EPA stamps 53-mile electric range on 2016 Chevy Volt

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The second-generation Volt debuts at the 2015 Detroit auto show(Credit: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)

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The US EPA's ratings on the new Chevy Volt are in and they're a bit better than Chevy announced when it introduced the second-generation plug-in at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The car travels for 53 miles (85 km) on battery power before requiring assistance from its 1.5-liter gas engine generator. It gets 106 mpg-e (2.2 l/100 km) under electric power and 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) when the gas engine is supplying power.

Chevy was using a round 50 miles (80 km) when estimating the 2016 Volt's range earlier this year, so the official 53-mile figure is a tad higher. More importantly, though, it's a 39 percent improvement over the outgoing Volt's 38 miles (61 km), a fact that will help the car appeal to those looking to lessen the influence ever-fluctuating gas prices have on their daily lives.

Chevy expects many 2016 Volt owners to drive on battery power alone for 90 percent of their trips. As a result, it's advertising that buyers can expect to drive for more than 1,000 miles between fill-ups.

"We listened to our customers,” says Andrew Farah, vehicle chief engineer. "They were very clear when they told us that they wanted more range and a fun driving experience behind the wheel. We are confident that the 2016 Volt delivers both.”

After driving 53 miles under power from the 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, the Volt's 1.5-liter range extender kicks in to bring the total range to 420 miles (676 km). The gas-driven fuel economy of 42 mpg represents an improvement over the 2015 Volt, which rates at 37 mpg. The new 106 mpg-e figure is up from 98 mpg-e on the outgoing Volt.

In addition to adding performance, Chevy has actually dropped the price of the car when compared to the 2015 model. The 2016 Volt will cost US$33,995 after $825 destination fee, a clean $1,000 decrease from the $34,995 launch price of the 2015 Volt. Those qualifying for the maximum US federal tax credit for plug-in vehicles will be able to purchase the car for as little as $26,495, while the price in California drops as low as $24,995 with a mix of federal and state incentives, according to GM.

When it launched in 2010, the 2011 Volt started at $41,000. Chevy has since worked the price down little by little, with the most dramatic drop coming on the 2014 model, which decreased by $5,000 from MY2013 levels to $34,995.

More car/less money seems like a formula that will help drive Volt sales, which dipped just below 19,000 units last year, down from around 23,000 in 2013.

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