Two new plug in cars introduced by GM

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DETROIT (CNNMoney) — General Motors unveiled two new plug-in cars at the Detroit Auto Show.

One is the new, improved version of the Chevrolet Volt. The other is a small all-electric car called the Chevrolet Bolt.

The Bolt, which at this point is a concept vehicle, offers a preview of a car that GM expects to begin selling in all 50 U.S. states in 2017. It will have a 200-mile driving range on a full charge and a sticker price of around $30,000 after electric car tax incentives.

“This is a real game changer,” GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said at the Bolt’s unveiling.

To maximize its range the car is made from lightweight materials including aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber, GM said.

The price of the Bolt is right in line with the average amount consumers spend on cars today, said Akshay Anand, an analyst with the auto Web site

“So long as the product is done properly, GM should see some serious benefits,” he said.

GM also unveiled the second generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. The new Volt had appeared briefly in front of journalists at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas but no details about the car were revealed at that time.

Besides a softer and more conventional look, the new Volt has an improved drive system that combines an improved battery pack with a more efficient gasoline engine.

Today’s Chevrolet Volt can go about 35 miles on a full charge, according to EPA estimates, but the new Volt will go roughly 50 miles, according to GM. Once that all-electric driving range runs out, the new Volt will get about 41 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, GM claims.

The current Volt gets 37 mpg when running on gasoline power. Volt drivers should be able to go 1,000 miles between trips to the gas pump.

With a total of 149 horsepower, the new Volt is quicker going from zero to 60 miles per hour, according to GM, reaching highway speeds in 8.4 seconds.

The new Volt can fit three passengers in the backseat thanks to a more compact battery pack that doesn’t use up as much space in the floor of the car. In today’s Volt, only two can sit in the back.

The Volt is expected to go on sale in the second half of this year.