The Chevrolet Volt has been on sale in all 50 states for around a year, but General Motors' engineers are still perfecting the extended range electric vehicle. Using driving data from existing owners, they have improved the fuel efficiency of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt, according to GM.
Engineers tweaked the 2013 Chevrolet Volt's battery cell chemistry to increase the battery pack's capacity from 16 kWh to 16.5 kWh. They also reduced its energy storage buffer, and the changes increase the new model's electric range from 35 miles to 38 miles. The EPA fuel economy also gets bumped up a few miles from 94 mpg to 98 mpg. Of course, a bigger battery means longer charging times. Drivers can expect a full recharge to take 4.25 hours using a 240 volt outlet and 10.5 hours off a 120 volt source.
It is not just better gas mileage that drivers will see, they will also experience better performance. Many owners and potential buyers worry about the vehicle's battery performance in extreme temperatures, or fear they'll be on the hook for replacing expensive batteries. However, 150,000 miles of tests using the new battery chemistry demonstrated less battery degradation and the ability to withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.
Likening the changes the product team made to fiddling with a cake recipe, GM Director of Global Battery Systems Engineering Bill Wallace explained in the news statement, "We've done some work at the cell level to modify the 'ingredients' to make a better end result. This attention to detail will allow our customers to experience more pure EV range, which is the true benefit of owning a Volt."
But for California buyers, perhaps the most compelling reason to buy a 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be access to the carpool lanes. Volts sold in California will be equipped with a low emissions package that makes the Volt eligible to use the state's high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes with only a single occupant. Most HOV lanes require a minimum of two or three people in the vehicle. This year GM has reported year-to-date sales of 7,057 Volts, which is almost as many the company sold in 2011.