You 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.
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?