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More revealing, a wind tunnel demonstration used a third-scale model of the Volt, covered in patterned camouflage tape. Low aerodynamic drag is key to extending the Volt’s range—at speed, it’s more important than lower weight, due to aggressive regenerative braking that recaptures energy for recharging. To show the airflow, an aerodynamics expert wielded a hose that sent propylene glycol mist swirling over the scale model as a 30-mph wind roared.
If these models are indicative—Boniface said at the time, “the body’s not frozen yet, but it’s close”—the production Volt is shorter and stubbier than the concept. The front wheels are just ahead of the doors, with a long overhang and a very steeply angled windshield. Its Kamm tail is an abrupt vertical behind the rear wheels, with a high hatchback. The smooth, rounded, swept front has a remarkable resemblance to current Saabs.
Overall, the shape somewhat resembles another aerodynamic five-door with a battery pack. Yes: The shape of the Volt may just end up somewhat like a… Toyota Prius.
The Cd of the Prius, by the way, is 0.26. There’s your number to beat, Mr. Boniface.