The Chevrolet Volt is a further example of the vitality of GM design. The Volt had visitors at NAIAS asking: “When can I buy one?”, a response that was the goal of the project. Anne Asensio, executive director of GM Advanced Design, explains it this way: “It is an advanced technology vehicle that uses little or no fuel, but we didn’t see any reason why that should compromise its design, We wanted a size suitable for everyone, so we designed a small car. It couldn’t be a ‘scientific project’, it had to be realistic and contain the essence of the Chevy brand”.
In the case of the Volt, the goal was extremely demanding because the exterior was designed in the Detroit studio while the theme for the interior was designed in the UK at the advanced studio led by Simon Cox. The overall theme created in the United Kingdom can be described as a large space in which the instrument panel, the central tunnel, the door trim and rear quarter panels seem to be floating. The Detroit-based designers did an outstanding job overcoming what might have been an incompatible union between interiors and externals: the steering wheel, the central tunnel controls, door remote and seat backs adopted shapes and materials that coordinated beautifully with the wheels, hinges, mirrors and lights.
The Volt demonstrates the aesthetic virtue of the long dash to axle allied to a short rear overhang to give a satisfying overall proportion which expresses power, safety and elegance. This provides a lesson to those designers who believe you need a cab forward near-monocorp profile to look exciting and modern, but also to those who believe ‘retro’ must be literal copies of their antecedents.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 163