• Jan 9, 2008
Very few vehicles have received the level of attention the Chevy Volt has been given, and we're still nearly three years before production begins. The reason for all the press is obvious. If GM can produce what they're promising with the Volt, with plug-in power and the ability to drive 40 miles on electricity alone, it'll be a game changer. The local Detroit NBC affiliate got access to the Volt design studio and brought their cameras with them. During the two minute piece, we're given a quick peek at the more rounded front end of the production model. You can see a headlight, a curvier bumper and little else, but it's enough to show that GM is on the right track. Hit the jump to view the video.

Thanks for the tip, Tony!



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  • 53 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      First off, this news is weeks old - the sister site Autobloggreen had it some time ago. I think Sam A was actually there for the media event.

      Secondly, there's the usual "cellphone batteries stink" comments. Provided you have modicum of understanding of the great variety of lithium ion chemistries, those comments can be safely ignored as being scientifically ignorant.

      Thirdly, there's the backlash from "who killed the electric car" brainwashing everyone to ignore the fact that the EV1 was basically a super-expensive battery pack on wheels, and that it brutally deep-charged those batteries to get the range that it got. Similar deep-charging would probably get the Volt 80+ miles, but at the expense of longevity.

      Just my $0.02
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, gotta say it looks pretty mean for an American car :)

      Found some other cool pics and videos here:

      http://www.chevy-volt.net
      • 7 Years Ago
      People are excited about Volt because (they hope) it is evidence GM finally gets it. That said, by the time GM delivers this, it may well be (like the Camaro) old, me-too news cementing GM's reputation for technological innovation in passenger cars.

      So Lutz thinks 2010 is questionable because of the batteries ...... OTHO, Subaru is already testing a 50-mi range car that can be recharged (to 80%) in 8 minutes. (Too bad GM sold its stake in FHI, eh?).

      This illustrates the difference between GM and the Japanese manufacturers. For GM Volt is at least as much a PR exercise as a technology innovation. The Japanese .... just ... do ... it.

      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/12/electric-subaru.html#more

      Electric Subaru Due in 2009, One Year Early
      25 December 2007

      Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, (FHI) will start selling electric Subarus in Japan in 2009—a year earlier than initially planned, according to President Ikuo Mori.

      FHI currently has 40 units of its electric R1e in operation in Japan in customer trials. The company is targeting first-year sales of its electric car at 100 units.
      ..... snip ......

        • 7 Years Ago
        I am sure this will be a tiny 2 seater micro car that would never be sold over here or meet any north american based regulations for a production vehicle. The Volt is a 4 seater with a real trunk as well as a range that would suit our market. Great, Subaru has another ugly car on the way. It is a good thing Toyota purchased a slice as their current cars look like a$$!
        • 7 Years Ago

        J.Crew - You are correct: The R1e is a 2+2 city car and not a replacement general purpose vehicle. Subaru introduced a follow-on vehicle, the 5 passenger G4e, at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show. The G4e is officially a concept, but it is a real vehicle with real batteries and is a logical extension of the _production_ R1e. The G4e looks like a viable compact car -- 120 mi range, 15 minute charge (to 80%) with reasonable room. (BTW those are actual specs not hypothetical projections.)

        Here is a reference:
        http://www.gizmag.com/go/8281/

        Of course the bugaboo for any electric is the battery technology. GM, with one of the largest R&D budgets in the world, is worried about a source of cutting edge battery technology that can be scaled to production levels. Subaru, one of the smallest significant car manufacturers, has been working on battery technology for years now. The batteries for the _production_ R1e and for the probable follow on G4e vehicle are from NEC Lamilion Energy (NLE) Ltd., a joint venture (founded 2002) between Fuji Heavy (Subaru's parent) and NEC. The new battery for the G4e was developed by Subaru and will be produced by NLE.

        Now, it is reasonable to believe that since Subaru is doing the R1e now, and the G4e is just more, better, (hopefully cheaper) batteries, commitment to a production G4e is not far away.

        So again, (back on topic since this thread is about GM's latest Volt PR exercise), here's the difference:

        GM raises its skirt and teases but won't let you look under the hood (sorry for mixing metaphors). In comparison, Subaru is actually _engineering_ cars. This is not intended as a slight to GM's engineers and researchers. I have no doubt they are among the best in the world. It is, however, yet another indictment of the senior management at GM and their pathetic long term planning. Is it not ironic that GM needs advanced battery technology to realize the Volt, but sold its stake in FHI (8% of which is now owned by Toyota) well after the battery JV with NEC was in place? I have to believe Subaru's R1e was already in development when GM bailed out. GM's vision for the future has apparently only cleared up in the last two years. Expect more of this Futurama-themed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurama_(New_York_World's_Fair) happy talk PR from GM for the next year or two.

        Actually, I want GM to deliver on the Volt and show they can play ball with the best. Otherwise, they will just be increasing irrelevant.

        So, Autobloggers, how about a vote?

        1) Volt produced before G4e
        2) G4e produced before Volt

      • 7 Years Ago
      The thing is, the performance targets GM is shooting for are a moving target. 40 miles on a single charge may sound impressive in 2007, and you can bet that Toyota isn't standing still. In fact, they have a running start.

      It mirrors what's been happening in the consumer electronics space. Apple's competitors are perpetually aiming at where the iPod is today, meanwhile, Apple is already at work on user experiences generations into the future.

      By the time GM hits the targets they've set today (assuming they do), Toyota (and potentially others) will be further down the road. I just hope they're aggressive enough in their goal-setting and capable enough on the engineering side to meet and exceed all expectations. I'd really like to see their gamble pay off and for GM to succeed in this market segment.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Read what i wrote again.

        Leapfrogging today's Prius will put GM firmly into tomorrow. By the time the Volt makes it to market, Toyota will be well into next week.

        Yes, the Volt will likely be better than today's Prius. But will it be better than the new 2009 Prius coming later this year? Or the next Prius after that?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Prius can only go a mile or two on electric alone unless you modify it. GM is aiming to completely leapfrog the competition.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I see Lincoln MKS in that...
      • 7 Years Ago
      We've got to really want it if we expect to see a successful end product. All this half-baked and biased speculation just might be enough to sway the General's interest.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Did he say "eliminating power consumption"? Perpetual motion technology rules!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hate when 'vaporware' actually takes shape, don't you toyota apologists?
        • 7 Years Ago
        "I'm not sure how NEVER SELLING an EV1 qualifies in this argument, or any other exclusively leased car when discussing consume sales and most importantly, I dont understand why being skeptical of a car based on batteries which aren't available from a company who scrapped the EV1 qualifies as having my blinders on, the skepticism is NOT unreasonable at all."

        The EV1 was never intended for sale, but was offered to the public, via lease, as promised. Just as there are rumors of the battery packs for the Volt being leased... Imagine having the ability to have leased your old 4-banger for your GLI, and after 60k miles returning the engine to upgrade/lease the latest DSI for another 4 years, then upgrading to... It is the Windows or Mac OS update model of technology progression finally realized in an automotive application. So the Gen I batteries did not meet your expectations, Gen II will, etc. Show me ANY other automaker doing this.

        Bottom line, you can throw your 'skeptecism' at any automaker, Toy for the EV Rav4's, GM for EV1... but the point remains that for hybrid tech and application, nobody comes close to GM. Toy has the marketing aspect down, but between busses, EV1, Ethanol (however questionable), deisel or bio, and hydrogen fleets currently in use, nobody comes close to GM's overall, long-term efforts to reduce consumption or, at minimum, seek alternatives. Toy, despite marketing, remains number two.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I am being objective, the point is, I'm unaware of ANY automaker recently who has provided a Sneak Peek at a production car to be released 3 years off based on technology that didn't exist. When we see the Audi R8 LeMans concept, and the R8 car comes out, the 4.2l EXISTED, wasn't contingent upon hoped advances in powertrain components.

        I'm not sure how NEVER SELLING an EV1 qualifies in this argument, or any other exclusively leased car when discussing consume sales and most importantly, I dont understand why being skeptical of a car based on batteries which aren't available from a company who scrapped the EV1 qualifies as having my blinders on, the skepticism is NOT unreasonable at all.

        Were GM coming at this project with a history of selling say the EV1 to consumers, well...we'd be at the EV 4 or 5 stage now, that's water under the bridge.

        But when their current hybrids like the Saturn Aura Hybrid return identical mileage to my GLI, I'm bound to be curious of their innovations. This hasn't been done before, and hasn't been sold before, so to come from a company who has a track record of allowing others to set trends in alternative vehicles being SOLD to the public to positing a brand new consumer product to be SOLD based on technology still waiting to hit fruition, it's perfectly objective to be skeptical.

        I'm skeptical of VW when they announce the Up! is going to be cheaper then $10,000 or all electric. Anyone making remarkable claims and at the same moment indicating they're based on technology which isn't in place for the consumer market is going to creat skeptisim, it's only reasonable.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Taking what shape? This car is three years from public availability and not even GM's own CEO is entirely willing to commit to that date. It doesn't even have a powertrain.

        This car is still vapour--a complete and total marketing fiction.

        At best this is a body shell over a standard-issue Cobalt for aerodynamic testing; at worst it's a balsawood-and-hope job to keep people from forgetting that GM is just barely getting green now.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Dear tankpup, please note that Toyota had nothing to do with that battery or its design that you would have to pay an additonal $10,000 dollars on top of buying the Prius to get he desired results. Wow, looks like Toyota got its ass handed to it by an american company that is now partnering with GM to make an actual production vehicle to do the same thing! Good job GM!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or the Hybrid busses in fleet around the country, or....
        • 7 Years Ago
        Like the EV1 that actually filled its promises? or the Hydrogen hummer and Equinox fleets in CA? Take off the blinders and be objective.
        • 7 Years Ago
        are you serious? because the fuel cell sled concept is not for sale today you use that too prove the volt is vaporware?

        if you had looked at the words that went with all the pretty pictures you would know that was a long term concept not intended to see production until next decade at the earliest.

        you know what else is not for sale today? VWs design study for a single person 300 mpg 200 mph self driving pod! i mean they drew some pictures of it and its not currently for sale! next gen golf must be vaporware...
        • 7 Years Ago
        You can have GMs miracle A123 systems battery pack today, in your Prius, for just $10,000. http://www.hymotion.com/products.htm
      gwheyduke
      • 7 Years Ago
      Remember that GM already produced a very nice Electric vehicle the EV-1 and the EV-2. It was leased and driven by many admirers in California in 2003. Totally electric it was designed by Dr. Paul McReady and produced by GM.
      Then it was taken off of the market and crushed. Funny why GM doesn't just build another EV-2 or EV-3 and build on the original engineering?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Environmentally Friendly-meet Great Design. It's about time you two met.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Cool, I think I'll enjoy driving by the Chevy dealership to check it out in 5 years in my 3rd gen Toyota Prius, bought at half the price, with twice the range and reliability, a year or two earlier.

      It's not that I'm a GM hater...ok, yeah, I'm a GM hater. Just been disappointed by their hollow promises too often to really buy into this volt spiel.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "the volt will use zero gas for 90% of Americans daily commute. "

        It's going to be interesting to see what plug in stations will cost, considering how much parking without pluging in these days costs, I think the car pool idea is still the winner.
        • 7 Years Ago
        40 miles is enough for those 90% of Americans to get to work AND back without the need for the gas engine to kick in. Or, so the statisticians say...

        Oh well, my commute is less than 30 miles round trip, so it works for me.

        Charging is supposed to take place at a standard wall outlet, no expensive charger needed like the EV1.
        • 7 Years Ago
        AlfaMike: GM makes hybrid busses, hydrogen Hummers and Equinox are in test fleets now, More flex-and-Ethanol-capable vehicles sold than any other (I know, but at least it IS an alterantive), Deisels on the way quickly, then there is the mild hybrids you speak of (available in how many vehicles?) and GM is quickly rolling out the 2-mode (again, in how many vehicles?)

        Heck, GM is getting the 2-made to market faster than ANY of their business partners...DCX is a year out, no word from BMW.

        Just because GM sells a few thousand H2's a year doesn't make the grass grow on Toyota's heiny.
        • 7 Years Ago
        a prius will get 50 mpg but will use gas no matter what.

        you can effectivly accomplish the same thing by driving an suv to work as long as you carpool with 1 other person. or you can buy a 85 civic. both will do that just as well as the prius.

        the volt will use zero gas for 90% of Americans daily commute.

        one is a car that gets good mileage, the other is a car that virtually removes its owner from ever having to care about the price of gas again.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mike...no follow through? So GM shows off this concept and then starts developing it. Looks like follow through to me. Or how about the GM hybrid buses. Sure, they may be late in entering the private hyrbid market but they have had the tech and at least they are trying.

        Toyota talks a big game. I can't even remember how long the PR blitz went on for the third gen. Prius and how it was supposed to have Li-ion batteries. And then BAM! Toyota pulls back saying the battery technology isn't there (even though GM is developing and testing batteries already) and then delays the third gen. Prius. Yeah, Toyo is sure on top of their game.

        As for that Prius of yours, watch out for the small issue of stalling.

        Yeah, I guess GM isn't investing money into new tech. No, the Volt is NOT proof of that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        First off, my screename is more of an inside joke between me and some friends.

        And did I ever state that I have a firm belief in GM's overall fuel efficiency? No.

        Also, the mild hybrids are in their cars (Mali, Aura). The SUVs have a two mode system. And the overall mileage is more than 2-3 more than an everyday SUV. C/D averaged 18mpg in a Tahoe hybrid while with a regular Tahoe equipped with the 5.3 averaged 12mpg. And I am sure there will be people who will see 20mpg.

        I know GM is NOWHERE near Toyota or Honda when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles. The mild hybrid cars are a joke and the Aveo just blows (as far as small cars go).

        Sure, GM has made some pretty bogus promises and claims over the years but so has every company. But I have faith in GM when it comes to the Volt. I can see them pulling it off one way or another.

        You can call me whatever you want but I am sorry that I have faith in a company that I like. I do believe GM will bring out a fuel efficient vehicle. They already have...whether you or your Toyota fanbois wanna believe it or not.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Cool, I think I'll enjoy driving by the Chevy dealership to check it out in 5 years in my 3rd gen Toyota Prius, bought at half the price, with twice the range and reliability, a year or two earlier."

        AlfaMike:

        Your Prius costing $22-28,000 is NOT half the Volt's expected $30,000 or lower price. Your 45 miles per gallon is also NOT twice the Volt's expected 80-100 miles per gallon range. Also, you must be made of MAGIC to be able to see into the future and rate the reliability of a vehicle that isn't even out yet.

        Oh, and let's not forget, this is all with the Prius looking like a sex toy, whereas the Volt actually looks GOOD.

        You're retarded, and I'd say go step in front of a Prius, but it's so awkwardly shaped that you'd probably slip right off the front, and remain unscathed. What a shame.
      • 7 Years Ago
      40 mile range??? wtf? the EV-1 had that 10 YEARS AGO!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Look alot different than the concept, kinda looks like a Malibu
        • 7 Years Ago
        Michael:

        Why don't you do even a little research before writing a comment that clearly demonstrates that you have ZERO clue?

        The EV1 was a pure electric vehicle. When you ran out of power, you were stuck by the side of the road until you plugged it and left it for hours or got a tow.

        The Volt has a shorter range on batteries alone, but it has an internal combustion engine that will generate enough energy to power the car. So you can drive until you run out of battery power, and continue driving with the gasoline engine powering the car.

        For most people, the 40 mile electric-only range is enough for normal commuting, so 90% of the time they will never use the gas engine. But unlike the EV1, if they need to take a long trip, the Volt can do that too. Whereas if you wanted to take your EV1 on a 200-mile drive, well you couldn't.
        • 7 Years Ago
        it will be a 40 mile range on pure electricity, after that it will use the on board range extender (a small gas or diesel generator or hydrogen fuel cell) and get something like 50 mpg. total range will be hundreds of miles between refueling and or recharging.
        • 7 Years Ago
        EV-1 and purely electrical cars are not practical cars with todays technology (and probably they'll never be). To have a 200 mile range in a normal sedan, the electrical powertrain (battery packs, motors) would weigh as much as the rest of car. That means a normal sedan would weigh 3 tonnes just to have a poor 200 mile range. The production and operation costs of such a vehicle would be much higher than what people think usually think about electric vehicles.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Just put a 1.3L Diesel APU in it and bring the damn thing to market. If GM does not bring it to market soon they will be trying to catch up to the Asian Auto Companies again.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Possibly, but it was also a useless 2 seater that was done at 40 miles. This car will seat 4 and have an actual trunk as well has hit 300 or more miles with both power sources, that is something the EV-1 could not do.
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