Watch a review of the new 2016 Chevy Volt.
Chevy spent a lot of time improving the car’s performance and range while lowering the overall cost. The 1.4-liter engine was swapped out with a new 1.5-liter I-4 engine that uses direct injection, 12.5:1 compression, exhaust gas recirculation, and cam phasing that allows the car to run on the Atkinson cycle. This new engine gives the 2016 Chevy Volt a much-needed upgrade in torque and power, allowing it to drive at a maximum of 5600 rpm.
The new battery pack replaced all but nine parts from the previous model. It employs prismatic pouch-like cells with an updated lithium-ion formula across 192 cells. Chevy reports that the battery is 20 percent more efficient than the previous, and weighs 30 pounds less. It has a lower internal resistance and an improved cooling system that reduced the number of seams for better dependability.
The computer in the 2016 Volt received an update as well by integrating the Traction Power Inverter Module and other controller electronics with the electric engine and transmission. This allows for better connectivity between the car’s electronics and the transmission, eliminating the need for clunky orange cables. The new electronic system led to a 60 percent reduction in volume, and a decrease of 100 pounds in the powertrain.
Chevy also completely revamped the transmission in the new Volt. Two different motors trade back and forth to propel the car forward depending on its needs at a given time. They can even work together to ensure that the car is running efficiently. The smaller engine uses an iron-based material, while the other one uses a combination of rare-earth metals. The engine can operate in five different modes, and dropped a total of 33 pounds compared to the older model.
The new Volt can accelerate 20 percent faster, and will drive at a rate that is overall 12 percent more efficient than the 2011 model. Volts on the road now can drive for an estimated 38 miles without needing a charge. Motor Trend estimates that the increases in overall efficiency would allow the 2016 Volt to drive for a range of nearly 50 miles.
The 2011 Volt won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, but that was a different time when electric vehicles were relatively unheard of. Since then, the market for electric cars has taken off. BMW has released an electric vehicle, Toyota is currently working on hydrogen fuel cell technology, and Tesla Motors has launched electronic cars from relative obscurity into the mainstream.
The new Volt will face more competition than the older generation, but the improvements to the engine, transmission, and overall efficiency of the car, as well as the $1,200 discount from the previous price, make it a serious competitor for a useful, high-performing electric vehicle. Drivers will love the 2016 Volt for its power and range, and families will love it for its price tag. Not having to stop at the gas station so often is an added benefit, too.
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