The April 2008 Chevy Volt update: designing the Volt interior and exterior

Of all the areas we visited during our day at the GM Technical Center during the Volt tour, the design center was the one place where I really, really wished we could have had a camera. I'm sure you would have all felt the same way. We've all seen the teaser image above, but in the E-Flex Studio Tim Grieg, the Volt design manager, and Bob Boniface, the design director for the Volt and the E-Flex systems, are looking at the Volt every day. The good news is that we can describe a few things. giving Grieg and Boniface a listen in the audio clips below is probably the best way to get a visualization, but let me see what I can tell you about the way the Volt will look.

The interior, as it stands today (and this is all subject to change, of course) certainly tries to look somewhat futuristic. Not as spacey as some of the discarded possibilities, but Greig did emphasize the spaciousness that the designers are going for. Lines from the dashboard will continue into the doors to not give the eyes a place to stop and feel constricted. If you remember the T-shape battery we saw in the BSL, imagine how that shape will influence the way the passengers will feel in the cabin. For the driver and front passenger, riding in the Volt won't feel too different from a car today. The battery that pushes the dividing console into the passenger compartment will not be low (on top of the battery need to go the cup holders and all that), and this will be really noticed by the back seat passengers. Don't expect five people to fit comfortably. The shifter is, in my initial opinion, going to cause a few groans. When the car is in park, the handle disappears into the lower dashboard and there is a space to reach your hand in and grab the clawlike shifter. I did not like the look at all. The driver's information screen will have four settings, depending on how much information the driver would like about the energy usage of the vehicle. GM told us that we should see an interior teaser shot sometime later this year.

Listen to Tim Grieg:

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As for the exterior, Boniface seemed to delight in not showing us the whole thing. The evolving clay model sat under canvas with bumps added to not give us a real idea of what's going on under there. What he did tell us was that GM is learning a lot about how the improved aerodynamics help the mileage of the car. The majority of the design work on the Volt is now finished, and the team isn't likely to make any major changes any more. ABG visited the Design Center back in December, and there's a lot more information on how this team works in this post.

Listen to Boniface describe what the Volt looks like today:

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