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2013 Chevy Volt Gets Bigger Battery And Range Boost

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On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:34PM | By: Chris Weiss


2013 Chevy Volt Gets Bigger Battery And Range Boost

The Chevy Volt is really giving the Nissan Leaf a run for its money. For the 2012 model, its price inched ever closer, and now another important figure is creeping up on Nissan. The 2013 Volt will use a re-engineered lithium-ion battery to increase both electric-only range and overall fuel economy.

The new Volt, which will hit dealerships in August, adds three miles to its zero-emissions range for a total of 38 miles. In terms of overall efficiency, the new Volt boasts a 98 mpg-e figure, up from 94 mpg-e. The new Volt can travel a total of 380 miles on a full charge/full tank of gas, according to GM.

At first glance, that 98 mpg-e figure looks awfully close to the Nissan Leaf's 99 mpg-e. However, as hard as GM tries, the Chevy Volt isn't an all-electric vehicle like the Leaf, so the mpg-e isn't the final figure. That figure still needs to be averaged with the gas-only 37 mpg figure for the "combined composites" fuel economy. The EPA rated the 2011 Volt at a combined rating of 60 mpg, so the 2013 model will likely be a little above that.

In terms of how GM improved its batteries, the official info reads a little like a mix of high school science lesson and battery science for kindergartners.

We like the latter version, and Bill Wallace, GM director of Global Battery Systems Engineering, gives it to us: "The best way to explain what we’ve done at the cell level is to compare it to a cake batter recipe. Sometimes if you use more sugar and less vanilla you get a better tasting cake. We’ve done some work at the cell level to modify the ‘ingredients’ to make a better end result."

In addition to some juggling of ingredients, the battery gets a slight capacity boost to 16.5 kWh (from a flat 16). That capacity adds a little time to charging: 10.5 hours total with a 120V charger (up from 10) and 4.25 hours using a 240V charging unit (up from 4).




Comments

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riko | 10:07AM (Wed, Jul 11, 2012)

If only the Volt had a all electric range of at least 80 miles. Then GM would have a Tesla Model S beater because of NO RANGE ANXIETY which is a big problem with all electrics. A 30 or 35 kWh lithium battery could be charged in slightly over 8 hours at 240 V. Toshiba's new SCiB lithium battery technology should provide over 6000 charge/discharge cycles and will first be applied to the 2013 Honda Fit EV. SCiB battery technology should outlast the vehicle itself, providing the Honda Fit EV with a lifespan of approximately 20 years and over 400,000 miles without battery replacement! If GM would apply SCiB technology (or a similar battery technoloty) to a future Volt with 35 kWh of battery under $45K, they would have have a vehicle that would be a game changer.



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