Late last year, the Chevrolet Volt scored a repeat victory on WardsAuto’s 10Best Engines list, but how did it earn such an honor back to back?
The publication took a deeper dive into the powertrain and spoke with GM Global Vehicle Chief Engineer Barry Walkup to learn more about what makes it a winner. Simply put, the powertrain is “better in every measurable way,” per Walkup.
So many areas were looked at for improvement, it’s difficult to list them all, but some of the most important areas include 0-30 mph acceleration, noise levels, and obviously fuel economy and range. Walkup says most owners noted they hardly saw 0-60 mph sprints but experienced more hard acceleration instances to 30 mph. Thus, engineers focused on lower-end acceleration.
Additionally, engineers worked to create a quiet operation and worked to make the transition between gasoline power and the electric motor as seamless as possible.
“Our goal was to keep the engine quiet,” he says. “We didn’t want clunks or bumps or any indication that it has started. We torque-match the electric motor to the gasoline engine and pre-fill the cylinders with gas during stop/start, which allows the engine to start quickly.
Of course, the largest change is in the Chevrolet Volt’s battery pack. 18.4 kilowatt-hour unit features a lower cell count, but greater energy density with 10 percent more power. This led to an EPA-estimated 53-mile all-electric range and an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy figure of 42 mpg.
While the powertrain will certainly live on, the Volt in name may not. Rumors of the electric car’s demise surfaced earlier this year. In accordance with the market’s shift to crossovers, the Volt could be reborn as a crossover when a third-generation Volt is due.