Sunday, June 10, 2012

How GM got 3 more miles out of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt

How GM got 3 more miles out of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt:
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2011 Chevy Volt red

As we learned earlier today, the 2013 Chevrolet Volt has beefed up. The new model year vehicle has a "bigger" battery and can go three extra miles when driven solely on the battery. We spoke with GM representatives to get more information on the model year updates as well as answers to some of your questions (e.g., don't expect E85 capability, once promised for the first-gen Volt, any time soon).

Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah said there is a reason that the focus today was on the car's improved all-electric range: It was the number one request from customers. Three miles is incremental, but "it will enable more people to go gasoline-free in their daily driving," said Farah, and those miles "add up over a week." Farah wouldn't talk about how many more miles we can expect in the 2014 Volt, just that, "my expectations are that we would see larger improvements with model changes." Importantly, Farah said that the EPA made no major changes to the test procedures, so it is legit to compare the 2013 MPGe number to earlier ratings.

The new battery is not any heavier or larger, just "electrically bigger."
The extra range comes from a different battery chemistry as well as a slightly bigger battery, 16.5 kWh instead of 16. Farah said the battery is not literally any bigger (i.e., it's not any heavier or larger), just "electrically bigger." The .5-kWh growth seems small, but from a "battery guy's standpoint," nothing is small and no one should expect any dramatic changes from future versions of the Volt's current-generation battery, just continued incremental changes, said GM's director of global battery systems engineering, Bill Wallace. He added that GM is always looking into how much more energy they can wring out of the battery, but are not yet wiling to talk about how much more could be pulled out in the future. He did hint there is more to be had, though, saying that, "battery life is not as sensitive as we previously thought."

Other changes in the new Volt are more minor. There is now an optional arm rest between the two back seats. A new power gauge in the dash shows more information about where the energy used to move the car is coming from, how much is from the battery and how much is from the gas tank. We already talked about the collision alert and lane departure warnings as well as the new standard "hold mode." The 2013 model also has new interior and exterior colors (pebble beige and silver topaz metallic, respectively) and new sport alloy wheels, which were actually available late in the 2012 MY.

2013 Chevy Volt Detail photoshopFor some reason, GM has not yet released photos of the 2013 Volt, even though they will be instantly noticeable from the rear and above since the roof and liftgate on the new Volt will now match the body color (they used to be black). All GM has released is a small Photoshopped crop, seen right, of the new backside (click image to see the unmodified version below).

The 2013 Volt goes on sale in August. GM said there has been no change in pricing or destination fees compared to 2012 model. You can see pricing details below as well as in the gallery.
Continue reading How GM got 3 more miles out of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt
How GM got 3 more miles out of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 08 Jun 2012 14:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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