by George Zack, Business ETC
With upgraded features and major enhancements, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt was revealed this week by General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) at the Detroit Auto Show. Despite the record-low gasoline prices, the largest North American automaker is still betting high on fuel-efficient vehicles for future. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt brings a major upgrade to its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) model, which has improved battery power 32%. GM said the new Volt can cover 50 miles on a single lithium ion battery charge. The previous version of Volt could go up to only 38 miles.
Engineers have extended 12 miles of drive range by adding two motor drivetrains, which reduce around 100 pounds of vehicle weight.
Including gasoline, the combined fuel efficiency can go up to 41 miles per gallon (mpg), with the total drive range extended to 400 miles. The vehicle can also go from zero to 60 miles per hour (mph) in less than 8.4 seconds.
The head of General Motors North America division, Alan Batey said, “We believe our engineering prowess combined with data from thousands of customers allow us to deliver the most capable plug-in vehicle in the industry,” according to International Business Times.
More specifications for 2016 Chevrolet Volt have not yet been disclosed by the automaker. However, the new Volt is expected to have an 18 kilowatt hour lithium ion battery with fewer cells, further saving 20 pounds of weight. But the Chevy Volt’s most famous feature is its amazing timing to switch to a new 1.5 liter, four-cylinder gas engine once the electric battery is exhausted. The four cylinders can boost the power up to 101 horsepower, according to Digital Trends.
The new Volt is spacious enough to comfortably seat five people by adding a middle seat.
The add-on features were even highlighted by Mr. Brauer, who said the previous version had limited electric drive range, a hefty price tag, and didn’t have an appealing exterior. But the latest Volt has gone through major improvements on all these issues, according to International Business Times.
One major factor for the new Volt to watch out for is the falling gasoline prices, which are making fuel-efficient vehicles less attractive and SUVs more popular. Over the last year, the successful plug-in hybrid Prius, along with other hybrids, saw a 15% decline in sales. Chevrolet recorded its annual sales of 18,805 units of Chevy Volt for 2014 – a 19% drop compared to 2013, according to Bloomberg.
But just like Ford Motor Company is planning its fuel-efficiency game by launching its all-aluminum F-150 pick-up truck, GM is also convinced that low gasoline prices will not remain low forever.
The new Volt will hit dealerships by the second half of this year. However, GM’s fuel-efficient car won’t be alone; it is expected that Toyota could possibly start production of its new 2016 Prius by the end of this year, after delaying it for six months.