2013 Chevy Volt

The 2012 Chevy Volt began sales in late 2011. The 2013 Chevy Volt quietly began shipping in the summer of 2012.

Electric vehicle charging station guide

The Chevy Volt is GM’s reentry into electric car manufacturing after the ill-fated decision to crush the EV1. It is technically a plug-in hybrid design, the EPA rates it as a plug-in hybrid, but GM’s marketing team invented the phrase “Extended Range Electric Vehicle” and there are many proponents arguing that the Volt should be classified as an electric car (with gasoline engine range extension). Whether or not it is an electric car is one of those nitpicking exercises that raises a smokescreen of unnecessary controversy.

The Volt is an excellent car and Volt owners are routinely driving for thousands of miles at a time without burning gasoline. This is testament to GM’s decision to size the battery pack so the Volt can handle the majority of daily driving. The majority of people drive less than 40 miles a day, and guess what the electric range of the Volt is 35-40 miles.

Voltec Drive train

The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving the Volt up to 382 total miles (615 km) of range.

J1772 extension cords

The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5-foot (1.6 m), 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It supplies energy to an advanced, 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers an EPA-estimated 38 miles (61 km) of fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.

The Volt battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from a technically advanced, 1.4L 84-hp (63-kW) gasoline-powered onboard engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 344 (553 km) additional miles of range.

New features for 2013 model

  • Increase in EPA-estimated EV range of three miles, to 38 miles
  • Hold drive mode in addition to Normal, Sport and Mountain drive modes, allows owners to conserve battery charge for use in the most efficient manner
  • Low-emissions package (e-AT-PZEV) makes Volt eligible for single-occupancy HOV-lane access in California and New York
  • Body color roof and liftgate
  • Pebble Beige premium cloth seats
  • Pebble Beige leather-appointed seats with suede inserts
  • Available audio system with GPS-based navigation, AM/FM/Sirius XM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback capability, navigation and USB port, seven-inch-diagonal touch-screen display and Radio Data System
  • Removable rear center armrest with storage included in available Premium Trim Package
  • Comfort Package includes heated driver and front passenger cloth seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Available Safety Package 1 includes auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, rear park assist and rear vision camera
  • Available Safety Package 2 includes front park assist, forward collision alert and lane departure warning systems

The Volt and HOV Access

In California (? and New York ?) there is a valuable perk available to “zero emissions car” owners. It is a sticker allowing access in the HOV lane. In California the program began in the late 90’s and was rationalized as fulfilling one of the goals of the HOV lanes: Cleaner air. The idea was to incentivize zero emissions car ownership by giving owners of those vehicles a little gift, the right to drive in the HOV lane and have better speed during commute times.

The popularity of the Prius came in part because that car qualified for the gold HOV sticker. The gold HOV sticker program ended in 2011. The owners of those Prius’s are looking for a new car to give them a magic HOV sticker.

Electric vehicle charging station guide

The initial version of the Volt did not qualify for an HOV sticker, while the Nissan Leaf does qualify for a white HOV sticker. In early 2012 a version of the Volt became available which qualified for a new green HOV sticker. Once that Volt became available, the sales trend for the Leaf and Volt swapped places, with the Volt now outselling the Leaf.


 Interior pictures



Specifications for the 2013 Volt


Model: 2013 Chevrolet Volt
Body style / driveline: front-wheel-drive, five-door hatchback extended-range electric vehicle
Construction: single body-frame-integral (unibody) with front and rear crumple zones; galvanized steel front fenders; hood, roof, door panels; one-piece bodyside outer panel; thermal plastic olefin (TPO) bumper fascias
EPA vehicle class: compact car
Key competitors: Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, clean diesels, mid-luxury sport sedans
Manufacturing location: Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Hamtramck, Mich.
Battery manufacturing location: Brownstown Township, Mich.

Battery System

Type: rechargeable energy storage system comprising multiple linked modules
Size/case: 5.5-foot-long T-shaped; glass-filled polyester structural composite with aluminum thermal radiation shield and steel
Mass (lb / kg): 435 / 198.1
Battery chemistry: lithium-ion
Thermal system: liquid active thermal control
Cells: 288 prismatic
Combined electric/extended driving range (miles / km): Up to 382 miles / 615 km
Warranty: eight years / 100,000 miles
Energy: 16-kWh


Type: 1.4L DOHC I-4
Displacement (cu in / cc): 85.3 / 1398
Bore & stroke (in / mm): 2.89 x 3.25 / 73.4 x 82.6
Block material: cast iron
Cylinder head material: cast aluminum
Valvetrain: overhead camshafts; four valves per cylinder, continuously variable intake and exhaust cam phaser
Ignition system: Individual coil-on-plug Ð cassette type
Fuel delivery: sequential multi-port fuel injectors with electronic throttle control
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Output (kW / hp @ rpm): 63 / 84 @ 4800
Max engine speed (rpm): 4800
Emissions controls: close-coupled catalytic converters; 58x ignition system; returnless fuel rail; fast light-off O2 sensor
Fuel type: premium required
EPA-estimated fuel economy (combined city / hwy): 98 mpg-e all electric; 37 mpg gas only; 62 mpg-e combined composite

Electric drive

Type: electric, two-wheel, front-drive
Motors (two); drive motor, 111 kW; generator motor, 55 kW
Transaxle: Voltec electric drive system
Power (kW / hp): 111 / 149
Torque: (lb-ft / Nm): 368 / 273

Charging time


120 V: about 10-16 hours (actual charge times may vary)
240 V: about 4 hours (actual charge times may vary)


Top speed (mph): 100
EV range (city): 38 miles (based on EPA estimated fuel economy)
EV / Extended range: up to 382 miles including EV on fully charged battery and full tank of fuel

Chassis / Suspension

Front: independent MacPherson strut-type with side-loaded strut modules, specially tuned coil springs, direct-acting hollow stabilizer bar; hydraulic ride bushings
Rear: specially adapted compound crank (torsion beam) with double-walled, U-shaped profile at the rear; specifically tuned coil springs, hydraulic bushings
Chassis control: four-channel ABS; all-speed traction control; StabiliTrak; drag control
Steering type: rack-mounted electric power steering with ZF steering gear
Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock: 2.8
Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft / m): 36 / 11
Steering ratio: 15.36


Type: power four-wheel vented disc with ABS; electro-hydraulic; fully regenerative to maximize energy capture; dynamic rear brake proportioning
Brake rotor diameter front (mm / 300 /11.8; vented, single 60-mm front / rear piston w/ steel body caliper
Brake rotor diameter rear (mm / in): 292 / 11.5; vented; steel body caliper with single 38-mm piston
Total swept area (cu cm): front: 498; rear: 362

Wheels / Tires

Wheel size and 17 x 7-in. lightweight, five-spoke painted aluminum alloy (std.); 17 x 7-in. lightweight, five-spoke polished aluminum alloy (opt.); 17 x 7-in. lightweight, sport alloy with black inserts (opt)
Tires: Goodyear Fuel Max 215/55R/17 low-rolling resistance BSW; all-season

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (in / mm): 105.7 / 2685
Overall length (in / mm): 177.1 / 4498
Overall width (in / mm): 70.4 / 1788
Track width front (in / mm): 61.2 / 1554
Track width rear (in / mm): 62.1 / 1577
Height (in / mm): 56.6 / 1439
Front overhang (in / mm): 39.0 / 993
Rear overhang (in / mm): 32.2 / 820

Interior Dimensions

Seating capacity (front / rear): 2 / 2
Headroom (front / rear, in. / mm): 37.8 / 960; 36.0 / 915
Shoulder room (front / rear, in / mm): 56.5 / 1436; 53.9 / 1369
Hip room (front / rear, in / mm): 53.7 / 1365; 51.2 / 1301
Legroom (front / rear, in / mm): 42.0 / 1068; 34.1 / 866
Cargo volume (cu ft / L): 10.6 / 300.2


Curb weight (lb / kg); 3781 / 1715
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lb / kg): 4583 / 2079
Generator cooling (qt / L): 7.7 / 7.3
Battery pack cooling (qt / L): 7.4 / 7.0
Power electronics cooling (qt / L): 3.1 / 2.9
Fuel tank (gal / L): 9.3 / 35.2
Engine oil w/ filter (qt / L): 3.7 / 3.5
Drive unit fluid (qt / L): 8.93 / 8.45
Coefficient of drag (Cd): 0.28

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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