Automaker General Motors Co. (GM: Quote) said Thursday that the 2013 model year Chevrolet Volt will offer an all-electric range of 38 miles on a single charge, due to increase in the battery storage capacity and changes in cell chemistry.
The current version of the plug-in hybrid offers about 35 miles on battery power before using a gasoline engine for additional range.
Accordingly, the miles per gallon equivalent or MPGe will increase to 98 miles from 94 miles, while the total range, including extended range operation, will be 380 miles, GM said. MPGe is a measure of how far the Volt can travel on electricity with the energy content of 1 gallon of gasoline.
The Chevrolet Volt, GM's first mass market battery-powered car, went on sale in December 2011.
For the first 38 miles, the Volt can drive using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16.5 kilowatt-hours or kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a 1.4 liter gas-powered engine operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.
GM said that based on real-world experience by Volt owners since the vehicle launched in late 2010, its engineers made minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry, resulting in improved performance and durability.
The total storage capacity of the Volt battery has been increased to 16.5 kWh of energy from 16 kWh. In addition, engineers expanded the state-of-charge window to use 10.8 kWh of the total battery energy, up from 10.3 kWh used in the 2012 model. The battery system maintains a buffer to ensure battery life, but that buffer has been reduced, GM noted.
However, the improved EV range capability will result in slight increases to the Volt's recharge time. A full recharge using a 120V charging unit will now take 10.5 hours, while recharge using a 240V charging unit will take 4.25 hours.
GM closed Thursday's trading at $21.85, up $0.02 or 0.09 percent on a volume of 5.95 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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