First Impressions of Chevy Volt Customer Advisors

By · September 29, 2010

Chevy Volt Customer Advisory Board

Nine of the 15 members of the Chevy Volt Customer Advisory Board, at G.M.’s Milford Proving Grounds.

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

"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.


· Indiana Chevy Dealers (not verified) · 7 years ago

I was running down the list of board members this morning and was expecting/hoping to see your name. Now I know that you were at least on site. Its great to hear the comparisons to other vehicles in the general market of the Volt. Im in early stages of getting together a contest/trip to Chicago for the Unplugged Tour stop.

Chris Theisen
Director of Digital Communications
Hare Chevrolet

· · 7 years ago

Sounds good, Chris. Keep us posted on the contest.

· · 7 years ago

Chris, there were many of us that expected Brad to be on the advisory board... but, as I remarked tongue-in-cheek, the consolation prize was a trip to see the announcement :)

· · 7 years ago

Thanks for the support, guys. Keep it coming. Maybe G.M. will read this, and decide to add me. I would gladly accept the opportunity!

· Colin Summers (not verified) · 7 years ago

My experience is in line with those who were quoted. In the coming week I will be writing up my three test drives and putting them on my site.

· · 7 years ago

Having sat for the first time in the Volt last month in Vancouver at EV2010 I was reminded about how much of a drag it is that the Volt is only a four seater. As a family guy that rarely travels with any less than 3 kids in the back the Volt just won't cut it as I suspect it won't for many other prospective REV/PHEV/BEV buyers. Due to the 16 kwh battery size and location in the underbody there simply is no room for a passenger to sit in the middle of the second row.

Otherwise the egos of the Volt and the material appointments chosen for the interior are very clean and comfortable. The fit and finish of thid latest pre-production rendition of the Volt is really looking great overall. Much better than the earlier gen Chevy game changer exhibited in Montreal at EMCs PHEV09.

· · 7 years ago

@sbieda. Agreed. The Chevy badge is misleading. The Volt is appointed like a luxury car.

· · 7 years ago

>> Maybe G.M. will read this, and decide to add me. I would gladly accept the opportunity!

I guess I need a bigger flag to wave, myself. ;)

As for the badging - I still find it interesting that the EV1 was the only car in GM history (that I'm aware of!) that did NOT carry a sub-brand. It was officially a GM EV1... though most considered it a Saturn since it was sold (oops, leased) through that dealership. But no. It had a GM badge, and nothing else.

· · 7 years ago

I think they chose CAB folks only in certain locations, like So. Cal, NY and DC. Nobody from Northern California. Darell, you would have been a shoo in.

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