Print 31 comment(s) - last by Bill S... on Aug 13 at 7:32 AM

First teaser image of the next generation Volt
GM hopes to reduce its costs to produce the Volt by up to $10,000 with the all-new model

In mid-June, General Motors celebrated an admirable milestone for its Chevrolet Volt — owners had racked up a collective 500 million all-electric miles in their vehicles. For the uninitiated, the Chevy Volt can travel up to 35 miles on battery power alone. Once the battery has depleted to its safe level, a gasoline engine/generator starts up to power the vehicle for another 340 miles.
Tim Mahoney, CMO for Global Chevrolet, noted this week that the Volt represents the “cutting-edge technology that sets Chevy apart.” And despite the fact that sales are down nearly nine percent this year to 10,635 (through July), Mahoney added, “It’s done exactly what it was intended to do. It’s the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the U.S.”
However, GM as high hopes for the second generation model with Mahoney announcing that the all-new Volt will debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January.
Not much is known about the next generation Volt, although we think that next generation battery technology should allow the Volt to at least crest 50 miles in all-electric mode. We do know that that GM is hoping to reduce its costs to manufacturer the vehicle by $7,000 to $10,000. However, don’t get too exited — that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be seeing a Volt with an MSRP of $24,170 before tax credits/rebates are applied anytime soon.
It would also be nice if GM were able to repackage its battery pack to allow for three-across seating in the backseat. The current generation model has its T-shaped battery pack running down the centerline of the vehicle, nixing the center-seat position.

2016 Chevrolet Volt prototype undergoing road testing [Image Source: Motor Authority]
GM back in April announced its plans to invest $384 million into the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where it built the Volt and Cadillac ELR. $65 million of that total is being devoted to next generation lithium-ion battery packs, while the rest is being spent on retooling for the next generation Volt (and ELR, if it makes it to a second generation).

Sources: GM, Motor Authority

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By therealnickdanger on 8/7/2014 11:11:49 AM , Rating: 1
While I think the gas-powered Smart cars are rather stupid, I think if you're going for electric, go for something small and inexpensive:

68-mile range, 12K. We need more cars that take affordability seriously. The Volt is just too damn expensive.

RE: Why
By ilt24 on 8/7/2014 11:27:28 AM , Rating: 2
The $12.5K price allows you to buy the car, but then you have to agree to pay a monthly charge of $80/month to rent the battery. Over 5 years you would have paid around $17.3K, which is still very affordable.

RE: Why
By Nightbird321 on 8/7/2014 11:37:05 AM , Rating: 3
It pretty obvious what you're giving up by driving this, and choices never hurt.

Personally I'm waiting for plug-in hybrid tech to mature in a nice looking sedan or compact SUV. Going from 25MPG to 40MPG saves you a lot more gas than going from 40MPG to 55MPG.

RE: Why
By Nutzo on 8/7/2014 2:35:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see a plug/hybrid RAV 4 or Venza at a reasonable price. Don't need a 35-40 mile range, 10-15 miles would be fine, and would cut my gas usage by at 70% - 80%. With the smaller battery you can still charge it in a reasonable time from a 120 volt plug.

Just hope they don't take out the spare tire like Ford. I won't buy a car that doesn't have at least a compact spare.

RE: Why
By GulWestfale on 8/7/2014 3:00:25 PM , Rating: 3
as much as i dislike Gm and the volt (aka korean sbcompact with a battery) i have to defend it here.

sure the range vs price equation isn't perfect right now, and it probably won't be with the next volt either, but this is still first-gen tech at work here. that means that we are far from eth most efficient designs, and we are far from true mass production cost savings. ford makes 700.000 F series pick ups every year for the US alone; once hybrids reach those numbers their prices will fall pretty quickly.

but this will take time, as more sales will only come with more mature tech, which in turn will justify development of even more advanced tech... one feeds off the other. in ten years, when volt IV/prius VI will be released, things will be markedly different.

RE: Why
By flyingpants1 on 8/9/2014 8:42:42 AM , Rating: 2
A 15 mile battery would be useless in all-electric mode. It would be dead after 20k miles.

RE: Why
By Bill S. on 8/13/2014 7:32:49 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, but if it's less than half the price of the bigger batteries, it might still make sense, for some people.

Personally, I have a short commute, and combine trips across town, so I generally don't put much more than 3,000 miles a year on my vehicle. While a 15 mile battery wouldn't be as useful for the longer trips, if you put it in a $10,000 vehicle that I can use for commuting and near distance shopping (90% of my driving), it could even out.

RE: Why
By flyingpants1 on 8/7/2014 9:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
The $199 LEAF lease seems better than the Smart.

RE: Why
By Meinolf on 8/7/2014 11:31:14 AM , Rating: 1
I can barley fit my dick in this car. Why would I ever spend 12k on this.

RE: Why
By Arsynic on 8/7/2014 11:46:33 AM , Rating: 2
Perfect if you live in an urban setting. Chevy wants to expand beyond that niche, but they have to realize that they need to start small. Do a smaller Volt and position it to sell to the Urban crowd.

RE: Why
By Mint on 8/7/2014 12:32:05 PM , Rating: 1
No, that's bad advice.

The Volt needs to be bigger and be faster. The relative advantages of EVs/PHEVs are minimized in small cars and maximized in big ones or SUVs. The latter is where big engines can be replaced by small yet powerful electric motors, and there's more room to put batteries.

Most carmakers are making tiny EVs to minimize investment cost, not because it's a good market for them.

RE: Why
By fteoath64 on 8/8/2014 12:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
" there's more room to put batteries." It is not about space for the batteries but their weight against their current capacity. There is no point if an additional 30 pounds of weight gives an additional 10 miles range!. Batteries needs to be of higher density/capacity in order to have economical use. We are constrained by cost and capacity now, with weight being a large overhead at that.

Until such a time where the batteries gets 3X the current capacity without increasing the cost by 50%, then we shall have real progress in the range of these vehicles. I would like to see different batteries capability such as having an optional "Fuel Cell canister" battery where one can charge outside the car and plug into the car when needed for extended range.

RE: Why
By Mint on 8/8/2014 1:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
There is no point if an additional 30 pounds of weight gives an additional 10 miles range!
Huh? What are you talking about?

There's nothing wrong with that. For a car like the Volt, you only need 50 miles range to offload most of your daily driving to electricity. If that only needed 150 lbs, there would be a very good point in putting that into a car. 150 lbs will decrease efficiency by no more than 3%, while driving on electricity is 2.5-3 times as efficient.

Battery weight is good enough now. Only cost matters at this point, and even that is well below the lifetime savings in an EV/PHEV.

A fuel cell canister could work if it was 10x cheaper, but for at least a decade, the ICE wins as a range extender. Small gas engines are cheap, light, and have refueling infrastructure everywhere.

RE: Why
By flyingpants1 on 8/8/2014 7:43:52 PM , Rating: 2
The cars are already done. Don't worry about it. The Volt and i3 have proven drivetrains. The cars themselves suck, but there are actually zero technological limitations here.

A Volt is basically a Chevrolet Cruze that can run on electricity 95% of the time.

RE: Why
By Apone on 8/7/2014 12:14:03 PM , Rating: 3
@ therealnickdanger

Sure I'm all for affordability but I'm also looking for a balance. Case in point, for $12k, you can get something with way more room and comfort, still gets solid MPG, and offers relatively more safety than a Smart Car (the Nissan Versa, Mazda2, Chevy Spark come to mind).

RE: Why
By tayb on 8/7/2014 12:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
If Chevrolet meets their internal goals the base model Volt will cost $25,000 and remain eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. For some buyers the actual effective price could be less than $18,000.

The average commuter can get to work and back on the 40 mile range and they will have the added benefit of traveling on gasoline once that range is eclipsed.

At $35,000 I don't have any interest in a Volt but at $25,000? That is seriously enticing. There are better value cars out there but if the daily commute is less than 40 miles round trip that is a really great deal.

RE: Why
By hpglow on 8/7/2014 1:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't talking about passing the savings on. GM looses money on every Volt sold so I imagine they are just trying to bring it to profitability.

RE: Why
By Nutzo on 8/7/2014 2:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
Just like most electric cars, they will likely still be loosing money on everyone sold.

Only reason most car companies are even making electric cars is to meet the EPA requirements. If they charged what it actually costs to make them, they wouldn't sell.

RE: Why
By Masospaghetti on 8/11/2014 12:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
$25k would be great but I think that's a bit unrealistic. After all, a similarly optioned Cruze w/ automatic runs around $23k, and a Cruze Diesel is around $26k.

If they get the unsubsidized price to $30,000, which means that net cost after tax credit is $22,500, that would be an untouchable value given the fuel savings. Even the current generation Volt is $27,500 net cost - IMO, it's well worth the extra cost over the Cruze Diesel to get the electric drivetrain.

RE: Why
By foxalopex on 8/7/2014 3:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think some of you are missing the point of a Volt. Yes it's a full electric if you keep the range short but it's also a full hybrid if you go beyond that. In my day to day use, it's a full electric to me but if I decide to go cross country or on a camping trip a few hundred miles out then it's a hybrid. Otherwise you're looking at a rental or another car which wouldn't make things any cheaper.

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/14, Rating: -1
RE: Why
By foxalopex on 8/7/2014 4:03:08 PM , Rating: 3
Actually it's worked out extremely well in my region. Our electricity is 100% hydroelectric or nuclear and at about 10 cents / kwh it costs me about $30 a month to run my car on electricity compared to more than double that for my 05 Corolla.

It's faster than my Corolla, handles better. For fun you can punch the gas right to floor and not sound like a crazy person and yes I'm more tempted to drive it around for fun versus worrying about how much I'm spending on gas or when my next oil change is.

It works fine for the snowbelt and our Canadian winters as well so overall I'm still impressed with it despite being already in 2nd year of ownership.

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2014 4:04:44 PM , Rating: 3
No offense but if you live in the snow belt and don't own a Subaru....well come on, you're just doing it wrong.

RE: Why
By foxalopex on 8/7/2014 5:21:46 PM , Rating: 3
It's ironic that you would suggest you need technology to help keep you on the road in Winters when you're against high tech electrics. I owned a 2005 Corolla for a decade in these parts and didn't have all wheel drive, traction control or ABS even and I only managed to get stuck once. It's called learn to drive properly. Besides if you hit black ice, almost nothing will save you. Well maybe some decent studded snow tires would help but that's about it. The Volt has traction control and ABS which surprisingly helps a lot. Ironically it's most often SUVs that end up in the snowbank due to overconfidence in the ability of the car to stay on the road.

RE: Why
By grant3 on 8/8/2014 3:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
There is a "[1]" marker beside the $12k figure on the website you linked to. There is not actually a footnote on this page to explain what that "[1]" signifies.

This implies is that the $12k figure is NOT authentic, but in fact, some kind of conditions are involved. The fact that that Mercedes/Smart deliberately hides whatever those conditions are, means they must be so offensive they would scare off purchasers.

The whole setup seems untrustworthy. Proceed with caution.

Im so exited
By DukeN on 8/7/2014 11:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
and I just can't hidit

RE: Im so exited
By rountad on 8/7/2014 2:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
You're right that there are a lot of typos...

RE: Im so exited
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/8/2014 9:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
Your write that their are alot of typos...

Fixed it for you

By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 11:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
They should paint the car with that new black material that absorbs almost all light. It will make it even tougher to get a decent photograph :)

By TimberJon on 8/8/2014 11:28:46 AM , Rating: 2
While not initially electric, you can't scoff too hard at the new Elio coming out. I think it has something like 80 MPG and it's target cost will be $7,000.

Surprised that nobody mentioned it here...

Of course... I would rather have a PAL-V1 =P

By JEEPMON on 8/12/2014 5:20:30 AM , Rating: 2
However, don’t get too exited

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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