Engineers working on the 2016 Chevy Volt have used data collected from customers to design a follow-up to the best-selling plug-in car in America, and GM has detailed the first of those drivetrain improvements.
Among the improvements is a lighter battery with more storage capacity, the result of a joint effort between supplier LG Chem and GM, which share a once-controversial battery factory. GM claims efficiency improvements shaved 30 pounds off the weight of the battery pack, while increasing storage capacity by about 20%. While the company isn’t talking range estimates yet, 20% more battery capacity should translate to at least 20% more range, which would give the Volt over 40 miles of electric driving per charge. GM quotes the fact that about 15% of current Volt drivers regularly achieve more than 40 miles of electric range as well, perhaps as a wink-wink/nudge-nudge towards what to expect.
Also on tap for the 2016 Chevy Volt is a new two-motor drive unit that is 100 pounds lighter than the current unit, and as much as 12% more efficient. The system can also use both motors to propel the vehicle on electricity alone, improving acceleration under battery power by 20%. The Volt currently takes about 8.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 MPH, and if GM gets it under 8 seconds, that’d be a mighty improvement in terms of driving enjoyment.
Also new for 2016 is a 1.5 liter engine, which adds more power yet supposedly sips less fuel, which could also boost the Volt’s fuel economy above 40 MPG (it currently sits at 37 combined). The new engine will eventually be built at GM’s Flint, Michigan engine plant, helping bring the Volt’s domestic content up above 70%, making it one of the most Murican cars you can buy.
GM also mentioned how they collected driving information from 300 volunteer Volt owners to decide where to make improvements to their plug-in hybrid. The data showed that more than 80% of the miles driven were on electricity only, and other surveys have shown that buyers would like more range, more room, and a lower cost. I imagine those three factors will play big with the 2016 Volt, as will the fact that owners have covered more than a billion miles, most of those on electricity alone.
For now that’s all the details GM is willing to divulge. As we get closer to the Detroit Auto Show debut, more features and improvements regarding the 2016 Volt are sure to leak out. What’s your wishlist for the new Volt?