Production Chevrolet Volt Photos 'Leaked'

The Chevrolet Volt, GM’s upcoming “extended-range electric vehicle,” has generated advance interest like few other cars this decade. First shown at the Detroit auto show in January 2007 as a radically styled concept car, it has evolved into a production vehicle—slated to be in showrooms in November 2010—at the same time its lithium-ion battery pack is being tested, and verified.

Intense interest has focused on what the Volt will really look like. Back in June, we pointed out that the production car wasn’t likely to resemble the “electric Camaro” concept. Over the past year, GM has teased the public with successive glimpses of more and more of the real thing. Now, the first set of photos of the whole car—shown behind the development team executives—have been “leaked” on several enthusiast websites.

And, indeed, the Volt turns out to be a stubby, slab-sided, high-tailed car with five doors, a high cowl, and a steeply raked windshield. Does that remind you of any particular top-selling, five-door, hybrid with unusual styling? Maybe, oh, a Toyota Prius?

If it does, there’s a very good reason. And it’s exactly the same reason that Honda’s new Insight “affordable hybrid” shares the same basic shape. Aerodynamics and the laws of physics are unforgiving, and managing airflow over the body of a hybrid is crucial to making the best use of every kilowatt-hour in that expensive battery pack. This past spring, during a press event to update reporters on the progress of the Volt and its technology, GM showed data bolstering the view that cutting drag did more for the Volt’s electric range than did reducing its weight.

There will be many more iterations to the Volt story between now and late 2010, when the first cars are scheduled to hit showrooms for actual sale to real live customers. (Pre-production test vehicles and fleet demonstrators will likely be on the roads long before that.)

During that time, you can expect more of these kinds of semi-official “leaks.” Why “leaks” in quotation marks? GM claims that a vendor made a mistake and released the photos, but even Lyle Dennis, founder of the popular GM-Volt site, expressed polite skepticism that they were a genuine leak. Still, you’ve got to give GM credit: They’ve proven themselves masters at stoking the fires of Volt fascination.


  • Samie

    “Pre-production test vehicles and fleet demonstrators will likely be on the roads long before that.” Lets hope so, as for quantities sold in late 2010 still don’t know how many they tend to produce in the initial rollout. One would as assume that they would be very careful producing small quantites to avoid any massive recalls.

    Seems to me that it’s all about the battery, hope GM has learned their lessons from previous adventures w/ battery production.

  • Bryce

    It is finally here. Good to see the fruits of a years worth of labor come to fruition. Now mules and then production for the rest of us. : )

    Bring it on.

  • Jeff

    Looks like a cross between a Malibu and a Prius. I have seen much worse looking cars. Now bring it to market and we have a deal.

  • Bob_C

    The front end and the tires look similar to the concept but that is about it. They removed most of the sexy elongated sports car hood and created room for things like people and stuff. LOL! Now it looks functional like a Prius but more sporty. I really like the rounded front of the car that is most noticeable in the hood. It makes the car look really fluid as if it could hover.

    Now that the sports car design is history, I am wondering what the interior has been changed to. At the rumored price range, you would get an upscale interior on a normal car. I have the option #6 Prius with the leather interior and would expect that for its’ price tag, the Volt would not be able to start with anything less and some expect more. It looks pretty good on the outside though. I think they really hit it.

  • Bryce

    Now that I look at it more, it kind of looks like a Pontiac G6.

  • GR

    I definitely see that Malibu/Prius lovechild connection going also. And if the G6 had a big brother, this could be it also, haha. It looks really nice though. Definitely looks likes things are falling into place for GM. Hopefully things work out with the battery and they don’t have too many more financial problems before the car goes on sale!

  • J-Bob

    The smart money for GM will come from the aftermarket for this car. If they provide the ability to add to the battery pack, or offer more powerful electric motors, they will definitely hit the ground running. I know they’re going to take a loss on this car for a while. ‘That’ is where they can make up the difference. If they’re smart about actually implementing it, but I doubt it.

  • GR

    ps – Does anyone else suddenly feel the urge to buy a 2009 Chevy Engineer’s Calander? :-)

  • mdensch

    Re: Comments that the Volt resembles the Prius.

    Sorry, I don’t get it. I pulled up pics of each, side by side on my screen, and other than both having 4 wheels, windows made of glass, etc., there is no discernible resemblance between the two vehicles. That bodes well for the Chevy as it is far more attractive.

    (This design isn’t final, either, even if it closer to final production than any previous versions. I see details that obviously will be changed before it hits the streets.)

  • Bryce

    lol, GR

    I would agree that it does indeed have a distintive “not prius” look that I am sure your average consumer will appreciate.

    As for aftermarket additions, I am sure some folks will fit some batteries into the back end of the trunk and double its lectric range or something. Honestly though, it really wouldn’t be necesary, atleast personally for me, cuz 40ish miles on a charge pretty much covers my average commuting and anything beyond that, I would be going out of town, and some added expense (via gas) would be expected. Super early adopters of this thing won’t be regular folks like me though, but eco freaks and rich people who want to pollish their image or join the in crowd. Sadly only 10k will be made available for us the first year. It should ramp up plenty though after that, and given the supposed yearly modifications to the Volt (focusing on affordability) that the engineers are slated to be doing, this thing should be in our hands shortly……hopefully. : )

  • Giant

    @Bryce – “It is finally here”

    Um, no it isn’t. You’re going to have to wait until Nov 2010.

    And by mid 2010, we’ll have seen enough pics of this new Volt to be bored with it.

  • Bryce

    ok, u get 25 mpg average while I don’t use any gas at all. lol, I think it is funny that a website of prius lovers is so critical of looks. lol. People aren’t bored of that ugly old thing yet, so, given that kind of comitment for something that only gets 45 mpg, I can see something that looks better and gets double the fuel economy would really stay attractive. The whole first of its kind thing probably helps too. lol

  • kanejk

    …Awesome.
    I was waiting for this.

    I don’t really see the Prius in this car; I think it looks great.

  • den

    Very attractive car, looks very nice, but all these new Hybrids and EV cars dont look very practical, maybe its just my lifestyle but i dont think that car would be very good going skiing/snowboarding in the winter with a few buddies and their equipment or in the summer carry a $hitload of equipment for camping in the summer..

    Do they plan on coming out with Van/SUV Hybrid/E Vehicles??

    Who says that green has to be a small vehicle? Why not equip the “gas guzzlers” with this technology and actually put an effort in reducing the weight of the vehicles, youll see the MPG skyrocket or conversly however you measure your consumption L/100km decrease..

  • Will Fb

    If they expect the public to shell 40 big ones for a cookie cutter design electric or not, I think GM is in beig trouble.

  • JH

    First – did you all gloss over this line: it has evolved into a production vehicle—slated to be in showrooms in November 2010—at the same time its lithium-ion battery pack is being tested, and verified.

    ** Once those batteries are tested and verified it will be ready – here is the shocking thing – that is the biggest and most unusual piece of this car …. and it still is not production ready yet.

    BRYCE – before you get up in arms – I am rooting for them to figure out the batteries and get it right – because it will open up huge doors.

    Second – Looks – it looks like a scrunched camry mated with malibu … nothing fancy – smooth lines – shorter hood than the camry – same angles though….

    Again – I will believe it when I see it

  • Samie

    The battery is what I cringe about, not that they can’t produce it which I believe they can but please keep it in house or outsource it to someone who only produces for GM and is not mingled in other interests.

    I see no problem with the looks. Not exciting but compared to the Prius design its a 100x better. Bryce you are right on in your last post, people who obsess over the Prius makes me wonder why they get so up in arms about new exciting options that will compete with the Prius. Isn’t competition good? I hope that Den will have the options that he/she desires in a few years because to get any real changes in how we fuel our vehicles you need options that appeal to a general crowd.

  • James Bagley

    Well, too little, too late.
    Why should I wait until November 2010 to buy a Chevrolet? No way!! I’d rather wait that much for the new Honda Insight or the new Toyota Prius.

  • Jon

    Wow… that wasn’t what I expected the final product to look like… YUK.

    I’m glad some of you like the styling, but I sure don’t. What is with the monster huge grill and bumpers? I wasn’t a big fan of the Prius styling at first either. The Prius styling has grown on me a little, enough that it wouldn’t preculde me from buying one. The Volt however is way worse. It looks awkward and it looks cheap. It’s as if different design teams styled different ends of the car. I seriously doubt I’d ever come around to it as I have with the Prius.

  • steved28

    I don’t know why people think this car has to be off the shelf with it’s looks. It’s the technology that I thought everyone was waiting for. I like it, except for the grill. I don’t even think it’s a functional grill ( I could be wrong, but it appears you could get all the air you want from below the grill).

    But it will be more than 2 years before you can even see one, never mind buy one. So what’s all the fuss. If you were going out with a beautiful girl and she said you couldn’t get any for 2 years, you’d probably find another model.

  • Bryce

    lol, i like that last comparison there steve. It is true, it won’t be here for a while, but then again, its direct competitors won’t be out until after anyways. The Prius, and now the insight, aren’t even in the same segment as the Volt. They are hybrids and the Volt (and the future Prius plug-in) are electric cars. The Volt will be the first and others will follow. that simple.

  • sean t

    If GM uses lithium ion batteries, they should learn the lesson from DELL and SONY laptops.
    Just one single car catches fire and they are done.

  • steved28

    Sean,

    ABC123 systems is not far from where I live. Believe me, they know the dangers of fire. They have the entire FD there when they test, and boy do they test. They puncture these things under full load along with a full array of other tests. It appears from speaking to a local fireman, they have it under control.

    @bryce

    With all due respect, it is yet to be determined who will be first and who will follow. Just because some companies don’t have a press release every month, or “leak” photos, does not mean they are not hard at work.

  • Bryce

    That’s true, but from what is coming out of the mouth of Toyota’s president, by the time the Volt is rolling out of the factory for us, plug-in priuses will only be for fleets at extremely low volumes. (and it won’t even really be an electric car at that point.)

  • joy29

    good to see the sneak peak of the chevrolet volt, me thinks it’s nice to hear more of it, spread the Chev Love!!!

  • chukcha

    Nice! …I don’t like the “heavy” front end though.

  • Norman D. Robinson

    OMG….., I’m not paying for this nonsence….!!!! Where is the car that I have been dreaming about for months now. I have a 1993 Mazda 323 that I have been nursing along ever since I saw the concept car. I had convinced the wife to hold out on getting a new car until the VOLT hit the show rooms in 2010 but this is crazy…!!!!, and I’m pissed. I’m not giving anyone $40K for that crap. I’m better off buying a “Prius” cause that is what it looks like and don’t try to tell me otherwise….!!! I feel as though I have been ripped off or something. I wanted looks and incredible technology at the same time. This nonsence about reducing drag is no reason to make it look like a silver-gray bean with Bridgestone tires. What’s the drag like on a Corvette..??? Take the tech and put it into something that I can be proud of driving on a friday night with the boys….!!!! Why are you doing this GM…!!!??!!! Mr. Lutz…, where is my VOLT that you promised…!!!!????!!!!

  • SS

    There was a story on the ap wire on how Marty the Editor at http://www.thecarconnection.com found the pics online and how GM reacted to it

  • Bob Ubob

    Man is that one ugly car. Why can’t GM get it right?

    PLEASE go back to the concept vehicle design!!!

    No one wants another camry-hyundai-nissan-honda-ford soul-less car with no class or styling. How can you announce a ground breaking car with looks like that?

    Fire everyone who designed this latest exterior/interior. Put the money into a new rear-view mirror, which is where you should see their work.

  • Bryce

    You just criticized every automaker pretty much in the country for having no styling. What car do you drive???

  • thomatt12

    Now this new entry from Chevy will surely up the competition against other hybrid gas mileage cars.

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