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January 14, 2015

NAIAS 2015: Chevrolet Volt is a Sexy Electric Vehicle

Chevrolet is taking a crack at the extended-range EV vehicle (EREV) market with the 2016 Volt. After being lauded for its technology, the previous Volt failed to live up to sales expectations due to a less than enthusiastic reaction from the North American market and the arrival of offerings such as the Tesla Model S. Chevrolet aims to change that with the all-new, second-generation Volt which features a top-down re-think.

Everything starts with the styling: the 2016 Volt features a sleeker, sportier design that includes cutting-edge technology such as active grille shutters. The flowing shape is designed to be aerodynamic efficient while keeping with the Volt’s signature look: the bright upper/lower grille pads.

Inside, great attention has been given to the Volt’s use of colors, materials, and finishes. It’s definitely more premium while retaining the distinctive Volt signature on the upper front doors. This EREV features spacious seating for five which is made more inviting by the blue ambient lighting. The all-new Volt also retains the digital gauge cluster with a colored display. The 8-inch reconfigurable screen is made to relay driver information while a second 8-inch screen serves as the interface to the Chevrolet MyLink system.

Underneath, the all-new Volt runs on the second-generation Voltec propulsion system which increases the car’s range and offers even better efficiency than ever before. The 2016 Volt uses 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 has 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.

With this new system, the Volt can run on a full charge for 50 miles (80 kilometers) before the 1.5-liter range extending motor kicks in. The total range between fill-ups is 1,200 kilometers according to Chevrolet.

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