• Sep 28, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Lyle Dennis. Bill Nye. Jim Woolsey. Brian Wynne. What do these people have in common, besides being featured at one time or another on AutoblogGreen? They are all members of the new Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board that General Motors announced today (disclosure: AutoblogGreen columnist Chelsea Sexton is also on the panel).

So, what will the 15 people who make up the board actually do? Basically, they're getting a Volt before you do and will tell GM what's working and what isn't. More specifically, they will be the first people who get to, "experience the Volt every day under real-world conditions during a three-month vehicle and charging evaluation program starting in late October."

The 15 (see all the names after the jump, and note the number of electric vehicle enthusiasts included) volunteered for the position and Chevy picked people who knew the most about electric vehicles and also happen to live in one of the initial markets where the Volt will be available. Besides getting a three-month test vehicle, board members will get a free 240-volt charging station, "for the duration of the vehicle evaluation program." Sexton is excited about the group, and said in a statement that:
It's great to see Chevrolet tap into both experienced and new electric vehicle enthusiasts for real-world feedback. This is a great opportunity to not only provide meaningful input to the Volt team, but also to raise awareness using a real, available electric vehicle instead of a PowerPoint slide.

[Source: GM]


Chevrolet Starts Market Launch of Volt with Customer Advisory Board

DETROIT – Chevrolet has hand-picked 15 advanced technology enthusiasts and electric vehicle advocates to be the first consumers to experience the Volt every day under real-world conditions during a three-month vehicle and charging evaluation program starting in late October. This exclusive group of expert consumers – referred to as the Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board – is one of the final steps Chevrolet is taking to validate the vehicle, charging and overall customer experience in preparation for the retail launch late this year.

We are eager to learn as much as we can from potential customers about their experience with the Volt," said Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet Volt marketing director. "We want to know their thoughts, impressions, and perceptions. This special group of electric vehicle experts gives us the opportunity to learn even more as we near market launch."

Volt Customer Advisory Board members have volunteered to participate and were selected by Chevrolet based on their resident location, knowledge of advanced automotive technology, and interest and awareness of electric vehicles. Each participant is scheduled to receive a pre-production Volt starting in late October and will keep the car through the end of January 2011. Participants live in Volt retail launch markets including California, Washington D.C., and New York.

Members of the Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory board include:
  • Robert Becker – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Peter Corsell – Chief Executive Officer of GridPoint
  • Lyle Dennis – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Tom Kuhn – President, Edison Electric Institute
  • Andy Lipkis – President and Founder, TreePeople
  • Bill Nye – Celebrity scientist and electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Eric Rotbard – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Chelsea Sexton – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Colin Summers – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Mark Swain – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Kris Trexler – Electric vehicle enthusiast
  • Bryan Voltaggio – Celebrity chef and owner of Volt restaurant
  • Jim Woolsey – Former Director of Central Intelligence and Renewable Energy and Energy Security Investor
  • Brian Wynne – President, Electric Drive Transportation Association
  • Mike Maria – Electric vehicle enthusiast
Volt Customer Advisory Board members will receive product training, a home electric evaluation and a no cost installation of a 240-volt charging station to be used for the duration of the vehicle evaluation program. Chevrolet will then collect information weekly through OnStar.

The feedback provided by Volt consumer advisors will help Chevrolet refine the ownership, charging and driving experience, including information that can help local utility companies develop codes and standards for electric vehicle owners. Each member will also be assigned a Volt Customer Relations Manager for personal service and attention.

"It's great to see Chevrolet tap into both experienced and new electric vehicle enthusiasts for real-world feedback," said Chelsea Sexton, electric vehicle advocate and Volt Customer Advisory Board member from California. "This is a great opportunity to not only provide meaningful input to the Volt team, but also to raise awareness using a real, available electric vehicle instead of a PowerPoint slide."

The Volt Customer Advisory Board group serves as an extension of Chevrolet's final Volt validation employee test fleet program already under way. To date more than 200 pre-production Volts have been built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck production assembly.

The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-range capability. Chevrolet will offer a lease program on the Volt with a monthly payment as low as $350 for 36 months at Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price with $2,500 due at lease signing, including security deposit based on current conditions, which could vary at time of delivery. The benefit of the $7,500 tax credit is included in the reduced lease payment, with the tax credit going to the lessor. The Volt's MSRP will start at $41,000 ($33,500 net of the full federal tax credit, which ranges from $0-$7,500) including a destination freight charge of $720. Customer deliveries of the Volt are scheduled to begin in launch markets late this year with initial production limited.

The 2011 Volt will be available to Chevrolet customers in California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and the Washington D.C. area. To be among the first to purchase a Volt, customers can visit their nearest participating Chevrolet Volt dealer. A Volt dealer locator is available at http://www.getmyvolt.com. The dealer will begin the order process, which will be followed up by contact from a dedicated Volt advisor who will be available to answer any questions and keep the customer apprised of the progress of their order. For customers needing general Volt information, Chevrolet has a team of Volt advisors available to answer questions at 1-888-VOLT-4-YOU (1-888-865-8496)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is anyone surprised that it's taking so long to get this on the street? Remember the new Camaro? Dodge was behind and beat them at their own game with getting the Challenger out. I wouldn't buy stock during the IPO, to be truthful.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Camaro took about 3yrs from concept to production, typical for a new car. It was less than 3yrs if you count from when it was actually approved for production. It was shown as a concept in Jan. '06, approved for production in Aug. '06 and started production in Mar. '09.

        The Volt was first shown as a concept(which looked completely different btw) in Jan. '07. It wasn't approved for production until months later and in Nov. '10 it will be produced. Not far off from the typical timeline and quite impressive considering how different it is than the typical ICE vehicle.

        As far as the Challenger, it was first shown as a concept in Jan. '06(same as the Camaro, not after as you claim), approved for production in June. '06(before the Camaro) and went into production in May of '08. The '08 model run was made up of all SRT-8 models and was a not a full run. The '09 models began production in Aug. of '08.

        So, it took 28 months for the Challenger to move from being first shown publicly as a concept to being produced. Realistically, the stunted, '08 model year shouldn't even count as it was a limited run of all SRT-8's. It's 31 months if you count until the first full model run was first produced.

        For the Camaro, it's 38 months from being first shown a concept to being produced, 7-10 months difference depending on how you count the Challenger.

        Also, compare the fact that the Challenger shared virtually everything(including interior) with the other LX-based cars(which saved them a lot of development time, don't fool yourself). The Camaro shared only its powertrain with its platform mate G8, virtually everything else is different, including a totally different interior with unique switchgear and a unique dashboard layout.
      • 4 Years Ago
      if by feminine you mean rounded and aerodynamic with low drag coeff, then yes you are absolutely correct. You have to give the Volt its credit though, it will easily be the best and most practical hybrid on the market when it comes out. The Leaf's lack of gasoline/diesel backup is going to make it more of a niche vehicle and only useful for people who own actually own thier homes and able to install a $2000 quick charger. And those people usually can afford nicer cars, although it could be an excellent 3rd or 4th car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bill Nye! The lucky guy!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Saw that too, and a theme song just ran through my head and out my mouth...loudly in a Purdue dorm. :)

        I think he has a great opinion on alt energy.

        But honestly I truly don't care about opinions. At least they didn't give Dan Fredirkadirk on here one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What? No Ed Begley Jr.? I'm shocked! lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM is crossing all their T's, this is a great way to have people who actually know something about electric vehicles to dismiss so much of the absurd crap out there about the Volt while also doing the last run of refinements if any are needed.

      Excellent move by GM and I look forward to hearing about the success of the Volt, brilliant machine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, it will be nice to get the opinions of 15 die-hard greenies, and assuming they all like it, will improve the Volt's "green cred". I suppose that will help sell it to people determined to put the environment first (but not first if it means public trans and a bike!) I'll be way more interested to see what normal people think of it after 3 months. Give it to 15 random middle-class people and THEN I'll care what they think.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GM should be more worried about selling to the other 99.8% that don't know anything about electric vehicles. You know, if they want to every make a profit. Toyota already proved that people want to drive what Cameron Diaz drives, not what Neil DeGrasse Tyson drives.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is like giving Jimmy Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart a Corvette and asking them what they think.

        Flubnut has it right. Give it to 15 real world people who have no real preconceived notions of what to expect from the Volt and let them tell their story. Any words of praise given to the Volt by this group will ring hollow for me. Even if they don't like the car i think they will say how wonderful it is just because they are so invested in the idea of the electric car that they will want to see the technology move forward.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Who designed this thing Daffy Duck!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lucky SOBs. I wanted to drive one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's Columbia University! That's when GM brought the Volt to show off and to speak to the Formula SAE team at Columbia!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The thing about the Volt is I like it, but I'm not in *love* with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Finally everyone will receive some non-bias professional feedback about this vehicle. I am absolutely sure the Volt will create some high marks and super feedback, and hopefully shut down the negative crap circulating this vehicle, although some people never will admit that this vehicle is technology at it's finest. But time will tell, and I have no doubt about the vehicle.......way to go GM !!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Free cars are the best way to get an unbiased opinion.
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