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Yesterday we answered questions about the Chevy Volt as a whole, and today we’re bringing you an in-depth Q&A about the plug-in hybrid’s futuristic interior, with Tim Grieg, the car’s interior-design manager.

The biggest bomb he dropped during our conversation was the fact that while GM is calling the vehicle shown yesterday a production version, the interior itself is not exactly what will arrive at showrooms. Read our Q&A to learn more about the finished product.

Q: Exactly how much of the interior will look like the car we were shown yesterday?

A: Most of the design will be identical to the pre-production car shown yesterday, which is a hand-built version of what a production model would look like. Because none of the parts were actually made by suppliers, though, the materials that make up seats, etc., could be different. The look will be the same, though. Grieg says the company is looking to use as many recyclable and organic materials as possible.

“The center display looks like it’s an articulating part, and people thought it was an articulating part,” Grieg said. “So we’ve designed that to look like more of an integrated part of the panel. That’s one difference. We’ve also optimized the ergonomics beyond what you saw in the photos. We integrated the knobs more into the panel so they don’t float. We’ve also added tactile surface details; you can feel a raised part of the surface as you operate the controls.”


Q: How long do you continue to fiddle with these interior parts as you described above? Up to final production?

A: “It is pretty much done now,” Grieg said of the revised work. “But it is different than the photos, than the car shown yesterday.”




With Tim Grieg
http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2008/09/volt-interior.html

Basically the "production" car shown yesterday is a pre-production car. Duh. So they've already changed a few things involving the center stack. And no materials have been picked for seats etc.
 

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"It’ll come in metallic high-gloss white [as shown in the photos] and a metallic black high-gloss finish"
 

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Great news, it addresses two of my biggest concerns about the interior.

1) If the center stack display is not articulating, the crevice around it is just an impossible to clean dirt collector.

2) The two knobs sticking out of the center stack look like thay were stuck on at the last second using model glue.

The tactile surface on the center stack "buttons" will be a nice touch too. I hope they keep the touch sensitive controls - just make sure there is some sort of audible feedback when using the controls.
 

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I am very glad they are going to a tactile surface for the buttons - otherwise it would be harder to operate the controls while keeping your eyes on the road.
 

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Just have it speak to you with voice commands. You touch something and it repeats it back to you with customizeable voices. ;)
 

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They should work on making the center monitor motorized so that it flips down and slides into the dash when not in use. Or have it just move up and down like the CTS has.

It would be nice if you could have the screen slide down and only show about an inch or two for vital information like AC temp and radio stations and such. I wouldn't always want it up if I don't actually need it.

Having the monitor up and trying to get at the top dash storage bin could be a bit of a hassle. The monitor could get bumped with various things, scratched or worst of all potentially broken if someone puts too much pressure on the top of the monitor while trying to get things from the storage bin.

Overall, I think the layout is pretty good and pretty nice but the execution still needs some work.
 

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White just screams appliance.

I think it will look much better in black.
But holy fingerprints Batman. My Sky has piano black trip on the center stack and door trim plates and it shows dust and fingerprints like crazy. It does look cool when it's perfectly clean though.
 

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Can someone explain what that thing is at the bottom of the center stack? The big moveable-looking thing that's folded flat into the console surface . . . .

Is it a shifter of some sort?

If so, that looks like a huge waste of space, space that's at a premium in a small car like the Volt. The thing's enormous, and clearly doesn't need to be - given that an electric car will need Park, Reverse and Forward positions only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Can someone explain what that thing is at the bottom of the center stack? The big moveable-looking thing that's folded flat into the console surface . . . .

Is it a shifter of some sort?

If so, that looks like a huge waste of space, space that's at a premium in a small car like the Volt. The thing's enormous, and clearly doesn't need to be - given that an electric car will need Park, Reverse and Forward positions only.
That is the shifter as described in the article linked above yes. It will be smaller in final production.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
But holy fingerprints Batman. My Sky has piano black trip on the center stack and door trim plates and it shows dust and fingerprints like crazy. It does look cool when it's perfectly clean though.
Grieg said it wouldn't be as bad as piano black (he specifically mentioned that) but that it would show fingerprints.
 

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Sounds like a iPod interface on the dash. I wonder what it would do to have a small vibration under each button, and would intensify if you were say, turning up the radio or the hvac.
Id also like to see a CTS type unit that pops up, and when its down just shows a basic color display, therefor you dont have this big screen stairing at you all the time when you dont need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sounds like a iPod interface on the dash. I wonder what it would do to have a small vibration under each button, and would intensify if you were say, turning up the radio or the hvac.
Id also like to see a CTS type unit that pops up, and when its down just shows a basic color display, therefor you dont have this big screen stairing at you all the time when you dont need it.
Grieg said adding Haptic Feedback like that was looked into but would use too much juice. I would think a rising display like the CTS would also add to electric power consumption.
 

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Can someone explain what that thing is at the bottom of the center stack? The big moveable-looking thing that's folded flat into the console surface . . . .

Is it a shifter of some sort?

If so, that looks like a huge waste of space, space that's at a premium in a small car like the Volt. The thing's enormous, and clearly doesn't need to be - given that an electric car will need Park, Reverse and Forward positions only.
It is indeed the shifter.
 

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They should work on making the center monitor motorized so that it flips down and slides into the dash when not in use. Or have it just move up and down like the CTS has.

It would be nice if you could have the screen slide down and only show about an inch or two for vital information like AC temp and radio stations and such. I wouldn't always want it up if I don't actually need it.

Having the monitor up and trying to get at the top dash storage bin could be a bit of a hassle. The monitor could get bumped with various things, scratched or worst of all potentially broken if someone puts too much pressure on the top of the monitor while trying to get things from the storage bin.

Overall, I think the layout is pretty good and pretty nice but the execution still needs some work.
I agree but for a different reason. Big LCD is a prime target for thieves, if they don't see it while the car is parked they don't have a reason to break in. It's the same concept behind car stereos that you can either take off and bring with your or they fold up so you can't see them.
 

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I was trying to explain to a co-worker about the color/look of the center console and said it reminded me of glossy white hospital equipment. It was hard to explain the weird look. My co-worker finally saw all the photos and nailed it. It looks like an airliner interior.

Which button do I push for the flight attendant?
 

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couldn't they have an ipod thumbwheel on the steering wheel to control the stereo? what will the cruise controls be like?

i still prefer analog. i guess hvac can be thermostatically set digitally. can the gauge pod be customized?
 

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Just have it speak to you with voice commands. You touch something and it repeats it back to you with customizeable voices. ;)
They had talking cars in the 80's. I once knew this guy that had one, it would say "door is ajar" if you didn't shut the door good, it would say "fasten your seatbelts" when you started the car, etc. This was around the same time they were putting electronic instrumentation in the cars.
 
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