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Cars volt-concept

Published on December 20th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro


2016 Chevy Volt Could Have 200 Miles Of Electric Range

Originally published on Gas2.

volt-conceptThree years ago this month, GM launched the Chevy Volt as an “extended range electric vehicle, though most people refer to it as a plug-in hybrid. But the next-gen Chevy Volt really could be an EREV with up to 200 miles of range per charge, if soon-to-retire CEO Dan Akerson’s comments have any amount of truth to them. Dare we hope?

In a multi-page interview with Businessweek having to do with his legacy and successor, Mary Barra, Akerson says that GM is aiming to build an electric car with a 200-mile range, as well as room for a on-board generator. That would be impressive enough even at the Volt’s current price point, but Akerson also said that the goal price is $30,000. Whether that includes tax credits or not, the piece doesn’t clarify, but with a target date of 2016, we should see the new face of the Chevy Volt in the next year or so.

Perhaps GM plans to take the Tesla approach, and offer multiple battery size options, or they could be modeling the next Volt after the BMW i3, making the range-extender optional. Akerson says that the next Volt is going to be a “moonshot” with the aim to “surprise the competition.” Akerson is also the guy who wants the Cadillac ELR to compete with Tesla, only to have Consumer Reports (and pretty much everyone else) call it way overpriced. Yet just months earlier, GM slashed the price of the Volt by $5,000, reminding me all too much of how Old GM always seemed to be going in opposite directions.

But Akerson is on his way out, so he can pretty much say whatever at this point, and most people aren’t going to pay attention. A 200-mile, $30,000 EV with an optional generator really could surprise people; you’d have a hard time arguing against the economics of such a vehicle, and it’d hit the market a full year before the Tesla Model E. Then again, it isn’t the first time Akerson has talked of a 200-mile EV, so the surprise might already be spoiled. Surprise or not, though, it sounds extremely promising.

GM’s moonshot could be a homerun.

Source: Businessweek.

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About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Jim Nelson

    Onboard generator? Generator of what, from what? Of CO2 from coal? Of electricity from gasoline? Of light from friction? Maybe provide a bit more information, huh?

    • Bob_Wallace

      The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). It has a battery pack that can be charged using grid power and a small gasoline engine that can be used to power the car once the battery charge is used up.

      The current Volt will drive about 40 miles on electricity alone which means many people will use no gasoline with their daily driving (the average driving day is just over 30 miles). Then, when they go further the gas engine kicks in and allows them to drive as far as they want.

      Because of the battery pack the Volt engine can run at a constant RPM which makes it a very efficient gasmobile when running on engine power.

  • jose nieves

    I really hope that GM’s vision comes true. We all know that they just want to take Tesla out of the market with the soon to be delivered model E. If they want to be suceesful with this project, the $30K maximum price has to be mantained. But 200 miles range is the best part of the whole project. Wish them luck.

    • Bob_Wallace

      No, GM wants a nice big share of this new emerging market. They’re in early with the Volt and Spark. Tesla is in early. Most other companies are a bit behind.

      There are millions of cars sold around the world every year. Room for everyone who can bring a quality product at an attractive price.

      • Marion Meads

        Many can catch up with Tesla’s mass market affordable car since they have postponed it to 2017. If GM, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, or others will be the first to deliver, different swappable battery size options including a removable range extender, Tesla will be priced out of the mass market affordable cars and would remain a niche market luxury EV car.

  • Neil Blanchard

    Listen folks – we can have 200+ mile range EV’s today, with today’s batteries. It comes down to the efficiency of the car. The Illuminati Motor Works ’7′ is a four seat EV with a ~33kWh battery pack and a 0-60mph time of about 6.2 seconds. It has a range of 220+ miles driven at 60-70mph, and it had about 10% charge left.

    I just saw ’7′ a couple of weeks ago at the MIT Electric Vehicles Team garage, and it is written about in Jason Fagone’s excellent book Ingenious.

    The IMW ’7′ has a plug-to-wheel efficiency of about 92%. It was tested by Chrysler in an EPA full test, and it was rated at 207MPGe, and that was with the original body and a higher loss transmission. It could go ~60MPH consuming ~153Wh/mile.

    Now, it can go the same speed and consume only ~129Wh/mile. Compare this to the Leaf at ~290Wh/mile.

    So if GM put a modern battery in an EV1 with a even more efficient drivetrain, and they could do 200+ miles range *right now* with today’s batteries. In fact, ’7′ uses Thundersky/CALB batteries which are not all that energy dense.

    Edit: why are we still seeing the Volt concept vehicle? That thing is not only ugly, it is a terrible design aerodynamically.

  • arne-nl

    Does the commander in chief know about the Envia collapse?

    Seeing is believing, but my hopes aren’t very high.

    And who needs a range extender with a 200 mile battery? Oh wait, GM hasn’t got Supercharger tech.

    • Zachary Shahan

      I can’t say I’m very hopeful either… and do wonder if there’s been a break in the communication chain. :D

    • Marion Meads

      Not all long distance roads that I travel will have Supercharger installed. Do not be limited by pure EV. More than 95% of driving profile have daily commutes of 100 miles with occasional long distance trips. It means that most of the time, you are lugging extra battery weight that you will seldom used, and if you used it on long distance trips, it won’t be enough, that you need another car to do that, or wait for all roads to have supercharger installed, which isn’t happening, but you can always dream. :)

      The extended range concept is the best of both worlds. With all the Volt already sold and is in use, the Volt has effectively reduced gasoline consumption more than all the other EV’s combined. The amount of fuel needed by the range extender can be replaced with biofuel.

      The perfect range extender would be the fuel cell when the fuel cells have reduced price in the future. Meanwhile, there are many range extender developments today, from very light weight piston generators to fuel cells.

    • vdiv

      GM is a partner and has implemented the Combined Charging System in the Spark EV. CCS at least on paper is capable of delivering 100 kW DC. That is in the supercharger category.

  • patstar5

    Well this would really be a “moonshot”. I don’t think they could make a 5 passenger if they are aiming for this 200 mile range. I like the volt but I need a 5 passenger vehicle. I will wait a couple more years and see what happens. Looking at the ford cmax for now. I prefer hatchbacks to sedans anyway.

    • Zachary Shahan

      That C-Max Energi seems to be selling quite well, especially being a relative “latecomer” to the market. I haven’t seen (or searched for) much in the way of reviews. Let us know if you happen to find anything interesting out. And if you go ahead and purchase it, please get in touch about writing a review! :D

  • agelbert

    I hear ya! Let’s see what they actually come up with.

    On a related subject, I’m surprise the GEM cars aren’t taking advantage of battery development innovations and lower costs to try to jack up their range to 50 miles without raising the selling price. I like the fact that they now have a “normal” tire size option instead of the tiny golf cart look alikes. LOL!

  • MrEnergyCzar

    I’m happy with 40 miles initial range, 50 would be incredible….

  • Marion Meads

    I solemnly pray that this wouldn’t vaporware! Please, please, please, be true!

    • Zachary Shahan

      haha :D

  • sola

    That would really be something, especially if it is a before-credit price.

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