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2016 Chevrolet Volt Spy Shots

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A much sleeker and sexier Chevrolet Volt is coming to showrooms next year, and we have the first spy shots of a prototype. This is the second generation of Chevy’s groundbreaking extended-range electric car, and though its styling is still not as avant-garde as that of the original Volt concept shown in 2007, it should still turn heads when cruising—silently—down the road. A sedan body with a rear liftback looks to be remaining, but the roof appears more coupe-like and a lot lower compared to the current model.

One area where it will be more like the original Volt concept is in the engine department. The second-generation Volt is expected to downsize to a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder for its range-extender, from the current model’s 1.4-liter four. This engine is part of General Motors Company’s [NYSE:GM] new Ecotec family and will feature in a range of models, possibly including the next-generation Cadillac ELR.

This engine will be used primarily to charge a lithium-ion battery, but, as we saw with the current model, the engine may also drive the wheels during high-load situations. The all-electric range of the new Volt should match the 40 miles of the current model, though we’ve heard on several occasions that this figure may be increased to help lure customers from Nissan and Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], whose electric cars have ranges that well exceed the Volt’s. Note, GM is also planning a pure-electric car with an approximate 200-mile range to take on Tesla's upcoming 'Gen 3' sedan.

One thing that won’t be increasing is the price, which may even come in lower than the $35k starting price of the current model; departed GM CEO Dan Akerson has said a number of times that the goal for the next model was to take approximately $10k out of the cost of producing a Volt, which remains a money-losing venture for GM. The good news is that the new Volt will still qualify for a $7,500 federal income-tax credit plus various state and local incentives.

To help reduce the cost of producing the new Volt, the car is expected to share a greater number of parts with its 2016 Chevrolet Cruze platform-mate. Production will continue at the current model’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

A debut for the new Volt is expected to take place at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show next January. Sales should commence in the fall of that year, making the car a 2016 model.

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