General Motors will reveal an “all-new” version of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in January, a senior Chevy official confirmed Thursday. The new model is expected to remain true to its original mission, letting motorists improve their fuel economy but operate entirely on battery power for much of their day-to-day driving. But there are likely to be significant changes, and sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com that the new version will not only get a redesign inside and out, but longer battery range and performance improvements. And GM will aim to cut the price again, currently around $35,000 before a tax credit. Chevy’s Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney declined to discuss specific details, beyond emphasizing it will be “all-new,” a rapid move for a vehicle that came to market only in late 2009. Chevy and its battery partner, South Korea’s LG Chem, have already been tinkering with the lithium-ion pack, and the Gen-2 Volt should benefit with a smaller, lighter and more powerful battery that, analyst Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific Inc. said, could add another 10 to 15 miles to its 35-plus range in battery-only mode. Volt sales are down almost 9 percent for the first seven months of 2014, at just 10,635.
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-Paul A. Eisesenstein, The Detroit Bureau