"It's supposed to be an audible cue that the vehicle is accelerating," said Mantinan, who started working on the Volt program a decade ago.
GM believes its system will meet the federal standards, but testing procedures haven't been finalized. If it's not compliant, Mantinan said, GM believes that could be solved with a software change.
NHTSA, according to Reuters, has said the rules will cost the auto industry about $40 million annually because carmakers will need to add an external waterproof speaker to comply. But the societal benefits of the reduced injuries are estimated at $250 million to $320 million a year.
Other changes for the 2019 Volt include an improved infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, new settings that enable the vehicle to capture more regenerative energy and an optional 7.2-kilowatt charging system that reduces the charging time to 2.3 hours from roughly 4.5 hours with a 240-volt outlet.
The new battery system will be a $750 option on the LT trim and standard on Premier. The 2019 Volt LT will start at $34,395, a $300 increase from the 2018 model. The Premier will start at $38,995, a $550 increase. Pricing includes shipping.