First of all, while the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will likely look identical to the current production models in every physical way, GM Inside News has reported that black roof surface and black trunk face will be replaced by body colored panels. Right now, no matter what color Chevy Volt you buy, the majority of the rear panel of the vehicle and the entire roof are gloss black but starting in 2013, buyers will have those panels color matched to the chosen exterior paint.
Far more importantly, the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will get a new EV Hold Mode that will help to preserve the battery power during long highway drives. This EV Hold Mode is standard on the European-issue Opel Ampera but it has previously been unavailable on the American Chevy Volt. This new mode forces the Voltec drivetrain to go into extended range mode, with the gasoline engine providing the power needed by the electric drive motor to move the car without depleting the battery. This is ideal for those American drivers who begin their commute with a long highway drive followed by congested city driving; allowing the car to run on electric power when it is the most beneficial.
The current drivetrain modes of American Chevrolet Volt afford incredible fuel economy figures but driving on the highway is the best way to quickly drain the battery. When driving the Volt in Michigan where highway speed limits are generally 70 miles per hour, it is very difficult to maintain the speed limit and still follow the ideal driving conditions as detailed by the on-board coaching system. Because of that, the battery of the Volt is depleted the most quickly with this kind of driving as opposed to slower driving around congested city streets. As a matter of fact, my commute while driving the Volt began with a 45 mile highway trip followed by 5 miles of city driving. Unfortunately, that 45 mile highway drive would nearly deplete the battery levels so when I get to the city portion of the drive – the gasoline engine would be running to replenish the battery. However, with this new EV Hold Mode, the Volt would run in extended range mode with the gasoline engine providing large amounts of energy to the drive motor so when I got to the end of my 45 mile highway trip; I would still have more than enough battery power left to toll around on the city streets where the electric mode is the most efficient.
Since General Motors hasn’t announced any official information on the EV Hold Mode of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt, we don’t know just how much battery life can be preserved using this new mode but this new piece of technology should help make the 2013 Volt even more efficient for those drivers who do large amounts of highway driving.
Source: GM Inside News