One of the unique features about the way the Chevy Volt was designed is that it can be easily and rapidly updated. Most of the car's behavior is controlled through software which could easily be revised.  Furthermore, the T-shaped battery pack could easily be replaced with future packs containing more advanced cells and/or battery management systems.

Although GM hasn't publicly commented on how long the  Volt generational lifecyle will be, it is expected to be considerably shorter than typical cars. Today's standard combustion cars don't vary much in their behavior from one generation to the next which could be as long as five years, whereas the Volt could evolve as frequently as yearly.

Frank Weber who is GM's Volt vehicle line executive told Reuters "This is almost like getting software updates into your car. This is not a mechanical world. This is suddenly you get updates, improvements much more rapidly. So, even within a vehicle lifecycle you will see updates that are very significant."

The Volt is expected to roll into dealer showrooms in November of next year. GM is already hard at work on the next generation.

Weber notes that the next generation plans are to keep the 40 mile electric range but lower battery cost.  Weber said "My goal is not to go from 40 to 60 (miles) in the next generation vehicles. My expectation is that the battery is equally capable, but they are half the size and half the cost of the batteries that go into the car right now."

Weber was reported to believe the Voltec system will be viable for several generations of vehicles until a time when energy storage allows for low-cost long range pure EVs.

Source ( Reuters )