It was a long time coming, but finally there’s a new Volt in town. Chevy on Monday announced its new 2016 Volt electric hybrid, introducing extended range and a redesigned exterior/cabin. The plan is to start making the new Volt available by mid-2015, though no price has been announced.
The headliner here is the Volt’s extended range, which promises 50 miles on a single charge. That’s not a significant jump over the original Volt’s 36 mile range, though it does hit an important milestone. Chevy says the average commuter drives about 40 miles per day, so the 50 miles gives Volt drivers that extra slack so the infamous range anxiety doesn’t set in. With both gas and electric, the Volt will get an estimated range of more than 400 miles.
Beyond increased range, the Volt also received a much-needed aesthetic upgrade. It’s still not the most attractive car on the block, but it has its merits and features a more pleasing shape. Chevy describes the new Volt as blending “sculpted, muscular proportions with aerodynamic efficiency.” That includes active grille shutters, and a more dynamic design Chevy says was inspired by the “toned physiques of athletes.” On the inside, the interior has been upgraded to accommodate five people.
The Volt hasn’t been an outright success, but it has become a cult hit among owners. That might be the reason why Chevy is doubling down on the 2016 model. Gas prices are currently very cheap, so a gas/electric hybrid might seem like a better option compared to all-electric alternatives, though Chevy did announce an all-electric Bolt for good measure.
On the more technical side, there are a number of highlights pointed out by Chevy: new two-motor drive is up to 12-percent more efficient and 100 pounds lighter, there’s a 19-percent stronger zero-to-30 mph acceleration, battery capacity has increased to 18.4 kWh using 192 cells (96 fewer than current generation) with weight reduced by more than 20 pounds.
It looks and sounds great. Now we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not it still drives great when the 2016 Chevy Volt is available later this year.