It’s technically still a rumor at this point, but it’s beginning to sound likely that Chevrolet plans to launch not only a next-generation Volt, but a new EV with a 200-mile range, around 2016.
A recent article in Bloomberg Business Week about Mary Barra, who will take over from Dan Akerson as CEO of GM in January, contained a few electrical tidbits. Akerson conceded that, despite the Volt’s modest success, GM has “failed to change the conversation about electric vehicles.” It’s Tesla that has changed that conversation, as GM tacitly acknowledged when it recently commissioned a special team of Tesla-watchers.
Akerson says GM has plans for a compact EV with an improved battery chemistry and a 200-mile range. “We want it to be a moon shot so we can surprise the competition,” Akerson says. An unnamed insider told Bloomberg that GM is planning to bring the new model out in 2016, for about $30,000.
There’s also talk of an updated Volt – Akerson said in August that he hoped the next-generation Volt would have a 50-60 mile electric range, and several GM-watchers are convinced that the company already has the technology working in test mules. Automobile magazine predicts that the next-gen Volt will replace its 1.4-liter gas engine with a new 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, improving its fuel efficiency and performance.
Automobile also notes that the Volt will be five years old in 2016, making it due for a rebirth just in time to satisfy the stricter CAFE regulations that will take effect in 2017.