We have previously heard that the first Chevy Volt developmental prototype has been driving around GMs Milford proving grounds for a couple of weeks.
Last Thursday the two key GM executives who originated the Volt concept got to test drive their brainchild vehicle. This included GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz and VP of global program management Jon Lauckner. Also in accompaniment was Volt Vehicle Line Director Tony Pozawatz.
Witnesses to the event reported that after the roughly 8 mile drive,reaching speeds of nearly 60 mph, Mr. Lutz stepped out of the car with a grin on his face that made him look like “a five year old on Christmas morning.”
Mr. Lutz had the following to say about his monumental experience which he has posted over on his Fastlane Blog:
“Yesterday we announced that the GM Board has approved the Chevrolet Volt program. Yes, development work has been going on in earnest, but now it’s official. In fact, recently, at GM’s Milford Proving Ground, I drove an official “engineering development vehicle” with the 16-kwh lithium-ion battery pack we’ve been testing for our E-Flex System and I have to say – pun half-intended – it was electrifying.
The first impression of the day, however, was made before I even got into the vehicle. It hit me on the drive out to Milford, as I passed gas station after gas station with prices for regular unleaded hugging the $4 mark: This makes the importance and potential of our all-electric glide through our proving ground roads even clearer.
Now, don’t run to the Chevy dealer and order your Volt yet: The “test mule” I drove – a previous-generation Malibu – wasn’t calibrated properly, and there are an awful lot of tests that this battery must pass before it’s cleared for production. Our battery teams in Warrenand in Germanyare working hard in our battery labs to determine that these batteries will work for the life of the vehicle. Still, the conditions in a real-world environment – where the battery is exposed to shaking, moisture and rapidly changing temperature conditions – are much more extreme than the controlled settings of the lab.
But I think it’s important to point out that in the six months since we’ve received the battery pack, we’ve tested it in the lab, then on the dynamometer, and now on the track. Eventually, if and when we settle on the right battery, our E-Flex System engineers will have a lot of integrating, tuning and tweaking to do before the Volt is ready for prime time. And we’ll keep you informed of our progress every step of the way.
Upon future drives, when the vehicle is closer to true calibration, I’ll have more driving details. But I will say that, while the car is still most definitely a work in progress, the thrill of driving electrically — that instant, silent torque — is certainly present and accounted for! Of course, as you can imagine, I miss the throaty roar of an engine. Once we get this whole battery thing perfected, our friends at XM Satellite Radio may have to start an Internal Combustion Channel.”
Thanks for the update Mr. Lutz, these are thrilling times indeed!
See what Bob signed on the prototype’s hood below:
This entry was posted on Thursday, June 5th, 2008 at 1:56 pm and is filed under Prototypes, Test drive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.