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Chevrolet Volt 2.0: What to Expect

Chevrolet has said almost nothing about what Volt 2.0 will be, except hinted that it's coming no later than 2014. On the other hand, parent General Motors (GM - Get Report) has disclosed more about the Cadillac ELR, which will share much with Volt 2.0. Exactly how much? I will discuss this below.

GM will show the final production version of Cadillac ELR in 2013 and we may assume that production will start near the end of 2013 simultaneously to Volt 2.0. The only thing we know for sure is that the Cadillac will be a two-door version of the Volt, which will most likely continue as a four-door car.

Point by point, here is what we can expect from Chevrolet Volt 2.0, in comparison to the current Volt:

Size: Most likely no change, except for a couple of millimeters here and there. GM may want to make additional body styles to address minivan, SUV and other needs, but the basic size/concept should remain for the "classic" Volt.

Electric range: Most likely no major change from the current 38 miles. Clearly some customers would like an increase to 50 or even 60 miles, but this would add a significant amount of cost, as this is largely linear to battery size. The current mix of capabilities has proven a good balance in the eyes of most Volt buyers.

Gasoline mode: There is probably no reason to increase the size of the tank, which holds nine gallons, but the MPG efficiency is likely going to improve materially from the current 35-40 MPG. I imagine a number close to, or above, 45 MPG. Then multiply by a nine-gallon tank and you get a 405-mile gasoline range on top of the near-40 electric range, for a total of 445 miles.

Electric motor: The current architecture is a main 111 kW electric traction motor, with a secondary 55 kW generator-motor. It is entirely possible that this entire architecture changes, but if it doesn't it is likely to stay near the current power level, perhaps with a small increase.

Gasoline motor: The current 1.4 liter 4-cylinder is likely toast. GM has likely developed a new engine that it has been able to optimize for this task, gaining in both power and efficiency.
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