Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet Volt Has Larger Battery, Drivers May See More Range

4 months ago by Jay Cole 29

Model Year 2015 Chevy Volt Info

Model Year 2015 Chevy Volt Info

Earlier, we exclusively broke the news that the 2015 Chevrolet Volt came with something a little unexpected.   A larger capacity battery.

New Chevrolet Volt Owners Say Their Cars Have More Range?  Real Or Imagined?

New Chevrolet Volt Owners Say Their Cars Have More Range? Real Or Imagined?

Specifically, a 17.1 kWh pack versus the 16.5 kWh found in 2014.

And while the EPA range figures that GM 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.

  • 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 to us 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 GM for their commitment to improving the Chevy Volt over time!

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66 responses to "Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet Volt Has Larger Battery, Drivers May See More Range"

  1. EV says:

    17.1? My Smart has a 17.6 and starts out with 65 on a full charge.

    Could the new volts get close to that range?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      PHEVs and BEVs are very different depths of discharge in order to prolong battery life.

      ie) PHEVs complete many full cycles due to their petrol extender when a BEV will (in most cases) never come close

      So you are (in all likelihood) looking at like 39-40 miles of range for the 2015 model. To net 65 miles of EV range in the Volt, you would probably need 23-25 kWh on board.

      1. Blind Guy says:

        Exactly, my wife left this morning w/44 est. miles of range in our 2013 Volt. She can use all 44 miles of AER and keep ongoing if need be, with no issues. Your Smart requires trip planning and many people are uncomfortable trying to use all SOC. So please enjoy your Smart, and don’t put-down my Volt just because you have a bigger battery

    2. Ted Fredrick says:

      Typically electric cars will do 3miles per KW. This means that the change will increase E range a little less thatn 2 miles

      1. BU says:

        I own a 2013 Chevy Volt and I easily get 4 miles per kWh driving in the city. If I drive obnoxiously conservative, I can get close to 5 miles per kWh (no AC, stay between 35 and 45 MPH and easy on both pedals).

  2. Mike says:

    Someone at GM with a Volt lives 41 miles away from work, I guarantee it.

  3. Mike says:

    No, but that’s good news. Did the chemistry change?
    If so, did they use all the capacity delta improvement and put it all into the battery? Did the cell count rise or drop?

    With a big battery improvement they could have dropped the cell count ( saving money ) and put a little extra in for good PR.

  4. Anthony says:

    At least we know its not a typo. Though I think the “slight improvement” is likely a mile or so. If the state-of-charge range of the battery stays the same, we get an extra ~400Wh in capacity, about a mile and a half.

    1. danwat1234 says:

      Like 10.8KWh usable in the 2015 Volt or what?
      Thanks

  5. David Murray says:

    It is definitely good to see improvements like this coming, even if they are incremental. It shows progress continues. You know, LCD monitors and Digital Cameras evolved like this. It wasn’t an overnight change that suddenly made them more desirable than CRT monitors and film cameras.

  6. Sean says:

    I just picked up a 2014 Volt, and my indicated range on these warm days is usually 48-52 miles. I don’t know if I have more capacity like the 2015 (it’s a late 2014 build), but I definitely show more drivable miles than older models.

    1. lewl says:

      Would be interesting if they could get an official confirmation whether some 14s have this larger pack, unadvertised. And if so, when did they start using the pack?

      Based on reading some users’ reported ~11kWh used, it does seem so.

      1. pjwood says:

        I wish clarity were brought to whether this was the 2014 change, made public for the ’15, or if this is a capacity change, on top of an evident 2014 DOD% change? I suppose anything is good, if you weren’t expecting it.

    2. William Ashworth says:

      My 2013 Volt also regularly shows an electric range, currently, of 48-52 miles – and I often get that much. I think it’s a combination of warm days, good driving habits, and the 2013 changes. I doubt the 2015 changes showed up early.

      1. lewl says:

        The guess-o-meter means nothing.
        What matters is the kWh used when the battery is ‘empty’.
        I could floor it, brake hard, drive max speed and get half the miles out of it as someone who drove as efficiently as possible. But in the end, there’s only so much the computer allows you to use out of the battery.

        Approx 10.4, 10.7 or 11.1 for 16, 16.5 or 17.1 packs respectively.

  7. Ocean Railroader says:

    This is a good improvement that the Chevy volt is getting better range due to chemistry which really counts more then stuffing more batteries under the floor or messing around with the computer on the car.

  8. alainl007 says:

    Hi there,

    Give me a break!!
    LARGER BATTERY???? MORE RANGE??? Plus 5 kWh????
    NO a little nothing 0.6 kWh!!!!
    Waouww, what’s a new!!!
    Big effort from GM!! Plus 1 mile!!! A joke?Volt 2014 or 2015? No news then!

    Good road with EVs.

    1. Ozz says:

      By my calculations Alain it’s not just one mile, it’s more like 2-5 miles of extra range. This is a good improvement by anyone’s measure. Tell me one other manufacturer that’s added another ~10 miles or 20% increase in range. You can’t because there is no one else. Nissan changed it’s battery slightly, but you don’t hear anyone excited about the few miles of additional range on this BEV. If Nissan had improved it’s battery 20%, you’d see millions of happy Nissan fans excited about “finally getting a 100 mile battery” in their car. They’ve improved by 1-2% maybe…

      1. Djoni says:

        They still manage to increase milage by other means. Dial down the torque, dial up the regen, minor aerodynamics modifications, add mode B for even more regen, allow unlimited full 100% charge, provide heat pump efficiency for heating.
        Somme say total change amout between 150 to more than two hundred.
        I’m not sure if this has been translate in the EPA numbers, but in practical usage, the car has improve his range by 15 to 20%.
        Ain’t that what we’r looking for?
        Nissan make a much better Leaf 2015 than 2011.

        1. Francisco says:

          The Volt has a “B” mode. We call it “L”.

        2. ozz says:

          I wasn’t aware that it was much difference, but you’re right, a heat pump and some revised software do make a difference. There is so much going on in this sector it’s hard to lock down all the changes and improvements. A good example of that was when I was talking to a 2013 Leaf friend of mine and he looked at me clueless when I mentioned the 80% charge setting. I missed that news flash.. thought Nissan still recommended 80.
          You learn something new everyday!

    2. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

      That was my reaction. If you do the math, it’s 3.6% more capacity. This is what you get if you tweak the depth of discharge *SLIGHTLY*. I doubt there is a anything different in the battery itself.

      1. mike w says:

        The article says they INCREASED the battery CAPACITY to 17.1 kwh from 16.5 kwh. its a larger battery the way I read the article. There was no mention of changing the DOD.

  9. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Will the ELR be getting that battery?

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      Yes, but it will be a $10,000 option. [rim shot]

      Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your server.

  10. kdawg says:

    Someone w/one of these batteries, hook up an OBDII device and get us some data.

  11. Nix says:

    Better car at the same price? Nice! Meanwhile gas car prices continue to rise. The same goes for solar panel prices going down while gas prices keep creeping up.

    The price delta for buying and owning a Volt compared to a typical gas car just keeps shifting more to the benefit of the Volt. Even slight incremental improvements in value while gas cars keep moving in the other direction makes these improvements important.

  12. Francisco says:

    Since this finally represents an actual change to the pack capacity, rather than mere changes to the already overly conservative buffer, then I really hope it is a harbinger of really big things to come with Gen 2.

  13. Kellybill says:

    Wow 1kw increase compare to model 2011-2012!!!!

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