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2016 Chevrolet Volt to get new battery, bigger engine

Second-generation Volt will make its debut at the North American International Auto Show

Published: October 29, 2014, 4:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:28 PM

2016 Chevrolet Volt - Voltec Power Unit - 2016 Chevrolet Volt

The next-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which will make its public debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in January, will feature an all-new Voltec extended range electrical vehicle propulsion system.

2016 Chevrolet Volt - Powertrain

That system includes the battery, range-extender engine, drive unit and power electronics. It is said to be more efficient and provide greater EV range and fuel economy than the current system. EV range estimates will be revealed along with the car's reveal in January.

GM says current generation Volt owners have accumulated almost 1-billion km of service and that experience gained and feedback received from those owners played a major role in the development of the next-generation model.

Enhanced Battery System

Revised cell chemistry in the new Volt's battery system, developed in conjunction with LG Chem, is said increases storage capacity by 20% for a given volume, allowing the number of cells to be reduced from 288 to 192.

2016 Chevrolet Volt - Battery Pack

The cells also are positioned lower in the batter pack to lower the centre of gravity, for improved handling. In addition, the overall mass of the battery pack has been reduced by almost 13 kg.

GM will manufacture the Volt battery pack at its battery assembly plant in Brownstown, Michigan.

According to GM, approximately 20 million battery cells have been produced for the more than 69,000 Chevrolet Volts on the road today with less than two problems per million cells produced.

New 1.5-litre range extender engine

Energy for extended-range operation comes from an all-new, high-efficiency 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine – part of GM's new family of small Ecotec engines. It features direct injection and a high 12.5:1compression ratio and runs on regular unleaded fuel. The current engine displaces 1.4 litres.

The new engine will be manufactured at GM’s Toluca, Mexico engine plant for the first year of production, then shift to the Flint, Michigan engine plant.

Improved Efficiency

The new Volt’s drive unit was re-engineered with a focus on increased efficiency and performance, improved packaging and reduced noise and vibration characteristics.

2016 Chevrolet Volt - Drive Unit

The two-motor drive unit is approximately 5-to-12% more efficient and weighs 45 kg less than the current system.

The Traction Power Inverter Module, which manages power flow between the battery and the electric drive motors, is built into the drive unit to reduce mass, size and build complexity.

A boost in performance results from both motors operating together in more EV and extended-range driving scenarios. The ability to use both motors enables an improvement in electric acceleration of more than 20%, GM says.

The motors also are said use significantly less rare earth materials. The new drive unit will be manufactured at GM’s Powertrain plant in Warren, Michigan.