Next-generation Chevy Volt to debut in January
A car that’s still something of a mystery to many is getting a makeover.
General Motors announced on Aug. 7 that the 2nd-generation Chevrolet Volt will debut in January at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The press release – imported straight outta Acme, Michigan – gives little to no details on what changes can be expected with the new Volt, which will go on sale later in 2015 as a 2016 model. Besides a teaser mage of the new Volt’s rear trunklid, there’s no information on range, performance, weight, underpinnings – any of that juicy stuff.
There is, however, much gushing over the current Volt, complete with facts and figures garnered from customer feedback surveys.
“Volt owners are driving more than 63 percent of their overall miles in electric vehicle mode, collectively logging more than 500 million gas-free miles since the Volt’s retail debut in 201o.”
Boy howdy! Those Volt owners sure do like to maximize their use of that battery – it’s almost as if they purchased the vehicle for that specific reason!
Joking aside, the Volt remains a unique and interesting vehicle, albeit one that’s in desperate need of a style injection. If the teaser image is anything to go by, the public can expect more eye appeal when the wraps come off in Detroit.
The speculation amongst auto writers is that the new Volt will see a reduction in price (much needed to keep it competitive), an increase in EV range (above the current 38 miles/61 kilometres), and more interior space thanks a reduced battery size. The current 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder
generator range extender will likely be ditched in favour of a more fuel-efficient 3-cylinder.
Price has always been a point of contention with the Volt, with many claiming that the vehicle’s higher cost puts sustainability out of reach for most car buyers, limiting possible sales. There’s certainly truth to this, but, in its defence, the amount of technology packed into the vehicle is significant and prices have come down since the Volt first entered the marketplace.
First retailing for $41,000 in 2010, the Volt’s MRSP is now $34,170 (U.S. market, 2015 model), and that’s before a potential federal tax credit (provincial in Canada) is factored in. Any further reduction in price – plus additional range – will only serve to make the Volt a more competitive vehicle.
Clearly, GM is banking on bigger sales numbers from this improved Volt.
Back in 2011, I test drove a Volt the first week they showed up on dealer’s lots. During a 43-kilometre all-electric urban jaunt, the car impressed with its interior comfort, ride quality and drivetrain smoothness.
Given the Volt’s price at the time, I wrote in my published review:
“This isn’t an electric car for the masses … but it is proof that a quality electric car that drives and feels like a regular luxury car is possible from a mass-market automaker.”
With a lower price (is sub-$30K possible?), Chevrolet will have positioned the 2016 Volt closer to that ideal.