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Chevy Volt Extends Range

Range-Extender Allows for 375 Miles

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By Swagato Chakravorty
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The Chevy Volt just got a battery upgrade—and scooped up an award to boot.

The 1.4-liter range extender that allows the Volt to go for 375 miles without a recharge recently won the 2012 International Engine of the Year Award for Best Green Engine, presented by Engine Technology International magazine.

To get a better sense of this achievement, consider that this particular award featured 45 competitors to the Volt, including electric vehicles from foreign manufacturers Toyota and Nissan. And this is the first time the top award has been given to a range-extending powertrain.

The additional range, available in the 2013 model, means that the Volt now has an EPA rating of 38 all-electric miles and an electric fuel rating of 98 mpg-e, up from 94. And Chevy engineers upgraded the Volt’s battery capacity to 16.5 kWh from the earlier 16 kWh.

Extensive testing also established that the Volt can go just fine in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit, with minimal battery degradation even after over 150,000 miles.

The only inconvenience, and it is slight, is that the battery will now take longer to charge (expected, to be sure). The adjusted lithium-ion battery now requires 10.5 hours, rather than 10, with a 120-volt outlet, and with a 240-volt outlet it will add an additional .25 charging hours to the usual 4. Despite these changes, however, the Volt will carry the same sticker price of $39,995.

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