• Apr 14, 2009
Click above to watch videos test drives of Chevrolet's Volt prototype

General Motors has begun doling out test drives of its Chevrolet Volt prototypes to the salivating media. AutoblogGreen is scheduled for some time behind the wheel in short order, but some bigger names have already written up their first impressions of the car. CNN's short version: Promising, but not perfect.

Unlike the Mali-Volts of the recent past, CNN was able to test out the Volt technology as it fits inside the bodywork of a Chevy Cruze. The vehicle looks nearly identical to the Cruze that will go on sale in the U.S. soon, but the powertrain is reportedly 80 percent Voltec. Reporters haven't yet gotten the true Volt driving experience, though, since, as CNN's Peter Valdes-Dapena reports, the Cruze vehicles operate in EV-only mode because "GM engineers are still tweaking the car's performance under gasoline power." Considering that EV-only mode is how most Volt drivers will experience the car most days, this is a fair initial test, with Valdes-Dapena calling the acceleration "particularly muscular." One big question that needs to be answered is how GM will deal with the weight of the Voltec system. Valdes-Dapena writes:
The first time I drove the front wheel drive test vehicle into a turn, the weight came as a surprise. It felt almost like the small Cruze had turned into something more like a Cadillac the moment I turned the steering wheel.
That's going to take some getting used to, or perhaps some additional tuning.

Valdes-Dapena wasn't the only reporter to test out the Cruze Volt mule. Detroit radio staple Jeff Gilbert was there for WWJ and he put up a video on Facebook. GM made their own video of the media drives, and you can see that and the CNN show after the jump.

[Source: CNN, WWJ, General Motors]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait a minute, I thought the Volt was nothing more than "vapor-ware".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sometimes I wonder if GM is punking us all with the Volt, that it will be vaporware, but not in the way that we think:

      'Volt technology' has been used in both Malibu and now Cruze bodies. What, then, is stopping GM from simply offering both a Chevy Malibu VOLT or a Chevy Cruze VOLT down the line, both the with the ability to operate on electric only power for the first 40 miles (or more) and at price points much less than the $40k figure that has been bandied for the actual standalone Volt car?

      Eh, it's fun to dream sometimes, isn't it?

      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope all the greenies buy this car like crazy...I sure would like to be proven wrong...because I sure am not one of those people anxiously waiting for this car...I could care less, I still like my E500 and dont think I can ever have anything less then a V8 I'm addicted to it sorry ;)....
        • 5 Years Ago
        "When the technology for a practical high powered electric sports car comes about you'll probably be won over by the instant torque."

        Only if the batteries can be recharged in 5 minutes and battery recharging stations are as easy to find as gas stations.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love the Volt, which surprises me since I'm a performance guy to the core. I find both the technology fascinating and I'm eager to see the repercussions to Big Oil and the Middle East.

      Jeremy Wayne
      • 5 Years Ago
      Since this is a test car, I wonder if GM will use the Volt technology in a future Cruze? GM hasn't officially announced pricing for it, so you know it's possible to cost less.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jeremy Wayne
        I think thats a good idea. LEave the expensive EV to the distinctive Volt but maybe they could move over some of the tech to create a (full not mild) hybrid Cruze. At a nice affordable price like the Malibu Hybrid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Progress !

      This is the one car that can eliminate gas usage for most daily commuters most of the time. Well done !!
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you drive for 40 Miles everyday then you will have to charge the batteries at your home everyday. So the 2K you save on gas will probably be offset by increased electricity bills.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great test drive...I now know that the volt is silent and has a range of 40 miles on a full charge!!

      ...their just trying to keep the hype alive.

      Autoblog, please teach these guys how to do a test drive.

      -Road noise
      -COST??? (is it still at $40k)
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM is not letting them flog their testbed

        basic driving impressions are all they really get to go on
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's still one question about the Volt that I haven't seen anyone answer yet. Everyone's so excited about the possibility of driving for years without ever firing up the gasoline engine. If you're able to drive like that, then more power to you! But what happens to an engine that's never turned on for 5 years? Will seals start drying out and things start corroding if you never use it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Autoblog: "Reporters haven't yet gotten the true Volt driving experience, though, since, as CNN's Peter Valdes-Dapena reports, the Cruze vehicles operate in EV-only mode because 'GM engineers are still tweaking the car's performance under gasoline power.' Considering that EV-only mode is how most Volt drivers will experience the car most days, this is a fair initial test..."

      Maybe you guys were just commenting on their inaccurate report, but the Volt cannot drive under gasoline power (at least not directly). The engine does not connect to the wheels in a series hybrid/extended range EV. The engine only exists to charge the batteries and provide electricity for the electric motors when the batteries run low. The car is ALWAYS running on electric power and it is ALWAYS powered by electric motors. That being said, driving with the gasoline generator running shouldn't be much different from running off battery charge, with the possible exception of a small amount of extra noise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am sure Autoblog knows the gas engine is only a generator as they state that "Reporters haven't yet gotten the true Volt driving experience" at the start of the sentence framing it as though the non automotive press still do not "get it". Even CNBC's Phil LeBeau said he was driving what he thought was a Malibu test mule today live on the air. He is supposed to know what is going on and he looked really dumb stating this when it was clearly a Cruze mule with the Voltec powertrain acting as the test bed vehicle that will also be built in the same facility as the Volt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm getting a little confused.

      At first I heard the Volt will have a gas generator (basically) that goes to the electric motor for an extra 300 miles after the battery is empty.

      Then I heard that the car will have the an engine that will kick in like a hybrid.

      Now I'm hearing the generator again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the engine kicks in to charge the batteries
      • 5 Years Ago
      I saw the Cruze, LaCrosse, and Volt at the NY auto show a couple of days ago, and while I know they are pre-production, they looked liked good cars. Usually even GM's auto show cars have big panel gaps with cheap looking detailing. These cars were actually tightly assembled and had nice detailing, that I hope will come through for the production models.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So much for the naysayers. Looks like it will soon be a production reality soon.
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