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Chevy Improves Drivetrain for 2016 Volt #nextgenvolt

by Paul Strauss

The current Chevrolet Volt offers a good blend of city-focused electric capability, along with a fuel-efficient gas charging engine to alleviate range anxiety for long trips. However, pure EV range is limited to about 35 to 40 miles. Chevrolet has just announced that it’s working on a revamped drivetrain for its 2016 Volt which is expected to significantly improve overall efficiency and electric range.

chevy_voltec_1zoom in

The next-generation Voltec propulsion system increases the size of the range-extending 4-cylinder gas engine to 1.5-liters from 1.4, and introduces upgrades to the battery packs to increase storage capacity by about 20%, while at the same time cutting battery weight by nearly 30 pounds by reducing the number of cells. In addition, the traction motor weighs less and uses less rare earth materials, and the electric drive unit will offer reduced noise and vibration, and has seen a reduction in weight of about 100 pounds. Acceleration is expected to be about 20% faster than the current Volt as well.

How the changes will translate to increased driving range is yet to be known, but with the current Volt getting about 38 miles of pure EV range, I’m guessing the 2016 Volt will go close to 50 miles without a charge or falling back to the range extender engine.

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt will debut at the 2015 NAIAS in Detroit in January.

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