Monday, January 12, 2015

New, Improved 2016 Chevrolet Volt 'Officially' Premieres

It's finally time to get charged up about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Just in time for the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the second-generation version of the first major production plug-in hybrid car has been completely unwrapped for the public. Capable of going as far as 50 miles on a charge, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt promises improved efficiency and better practicality.

As for the look of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, most of us are already familiar with its sleeker profile and more sophisticated exterior style. An auto brand that impressed me with their ability to hold back the seventh-generation Corvette until the day of its debut in 2013, I have say that Chevrolet has lost its mojo when it comes to climatically introducing a vehicle. Perhaps desperate to find something to wow at the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, General Motors and Chevrolet treated an audience to a 'speak peak" at the 2016 Volt. Prior to that, Chevrolet had already provided technical details of the plug-in hybrid's powertrain leaving little to the imagination as the new Volt arrived for the Detroit show. To me, the whole incident was like giving away the end of a movie before you even brought your ticket. Sure as an automotive writer I want to see the newest vehicles first but there is a special fire that burns bright when a car premieres. However, this is now the first time to see the vehicle in full view and I must say I am dazzled by how well the entire design marries together. The five-door hatchback body style no longer leaves the impression that the vehicle is reflecting the image of an eight-year old concept car.

Aside from the appearance's intentions to win over eyes, there is a number of advancements made to the 2016 Volt's exterior making it a better plug-in hybrid. At the front end, an item incorporated into the new vehicle's design is active grille shutters. The new plug-in hybrid will coast on Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires mounted to 17-inch aluminum wheels looking stylish yet also supplying the lowest possible rolling resistance. Electric power steering and fully regenerative four-wheel disc brakes are standard on the 2016 Volt.

The entire charging apparatus of the new plug-in hybrid has been remodeled for simpler use. A GPS-based charging system allows owners of the new Chevrolet Volt to customize the way the vehicle is being charged using criteria such as location. An improved portable 120-volt charger and an enhanced notification features have also been added to the charging process of the 2016 Volt. For easier recharges in dark areas, an illuminated charging port is available on the 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

The freshest source of intrigue coming from the official unveiling of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt comes with the powertrain. A new 1.5-liter range-extending gasoline engine was already announced for the vehicle. Now we can confirm the output of this new direct-injected engine is 101 horsepower at 5,600 rpm. Of course, the range-extender system is only useful when the electric power is depleted.

Electric propulsion for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is handled by an all-new two-motor drive created to provide improved operating efficiency and acceleration. Providing up to 149 horsepower of motoring output, the two electric motor setup allows electric-only acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour (96.56 kilometers per hour) to be achieved in 8.4 seconds. Electric-only range up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometers) is accomplished from a lighter 18.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack operating with fewer cells. Charge times for the new battery pack is rated at 4.5 hours under a 240-volt charging system. For the moment, there does not appear to be a fast-charging option for the 2016 Volt.

Maximum range for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt using both electric and gasoline power is rated at 676 kilometers. The new electric motor of the Volt has also been constructed to minimize the use of rare earth materials. Thanks in large part to the refined electrical powertrain, the 2016 Volt is curb weight is rated at 1,607 kilograms (around 108 kilograms lighter than the 2014 model). 

Expanded to seat five, the interior for the all-new Chevrolet Volt receives more vivid refresh. Touches include chrome trimming around the dash panel assembly, blue ambient lighting and the ten standard airbags are now present inside the plug-in hybrid's cabin. Interior dimensions remain similar to the first-generation model as does trunk space.

The dual digital color display screens remain but eight-inch instrument screen using Chevrolet MyLink system in the center has been streamlined to show fewer icons. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt also include specialized knob and button controls for the vehicle's climate control. Standard rear-view camera and an optional set of active safety equipment (including technology such as lane departure warning, side blind zone alert with lane alert and front automatic braking) are other notable features buyers will find part of the 2016 Volt.

Scheduled for release in the second half of this year, pricing for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt should come in a month or two. A much different automotive environment than the one of 2011, Chevrolet will have to compete against plug-in hybrid versions of the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion Energi.

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