The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is EPA rated for 53 miles all-electric range.
This 3-mile increase over an estimated 50 miles announced this January in Detroit will be welcome as every bit counts, as will a mild bump in efficiency of 106 MPGe over 102 projected, and 42 mpg over 41 projected in gas-only operation.
The MPGe, or “miles per gallon equivalent” is a measurement equating the car as being as efficient in electric operation as a 106 mpg conventional vehicle – four times the national average 24 mpg.
While 106 is now official, it matches what Chevrolet inadvertently posted by “mistake” in June on the Volt’s specification sheet page. It had also posted “43 mpg,” but reverted to 41, and now it’s officially 42 – on regular gas, not premium like the first-generation Volt required.
The 53 mile range makes it even more the hands-down longest-range plug-in gas-electric car sold, followed by the pending 2016 Hyundai Sonata PHEV which may get 24 miles, and the Ford Energi siblings which are rated for 19.
Chevrolet projects that many 2016 Volt owners will run on battery only for 90 percent of their daily trips. Today, OnStar data and other studies have verified Volt owners use battery power on 80 percent of their trips.
“We listened to our customers,” said Andrew Farah, vehicle chief engineer, “They were very clear when they told us that they wanted more range, and a fun driving experience behind the wheel. We are confident that the 2016 Volt delivers both.”
Total driving range for the extended range electric vehicle is 420 miles. Orders began in May for California residents, and first deliveries are expected in October.
This is the first plug-in car to undergo a complete redesign, and the 18.4-kwh battery is used more than the 17.1-kwh unit in the 2015 plus efficiency tweaks were found to boost range.
The EPA rates the 2015 at 38 miles range, but this rating is based on the certification tests of the 2013-2014 which had only a 16.5-kwh pack.
If Chevrolet had submitted the 2015 to testing, it’s estimated it might have netted around 40 miles range, but a 15-mile official, 13-mile unofficial improvement is being seen as significant.
Chevrolet also has updated the engine to an all-new aluminum 1.5-liter. And the drive unit is redesigned as well to be seed stock for more hybrids and plug-in hybrids to come.
The pending 2016 Malibu Hybrid is the first to receive this drive unit.
Chevrolet is cautious not to overstate expectations – even though today’s news was a case of underpromising and over-delivering – but it did hint more over-delivering may be in store.
“Data shows that drivers of the first-generation Volt achieved, and often exceeded, the published EPA-estimated mileage,” says the automaker. “Chevrolet expects the same label-exceeding result with the next-generation Volt.”
This statement is true, and when comparing this to EVs that may get 80-some miles today, consumers may also know the Volt can be run right up to the end of its battery and into the gas energy if needed. This is not possible with an EV which has no backup, and which must run less than the maximum battery range.