Remember the look of the Chevrolet Volt concept? It's pictured above because it's been years since we've taken a good look at it. And now that hints are coming from General Motors about the look of the next-gen Volt, we thought it'd be fun to remember how far we've come.

"Ed Welburn is not going to let us do anything weird, I can tell you that."

Speaking at an event in San Francisco recently, John Cafaro, Director of Exterior Design for Chevrolet, briefly mentioned the work his team is doing on the next-gen Volt, saying that the Chevy design guys like what Opel did to make the European-market Ampera look a bit more aggressive. As for a future Volt, he said, "We're going to do some things with the Volt down the road, make it a little more monochromatic, a little more road-hugging."

The Voltec plug-in hybrid powertrain will find a home in other vehicles – as we know with Cadillac concepts like the ULC and (*UPDATE: the ULC concept had a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, not a plug-in powertrain) the ELR – and Cafaro said that with four brands to experiment with, this is where we could see some style diversity.

GM is watching the plug-in competition, the Ford C-Max Energi and Toyota Prius Plug-In, as it works on future product. "We've got one bullet in the chamber with the Volt," he said. "We're getting some feedback. We've already built a body of research. There are a lot of different camps. From a design perspective, people want an exciting vehicle. Now, what does exciting mean? A lot of zoom-y lines? Deep cut forms? A lot of muscular shapes? We are looking at all the different kinds of design DNA for how we proceed with this technology. Nothing is left off the table. No idea is a bad idea."

Well, maybe some. Cafaro said GM will not be aping any out-there vehicle design, like the Aptera. "Ed Welburn is not going to let us do anything weird, I can tell you that," he said. Where does that leave the E-NV?

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