Will the next-generation Volt see a substantial increase in its electric range? The aficionados who hang out at GM-Volt.com certainly hope so, and at least one of them believes that some comments made by GM CEO Dan Akerson reveal that the next iteration of Chevy’s popular PHEV will feature a range improvement of “20 percent or more.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, Akerson confirmed that the 2014 model would have the same specs as the 2013, but said that a 20-percent range increase could be in the cards in “three to four” years. But then – Aha! He spoke of a “couple” of years. Was this the sound of a big electric cat escaping from the bag?
Here’s what Akerson said: “The next generation we hope to extend [electric range] significantly.” Asked by Bloomberg to be more specific, he continued, “For something to be significant to me, I’ve got to get at least a 20-percent improvement in performance. So, if we can get it up to 50-60 miles – or more – we will, but that’s going to be another 3-4 years out. So we’ll watch evolutions. We’re a great research and development company. We’re the number one patenter in the automotive space in the United States. So we’re working on battery technology feverishly. And hopefully there’ll be further breakthroughs, not only in performance, but in cost over the next couple of years.”
According to GM-Volt writer Jeff Cobb, unofficial comments by GM personnel have suggested that the company has test mules with energy density of up to 400 Wh/kg, compared to about 140 Wh/kg in the current Volt.