Rendered Speculation II: Production Chevy Volt, closer but no cigar

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So let's talk renderings of what the production Chevrolet Volt might look like since they seem to be popping up a few places now. We know for a fact that it will look different from the concept that debuted in January 2007 at the Detroit Auto Show. Will it look like the image above or more like the one we showed you earlier today from another site? From what we know it will almost certainly be closer to this red car, although probably not exactly the same. As we learned last fall, the concept was not particularly aerodynamically efficient nor did it meet the requirements necessary to meet pedestrian safety standards. Since low drag is paramount in order to maximize the amount of kinetic energy recaptured during regenerative braking, the nose has to be much more rounded when viewed from above and the windshield needs more rake. The rendering above comes much closer on both counts and is also closer to what was seen on the wind tunnel model earlier this spring.

[Sources: GM-Volt, AutoblogGreen]

Elements of the teaser image that was released earlier this year seem to have been almost directly translated to this rendering including the front lights and grille. Unlike the concept these will be flush mounted ensuring that there are no scoops to trap air at the front of the car. The TTAC rendering has the headlights set further back and retains air openings below them, in the Chevy twin-port grille as well in the hood. That entire area will likely be cosmetic only with all air flow going through the opening below the bumper.

Along the sides the production Volt will again lose much of its contouring in the interest of drag reduction. The flared out wheel wells will almost certainly look more like what is shown in the red car. The transparent sections at the top of the doors of the concept will be a victim of cost reduction and manufacturing complexity. With the battery representing such a huge proportion of the cost of the Volt, extravagances such these can't be afforded. One final note about this red car is the scallops on the front doors. This is an element of Opel/Saturn's new design language. It exists on the new Opel Insignia as well as the Flextreme and GTC concepts.

GM has been making a concerted effort in recent years to distinguish the look of all of its brands. To put this element on the Volt would be anathema to that idea especially since GM is planning E-Flex based vehicles for other brands besides Chevrolet. In fact GM Europe boss Carl-Peter Forster wrote earlier this week that the first European E-Flex vehicles would launch one year after the Volt with Opel/Vauxhall branding with the Chevy Volt following a few months later. As such they will want to distinguish the two cars and that Opel look will not appear on the Chevy.

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