Chevy Volt II Gets Better Range and MPG
For readers unfamiliar with how an 'Extended Range Electric Vehicle', a.k.a. EREV works, permit me to illuminate you. It operates as an electric car for x number of miles and when the battery depletes to a given level of charge, a gasoline-powered generator automatically switches on and keeps the car running as long as there's fuel in the tank. In effect, it becomes a hybrid, or what we here at EV World like to call an 'electric hybrid,' since it is first and foremost an electric car with a backup generator.
General Motors coined the EREV term when it introduced the first Chevrolet Volt concept way back around 2008. A production version of that car, looking completely different, appeared in late 2010, just as promised. It wasn't a runaway best seller, but it did well enough for GM to commit talent and resources to a follow-on generation. That's the car you see above, the 2016 Chevy Volt, which is not only a nicer looking car than the first Volt, including the concept, but also happens to be a significantly more refined and efficient electric hybrid.
GM this week announced its performance numbers and they are good, really good. Where the original generation one Volt was rated at 35 miles of EV-mode range before the ICE-age generator kicked in and started burning hydrocarbons, the new Volt is said to be able to travel upwards of 53 miles (98 km) on its new 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. (Note, the speculation is GM has widened the battery depletion range some, presumably because it's more confident in the durability of the LG Chem cells it uses.).
In hybrid mode, the Gen. 1 Volt wasn't all that exciting, getting no better than the low 30's. GM is claiming it now gets 42 mpg in hybrid mode. In EPA drive cycles where the electric propulsion system plays the dominate role, fuel economy is estimated at 109 mpg! The range on a full tank of fuel is now 420 miles instead of the 380 in the previous model.
What this translates into from an owner's perspective is that if you charge the car at home overnight or at work, assuming your employer allows it, you can make your daily commute in EV-mode, only refueling your car every 1,000 miles or so. GM figures this scenario will now affect 90 percent of Volt owners, compared to the 80% of owners of the Gen. 1 car.
The base sticker price on the car is now $33,995 before any federal tax credits. That's a remarkable achievement in itself: the price of a better car actually coming down, not going up.
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