What's New for 2015:
- Standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, text-messaging alert function, Siri Eyes Free capability
- Battery storage capacity increased to 17.1 kWh
- New Iridescent Pearl Tricoat paint
Unique in the marketplace for utilizing an electric powertrain with a gasoline-fueled 4-cylinder engine that serves as an onboard generator, the Chevrolet Volt is an electric car that can be driven across the country without a recharge.
Only BMW offers something similar, and as an option, for its i3 electric car. However, the BMW's range-extending engine is designed solely for helping a driver reach the next available electrical outlet, not for extended periods of travel without plugging in.Models and Features
Chevrolet sells the Volt in a single level of specification that can be upgraded with a choice of different option packages.
A Premium Trim package adds leather and heated front seats, while Enhanced Safety packages install a reversing camera, front and rear park-assist sensors, forward-collision warning system, and a lane-departure warning system.
A navigation system, premium audio system, and a rear-seat armrest are also available, as well as special paint colors and polished or sport aluminum wheel selections.
With every option selected, a Volt's price reaches nearly $40,000. After factoring in Chevrolet's rebates, federal tax credits, and both state and local incentives, it is possible to buy a loaded Volt for less than $30,000.Under the Hood
As is true of other electric cars, an electric drive motor and a rechargeable battery pack power the Chevy Volt. Range is modest at 38 miles, enough to handle the average American commute.
When the battery pack reaches its minimum state of charge, a Volt owner need not worry about finding an electrical outlet or a charging station. That's because the car is equipped with a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that burns gasoline.
This gasoline engine serves as a backup generator, similar to what some people own for their homes in the event that electrical service is interrupted. Power produced by the engine is converted into electricity and delivered to the Volt's electric drive motor. In rare instances requiring extra power, the gasoline engine may also directly assist the electric drive motor.
Due to this unusual approach to building an electric car, a Volt can tackle daily driving duties using a recharged battery. It can also tackle a cross-country road trip at a moment's notice.Fuel Economy
When solely using the car's battery the Volt earns a rating of 98 MPGe in combined driving, according to the EPA. After the range-extending generator fires up the Volt is rated to get 37 mpg in combined driving.Safety and Technology
Chevrolet equips the Volt with a standard MyLink touch-screen infotainment system, equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, music-streaming capability, and access to supported smartphone applications. For 2015, MyLink is enhanced with text-messaging alerts and Siri Eyes Free voice-command technology. A navigation system and a premium audio system are optional.
OnStar services are also included for every new Volt, with 5 free years of basic services and a free 6-month trial of Directions and Connections service, which includes Automatic Crash Response. For 2015, OnStar adds 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. The Wi-Fi service is free for the first 3 months or 3 GB of data; thereafter, a subscription is required.
Safety-related options for the 2015 Volt include a reversing camera, which shows what is behind the car on the MyLink display screen. A forward-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system are also available.