|Teaser image of the 2016 Volt. Image courtesy of GM.|
The setup is technically an extended-range electric powertrain, but the term "hybrid" confuses many people who think that the Volt is like the Prius. The unique configuration allows people to drive further than they could with a purely electric car, which arguably makes the Volt quite practical to own (especially if you venture outside of major metropolitan areas often.
GM has been keeping a tight lid on the development of the 2016 Volt, "leaking" an image along with a press release a few weeks ago that brags about the lengths it's gone to make sure the new generation's improvements stay secret. One little detail was released by GM today, revealing that the car's gasoline engine will in fact not be downsized as most industry experts were thinking, but instead will be made larger!
Instead of the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that is used right now, the next generation of the car will use a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine to keep things going. Some were expecting the company to use the Opel 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, but for reasons yet to be explained GM engineers decided to upgrade the gasoline powerplant. There must be a benefit of some sort to justify the extra weight of te larger engine, but for now we all just get to sit around and speculate.