2013 Chevrolet Volt Range Expands to 38 Miles, Gets 98 MPGe

JUN 7 2012 BY JAY COLE 31

Three more miles of range, and 4 more MPGe is what Chevrolet states the 2013 Volt will achieve.  Total range on both electricity and premium gas has also increased to 380 miles.

GM engineers have tweaked the composition of the battery cell chemistry, which has resulted in improved performance and durability.  

2013 Volt Battery Pack Up to 16.5 kWh

Manganese spinel chemistry remains the foundation for the Volt’s battery system, but the amount of each material has been slightly modified to provide better life performance.

“The best way to explain what we’ve done at the cell level is to compare it to a cake batter recipe.  Sometimes if you use more sugar and less vanilla you get a better tasting cake. We’ve done some work at the cell level to modify the ‘ingredients’ to make a better end result,” said Bill Wallace, GM director of Global Battery Systems Engineering. “This attention to detail will allow our customers to experience more pure EV range, which is the true benefit of owning a Volt.”



2013 Volt Sticker Reflects Changes

What this means is that the total capacity of the pack has also increased, and now clocks in at 16.5 kWh.  This translates to a state-of-charge window of 10.8 kWh, opposed to 10.3 kWh used in the 2012 model.

Naturally, more capacity means longer recharge times, but we think that is a pretty nice trade-off.  .A full recharge on 120V takes 10.5 hours and 4.25 hours using L2-240V.

The only negative that can be seen from today’s press release is that despite earlier projections that the cost of producing the car would come down, and that those savings would be passed along to the customer, the 2013 MY Volt has kept the same starting $39,995 pricetag.  Perhaps next year.

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31 Comments on "2013 Chevrolet Volt Range Expands to 38 Miles, Gets 98 MPGe"

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Quick cancel your 2012 orders!!!!!!!

Very good news, more range is great!!!!!

I guess GM figures, why change the price at a time when sales are trending upwards? Probably a smart approach, leaving themselves a cushion for eventual sales incentives.

very impressed GM did this before the upgrade next year, they really didnt have to

Its unfortunate that the 2013 looks so much like the 2012. The 2012 style doesn’t appeal to me. Its so far from the original concept and looks just like one of those $20k gas cars you can buy.

In fairness, most cars only receive minor “facelifts” every 1-2 years (if they get any changes at all), whereas the major redesigns come every 3-4 years. Most likely the MY 2014 or MY 2015 Volt will get a significant styling update.

More electric range is always welcome and long time followers of the Volt will remember this topic bandied about often. We discussed the ability of GM tweaking the battery or computer controller, or both to give more range in all driving situations, and it appears they have done that to improve upon what they already have.

Just really wish they would gradually take a file to that pricetag and grind it down.

agree with all of this

i was expected to see some kind of concession on the price, did not have to be a lot, but something to say they are working on passing on savings

I wonder why the MPGe went up to 98 as well? That would imply the vehicle is going further per unit energy that it uses from the battery, correct?

I’m curious as to what they did to optimize the energy use to achieve the greater MPGe.

Increases the Volt’s charge times to 4.25 hours.

Expanding the usable portion of the battery from 10.3 kWh to 10.8 kWh we would only expect to see a range increase to 36.6 miles, so it does appear that the new formula offers real improvement there.

However, charge times used to be stated as 3.5 to 4.0 hours. Now we are told a full charge will take 4.25 hours, substantially longer than would be expected from expanding the pack only 0.5 kWh. Slower charging on other battery types has been shown to result in longer life, and calls into question how much of the other improvements are due to a better chemistry and how much is due to the slower charging rate used.

The “less impact by energy throughput” would refer to charge sustain mode where electricity is being produced by the gas engine/generator and flowing through the battery to the electric motor. All in all the slightly slower charge time would seem a fair trade for greater range and other improvements cited.

Also of interest. One month ago we were told by GM Specialist Britta Gross that 60% of Volt miles were electric, which we questioned because http://www.voltstats.net was holding steady above 70%. Today we are told “rough 2/3rds” are grid electricity miles. Hmmm?

I wonder why GM announced this nifty nugget so early in the sales year? Perhaps nearly all the 2012s are complete and we’re heading into the summer factory break and/or sales are so brisk they aren’t worried folks will wait for ’13s? I would think this would put a damper on ’12 sales.

For those of you sitting on the fence re: a Volt purchase – would 3 miles AER and 5 MPGe for the same price be a deal breaker for the 2012?

Also – I’ve yet to hear of a MyLink Volt delivered as of yet. I was told, “summer 2012”.

People have gotten MyLink for 2012s and reported it working well on gm-volt dot com.

Hey Scott, have they thought about revamping the Search process over in those forums?

Before you replied, I had scanned the forums over there for MyLink news to no avail. After you said they were there ( I’m sure they are, you’re moderator, so you’d know – right? ) I spent over one hour last night as my wive snoozed on the couch during a very boring movie – searching and searching over there. I’m very curious about MyLink since I was able to obtain videos of an early prototype performing very badly ( voice recognition of a rat ). Cnet tested a Malibu with MyLink and said it performed as badly as most voice-controlled infotainment systems do these days. I was so hoping MyLink would make MyFordTouch/Sync look like a hack first attempt.

Good news all ’round though – so nice to know GM isn’t sitting on the Volt, but dedicated to improving the breed.

What could this mean for Voltec 1.5 ( aka: Cadillac ELR ) ? I can’t wait!

It also means Volt 2.0 could possess a smaller, lighter, more efficient pack and a better pricepoint!

I have some ‘new’/unpublished schtuff about this topic(1.5) just about ready to go.

Check back Monday, (=

You big tease!

More nuggets:

GM says on top of the increased storage capacity of the battery and expanded state-of-charge window, they also reduced the pack’s buffer…

The General underlined the fact the new cell chemistry has undergone 150,000 test miles, with the tests showing less battery degradation, the ability to withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius and less impact by energy output.

More kwh for the same price is kind of like a price reduction. Since the base price will remain the same; this value difference might give buyers a better discount on 2012s once the 2013s are on the lots, beyond the normal end-of-year discount JMO.

From the article
…….the 2013 MY Volt has kept the same starting $39,995 pricetag. Perhaps next year.

Ugh! I was hoping for a drop.
My wife just doesn’t see the justification of buying this car at this price.
Since I like to live in the house and not in the dog house, I have to pay attention to what she says. But I can secretly disagree. 😉

Hi Lyle.
I think we need a timed Edit function would be nice here.

…ah, the bane of my existence, a functioning edit button.

It’s on the ‘to do’ list

OK, here’s my somewhat radical, but not unrealistic take on this news/event:

GM is selling each Volt at a loss. In 2010 they announced 2012 Volt production would rise to 60,000 units. At the time, the Volt was going down the Hamtramck assembly line in very limited numbers between outgoing Buicks and Cadillacs.

Today, during the June shutdown GM will be tooling up for overflow Malibu production and Impala builds at Hamtramck. Obviously GM makes a whole lot more per Imp and ‘bu than any potential profits from 15-28,000 Volt/Amperas it can sell worldwide. With this in mind it seems GM is shunting Volt production in lieu of it’s profit-making brands.

Stunting Volt growth by making such early announcments, and limiting advertising campaigns ( no Super Bowl ads for 2013 ) seem very logical theories as to why GM is not keeping Volt improvements for future model runs top secret, need-to-know information.

The Volt certainly becomes a (more) profitable venture once the Malibu production line is up and running in July. The staffing requirements was way too high at DHAM to only produce the Volt there.

I’d wager there was an additional $3,000-$4,000 added to the cost of each vehicle 9over the norm) to employee 1,200+ blue/white collar people out of a 1 car assembly plant the last 2 years, especially considering GM only sold a little under 20,000 copies (worldwide) over that same period. Thats why you saw the Lucerne last a season too long out of DHAM…just to try and get some kind of cost effectiveness out of it.

Malibu solves this problem.

(I don’t think the Impala, which will striclty be over-run, will make much difference at all to the cost per car, it might end up costing more if the Oshawa assembly can’t handle it, or GM uses DHAM as a strike buster)

To strengthen my above point. Look at GM’s handling of MyLink. They announced that MyLink-equipped Volts would not be delivered until summer 2012. Why make that change mid-year? Why not just wait to introduce it in the 2013 model? And would you announce it months in advance when at that time, Volts were cooling on dealers lots due to all the NHTSA mess and horrible press? A scan of gm-volt.com forums shows a relatively large number of folks who ordered their Volts and are either disappointed their new car has no infotainment interface, or believed MyLink would be on their car, but is not. Dealers I called believed MyLink was on all Volts, and there was a definite disconnect ( pun? ) as to the difference between Mylink, the smartphone app, and MyLink the infotainment system. Now who would’ve predicted THAT?! 🙂 All-in-all, notwithstanding the scattershot, mostly ineffective multi-million dollar advertising campaigns ( I like the Volt owner ads ) and mistimed, or flubbed Fox News loaner car debacle situations. GM seems to be stumbling along into the electric future, wouldn’t you say? Why can’t we just clone Bob Lutz and have him do all the Volt press conferences, ad… Read more »

You have to admit announcing a new-improved Volt with larger touchscreen, lots of improvements ( Hold mode for just one ) and increased capability with four months remaining ’til the traditional September model year changeover will temper sales, don’t you?

California will still be warm as folks scramble to win the HOV lottery.

GM – give me a solar roof like Prius as an option willya? I’ll miss the black roof for 2013, but it sure didn’t make sense technically or costwise from a production standpoint.

Jay – I was told that the 2013 model will have the ability to select the outside temperature level at which the engine may run to assist heating in Electric Mode (it was explained in page 5-56 of the 2012 owners manual but we never got the functionality). I hate it when the Volt engine runs at anything below -4 Celsius on short trips. Did you hear anything?