By Jon Gundersen
“The visionary sees the past and makes the future.” – Anonymous
We all love to speculate as to what the next EV improvement will be! Let’s recap “2014” to give us a hint a what the future of EVs and specifically the Volt might hold.
First and foremost we saw the introduction of the 2015 Volt at dealers in September. And not to be forgotten, 2014 will be another year of record breaking EV sales even without the December numbers. Drum roll please … 2013 saw the breaking of the 100,000 number, in 2014 there will be over 135,000 electric and plug-in vehicles sold in the USA.
January 2014 started out with a rush of EV announcements with plug-in hybrids and extended range vehicles grabbing most of the spotlights. And of course the January announcement in Detroit on the long awaited Volt II that production would begin in August for the 2015 Volt II. Toyota let us know the next generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid, due later the year as a 2015, will have a larger battery and expected EV range of 24 miles. Rumor had it Ford would soon announce a similar EV range upgrade boosting the C-MAX Energi to 32 miles EV range. Ford followed thru with the announcement in February.
On the extended range EV front, BMW’s i5 and i8 began selling nationwide in March after decent sales in California and Virginia. The Fisker Atlantic also saw its production begin in April. Reviews have been positive. Sales have been a little slow but steady. Similarly, Tesla is still struggling to ramp up its Model X production with total sales so far of about 2,000 units. GM, holding its cards tight, had no early announcements about the specifications of the Volt II.
In May GM announced the rollout plans for the much rumored 2016 Buick Electra SUV.
The plans calls for production to begin mid year 2015. The Electra will use a beefed up Voltec drivetrain. No information on EV range or battery size has been made.
Volt II rollout excitement began to build in June, once all the EV manufacturers released their upcoming model year specifications and pricing. Everyone knew the Volt II was coming but the rumor mill was dry. Our wants and desires were not, GM noticed and delivered. So just prior to the 4th of July the party began with a bang. On a relatively little Web site, GM announced its plans for the Volt II, our own GM-Volt.com.
The 2015 Volt would be available for order in August with first deliveries in late September. The biggest surprises, the addition of five passenger seating and two available batteries – the standard 16.5 kwh and a new 20 kwh battery with EV ranges of 40 and 50 miles respectively. A new lighter more efficient 1.2-liter generator made in the U.S. delivering 140 horsepower and the much sought after 50 mpg when run in a new eco mode. A new more efficient electric heat exchanger will be used in the climate control systems.
And the biggest surprise announcement was the new battery will maintain the same footprint and work in all prior Volts. A notch was removed from the battery pack just below the T top to allow for the fifth seat, the total battery footprint remains the same. Great engineering GM! GM’s 2013 plan to use more common components across all its vehicles also made it showing in the 2015 Volt. A larger display and more configurable entertainment and NAV system and the upgraded GM voice recognition command center. Other improvements and options included full sun roof, available run flat tires, motorized seat adjustments and heated steering wheel.
In August we learned of the new base price for the 2015 Volt, $37,499. Many anticipated that price point and proves GM wants to bring Volt sales to the next level. In the next year or so the $7,500 tax credit will be ending for the Volt as the Volt reaches 200,000 units sold. In anticipation of that I believe GM is shooting for monthly sales of 10,000 Volts, 2,000 ELRs and 3,000 of the new Electra SUV. Volt’s November sales almost matched that and once the 2015Volt becomes easily available in all markets it looks like that number will be easily attainable.
On the awards front the news was also spectacular. For the first time ever two cars will share the Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.
The 2015 Volt and the 2015 BMW i5 share the honors this year.
The Volt and new BMW also won the Top Safety Pick by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Euro NCAP Five Stars Award.
And this just in, VIA Motors and GM have reached agreement on a plan to sell the VIA Motors PHEV pickup, SUV, and Van in GM dealerships beginning this coming year in California.
Total Volt EV miles driven: 350,000,000 and climbing fast.
In this wishful look back at 2014 I hope I have included some of the most desired wishes for the next generation Volt. Got more? Let us know. And let’s hope GM is listening.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 31st, 2012 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.