The second-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is about to enter its third calendar year of existence, so the powers that be are throwing a few key updates in its direction. 

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The Volt lacks the head-turning robotic aesthetic of its predecessor, but when the goal is to convince the mass market to consider an introduction to electrification, taking the conservative styling route is the smart one. 

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New for 2019 is a 7.2-kW charger that's optional on the LT trim and standard on Premium, which drops 240-volt charging time from 4.5 hours to 2.3.

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Inside, liberal use of crease-free swaths of hard plastic means the cabin looks better than it feels.

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It pairs a 149-horsepower, 294-pound-foot electric motor to an 18.4-kilowatt-hour battery and a 1.5-liter range-extending gas I4.

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That's enough for 53 miles of electric-only operation by EPA estimates.

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In the hills of Vermont, 53 miles is a tough number to hit, thanks to a whole lot of uphill climbs. But with the instant torque from the Volt's electric motor, climbing and passing is a breeze.

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The Volt's Normal mode is my favorite, as it provides the best blend of efficiency and power -- I find Sport mode a bit too thirsty for electrons.

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The battery drains quickly on the highway, so it's more efficient to let the range extender work a bit on the freeway, switching back to electric-only operation when the going gets slower.  

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Keep on scrolling to check out even more pictures of the 2019 Chevrolet Volt.

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