Will The Next-Gen Chevy Volt Offer Multiple Battery Options?


volt-concept-2You can bet that GM already has a good idea of what consumers what in the next-generation Chevrolet Volt. That means rumors and hearsay are starting to trickle out, though sometimes a single sentence from one suit can send the automotive media into a feeding frenzy. So comes word that the Chevy Volt may offer less range in the future…or on the flipside, even more range.

Say what?

Speculation started after AutoExpress interviewed Thomas Sedran, GM’s Vice President of Strategy and Operations, who said;

“In the coming years I don’t think you will need 100km (62 miles) of electric range. Around 30 to 50km (18 to 30 miles) should be enough to get you in and out of town and after that you still have the range-extender engine to help.”

For one thing, Sedran was talking about Europe, and the Vauxhall Ampera, the Volt’s European cousin. Europe has a lot less open space between population centers, and while 18 to 30 miles might work for some Americans, most people in the States have longer commutes than that.Right now the Chevy Volt is rated at 38 miles per charge, which is sufficient to get most people to and from work while not using gas. Other automakers, including Toyota and Ford, offer just 13 and 21 miles of electric-only range respectively, but both the Toyota Prius Plug-In and Ford C-Max Energi are thousands of dollars cheaper than the Volt.

That begs the question; will GM follow Tesla’s lead, and offer different battery sizes for different prices? It is the model that seems to make the most sense. Rather than a one-size-fits-all vehicle, allow consumers to tailor the car to their needs. Someone who only needs 15 miles to get from home to work and back can save a lot of money over someone who needs closer to 50 miles of battery life.

Sounds like a common sense idea to us, and it could make the Volt a more affordable reality for families out there. But as always, it comes down to cost. How much range would you prefer on your plug-in hybrid, and what would you pay for it?

Source: AutoExpress

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • anderlan

    This is a great idea.  With an EREV, there is no absolute range anxiety.  I don’t have to worry about the outlier cases where I go beyond my average number of miles per day.  So the appropriate battery size is a numbers game.  I only need to match my average anticipated miles per day for that vehicle, in order to get maximum savings.  It’s probably even a good idea to use the range extender semi-regularly, to exercise it and keep it operating correctly. 

    What I’m saying is, an EREV battery doesn’t have to overshoot on your average miles per day.  It’s probably a good idea that it doesn’t, so that you actually use the range extender once or twice a week.  The more battery sizes (and price points) offered, the better.  The hardest thing about offering multiple battery sizes (besides the fact that different size battery packs give slightly different power outputs, not just different energy capacities) is adding more modes to the resource management of the car’s operating system.  And that’s a soft cost.

  • Zivbnd

    I don’t think they could reduce the size of the battery without making the car a complete dog with regards to acceleration, but an option to get a 20 kWh pack that would allow for an AER of 50 miles instead 38 would be a nice touch. Especially in the winter when the AER is reduced by around 25%…
    20 kWh would probably be doable without completely re-engineering the pack, much more and the redesign would cost more than the increase in AER would be worth. But it probably won’t happen until the 2016MY comes out in June of 2015. I am just hoping that the 2014MY has another 0.5 kWh and that it sees a significant drop in the MSRP.

  • On a Global Village scope – Should Chavez’es death cause the freeing up at low costs of the huge oil reserves of Venuzuala to American markets, Canada’s Oil ands play the pipeline for it will certainly die, electric cars will be overwhemed by lower gas and diesel prices, even natural gas prices, and fade into history for another cycle. Should the oil of Venuzuala go to China, and the Canadian Oil Sands energy go to China as well, and at market prices drive upwards by huge pressure from Yuan, expect electrics to boom in America where they will become the economic first choice. Study “super-capacitors’ and their fantastic ability to store higher voltage electricity in smaller places, to recharge in astonishing timkes, and to last much longer than electrochemical storage methods. The Hemp Lotus with super-capacitor electric storage is very technically possible also.

  • Tom

    The 40 mile range is resulting in phenomonal mileage for Volt owners.  As battery prices continue to decline in price, the option mentioned would make less sense.  A smaller battery in the Volt could free up the middle of the back seat for an additonal passenger, which could appeal to some buyers.  My guess is an improved smaller batter, that takes up less space and delivers only slightly less EV range.  30 miles range with seating for 5.  GM will do much better integrating Volt technology into larger vehicles.

  • I would love to see different battery options.  Hopefully a flat battery design like the Tesla so we get 5 seats no matter which battery we choose.  In the summer I average 48 mile range, this winter I am at about 38 mile average.  This is plenty for work, but once or twice a week I have a 47 mile round trip.  I would like to make this trip in all electric in the winter also.  In the summer I make it most of the time without gas.
    So I would like a 60+ mile battery with gas backup, or preferably a 200 mile battery and no gas engine at all. All EV would be a simple design and there would be some cost savings by avoiding all the gas components.
    In pure EV mode, the Volt drives like a dream, so the 200 mile Volt EV version would have that great drive all the time.

  • W L Simpson

    This olwrench’s POV is fewer(improved lead/acid?) batts & a full time ICE gen.The gas turbine/gen is the most attractive , but cost & noise are factors.  The Volt group is far too complicated & thus more susceptible to failures later down the road. The clean simplicity of the Tesla S platform
    is a joy to behold.

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  • Start by lowering the coefficient of drag.  VW has shown the way.  Make the car lighter.  Add a flat bottom, enclosed wheel wells, & converging tail.  Come one Chevy, use your noodles.  Sure you could sell more just by adding more chrome, but is that really good for Chevrolet AND America?  Be patriotic and brave enough to lead the way here.

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  • Adam

    Let’s see here.. GM knows how to make good cars, that much is clear. My opinion is, they really don’t want to make hybrids, or electric vehicles. The EV1 saga is proof enough. OK, enough of the EV1, but how many hybrids does GM build to compete with the Prius? Well, if it’s the plug in variety, than 1, otherwise – zero.

    However, when it comes down to gas guzzlers, we can get more a person could hope for! Geez, the Camaro, Corvette, Chevy SS, Cadillac CTS-V. Ok , so GM has some fuel efficient cars too, like the Cruze, and Malibu, and the Korean Aveo. I hate to say it, but the fuel economy on a standard ’12 Prius highway is about 49MPG. The Volt in charge sustaining mode is 37MPG. The Prius is a 1.8L to the Volt’s 1.4L. GM doesn’t know how to make fuel efficient vehicles, in a hybrid form.