The 2016 Chevy Volt electric hybrid looks great, offers performance that consumers want and is priced to sell (estimate of $30-35K before tax credits and state rebates). The Volt launches the auto industry into electric vehicles 2.0 by aligning with consumer expectations for affordable prices, cleaner technologies and sporty styling. Here’s my profile straight from the car’s introduction at the 2015 North American Auto Show.
The 2016 Volt is a good looking car. It’s shape features attractive design lines and curves. If looks sell then the Volt will attract buyers.
The old Volt was quick off the line due to its torquey electric drive-train (how I almost got a speeding ticket!). Now it is faster because of design changes to cut weight and increase drive-train performance. I am looking forward to my promised test drive this summer.
The improved look of the Volt moves inside. The old interior looked like a 1960’s vision of a Jetson space ship with lots of white plastic. The Volt 2.0 has a “normal” and very attractive interior. The interior is upscale with its high-tech electronic displays positioned to be useful rather than screaming “here I am.”
There is a fifth seat in back BUT it is small. This is a four passenger car with the ability to handle a fifth passenger for a short ride.
One feature that I think is underplayed is the Volt’s hatchback. With the back seats down I got my mountain bike inside the Volt 1.0. The Volt 2.0 maintains this feature enabling a lot of hauling for an electric car getting 100 miles per gallon.
The big news is 50 miles on total electric. Most of us drive less than 50 miles per day so the 2016 Volt enables mostly electric driving. My test drive of the Volt 1.0 found that regenerative braking added more than GM estimated electric mileage. I would not be surprised to hear 2016 Volt owners getting 60 miles of electric drive range before the gasoline fueled generator kicks in.
Hats off to GM for redesigning the gasoline fueled generator to use regular fuel!
All the buzz among the auto guys was the sales threat to electric cars from $2 or less gasoline. This might not be the deal killer that auto guys fear. California homeowners are installing rooftop solar to cut their electric bills but then discovering that they can run an electric car for free! It will take awhile for this be a national trend as other states gradually deal with utility barriers to homeowner solar but eventually the economics of free solar energy to run a car will be a sales boost for cars like the Chevy Volt.
About the author
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017