After years of concepts, development, research, and testing, General Motors is finally ready to unveil their sequel to the ill-fated EV-1. Within weeks, full production of the electric-powered Chevy Volt will be underway at General Motors Corp.’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. Initial customers can expect to drive away sometime in December.
The first reviews of the Volt are now coming online as General Motors allows press to drive the final production models — and overall impressions are very good.
“While it’s easy to get lost in the hows and whys of the Volt’s technology, what’s truly impressive is that the car performs flawlessly,” says Jeff Sabatini on AutoBlog. “GM has gone to great – even excessive – lengths to make the Volt as mainstream as it can. There’s a shallow learning curve to operation, which mostly surrounds finding the green-glowing start button on the center stack near the shifter and dropping the bulky, console-mounted unit into drive. After that, the experience has a lot in common with piloting a four-cylinder Chevy Malibu. In our test drive, we couldn’t turn up anything that made us feel the Volt’s development was incomplete.”
“Considering all the hype and waiting, I thought the Volt was destined to disappoint,” writes Joe Wiesenfelde for the Mercury News. “So far, it hasn’t. With time it could prove to be the model that makes drivers comfortable enough with the experience of plug-in motoring that they’ll consider a battery-electric without the safety net of an onboard generator as their next car.”
Granted, these are only two reviews, but it appears right now that GM has a winner. An expensive $33,000 winner (after a $7K federal tax credit) but should sales take off, it’s not hard to imagine that coming down to more affordable levels in the not-too-distant future.