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.
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
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).