Chevrolet Volt upgraded amid competition
NEW YORK, June 12 — Chevrolet has revealed a suite of improvements in a “mid-life refresh” of its Volt extended-range electric vehicle.
The 2013 Volt has been treated to a larger battery, which Chevy says will give the car a range of 38 miles, up from 35 miles all-electric operation.
The miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) will rise from 94 to 98 too, Chevrolet says, putting it almost on par with the 99MPGe calculated by the US Environmental Protection Agency for the Nissan Leaf.
Although the changes are minor, they will ensure that the Volt appears modern enough to fend off competition from the likes of the Honda Fit EV and Tesla Model S, both appearing this year and competing for similar buyers.
However, many consumers will see the biggest change in a “Hold Drive” button, adopted from the Volt’s European cousin the Opel Ampera.
The inclusion of the button will allow users to conserve their battery power for use at a particular time — most likely, at the end of a long commute when entering city boundaries, where electric vehicles are offered priority lanes.
Although the improvements will be welcomed by Chevrolet fans, the Volt’s fuel economy still comes in lower than the Leaf (99mpg), the Ford Focus Electric (105mpg) and the Honda Fit EV (118mpg), meaning it’s unlikely to be the vehicle of choice for true eco-warriors.
Instead, Chevrolet will be betting that its total range of 380 miles will be enough to outrun the all-electric competitors, limited to around a hundred miles.
That doesn’t, however, mitigate the threat of the Toyota Prius Plug-In, the real stalking horse in the US green car world — it can manage 95MPGe on electric power and also provides a gasoline engine to extend the range if necessary. — AFP-Relaxnews