Chevrolet Volt Unveiled, As GM Turns 100

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Back to the GM Hoopla

The first mention of the Volt came 25 minutes into the show, which included live feeds from around the world—Germany, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Korea, China, India, Dubai, South Africa, and Brazil.

GM product czar Bob Lutz called design and styling the “one big differentiator left” as every brand improves quality, offers good handling, excellent packaging, and so forth. He talked about bringing designers into the process at the earliest stages to help conceive cars, rather than just asking them to “skin” products that had already been engineered. But he acknowledged that the Volt design team’s assignment was a little different, requiring above all “superb aerodynamics to ensure efficiency.”

The Volt itself didn’t make its appearance until the very end of the hour-long event. It was the finale to a wide-ranging presentation that hammed home GM’s message: It’s a global company with designers and engineers around the world. Before revealing the car, CEO Wagoner called this “the most exciting time in GM’s history,” saying the Volt “symbolizes GM’s commitment to the future.”

The actual unveiling seemed almost anti-climactic. A curtain pulled back, Bob Lutz slowly drove the car out onto a turntable, the crowd applauded—and that was it.

So now we know what it looks like without executives standing in front of it. We have 26 months left until cars appear at Chevrolet dealers—we hope—but if there’s one certainty, it’s that you’ll see way, way more Volt publicity between now and then. Stay tuned.

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  • JH

    He can’t he drooled on his keyboard and can’t type anything yet 🙂

    Well so much for unveiling…. once the batteries are ready give me a ring…. otherwise this is not news

    FYI – still looks somewhat horrible

  • MWM

    Has anyone heard how much the Volt is going to cost? Will it be priced to compete with the most popular hybrids?

  • gok

    I’ve always read 50 mpg with the R.E. turned on. Also Recently GM seems confident that the batteries they are testing are working as needed. It sounds like they will do it.

  • GOK

    It’s just under 38,000 range. With Government subsidies (Tax Rebate) closer to 30,000. Its not in the same class as a Prius. It’s not the same type of hybrid.

  • Mikedee

    more waffle and vapourware talk from GM…their press release for this “launch” actually says:
    The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing facility, subject to GM successfully negotiating satisfactory government incentives. Production is scheduled to begin late 2010 for models in the United States. Pricing has not been announced. Visit for more information….

    Kinda sayin that if the government dont pay us to make it we aint even gonna build it!!

  • Bryce

    I am happy. Better than executive pin-ups, lol. As far as the car of the people go, that will most certainly be the Cruze. (as far as offerings from GM go. Honda will have its Insight, which seems to be well positioned in the market to swipe the crown from Toyota in a few years) It will take a few years for this thing to really be viable to Joe Schmo.

  • tw8s

    Yeah, Designers Rule! – Hawk eyes, dimpled cheeks, odd creases here and there, some kind of spear-point motif, and a smacked-up bustle-butt.

  • Will S

    The last price we heard from Lutz was $48k. Not much market penetration at prices like these.

    Undoubtedly, they will have to look at different levels of battery pack capacity (e.g., PHEV-15, PHEV-25, PHEV-40).

    I wonder how many more miles they’d get if they dropped the engine out and added a couple more kWhrs in batteries…? At a nominal 40 mpg, they don’t compete very well with a current Prius, much less the significantly improved one that is expected out. We’ll see…

  • Bob_C

    Will S

    If you don’t think the Volt competes very well with a Prius then you are missing what is going on. The Volt travels the first 40 miles on battery alone. Because it is not using any gasoline, it gets an infinite number of miles per gallon until the battery drains out. The engine then turns on and gives the car 40 mpg until you go home and recharge the battery which they are saying costs about 80¢. If you never travel more than 40 miles per day and always recharge, you never use any gasoline and therefore get infinite mpg all the time. I would say that the Prius does not compete with that which is why it is being said that the Volt is set to reinvent the automobile.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know about you guys… I own couple of GM’s cars before, nothing but troubles. They can’t even get a “reliable” gas engine car in the market… What do you think they can get this to work? One that doesn’t catch fire I hope….. I wouldn’t wanted to be one of the $30,000″Beta Tester” for GM….

  • Lampa4

    That was exactly what I was thinking… Not too long ago GM announced recall for faulty wiper that could catch on fire. Volt is probably many times more complicated than wiper assembly. I’m no genius but if GM can’t get a simple wiper to work correctly, how are they going to make volt a reliable and safe car?

  • Collin Burnell

    Well, I think it looks very sharp! I am willing to critisize GM and I am willing to applaud! If they get this thing on the road affordably I will be applauding.

    Plus, our economy really needs this kind of exitement.

  • sean t

    I’m glad that “guru” Bob has eaten the humble pie and started this hybrid.
    Wish all the best for GM.

  • TS

    Kudos to GM. Competition is good. If Toyota thinks GM might beat them to market they will work that much harder to get their product out there. Who wins? Ultimately the customer.

  • Bryce

    exactly right ts

  • Deranged Stu

    Nice to see Gm finally getting on the bandwagon.

  • Will S

    “With a smaller battery pack, a vehicle might not go as far without needing gasoline. But it would also cost a lot less, an appealing proposition to some.

    “There are a number of customers out there that maybe a 20-mile [electric-only range] vehicle would work, and they would still use little to no petroleum,” said Posawatz.”

    Seems he may be reading forums…

  • Bryce

    options will become available I assume as years pass. Initially, range will be stuck on the 40 number, but maybe less, or more range options will be made available as they are more specialized for the market. I woudln’t expect too many options in the first roll out though. : )

  • Paul Beerkens

    Did you guys see this.

    I am no longer buying a volt.

  • Allen Barlow

    Not impressive compared to my Prius which annually averages approx. 49 mpg. Also, I can travel about 550 milrd on a tank of gas. Depending on where I am driving I am in electric mode exlcusively, sometimes for 10 miles or so.

    I think GM needs to do better than this. As to price, the rumors I have heard make this a pricey car compared to Honda and Toyota options. I also wonder if the Volt will stand up in terms of quality to the Japanese models. I would be very surprised.

  • Bryce

    That Colbert skit was hilarious. If you didn’t like that, then you don’t deserve to drive a Volt…..ROFL.

  • geisemann

    I have owned many GM cars and they have been great

    People are so anti american.

    I have a freind who has an AUDI and if he spends 10k a year on maintance he still thinks OH its such a good car.

    IF you have an american car with a burned out tail lamp you think its shit and want to trade it in.

    People need a MAJOR attitude adjustment and we need to start buying american or your kids will be living in a poor place like mexico soon.

  • Bryce

    lol, actually, that was the only problem my mom has ever had with a GM vehicle. A tail light that was kind of gimpy. It has worked great for 10 years and could probably go for another decade.

  • Mike Arbaney

    I’m really bummed the original prototype looked fantastic, while the new production model looks like another prius. Lame if you ask me.

  • Jakob

    Listen guys.. we have been fooled by the car industry and we will continue to take that crap judging from your comments. How crazy is this we are driving in cars based on a 130 year old technology, even a T-ford gets better millage. and the first cars were electric cars.

    What happened to common sense folks. Don’t be fooled the technology is stored in secret warehouses until the public really really gets upset.

    Stop buying cars and maintain the one you have. Believe me a well build car can easily get 15 years. The more people realize this the lower the sales of cars and the more they realize that there is a need for improvement. Let the big 3 fall on there behinds so badly that the message gets out.


  • Bryce

    Funny how GM is the only one bringing an electric car to market. Toyota is just sitting on its laurels. A 30 to 45 mpg improvement isn’t that much. How about 150 or 200 mpg or even no gas at all. That is a real improvement.