Updated Chevrolet Volt joined by Bolt Concept

We’ve had the Volt, we might be getting the Bolt – what’s next, the Jolt? Perhaps someday, but for now, GM’s Detroit reveals showed that the General is serious about gaining an even bigger slice of the electric vehicle segment.

Previously teased at CES earlier in the year, the 2016 Volt plug-in electric vehicle was fully revealed here in a brilliant blue colour. GM claims that Volts have collectively driven 650 million miles on EV-only power, saving some 3.4 million gallons of fuel. In the crowd waiting to see the new version were 50 current Volt owners and enthusiasts, tapped by GM for feedback when developing the new machine.

It’s not what you’d call revolutionary in design, but the Volt 2.0, if you will, does appear to have the current Prius on the ropes in terms of both range and appearance. A projected 80 km is available for pure electric driving, with a new 1.5L Ecotec Engine providing range-extending duties.

What’s more, the interior of the new Volt looks great, a properly modern interior that doesn’t feel like it was built to a cost. There’s a new central touchscreen in the dash, a high-resolution LCD instrument cluster, and interior materials are certainly more upscale than Toyota’s hybrid offering. It’s still a small car, but should fit a small family fine, with a relatively large liftback trunk.


Also shown on stage was the new Bolt concept, which is like a BMW i3, except not as wonky-looking. With a projected range of 320 km and an entry-level cost of $30,000 (huge asterisk here: after tax rebates), the bright orange Bolt concept seems to echo the old Honda CRX in its glassback rear gate and stubby proportions. It’s a cute little thing, and the interior is a much more cohesive effort than, say, Tesla offers.

When we’ll see a production Bolt wasn’t announced, but this is no flight-of-fancy concept. Building one for the road would appear to take little more than crash-testing. In the meantime, the Volt promises the same superior efficiency and low environmental impact, but the question remains whether it will pick up any further sales momentum in a time when fuel prices are at historic lows.

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