As we've entered winter I've come to the conclusion that the range for a completely satisfactory BEV needs to be closer to 500 than to 300 as I previously thought. The problem is that the winter range is half of the summer range if you use the heater. In the summer I'm getting 145MPGe in the Volt for non-highway trips, now it's closer to 80 and more like 60 if I use the heater when running on the battery. With the Volt I switch to Hold if I need to defrost my windshield because the ICE generates free heat so it's MPG isn't degraded by the heater, that's not an option in a BEV. My guess is that we won't have the battery tech to give that range at a reasonable price until at least 2025, maybe longer, so there is room for another generation of Voltec cars.
A BEV needs to use extra energy to warm up, but then the amount of additional energy needed reduces as it just needs to maintain the temperature. On longer trips there is a high proportion of the trip already warmed up, because the car will either be driven or charging. In addition, pre-conditioning can be used to reduce the warm-up penalty on range.
The big challenge for BEVs in very cold weather is where there's a day return trip, with the car getting a cold soak in between. Those are the trips where the additional range will make a significant difference.
But, people don't all have to deal with very cold conditions, they drive less in winter than in summer, drive longer distances less in bad conditions than in good, and don't typically long distances much. In addition, most households in the USA are multi-vehicle, which would allow for a BEV, especially a long-range BEV.
I think there's definitely room for at least one generation of Voltec, but I don't expect that there'll have to be one.
In 2022 the CARB ZEV requirement will be 14.5% of which at most 4.5% can be TZEV.
The Bolt is a long-range BEV that gets the maximum 4 credits. 3.625% of sales being long-range BEV would suffice.
The Volt is a TZEV that has just enough range to get the maximum 1.3 credits.
Given the relative credit value of the cars and the need for over 2/3 to be ZEV by 2022, and an increasing proportion needing to be ZEV through to 2025, and given the relative efficiency ratings of BEV v PHEV, unless GM can lobby CARB hard enough to change the BEVx rules to allow some Volt sales to count towards ZEV, they'll not much incentive to push Voltec sales. Bolt's already outselling the Volt and any improvements in PEV techonology is only likely to favor BEV over PHEV even more.