When it debuted for the 2011 model year, the Chevrolet Volt established an entirely new segment in the global automotive market. It is a five-door, four-passenger car designed to provide the benefits of an electric vehicle without the range limitations associated with other electric vehicles.
The Volt offers a total driving range of 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, it can drive gas-free and tailpipe emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a 1.4L gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly engages to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full change.
Updates for 2012 include two new exterior colors – Summit White and Blue Topaz Metallic (late availability) – and two new interior trim combinations, along with new 17-inch wheels with black accent inserts. Dealer-available color inserts can be inserted in place of the standard black inserts. Passive entry for all doors and the liftgate is added for 2012, as is Turn-by-Turn navigation with the standard OnStar system.
Also new for 2012 is Chevrolet MyLink, which includes Bluetooth-enabled streaming audio for music and select smartphones, voice recognition for the phone, music and audio systems, Pandora and Stitcher smartphone compatibility, Gracenote (Playlist+ and Album Art) and software that can be updated for the Gracenote database.
The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving to the Volt up to 379 total miles of range.
The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5-foot, 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack manufactured in Brownstown Township, Mich. It supplies energy to an advanced, 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers an EPA-estimated 35 miles of fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.
The Volt battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from a technically advanced, 1.4L 63-kW (84-hp) gasoline-powered onboard engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 344 additional miles of range.
Charging the Volt’s battery is simple and intuitive, and can be done with a 120V conventional household electrical outlet, or a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle is completely rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10 to 12 hours in a 120V outlet. Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com; or an exclusive smartphone application, Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar.
Working closely with aerodynamicists in GM’s wind tunnel to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet’s history. By reducing the energy needed to overcome air resistance, Volt aerodynamicists contributed an estimated eight miles of electric range, and 50 miles of extended range.
The Volt’s rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler control air flow. An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass also helps reduce turbulence and drag.
The Volt’s MacPherson strut-type suspension, sophisticated compound crank rear axle and quick-reacting, rack-mounted electric power steering system with ZF steering gear have been tuned to deliver a smooth, refined ride with responsive handling and a solid, on-center feel. A low center of gravity combines with the wider track and long wheelbase for balanced performance, and front and rear hydraulic ride bushings help eliminate road harshness.
An electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system captures energy up to 0.2g for transfer back to the battery. The friction braking system features large rotors with a special finishing process that protects against corrosion and promotes longer life.
The Volt rides on lightweight aluminum wheels that weigh only 17.8 pounds (8.1 kg) each, compared to 24.2 pounds (11 kg) for typical 17-inch wheels. They’re wrapped in Goodyear Fuel Max all-season, low-rolling resistance tires optimized for electric vehicle range, noise, feel and performance.
The Volt helps protect occupants before, during and after a crash. Crash-avoidance features include standard anti-lock brakes with traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and advanced, LED daytime running lamps that make the Volt more visible to other motorists and pedestrians.
Occupant protection continues with a strong structure, and the Chevrolet Volt’s body-frame-integral structure strategically blends advanced steels to help ensure crashworthiness and stiffness. Nearly 80 percent of the Volt’s overall structure consists either of high-strength, advanced high-strength or ultra high-strength steel. Active occupant protection features include eight standard air bags and safety belts with dual pretensioners to help reduce the risk of injury.
After a crash, the Chevrolet Volt offers the security of OnStar, which uses built-in vehicle sensors to automatically alert an OnStar advisor in certain types of collisions. The advisor is immediately connected to the vehicle and can request that emergency help be sent to its location.
Source: Chevrolet press