueling, more than four times farther than electric-only models such as the Nissan Leaf. Range anxiety? You don’t have that in the Chevy Volt as refueling will get you there. You can also charge the battery at your leisure.
Lower Price and Incentives
Beyond its all-important operational capabilities, the new Volt is priced lower, coming in at $33,995. When a $7,500 federal tax credit is taken, the net price drops to $26,495. Notably, this lower number does not include state incentives, which may drop the final cost further. In some states Volt owners enjoy other benefits, including HOV lane access (California), EZPass discounts (New York), and a state tax credit for purchasing a home EV charging station (Maryland).
The 2016 Volt provides room for five as it replaces the previous 2+2 layout with a full back seat to allow for an additional passenger. Moreover, Chevrolet says that the new Volt’s driver controls are more intuitively placed for operational simplification.
Returning for 2016 is the 8-inch center stack display screen. New for this model is a second 8-inch screen located within the instrument panel that controls the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. MyLink is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay, which puts Apple iPhone features on display. Specifically, CarPlay enables you to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music by using the touch screen or voice commands. This system works with Apple iPhone 5 or later models only.
New Rearview Camera
While efficiency, space and technology are important attributes for any new car, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt also enjoys greater safety efficiencies. All models now come equipped with a rearview camera. Ten air bags are also standard, including driver and front-passenger knee air bags. Expanded use of high strength steel provides stronger vehicle rigidity and also reduces overall weight.
Additional safety features include available lane keep assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, forward collision alert and rear cross traffic alert. GM expects the 2016 edition to once again attain the 5-star safety rating it has enjoyed from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If Not Volt, Then Cruze
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Chevrolet dealers will come as fuel prices continue to trend lower. Buyer interest in EVs is at its lowest point in five years as cheap gasoline has consumers considering other options.
One of those options is the Chevrolet Cruze, a compact sedan that competes with the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and others. It is one of the best-selling models in its segment, offering an excellent blend of value, performance and amenities. For 2016, a hatchback body style joins the Cruze line.
To sum up, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt offers a sleek design, updated performance efficiencies, extended range, and does all that at a lower price. It also demonstrates GM’s commitment to the segment, giving buyers the peace of mind that the automaker remains married to vehicle electrification.
Chevrolet dealers are currently accepting orders for the 2016 Volt.