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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The New 2016 Chevrolet Volt Takes Charge

January 29, 2016

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a 4-door, 5-passenger hatchback (Fig. 1), offered in LT and Premier models, with an electric range that has increased to 53 miles — a nearly 40 percent increase over the first-generation model. A 1.5L range-extending engine using regular unleaded fuel allows for further travel.

F01 2016-Chevrolet-Volt
Fig. 1

Highlights for the 2016 model include:
  • The Regen-on-Demand™ feature the driver can use to control the vehicle’s energy regeneration with a paddle on the back of the steering wheel.
  • Stronger body structure with more high-strength steel and a quieter ride.
  • New braking system with improved capability.
  • 120 V portable charging cord set boasting a simpler, compact design and more convenient storage location.
  • Active grille shutters help balance design with efficiency.
  • Available illuminated charge port.

The Volt also features 10 air bags, a rear vision camera, and crash-avoidance items such as Lane Change Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert and Front Automatic Braking.

Driving Modes

Four driving modes are available on the 2016 Volt, which you access by pressing the MODE button on the center console. Scroll through a menu on the instrument cluster to select the preferred mode, which will become active three seconds after it is selected. (Fig. 2)

F02 drive modes
Fig. 2

The four driving modes are:

• Normal (Default) – Activates when the vehicle is started, and is used normal driving conditions for efficient operation.
• Sport – Increases throttle response and power delivery characteristics for a sportier driving experience.
• Mountain – Best deployed when in mountainous terrain (long grades of 5% or steeper); helps to preserve battery power and will also work to maintain higher speeds.
• Hold – Forces the Volt into extended range operation to maintain battery charge.

TIP: The Volt shouldn’t be kept out in extreme weather conditions for long periods without being driven or plugged in.

Pushbutton Start

The Volt features an electronic pushbutton start. Press the Power button once to put the vehicle in on/run position; when the Ready light appears in the instrument cluster, the vehicle can be driven. This process can take up to 15 seconds in extreme cold.

If the Power button is pressed while the vehicle is moving, a message in the Driver Information Center will prompt the driver to turn off the Volt by pressing the Power button again.

Climate Control Systems

There are three settings — Fan Only, Eco and Max — that have a direct effect on the Volt’s electric range and fuel economy.

In the eco mode, air conditioning and heat is controlled to maintain fuel economy while still providing some comfort. MAX mode delivers the best comfort level based on the temperature setting chosen. Electric range and fuel economy will decrease in relation to the energy required to meet this level.

In both modes, you can have the air conditioning and heat on at the same time, or have the A/C run with the Defrost/Defog.

Heated Seats

The Volt features optional heated front and rear seats. There is an automatic heated seats feature for the front seats that can be programmed to be activated when the vehicle is on. If the front passenger seat is not occupied, the feature will not heat that seat. With the auto feature, the seat heating level will change to what is required by the vehicle’s interior temperature.

During a remote vehicle start, the heated seats will turn on automatically in cold weather. The feature must first be enabled in the Vehicle Personalization menu.

Battery Charging

A new feature for charging the Volt is programmable charging using GPS, which enables owners to be able to set their charging preferences exclusively for their “home” charging location. The vehicle will automatically adjust to that setting when it’s at that location. Owners will only have to program the system once and the Volt will return to those settings every time it’s at the home location.

Owners can pre-set their battery charging level at 240 V or 120 V, which can be set on either 8 A or 12 A and whether they wish to charge immediately, set a departure time for each day of the week, or set a departure time and a utility rate schedule to charge only at off-peak rates.

Charging Times

• Charge Station: 240 V, 16 A: Approx. 4.5 hours.
• Portable Cord set: 120 V, 8 A: Approx. 19 hours. (Default setting)
• Portable Cord set: 120 V, 12 A: Approx. 12.5 hours.

Charging Status

A new charging status feature includes a specially designed tone that indicates when charging has begun, with additional tones sounding for delayed charging. A charging status indicator light (on the top of the instrument panel) shows the approximate charge level through a series of flashes. (Fig. 3)

F03 charging status
Fig. 3

When the vehicle is plugged in and the battery is charging, the number of flashes indicates the percentage of battery charge. For example, one flash = 0–25% charged, two flashes = 25–50% charged, three flashes = 50–75%, etc. A solid light means the battery is fully charged. In addition, solid or flashing green or yellow indicator lights (with tones) can communicate certain charging information as well.

TIP: Advise customers that when charging, the system may run fans and pumps that may produce sounds even when the vehicle is turned off. Additional unexpected clicking sounds may be caused by the electrical devices used while charging. This is normal.

120 V Portable Charging Cord Set

A new 120 V portable cord set includes a cord that is now nearly 25-feet long and can be locked using a small padlock to deter unauthorized removal during charging. Plus, for improved accessibility, a new storage bin for the cord is located on the left side of the rear cargo area above the load floor. (Fig. 4)

F04 Charge cord stored
Fig. 4
The 120 V Gen 1 portable charge cord will work on the new Volt. However, it is not recommended since the Gen 2 cord has an internal resistor that can detect increasing temperatures caused by a faulty or loose wall plug.

The drive motor battery charger cable has two indicators — the AC Present Indicator and the Fault Indicator — which display its status.
• A solid green AC Present Indicator means AC voltage is present at the wall plug and there are no faults.
• A flashing green AC Present Indicator and solid red Fault Indicator indicates the electrical outlet or plug is faulty or overheated.
• A solid red Fault Indicator shows that the AC outlet does not have a proper ground and charging is not permitted for safety reasons.
• A flashing red Fault Indicator means a vehicle fault has occurred and the charger cable ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) has tripped.
• A solid green AC Present Indicator and flashing red Fault Indicator occurs when the charger cable has failed the self-check.

- Thanks to Sherman Dixon, Keith Newbury, Steve Falko and Chuck Wieseckel

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