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Op-Ed by MonaroSS

What Chevy Volt Concept
Was the Chevy Volt ever going to look like the Concept?

I have just spent a little time examining and rendering from a vidcap picture of a supposed production Chevy Volt scale model from a story at www.autobloggreen.com and which was undergoing wind tunnel testing.

Even though the model is covered in disguise, unlike real life camo mules that have padding, this model can't as it must be the real shape for airflow. So it's possible to look through the camo and look for shading and lighting, which betrays its real look. I think that I may have been able to do so and give a reasonable view of what the production Volt may look like; as you can see in the pic above.

The first thing you notice is that the big wheels and the protruding fender bulges have long gone in favour of smaller wheels tucked in close under flatter smoother fenders. And gone is the long hood of the Concept. Even the rounded rear bumper has been tucked in and squared up.

It appears that the unusual lower section of the side windows has been replaced stylistically with an upper door crease area mimicking the effect of those windows. But the roof and glasshouse seems to be about the only part to remain similar to the Concept, although one presumes the over arching glass into the roof is gone for practical reasons.

What can’t be denied is that when you take away the big wheels and fender bulges and the long bonnet virtually all of the Volts charisma vanishes; leaving a Prius like vehicle behind. Surely GM Design knew that the big wheels and long bonnet were never going to be practical even if they were aerodynamic. So it raises the question of; Did GM put the Volt Concept out in a genuine belief that the production car would look like that? Or did they know from the get go that the real Volt would be more Prius-like so they created the Volt Concept simply because they had no intention of seemingly following Toyota's lead with a similar car?

I guess it all comes down to whether you believe that GM designers with their modern software, which can do basic aerodynamic testing on a virtual design study, did not have anyway to know that the Volt Concept had the airflow qualities of a brick. :D



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What can’t be denied is that when you take away the big wheels and fender bulges and the long bonnet virtually all of the Volts charisma vanishes; leaving a Prius like vehicle behind. ...I guess it all comes down to whether you believe that GM designers with their modern software, which can do basic aerodynamic testing on a virtual design study, did not have anyway to know that the Volt Concept had the airflow qualities of a brick.
Well said. Your sketch looks reasonable to me based on the model...and it is an ugly car. The concept was so dynamic...if this is the production model, then there is nothing visual to be excited about. The technology is pretty exciting, but the looks are awful. :eek:

I'd take a rakish and exciting Volt that looked as amazing as the concept but got a bit less distance out of the battery the same way I'd take less fuel economy from a V8 but trade it for beauty and handling in an ICE car. The appeal of the Volt concept to people like me WAS the look of the thing...now that is gone. :(

Maybe they could release the concept as the "Volt GXP" or something? :)
 

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Looks like they pulled the base of the A-pillar far forward, killing the long hood look. Not a good move, IMO. The concept looked great; I have a feeling the real thing is going to be a disappointment, visually.
 

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It is not about looks it is about aerodynamics. I don't mind if they soften it in effort to make it as fuel efficient as possible.
 

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The potential production model shown above isn't nearly as nice looking as the concept which was really hot looking, but I think fuel efficiency needs to be the most important factor. It needs to be as aerodynamic as possible. It needs to have fuel efficiency that exceeds the next generation Prius running on gas alone. Showing mpg numbers that figures in getting power from pluggin in shouldn't be compared to other non-plug in cars unless you compare them using $ only.

I still think the car shown above is pretty good looking and unique as well.
 

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I love it. A no excuses, blow Toyota out of the water, hyper efficient design. Let Camaro and Solstice buyers actually buy the Camaro and Solstice, and leave the long-hooded, giant wheel design to those who appreciate that sort of thing.
 

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I'm not sure how you managed to interpret where the cutlines, glass to body lines and fender flares end up, looking at that vidcap, so I don't buy into your premise yet.

However, IF the Volt ends up looking like your rendering, I like it. It doesn't look as futuristic, but is looks nicer than 80% of the cars on the road today and nicer than 95% of the family cars. If this thing goes 40 miles on electric and all the other things we've been told, I will be VERY HAPPY to buy one.
 

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No, the Volt was never going to look just like the concept. The Volt concept car needed to reel in the people not only with the technology, but with style. It was probably meant to be a showcase for the E-Flex drivetrain and never go into production as the Volt. When the crowds said they wanted the Volt itself they did the testing and found they needed to change things up to be more reality-based and aerodynamic. The car will still be a looker and hold much of the style that the concept had, but interior room and aerodynamics take a priority.

I do hope the 1988 Cavalier wheels on the aero model make it to production.
 

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Another great effort by MonaroSS. Thanks!

I told everyone the windshield was moved forward to achieve optimal aerodynamic efficiency. GM does not just not want to compete with Toyota in the green vehicle market, they want to blow them away in efficiency. Of course, not all the detail is in the MonaroSS chop from the wind tunnel model. This is not fault of MonaroSS, since he had a basic image to work with. There is just more to it that you probably won't see until unveil.
 

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how much design and development work do you expect on a concept? it demonstates the e-flex powertrain, delta 2 platform, ge lexan windows, and flashy styling. concepts don't consider manufacturing processes either. who would rightly put a bland, production-ready body on the most significant hybrid technology?

why put 20" wheels and tires on a car that doesn't need larger than 15" with 11" brakes. the added weight reduces acceleration, ride, handling, increases cost, as well as replacement tire cost.

as far as aero, they would have benefitted more with short front/long rear overhangs. rear wheel covers are an instant 10% Cd reduction. reducing Cd from 0.30 (typical modern car) to 0.21 reduces drag force 44% at 120 kph - which means 44% less required hp, 44% less gas.

imho, gm would get a lot of mileage (pun intended) out of the volt platform with the 1.3L cidi and manual tranny. no $10g battery, much lighter, and 70+ mpg. every car with di should be a micro hybrid (stop-start).
 

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The styling of the concept had me excited enough that I was actually going to hold off buying a new car until the Volt was released. But, these new pictures make me think they should just slap a Prius label on it and pass it off to the tree-hugger crowd.
 

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This is what I want. I know there are people that would love to have the look of the Concept (like myself). Then you have the people that would want the most effecient Volt you can have.

Make the most effecient Chevy Volt and make the exciting concept Pontiac Volt. Yes Keep the name Volt for both brands. They can even make a Saturn Volt for all I care.
 

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The point of the Volt is to get incredible mileage. This is one of the areas that may require form to follow function.

To borrow a quote, we're at war, and during war it's your job to shut up. Let GM make this car look like whatever they need it to. A bold muscle-car-like style that nets mileage less then or equal to a Prius won't cut it.
 

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...The concept was so dynamic...if this is the production model, then there is nothing visual to be excited about. The technology is pretty exciting, but the looks are awful...
I agree with your first well-stated point, WWI Flying Ace, though if the primary purpose of this vehicle is to be the most miserly of the gas miserly, I can understand GM's dumbing down of the exterior design. I briefly thought it might be a good idea for GM to have the only stylish "green" (what a gross marketing word) car on the road, but alas, this sucker's gotta sip gas. And if that means it looks like the god-awful Prius, so be it.
 

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The concept was probably a styling exercise that originally had nothing to do with E Flex technology. It simply isn't a practical vehicle, much less an aerodynamic one. Would the Volt have gotten half the attention if it had looked something like a Prius or an EV-1? It still doesn't look like it will have much trunk room, but at least it will hold adults in the rear seat.

The camouflage may be fooling me, but it looks like it has a much more vertical rear window with large sail panels.
 

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I have never like the concept Volt. Its just ugly to me. I like the image MonaroSS came up with from the wind tunnel model though. It looks more normal, but not in the bland way, to me. I don't see much of a Prius resemblance but, of course, the image is only of one angle.
 

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...if the primary purpose of this vehicle is to be the most miserly of the gas miserly, I can understand GM's dumbing down of the exterior design. I briefly thought it might be a good idea for GM to have the only stylish "green" (what a gross marketing word) car on the road, but alas, this sucker's gotta sip gas. And if that means it looks like the god-awful Prius, so be it.
Alas, you speak the truth. Too bad...I really liked the way the concept looked. I still want GM to have spectacular success with the Volt, and I understand if they need to do this for aerodynamics...but dang, I did like the long hood on the concept a lot. I thought it was really stylish.
 

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The Volt concept was about the powertrain and nothing else. I never expected the concept car look to carry over significantly to the production model. No one, especially GM, talked about how cool the Volt looked, they only talked about the powertrain.

The Volt was a "throwaway" concept design in my mind.

Mark
 
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