In late June, GM completed the production of its first true to form Chevy Volt prototypes called integration vehicles. We were given a brief video description of what it was like to drive one by the car’s chief engineer Andrew Farah.
GM granted an interview with Farah to Automotive News who got some new nitty gritty details.
Farah was asked what it was like to step on the accelerator while the engine generator was running. “You get immediate response from the foot pedal,” he says. “Because the Volt is always driven electrically, you don’t even notice the difference there.” He also explained for the first time that at that point “the gasoline engine’s rpms then follow.”
Farah noted that because the engine isn’t directly connected to the foot, “it is one of the things we continue to tune.” He said “there is an expectation of what happens when you put your accelerator to the floor in the way the car sounds and feels. We’ve got the feel.”
“We’ve got the feel of a sports car,” he said. “The sound part and the way the engine plays into that perception is one of the areas we have to work on.”
Asked about vibration, noise, and harshness Farah said “we still have some work to do,” but that during his ride he was “very pleased with the first steps.”
“It was great,” he added.
Farah noted that the team is using “liquid applied sound deadener” and that in the front of the dash and glass there is “packaged-in sound suppression items,” that are also being tuned to perfection.
Farah says that during EV driving he is not aiming for the car to be “Cadillac library quiet,” because it might be “disconcerting” to drivers. He is focused on minimizing wind noise and conducted road noise.
He said transition from computer model to real car went very well although not absolutely perfect. He noted the team had a minor “interference with the instrument panel that we didn’t expect.” But that was corrected and “off we went.”
Asked if the car feels heavy because of the battery at its center, Farah said there are advantages and disadvantages to it. An advantage he explains is that the battery “lowers the center of gravity of the car” which is good from a handling perspective. However, he added the weight is not without detriments, but that his team is “taking the best of the advantages.”
In terms of what work lies ahead at this point Farah said “This is really just the beginning of all the final tuning. We are at the 50 percent point. Fundamentally, we’ve got everything directionally correct, but now we’ve got all the tuning yet to do.”
Source (Automotive News)