DETROIT – Chevy has rebooted the Volt.
The second-generation plug-in hybrid offers increased range and power, plus improved efficiency, wrapped in a new-look skin, in an effort to broaden its appeal.
The 2016 model can now travel 50 miles per charge on electricity alone, up from 38 miles, thanks to a larger capacity battery pack, and returns 41 mpg in extended range mode, when it’s 1.5-liter gasoline engine kicks in to generate electricity for longer trips. It’s combined efficiency rating is equivalent to 102 mpg.
Along with a cleaner body that incorporates an updated take on the Volt’s signature split silver grille and black hatchback panel, it gets a more conventional interior with buttons replacing the touch pads of the current model and a new seating layout with an small center rear seat that gives it room for five.
Chevrolet says the car is faster than the original Volt and has additional safety technology, including lane keeping assist and a collision avoidance system with automatic braking.
When it introduced the Volt in 2011, Chevrolet predicted sales of up to 60,000 cars per year, but has sold less than 80,000 total since then, in part due to what may perceived to be a high price for a compact hybrid. Pricing of the new Volt will be announced closer to its on sale date late this year, but is expected to be significantly less than today’s $35,170.