First Impressions of Chevy Volt Customer Advisors
The General Motors A-Team of Chevy Volt customer advisors gathered yesterday to receive product information, to visit the Michigan factory where the Volt will be built, and to take a drive at the Milford proving grounds. In a few weeks, the 15 participants will take possession of pre-production Volts, in exchange for providing three months’ worth of driving and charging impressions. I was at the scene to capture their first reactions.
Participants were chosen, in part, for their experience with the EV1 and G.M.’s hydrogen fuel cell cars—while others have leased or owned the Mini E or Toyota Prius. This past experience provided useful points of comparison with the Chevy Volt.
Kris Trexler, California-based film editor:
"It drives like a dream. Listen to how quiet it is. It makes the EV1 sound noisy. It feels like a luxury car. It’s extremely solid and powerful. I don’t think anybody had expectations that it would be this cool inside. They hit a home run."
Lyle Dennis, New Jersey-based neurologist and founder of GM-Volt.com:
"Since driving an earlier pre-production model a year ago, it seems more refined, smoother, and quieter. The feel of the drive is quieter and richer than it was at that time. It had a lot of power, kind of like floating. A lot better than the Mini E, maybe not quite as fast, but much better."
Mark Swain, California-based computer animator:
"I’m impressed with the build quality. When you shut the doors, it actually goes thunk, instead of tink like some hybrids. We have a Toyota Prius and I love our Prius, but you shut the door and it goes tink, and doesn’t go thunk. The Volt feels like a more expensive car…Try taking a steep grade in a Prius, and that thing winds the motor all the way to the top. It just doesn’t have the power. The Volt will charge [uphill] up as fast as you can possibly go."
Robert Becker, New York-based professional recruiter:
"It’s a great car. It’s fun, sporty. I compare it to my two Priuses. All the sudden you have a car that has the same mileage or better mileage, but it’s in a much sportier package. The Prius feels like an economy car with the way it handles compared to this."
Brian Wynne, executive director of the Electric Drive Transportation Association:
"It’s really fun to drive. Good acceleration. Great handling. And I got it to kick over to extended range mode, and I barely felt that transition at all, unlike other hybrids. For me, being a part of the customer advisory board is a great opportunity to experience the vehicle before it gets out on the street. I’m going to find out how it works for me."
In the coming weeks, we’ll be reaching out to advisory board members to get the latest on their driving experience.
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