2016 Chevrolet Volt Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Redesigned, now with 5-passenger seating capacity
  • New, lighter drivetrain with 50 miles of battery range
  • Improved acceleration and braking
  • New Regen on Demand feature
  • Simplified charging process

Introduction

When the 2016 Chevrolet Volt goes on sale in the second half of 2015, it will offer 5-passenger seating capacity for the first time, greater battery driving range, and a new design inside and out. Introduced at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS), the 2016 Volt remains an electric car, one equipped with a range-extending generator that runs on gasoline, a feature that provides owners the freedom to take the car on a long trip without worrying about recharging the battery.

Exterior Features

Chevrolet says it has retained key Volt design signatures in the new model, such as the silver grille pads, Volt badge on the upper front doors, and the practical hatchback design. Otherwise, this is a new design, Chevrolet claiming that "the toned physiques of athletes and even the natural shapes of wind-swept sands" influenced the design.

Interior Features

Aiming to deliver what the automaker characterizes as a "premium, contemporary aura," Chevrolet redesigned the Volt's interior, adding a seat for a fifth passenger within a cabin that is more traditional in terms of layout and displays. Beneath its rear hatch, the Volt holds 10.6 cu. ft. of cargo.

Optional Features

One new option Volt buyers are sure to appreciate is an illuminated charging port, making it easier to charge the car after dark. Leather seats are also available for the 2016 Volt.

Under the Hood

For the 2016 Volt, Chevrolet has developed a new extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) drivetrain, one it says was engineered based on the actual driving habits of first-generation Volt owners.

The T-shaped Lithium-ion battery is re-engineered, lighter than before, and employing fewer cells with revised cell chemistry that are located lower in the vehicle for a reduced center of gravity. The 18.4-kWh battery powers a new 2-motor drive unit that weighs 100 lbs. less than before while providing improved acceleration and efficiency, Chevy says. The motors are also designed to use fewer rare earth materials.

Chevrolet has also made the Volt easier to charge, from the new 120-volt power cord that is standard equipment to how the Volt can be programmed to recognize that it has arrived at its "Home" charging station and will automatically default to owner preferences with regard to charging. Using a 120-volt household outlet, Chevrolet estimates that recharging time is 13 hours. Using a 240-volt outlet, recharging time drops to less than 5 hours, the manufacturer says.

To recap, the new 2016 Volt can travel about 50 miles on the electricity stored in its fully charged battery. When the battery reaches a minimum state of charge, a new 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine serves as an onboard generator, its output converted into electricity that is used to continue the journey. Thanks to this design, a Volt owner can commute on battery power during the week and then take long weekend road trips without worrying about finding an electrical outlet.

When a fully charged battery and a full tank of generator fuel are used, the Volt delivers the equivalent of 41 mpg in combined driving, according to Chevrolet. Driven solely on battery power, the rating is 102 MPGe. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 8.4 seconds, according to Chevrolet--a significant improvement over the old model.

Safety

The 2016 Volt is equipped with a standard reversing camera and 10 air bags. Optional safety features include rear cross-traffic alert, side blind-zone alert with lane-change alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, and forward-collision alert with forward automatic braking.

Technology

In addition to a Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with an 8-in. touch-screen display, navigation, and additional features, the new Volt is available with an Advanced Park Assist system with front and rear park-assist sensors and semi-autonomous parallel parking capability.