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2016 Chevrolet Volt Peak Charge Power Increases to 3.6 kW

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/25/2014 Benson Kong

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt, still yet to be shown in its entirety, will see its peak plug-in charge power increase 9 percent, from 3.3 to 3.6 kilowatts.

OK, from a pure numbers vantage point, 3.6 kW is a drop in the bucket compared to what our long-term Tesla Model S P85+ is capable of while suckling from a Supercharger’s teat -- 58 kW courtesy of 367 volts and 160 amps, the car’s 17-inch center touchscreen recently read. But it’s the gradual change expected as the plug-in vehicle landscape continues to evolve. The 3.3-kW rating is currently considered the minimum onboard peak charging power, as electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Ford Focus Electric tout or have the ability to tout double the power at 6.6 kW. 2016 Chevrolet Volt© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Volt

The bump in charge power was likely controlled by Chevy’s findings on its Volt owners. A May 2012 USA Today report revealed roughly half of Volt drivers rely on their “Level 1” 110/120V trickle charger for overnight battery top-offs. At either 8- or 12-amp capability off the household receptacle, roughly half of all Volts would never realize the full 3.3- or 3.6-kW capacity. The 2016 Volt’s more energy-dense battery pack will have a greater amount of energy (20.5 kW-hours is our guess) with a deeper discharge cycle, meaning the 0.3 kW uptick will be mighty helpful for those at the “Level 2” spigot (208-240 volts). The peak charge rate plug-in vehicles ultimately see is defined by numerous factors: the battery’s charge level, the battery’s temperature, the status of the vehicle’s control electronics, and the power load on the charging unit itself, to name a few.

Next-generation Volt customers will not only experience the mechanical and driving benefits of a totally revamped powertrain upgraded with knowledge gleaned from the existing Voltec system, but have new features to play with as well. The aforementioned trickle charger gains a longer cord, the length of which extends to nearly 25 feet. The charger can be padlocked when it’s plugged in and it will have a personal storage bin in the new model’s cargo hold, opposed to stashing it beneath the floor.

GPS-location-based home charging and improved charge-status lighting are on the way too. The 2016 Volt will offer more clarity during battery charging with a new light indicator atop the dashboard. A sequence of flashes will divulge the charge status, plus an optional, dealer-installed light ring framing the charge port can perform the same duty. A new chime system will audibly alert the driver on charge starts, delays, and if the charge port door is still open before he gets into the car. Owners electing to use GPS-location-based charge preferences will have their preferred charge rate (8 or 12 amp selection on a 120V line) preloaded as soon as the car rolls “home,” along with choices for immediate or deferred charging. Charging may be strategically postponed to take advantage of off-peak utility prices.

The final bits of intel related to the 2016 Volt -- will it still be a four-seater or have room for five? What’s the official capacity of the battery? When will it go on sale? -- will be learned nearer the Detroit auto show in January.

Get a primer on the updated Voltec powertrain with our 2016 Chevrolet Volt Technical First Look.

Source: Chevrolet

2016 Chevrolet Volt Teaser© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Volt Teaser

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