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Chevrolet Volt 2.0: What to Expect

Tickers in this article: GM
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This week marks the two-year anniversary of the Chevrolet Volt commencing production. It is also one year before it is believed that the next generation Volt -- the 2.0 -- will start production.

The purpose of this article is to speculate about what we can expect from Chevrolet Volt 2.0.

Let's first establish some facts about the Chevrolet Volt to date. The first production run from November 2010 until June 2011 was around 4,000 units. That was version 1.0.

Then came Volt 1.1, which was made from July to December, 2011. It added a more advanced door lock system, and rejumbled some buttons on the dashboard.

Volt 1.2 entered production in February 2012 and added compliance with California's carpool lane privileges. It was with this release that sales increased from a few hundred units per month, to around 2,000 per month -- in the US.

Production of Volt 1.3 started in June 2012 and had a variety of improvements, from interior and exterior cosmetics, to more importantly improved all-electric range -- up from 35 miles to 38. Once these cars hit dealerships, sales grew to around 3,000 per month -- in the US.

The current U.S. sales rate is now 36,000 per year, but to get the total number you would have to add sales in Europe, Canada and Australia as well. The problem is that these numbers are not yet easily obtainable, but vague indications are that sales in those geographies combined are not yet exceeding 2,000 per month. So the global sales number is currently not exceeding the 60,000 per year rate, which was GM's goal for 2012.

GM reports that as of today, all Volts sold have been driven a total of over 157 million miles. Overall reliability appears to have been among the best of any car on the road to date.

The development of the Volt 1.0 started in 2006 and was essentially completed in most vital aspects by the time the production version of car was shown to the public in September 2008. The work on Volt 2.0 started taking shape in 2010.

By now -- November 2012 -- the car is fully baked, undergoing the kind of durability testing that will ensure customers who buy a 2014 Volt can drive it reliably for millions of miles over more than a century to come.

Chevrolet has said almost nothing about what Volt 2.0 will be, except hinted that it's coming no later than 2014. On the other hand, parent General Motors (GM) has disclosed more about the Cadillac ELR, which will share much with Volt 2.0. Exactly how much? I will discuss this below.

GM will show the final production version of Cadillac ELR in 2013 and we may assume that production will start near the end of 2013 simultaneously to Volt 2.0. The only thing we know for sure is that the Cadillac will be a two-door version of the Volt, which will most likely continue as a four-door car.