The future of the automobile industry is green technology. Whether it means hybrid vehicles, electric-powered vehicles, or cars run on hydrogen or biofuels, the one thing that is clear is that we are moving toward an automotive future that reduces dependence on gasoline and fossil fuels.
Chevrolet has been at the front of the pack in developing eco-friendly vehicles. The Volt has been one of the more popular hybrid models on the market, and it offers reliable performance in a stylish package for an affordable price.
Though it has only been in production for the last five years, the Volt has already solidified its position in the green marketplace.
Now Chevrolet is ready to release the second model in its second generation with the 2016 Volt. The new Volt has improved on the green technology and promises to deliver a host of new features, making it an exciting new chapter in eco-friendly vehicles.
Improved Range and Efficiency
The biggest question on everyone's mind when a new hybrid or electric vehicle is introduced is 'what is its range?' With a fully charged battery and a full tank of gas, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt will have a range of 420 miles, which is more than enough for the average driver.
The power train for the new Volt combines two electric motors with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine. The gas engine is an all-aluminum EcoTec engine with direct injection, a cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, and 12.5:1 compression.
The new engine is lighter than the old, iron engine, and it runs at 5,600 rpm, far more than the previous 4,800 rpm.
The 18.4 kWh battery pack is also 20 pounds lighter than the last battery, but it has 8 percent more capacity.
The electric motors generate 149 horsepower, and the gas engine throws in another 101 horsepower. The electric motors also get 294 pounds per feet of torque, and the gas engine adds 104 pounds per feet.
The gas engine doesn't just add power to the electric motors; it also helps to boost the life of the battery and extend the car's range. If the battery runs out of juice, the gas engine will repower it.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can run on unleaded gas instead of just premium like the last model. Not only will you save money on the type of gas you purchase, but also on how much gas the car consumes. The overall fuel economy is 41 mpg.
The extended range mode has an overall fuel efficiency of 102 mpge. The improved fuel efficiency is due in part to the extended range and in part to the lighter overall weight. (Aluminum and high-strength steel body panels also reduce overall weight.)
Four driver modes are available to manage a variety of terrains: Normal, Sport, Mountain and Hold. The modes change the way the car stores and uses energy to ensure that it can respond appropriately. For example, on Mountain driving mode, the car will store additional battery power to anticipate long, uphill drives.
The new Volt can go from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds (down from 9.0 for the previous model), and it can reach a top speed of 98 mph. You won't be winning any street races in the Volt, but you also won't feel like you're struggling to get from point A to point B. You can enjoy a pert ride all over town.
Excellent Style Inside and Out
Eco-friendly vehicles have always been in a class of their own not just because of the way they conserve energy, but also because of the way they look. Their distinct style hasn't always been looked upon favorably, with some models being seen as toy-like or silly.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt breaks the mold. This is no frumpy car, and it doesn't toy with out-there styling that just isn't for the average buyer. The new Volt has a sleek design that is sporty and stylish. The body is just a smidge longer and wider, giving it a more impressive profile and a little more interior room.
The swooping roofline creates an aerodynamic profile that makes the Volt look like it's always ready for action. Slanted head lights that sweep toward the windshield, an angled front fascia, and the detailed body panels make the Volt look like it's always in forward motion.
Inside, there isn't a lot more room, but the layout makes it feel like there is more space. A third seat is added in the rear, but it is positioned over the battery pack. Though there might be more passenger room, the ride might not be comfortable for all of them.
The Volt's interior has been given a facelift, and it feels more luxurious than previous models. Features include two-tone upholstery, high-resolution display screens for the infotainment system and the instrument panel, and an inductive charging pad for phones and other personal devices.
Heated seats and steering wheel are optional.
Safety features include lane-departure warning, parking sensors, lane keep assist, automated parallel parking and more. Some of these features are optional, and some are standard.
Chevrolet hasn't yet confirmed a price for the new Volt. However, the current model starts at $34,995, and industry analysts are expecting that price to come down for the 2016 model. Even if there is no price drop, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt would be a bargain at that MSRP.
The overall cost of ownership brings the price down even further since owners will see a dramatic reduction in fuel costs. Many states also offer tax credits for driving an eco-friendly vehicle.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is expected to go on sale later this year, but no release date has been confirmed. In the meantime, you can test drive a 2015 model to get a sense for the handling and performance.
You will be impressed by how the 2015 model handles, and knowing that the 2016 model improves on that performance, you can be sure that you are in for a treat.