In a paper to the Society of Automotive Engineers International, GM’s Executive Director Larry Nitz said that the 2016 Chevy Volt has been the focus of more attention than any other drivetrain. This has resulted in 12% better energy efficiency and range, which could give the Volt up to 43 miles of pure electric driving.
“I can’t think of a powertrain we’ve re-engineered more extensively within a five-year period than this one,” said Nitz, GM’s Executive Director, Transmission and Electrification. If the 12% number rings true, that means the Volt’s overall driving range will increase from 380 miles to 425 miles; more importantly, it means an extra 5 miles of official driving range, for a total of about 43 miles per charge. Most Volt drivers ar able to do 80% or more of their driving in electric mode with just 38 miles of range, so the extra 5 miles should only bump that number further. I think Lutz would approve.
But will it be enough to sate the calls for more range from the current crop of Volt owners? What about the rumor that GM might offer different battery pack sizes for those wanting even more range? GM also claims to have reduced the drivetrain’s weight by 130 lb alone, and other weight-saving measures should bring it well below the original’s 3,874 lb curb weight, further improving the overall efficiency, along with an all-new four-cylinder range extender. But with the Nissan LEAF rumored to have 150 miles of range or more per charge, does the Volt risk falling behind the curb?
Beyond those details though, we have to wait for the Detroit Auto Show in January to see what the 2016 Chevy Volt is all about.