Next Chevrolet Volt to Get 200-Mile Range in 2016?

Before his departure as top dog at General Motors, Dan Akerson laid out plans for his company to develop lighter electric vehicles with at least 200 miles of range per charge. According to Reuters, South Korea battery supplier LG Chem has now announced that in 2016 it will introduce batteries for electric vehicles with 200-mile ranges. Given that the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt is rumored for 2016, and Akerson made clear his plans to give it an improved range capacity, we think the batteries could very well be destined for the next Volt.

LG already supplies batteries to General Motors for the Chevrolet Spark EV and current Chevrolet Volt. General Motors in the past expressed its desire to be a global leader in electric vehicle sales by 2018, by increasing vehicle range and keeping costs low enough to undercut competitors like Tesla. To keep the current Volt competitive with other electrics and plug-in hybrids, Chevrolet recently slashed the price $5000 (to $34,995 including delivery) last August.

The 2014 Chevrolet Volt (pictured) currently achieves a combined rating of 37 mpg with a 38-mile all-electric range. It uses a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine as a generator for the battery and range extender when the battery is depleted. Rumors have surfaced that the next Chevrolet Volt, which Akerson hoped would have an all-electric range at least 20 percent better than that of the current model, could switch to a smaller 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. It will in all likelihood depart from its current Delta platform to a new architecture more suited to extended-range electric technology.

If not the Volt, GM could still potentially use LG batteries for a new electric vehicle model. In March of 2013, Akerson said GM was developing two electric vehicles with 100-200-mile ranges per charge. General Motors also plans to invest $449 million to upgrade and retool its Detroit-Hamtramck Chevrolet Volt assembly plant. Once the renovations are done, the plant will be home to production for, you guessed it, two as-yet-unspecified models.

Ron Chennai
Interesting article - if true, this would  range annihilate anything from Germany (hello BMW!) Only Tesla would continue to be competitive.  I also read the second e-vehicle will be a large Cadillac to go head-to-head with Tesla's model S.  Eitherway, great news for those who believe in e-vehicles. 
Not to quibble but I believe the 1.4L motor in the Volt is normally aspirated.  The 1.4L in the Cruze Eco has a turbocharger. Realistically, it would be great to hit 50 miles in EV mode and a consistent 40+ MPG on gasoline in what is arguably a heavy car (of necessity).  Akerson hinted at a 20% increase in electric range, moving it to 45 or 46 miles.  Fifty seems like more of a magic number and would capture that much more of the daily drive..As it stands, my 2,700 miles per month makes me a non-candidate for the Volt.  My Camry Hybrid does the job well, and with more comfort than my Prius had.  Around 2016, however, the Volt could be calling my name. 
Quite Shocking
If the range goes to 200 miles then I might finally buy one... Anything less and probably not until they can up the range...
Tony Brasunas
Needless to say, this would be awesome. We love our Volt and I know that would be very happy with an increase to just, say, 60 mile battery range and 50mpg on the EREV. That and Level 3 charging and this would be nearly the perfect car.As for the mpg, once the Volt's mpg on gasoline goes over 50mpg, you've really killed the prius once and for all. 
In any event, the issue remains marketing for the Volt. It's a great, nearly miraculous, car. And yet no one knows about it because of weak or nonexistent marketing. That the Volt is selling at all without any marketing is quite remarkable.
As a Volt owner and a BEV owner, I'm very curious to see what 2016 brings. My guess is the Volt stays an EREV with a 50 - 60 mile battery, and the 200 mile battery is for a different, new vehicle. We've already put 30k on our 2012 Volt and it has been one of the best cars we've ever had (~22k electric, 8k gas).
Now that would be an impressive achievment if they can control the cost. EREV and pure electric are not at cross purposes. To achieve efficientcies beyond what the ICE offers the needs of a variety of drivers can be met by a variety of technological approaches. I am glad someone is thinking ambitiously about future electrification of transportation.
CMCNestT .
The Volt will increase electric range from 38 to 50 or 60 miles not 200. Not only would that be too costly but undue the whole EREV concept.
In order to undercut Tesla GM needs to produce at least  500k of 200+ mile range battery packs. That would require massive investment in new battery capacity. Buying 10s of  thousands of battery packs from LG will not give GM the economies of scale nor the cost cutting necessary to undercut Tesla.
If people are expecting  a GM EV with 200 EPA mile range for less than $35k before 2020 I would kindly suggest they not hold their breadth. 

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