After reporting on the details of the second-generation Chevrolet Volt propulsion system – aptly named “Voltec” – we were given an in-depth, moving demonstration of the tech at work in this video, published yesterday to the Chevrolet YouTube channel.
For starters, the video confirms what we reported on yesterday: improvements in the lithium-ion battery cell construction have resulted in a 20 percent increase in energy capacity-per-volume, contributing to a loss of 30 pounds from the previous Volt’s overall battery pack weight. A 1.5 liter four-cylinder will replace the current 1.4 liter mill.
The video shows us some new details, too; the overall “T” shape of the lithium-ion cell groups has not changed, for example, but the cells in this second-generation Voltec system are thin, plate-shaped things, as opposed to the conventional cylindrical cells we’re all used to. A thermal fin sits between each pair of cells to help disperse heat, and there are 192 cells total (96 pairings).
What’s perhaps most exciting of all are the advances in electric motor tech outlined by the video; the improved electric drive motor is claimed to offer up to 20 percent improved acceleration over the last motor. It is also lighter, and makes use of less rare earth materials – which is a good thing, as the cost of rare earth elements is on the rise. The re-engineered electric drive unit is also boasting overall improved efficiency and performance, reduced noise, and better packaging.
The one nagging question that we all have – that of the new range – is not addressed. Assuming that the volume of the lithium-ion battery pack remains constant, the storage capacity ought to increase by 20 percent, which could place it as high as 20.5 kWh (if going off of the latest, 2015 model’s 17.1 kWh capacity). The increased efficiency of the new electric motor should also help to reduce power consumption.
General Motors still seems to be cautiously vague about these details, but the new Voltec drivetrain should at least be an improvement, even if it can’t yet be quantified.