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2013 Chevrolet Volt gains upgrades, adds new drive mode and safety features

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Another year means another host of upgrades for the Chevrolet Volt. While it’s nothing to write Ma and Pa about, the 2013 Volt will ditch the black roof and gain a new driving mode ala its European cousin, the Opel Ampera.

Aside from some minor tweaks to the car’s design, the most noteworthy addition to the 2013 Volt is a new EV hold mode. Similar to the “Halten Mode” found in the Opel Ampera, EV hold mode allows drivers to “hold” off using the electric battery, and conserve it for environments that would make better, more efficient use of it. Because electric cars tend to get worse mile per gallon equivalent (MPGE) on freeways or anywhere that requires higher speeds (more power) the electric battery is best saved for inner city driving where battery efficiency is maximized.

The addition of EV hold mode in the 2013 Volt would allow drivers to manage exactly when they want to engage the electric battery instead of using it by default–like current and past model years do. Prior to the planned addition, Volt drivers only had access to Mountain mode, which differs in how the battery output is held and charged. When engaged, Mountain mode recharges the battery at a 45-percent state of charge, while Hold mode would not. Instead, it holds (surprise!) that charge at whatever level it’s at when engaged, and does not seek to recharge the vehicle’s battery.

In addition, along with forgoing the black roof, the 2013 Volt will also do away with the rear liftgate found on its predecessors – which we happen to really like — for a body-colored design instead. Other upgrades include a lane-departure warning system that’s rapidly becoming an industry standard, the addition of MyLink to the Volt’s navigation system, and a new color option: silver topaz.

According to GM Inside News, production for the 2013 Volt is expected later this year with no concrete details regarding pricing. While the initial model-year 2011 Volt released at a wallet-draining $41,000, the 2012 model rolled out with a slightly lowered $39,995 price (sans a lot of the standard equipment found in the previous model-year). Still, we’re hoping GM continues this trend – only this time without the increased cutback on standard features.