Next Chevy Volt To Go 200 Miles On Electric Alone?


volt-conceptThree years ago this month, GM launched the Chevy Volt as an “extended range electric vehicle, though most people refer to it as a plug-in hybrid. But the next-gen Chevy Volt really could be an EREV with up to 200 miles of range per charge, if soon-to-retire CEO Dan Akerson’s comments have any amount of truth to them. Dare we hope?

In a multi-page interview with Businessweek having to due with his legacy and successor, Mary Barra, Akerson says that GM is aiming to build an electric car with a 200-mile range, as well as room for a on-board generator. That would be impressive enough even at the Volt’s current price point, but Akerson also said that the goal price is $30,000. Whether that includes tax credits or not, the piece doesn’t clarify, but with a target date of 2016, we should see the new face of the Chevy Volt in the next year or so.

Perhaps GM plans to take the Tesla approach, and offer multiple battery size options, or they could be modeling the next Volt after the BMW i3, making the range-extender optional. Akerson says that the next Volt is going to be a “moonshot” with the aim to “surprise the competition.” Akerson is also the guy who wants the Cadillac ELR to compete with Tesla, only to have Consumer Reports (and pretty much everyone else) call it way overpriced. Yet just months earlier, GM slashed the price of the Volt by $5,000, reminding me all too much of how Old GM always seemed to be going in opposite directions.

But with Akerson on his way out, so he can pretty much say whatever at this point, and most people aren’t going to pay attention. A 200-mile, $30,000 EV with an optional generator really could surprise people; you’d have a hard time arguing against the economics of such a vehicle, and it’d hit the market a full year before the Tesla Model E. Then again, it isn’t the first time Akerson has talked of a 200-mile EV though, so the surprise might already be spoiled. Surprise or not though, it sounds extremely promising.

GM’s moonshot could be a homerun.

Source: Businessweek

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.
  • Bob_Wallace

    If they want to surprise the competition I think they just blew it.

    I wonder about the 200 mile range battery. Many of us were expecting the Envira battery to be ‘that’ battery and then Envia turned out to be a con job.

    I kind of wonder if Akerson is talking though his hat.

    That said, this seems to be saying that a Volt replacement battery can be purchased for $2,300. Wholesale cost would be a lot lower.

    If that’s correct for a ~40 mile battery then a 200 mile battery should be about 5x as much. Well under $10k. And that should make a $30k 200 mile range EV possible.

    Range extender extra, perhaps. Few people would need more than a 200 mile range. For those few >200 mile drive days just stop for a quickie.

    We can hope. A 200 mile range EV for $30k would blow the market wide open, assuming quality comparable to a $25k or better ICEV.

    • T Adkins

      sounds good but maybe include a 5th new battery pack for a total of 6 battery packs to carry the additional 2175 pounds of battery packs. Could shave a few pounds off of that with electronics meant for all 6 packs and not just the stuff that come with 6 individual packs. At 435lbs a pack 6 packs is 2610lbs without a car to put it into. The current Volt is 3781lbs, the Prius V is 3274lbs, Tesla model S is 4647.3lbs

      • jameskatt

        Tesla is a heavy car – no doubt. But it is necessary to get enough battery storage. No need to skimp on that to get driving range.

      • Miles Harding

        Wait for it…
        There is a lot of research into batteries going on, so it it feasible that the energy density will be doubled in the near future making larger batteries lighter and less resource hungry. For example, Lithium-Sulfur fits the energy density requirement.

  • jameskatt

    Just put on a larger battery on the Volt to get the 200 mile range. I would love both the range AND the gas engine generator AND a 15 gallon gas tank.

    Better yet, just copy the Honda Accord Hybrid Plug-in but with a much higher capacity battery to get 200 miles and a much prettier front grill. That should kill Tesla if it is priced at $40,000 or lower.

    • Bob_Wallace

      How often do you drive more than 200 miles per day?

      When you do drive 500 miles in a day how often and for how long do you stop? (Tank refills, meals, pees, etc.)

    • Wallace

      WHAT? I don’t think anyone should copy Honda. GM with their Volt that goes full throttle right up to 101 mph is going to copy Honda with their pathetic 15 mile range and do not depress accelerator or the gas engine turns on? I think Honda needs to start copying and improve their pathetic hybrid.

    • spec9

      James, you seem to be lacking in understanding of volume, weight, and cost.

  • Jonny_K

    Where are they going to put more batteries? The car’s pretty well stuffed full of stuff.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Get rid of the 20th century banger stuff.

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  • Alan Dean Foster

    Sounds great, but so does a Mars colony.
    At this point, it’s just vaporware.

  • Dave_SRQ

    I sure would like to see GM succeed with their plans for a 200 mile EV at the $30K price point. However, when making comparisons to Tesla’s Model E (2017), let’s not forget what happens after 200 miles:
    1. The 3rd Generation Volt charges for 10+ hours to replenish the battery, or burns gasoline from an onboard generator (if available with the 200 mile battery).
    2. The Tesla Model E plugs into a free Tesla supercharger for 30 minutes for 170 miles of new range.
    Which one looks like the better deal?

  • Ueli

    I like my Volt, but i would much prefer GM used the Ampera styling.

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  • Alan Tolley

    The chev dealer here in myrtle beach sc let me take a 2013 volt home to try for a few days and i will say i was impressed. I drive a cadi dts and the volt to me was great in the way it handled on the road, the seats were comfortable and for a small car i was also impressed with the room inside. The screens seemed to be alittle overwhelming at first, but once you got used to it no problem. living in myrtle beach i was supprised that i had to think where i could go just to run the battey down when the generator did kick in i didn’t even notice. I still have a lot of research to do but i am sure i will be driving a volt within the next year

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  • Eric Burgess

    These kind of speculative articles do nothing but bring web traffic to a website. C’mon, even if this is going to go down, it’s still SEVERAL years out and hence, reading this was a complete waste of time. But pat yourself on the back, author, you got some web traffic!