The 2016 Chevrolet Volt was the hot topic of conversation on a recent instalment of Autoline After Hours, with the show bringing in longtime General Motors powertrain director Larry Nitz to talk about the next-generation plug-in EV. Nitz didn’t disclose too much information, but did say the bulk of the information surrounding the Volt will be revealed when it debuts at the North American International Auto Show in January.
GM gives Volt owners or lessees the option to sign up for an anonymous information service which communicates the vehicles driving data to OnStar. This allows Chevrolet to gather a large database of real-world customer information, which Nitz shared with Autoline. He said 65 percent of all driving from Volt owners is under the battery’s power only, while 82 percent of the energy used when commuting ( ex. to and from work) comes from plugging the car in. The study also showed 81 percent of all trips taken by Volt owners was done solely under the electric charge.
Nitz said that everything the current owners like about the Volt, such as the ride quality and electric range, will be improved upon for the second-gen model. He also noted no automaker had built a car like the Volt before so GM didn’t know exactly what customers wanted out of that type of vehicle. For example, Nitz and his team thought customers would want the improved charging rate of a 220V charger, but 60 percent of customers charged from a 110V outlet. Customer’s Volts ended up being at home more than they thought, meaning the additional charging performance of the 220V charger was unnecessary.
Nitz also provides an interesting insight into the state of GM’s electrical engineering operations beyond the next-generation Volt. Check it out in the video below. If you’re just interested in the Volt talk, it starts at around 15 minutes in.