There are no changes in the Volt's 16.5-kWh battery capacity between the 2013 and 2014 model years

For those waiting with bated breath on news of the 2014 Chevrolet Volt, consider this a case of one step up, and possibly two steps back. Chevy parent General Motors confirmed that details about the '14 Volt will be revealed in August, both Hybrid Cars and Inside EVs are reporting, citing Chevrolet spokeswoman Michelle Bunker Malcho. What that means is anyone's guess, but we figure that at least we'll know how much the Volt will cost. Despite some published reports out there, we've been told by GM that there are no changes in the battery capacity between the 2013 and 2014 model years. The 2013 has a 16.5-kWh lithium ion pack that offers a 38-mile EV range. We also know that the Volt will be offered in two new colors: ashen gray metallic and brownstone metallic. Sweet.

What we're not sure of is whether a previous report that 2014 Volt production would commence in July at General Motors' Hamtramck factory in Michigan was correct, or whether it was premature. For those keeping track, 2013 Volt production started in June 2012, while shipments began the following month, so the 2014 MY is running a bit late, by comparison.

In the meantime, Volt watchers will have to be satisfied with the news that the model's sales have been on the upswing. Last month, Chevy moved 2,698 of the extended-range plug-ins, up 53 percent from a year earlier. For the year, Volt sales have risen 12 percent to 9,855 vehicles.


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  • 43 Comments
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess any significant changes will need to come from a Voltec 2.0 upgrade. They need a version with a smaller gas engine that is is more efficient. Perhaps a smaller lighter Atkinson engine. With good use of the battery, one really shouldn't notice the difference except in the situation of a long sustained hill climb.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pricing is always a difficult issue for a car manufacturer. I doubt whether GM makes a real profit on the Volt/Ampera range. The gamble is whether a lower price would attract enough buyers to increase volume sufficiently to allow unit cost savings to justify the price reduction. Lowering the specifications of the Volt would hurt the car's image, while attracting only a few more buyers. (Although, introducing an up-spec Buick version, based on the Ampera, might allow an economy version of the Volt). The US has always enjoyed competitively cheap new cars. Is $4000 difference, really too much ?( That's less than $20 per week over 4 years). In most states the Federal and State government are already providing a 25% tax credit. Surely, an extra $20 per week isn't too much of a sacrifice ? GM have been overly cautious in marketing the Volt. Possibly because of the political nonsense and rabid criticism that greeted it's release. the last thing GM wanted was unsold Volts languishing on dealers forecourts. But I believe it's now time to crank up the GM marketing machine and start selling this amazing triumph of US engineering. GM Opal division could sell 5 times the amount of Ampera's it sells currently, it just needs a real effort. Unfortunately, it also takes someone as dedicated as a Carlos Ghosn, to commit to selling more Volt/Ampera even at the expense of other (more profitable) GM models. As long as many of GM's senior management consider the Volt/Ampera as uncomfortable oddities, in GM's range, the marketing will never be sufficient to push Voltec drive-train equipped vehicles into mass-volume production. To the great shame of the idiotic Australian Labour -Green alliance federal government, Australia lost out on GM-Holden producing an up-spec Buick Ampera, with a bigger battery pack, and smaller but more efficient ER engine. This would've been an export vehicle, especially for RHD markets. If GM keeps fiddling around with spasmodic and hesitant marketing, the Volt/Ampera will be soon be overtaken by EREV's from manufacturers like BMW, Volvo etc Currently, GM has the most outstanding engineering, technology, and the best product. Now is the time for GM invest in capturing the EREV market. For decades, GM produced great marketing for sub-standards products. Finally, GM has the best product, but the marketing is lousy ! GM needs to go back to what Americans do best ! Start selling the volt Ampera aggressively !
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        In my view the most direct competitors to the Volt will be cars from the VW/Audi group, who are giving something approaching Volt EV range. They are due to start rolling out next year in PHEV form, and the Golf PHEV will have more spacious 5 seater accomodation than the Volt, so IOW you are quite right, and GM need to start going for volume now to establish firmer market leadership.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the battery is good enough. It would be nice if they could improve the efficiency of the range extender though. If they could get closer to 50mpg in extended range mode it would help to win over more long range drivers who are unimpressed with its 37mpg after the electricity runs out. Unfortunately the 2014 volt numbers posted by the EPA are exactly the same as the 2013 version: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33900&id=32655
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Paul, Just to be clear about how the EPA allows manufactures to submit EPA numbers, if there has not been a significant change in the model, the manufacturer is allowed to submit the EPA test numbers from their previous year's model. So the 2014 Volt EPA numbers probably are actually submitted from the 2013 model test results. I would not have expected to have seen a change this year.
        Naturenut99
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        The range extender mpg will improve with the 2nd gen. I wouldn't expect it until then.
        carney373
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        The 37 MPG is quite respectable, especially considering the car is hauling around the extra weight of a battery and an electric motor. And what almost no one who whines about it takes into account is that when you pay attention to the 38 miles you got for zero gallons, the total trip MPG is a lot more impressive, unless you're driving all day long.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          Did you forget that the engine requires premium gas?
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          Typical Volt drivers use well less than 100 gallons a year, if you dig into voltstats.net. So unless you have unusual driving habits, the total cost for premium over regular gas is less than $20-30 bucks a year. Less the more you stay in EV mode. The premium gas issue is over-hyped.
          CarNutMike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          In my experience, the most applicable MPG number is the highway one. When do I use the ICE? When I'm droning down the highway on a long trip getting 40mpg driving low 70s. I almost never need the ICE during a normal day. It hasn't run for the last 850 miles.
          Ziv
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          Paul, when GM announced the premium gas requirement, I was kind of disappointed. But given the fact that I have used around 2 gallons in the first month since I got my Volt, it really doesn't matter. We are talking premium costing a dime a week more than regular. And I probably use the median amount of gasoline for Volt owners.
          otiswild
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          You _could_ drive it with regular, but it'll get lower MPG and could gum up the fuel system if left for extended periods. If I were on a road trip I'd consider skimping but at the end of the trip I'd let it run near dry then fill it up with premium. Then again, if you're doing it right, you won't notice the price of gas since you'll use so little of it. If you're only burning 5gal per month or thereabouts, who cares about 20-30 cents a gallon?
          markrogo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          Our Volt is going to do about 13,000 miles a year. Of that, 1/4 will be on gasoline, which ought to come out to about 100 gallons. Better fuel economy on the petroleum-based stuff would be nice, but really, it's not that big a difference maker.
      HVH20
      • 1 Year Ago
      Label it what you want, its 17 kWh.
        otiswild
        • 1 Year Ago
        @HVH20
        Still, without at least $2k price drop I'd recommend picking up a new 2013 with $4k off the sticker.
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would love to see the Volt "succeed" by selling an average of 5,000 cars a month, but they won't get there without a nice reduction in the MSRP. What is so frustrating is that most dealers will give you a $4000 credit, making the effective price $35,145, but since the MSRP is still $39,145, most potential buyers don't know about the deal they could get. Way to go, GM! It is hard to believe how great the engineers that designed the Volt are, and how clueless the upper management is. A reduction in the 2014MY MSRP to $37,400 would be incredibly positive.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ziv
        Doing what Nissan did, and cutting the MSRP of existing trim levels by a few thousand dollars would definitely help sales. Copying Nissan and offering a lower trim level $6,000 dollars cheaper than the current cheapest trim level would also help quite a bit. A $33,000 dollar stripper Volt ($25,500 after federal rebate) would put it in competition with the base model Toyota Prius.
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM should keep its early promise to make the Volt flex fueled. First they dropped that feature citing the looming release deadline as an excuse, then they pushed it back to MY2013, now they're quietly ignoring it. But if they added it in, Volt drivers would have another layer of protection from having to use gasoline. Electric for everyday / local driving. Ethanol for long distances, and gasoline only as a last resort if no ethanol can be found. That would make this car ideal for me. No ethanol pumps are within a 40 minute drive of my home. But several can be found at that distance or further out. So my dilemma is - buy a flex fuel vehicle and use gasoline most of the time, only being able to use an alternative for relatively rare long distance trips? Or buy a Volt and use electricity most of the time, but be forced to revert to gasoline when I have to drive a long ways? A flex fuel Volt would be ideal.
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        I use so little gas that flex fuel makes no difference for me. The main issue is that ethanol is not good for the gas tank. Also, can you keep ethanol fresh in a gas tank for a year?
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          You could keep E85 fresh in a gas tank for a year if you used Sta-bil for Ethanol fuel treatment. But I think the Volt has an automatic cycle if the engine isn't run regularly that will burn it off before then? E85 doesn't hurt modern plastic gas tanks in passenger cars like the Volt has. You have to have some odd-ball gas tank for it to be a problem, like a nylon gas tank or a fiberglass gas tank. Go to your local liquor store and see all the plastic bottles that hard alcohol now comes in. There is no need to worry about the gas tank being damaged.
        stumpy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        Ethanol is ****. Not only does it take vasts amount of energy (sewing the seeds to getting produced ethanol to gas stations and everything in between) and water (it takes about 50 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of Ethanol) to produce. This also leads to more C02 being released into the atmosphere. At the end of all of that, it still has a lower energy content than gasoline. It also has the effect of driving up the price of corn (feed corn), which in turn makes a lot of other foods more expensive... everything from beef to other vegetables that have a lower supply due to farmers choosing corn over any other crop to make money from ethanol. If you want a different fuel for the extended range motor of the volt, you should be pushing for diesel. Diesel fuel can be made from things that require little energy input and aren't something humans would consume (i.e. algae)... Rudolf Diesel originally designed his engine to run on peanut oil... In addition, Diesel engines offer more torque at lower RPMs which make them ideal for use as generators (evidenced by the large number of diesel backup generators in use today).
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stumpy
          Stumpy, the amount of land that is used for corn doesn't reduce the amount of land used for other crops. The added land to grow more corn just reduces the amount of land that the US gov't pays farmers to keep fallow and not grow anything. If you take land out of corn production, you wouldn't get more non-corn crops being planted, you would just increase the amount of gov't subsidy dollars going to farmers to keep more land fallow.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stumpy
          @ stumpy Poor old stumpy, caught between Carney and ratkmn, two rabid ethanol fans ! Of course you are quite right, US produced ethanol is an environmentally and economically disastrous industry kept alive only through federal mandate, and the twin lobbies of Big Agriculture and farm-belt politicians. However, diesel engine tend to be very heavy, and unsuitable as range extenders, although they are quite effective as hybrids. The real principle behind the Voltec EREV drive-train is to create a viable EV for most urban commuting, that can travel greater distances if needed.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stumpy
          In defense of Rak and Carney, it does not cost that much to convert a car over. Having the volt be flex fuel would be a nifty marketing tool. One thing ignored in the ethanol argument is home production. There are several different home distilleries out there that cost roughly $10,000 (not counting rebates from the government). One I researched can produce 35 gallons of ethanol per week, at a cost of about $1 a gallon. Various right wing survivalist types I know are looking into these, along with wind and solar power (their goal is total self sustainability). Factoring in the 15% gasoline that would need to be added, the system itself could pay for itself rather quickly. With the system I looked at, it takes sugar, yeast, and water (it is the efuel micrrofueler). I have no horse in this game, but if simply for marketing purposes, being a FFV would be a good marketing point.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        I see the appeal for a flex fuel Volt. But if you look at Voltstats.net, the Volt already uses so little gas on average, that I can see why GM hasn't prioritized making it flex fuel. On average, a typical Volt driver doing the average number of miles per year would use well below 100 gallons of gas a year. This is because they are operating mostly in EV mode, not burning gas at all most of the time. Even small increases in battery-only range (like the 3 mile increase last year) significantly increases the percent of driving done in pure EV mode. If I were a bean counter at GM, I'd be putting 90% of my development efforts into increasing that battery-only range for the GEN II Volt, not on retrofitting the outgoing Volt with flex fuel capabilities. YMMV is an even bigger deal with the Volt than any other car, since your own personal driving patterns will make a dramatic difference on how many mile a month you drive in pure EV mode. So you would need to work that out for yourself and see if your driving patterns were vastly different from the average owner on voltstats.net. But considering your distance to E85 pumps, and the tiny amount of gas that the Volt uses in a year, I don't think you have a real dilemma. The clear answer is to buy the Volt so you use significantly less gas throughout the year. Then if you really want to push the limits on a road trip, splash blend your own E30-E40 mix when you find E85 available on road trips. Then return to E10 once you get home for when the fuel might sit for a month or two (or more) when you do your daily driving in pure EV mode. If you didn't feel comfortable with an E30 splash blend, do E15 which the Volt is already certified for.
      Dave D
      • 1 Year Ago
      Considering the "effective MPG" that most Volt owners are getting is OUTSTANDING, they'd be stupid to spend time or money changing the battery pack right now. They need to work on price instead.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        The newer, higher capacity batteries should be cheaper. They should add a bit more range, and drop the number of cells needed to get that range. - Increase range and lose weight and cost. But, no change means no new battery cell.
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          I'd love to see new battery tech, better range, etc, etc....but that would not allow them to depreciate the cost they've already put into the Volt. I think they're stuck with what they've got for another year or two just so they can work the cost side.
        Smurf
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        Agreed... The 3 most important changes should be.... - Lower Price - Lower Price - Lower Price
          markrogo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Smurf
          Yeah, we only bought one because of the actual lower price, not the too-high sticker. I suspect the price needs to come down by $5000 or so to make the Volt move. Everyone who buys one anyway pretty much loves it.
        otiswild
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        There's plenty they could do with the battery pack and platform. Specifically, put the battery under the floor, and get 400-500Wh/kg chemistries so you could pack 40kWh into 100kg or thereabouts.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @otiswild
          That would break GM's current business model of utilizing the same platform for multiple gas and PHEV vehicles. That would require a dedicated PHEV platform. It is a great idea over the long term, but it just doesn't happen to fit into GM's short-term realities they are dealing with right now.
      JVP
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love this car. I'll never buy one until they change that stupid front grill, it look HORRIBLE. I'm pretty typical of a potential buyer: I live on one of the coasts, I'm urban, and I care about the environment but still drive a fair bit. No one like me wants to buy a car that looks like a stupid Chevy. Make it look less Detroit, and I'll buy one tomorrow. I actually like everything about the way the car looks, except the grill. I'd be embarrassed to drive it, it looks like a freaking Malibu! Am I shallow, do I just need to get over it? Probably, but we all use cars as an extension of our persona. Coastal people of means don't drive old fashioned Chevys, so don't make it look like one. /rant
        Joseph Wallace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JVP
        The front grille is actually the best part. The back needs work. GM can do it. Look at the Ampera rear, it is awesome and the exact same car. Why GM gives the US an ugly rear, while Europe gets the cool looking rear is puzzling. It would definitely sell better if it looked better. The Volt is the best car on the road, now if they can get it to look the best, they would really have something. I would say priority is on making the rear look great. For the front, I envision a sportier meaner look, rather than a smiley face look. Either way, I am loving my Volt. Get it in the right color and it looks pretty good.
          RoyEMunson
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joseph Wallace
          I wasnt a fan of the black accents on the other colors, so the only solution was to go all black. Pebble leather interior. It looks damn good if you ask me, from any angle... the only thing I would change would be the cheap looking plastic trim pieces. The Ampera is a step up looks-wise though, from any angle, but it also costs quite a bit more.
        John Hansen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JVP
        Were you looking at it backwards? The front looks great! It's the back that needs some work.
          JVP
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Hansen
          It looks like a cheap Chevy from the front. That's my point. It is VERY Chevy, which sucks. Few who want an environmentally conscious vehicle want to drive something that looks like a Hertz rental. GM laid an egg on the decision to make it look so.... GM. I know why they did it (halo vehicle to change their image), but I go anywhere within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart, and I don't want to drive something with this hideous Chevy grill. I LIVE IN A REAL CITY. Yes, style and image DO matter. Just being honest here, as buying a vehicle is very much about your self image and how it matches that vehicle. We have choices, lots of choices Seriously, it's a brilliant vehicle, but that grill is a fatal flaw. We do have a lot of choices of what to buy after all.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Hansen
          Soooooooooo, the most technologically advanced car on the planet....some people, due to using it for trips 40 miles or less are getting over 1,000mpg, Consumer Reports says reliability is great.....BUT....the style....the way the sheet metal and plastic are contoured....means you would be embarrassed to drive it. Sigh....
          JVP
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Hansen
          Oops, typo. I obviously meant I won't go within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Hansen
          The back looks fine. The front looks fine. It's the side beltline underwindow pieces that look funny... We've covered 3 angles, anyone want to complain about how it looks from the bottom or from above? *grin*
      markf
      • 1 Year Ago
      While the Volt has a 16.5 kwh battery pack car owners can only access 10 kwh since the US gov;t $7,500 rebate is only for 16kwh and greater batter capacities, Imagine the mpg we could get if we could use the entire 16. markf
        Ziv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @markf
        10.8 useable from a 16.5 kWh battery is 65.45%, which is pretty conservative. I wonder if they are using less than 2/3 of the pack to start due to the fact that the pack will degrade somewhat over time. I could definitely see a battery 'tune-up' at around the fifth year of ownership in which the Chevy dealer will open up the amount of the pack that is useable to 80% so as to keep the all electric range up close to 38 miles.
        Rob Mahrt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @markf
        You would also get a much much lower battery life if you were using 80 or 90 percent of the battery versus 62%. Chevy is doing this on purpose to protect the long term performance of the car so it doesn't get bashed for being degraded quickly over time. A normal EV, with 80-100 mile range, may get fully depleated once a week, or a few times a month. with only 16 kwh, that would provide ~50 miles, and get used almost every day.
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