2016 Volt Range Increases Due to Lighter Voltec Drivetrain
It may have been overshadowed by the reveal of the Bolt and its purported 200 mile range, but the 2016 Chevy Volt will boast an improved range that will exceed an estimated 400 miles with a max all-electric driving range of 50 miles. Here’s how they did it.
The new Volt will feature a new 192-cell/18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an 111-kW two-motor drive unit, as well as a 1.5-liter range extender that runs on unleaded gasoline and returns around 41 miles per gallon. The result is a drivetrain that is around 100 pounds lighter than the previous Voltec system and about 12% more efficient.
“The improvements in the efficiency and performance of the 2016 Volt are driven by what owners said they wanted in the next-generation model: more range, better fuel economy and stronger acceleration,” said Andrew Farah, vehicle chief engineer. “Building on General Motors’’ industry leading battery and drive-unit technologies, we’ve delivered all of that, while also making the Volt more refined and fun to drive.”
The new 18.4-kWh battery is able to store more power with fewer cells, and it has a higher discharge rate of 120 kW (vs. 110 kW in the previous 17.1 kWh battery). Though the shape remains largely the same, the configuration is revised in order to give the battery pack a lower center of gravity and less mass.
Not only is the two-motor drive unit smaller and lighter (it reduces weight by 33 pounds compared to the previous generation drive unit), but it’s also more powerful and offers more torque while reducing noise and vibration.
The new drive unit will be manufactured at GM’s Powertrain plant in Warren, Mich.
The range-extending 1.5-liter engine—one that uses a lighter aluminum block and generates 101 horsepower—will be manufactured first at GM’s Toluca, Mexico, engine plant before production moves to the Flint engine plant after the first year of production.