2016 to Present: Chevrolet Volt
Few cars had as much riding on their backs as the Chevrolet Volt. An American-made, electric car with an innovative range-extending powertrain that was often used to justify the need to support General Motors through its bankruptcy reorganization, expectations were high for the Volt. And while it isn’t as ubiquitous as GM or the federal government would’ve hoped, the Volt still deserves credit for getting many more people interested in electric cars and pushing them into the mainstream.
The Volt was fully redesigned for 2016, addressing many of the shortcomings found on the first-generation model. Two electric motors provide 149 horsepower, while a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine works primarily as a generator, providing power to the electric motors when the batteries are depleted. The EPA reports that the redesigned Volt offers 53 miles of electric driving range on a fully charged battery. It offers a combined 106 mpg-equivalent on electric power, or 42 mpg combined when the gasoline generator is used.
The current Volt seats five and is offered as a four-door hatchback model. Numerous standard features are offered, including proximity key with push-button start, automatic climate control, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, satellite radio and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay integration and an 8-inch touch screen.
Available features include a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, navigation and parallel park assist. Driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision warning with automatic braking are also available.
The Volt can be cross-shopped with a number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, including the Toyota Prius and the related Prius Plug-in, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi and the Nissan Leaf.
Earlier Chevrolet Volt Models
The first-generation Volt was introduced in late 2010 as a 2011 model. A 149 horsepower electric motor powers the four-seat hatchback, which is about the size of a Toyota Prius. The Volt offers a driving range of about 40 miles on a fully charged battery. When the battery is depleted, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine kicks in and generates power for the electric motor, providing a range of about 300 miles. The Volt came in one trim level, but was loaded with 17-inch wheels, navigation, a Bose audio system, GM’s OnStar telematics system and automatic climate control. Major options were leather upholstery, heated front seats and a rearview camera.
For 2012, the Volt lost some standard equipment, such as the navigation system and Bose audio system, but gained keyless entry and start and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which includes Pandora Internet Radio integration and Bluetooth streaming audio.
In 2013, the Volt became available with forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Tweaks to the powertrain allowed drives to decide when to run on electricity or when to turn the engine on.
In its last year before a full redesign, the 2015 Volt gained new wheel choices. Chevrolet also bundled the Bose audio system with the optional navigation system.