The Chevrolet Volt has established an entirely new segment in the global automotive market. It is a five-door, four-passenger car designed to provide the fuel-saving and emissions-reducing benefits of an electric vehicle without the range limitations associated with all-electric vehicles.
For 2013, Volt offers an e-AT-PZEV specification that earns the Volt a coveted “green sticker” for single-occupancy HOV lane access in California and New York. Volt also adds a Hold mode that allows owners to direct when the Volt uses its gas generator. This feature helps save money because owners who mix city and highway driving can save the battery charge for city travel, where the Volt’s EV mode operates most efficiently.
Other updates for 2013 include a body-color roof and decklid, available lane departure warning system and forward collision alert crash-avoidance technologies, as well as GPS-enabled navigation capabilities to Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system.
The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving the Volt up to 382 total miles (615 km) of range.
The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5-foot (1.6 m), 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It supplies energy to an advanced, 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers an EPA-estimated 38 miles (61 km) of fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.
The Volt battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from a technically advanced, 1.4L 84-hp (63-kW) gasoline-powered onboard engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 344 (553 km) additional miles of range.
Charging the Volt’s battery is simple and intuitive, and can be done with a 120V conventional household electrical outlet, or a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle is completely rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10 to 16 hours in a 120V outlet (depending on charging level and outside temperature).
Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com; or via a smartphone through RemoteLink, an exclusive smartphone application powered by OnStar.
Working closely with aerodynamicists in GM’s wind tunnel to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet’s history. By reducing the energy needed to overcome air resistance, Volt aerodynamicists contributed an estimated eight miles (5 km) of electric range, and 50 miles (80 km) of extended range.
The Volt’s rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler control air flow. A n aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass also help reduce turbulence and drag.
Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features customers expect in a premium five-door sedan – including storage compartments and 40/40 rear-folding seats. It also delivers them in a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options unlike any offered before on a Chevrolet sedan.
Two seven-inch, high-resolution full-color screens are featured: One is a reconfigurable graphic cluster display and the other, in the center stack, features a touch-screen display, touch-control switches and integrated shifter.
The Volt’s MacPherson strut-type front suspension, sophisticated compound crank rear axle and quick-reacting, rack-mounted electric power steering system with ZF steering gear have been tuned to deliver a smooth, refined ride with responsive handling and a solid, on-center feel.
A low center of gravity combines with the wide track and long wheelbase for balanced performance. Front and rear hydraulic ride bushings help eliminate road harshness.
An electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system captures energy up to 0.2g for transfer back to the battery. The friction braking system features large rotors with a special finishing process that protects against corrosion and promotes longer life.
The Volt rides on lightweight aluminum wheels that weigh only 17.8 pounds (8.1 kg) each, compared to 24.2 pounds (11 kg) for typical 17-inch wheels. They’re wrapped in Goodyear Fuel Max all-season, low-rolling resistance tires optimized for electric vehicle range, noise, feel and performance.
The Volt helps protect occupants before, during and after a crash. C rash-avoidance features include standard anti-lock brakes with traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and advanced, LED daytime running lamps that make the Volt more visible to other motorists and pedestrians.
Occupant protection continues with a strong structure, and the Chevrolet Volt’s body-frame-integral structure strategically blends advanced steels to help ensure crashworthiness and stiffness. Nearly 80 percent of the Volt’s overall structure consists of high-strength, advanced high-strength or ultra high-strength steel.