In response to Volt owner requests, GM has given the Volt a GPS-enabled sense of where “home” is, and the car can be programmed to know when it arrives at its owner’s home base – i.e., the garage, or where ever that may be.
Based on owner-set charging preferences for their “home” charging location, the new Volt will automatically adjust to that setting when there.
Owners will be able to input their local utility’s rate schedule to let it use the cheapest rates. This programming need only be done once and the Volt will return to these settings every time it is at its home location.
Also new is a better charging indicator to let owners know their Volt is charging and gauge charge status.
This system status indicator features a special tone that tells when charging has begun, with other tones indicating delayed charging.
It will also let owners know if the charge port door was left open after unplugging but before entering the vehicle.
Approximate charge level will be visible through the windshield through a series of flashes.
Optional will be an illuminated charge port which lets one see it better and check state of charge through a series of flashes.
The new portable 120-volt charger cord is now almost 25 feet long and can be locked with a small padlock.
A storage bin for the cord is now located on the left side of the Volt’s rear cargo area, above the load floor, for improved accessibility.
This too was done in response to customer feedback.
(Read between the lines: GM says it is listening and responding with action. That may be so, but here at GM-Volt you readers have been shouting your desires, so we’ll see how many of these ultimately come to pass on this second-generation effort).
As it is, GM says it is responsive …
“Chevrolet used the real-world experiences of today’s Volt owners to make the charging process simpler and more convenient in the next-generation Volt,” said Andrew Farah, chief engineer for the Volt. “The new Volt will give owners greater flexibility for charging it on their terms.”
All this is good, but more pressing are other details, including whether the Volt will drive even better and exactly how much more efficiently remain to be seen.
But by all accounts, the new Volt is all-around better and hints are it could significantly raise the bar for what is already the highest all-electric-range plug-in hybrid sold.