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Next Chevy Volt Could Get Up to 50 Miles All-Electric Driving

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On: Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 10:15AM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Chevy Volt Could Get Up to 50 Miles All-Electric Driving

The 2014 Chevy Volt will feature a few very minor option updates, but outside of that, the only thing new on it is the price. The next generation of the Volt promises a much more thorough series of upgrades, including much improved all-electric range, according to comments from GM CEO Dan Akerson. It still won't be a rightful "electric vehicle," the way GM insists on describing it, but it will be one step closer. 

After discussing the recent price slash withBloomberg, which he attributed to falling battery costs, and throwing in the requisite fluff about the Volt's range advantages over actual electric vehicles (as in zero gas electric vehicles), Akerson looked into the future. He provided superficial but telling details about what we can expect from the next-gen Volt.

When Chevy was developing the Volt, it planned to give it around 40 miles of all-electric driving. By its estimates at the time, that was enough to meet 78 percent of drivers' daily commuting needs. The idea was that it could serve as a pure electric vehicle for those drivers' daily needs, save for times when they had to go pick up their parents at the airport two hours away or otherwise extend their daily driving routine. For those extended drives, the engine-generator was there to get them to Point B without a hitch.

When it was officially rated, the Volt's all-electric range was lowered to 35 miles, crawling up to 38 miles in a subsequent model-year update. That wasn't far from the initial 40-mile goal, but it did kind of negate the "78 percent of all commuters" talking point. We don't hear that one much anymore, though Akerson did dust it off in his interview, rounding right up to "80 percent".

Based upon Akerson's follow-up comments, GM is likely developing a new talking point, perhaps with "90+" percent of commuters cited.

"The next generation, we hope to extend that [battery range] significantly," Akerson said in the interview, answering a follow-up question for specifics with: "For something to be significant to me, I gotta' get at least a 20 percent improvement in performance."

Twenty percent over the current 38 miles would put all-electric range at 45 to 46 miles, but Akerson also mentioned the possibility of getting it up to 50 or 60 miles or more within 3 to 4 years. The generation 2 Volt is expected in 2015, so it's possible that it will offer 40 or 45 miles of all-electric range to start with, with a mid-cycle boost up to 50, 60, etc. if and when that technology is available. That's similar to, though more dramatic than, the way the generation 1 got a mid-cycle battery range boost.

Akerson's full interview will air inSeptember on Bloomberg Radio's"A Closer Look with Arthur Levitt." You can listen to the preview clip by following the link below.


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