Volt owners want more room, longer range

The current Volt

DETROIT -- Chevrolet Volt customers are telling General Motors they want three things in the next version of the range-extended electric car: a fifth seat, a longer electric driving range and a lower price.

Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of hybrid and electric powertrain engineering, said GM is working on the next generation of the Volt, expected in 2016, but he wouldn't say how the car will evolve. The 2014 Volt's sticker price is $34,995, including shipping but before tax and other incentives.

Since the Volt debuted in late 2010, GM has been regularly quizzing customers about the gasoline-electric car's real-world performance.

A recent study of 300 Volts in use in California showed that 63 percent of all driving is done in electric mode, 15 percent of drivers are exceeding the car's rated 40-mile electric range, and Volt owners who charge regularly go about 970 miles between fill-ups. They visit the gas station about once a month.

GM is readying a turbocharged 1.0-liter engine for its small cars, but it won't say whether the new smaller and lighter three-cylinder engine will replace the Volt's current 1.4-liter four-cylinder. GM also is working on improving the performance of the Volt's batteries.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@autonews.com