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Next-generation Volt to be cheaper

Efficiency drive: New engine and battery developments should result in greater strides with the next-generation Volt.

GM targets better range, efficiency and price for next Volt due around 2016

12 Dec 2011

GENERAL MOTORS plans to reduce the cost of its next-generation Volt by up to 25 per cent while doubling the battery life compared to the current model.

And the 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine used to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack is set to be replaced by a version of the latest Ecotec family, possibly a lightweight three-cylinder unit.

Though still almost 12 months away from release in Australia badged as a Holden, the Volt has been on sale in the US for the best part of this year badged as a Chevrolet.

According to overseas reports, a second-generation Volt will arrive by about 2016, although on-going improvements to the drivetrain may be incorporated as running changes.

“We are already working on second and third-generation batteries,” revealed Holden’s director of electric vehicle engineering, Paul Gibson.

13 center imageLeft: Voltec drive unit and 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.Mr Gibson said that increased volume and efficiencies should in time also see a sizeable drop in the price of the technology.

GM has stated that the new Ecotec engine family aims to provide improved fuel economy, higher quality, better performance and reduced carbon dioxide emissions in more than two million vehicles annually by 2020.

Ranging in size from 1.0 to 1.5 litres, and to be employed across multiple GM vehicle architectures by the middle of the decade, the new engines will include lightweight design and advanced technologies such as direct injection, turbocharging and alternative fuel compatibility.

“Our customers around the world agree we need to reduce our dependence on petroleum and reduce vehicle carbon emissions,” said Jim Federico, vehicle line executive for GM global small cars and electric vehicles.

“We are working aggressively on vehicle electrification and other technologies, but the most immediate progress will come from continually improving the internal combustion engine.”

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