A week after it was first shown off at CES 2015, Chevrolet has detailed its new 2016 Volt, just before the hybrid car's official release at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. The 2016 model improves on its predecessor: its electric battery is both lighter and larger than last year's model, increasing in capacity from 17.1 kWh to 18.4 kWh.
But it's the new Volt's range that is most impressive — the hybrid car can travel 50 miles running on electric power alone. That means the new car can go some 12 miles further on its battery than last year's model, and the company says it expects drivers to be able to travel more than 1,000 miles on average before filling up their gas tanks.
Chevrolet says the new Volt uses revised battery tech that makes the car's electric propulsion system 21 pounds lighter. The car's two-motor drive unit is lighter too, cutting 100 pounds from the weight of the 2015 unit. The decrease in weight and increase in engine efficiency means the car's two engines can combine to make it more agile than before — the manufacturer says the 2016 Volt has 19 percent stronger zero-to-30 mph acceleration.
The company says the Volt's shape is inspired by "the toned physiques of athletes." The Volt still looks more like a five-door sedan than your average four-limbed human sportsperson, but the new model does have some nice aesthetic touches, including a battery charge indicator projected onto the windscreen, and an illuminated charging socket so drivers will be able to plug in their cars in the dark.