MotorTrend: 2016 Chevrolet Volt Zips From 0 To 60 MPH In 7.1 Seconds

SEP 3 2015 BY MARK KANE 43

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Is Expected To Launch In Early Fall(Photo: InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney @ NYAIS - April 2015)

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt - Now Getting 3.6 kW Boosts

2016 Chevrolet Volt – 3.6 kW Boosts

2016 Chevrolet Volt specs released by General Motors indicate a 0 to 60 MPH time of 8.4 seconds.

But it seems that the new Volt is much quicker, according to a dragstrip test conducted by MotorTrend.

MotorTrend test drive resulted in 0-60 mph in 7.1 s

The first-gen Volt had a 0 to 60 MPH time listed at 9.2 seconds, so the new drivetrain and slightly lower weight (about 224 lbs/100 kg) makes huge difference.

MotorTrend states:

“It rolls straight up onto the scales: 3,543 pounds. That’s a whopping 224 less than the last Volt we tested and there are various reasons why, highlighted by the new, bigger engine’s aluminum (not iron) block, lighter battery pack, and the now cableless integration of the power control unit. It’s slightly less nose-heavy, too, with a 60/40 front/rear weight balance. Chris disappears to the dragstrip and returns with a mild smile; 7.1 seconds to 60. A stomping 1.4 seconds quicker than the last one.

Differences between the Volts, according to MotorTrend:

“Volt 2’s gas engine is all-new and bigger—1.5 liters (from 1.4), aluminum, direct-injection, widely variable cam timing, has more hp (101 vs 84), and now runs on regular fuel. The two electric motors are slightly closer in power (one’s still stronger, 117 hp to 64) but their combined power is less. Less? Less is more when they can be locked together in so many myriad ways via two (instead of one) planetary gear sets and a trio of clutches (one, a dog-clutch). Now, the two motors can combine their grunt off the line, other times negotiate which better handles the chores, one can be a generator, and sometimes both can slumber while the engine directly locks into an efficient one-gear ratio relationship with the wheels.”

Source: MotorTrend Magazine

Categories: Chevrolet, Test Drives

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43 Comments on "MotorTrend: 2016 Chevrolet Volt Zips From 0 To 60 MPH In 7.1 Seconds"

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Unless the MT people that did the test are complete morons (entirely possible, from reading the review), that 0-60 time is significantly quicker than the official specs. Even if they used the roll-out technique, that wouldn’t account for the 1.3 second difference.

So why such a large difference between the official numbers and the MT times? Did GM make some final engineering tweaks to improve the performance of the ’16 Volt but didn’t bother to update the numbers? (underpromise, overdeliver has been the story with the ’16 Volt thus far).

Or does the ’16 Volt combine the output of the electric motors and ICE to allow for increased performance (similar to what the ’16 ELR does)? And the official 0-60 time is the EV mode time?


I wouldn’t be surprised if the Volt outperformed the estimates by a lot.
The official sticker on my Volt estimated that I would get 101mpg… but I’ve only used 26.3 gallons of gas driving 24,000 miles 97% city stop and go miles.

Per the response to Jeff N in the comments section after the article it appears this test was done in “Hybrid mode” (note: not an actual selectable mode per se on the Volt which has Normal, Sport, Mountain and Hold modes) WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING. Of course the engine is never running in Normal or Sport mode until the battery is depleted. In Mountain mode it only runs once the battery gets below a certain threshold. In short, you have to be in either Hold mode, Mountain mode with 60+% of the battery depleted or in Normal/Sport mode with a depleted battery. Given the increased range of the gen 2 Volt, many drivers may rarely experience this level of acceleration on a day-to-day basis if they just leave their cars in Normal?sport as I suspect most Volt drivers do (I did over the last three years). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that it will do these kinds of numbers, and further suspect the pure EV numbers might come back a bit better than GM’s published figures, but its not quite as exciting as I first thought. One could certainly switch to hold mode to engage the… Read more »

Their review centers on the fact that they charged the battery, then intentionally held the charge until they got to the track. Unless they messed up, it seems clear their intent was to test the acceleration time in battery only mode.

From the article, “It’s 7:15. The battery’s half-charged. Nuts—that’s as good as it’ll get. I call ChargePoint one more time, quickly blurt my rehearsed story, and then plug the receptacle into the Fiat’s socket. Have a nice day. We drive the Volt to the track in Battery Save mode to preserve its precious 50 percent state of charge.”

Or, in other words, when they conducted their track testing they put the Volt in Hold mode with a half-charged battery so it was acting as a hybrid during the tests.

It would be interesting to have the tests run again with an “empty” battery but I’m guessing it would not make much of a difference since the Volt can still draw a lot of battery power to help out the gas engine temporarily even when the battery is empty enough that all-electric driving is no longer possible.

Clarkson, I agree it SEEMED their intent was to test in EV only mode, but in the comments, they indicated acceleration was tested in Hybrid mode when Jeff asked for clarification…

Here are the comments:

JeffNVolt 1 day ago
Can the author or editors please clarify the conditions under which the track test data was gathered?
Was the car running in EV mode on a charged battery? If so, why are your track numbers so much better than the 0-30 in 2.6 seconds and 0-60 in 8.4 seconds that GM claims?
Or, was the car running with assistance from its gas engine? If so, did the charge level of the battery just run out causing the engine to start or did you purposefully engage the Hold Mode to maintain the existing battery charge level and operate the car as a hybrid?

Scott Evans
Scott Evans moderator19 hours ago
@JeffNVolt The car was tested in Hybrid mode, which gives the greatest performance (and is the intent of our testing). The battery, at the beginning of testing, was just over 50% charged due to time constraints which prevented additional charging.

Read more:

Interesting, thanks Chris. I’m still curious about what the 0-60 time would be for battery only then.

Motor Trend (in this article above) states the Gen 1 Volt had an 8.5 second 0-60 time, and GM advertised that as 9.2.

I guess I’m not sure where there numbers are coming from at this point.

Also, for whatever reason I cannot view any comments on that MotorTrend article. Heck, a search for the word “Comment” turns up empty in my browser.

Try this one…for some reason, they have two separate links..this one has more pics too:

Exactly right. The 2016 ELR has something similar to the “Sport+” mode you describe for its Sport mode. But, the 2016 ELR is based on a tweaked version of the older Volt powertrain so the ELR achieves fast acceleration with help from the engine by using it in series configuration to help generate additional electricity with the big electric motor pushing the car alone during hard acceleration. In Normal mode with enough charge left in the battery, the 2016 ELR is all electric without the gas engine even during hard acceleration but it has been tweeted to use up to 160 kW (214 HP) from the battery . In the 2016 Volt, GM tells us the all electric drive is only configured to pull up to 111-120 kW from the battery. If the gas engine is running because the usable battery charge is empty or because the driver switched to Hold mode the new Volt no longer has a series generation ability in its redesigned transmission. Instead, the engine either drives the wheels directly at speeds above 35 mph (or so) or more commonly it uses either a city or highway speed power-split eCVT mode where some of engine power… Read more »

I always suggested GM should have a “Sport On Demand” button, like they do now for regen on demand.

Yes, this is a seriously great car.

Kdawg – any news on Via?

I haven’t heard anything new.

You know what, I would rather leave the gas motor off and have a super smooth and cool acceleration of 8.3 seconds. When the gas motor turns on it is louder and just does not feel right when the gas motor attaches to the drivetrain. The more important for traffic light challenges is 0-30 mph where it will do 2.8 seconds. That is sports car territory.

Doesn’t matter. The Volt isn’t a race car, and the old one was fast enough. Best to leave the 0-60 obsession to teenage boys and Car & Driver guys.

C’mon now Don, performance sells….always has…probably always will! Our gen 1 Volt has “enough” power for the most part, but its suspension and lack of continuous pull have never made it a “fun” car for me unlike my previous sports sedans and hot hatches (much less muscle cars, etc.).

I agree that it is “fast enough.” In fact, even driving a Ford Energi car around in pure EV mode with a horrible 0-60 time of 15 seconds, is still “fast enough” to get around.

But, as others have mentioned, performance sells. And especially if there is an inexpensive way to add more power to the car, they should do it. For example, if adding a mode that allows the engine to run for more performance could lower the advertised 0-60 time without any additional manufacturing cost, they should absolutely do it. Ford’s Energi cars look faster than the Volt on paper because they allow both the ICE and electric to work in tandem to get more acceleration.

Fast 0-60 time is relevant to make a car enjoyable to drive. It also helps with image. Can you imagine where Tesla would be if their Model S only did 0-60 in 8.9 seconds?

DonC — If you are unhappy with the Volt going too fast, you can always duck-tape a tennis ball under your accelerator pedal. Then it will go nice and slow for you.

Maybe it’s time to have your testosterone levels checked, Don.. even my wife likes quick cars..

Interesting to note that the 0-30 time (2.2) observed by MT is actually 1 tenth quicker than the 0-30 time of a Tesla Model S 85 (2.3, non-performance)! Not bad for a car that costs roughly 1/3 the price.


“and sometimes both can slumber while the engine directly locks into an efficient one-gear ratio relationship with the wheels”

Under what conditions does this happen?

You can find a detailed article about the 2016 Volt (and similar Malibu hybrid) transmission by googling “gen 2 volt operating modes” and clicking on the top link from GM-volt.

Let’s say MT is correct. According to this online calculator, you need around 222 hp to achieve this time.

This assumes a weight of 3500 pounds, fwd, and manual (no torque converter) transmission. This means the combination of the ICE and one of the two electric motors have

The first thing you read on that website is that it’s based on statistical averages (of gas cars).

0-60 in 7s really doesn’t need that much power, especially when the acceleration is so front-loaded: 0-30 in 2.2s, 30-60 in 4.9s.

Acceleration is around 1.7m/s^2 at 60mph, which needs only ~76kW (1600kg * 1.7m/s^2 * 27m/s) at the wheels in a vacuum. Add air resistance and maybe 130hp is needed to achieve that 0-60 number.

Sorry,this is a continuation from my earlier post which posted before I finished typing on my tablet.

Anyway, the ICE and one electric motor have to come up with 222 hp. The ICE produces 101 hp so the motor needs to make up the remaining 121 hp. I don’t believe either the ferrite motor or the rare earth motor are capable of producing this much power. So in my mind this figure of 7.1 seconds is questionable.

That calculator seems to be based on statistics from track testing of various conventional gasoline engine cars. It’s not directly based on the actual physics involved in launching a car to 60 mph.

Those results probably don’t fully apply to a car like the Volt which uses a combination of a gas engine, one or two electric motors, and a battery.

Yep that’s easily believable. The combined output of both motors in the 2016 Volt is 111 kW/149 hp.

Since electric cars seem to have such awesome torque management and what appears to be reduced drivetrain losses, I have found it is better to plug in AWD and MT into these online calculators. If I do that with the BMW i3 range extender, I get right on top of Car and Driver’s numbers for that car (within a tenth). Doing the same for the Volt, it shows the 8.6ish number GM quoted for the Volt in pure electric mode. It also shows as needing 190 hp to hit the 7.1x number which could be doable with the gas engine contributing. We are still left with the question of “what’s the pure electric number that most folks will experience day in and day out”.

I’m curious what the ’16 ELR’s 0-30 time is, if the 0-60 is officially 6.4.

Oops, just checked the output of the larger motor and found it is capable of 87 kw (114 hp) not the 67 kw I assumed. If it was somehow possible to add the 101 hp of the ICE with the 114 hp of the larger rare earth motor, the combined output would be close to the hp postulated to achieve the MT times. I only consider one motor as my understanding is when the ICE is being used only one of the two motors could be used for additional boost. The other motor is either used to provide reactive force for eCVT operation or to act as a generator. In regards to the 2016 ELR 0-60 times. Is it possible that the full output of the ICE could be combined with the full output of the traction motor. The way I look at it, the Gen 1 system has one mode in which the ICE is connected to the wheels. In this mode the ICE turns the generator which produces electricity for the traction motor. If there’s a surplus of power above what the generator needs, the system clutches the ICE to the wheel through the generator. My question is… Read more »

Anything over 6 seconds in 0 – 60, just does not sound that compelling anymore. *yawn*

How about the 2.2s in 0-30mph? Is that good enough?

Not compelling enough? You are either a millionaire or simply a sideline dreamer who owns nothing, and therefore has no feeling about how significant the Volt performance is at the price it costs. You want to compare the Volt with a Tesla Model S? Don’t forget to factor in ‘price’ in your comparison.

The Volt is not even on my list. It burns gas. Still not interested in it’s lame > seven second 0 – 60 times. 😛

Sounds like the hackers have a project…

It can’t take too long until somebody figures a way to enable the equivalent of sport+ mode.

I get the time as 8.1 seconds. Nice but not super fast.

I hope GM sells millions of these. They deserve it. It is a great car that can change history. Now get that drivetrain into more body styles.

I know not much about GM part from the fact they own Opel and Vauxhall here in Europe but have a lot of respect for their work on the Volt. I love their humble underpromise/overdeliver approach to car electrification. I find it sad to often read negative comments about this car just because it is made by GM. It seems we have more PHEV’s choice here in Europe than in the US but would gladly exchange 3 of our PHEV’s models for a decision of GM to export this car to Europe.

0-60 in 7.1 seconds, not sure if accurate. The car and driver review is whacky. Takes more time for 0-60 with a running start than from a stop. and 16 second quarter mile, that’s not good. Almost 30 seconds to reach 100MPH?