Editor’s Note: This is a 4-part series covering my trip to Michigan to test-drive the Chevy Volt. See also: 1. LiveBlogging from the opening of GM’s New Battery Lab, 2. Chevy Volt Test Drive: How GM’s Electric Car Works 3. Tour of GM’s New Battery Lab. Disclaimer: GM flew me out for this event.
“Remarkably Unremarkable” has been the phrase of choice when describing how the Chevy Volt prototype drives.
And that’s really a compliment, since the car was engineered for consumers who won’t accept compromise, even for a an electric car.
I got a chance to drive the Chevy Volt prototype on June 8th, and although the test model was still housed under a Chevrolet Cruze skin, it gave me a good feeling for what the final version will be like.
Chevy Volt Test Drive
The interior of the Cruze doesn’t do the car justice, at least in terms of space and aesthetics. The center divider seemed poorly fitted for the Volt’s T-shaped battery pack that runs the length of the car (which also precludes a 5th seat in the prototype and final versions). Frank Weber, who accompanied me on the the 45-minute drive, said that everything about the interior would change for production.
But I wasn’t there for comfort, and the final “integation” models of the car should be finished now anyway. The real guts of the Volt were all there: a 120 KW three-phase AC induction electric motor, which drives the front wheels, and a substantial amount of battery capacity (400 lbs. worth to be exact).
It’s always exciting to drive a prototype, especially one as widely anticipated as the Volt, and once I got into the driver seat it was immediately clear that GM accomplished their stated goal: the Volt feels like any other comparably-sized car. The only difference is that it’s silent, which gives it the feeling of a luxury sedan.
Everything else is completely normal—except that it’s an electric car.