July 24, 2024

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Text and photos by Cor Steenstra

For 2013, Volt offers an e-AT-PZEV specification that earns the Volt a coveted “green sticker” for single-occupancy HOV lane access in California and New York. Volt also adds a Hold mode that allows owners to direct when the Volt uses its gas generator. This feature helps save money because owners who mix city and highway driving can save the battery charge for city travel, where the Volt’s EV mode operates most efficiently.Other updates for 2013 include a body-color roof and decklid, available lane departure warning system and forward collision alert crash-avoidance technologies, as well as GPS-enabled navigation capabilities to Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system.

A new exterior color, Silver Topaz Metallic, and new interior color, Pebble Beige, also join the Volt lineup.

The Volt is available throughout the U.S., with additional exports to Europe, China and Canada.

The Volt is built at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, home to the largest photovoltaic solar array in southeast Michigan. The facility can use the 516 kilowatts of solar energy generated by the 264,000-square-foot array (24,526 sq. m) to charge up to 150 Volts or help power the plant.

Volt propulsion system

The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving the Volt up to 382 total miles (615 km) of range.

The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5-foot (1.6 m), 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It supplies energy to an advanced, 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers an EPA-estimated 38 miles (61 km) of fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.

The Volt battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from a technically advanced, 1.4L 84-hp (63-kW) gasoline-powered onboard engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 344 (553 km) additional miles of range.

Charging the Volt’s battery is simple and intuitive, and can be done with a 120V conventional household electrical outlet, or a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle is completely rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10 to 16 hours in a 120V outlet (depending on charging level and outside temperature).

Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com; or via a smartphone through RemoteLink, an exclusive smartphone application powered by OnStar.

Volt design and exterior features

Working closely with aerodynamicists in GM’s wind tunnel to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet’s history. By reducing the energy needed to overcome air resistance, Volt aerodynamicists contributed an estimated eight miles (13 km) of electric range, and 50 miles (80 km) of extended range.

The Volt’s rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler control air flow. An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass also help reduce turbulence and drag.

Additional exterior features include:

  • Body-color roof and liftgate
  • Daytime running lamps with LED illumination
  • LED center high-mounted stop lamp
  • Heated and power-adjustable mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators
  • Seventeen-inch five-spoke painted aluminum wheels are standard
  • Seventeen-inch five-spoke forged, polished aluminum wheels and 17-inch sport alloy wheels with black inserts are available
  • Pedestrian-friendly alert, featuring a driver-activated horn chirp
  • Exterior color choices: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Black, Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat, Viridian Joule, Cyber Gray Metallic, Blue Topaz Metallic and (new) Silver Topaz Metallic.

Volt interior

Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features customers expect in a premium five-door sedan – including storage compartments and 40/40 rear-folding seats. It also delivers them in a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options unlike any offered before on a Chevrolet sedan.

Two seven-inch, high-resolution full-color screens are featured: One is a reconfigurable graphic cluster display and the other, in the center stack, features a touch-screen display, touch-control switches and integrated shifter.

Standard interior features include:

  • Chevrolet MyLink includes Bluetooth streaming audio for music and smartphones, voice recognition for phone, music and radio, compatible with Pandora and Stitcher with Gracenote (playlist and album art) capability
  • Color touch AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback, includes seven-inch-diagonal color touch-screen display
  • USB audio interface port
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a three-month trial
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • Automatic climate control
  • Keyless access and ignition
  • MyVolt.com vehicle connectivity
  • Three auxiliary 12-volt power outlets – one in the front center console, one in the rear console and one in the upper instrument panel storage bin
  • Remote vehicle starting system
  • Universal Home Remote
  • Premium cloth seats
  • Front bucket seats with reclining seatbacks and adjustable head restraints
  • Interior trim combinations include: Jet Black seat with Ceramic White accents, Jet Black seats with Dark accents, Jet Black and White seats with Ceramic White accents, Jet Black and Spice Red seats with Dark accents, and Pebble Beige seats with Dark accents.

Available interior features include:

  • Audio system with navigation includes color touch AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback capability, GPS navigation, USB port, seven-inch diagonal touch screen display, Radio Data System, Chevrolet MyLink
  • Bose energy-efficient, seven-speaker sound system
  • Comfort Package with heated driver and front passenger cloth seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Safety Package 1 includes auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, rear vision camera and rear park assist
  • Safety Package 2 is available when Safety Package 1 is ordered, and includes front park assist, forward collision alert and lane-departure warning to help drivers avoid potential collisions
  • Premium Trim Package with leather-appointed seat trim, heated driver and passenger front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, removable rear seat armrests and premium door trim.

Volt chassis and suspension

The Volt’s MacPherson strut-type front suspension, sophisticated compound crank rear axle and quick-reacting, rack-mounted electric power steering system with ZF steering gear have been tuned to deliver a smooth, refined ride with responsive handling and a solid, on-center feel.

A low center of gravity combines with the wide track and long wheelbase for balanced performance. Front and rear hydraulic ride bushings help eliminate road harshness.

An electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system captures energy up to 0.2g for transfer back to the battery. The friction braking system features large rotors with a special finishing process that protects against corrosion and promotes longer life.

The Volt rides on lightweight aluminum wheels that weigh only 17.8 pounds (8.1 kg) each, compared to 24.2 pounds (11 kg) for typical 17-inch wheels. They’re wrapped in Goodyear Fuel Max all-season, low-rolling resistance tires optimized for electric vehicle range, noise, feel and performance.

Volt safety and crash-avoidance features

The Volt helps protect occupants before, during and after a crash. C rash-avoidance features include standard anti-lock brakes with traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and advanced, LED daytime running lamps that make the Volt more visible to other motorists and pedestrians.

Occupant protection continues with a strong structure, and the Chevrolet Volt’s body-frame-integral structure strategically blends advanced steels to help ensure crashworthiness and stiffness. Nearly 80 percent of the Volt’s overall structure consists of high-strength, advanced high-strength or ultra high-strength steel.

Because the Volt operates so quietly in all-electric mode, a driver-activated feature sounds a noise to alert pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments, in an intersection. The alert was developed in conjunction with the American Federation of the Blind.

Additional safety features include:

  • Eight standard air bags, including dual-stage driver and passenger air bags; front driver and passenger knee air bags to help mitigate lower leg injuries; roof rail side-curtain air bags that extend over both seating rows for side-impact and rollover protection; and seat-mounted thorax and pelvic side air bags
  • Available forward collision warning and lane departure warning systems warn drivers of a potential crash
  • Available front and rear park assist
  • Available rear vision camera
  • Automatic occupant sensing system detects the presence of a child or smaller adult in the front passenger seat and suppresses the air bag to help avoid an injury
  • Rollover sensing and protection system
  • Collapsible pedal assembly to protect against lower leg injuries
  • Safety belt retractor and lap belt pretensioners in the driver and front passenger positions
  • LATCH child seat installation system in rear seating positions
  • Anti-lock brakes, traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability enhancement
  • Tire pressure monitoring system.

After a crash, the Chevrolet Volt offers the security of OnStar, which uses built-in vehicle sensors to automatically alert an OnStar advisor in certain types of collisions. The advisor is immediately connected to the vehicle and can request that emergency help be sent to its location.

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