Friday, November 21, 2014

Chevrolet Looks to Make New Volt Easier to Charge

2016 Chevrolet Volt. Photos courtesy of GM.
Chevy's been pretty tight-lipped about the 2016 Volt, which launches a new generation of the controversial range-extended electric car. A few details have come out officially, and among what we know now is that there will be some interesting features that will making charging the car easier.

One complaint that I've heard about plug-ins is it's kind of a pain to see if they are successfully charging. How you can tell depends on the model, but with the new Volt there will be a light at the top of the instrument panel that will blink when the car first starts charging. If that's not enough, the car will also make a distinct sound to indicate that charging has commenced.

People will be able to option for a glowing ring around the charging port that will flash to show the charge level of the car. That ring also will help people plug in when there is little to no light, just in case.

One of the coolest features that Chevy has revealed involves the car using GPS to automatically follow certain charging specifications when it is plugged in at home. Owners can set a time of day (or night) that the car should begin charging, or just specify a time that the car needs to be fully charged and ready to go. They can even load their utility provider's rate schedule and have the car start charging when electricity is cheapest.

These types of changes are necessary. The Volt has never risen to even near the sales levels the GM brass originally predicted. Everyone can point fingers about why, but in the end the car isn't satisfying the needs of the public well enough. Innovations like these, I believe, are a step in the right direction. Charging a car should be easy and free of hassle, because not everyone wants to fiddle with their vehicle on a daily basis. Most people want to get in it when they need to be somewhere and just get there.

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