Cars

Published on February 16th, 2015 | by Christopher DeMorro

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2016 Chevy Volt Walkaround Reveals Hidden Improvements

February 16th, 2015 by  

The 2016 Chevy Volt is in every way a new-and-improved version of the car that came before it, as General Motors listened carefully to customer reviews and complaints and implemented improvements into the redesign. This video from AutoBytel gives us a detailed walkaround of the 2016 Chevy Volt with Volt Project Manager Darin Geese, who shows us some of the cool, but less-publicized new features:

Some of the features, like the LED headlights, have been highly publicized, but one nifty feature GM added to the Volt via customer feedback was a lighted charging port. Not only does this help people plug in their Volt in the dark, but it also provides feedback on the charging status. Another interesting feature is that engineers designed the wraparound taillights as an aerodynamic enhancer feature, helping smooth out airflow while going along with the Volt’s newly-athletic look.

Something else GM improved, but might not be immediately noticeable, is raising and moving back the front air dam. While this improved driving efficiency in the original Volt, customers complained about scraping it on their driveways, so GM changed the position while still making sure the Volt benefits from the reduced drag. GM also added about a half-inch of legroom to the rear seats, and added heated seats and additional air ducts to the back as well, while still allowing for the much-requested middle back seat. It’s obvious that GM is going for a broader audience with the new Volt from its first advertisement as well.

There’s a whole lot more to the 2016 Chevy Volt than can fit in one post, but suffice to say GM has listened to its customers in an effort to make the new Volt an even more competitive product. I’d say job well done. Check out the video above for a lot of interesting details.


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Christopher McClelland

    Chevrolet for life. Nissan leaf is helping the market and I thank them for that but If I had the money I wolf be buying this Cadillac of the EV cars. Keep up the fantastic work. Maybe someday kids can walk down the street without being poisoned from corporate greed

  • Bob_Wallace

    Let’s hit this on a couple of levels.

    First, you should have zero doubt that given ample PuHS (or other storage) this thing you call baseload could be supplied. Correct?

    Second, then it becomes a matter of cost. We know that new coal (aside from being impossible to build in countries that are cleaning up their acts) and new nuclear are too expensive to compete. Natural gas is in the game for a while. Wind is the cheapest and solar is pretty much tied with NG but soon to drop lower.

    Now, how do we put together the least expensive grid? Build it with mostly wind and solar, the least expensive sources. Add in as much hydro, geothermal, tidal, etc. as makes sense. Fill in the gaps with NG and storage.

    If PuHS is losing money in Germany right now it’s because demand for storage is not yet high enough. Some people are guestimating that Germany will be able to get to about 80% wind and solar before they need storage.

    • Mod Mark

      By your own admission, the true cost of solar and wind has to include backup system such as pumped storage or CCGT. Current this is not an issue with so low numbers for solar and wind. It is when you start talking about 80% solar/wind.

      On using hydro to “fill in”, are you proposing that hydro system such as Niagara Falls will be used as backup generators for solar and wind? Or will we build new hydro system and operated them fall below their capacity?

      On nuclear, there are over 60 reactors being constructed today. France de-carbonized 80% of it’s electric generation by building 56 reactors in 15 years. Compare that to Germany’s Energiewende, 40% of their electric comes from lignite as they are building more coal plants.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Nuclear also needs backup. It’s pretty much a guarantee that nuclear will be offline 10% of the time.

        As well, nuclear needs storage once it hits a large enough level. We built 21 GW of storage in order to incorporate nuclear back when we were building it.

        I’m not saying what we’ll use for storage. All I’m saying is that if we don’t develop something better PuHS would do the job and do it affordably. I actually think we’re going to go with batteries as they are easier to site and can be distributed around the grid.

        The list of reactors that will be closed and are likely to be closed is longer than the list “under construction”. Some of those under construction are not really under construction, some under construction may well be abandoned along the way,

        Germany started a program of replacing inefficient coal plants with supercritical coal plants before they started large scale wind and solar build out.

        Germany started with 18.5 GW of coal capacity. Right now it looks like they will end up with 8.5 GW or less. And those plants are capable of load-following so they may have lower CF numbers than the old plants.

        Those new plants are now coming on line and the old ones are in the process of being closed. When the process is completed Germany will have significantly less coal capacity than when they started the replacement process.

        • Mod Mark

          The grid need spare generating capacity as even wind turbines need to be shut down for maintenance work. The US has 48K turbines, on a given day collectively there could be a couple hundred down for their annual check up.

          But the backup requirements for solar and wind is a magnitude higher as nuclear power plants don’t shut down on a weekly basis.

          I am not against solar and wind. But these “80-100% renewable plans” are high risk and if they fail, billions could die if we hit one of those tripping point concerning global warming. It is a gamble we should not make.

          And are you really justify Germany’s coal plants? Coal is by far, the number 1 enemy. If Germany, the shinning star of renewable world, can justify super-critical coal plants then so be it, expect other countries to do the same.

          But the true shinning star is France which eliminate 80% of it’s CO2 emission from electric a couple decade ago.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Wind will need backup. Mix in solar, hydro, geothermal and tidal and you need less backup. It costs a lot less to install a kW of wind and a kW of CCNG to back it up than to install a kW of nuclear.

            Billions will die is an outstanding use of hyperbole.

            I am not justifying German coal. I am explaining German coal to you.

            France made their nuclear decision during a period in which they had to get off Middle Eastern oil. Wind and solar were too expensive at the time. Now wind and solar have become cheap and nuclear has remained expensive

            France is now getting ready to close down a significant amount of nuclear and replace it with cheaper renewables.

          • Mod Mark

            I fully understand what going on in Germany, coal consumption is increasing with 1/2 of their nuclear plants still online.

            The EIA 2014 Levelized Cost has nuclear ($96.1//MWh) below Solar PV ($130/MWh). But i agree, CCGT and wind are lower.

            You should also look at the regional variation cost, wind may be $71/MWh in the Midwest and $90/Mwh in the Southeast. Speculation but the $82 for nuclear may be for the Southeast.

            I live in Western NY, the land of lake effect snow, where solar would be in the $182/Mwh range.

            You should also consider, these cost are based on generation at full capacity. Geothermal and hydro would be significantly higher is used to backup solar and wind.

            France’s Energy Minister Segolene Royal disagrees with you, he wants to extend the operating license for the nukes and build new ones to replace the old plants.

            Mr Hollande approval ratings hit a record low (13%) before the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/13/france-nuclear-idUSL6N0US1P320150113

          • Bob_Wallace

            German coal use did spike up a few percentage points following the closure of reactors. However, in 2014 Germany set a new record for lowest fossil fuel use. Graphs below.

            EIA cost projections are junk. There’s a couple of articles on the site. Give them a read. Real world numbers – Vogtle electricity will be at least 12 cents per kWh. Unsubsidized wind is selling for under 4 cents. Unsubsidized solar is selling for about 6.5 cents.

            You live in the NE where utility scale solar, installed at SW costs would produce roughly 8,5 cent electricity.

            The costs I gave you are not “full capacity” numbers. They are real world numbers, the CFs are baked in.

            French nuclear –

            “Production costs from the existing fleet are heading higher over the medium-term,” France’s Cour des Comptes said in a report to parliament published today.

            The report, which updates findings in a January 2012 report, said that in 2012 the Court calculated the cost of production of the current fleet for 2010, which amounted to EUR 49.5 per megawatt-hour.

            Using the same method for the year 2013 the cost was EUR 59.8/MWh, an increase of 20.6 percent over three years.

            http://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2014/05/27/france-s-state-auditor-says-edf-s-nuclear-costs-are-increasing

            There may be someone in France who wants to build more nuclear, but there’s a math problem….

  • Great overall improvements. The only unfortunate element is the packaging of the battery in front of the middle seat. That third seat looks humorous and like an afterthought. I really wish they had found a place to package those cells elsewhere. That limitation is likely the result of having to use a non-dedicated EV platform.

    • Disqus Tim

      Chevy is lying about a middle seat, at least when it comes to seating a passenger with legs.

      • Mathieu Hamel

        I remember younger, my brother and my father and I were driving in a small VW Beetle. The most uncomfortable place was the one in the middle. You know what? I was always there. Because when you are a child , you do not care about comfort as an adult. The middle seat is best for children who want to see the road.

        And you know what? Maybe what children want most in the end is the nature and fresh air.

  • Calamity_Jean

    Have they made it wider? I test drove a Volt about 2 1/2 years ago and what bothered me was that I was constantly either banging my left elbow on the inside of the driver’s door, or I was jabbing the salesman in the ribs with my right elbow. The car needed to be about six inches wider.

    My husband needs a new car. Maybe after my mother’s estate is settled I’ll sell her oil company stocks that I’m inheriting and buy him a Volt.

    • spec9

      I like the poetic justice of oil stocks being used to buy a Volt!

      • Calamity_Jean

        Yeah, so do I. Plus I want to sell the oil stocks anyway, they are just too evil.

  • Considering

    Good video!

  • Benjamin Nead

    I like the purple paint . . . seriously! Note to Chevy:
    paint some of your upcoming Bolts this color as well.

    • Considering

      I believe that color was blue. It just looked purple because of the lighting or poor video color.

      • Benjamin Nead

        Yeah, after giving the video a spin (I was just looking at the still
        of the opening shot,) I see the color goes from purple to dark blue, depending on camera/light angle. Even so, that purple is an eye catcher.

  • RobMF

    Looks like a fantastic improvement of an already extraordinary vehicle!

  • J_JamesM

    The weight savings and range increase are the most important things, I think.

  • todlo

    the double flash between cut scenes on this video almost made it unwatchable.

    • D Kerr

      I agree. If they’re going to do these reviews show the features your talking about with a delayed cut later on.

    • Great video….but I just got up off the ground after suffering an epeleptic seizure caused by the flashing 😉

  • Albert

    I am going to buy one also 50 miles to the Eletric charge. I am spending somewhere around $400.00 a month on gas. I can spend that on steak every month.

    • jeffhre

      Here if I was spending 400 on gas and switched to electric, I could fund a major renovation of my house with the difference!

      • spec9

        use that money to install solar panels. Then no gas payment and no electricity payment. Let the savings roll in.

        • Mod Mark

          If you work during the day, it may be a bit difficult to charge your car with home solar panels. You will need a home battery system and transfer the electric to your Volt.

          • Tom Q

            If you remain attached to the grid, then your daytime surplus electrical production flows into the grid and is metered. You can reclaim the amount of energy you put in during the day at night as well.

          • Mod Mark

            Understood. Net metering is a great deal as you get the use the grid for free.

            It is a bad deal for those who cannot afford solar panels as the cost of net metering is pass along to them.

          • Jeremy Reed

            Net metering is a really great deal for everyone, not just the system owner. The solar power that is fed into the grid during the day offsets the most expensive power that is generated by “Peaking” power plants, usually from the dirties sources (e.g. jet fuel, oil, etc.). By not having as many peaking power generators on each day, and for not as long as they would need to run without solar systems, every consumer on the grid saves on their power rates.

          • Mod Mark

            Valid point, peak power rates have dropped in Germany. But if utility companies lose the highly profitable peak power market, will they have to raise their baseload rates?

            And to keep those peaking plants from closing down, we may need to switch to a capacity market ie: pay to keep the generating capacity online regardless if we need the power.

            Side note, very little crude oil products are used for electric generation. natural gas rules these days.

          • Bob_Wallace

            German wholesale electricity prices continue to drop. A bunch of coal plants have requested permission to close.

            Germany may decide to give capacity payments to some coal plants, but if they are sitting idle (and paid off) those should not be large cost drivers. No fuel costs. No wear and tear.

            And baseload is a term for plants that are inflexible, hard to turn on and off. The grid doesn’t really need baseload generators, just enough storage and dispatchable generation to fill in around variable wind and solar.

          • Mod Mark

            ” bunch of coal plants have requested permission to close”

            Why can’t they just close them? We all know the answer, they can’t. The first priority laws took away much of the market for the utilities, electric from coal is dirt cheap. Renewable electric is quite expensive as it is based on the feed-in tariff price.

            E.On is breaking up the company, this may be the first step toward bankruptcy. The toxic asset (coal and nuclear) may be dump on the tax payers. This is speculation.

            Baseload is the minimum amount of power required on the grid. A combined cycle gas turbine or hydro dam can provide baseload power and are quite flexible. A wind farm with an integrated gas turbine can provide baseload.

            The grid will always need baseload power.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Companies have to receive permission to close down an electricity plant in Germany. I would imagine that Germany is taking a good look to see if they can take that capacity off line permanently.

            Coal electricity is not cheap in Germany. If it was then coal plants would not be losing money. The wholesale cost of electricity dropped below the cost of coal some time ago.

            If you want to define baseload as minimum demand you can do that. But why not just call it minimum demand? When most people hear “baseload” they assume some sort of requirement that can only be met by coal or nuclear, which is foolish.

    • spec9

      Don’t eat that much steak! All things in moderation.

    • Disqus Tim

      What do you pay for electricity – you may or may not save money depending on your electric rates.
      Steak? Maybe, or possibly hamburger.

      • Mod Mark

        “One thing to remember about the Volt is that it’s not an especially
        efficient EV, because it’s dragging around that gas engine, and it’s not
        an especially efficient ICE,”

        The Volt is a compromise to give extended range. On the other hand…

        Does it make sense to use a large 200 miles range battery when you rarely need this extend range?

        The Volt battery is ~430 lb, the Tesla S comes in at 1200 lb. Does the Volt ICE and stored gasoline weigh more than 800 lb?

      • jake

        Sorry this math does not make any sense at all. driving a electric car in general cost $.02 to $.03 a mile. For example I pay ~$0.10 a KW the current Volt uses only 10KW of power before going to the engine. As i own a volt I get 35-45 miles a charge so avg it 40… 10/40*0.10 = $.025 per mile ( or you are paying 2.5 cents for every mile you drive). IF you had a car at 50 miles a gallon and gas at $2.00 a gallon give you 1/50*2= $.04 a mile. I have not seen gas at $2 for a long time and most cars don’t get 50MPG. Do the math a a different value of 30MPG at 3.50 a gallon gives $0.116. I don’t know the real number for the volt 2 kw per mile value, but it should be better than volt v1. The math is that the Volt ~half the cost to drive than gas given really low gas prices and really good MPG. Given more real value of a current car it is 3 to 4 times cheaper to drive.

      • Mark Renburke

        “will get you 50 miles at most”
        Not an accurate statement, many gen 1 Volt drivers already get 50+ miles a goid half the year, even ones like myself with the smallest 16 kWh battery (~9.8 kWh max usable) Driving style/speed and use of electric air heat are the two biggest factors, followed by ambient temps and terrain. You’ll see plenty of Volt 2 drivers averaging 60 or even perhaps 70 miles per ~15 kWh.

      • Mark Renburke

        “One thing to remember about the Volt is that it’s not an especially efficient EV, because it’s dragging around that gas engine”

        Also not a very accurate statement. The current Volt is rated at 98 MPGe based on 38 miles AER (which as I stated many drivers exceed by 20% or more) Volt 2 is rated at 102 MPGe. The Tesla Model S is rated lower, at just 89-95 MPGe. And although the LEAF is rated higher for city driving, the Volt is more aerodynamic than it and several other BEVs, and those lack the 2-motor EV mode the Volt has, both things together making the Volt more efficient as an EV at highway speeds esoecially.

      • Dan Manusos

        Do you honestly think gas is going to stay low like it is now?? I’ve lived through every gas crisis since the ’73 Oil Embargo and the rare but short periods of cheap gas. Yet there is always someone out there that thinks this time is different. This time they will stay low. Really???

  • Marion Meads

    Am getting two of these. The big problem is that there is a huge early demand and I might not get one until the end of the year. I sure wish GM has an online reservation and ordering system for the Gen 2 Volt like Nissan did for the Leaf. I would gladly put it some down payment up to half the value of each car.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Enjoy!

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Write to them, maybe they will put you into one of their commercials.

    • jeffhre

      I’m waiting till the end of the year. My Gen I lease is up in September though. Bigger problem is I can’t cross shop with next Gen Leaf, Tesla or Bolt yet.

    • considering

      How do you know the early demand is huge? Is this in print somewhere?

      • Disqus Tim

        It’s not so much that early demand is huge, it’s that early supply is limited.
        The Volt has always been a slow seller, it remains to be seen whether the modest improvements in range and styling will change that.
        I’m also not a fan of geting one of the first few cars off the line – early versions usually have the most problems.

        • Detfan1

          Modest improvement in range?

    • Disqus Tim

      You’d put down $35k for a reservation? Really?
      You’re every salesperson’s dream customer…

      • Philip W

        She certainly seems to be a hardcore GM fan.

        • elotrolado8

          The volt would be a much healthier choice than all that steak! So go for it!

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