Chevy is doubling down on electric at the NAIAS today, officially unveiling the 2016 Volt while showing off a brand new electric concept called the Bolt EV.
The big leap forward the Volt is taking this year is in efficiency, thanks to a new 192-cell/18.4-kWh battery and a 111-kW two-motor drive unit. Chevrolet is saying the new battery will make the Voltec drive system 12 percent more efficient than last year’s model, something helped by the fact that it’s 100 pounds lighter this time around. That new drive unit is also said to be much quieter this time around, too. All told, Chevrolet is anticipating that the 2016 Volt will be able to get 50 miles on one charge.
You do have the freedom to play around with the power in that battery. The 2016 Volt has four driving modes suited for different situations—normal, sport, mountain, and hold. Sport gives a bit more oomph to the acceleration, while mountain gives you more power to motor up steep roads. Hold excels at battery conservation, and is best for long, open-road driving or highways with little traffic.
The Volt also has a backup 1.5-Liter, 101-horsepower four-cylinder engine. This direct-injection engine can use unleaded fuel this time around, and is there to help get you through trips that exceed the 50-mile range limit of the current Voltec system’s battery.
But, Chevrolet is looking a lot further than 50 miles when it comes to electric cars. Their Bolt EV crossover concept blows that range out of the water, promising a 200-mile range only using electric power. How? We’re not sure yet, but part of it is going to be due to how light the car will be, thanks to the use of magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber in the body.
Inside, Chevrolet is taking their next steps in the connected car movement using the all-encompassing Bolt EV app. Using the app, it’s possible to use a smartphone as a keyfob and find your car using your phone. The thing we’re most interested in seeing is park-and-retrieval technology—not only will you not need to remember where you parked, you won’t even know where you’re parked in the first place. Apparently, you’ll be able to roll up to the front of the mall and just get out—the Bolt EV will park itself, then return to where you left it when summoned.
The Bolt EV CUV exists only as a concept, but should it become reality, Chevrolet is aiming at an affordable price of around $30,000. The 2016 Volt will begin production in the second half of this year, and you can learn more about its new and returning features from Chevrolet’s NAIAS press release.