We had believed that General Motors' (NYSE:GM) Chevy Volt would soldier on into Model Year 2015 with only a few minor changes while waiting on the 2nd generation car to debut next year. Well, that's no longer true.
The 2015 Chevy Volt, available now at some dealerships, gets perhaps one of the most substantial changes the Volt has seen in several years.
For 2015, the Volt's battery capacity jumps up from 16.5 kWh to 17.1 kWh.
And while the EPA range figures that General Motors has submitted for 2015 are identical between this year and last, many new Volt owners are reporting a slight increase in range-real or imagined?
We felt that this new development needed a little solid clarification from GM themselves. The burning questions being:
- A) Was the lithium battery pack actually increased for 2015? Or was that a typo of some kind?
- B) Was this extra battery capacity used as a reserve buffer to extend life?
- C) Would this extra battery capacity result in any real world changes?
We spoke to Kevin M. Kelly who is the Manager of Electrification Technology Communications and he confirmed that the battery had increased in size, and that drivers could expect to see some range improvements.
"We did make an engineering change in the battery cell used in the 2015 Chevrolet Volt, which resulted in an overall storage capacity increase from 16.5 to 17.1 kWh.
This is a part of our effort for continuous improvement. As a result of this change, we would expect that some customers may see a slight improvement in overall EV range."
This is the second time the Volt's battery has been increased since its debut in late 2010. The 2013 model year Chevrolet Volt had its battery capacity increased from 16 kWh to 16.5 kWh, which translated to an extra 3 miles of range (up to 38) and 4 more MPGe.
Our tip of the cap to General Motors for their commitment to improving the Chevy Volt over time and sticking with the development of plug-in technology as part of their lineup!