GM has been teasing us with one tiny detail after another for the 2016 Chevy Volt as it gears up for the car’s official release next month in Detroit.
Its latest revealed tidbit doesn’t highlight the car’s new regen on demand system or electric range, but focuses on a different talent. This video shows the new Volt – hypnotically clad in black and white camouflage – speeding through a snowy course.
As a front-wheel-drive car, with heavy battery positioned low and on center, it’s no surprise that the Volt is stable in these slippery conditions. After driving the 2013 Volt, HybridCar.com’s Larry Hall said it was predictable and offered good driver feedback.
“With 435 pounds of batteries running down its spine, the center of gravity is low, favorable for gripping the road and minimizing body lean,” said Hall.
All of these merits will undoubtedly help the Volt stay in control when driving on ice or snow. Really, it is a function of tires. Standard all-season radials have been known to work sufficiently. For severe conditions and simply for superior traction – at the expense of efficiency due to increased rolling resistance – “winter” tires (AKA “snow tires”) including ice-gripping compounds now available are hard to beat for maximum security.
What GM doesn’t address in this latest video is if any improvements have been made to boost battery performance in freezing temperatures. The Volt uses a lithium-ion battery which can offer less range in cold weather. Running the heater also draws extra from the battery’s supply and together these factors may reduce the car’s range by as much as 25-percent.
For 2015, Chevy updated the Volt’s battery to 17.1-kilowatt-hours, up from the previous 16.5-kwh capacity. This larger battery allows the Volt to run longer than the official 38 miles rating still in place from 2014 before the gasoline engine engages to recharge the system, extending the car’s range.
GM chose not to re-certify the 2015 Volt with the EPA, but its extra unofficial range may mean it’s good for 40 miles in present form. What the automaker has in store for the new 2016 to be shown Jan. 12 is eagerly awaited.