Chevy unveils the 2016 Volt

The 2016 Chevy Volt is on its way to a dealership near you, and it’s nothing like it’s older cousin, the 2011 model.

Chevrolet announced its new electric car, the Volt, almost eight years ago. Now, the company is finally ready to launch the 2016 version of the Volt, and a lot has changed about the car’s technical aspects and handling since it was first conceived. According to a review from Motor Trend, the new Volt improves upon some of the lingering issues with first generation electric cars.

Chevy released a Volt in 2011 also, and sold roughly 69,000 units. Collectively, Volt owners have clocked close to 650 million miles in their electric vehicles, and have given it exceptional ratings on J.D. Power’s Dependability index. The Generation II Volt incorporates radical redesigns that will make Volt fans wonder if it is even the same car.

Chevy focused heavily on increasing the car’s performance and range while reducing the cost of the car. The 1.4-liter engine was switched out with a new 1.5-liter I-4 engine that features direct injection, 12.5:1 compression, exhaust gas recirculation, and cam phasing that allows the car to operate on the Atkinson cycle. This new engine gives the 2016 Chevy Volt a serious boost in torque and power, allowing it to run at a maximum of 5600 rpm.

The new battery pack swapped out all but nine parts from the previous model. It uses prismatic pouch-like cells with an updated lithium-ion formula employed across 192 cells. The battery is reportedly 20 percent more efficient than the previous, weighing in at 30 pounds lighter. It has a lower internal resistance and an improved cooling system that reduced the number of seals for better dependability.

The electronics in the 2016 Volt received a makeover as well by integrating the Traction Power Inverter Module and other controller electronics with the electric engine and transmission. This allows greater connectivity between the onboard computer and the transmission, eliminating the need for clunky cables. The new electronic system resulted in a 60 percent reduction in volume, and a drop of 100 pounds in the powertrain.

The transmission of the Volt has also received a considerable upgrade over the last model. Two separate motors switch back and forth to propel the car forward depending on the driver’s intention. They can even work in tandem to ensure that the car is running at peak efficiency. The smaller engine uses an iron-based material, while the other one uses a mixture of rare-earth metals. The engine can run in five different modes, and dropped a total of 33 pounds compared to the previous model.

The new Volt will accelerate 20 percent faster, and will drive at a rate that is overall 12 percent more efficient than the previous model. The current Volt can drive for an estimated 38 miles without needing a charge. Motor Trend estimates that the increases in efficiency would allow the 2016 Volt to drive for a range of roughly 50 miles.

The 2011 Volt won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, but it was certainly one of the first electric vehicles in its field. Since then, the market for electric cars has exploded. BMW has released an electric model, Toyota is developing hydrogen fuel cell technology, and Tesla Motors has catapulted electronic cars from relative obscurity into the mainstream.

The new Volt faces 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 knock off the previous price, make it a serious contender for a useful, high-performing electric vehicle. Drivers will love the 2016 Volt for its acceleration and range, and families will love it for its price tag. Not having to stop at the gas station so often is a perk, too.

You can check out a video of some of the Volt’s features here:

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