The battle in the electric car sector is heating up as Chevrolet is prepping its next-generation Chevy Volt model.
The new vehicle's debut will come in January at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new year promises to be a hot one among electric carmakers given competitor Tesla's intentions to sell lower-priced vehicles and increase sales efforts.
The 2016 Volt is expected to continue to build on the car's capacity. While the current model can only travel around 40 miles on one electric charge, the next-generation model should increase that by at least 10 and possibly 20 miles. That would help many urban dwellers who commute to work, but are worried over the short distances the current Volt provides. The hybrid uses both gas and electricity and its range extends to an EPA-estimated 380 miles with a full charge and a full tank of gas.
"Volt is the perfect example of the ingenuity that drives everything we do at Chevrolet," said Tim Mahoney, Chevrolet's chief marketing officer. "Volt fully delivers on the promises of Find New Roads and will continue to provide consumers with the transportation solutions they need and deserve in the future."
While Chevy has not released specifications on the 2016 Volt, it did reveal a small teaser image of the prototype. Most observers appear optimistic the new model will be a major upgrade over the current model, but details are not likely to be released until closer to when the car is set to debut.
The early announcement may be a smart PR stunt to get attention toward the Volt as Tesla Motors is preparing to build a gigafactory that would help the company mass produce batteries that it plans to use on a new model that would retail around $35,000, putting it in near-direct competition with other models, the Volt included.
While Nevada appears to be the location of the new Tesla factory, after the company reportedly broke ground for the gigafactory, Tech Times reported last month that CEO Elon Musk not only suggested California could be the top spot and win the battle for a Tesla factory, but that the company could break ground in three different states. With the state's tax breaks for such enterprises, California is once again a front-runner, at least in the rumor mill.
Either way, there are great expectations for the continued development of the electric vehicle market, which has grown exponentially over the past decade.