Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chicago Auto Show: A Closer Look at the Chevy Volt

Just spent some time with my blogging compadres at a "walk-through"viewing of the Chevy Volt concept vehicle. As you can see, it's a beautiful car! That was part of the plan, we learned -- "green vehicles" aren't always particularly sexy, so Chevy wanted to bring some of the emotional attachment of the Corvette and Camaro to a greener vehicle.

The Volt's been covered widely around the green blogosphere because it's a plug-in hybrid. That is, it has greater battery capacity than traditional hybrids, and can run in an electric-only mode for up to 40 miles. Since that covers the range most people drive in a day, there's potential for tremendous fuel savings (and lower emissions). Though, as some will certainly point out, the source of the electricity that goes into it (and this is the case with an plug-in electric vehicle or hybrid) can still undermine the "clean/green" potential...

Several members of the design team talked about the car with us. I tracked down lead interior designer Wade Bryant after his talk to find out a little more about the materials that go into the interior (they definitely go for an "eco" look and feel inside). Bryant admitted that the materials in the concept vehicle weren't necessarily chosen for their light environmental impact and/or re-use/recyclability potential, but that's "on the shelf" for the production model. He included materials such as bioplastics, and greener fabrics as part of the mix under consideration. He also claimed that most car interiors currently are very recyclable -- I'd love to hear if any of you can speak to that...

There's no doubt that the Volt is a very sweet concept -- at this point, it's just a concept, though. I'll be talking to GM VP of Reseach & Development and Strategic Planning Larry Burns this afternoon, and will be focused on productions plans for this vehicle... Stay tuned.

Crossposted at Green Options.