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Volt Concept
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  Chevrolet Volt Concept
 

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Country of origin:United States
Produced in:2007
Introduced at:2007 NAIAS
Source:Company press release
Last updated:January 11, 2007
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhile the technologically advanced Chevrolet Volt has the capability to travel 40 miles on electricity alone, at first glance, the concept could easily be mistaken as simply a design statement. The Volt conveys an immediate message of agility and sophistication, with exterior proportions more commonly associated with classic sports cars. Twenty-one-inch wheels and sheer, taut surface relationships reiterate the statement. The Chevrolet Volt's athletic design challenges the notion that an environmentally conscious vehicle can't be beautiful and possess an aesthetic spirit that matches its driving characteristics. Inside, a host of current or near-term technologies and materials, combined with ingenious use of ambient light, creates an interior environment that's light, airy and thoughtful.

Sized for an urban-centric lifestyle, the Volt concept sedan carries dimensions similar to a Chevrolet Cobalt, with an overall length of approximately 170 inches (4,318 mm), a height of 52.6 inches (1,336 mm) and a width of 70.5 inches (1,791 mm). However, the Volt's proportions, dictated by the layout of its electrically driven powertrain system, make it distinctly different from its mainstream Cobalt sibling. The Volt's proportions, combined with large wheels, wide front and rear tracks (64 inches / 163 mm, front and rear) and a tight wheel-to-body relationship, enable a sporty, confident stance. Other key proportional highlights include a dash-to-axle length that positions the driver far rearward of the front wheels; large 21-inch by 7.5-inch wheels; short front and rear overhangs and departure angles that deliver a sense of taut, compact energy. Also, the offsets between the upper glass elements and tire planes (the glass is inboard of the face of the tires) contribute to the sedan's balanced stance and enhance the vehicle's dynamic static image, resulting in pure, athletic proportions.

The Volt's roof, side glass and beltline are constructed of GE Plastics transparent, glazed polycarbonate material that delivers the scratch resistance and gloss surface appearance of glass, combined with the formability of a plastic composite. As a result, the Volt provides the driver and occupants with exceptional visibility, enabling a "city lights" theme in which the outside world passes through to the interior of the vehicle. Also contributing to the visibility is a shouldered, tinted side glass - constructed of the same GE polycarbonate material - that enables a dual beltline. In addition to the upper daylight opening and roof, key exterior panels are made with a GE Plastics composite, and each - in and of itself - is designed as an artful shape that could be displayed on its own. As a result, the exterior panels fit together like a well-crafted puzzle, with flowing surface-to-surface cut lines that bring a sophisticated composition and overall harmony to the Volt's exterior appearance. The front door hinges enable enhanced entry/egress to the vehicle, as well as a graceful, forward-leaning door cut line. Milled from billets of stainless steel, the hinges serve as design elements, extending into the front quarter fenders and incorporating a plug-in recharging port access on both sides of the vehicle. The vehicle face - designed to carry a serious, confident appearance - is clearly Chevrolet, with a twin-port front grille, center-positioned bowtie and lower air intake. Horizontal headlamps with aluminium bezels deliver a jeweled appearance, leading to translucent light-emitting diode (LED) forward illumination elements. The underside of the vehicle consists of a flat, composite molded belly pan that is integrated with the fascias and rockers for a clean, uncluttered and finished appearance. The belly pan - which contributes significantly to the Volt's 0.30 coefficient of drag - contributes to the sedan's overall impression of refinement and demonstrates the design of the underbody was just as important as the upper body.

The interior environment of the Volt was designed to appeal to an urban dweller who desires a smart, daily-use vehicle. Super Imaging is an innovative, dual-mode technology display that provides two visual levels of vehicle information to the driver in the instrument cluster. It is a design innovation developed to provide a primary interface between the driver and the vehicle's key feature: the next-generation, electrically driven propulsion system. The first level of information - configured similarly to a conventional instrument cluster - provides traditional data in the form of analog, three-dimensional (3D) LED displays, including three gauges for fuel level, speedometer, odometer, battery level and the transmission "PRNDL" indicator. The second level of information - a transparent screen positioned in front of the 3D LED displays - delivers color, animated data related to the Volt's advanced propulsion system with a holographic-like appearance. Super Imaging works by using invisible, fluorescent inks that are printed on the transparent screen. When illuminated by an ultraviolet (UV) laser projector located behind the instrument cluster (from the driver's perspective), the inks become excited, and provide four-color illumination and animation.

Compression-molded foam with a textile-patterned surface layer is applied on the entire lower instrument panel, lower door trim panels and rear quarter trim areas. The material enables soft, tactile, low-gloss surfaces throughout the interior cabin that appear hand-crafted and specifically tailored to the car. This material, used in some of the latest luggage designs, enables zippered access to traditional storage areas such as the glove box, doors, etc. The material is very inexpensive, wears well and enables flexibility in design. Molded GE plastic panels provide thin, structural interior surfaces that can be cantilevered in space. The material is applied on the upper instrument panel, seat backs, center console sides and door inserts. Light, strong, affordable and recyclable, the panels are sheathed in reconstructed scrap leather to achieve a soft, hand-crafted surface.

The aspect of light - from outside and within the vehicle - is played throughout the interior environment. Highlights include a transparent upper roof that provides large quantities of natural light and is enhanced with thinner pillars and rail sections; Gelcore LED indirect lighting around the roof periphery that illuminates during evening hour entry/egress and can be seen from outside the vehicle; LED functional storage lighting that passes through transparent zippers and provides ambient light during evening hours; and conductive ink controls situated on the interior surface of the glass roof that provide touch access to lights, OnStar buttons and more.

The concept car, called the Chevrolet Volt, is a battery-powered electric vehicle that uses a gas engine to create additional electricity, thereby extending its range. The Chevy Volt draws from GM's previous experience in starting the modern electric vehicle market when it launched the EV1 in 1996. The Chevrolet Volt can be fully charged by plugging it into a 110-volt outlet for approximately six hours each day. When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the Volt can deliver 40 city miles of pure electric vehicle range. When the battery is depleted, a 1-liter, three-cylinder Turbocharged engine spins at a constant speed, or revolutions per minute (rpm), to create electricity and replenish the battery. To further underscore the point, the Chevy Volt is designed to run on E85, a blend of 15 percent gas and 85 percent ethanol. With E85, fuel economy of 150 mpg using gasoline would translate into more than 525 miles per petroleum gallon. In the event a driver forgets to charge the vehicle or goes on a vacation far from home, the Volt would still get 50 mpg by using the engine to convert gasoline into electricity and extend its range up to 640 miles, more than double that of today's conventional vehicles. One technological breakthrough required to make this concept a reality is a large lithium-ion battery. This type of electric car, which the technical community calls an "EV range-extender," would require a battery pack that weighs nearly 400 pounds. Some experts predict that such a battery - or a similar battery - could be production-ready by 2010 to 2012.

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  Article Image gallery (28) Specifications