Second-gen Chevy Volt has 53-mile electric range

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

Acme – — General Motors Co.’s 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric hybrid will get an estimated 53 miles of electric range, a nearly 40 percent improvement over the first generation Volt, which had a 38-mile range, and higher than the 50 miles GM estimated earlier this year.

The automaker is set to announce the Environmental Protection Agency figures Tuesday during the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars here.

“We listened to our customers,” Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah said in a statement. “They were very clear when they told us that they wanted more range, and a fun driving experience behind the wheel. We are confident that the 2016 Volt delivers both.”

The next generation Volt is due in dealerships this fall. The vehicle is being built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.

The 2016 Volt starts at $33,995, including destination fee. It’s about $1,200 cheaper than the previous model. With a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, the 2016 Volt’s price drops as low as $26,495.

Volt sales are down sharply this year at 6,935 through the first seven months of 2015, down 34.8 percent from the same period in 2014. Sales in July totaled 1,313, down 35 percent year-over-year.

The car, which went on sale in late 2010 as a 2011 model, has not met sales expectations. Former CEO Dan Akerson wanted production to hit 60,000 a year by 2012. Chevy cut the Volt’s $40,000 price by $5,000 in 2013 to help increase sales.

The sportier and more premium looking 2016 Volt, which added a small fifth seat, was revealed in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Chevy and GM want to target more tech-friendly people with the new Volt, early adopters of technology and previous Volt owners.

The 2016 Volt has a new architecture and a new propulsion system, with a two-motor drive unit up to 12 percent more efficient and about 100 pounds lighter. The Volt also has a new 1.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that takes over powering the car if the battery is depleted, extending range to 420 miles on a full tank; that’s up from 380 miles in the previous version. It’s rated at a combined 42 miles per gallon fuel economy, up from 37 mpg in the current Volt.

The 2016 Volt receives a combined 106 miles per gallon equivalent rating, up from 102 miles projected by GM earlier this year.

Chevy estimates more than 90 percent of customer trips will be completed using all-electric power, up from 80 percent of trips in the first-generation Volt. Like the current version, Chevy expects many customers will exceed EPA mileage estimates in the new car.